This is National Pet Week, and what better way to celebrate than to plan a pet friendly summer vacation?! Well, according to our summer pet travel survey, that’s exactly what many of you are doing. Your responses provide insights into the pet travel trends and spark ideas on how we can improve GoPetFriendly.com to better help you plan your next pet friendly trip.
So, I’m dusting off my nearly-forgotten accounting skills to spend the day playing with numbers and charts. Thank you for taking the time and sharing your thoughts! Here is what you had to say this year …
It’s wonderful to see that nearly everyone we surveyed is planning to take at least one trip with their pet this summer. I guess that’s not a big surprise … but what is exciting is that many of you are planning multiple trips. One-third of you are thinking of taking three or four trips, and 22% are planning five trips or more!
A tad more than half of the people who answered said they “always” take their pet with them when they travel (51%). Another 44% said they “sometimes” include their pets, 5% said they were planing their first pet friendly vacation (welcome to the club!!), and only 0.5% said they “never” take their pets along when they travel.
We’re seeing a big increase in the number of people who are taking driving vacations with their pets! Like last year, the vast majority of you are traveling by car (2014 = 78%, 2013 = 74%), with the next most popular mode of transportation being RV (2014 = 19.5%, 2013 = 17%). Only 1.5% of you report that you’re planning to fly with your pet – that’s down from 7% last year! And other modes of transportation, including trains and motorcycles, accounted for just 1% of travel plans.
Most pet friendly hotels, rental properties, and campgrounds focus their efforts on accommodating small dogs, so it’s interesting to learn that only 22% of pet travelers have small dogs! It definitely highlights an opportunity for businesses appealing to everyone else! The most popular travel companion, at 42%, is a big dog (40-80 pounds), and nearly as many people (14%) travel with really big dogs (more than 80 pounds) as travel with medium sized dogs (20 – 40 pounds) (19%). The number of traveling cats is down this year from 6% to 2%, which ties the number of other pets, (including birds, reptiles, and small mammals), also at 2%.
As you probably know, this one is near and dear to our hearts. Our passion is to make it easy for you to travel with your pets, and we consider it part of our mission to educate you on the importance of securing your pets in the car. I’m sad to say that the number of people planning to buckle up their pets is down this year to 47% from 52%. While this is still much better than the national average, it seems we have a bit of work to do – we’d prefer to see that number climb each year of the survey!
We all know that pets require a lot of gear when they travel, and it was interesting to see that 15% of you recognize that your pet’s suitcase is bigger than your own! Another 37% said that they packed about the same amount as their pet, and 44% of you admitted that you have more luggage than your pet. The remaining 4% said you don’t pack at all and prefer to wing it!
Perhaps the most surprising result of the survey this year is the significant drop (2014 = 40%, 2013 = 50%) in the number of people searching out pet friendly hotels. I’m thrilled to say that only a tiny percentage (0.4%) of people are sneaking pets into hotels that aren’t pet friendly. About 23% of pet travelers are camping or staying in RV parks, and there’s been a big uptick in both bunking with family and friends (2014 = 22%, 2013 = 14%) and people staying in rental properties (2014 = 12%, 2013 = 7%). The remaining 3% are making other accommodations.
By far, the most commonly reported pet travel challenge (41%) was finding things to do and places to eat with your pet, but that down from 55% last year, and we’re glad to see such a big improvement! We’ve been working hard to locate more beaches, dog parks, restaurants, wineries, and other pet friendly activities on GoPetFriendly.com, and our efforts seem to be paying off. We are happy to see that only 15% of people report “finding accommodations” as their primary obstacle to pet travel – hopefully our website has helped alleviate some of that frustration.
Just more than half of respondents (51%), said that their top priority when planning a trip is their own desires and convenience, followed by people who plan their trip around their pet’s fun and comfort (40%). Keeping costs down is a the most important factor for 6% of people, and the remaining 3% make their decisions based on other considerations.
Leaving your pets behind when you take a trip is gut-wrenching for a lot of people – so much so that 25% simply refuse to do it. What are peoples’ biggest concerns? The most common worry is that their pet will be sad or won’t understand why they’ve been left behind (26%), another 24% feared that the quality of care their pet would receive wouldn’t be as good as they’d provide. Nearly as many people believe they’ll miss their pet too much to enjoy themselves (9%) as are nervous their pet will get sick or lost while they’re away (11%). And only 6% of respondents have no concerns about leaving their pet – they must have really good pet sitters!
Thanks again to everyone who took the time to fill out the survey – we hope you have fantastic, pet friendly summer vacations!
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