Pet travel is on the rise. Many people love to travel with their pets and more places are welcoming them more than ever before. It is estimated that almost half of American families that own pets take their furry friends on a trip with them. However, despite the joy of traveling with your pet companion, it can also become stressful. Here are a few pros and cons to help you decide if you want to travel with your pooch.
1. More hotels, airlines and restaurants are recognizing pets as "family." About 95 percent of US airlines now allow pets on board. Hotels declining pets in 2018 is almost becoming rare. Even luxury Vegas resorts, like Bellagio, Four Seasons, and the Cosmopolitan, which have been un-pet-friendly for decades, have recently begun allowing pets.
2. Bringing your pet along can give you peace of mind. All pet owners have some anxiety when they're separated from their pet for a few days. When you bring them with you, you don't have to worry about their care.
3. Pets can help you explore areas you’d never think about. You will probably find yourself spending more time outdoors in parks and pet friendly patio restaurants.
4. Pets make flights a little more fun. Most passengers and flight attendants will give them considerable attention and they love seeing cute little dogs on their flight.
5. Pets will be totally spoiled. Depending on the hotel, staff will spoil your pet with toys, treats, pet dining menus and even massages! Pets really do get a vacation out of your vacation.
6. Pets can help you make a lot of new friends on your journey. You will find many people coming up to talk to you and your pet.
1. Some pet friendly hotels are misleading. They may allow pets, but they don't truly cater to them. Whether they lack pet amenities, the staff is difficult with them, or green areas are miles away by foot, these things can be an inconvenience for you and your pet. Definitely read all the fine print at a hotel before booking, because some have very strict pet policies.
2. Pet travel can be expensive. Most airlines charge at least $125 one way with an in-cabin pet. This can cost as much as your own plane ticket for a round-trip flight. Driving can save money, but make sure your pet can handle being in a car for several hours. Some hotels are also known to charge high fees so definitely look into their rates or look for a free pet policy.
3. Your pet could become anxious in a place they don't recognize. Dogs love routine, so a new hotel room might be confusing to them, often resulting in barking or strange behavior.
4. You might develop a pet travel addiction. It can definitely be fun to bring your pet on vacation. But be careful-you and your pet might get addicted. That's the biggest con!
One way to know you’re trying to do too much is if you’re feeling in a hurry, anxious, or worried while on vacation. Often we get so excited to be in a new place and we want to see and do everything. Who knows when we might make it back, if ever? The reality is that it's not possible to see and do everything. A good way to help you prioritize your time on a trip is to set an overall intention for your vacation. Are you taking the trip to relax, sight-see, connect with family, experience the culture, explore nature? You may want to do some or all those things, but one will stand out as the most important. This will be the intention you focus on when planning your trip. Going somewhere to sight-see as the priority is very different than traveling to a destination for the purpose of relaxation. If you’re traveling with children and want to get the most out of family time, a packed schedule may leave you feeling full of stress. It’s best to get input from those traveling with you, but overall one person has to be the primary decision maker. Knowing the intention of the trip, you can release any concerns about missing out on something because the purpose of the trip doesn't revolve around your desires. Taking this mindset could make your trip a lot easier!
Many times when I’m out and about and meeting new people, I get asked, "What do you do?" When I tell them I’m a travel consultant, I usually get the “You are so lucky you get to travel!” comments or “I wish I could go on vacation but I have so many things going on.” Another one that I hear is “I can’t really get away; I have so many projects going on at work, and the kids have such a busy schedule.” I understand that we are all busy; however, travel is the one thing that can bind us together.
Trust me- I have a family and a business, but I realize that my wheels can’t keep turning without re-charging them. Everyone’s way of recharging is different. It could be lounging on a beach and doing nothing all day, it could be a European cultural adventure, or it could be sightseeing in a big city. However, all of us NEED to take that time away. You need to take care of yourself so that you can also take care of everyone else in your family. This is especially true of your relationship with your significant other. Getting away and reconnecting can change the mood in the whole house. Use the time to explore, relax, talk, and just have fun. You will come back feeling like the stresses of daily life are miles away. A week in paradise is much better than a dozen roses. Love is in the journey!
Sometimes we all need a little peace and quiet – and traveling alone is an amazing experience. If you want an escape and enjoy your own company, then traveling solo is the way to go! You are free to do what you want, go where you want, nap when you want, tour when you want, and much more! Even a mini stay-cation is a great way to recharge and enjoy some solo-time, but when you’re looking for a bigger escape, where should you go? Here's a look at some of the best places to travel alone:
Known for its energetic atmosphere, cosmopolitan character, unique attractions, and a lively beach culture, Barcelona is on the hot list of European destinations.Tour the five streets of La Rambla – full of museums, cathedrals, gothic buildings and much more. From there, take a classic sail boat ride on the Mediterranean. Enjoy the 2.5 miles of the sandy beaches or hike through Colserola Park. After you have toured the wineries, there is a bustling nightlife in the many outdoor plazas and surrounding bars and restaurants.
Known as the “Home of All Right”, Jamaica is a magical paradise full of adventure, rain forests, and mountains. The people are friendly, the food is amazing, and there is nothing like watching the sun fall into the water over the Caribbean Sea while listening to reggae music. Visit the busy tourist areas of the North Coast, and don’t miss the opportunity to take in the beautiful scenery at Dunns River Falls, Green Grotto Caves, Seven Mile Beach, and the mountainous national parks. And don’t forget to waste away at Margaritaville!
The French Quarter is usually where visitors start their sightseeing. It is the oldest part of the city and filled with a mix of clubs, souvenir shops, restaurants, vendors, and beautiful homes. Farther out, you can visit the Garden District and take in the beautiful 19th century Old South mansions.
There are not many cities in the world where cemeteries are a main attraction, but that is the case in New Orleans, because burials are done above ground. Finally, don’t forget to check out the jazz music in New Orleans, which is often referred to as the “beating heart” of the city.
Remember - traveling alone makes you more comfortable in your own skin and encourages self-awareness. And most importantly- wandering around this big, beautiful planet is definitely good for the soul!
Ann Jones, CTC, MCC