More Than Half of Americans Base Travel Plans Around Their Pets, Study Says

by Amy Myers

After two years of social distancing and stay-cations, it’s not surprising that travelers have grown more attached to their pets, and as a result, they’ve begun to base their vacation plans around whether or not they can bring their furry friends along.

In a study published by Harvest Hosts, a membership platform for RVers, across the board, travelers are more likely to bring their pets along for local vacations to beaches, cities and campgrounds. Overall, 37 percent of travelers reported pet-friendly accommodations as a top priority.

Ultimately, the pet-friendly traveling trend continues to grow increasingly popular. (And social media photos of adorable adventure pups don’t hurt either.) That’s why more than ever, travelers are ditching traditional tourism and lodging if that means that Fido can come.

The Stats

  • Fifty-two percent of travelers make travel plans around available accommodations for their pets.
  • Millenials are most likely generation to bring along their pets on their vacations
  • Boomers are the least attached to their pets
  • Thirty-seven percent of travels consider pet-friendly accommodations a “must-have”

Oddly enough, it seems that how reliant travelers are on pet-friendly accommodations depends on their generation. While 39 percent of Millenials deem fur-friendly lodging and activities as necessities, 34 percent of Boomers are okay just leaving them back at home or checking them into their own resort. Additionally, Harvest Hosts’ survey demonstrated that Millenials (56 percent) are most likely to be swayed to change their plans for their pets. Meanwhile, Gen Zers, the youngest of the three, seem to toe the line in between, as 33 percent said that pet-friendly accommodations are “nice to have, but not necessary.”

All of this information points to a significant population of travelers that will definitely be bringing their pets along in their RVs, to campsites or to pet-friendly hotels. For fellow travelers, this means you could be seeing quite a few fellow dogs on the trails. And for vendors, the push to have water bowls, treats and perhaps a couple of tennis balls is more important than ever if they want to take advantage of the trend.

Outsider’s Planning Tips for Travelers with Pets

For the most part, whenever traveling to big destinations, there’s always a restaurant or two with outdoor seating and a motel that lets you share the bed with your pet. But it’s always better to know everything you can about your destination before you go, especially if you plan on bringing pets.

Check out our tips for how to build a successful trip with your pets.

  1. Do your research. While there’s nothing wrong with roughing it (pun intended), it’s not the best idea if your plans are contingent on places that allow dogs. Use sites like BringFido or GoPetFriendly for a list of establishments that welcome dogs or ask that they stay back.
  2. Make room in your budget for pet needs. Whether in search of memorabilia or extra supplies, don’t leave your pooch hanging. Make sure you have enough funds for anything your favorite traveler may need (or just want), too.
  3. Be courteous of non-pet-friendly travelers. While plenty of fellow travelers are happy to see a wet nose accompany you, not everyone is an animal lover. Leashes are mandatory when traveling about, and don’t forget to maintain a respectable distance.
  4. Have an emergency plan. Just as you would know where the nearest hospital or medical clinic is, so, too, should you know where to bring your pet for emergency care. No one wants to think something could go wrong, but it’s always better to have a plan just in case.
  5. Be flexible. You’ll want to balance your planning and preparation with a touch of flexibility. Be ready to share a meal at a different restaurant if they don’t have outdoor seating, and take a different trail if they discourage pets.