“Travel With The Family Is Going To The Dogs”

By Brandon James

With the recent announcement by Hilton Hotels that their world-wide chain would now be featuring a pet-friendly policy, it appears that many travel-based organizations are awakening to a growing trend – traveling with your pet.

(The Hilton Hotels announcement offers lodging for pets under 34 kg and they can stay for a small additional charge and take advantage of a supplied bowl, bed and treats)

 Drawing on my own experience, I have never known of such a policy in the past, and I think Hilton may be the first major brand name hotel chain to adopt it.  I don’t think the rest will be too far behind.  With reported industry numbers of 41 billion dollars estimated for 2007, up from a whopping 38.5 billion dollars spent on food, medicine, clothing and the like, the pet industry is certainly one worth capitalizing on.  We Americans love our pets, and that’s a gross understatement.

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Today I came across some interesting poll results in a survey by www.BringYourPet.com , a leading pet friendly hotel and lodging directory.  They polled pet lovers about their travel and purchase habits. 

 Here’s what they found:

  83% stay at designated pet-friendly hotels or lodging each year.

  17% stay at designated pet-friendly 6 or more times each year.

  76% frequently take their pets with them when leaving town.

  64% would be more likely to lengthen their stay if given the opportunity to travel with their pets.

  85% travel with dogs.

  6% travel with cats.

  47% travel with dogs 30 pounds or more.

  39% say it is 'difficult to find pet-friendly lodging.

The key data that jumps out at me is that 76% of polled people frequently travel with their pets out of town and also that 85% traveled with their dog.  It’s definitely obvious that a dog is most likely the easiest pet to transport and is usually road-friendly.  I doubt you’ll pack up the trunk and toss the aquarium in the back seat so Flippy can enjoy the drive to Cleveland (hahahaha.) 

I think the easiest way to explain this is the sort of renaissance surrounding the concept of how a pet fits into a family and more often than not, the pet is regarded on the same level (if not a higher level, in some situations) as the kids.  We tend to humanize them, creating characters.  But that is what we love and it’s only going to grow.

So, next time the open road is calling, be sure to see if you can find a place that both you and your pet can stay and enjoy the journey together.

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Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear

-- Dave Barry

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