Getting reservations for a large family, with a dog, is harder than it seems. No matter the location, I find it difficult to gain accommodations that would suit all 6 of us, plus the dog. This is our family: One dad, one mom, one 12 year old son, one 17 year old son, one 18 year old daughter, one 20 year old nephew, and our dog (large breed.) Now one would think that Alaska has a lot of larger families and thus would have accommodations to compliment that knowledge; however I am finding the opposite to be true.
Hotels are most likely out of the question unless I am willing to rent several rooms in a dog friendly hotel. On a few occasions, I have found hotels that have full suites available but most often they do not like pets. I must say there are a few out there and I greatly appreciate their thoughtfulness to accommodate larger families. I am even more grateful when I see that it is very clean and there are no bed bugs in the establishment.
Some B&B’s might be willing to accept a larger family but I have found that they most often do not accept pets. I have never been able to stay at a B&B due to our family size and the pet issue. That being said, I have always wanted to stay at one and have always admired those who run them. It is a lot of work and dedication to open one’s home to the general public.
Motels generally do not seem to care how many people will be staying in the room and will usually rent it to you without question. More often than not, they will allow pets; however they frequently smell musty and are sometimes dirty. I have also found bed bugs in many motels and that is something I never appreciate.
Cabins are usually a better bet but you have to find one that can accommodate so many people. I have been lucky enough on many occasions to find cabins that can house 6 people comfortably and it is usually a 50/50 chance that they will allow a large dog. My family prefers the cabin style rentals due to the privacy that they afford, but that is only if they have decent bathroom availability. Some have outhouses and that is okay…IF they are clean!
Lodges are usually out of the question for large families with pets due to the very nature of a lodge. It is usually on a more grand scale and most often related to some sort of fishing or hunting adventure. Where would you stash your dog on a fishing trip anyhow? But, again, I am sure there are some out there that might allow large families and pets with the usual “fees” tagged on top of it.
That brings me to the other part of our dilemma. Fees! Families are usually looking for savings on their trips due to the very nature of the cost of a family to do anything beyond just existing in day to day life. So when I go to websites and they say “double occupancy + $25 for each additional person + $75 pet fee”; let’s just say I cringe and keep looking elsewhere. The additional fees that go beyond the double occupancy, plus the pet fees, taxes, and meal expense make it very difficult for families to do anything together. It seems like the lodging industry is just out to make a buck on the larger families instead of being understanding and accommodating them for the same price in the same room or cabin as a smaller family. Does it seriously cost $25 extra to do the laundry of towels and blankets for each additional person?
I wanted to write about this subject because I know that many other families are out there and have situations just like mine. Maybe someday soon, all my kids will leave the nest and it will get better but we have been dealing with this for a very long time. It’s frustrating to say the least and I am hoping that someone, somewhere, will read this and realize that larger families need to get out and have fun too! For the most part, we have stuck to campgrounds and tents but this is Alaska! We don’t want to camp every single time and some places are very cold at night. Our summers are short and there are seriously a lot of mosquitos in most areas of Alaska. If you have a large family and have dealt with this situation in your adventures, then I totally understand your frustrations.