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Traveling With Pets

With almost two-thirds of all Americans living in a household with a pet, it’s no surprise that our furballs are taking to the roads, skies, and seas in increasing numbers. And since Americans are projected to spend over $40 billion on their four-legged friends in 2007, pet travel is going beyond being just a niche industry.

The appeals of traveling with a pet are many. You don’t have to hire a dog-walker or kennel and worry that they’re getting enough exercise and play time. Bring a dog out on the beach, hiking through the woods, or even on an afternoon kayak excursion, and their spirit of adventure is infectious.

Photo of Hector the Dog courtesy of Eric Eisen.

Flying with a pet can be a whole different story, though. A few years ago, I had to take my cat on a cross-country flight. First, I had to find a regulation carrier that was small enough to fit under the seat in front of me. At security, I had to take my cat out of her carrier, and walk with her through the metal detector. The whole time I was terrified she would jump out of my arms and run across the airport. Instead, she sank her claws into my shoulders and I had to forcibly remove them to wrestle her back into her carrier. We made it through only slightly mauled and got on the plane without incident, but towards the end of the flight my cat let out an unforgettably pathetic meow that flooded me with guilt. I haven’t flown with her since.

Some pets jump into the backseat even before the car is fully packed for that mountain, lake, or beach trip. Others can spend entire drives whimpering and when they arrive in a new destination, they’re scared and out of sorts. When you make the decision about whether to vacation with your pet, be sure to carefully assess his or her personality first, keeping in mind that–like people–some pets can’t wait to get out of the house, and others are perfectly content to be homebodies.

If you’re one of the 63% of Americans with a pet, do you take Fido and Fluffy along with you when you hit the road?

rachel_berg

My name: Rachel Berg.

Favorite way to get around: By Venetian gondola during starlit high tide, gliding past decaying and slightly spooky palaces, with perhaps a bottle of prosecco placed between the gondola seat cushions.

View that took my breath away: Unable to sleep in the mystical city of Sfat in Israel, I wandered outdoors predawn and was treated to a purple-on-purple sunrise below the mountaintop that seemed to emerge feet-first through ground-level clouds.

Greatest travel lesson learned: Sunny weather isn't everything. Some of my best travel memories involve go-karting through a deluge turned mud-fest in Mexico, drinking tea in the cold Denali tundra, and watching electric thunderstorms roll through national parks out West.

Most challenging travel moment: Getting leveled by altitude sickness in Cuzco and realizing that my body was forcing me to slow down and rest despite the fact that there was so much to do and see.

Travel ambition: To see the northern lights.

Comments

Kevin
Reply

What a great story! We are a pet relocation company that helps out in situations just like this – to avoid the claw marks and meows that can make it a bit painful when doing it yourself! We also have a great blog for your readers that is focused on all things pet moving, travel, etc…
http://www.petrelocationblog.com

Cheers,
Kevin

Rusty
Reply

I can’t imagine my dog in a kayak. He whines and whimpers anytime I take him in the car. I’d love to take him on trips with me.

Samarila
Reply

In the event that one can’t bring her pet with her on vacation, is Hector the Dog available for rental along with kayaks? That little guy is the cutest!

Nothing But Bonfires
Reply

My boyfriend and I drove our cats (Charlie and Sadie) from Charleston, SC to his parents’ house in Connecticut last summer, so they could look after them while we went gallivanting across the world (we told the cats they were going to “summer camp.”) For the whole 14-hour journey, they were as good as gold in their little carriers in the backseat, but when we saw the lights of Manhattan looming, Charlie suddenly started meowing like a madman. We let him out of the carrier and I held him in my arms in the front seat; he immediately quietened down, and I swear to God, you’ve never seen a more fascinated cat — he was craning his neck to get a look at all the lights and activities and buildings of the big city, like an 11-year-old kid on his first trip to New York. We joked that he was such an embarrassing tourist (although we pointed out the Empire State Building to him, so he could say he’d seen it.)

May
Reply

I have a tiny Chihuahua that I had fantasies about taking on all of my adventures. I knew every pet-friendly hotel from sea to shining sea and he was trained to sleep in his airport carrier.

But then I actually took him on a trip. One time he got out of his bag (he’s like Houdini) and started crawling around under the seats of the plane until a woman screamed out, THERE’S A DOG AT MY FEET in shock. Another time he got sick in his carrier and I could smell it but I couldn’t help him.

So I gave it up. Now my dog has to stay with friends when I go traveling.

genderpretender
Reply

While living abroad as a student, I got a kitten named Saphir (French for “sapphire”). At the end of my stay, I took her back to the States in a kitty carrier. Not only was Saphir extremely unhappy about this arrangement, but so was everybody else on the flight–I bounded, breathless, onto the plane with my American cohort, Gabrielle, both of us extremely late and laden with oversized baggage–and a caterwauling kitty carrier. For the next several hours, I was probably the least popular person on the planet for every last person in that plane. (Plus, I got a pretty severe telling-off that evening from Saphir.) Yeow!!

Ben
Reply

Great article, it is amazing how many people who actually have pets still wont travel with them due to the current unsafe condition for dogs over 15 lbs. In fact, one study says 35% of pet owners would bring their pets if it was easier and more safe. Over at Pet Airways, our main focus is safe and comfortable pet travel for our loved ones. We feel the pain for our pet travelers and hope to make it easier to help bring those loved ones with us on trips. Learn more about safe pet travel at http://www.PetAirways.com

Pet Friendly Hotels US
Reply

I always stay in pet friendly hotels with my dog.There is nothing wrong with a pet friendly hotel.Actually in one way it is better as i get to meet my kind of people.

chandan
Reply

Well Its really very funny when we travel with pets. They irritate lots of time.

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