Pet parents are changing the way they make travel plans! Rather than just bringing their pet along, a growing number of pet parents are planning their trips around their pets. The pet-human bond is stronger than it's ever been. A testament to this is the record number of American households that have pets -- a whopping 65%! Further, these parents are showing their love for their pets with their pocketbooks. Pet parents spent an astounding all-time high of $70 billion on their pets in 2017. To those who call themselves pet parents, their furry sidekicks are their precious kids!
Taking the time out to indulge in the things you both enjoy enhances the bond and love between pets and their people. Traveling with your pet is one of the best ways to reconnect and leave your worries behind. So, if you’re looking to plan a pet-centric trip with your furbaby, no worries, we’ll walk you through it.
What Type of Experience Are You Looking For?
First things first: Determine what kind of experience you’re looking for with your pet. What do you both enjoy, and what are you in the mood for? Pets are happiest when they’re with their people, and even happier when they’re doing something they love -- WITH THEIR PEOPLE.
Perhaps you’re looking to romp in the waves and play in the sand with your pup on a private beach. Or maybe a mountain adventure is more up your alley -- where your pooch can take in some good sniffs, explore nature, and you can high five each other after your successful hike to the summit!
If you and your pet’s idea of a good time is retail therapy, socializing, and sightseeing, then a more urban getaway may be in order. If you’re both couch potatoes, you may prefer a quiet retreat where you can disconnect from the world and just relax, unwind, and bond.
Find the Pawfect Destination
Based on the vacation experience you’ve settle on, you’ll have pretty much narrowed your trip down to an urban, rural, mountain, lake, or beach getaway. Now it’s time to do a little digging to find just the right destination that will deliver.
You’ll want to start by looking for pet friendly things to do in the area. In addition to many restaurants, breweries, beaches, and shops welcoming pet patrons, you’d be surprised to find all kinds of attractions that allow furkids. The short list includes winery tours, apple picking, flea markets, whale watching, sightseeing tours, carriage rides, gem mining, and even ghost hunting.
If you are looking for an outdoorsy experience (whether it's at the beach, lake or mountains) you’ll want to check out the hiking trails, leash laws, beach pet rules, and of course the weather forecast! Many beaches only allow pets on the beach seasonally and/or during specific hours.
When selecting the destination, you’ll also want to consider how far you’ll have to travel and how you’ll get there. If your pet is not a huge fan of car travel, then clearly you’ll want to pick a destination closer to home. If he likes long road trips or if your pet is a good candidate for air travel, then that opens up your options quite a bit.
With a little bit of research, you’ll find the perfect travel destination for both you and your pet.
Pick the Right Pet Friendly Accommodation
Now that you’ve decided where you want to go, the next step is figuring out where to stay. Selecting the right pet friendly lodging can make or break your pet-centric trip.
- Type of Accommodation: Step one is determining the type of accommodation to book your stay. Are you looking for a quaint inn or B&B in the country, a cabin in the woods, a cottage on the lake, a vacation rental on the beach, or perhaps a boutique hotel in the city? Each comes with its own distinct experience!
- Pet Policies: Pet fees can range from $0 to over $50/night (per pet). In addition, some lodgings also charge pet deposits. Selecting a pet friendly accommodation that fits your budget is essential. Further, if you have multiple pets or larger pets, you’ll have to make sure that you select the right lodging where your pet(s) will be welcome.
- Amenities for Pets: Will special pet perks add to your pet-centric trip experience? If so, then make sure you find a place that offers them. Doggie potty areas, pet welcome baskets, pet beds, pet room service menus, pet massage & spa services are just a sampling of some of the amenities that you may opt for.
- Read Between the Lines: “Pet friendly” accommodations that have a long list of pet rules and regulations may be an indication that they’re not that hospitable to pet guests. Maybe they just allow them rather than welcome them. You don’t want to be walking on eggshells worrying about if your dog barks, or if you leave a little bit of cat hair behind. That being said, no matter what the rules are, always be sure to follow them as well as proper pet etiquette when staying at a pet friendly lodging.