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?
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.