The holidays mean different things to different people. Every family seems to have its own set of traditions, but one thing seems to be common among Americans during this time of year, and that's traveling.
Like "Santa Claus" making that long journey from the North Pole, it's estimated that more than 90 million Americans (36 percent) will travel this holiday season, according to a recent survey conducted by Extended Stay America hotels and Kelton Global. Santa and his reindeer will hit the road during the 2017 holiday season - and he's not alone, as nearly three-quarters of Americans (69 percent) will do the same with their pets.
"Pet parents are increasingly including their furry family members in their travel plans, especially during the holidays," says pet expert Andrea Arden, who has over 20 years of experience in the industry. "In fact, our companion animals can be such a great source of comfort while we're away from home, that some people can't even conceive of a vacation without their dog or cat by their side."
To ensure you and your animal companion bring cheer wherever you go, Arden has provided three essential tips for traveling with a pet this holiday season.
1. Prepare your pet
Like finding the perfect gift for your loved ones, the earlier you start to plan and prepare, the easier it will be. A great holiday vacation begins with a trip to the veterinarian to make sure your animal is in good health, has all the medications they might need (and perhaps some extras) and is up-to-date on vaccines. Along with their physical health, you want to make sure your dog or cat is mentally prepared for a journey that may involve new places, new smells and new people.
To get your four-legged friends ready for the adventure, bring your pet to unfamiliar places like a local park and have them interact with new faces. When you do this, be sure to bring plenty of treats to praise your pet and reinforce that these new experiences are positive and fun.
2. Avoid guilty faux paws
Forty percent of traveling pet parents feel guilty about leaving their pets home during the holidays. That's because pets are considered part of the family, and nearly one-third of Americans (27 percent) say pets should be included in all holiday festivities. Places like Extended Stay America can help alleviate some of the stress (and guilt) pet parents might feel during this time of year; the hotel's more than 600 properties nationwide welcome pets year-round, so families don't need to make the difficult decision of leaving their animal companion behind. To make things even easier this season, if you book before Dec. 31 at esa.com/holiday, your pets stay free. Consider it a retreat from the holiday madness for you and your four-legged friend.
In addition to helping pet owners stay connected with their animals, Extended Stay America offers all the comforts of home for guests. That's important, since nearly half (47 percent) of travelers this holiday season plan to be away from home for five days or more. With fully equipped kitchens in each room so guests can still contribute a dish to their family gathering; on-site laundry facilities to keep guests looking their holiday best; and free, in-room Wi-Fi, it's easy to feel at home at Extended Stay America.
3. Practice good petiquette
We know, sometimes it's hard to believe that your lovable, furry friend could misbehave. When traveling to unfamiliar places, a calm, happy animal makes everyone else calm and happy, too.
Here are some pointers to ensure your pets stay on the nice list this holiday:
(Family Features) When summer comes around, a common favorite tradition is jumping in the car and hitting the open road for a vacation, whether it’s a weekend getaway or a longer excursion. For pet parents, that exhilarating idea isn’t always so simple.
Instead of being forced to leave your furry friend behind, follow these tips and suggestions to bring your four-legged companion along for the ride.
Get checked out. Before loading up the car, consider a check-up with a veterinarian to ensure that your pet is physically capable of handling a road trip. Long hours in the car can be taxing on older pets that may not be used to the stress of travel.
Prepare your pet. Once you’ve made sure your pet is ready to hit the road, start out with short drives to make sure he or she is comfortable in the car. Take a trip around the neighborhood or about town to check his or her reaction and attitude.
Plan accordingly. Since not all hotels and accommodations are pet-friendly, be sure to double-check that your reservations allow furry guests. Additionally, make sure that all of your planned activities and adventures can safely involve your pet.
Pack necessary supplies. While you’ll likely be concerned with packing the right clothes, shoes and accessories, your four-legged companion has needs as well. Make sure to bring along proper food, water and respective bowls; toys for down time; treats for good behavior and any other necessities to help your pet feel at home.
Travel safely. Even pets that have spent ample time traveling in the past can feel more comfortable in the car while inside a cozy carrier. It can be a good idea to bring along a breathable carrier with plenty of space to help serve as a calming presence in case travel time starts to take its toll.
Take proper ID. It’s important to always have your pet’s ID on its collar, but it can be even more important while out of town when your pet is in an unfamiliar area.
Plan for play. You’re sure to have plenty of activities planned during vacation, but keep in mind that your pet will need some time to stretch his or her legs, too. Prior to taking off, look for parks or other pet-friendly areas on your route to incorporate some playtime.
Stay inside the vehicle. The iconic image of a pet-friendly road trip is a dog with his head out the window and the wind in his face – however, it’s not a safe way to travel. Make sure your pet is safely inside the vehicle at all times.
Make frequent stops. Even if you can “hold it” for lengthy periods, your pet will likely require more frequent bathroom breaks while on the road. Mapping out pet-accessible stops can help you keep your pet comfortable while still making good time.
Don’t leave your pet. It’s never smart to leave pets or children in locked cars, and it’s an even bigger no-no if you’re in an unfamiliar place. Your pet is likely to be on high-alert anyway due to the stress of traveling, so keep him or her by your side throughout the trip.
With these steps, you can hit the road for some summer fun without having to leave your pet behind. Find more pet care tips at eLivingToday.com.
Paradise Pets Magazine