Exploring Winter Wonderlands With Your Furry Friends - and on a Budget

by Britt

When seeking out your ideal winter wonderland destination, there are many pet-friendly lodging options to choose from. And with a little planning, it’s easy to experience a budget-friendly vacation with your pet, without sacrificing the adventure.

Motel 6 proudly welcomes well-behaved cats and dogs to stay for free at all 1,400 locations across the country. For travelers seeking extended stay options, Studio 6 properties across the U.S. and Canada welcome cats and dogs for a minimal fee.

Take long-time ski enthusiast Joe Miron, who has more than 50 years of experience road tripping to ski resorts across North America across with his dog Kelo and has perfected the art of planning a cost-effective ski voyage. Miron recommends selecting affordable lodging accommodations, seeking early bird specials and smaller ski slope locations, as well as bringing along necessary items for your furry friends.

Ready to get started with your 2023 travel plans? Here are a few tips to help you plan an incredible pet-friendly getaway.

Choose a Location That’s Fit for Your Pets Needs

When planning your vacation, think about the needs of your pet to help select your destination. Consider access to dog parks, greenspaces and hiking trails for your furry friend to explore, proximity to pet stores and veterinarians, dog-friendly restaurants, patios in the area and more.


Motel 6 and BestPlaces teamed up to unveil the first-ever list of top pet-friendly road trip destinations in each U.S. state to help pet owners explore the country with their furry companions. Together, Motel 6 and BestPlaces built a custom methodology that found the best place to stop with your pet in each state for some rest, adventure and exploration.

The top 10 cities nationwide are: 

1.      Santa Monica, Calif. 

2.      Rockville, Md. 

3.      Santa Fe, N.M. 

4.      Mount Pleasant, S.C. 

5.      Newport, R.I. 

6.      Gloucester, Mass. 

7.      Richmond, Ky. 

8.      Bend, Ore. 

9.      Asheville, N.C. 

10.  Charlottesville, Va.

Additional information on the top city in each state can be found on the BestPlaces website.

Familiarize Yourself with the Hotel Pet Policy

After you have identified a pet-friendly hotel, make sure to research the pet policy, as rules can vary between hotel chains.

With more than 1,400 pet-friendly locations conveniently located along major highways and interstates throughout the U.S. and Canada, Motel 6 and Studio 6 will always leave the light on for travelers and their four-legged friends.

Winter Wonderland Activities with your Pup

In addition to locating a pet-friendly hotel, make the most of your vacation by taking advantage of the outdoors with a winter sport that both you and your pet can enjoy. Remember, this is their vacation too and even if the activity doesn’t involve your dog, there are still other ways to get them an outdoors activity!

Most winter travelers will consider snowshoeing or skiing, but why not try skijoring? This winter sport involves cross-country skiing while your dog (or dogs) run ahead, pulling you. For those with high-energy dogs, it’s a great way to work together, build your bond and give your dog the exercise they need.

Motel 6 and Studio 6 have nearly 280 locations conveniently located near ski resorts, offering a clean, comfortable and affordable place to rest your head at night for winter enthusiasts. Miron loves to bring his dog Kelo along with him when hitting the ski slopes.

Pack Your Pet’s Travel Gear

When packing for your getaway with your four-legged travel companion, preparation is key to help take away some of the stress for both pet owners and your furry friends.

Dr. Rhonda Phillips, veterinarian, and Patriot PAWS Board Member, notes that it’s important for pet owners to bring their pet’s food, water and toys when traveling as the familiarity helps ease any anxiety. Phillips also advises traveling with an assortment of entertainment such as catnip toys for cats, or tug and chew toys for dogs, to help keep the animal’s mind busy and from feeling bored or isolated during the trip.

To make sure your dog is prepared for the winter weather, consider gear to keep them warm and protected, such as jackets, boots and sweaters. Choosing the right equipment depends on your pet’s age, breed and outdoor experience. A hairless cat that is new to winter travel will need different gear than a northern breed dog. Miron likes to attach a Tractive GPS device to his dog Kelo’s collar, so he doesn’t get lost when running around in the powdery snow.

This year don’t let costs get in the way of your winter wonderland vacation. Wherever it is you may choose to go, always take advantage of resources around you that aim to ease the financial burdens of winter activities, especially when traveling with a pet. Motel 6, Proud Sponsor of Pets™, offers theses additional tips on how to plan a budget-friendly ski trip. To book a stay, visit www.motel6.com or www.staystudio6.com.


Britt Kascjak is a proud pet mom, sharing her heart (and her home) with her “pack” which includes her husband John, their 2 dogs – Indiana and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx. She has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. In her free time, she enjoys traveling around the country camping, hiking, and canoeing with her pets.

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