As the season transitions, more pet owners think about how to spend their summer vacations. Since traveling with a pet can be complicated, due to government regulations, company rules and listed expenses, many pet enthusiasts prefer to start as early as possible, looking for a pet-friendly destinations in which they can participate in bonding activities as well as finding emergency services. But, with so much travel information in the marketplace, what are the best tools to help you plan a great pet-friendly vacation.
Utilizing pet travel books
Although many pet travelers still do use books, AnneLiese Sorensen, travel writer and media personality, reminds us that when buying travel books to always check out the publication date. “Especially with niche travel, or pet travel, many books could be outdated,” she says. “The current trend is to buy a book with an app to keep the book’s information as updated as possible.”
But if you are looking for a pet travel book, my advice is to consider the AAA PetBook, it is updated yearly. Moreover, depending on where you are, your iPad or Smartphone may not work.
Seeking advice from travel website
I am particularly fond of Go Pet Friendly and Bring Fido. Go Pet Friendly offers good and solid travel advice. The owners and bloggers Rod and Amy Burkert provide warm advice like good friends who want you to have the best travel experience as possible. Bring Fido offers detailed descriptions of great places throughout the country in which you can take your pet.
Pet-friendly travel apps
These days, there is an app for anything, including pet-travel. Some of my favorite apps are Dogfriendly, Pawtrotter, Petcentric, Mo’s Nose, and Wetnose. All of which can be downloaded for FREE or for a small fee.
Increased demand for travel agents
According to recent travel research, there is an increased demand to use travel agents to book travel arrangements. Why? A travel agent not only arranges the various modes of transportation, but a travel agent also may be able to save you money with early booking discounts, special fares, hotel deals and travel advisories. Moreover, they have special relationships with hotel properties, consolidators and others.
Kay Lorinc, owner of Four Paws Travel, believes that although all reputable travel agents can help you plan a vacation, she thinks that is better to plan pet travel with a travel agent who owns a pet. “As a pet owner, I know what questions to ask to help other pet owners find the best pet-friendly transportation arrangements, accommodations, and other services. Additionally, without a travel agent, a pet owner or any traveler is on their own if anything happens to you or your pet,” she says.
Visiting travel shows
Travels shows are great places to gather some pet travel information. In recent years, many exhibitors (tourist boards and others, including manufacturers and distributors of travel products) supply relevant information. Recently, I visited the New York Times Travel Show, to collect information about where to spend my summer vacation with my five dogs. Surprisingly, I was introduced to destinations that I would have never thought of visiting with my animals.
In most cases, you will not be able to bring your pet to the show, but wear comfortable shoes for walking, carry a large shopping bag to collect information, bring business cards to enter to win trip giveaways and take a camera because these shows have interesting entertainment.
Receiving pet information from tourist boards
Now, many tourist boards have pet travel information readily available on their websites or in their offices for mailing or picking up. For example, Visit Philly has compiled a Backgrounder: Pet-friendly Philadelphia, which includes dog-friendly accommodations, restaurants, activities, stores and parks. Moreover, if you do a call a tourism board office, ask if there is a representative dog owner with whom you can speak. This way you can learn about canine events, farmer’s markets, festivals and other happenings in which you can bring your dog.
If you are thinking about planning a pet-friendly vacation, utilize the above listed resources to help you plan the best trip possible.
If you are interesting in learn more about pet-friendly travel, come to my Facebook Family Pet Travel Q&A on March 25 at 12:30PM/EST.
Dog with sunglasses and suitcase via Shutterstock