Q: My husband and I have two dogs (one small and one large). We would like to go to the West Coast for a vacation with the dogs—either Oregon or California. We would like to stay in a private cabin on the beach that has a kitchen with utensils, sheets, towels, and the whole works. We would like to stay four or five days during the week, and we plan to go in 2010. Also, we have limited funds. Can you help? Thanks.
–Kathy Meehan, Susanville, Ca.
A: Sounds like you are looking for an inexpensive vacation condo that allows pets. The easiest way to find one is to use a vacation-apartment rental agency, such as Vacation Rentals by Owner (vrbo.com) or Home Away (homeaway.com). Both allow you to search by price, destination, type of property, pet-friendliness, and many other criteria.
A brief search of both sites reveals several properties that would fit your needs. Here are two:
In downtown San Diego, I found a one-bedroom, one-bathroom, 750-square-foot house that features its own courtyard and private entrance. The gourmet kitchen is fully equipped with everything (it even won a Kitchens of the Year award from San Diego Home and Garden magazine), and dogs are allowed. It currently runs $149 per night or $800 a week (with a two-night minimum).
At Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast, I found a one-bedroom, one-bath cottage with a completely stocked kitchen, living room that includes a TV, DVD and VHS players, and beach access that's only 150 yards away. Pets that are well behaved are welcome for a nonrefundable fee of $25 per pet. The cottage costs $189 a night (with a two-night minimum stay).
Since you don't intend to travel for another year, remember that rates and pet policies may change between now and then. And also remember that if you plan to travel in the summer, you should book well in advance. It's competitive out there, and high-quality but inexpensive properties get snapped up quickly.