Have Pet Will Travel - Americans are Vacationing with their Pets!

Pet ownership in the U.S. has risen to incredible heights in the United States. The Humane Society of the United States' website states these impressive figures, "in 2012, 62 percent of American households had at least one pet… 83.3 million households owned dogs and 95.6 million owned cats." Pets are big business too. The American Pet Products Association reports these statistics, "Americans spent $53.33 billion on their pets in 2012, and estimates in 2013, those numbers will rise to $55.53 billion." With those kinds of expenditures, it's no doubt that Americans think enough of their pets to take them on vacation.

The Hospitality Industry Responds to Pet Travelers

Over 20 years ago, singer and animal activist Doris Day, opened her pet-friendly hotel in Carmel, The Cypress Inn, and initiated the first, "Yappy Hour" allowing dogs to accompany their owners into the bar. (A good idea for pet-owners needing guidance in getting back to their rooms after imbibing!) Since then, there's been a phenomenal growth in pet-friendly lodgings. The hospitality industry has responded big time to the wants and needs of pet owners and their pets. There are thousands of hotels in the U.S. that will accommodate pets.  Many restaurants, retail establishments, beaches and parks are also opening their doors to our furry and feathered friends.

Finding the Right Place for You and Your Pet

You've decided to take your pet on vacation, now how do you find just the right place? A pet-friendly city not only needs to have plenty places that offer lodging to pets, but also needs parks, trails and other open spaces for pets (and owners) to stretch their legs.   Look also for cities that have good emergency veterinary clinics and have active pet support organizations like the Humane Society. Based upon the above criteria, Pets 101@ animalplanet.com lists these 5 Top Pet-Friendly Travel Cities in the U.S:

  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. New York City
  3. San Diego, California
  4. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  5. Orlando, Florida

Helpful Websites for Planning Pet-friendly Vacations

Once you decide where to vacation, there are a number of helpful websites to aid you in finding a pet-friendly place to stay at your destination. Even though a hotel or resort says pet-friendly, some restrictions may apply. Be sure you read these over carefully as some have restrictions on size, weight and breed, and on the number of pets you can bring with you. Also, even if one hotel in a hotel chain or timeshare facility is pet-friendly, it doesn't necessarily mean they all will be.  Other helpful sites for pet travel information are: Pettravel.com, PetFriendlyTravel.com, TripsWithPets.com, and PetsWelcome.com. Don't forget the websites of the ASPCA and the Humane Society whose years of experience with animals enable them to provide excellent information on traveling with your pet.

Pet-friendly Timeshares

As well as hotels and resorts, pet-friendly timeshares are becoming more and more available. Some timeshare resorts are so attuned to pets that they provide amenities like walking paths and trails, parks and animal daycare. And just like you, pets appreciate the comfort of a home-away-from-home that a timeshare can provide.  Many exchange sites and timeshare rental companies like RedWeek.com make it easy for you to find pet-friendly timeshares. RedWeek's easy to use website has a number of listings for pet-friendly resorts, and as well as information about the resort, there is also information on the resort's policies on pets.

Before You Go

Make sure your pet is up-to-date on all needed vaccinations.  When you pack medications for yourself, don't forget to pack any medication your pet takes regularly. Travel can be stressful on animals. Check ASPCA.org for tips on animal transportation. If flying by air, the ASPCA urges you to think twice about flying your pet on commercial airlines, particularly if they have to travel in the cargo hold. They also offer pointers on traveling with pets by car.

As long as you are willing to do your research, and careful planning, you and your pet should have a wonderful time together on your next vacation!

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