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Pet-Friendly Accommodations

More Doors are Open, But it Could be a Tight Squeeze

As the summer season approaches, travelers and their pets will vacation together in ever increasing numbers. According to a study by the American Animal Hospital Association, 67% of pet owners travel with their pets, an increase of 14% from two years before. While some people prefer to rough it and camp with their pets, the vast majority will choose from some 20,000 pet-friendly accommodations. Travelers should understand, though, that while pets are accepted, not all are welcome.

Dawn and Robert Habgood have been tracking trends in pet travel for over 16 years. As the authors of the award-winning pet travel series, Pets on the Go, they know that the door may be open to pets, but walking through it can be a tight squeeze. "Knowing which accommodations are pet-friendly isn’t enough anymore. A 90-pound Labrador Retriever isn’t necessarily going to be welcome everywhere a 20-pound Cairne Terrier will be," says Bob Habgood. He adds that, "many hotels now unfortunately limit pets by their weight and size, and often add a fee on top of it."

Small pets are generally universally welcome at pet-friendly accommodations, but in researching the second edition of their U.S. guide, the Habgoods discovered that only about 35% of these will even consider larger pets. "It has become even more important than ever to plan ahead when traveling with a pet. Select a good pet travel guide that outlines pet policies and fees, and then call ahead to ensure that your particular pet is welcome," says Dawn Habgood.

Exactly what is a large pet? If your pet weighs in at less than 30 pounds then s/he is welcome at most of the motels and motor lodges, such as Super 8 and Motel 6. The Habgoods found that some of the hotel chains have informative web sites to assist pet travelers. Holiday Inn’s web site is especially helpful — as it allows travelers to search for pet-friendly Holiday Inns and learn all about their pet policies.

Pet Travel Scheme
North American Pets Wing their Way to Great Britain
Smoothing Out The Bumps
Demystifying Pet Air Travel
Pet-Friendly Accommodations
More Doors are Open, But it Could be a Tight Squeeze
Jet Set Pets are Grounded
Airlines Enforce Tough Summer Pet Travel Restrictions

Another big change can be found in the luxury hotel category. Many of the five-star hotels, such as the Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton, prefer the petite, under 15-pound pet. "Ironically, our Golden Retrievers are no longer welcome, but our Guinea Pig is," says Bob. For many luxury hotels this is a reversal from their far more inclusive policy of a few years ago. Most have also reduced the number of pet amenities they formerly offered, as well as increased the pet fees that they charge.

Before you contemplate putting your Newfoundland on a diet, or springing your spaniel in through a first-floor bedroom window, you should know that there are still thousands of wonderful places where pets of all sizes are welcome. Pets on the Go dishes out the details on pet policies, including pet weight and size requirements, as well as pet fees and amenities. It also contains a variety of human-oriented comforts, noting such conveniences as Jacuzzis, fireplaces, health spas and athletic facilities. Of course, the basic information, such as street and web addresses, telephone numbers, and rates is also included. Best of all, travelers can log onto the Pets on the Go web site for accommodation updates and even more tips that will make it easy to take a vacation with your pet.

"Of all the information packed into this 978 page book, what makes it most unique is the pet policy information, as well as our recommendations for the best places to stay with a pet," says Dawn Habgood. "We highlight hotels like the Soho Grand in New York City, which is perhaps the most luxuriously hip place to stay in the city. The amenities, for both pets and people, are unmatched." Another one of their favorites is The Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where a passion for pets is evidenced everywhere from the wonderful staff to their comprehensive pet amenities program. "Most importantly, we know they love our two Golden Retrievers, and that, alone, is worth the trip."

Pets on the Go, The Definitive Accommodation and Vacation Guide
United States
Written by: Dawn and Robert Habgood (Habgood Biography)
Edited by: Jeanne Dooley
Published by: Dawbert Press, Inc
Publication Date: May, 2002
ISBN: 0-933603-13-4, 978 pages, $21.95
Available from book, pet and gift stores
To the Trade: Independent Publishers Group – (800) 888-4741

~ Please telephone or write for a review copy ~

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