Top Pet-Friendly Places, Hotels and Airlines

Animal lovers take note: These pet-focused companies make traveling with four-legged companions a cinch.    

By Marsha Dubrow, ContributorDec. 23, 2015
By Marsha Dubrow, ContributorDec. 23, 2015, at 11:27 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

Top Pet-Friendly Places, Hotels and Airlines

Dog and teddy bears sitting in suitcase

From an air terminal designed for furry fliers to hotels with pooch perks, like pet beds, mats and toys, these companies are elevating the pet travel concept.(Getty Images)

Toying with the idea of traveling with your pet in 2016? You're not alone. In fact, pet travel accounts for an increasing slice of the nearly $61 billion Americans are expected to have spent on their four-legged companions in 2015 according to a survey from the American Pet Products Association. And the travel industry is taking note, rolling out amenities and lodging choices to attract customers interesting in bringing along Fido. Take the ARK at JFK, which is set to open in mid-2016 and will debut the world's first air terminal for animals, or Kimpton Hotels, which entices pet owners with special privileges, such as treats and pet beds for complimentary use during pets' stays. Plus, a rising number of cities are becoming increasingly pet-focused with pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and parks, along with a wealth of animal-friendly activities, from dog-friendly kayaking to paddle boarding and surfing. With this in mind, here are the key destinations and companies that are redefining the pet-friendly travel concept with innovative perks and pet policies.

Air Travel

The ARK at JFK

The $48 million, 14.4-acre ARK at New York's JFK Airport will have a full-service veterinary hospital, an urban jungle 3D mural by pop artist Charles Fazzino and a 20,000-square-foot resort, spa and training center for cats and dogs, operated by Paradise 4 Paws, a hotel company for pets. Paradise 4 Paws offers a myriad of pampering services and amenities, like a bone-shaped dog pool, an adventure jungle gym for cats, pet massages and optional flat-screen TVs and webcams in its suites. Paradise 4 Paws already has resorts at Denver International Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport as well as near Chicago's O'Hare International and Midway International airports.

JetBlue

JetBlue is the only airline with a pet loyalty program, JetPaws. It offers 300 TrueBlue frequent flier points per flight when your companion animal is your companion onboard. The non-refundable fee for your furry fellow traveler is $100 each way. Also note, only small canine or feline pets are allowed. The weight limit for a pet, combined with its carrier, is 20 pounds. And only one pet is allowed and it must travel in the cabin with you.

Car Travel

The number of travelers who take their dogs on road trips has more than doubled in a decade, from 19 percent to 37 percent, according to findings from the American Pet Products Association. And 85 percent of road trippers travel with their dog and 21 percent travel with their cat, according to a 2012 AAA/Best Western study. Whether traveling by plane, train or automobile, "Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook," is a trusted resource, thanks to its listing of more than 15,000 hotels, restaurants and campgrounds that welcome furry guests. The book also provides practical information for prepping your pet for a trip and finding aid in emergencies.

Hotel Chains

Best Western

Best Western stands among the pack of pet-friendly hotels with more than 1,600 hotels accommodating pets. Best Western's properties allow two dogs (at a maximum 80 pounds each) per room. Some Best Westerns permit other species like monkeys, snakes, birds and cats with prior approval. For the privilege of bringing along your pet, hotels may charge a maximum $20 per day, $100 per week and a refundable damage deposit of up to $50.

Kimpton Hotels

All Kimpton properties welcome pets of all sizes and species to stay at their hotels at no additional fee. Any pet will have a place to stay, so long as it can fit through the hotel room door. In fact, Kimpton's Hotel Monaco in Seattle once hosted an albino kangaroo and Olive, a pig with Instagram stardom, once graced Kimpton's Hotel Palomar Philadelphia. Standard pet amenities include beds, toys, water bowls, treats and clean-up bags. Some properties even tout a Director of Pet Relations, or canine concierges, like bichon frisé Charlie at Hotel Monaco Alexandria.

Places

Seattle

The Seattle area boasts more than 70 pet-friendly hotels and approximately 100 dog-friendly restaurants, like Norm's Eatery & Ale House in the Fremont neighborhood. Some eateries even allow leashed dogs to share a meal with patrons in a booth. Seattle also features 14 off-leash pooch parks. Magnuson Park, for example, has a 9-acre off-leash area, complete with a separate area for small dogs. And getting around to all these attractions is especially convenient and reasonable because pets, in addition to service animals, are allowed on both means of public transportation, the King County Metro Transit system and on Washington State Ferries.

San Diego

Among San Diego's numerous dog parks are seven that are off-leash 24 hours a day, including two within the famed Balboa Park and four at the city's beaches. There's also surfing and paddle boarding for pooches, plus dog kayaking tours of La Jolla Cove and Mission Bay. If you prefer to tour breweries, about half of San Diego's 100 craft breweries specifically identify themselves as dog-friendly. And pet-welcoming hotels and restaurants abound in San Diego. The Dog House Bar and Grill's Saturday brunches even offer doga, or dog yoga. Plus, a few bakeries and health food stores have gone to the dogs and cats, like Paw Pleasers Bakery that delivers its homemade lactose-free pet-safe ice cream to dog parks.

Philadelphia

The City of Brotherly Love might as well coin itself the City of Furry Love. Philadelphia's pet-welcoming parks are abundant and historic. You and your pet can follow the footsteps of George Washington and his troops at Valley Forge National Historical Park and Fort Washington State Park. Afterwards, you and Fido can take a jaunt to Rittenhouse Square and head to Rouge Restaurant for dog treats and water bowls, one of the dozens of eateries that offer water bowls for dogs across Philadelphia. What's more, the Schuylkill River Park Dog Run is made from K9 grass, a revolutionary turf created specifically for dogs, along with small and large dog runs and water fountains. And when it comes to lodging, you and your pet can choose from one of 15 pet-friendly hotels. 

Marsha Dubrow, Contributor

Marsha Dubrow is a freelance writer specializing in travel and the arts. You can follow her ...  Read more

About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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