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Take your pets to a road trip this summer

Take your pets to a road trip this summer

The great American road trip has officially taken on dogs. According to a recent online travel survey from Orbitz, 77% of vacationers are planning to take their pets on a road trip this summer and visiting dog parks (20%) and taking selfies at tourist attractions (21%) are at the top of their to-do list.

The survey results from 2,000 U.S. travelers revealed important considerations and destinations for pet owners. Seven pet-friendly routes were ranked based on photo-worthy road trip attractions, outdoor activities, pet-friendly lodging and bars and restaurants in geographically diverse regions of the U.S. Points of interest are marked every 100 miles or less and are available for download in Google Maps.

“There’s a road trip for every kind of dog and dog owner,” said Dan Schachner, Animal Planet host, announcer and annual “rufferee” of the Puppy Bowl. “Routes with off-leash parks, hiking trails and open play areas are great for active dogs. More passive dogs might enjoy an urban adventure with dog-friendly hotels and minimal walking.”

Pet Travelers Go the Distance
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Orbitz survey revealed that travelers will go almost any distance to please their pets. The majority of pet owners said they most want to road trip cross-country with their four-legged friends (33%) and will spend up to $500 extra on food, lodging and activities together (40%). Schachner advises pet owners to try a few short trips first before embarking on an epic adventure together.

“Taking a pet with you on a road trip is a great way to bond and establish a deeper connection, but it’s important to consider your dog’s age, breed and personality. Know what your pup can handle and plan accordingly.”

Road Trip PETiquette
Travelers confessed that when it comes to their pets, they’re not always great at following the rules of the road. Most drivers let their pets ride in the back seat (58%) or secure them in a crate (15%), but one-in-four travelers said their dog calls dibs on the front seat or even rides in their lap.

“It’s tempting to let our pets sit up front with us, but the safest place for a dog is always in a crate with a seat belt or harness,” said Schachner. “If renting a car, be sure to lay protective covering down to avoid any extra cleaning costs from excessive pet hair, soiling, or damage. This way, your pet is comfortable and happy and so is your wallet.”

One-in-three travelers also said they would sneak their pet into their hotel room. However, more pet owners are searching for pet-friendly lodging and hotels. In fact, Orbitz reports that hotel searches using their pet-friendly filter have increased 40% year-over-year2, and many properties advertise pet-menities like free dog dishes, treats, and “yappy hours.”

A Rewarding Road Trip for Frankie
Orbitz and Dollar Car Rental are helping Schachner embark on a rescue road trip this summer to deliver Frankie, a three-month old puppy rescued from Puerto Rico by The Sato Project, to his new forever family in Massachusetts. Schachner is documenting Frankie’s road trip in a Dollar Car Rental from Newark airport to Boston on social media while stopping at pet-friendly pit stops and highlighting other dogs available for adoption from local humane societies.

Celebrity Road Trip Companions
Pet lovers tend to travel in a pack, so it’s no surprise the celebrities that travelers most wanted to join them on a cross-country trip were Miley Cyrus and her pet pig, Piggy (43%), followed by Andy Cohen and his rescue dog Wacha (20%). Political pets also fared well, with Elizabeth Warren and her golden retriever, Bailey, and Michelle Obama and Bo, the former first family’s Portuguese water dog, topping the list for most popular write-ins.

Additional insights from the Orbitz Summer Travel Survey:

  • 51% of travelers want to road trip with their pet in a SUV or van; 15% prefer a pickup for off-road adventures
  • 12% would choose to road trip with their pets over friends, family, children or significant others
  • Travelers are torn between taking their pets on a road trip to the mountains (24%) or beach (23%)
  • Half of pet parents said the #1 thing they want to do with their pet on a road trip is drive with the windows down on the open road
  • The road trip movie most travelers would like to recreate with their pets is National Lampoon’s Vacation (43%) followed by Little Miss Sunshine (21%) and Dumb and Dumber (19%)
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