5 Hotels Where Pets Get Treated Like Royalty

Who says Fido can't get the royal treatment while you're on vacation?

Vacations are often a family affair, but we typically leave our pets at home. While they’re stuck in a kennel or with a sitter at home, we’re off in Tahiti, cocktail in hand, living the good life.

Why not let Fido or Whiskers in on the fun? A number of hotels have warmed up to the idea of hosting pets, and some turn on the charm to make the stay worth your while. Here are five hotels that will treat your pet like royalty.

1. Kimpton Hotel Monaco, Chicago

This boutique hotel, housed in a former hat factory, hosts nightly wine hours and pet-friendly accommodations for which the Kimpton chain is known. There’s no limit to the number of pets you can bring, and no additional charge or deposit. You’ll also receive a sweet selection of plush pet-bed loaners, along with food, water bowls and mats. Ask the concierge for their list of pet-friendly restaurants, groomers and parks.

2. Las Ventanas al Paraíso, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

What’s better than a portable pet cabana? A “Dog Butler” who takes your four-legged buddy out for daily walks on the beach, gives massages and leads “doga” classes (We won’t make a downward dog joke. We won’t. No, we won’t). With your butler around, you’ll never have to think about waking up early or leaving a meal, and if you want to host a birthday party — for your pet, that is — your butler can arrange that, too. Be sure to set aside $60 per stay (not night) and note the pet weight limit is 40 pounds.

3. Loews Coronado Bay, San Diego 

This dreamy resort gifts your fluff ball with her own pet tag, bowl and a treat. She’ll also receive information on local dog walking routes, area services and a room service menu just for her. While Whiskers gets acquainted with the local Cali catnip, phone down for a litter box (with litter) and a scratch pole. Pet-sitting and walking services are also on offer.

4. The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

Starting at $849 per night, you and Fido get a personal welcome by the doorman, followed by a VIP (that’s Very Important Pooch) greeting and registration at the front desk. Along with a Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco pet tag, you’ll receive an in-room dog bowl and dining room menu, pet toy, framed bed and Pooch Pack complete with a list of dog-related activities for fun in the city.

5. W Hotel, Scottsdale, Arizona

As part of the luxe chain’s Paws Are Welcome program, dogs receive their own pet bed and treat. Sign them up for the dog walking service so you’re sure to clock in more pool time. W charges $100 as a one-time fee or $25 per day.

Save on Your Next Vacation 

Ready to hit the cabana with Fido? Make sure you’ve got a plan for your spending. Rewards credit cards are a great way to pay for vacations, just be sure to swipe wisely so you don’t lose your rewards to high interest. You can check out our roundup of the best travel cards here.

Remember, before you apply for any credit card, make sure you’re able to qualify. If you’re not sure where your credit stands, you can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.

Image: TriggerPhoto

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Millennials Prefer Pets to People. Here’s Why Maybe That’s Not a Bad Thing

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Make fun of pet lovers all you want — dressing a dog in the latest canine trends, dedicating half the living room to cat condos and feeding an animal human-grade food still doesn’t cost as much as raising a child. Sure, having pets isn’t cheap, even if you’re buying only necessities, but financially speaking, it’s better to have a furbaby than a human baby.

So it’s not a stretch to say millennials’ apparent tendency to fill their homes with pets rather than people is a smart money move. The Washington Post’s Abha Bhattarai just wrote about this, citing a survey showing higher pet ownership among young Americans: About 75% of Americans in their 30s have dogs and 51% have cats, and among the general population, those rates are 50% and 35%, respectively. The figures come from a survey of 2,001 adults conducted by Mintel, a marketing research company.

Meanwhile, today’s young Americans are less likely to be married or have kids, when compared to previous generations’ behaviors in their 20s and 30s. Bhattarai quoted one researcher who went as far as calling pets a replacement for children.

“They’re less expensive,” Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, told the Post. “You can get one even if you’re not ready to live with someone or get married, and they can still provide companionship.”

Many people would likely argue that cuddling with a puppy isn’t as gratifying as raising a human being, but in this era of record-high student loan debt, disappearing starter homes and dismal personal savings, delaying or skipping parenthood can be a practical choice. It’s not that you can’t have it all. Perhaps starting out buying kitty litter instead of diapers will help young people achieve their dreams of being debt free, owning a home or retiring comfortably.

Ultimately, if it’s companionship you seek during that dark period between paying rent and payday, animal snuggles are probably more than sufficient, not to mention relatively economical and low-maintenance.

Disclosure: This post was written by a childless millennial dog mom.

Image: Renato Arap

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Are Your Dog’s Expenses Deductible?

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Q. I show my dog at dog shows, and sometimes he wins money. If I have to declare it as income, can I deduct things like dog food and vet bills? — Owner

A. You have to prove that this is a business and not just a hobby.

If you are in a business of training dogs for dog shows, then any expenses related to the business would be tax deductible, said Ken Bagner, a certified financial planner with Sobel and Co. in Livingston, New Jersey.

He said the burden of proof falls on you to show the IRS that you are not conducting a hobby and are actually involved in a business.

Bagner said you may consider setting up a separate business entity, such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or an S Corp., to help demonstrate you are conducting a business.

“If it is deemed a hobby and not a business, the income will be taxable and expenses can only be deducted up to the amount of income for the year,” Bagner said. “In addition, the expenses would be have to be listed as miscellaneous itemized deductions on schedule A.”

These deductions have to be over 2% of your adjusted gross income before you can take a deduction, and if you are into the Alternative Minimum Tax, the itemized deductions will not be deductible, he said.

“If you can prove you are in a business, then you can deduct all ordinary and necessary expenses in the business under the IRS code,” he said. “This may include dog food, vet bills, travel expenses and any other expenditures related to the business.”

[Editor’s Note: Remember, it can be tempting to overspend on pets, but, whether for business or as a hobby, you’ll want to be sure you can afford whatever you’re buying for Fido. Otherwise, you risk busting your budget or even going into credit card debt and hurting your credit scores. If you already have credit card debt, you may be able to pay it down more swiftly by prioritizing payments by making minimum payments on all your cards, while putting extra funds towards either the card with the highest interest rate or lowest balance, reviewing your budget for places you can cut back and looking into a balance transfer credit card or debt consolidation loan. You can see how your spending may be affecting your credit by pulling your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and viewing two of your scores, updated every 14 days, for free on Credit.com.] 

Image: Richard Paul

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Cats vs. Dogs — Which Pet Is More Affordable?

So you think you’re ready to bring a fluffy bundle of joy home, but you can’t decide between getting a cat or a dog?

MagnifyMoney might be able to help, at least where your budget is concerned. We broke down the costs of owning a cat and a dog, so you can decide which of the most popular pets in the U.S. you’d like to bring home next.

We didn’t just stop at determining the annual cost of kibble or Fancy Feast.

We looked at how much a dog and cat costs in the first year of ownership — and how much each pet costs over their lifetime.

Check out our findings below.

Upfront Costs

These are the initial start-up costs of getting a cat or a dog — adoption fees; accessories like leashes and food dishes; and veterinary services like spaying/neutering and vaccinations. To get these estimates, we used the latest data from Petfinder.com

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The Winner: Cats

Your first-year expenses as a cat or dog owner could range anywhere from $125 to a little more than $1,000 depending on the size, breed, and accommodations your new pet would require, according to Petfinder.

Overall, you’d shell out less for a cat up front — as little as a $125 if you take advantage of savings during adoption, shop around to save on your initial veterinary costs, and use coupons when buying accessories or toys for your furball. On the high end, if your kitty is an expensive breed or you simply like to splurge on your feline companion, you’d spend around $635 during the first year.

Recurring Annual Costs

The costs don’t end after you bring Fido (or Fluffy) home. You should budget about $1,125 yearly on vet visits, food, boarding, toys, and grooming for a cat, and about $1,641 on a dog, according to the American Pet Products Association’s most recent National Pet Owners Survey.

RecurringCosts

THE OVERALL WINNER: CATS

If the decision came down to your wallet, cats are significantly cheaper than dogs, costing about $13,625 to $17,510 in a lifetime, compared to dogs at $16,607 to $22,423.

We based the lifetime costs on the average lifespan of dogs (10-13 years) and cats (12-15 years).

But even though cats typically live two to three years longer than dogs, they still come out more affordable in the end.

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What It Costs to Fly Your Pet on Every Airline

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Image: Gene Chutka

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