Fur-st Class: Travel Industry Caters to Pet Travelers

AAA highlights unique pet accommodations

Travel is “going to the dogs” in a good way, says AAA.

Nine in 10 of U.S. adult leisure travelers consider their pet to be part of the family, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Further, 18 percent of these travelers usually take their pets with them when they travel.

“As a travel expert, AAA has seen the industry respond to increased demand for pet-friendly places,” said Tara Feie, general manager of travel services for AAA Arizona. “In fact, many AAA Four and Five Diamond properties even have special programs specifically for our four-legged family members.”

AAA, the largest leisure travel agency in North America, found that 29 percent of travelers sought pet-friendly properties to stay at this summer. The club experienced a 40 percent increase in the number of pet-friendly hotels and campgrounds listed in its PetBook since 1999.

Whether traveling on land, sea or in the sky, travel carriers offer options and perks to keep you and your pets happy and safe:

  • Groom service. The lodging industry has made the biggest strides when it comes to pleasing pet patrons. In fact, AAA’s PetBook lists more than 14,000 pet friendly hotels, campgrounds and attractions.  There are several pet-friendly AAA Diamond-rated properties across the state have special offerings for furry friends, including the following pet perks:
    • A complimentary Heavenly Dog Welcome Kit complete with an ID tag and Westin Heavenly Dog bed at the Four-Diamond Westin Kierland in Scottsdale.
       
    • Gourmet room service menus for cats and dogs prepared by the award-winning executive chef at the AAA Four Diamond Loews Ventana Canyon resort in Tucson.
       
    • A canine Director of Pet Relations at the Four Diamond Hotel Palomar in Phoenix. Bosco, the cocker spaniel, hosts Doggie Happy Hour, Dirty Dog Wash and hangs out at the hotel’s signature wine hour.
  • Flying with Fido. Most airlines permit passengers to keep pets with them in the cabin or have them kept in the cargo hold depending on size restrictions.
    • Pet perks: Alaska Airlines has its very own pet travel program. The Fur-st Class Care™ program includes a free pre-trip examination and discounted health certificate at Banfield® Pet Hospitals.
       
    • Sailing with Scruffy. For health and hygiene reasons, most cruise lines prohibit pets on board with the exception of service animals. However, Cunard Cruise Line’s “Queen Mary II” does allow cats and dogs for its transatlantic voyages.
       
    • Pet perks:  Cunard has a full-time Kennel Master who takes care of responsibilities such as feeding, walking and cleaning the kennels. Dogs and cats also receive a complimentary gift pack.  

To ensure a ‘purrrfect’ trip, AAA travel experts recommend pet parents take the following tips:

  • Proper paperwork. Research what documentation will be required for pet travel. If traveling internationally, pets may require a pet passport.  
  • A healthy pet is a happy pet. Visit the vet prior to leaving to ensure pets are current on vaccinations with a clean bill of health. 
  • Respect other travelers. Keep in mind that everyone may not be comfortable around pets. Always keep pets on a leash or in their carrier in public places.

 

AAA is a go-to source for travel information. To learn more, visit AAA.com/travel.

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.