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Wag!’s Comprehensive Survey Highlights the Importance of Pet-Friendly Travel



After two years of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, there’s no time quite like this summer to go on vacation. And no matter whether you’re traveling interstate, overseas, or just exploring your own backyard, summer travel is so much better when you bring your dog along too.

But while most pet parents want to take their fur-babies with them on vacation, the challenges of pet-friendly travel often stop them doing so — that’s what we discovered in the Wag! Summer 2022 Travel Survey. 

Wag! surveyed more than 1,000 pet parents across the country to better understand their needs and preferences as they prepare for summer vacations and other holiday travel this year. We found that challenges with transit, dining, and accommodation are major barriers stopping Americans from hitting the road (or taking to the skies) with their pets — even though 3 out of every 4 people would like to take their dog or cat with them at least some of the time.

Let’s take a closer look at the obstacles to pet-friendly travel and what they mean for your next summer vacation. 

Key takeaways on pet-friendly travel

  • 60% take their dog or cat when traveling at least some of the time.

  • If there were no obstacles to pet-friendly travel, 73% of survey respondents would take their dog or cat when traveling at least some of the time, and 59% would take their pets all or most of the time.

  • Nearly all travelers have faced challenges taking their pets on trips — transit (traveling on a train, plane, etc.) is the most common difficulty, reported by 58% of pet parents, while 55% of respondents reported that dining with pets is difficult. 

  • Whether traveling with a pet or having to leave a pet at home, “stress or anxiety of my dog or cat” is the biggest fear reported by respondents. 

  • The best part about traveling with pets is the companionship, which is seen as valuable by 71% of respondents.

  • Miami and South Florida beaches is the most desired location to visit with pets, with 55% reporting a high desire to visit. Hawaii is a close second.


Pet parents want to travel with their fur-babies

The biggest takeaway from the Wag! Summer 2022 Travel Survey is that there’s a very big appetite for pet-friendly travel among American pet parents. Almost two-thirds of survey respondents already take their dog or cat when traveling at least some of the time — and that number could be even higher. 

If there were no barriers to overcome or challenges associated with pet-friendly travel, 73% would travel with their dog or cat at least some of the time, and 59% would take their pets all or most of the time.

So, what’s stopping people from traveling with their pets? Keep reading to find out.

Getting there ain't always easy

Sometimes travel is all about the journey — but for all the wrong reasons. 58% of pet parents report that transit, or simply getting to their destination, is the biggest challenge to overcome when taking pets on vacation.

Pet relief and bathroom break issues are the biggest problems faced during transit, with 47% of pet parents having encountered difficulties in the past. Finding suitable transportation options (39.2%) is the next most common bugbear, while dealing with check-in (32%), getting through security (31.9%), and issues with other travelers (30.2%) also cause plenty of stress. 

Air travel can be particularly challenging for people and pets, with 42% of respondents having experienced confusion or problems with the location of their dog or cat on a plane in the past. This increases to 56% of frequent travelers, and to 50% of respondents who have both a dog and a cat. It’s also worth noting that 1 in 4 respondents would not take their dog or cat on a plane.

Finding pet-friendly accommodation is a challenge

Unfortunately, the troubles don’t end once you make it to your destination. Almost 47% of respondents singled out finding a pet-friendly place to stay as the biggest overnight accommodation problem when traveling with a pet. 

Despite this, 57% of pet parents actively seek out pet-friendly hotels, with 81% of respondents seeking out pet-friendly hotels at least some of the time. And all things being equal, 64% are more likely to stay at a pet-friendly hotel than an establishment that doesn’t welcome fur-babies.

Pet-friendliness is actually the most important attribute (25.8%) respondents look for when choosing a hotel, even ahead of affordable rates (23.8%). In fact, pet parents would be willing to forego a few creature comforts if it meant finding a hotel with pet-friendly policies, with a hotel bar (51.1%) and gym (50.3%) most commonly seen as surplus to requirements.

The key amenities dog parents look for when choosing a pet-friendly hotel are an outdoor play space (49.8%), pet bowls in the room (40.4%), and pet beds in the room (39.3%).


Dining dilemmas

You’ve arrived at your destination, checked into a hotel, and you and your pet are ready to head out for a nice dinner — but where can you go? 

According to almost 43% of those surveyed, finding pet-friendly restaurants is the biggest eating challenge faced when traveling with a pet. But finding somewhere to eat still isn’t as much of a barrier as bathroom break issues, with 45% of pet parents experiencing pet potty trip problems when dining out.

Maybe that’s why more than half of survey respondents find it difficult to enjoy a restaurant experience with their pet.


Stress less — pet anxiety problems

We asked pet parents what they fear most when traveling with their cat or dog. The answer: their pet’s stress and anxiety levels. For some fur-babies, being taken out of their comfort zone can be the cause of much angst, with 1 in 4 pet parents nominating this as their major travel worry.

Interestingly, pet stress and anxiety was also the top fear of pet parents when they have to leave their pet at home while traveling. It seems that no matter where we are or what we’re doing, we’re always worried about making sure our fur-babies are getting the best possible care.

Wag!’s recent partnership with Kimpton Hotels aims to alleviate some of the stress associated with traveling with pets, offering pet-friendly hotel options and discounted pet care for Kimpton guests. 

As travel continues to grow back to (and potentially beyond) normal levels in 2022, Wag! recommends incorporating pet care into your travel game plan from the beginning. Whether you need a local dog sitter to watch your pup for the weekend, or need an on-demand dog walker while staying at a Kimpton hotel for the week, Wag! has you covered.


Traveling with pets = companionship and fun

Despite the challenges of traveling with pets, American pet parents still love exploring the world with their fur-babies. Companionship is the number-one benefit of traveling with your dog or cat, as reported by 71% of pet parents, with fun a close second (69%).

Let’s face it, dogs and cats do make "pawsome" travel buddies. Not only are they excellent company no matter where you are, but they also make even the most mundane of vacations a whole lot more memorable.

Beach holidays rule!

When pet parents hit the road with their fur-babies, they’ve got 1 particular destination they love above all else: the beach. 55% of respondents said they had a high or very high desire to visit Miami and the South Florida beaches, while 53% were keen to don a lei and head for Hawaii.

It seems there’s no match for feeling the sun on your fur and the sand between your paws, but the next most sought-after destination was New England in the autumn peak season.

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