Pauline Frommer: Why pets and travel don’t mix
July 23, 2013
Holidays get complicated when you want to take your dog or cat on the road, but owners also are nervous about leaving their pets behind.
Pets may enhance our daily lives, but they ruin our vacations. That’s the surprising conclusion reached by a recent poll conducted for obvious reasons (see below) by the website DogVacay.com with the help of Harris Interactive. The polling company talked to some 2,341 adults and came up with some very telling findings.
First: We’re insanely neurotic about our pets. Apparently, 72 percent of pet owners reported feeling worried about Fido or Felix for at least some part of their vacation. Some 64 percent feel that anxiety when they’re planning to go away, as 82 percent depend on family or friends to care for their furry companion, but 50 percent of those folks feel really, really guilty about calling in that favour.
So why not travel with the pet, then? That would be a solution, but 75 percent of those polled said they distrusted the airlines when it came to caring for pets. And then there’s the problem of finding lodgings that will accept pets. An honest 15 percent of the people polled admitted to sneaking pets into their hotel rooms while traveling.
Interestingly, all of this self-reproach doesn’t seem to be stopping pet owners from hitting the road. Apparently, pet owners spend 15 days a year away from home, which is slightly higher than the number for non-pet owners. (Leading to the conclusion that perhaps people with pets are slightly more affluent than those without?)
So, what should the conscientious pet owner do? Well, they could go with the program run by DogVacay.com (see, I told you this study was a bit
self-serving), which places dogs into actual homes for a fee that’s often more reasonable than the ones kennels charge. The folks who take in the dogs go through a training and are vetted by the site.
Or they could go the road-trip route. Such websites as DogFriendly.com and GoPetFriendly.com post extensive online travel guides to destinations that your companion will enjoy, including restaurants that have terraces where pets can sit while you dine; hotels that will accept pets; dog beaches; and even events you can go to with other pet owners. I’m also a fan of the website AnimalFair.com, which gives excellent advice on all things pet, from summer safety tips (concerning swimming pools, leaving your dog in an un-air-conditioned car and more) to tourist attractions that will bring you into contact with animals of all sorts.
Pauline Frommer is the creator of the award-winning Pauline Frommer’s Travel Guides series. She co-hosts the radio program The Travel Show with her father, Arthur Frommer. Find Pauline’s books online at www.frommers.com/pauline . Distributed by King Features Syndicate.
Content Source: Pauline Frommer Special to the Star