Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
With more pet-friendly accommodations and attractions, more and more people are opting to take their pets with them on vacation instead of leaving them with family or in a boarding facility.
If you’re wondering about this rising trend, check out these 12 pet travel statistics in the US and around the world.
12 Interesting Pet Travel Statistics
- 78% of American pet owners travel with their pets each year.
- 54% of cat and dog owners plan to travel with their pet.
- 58% of people would prefer to travel with their pet over a friend or family member.
- 52% of travelers base their travel plans on accommodating pets.
- About 75% of luxury, mid-scale, and economy hotels allow pets.
- In 2019, a total of 404,556 animals were transported by airline.
- Nearly 64% of travelers prefer to travel with pets by car.
- 9% of people look for a destination with hiking and fresh air for pet travel.
- Dogs make up 58% of the pets traveling around the world.
- 37% of owners take shorter vacations because of their pets.
- 10% of travelers have hidden their dogs to travel.
- 27% of dog owners go the extra mile for their pets.
General Pet Travel Statistics
1. 78% of American pet owners travel with their pets each year.
Instead of boarding or paying for a pet sitter, more people are choosing to travel with their pets. After all, they’re part of the family. According to research from Roanoke Times, 78% of pet parents travel with their pets each year.
2. 54% of cat and dog owners plan to travel with their pet.
New research from Motel 6 reveals that Americans are traveling with their pets. Roughly 54% of cat and dog owners plan to travel with their pets in the next year, based on data compiled from 1,000 participants who are planning a trip.
3. 58% of people would prefer to travel with their pet over a friend or family member.
According to the Hilton global trends report, 58% of survey respondents said they’re planning to travel with their pets and actually prefer it over traveling with a friend or family member.
4. 52% of travelers base their travel plans on accommodating pets.
More than half of all travelers base their travel plans on accommodating their pets, with millennials being the most likely to consider traveling with their pets. Furthermore, over one-third of travelers consider pet-friendly accommodation a “must.”
5. About 75% of luxury, mid-scale, and economy hotels allow pets.
(American Kennel Club)
About 75% of luxury, mid-scale, and economy hotels now allow pets to address the growing demand for pet-friendly travel. Popular chains like Red Roof, Motel 6, Best Western, Choice Hotels, and DoubleTree by Hilton are among them. It’s important to always call and double-check before your trip, however.
6. In 2019, a total of 404,556 animals were transported by airline.
According to research from Forbes, in 2019, a total of 404,556 animals were transported by airline. While some of these animals may have been for the pet trade or research purposes rather than pet travel, that’s a lot of animals making a trip by air.
7. Nearly 64% of travelers prefer to travel with pets by car.
According to research from Go Pet Friendly, 63.8% of survey respondents prefer to travel by car. The second most popular choice is traveling by motorhome or RV, followed by flying.
8. 9% of people look for a destination with hiking and fresh air for pet travel.
Travelers look for diverse experiences when traveling with pets, but 42.9% look for a destination with hiking options. Next is a national park or historic site, which may or may not allow pets, followed by a dog-friendly beach. 12.5% of travelers look for pet-friendly cities.
Miscellaneous Pet Travel Statistics
9. Dogs make up 58% of the pets traveling around the world.
(PBS Pet Travel)
Dogs make up 58% of all pets traveling around the world. Cats come in second at 22%, followed by pet birds, then horses.
10. 37% of owners take shorter vacations because of their pets.
(Travel Agent Central)
Based on a survey of 500 dog owners, 37% said they chose not to travel in order to stay home with their dog. 38% have chosen to drive instead of flying if taking their dog was not an option.
(Travel Agent Central)
Some travelers won’t let anything stop them. 10% of travelers have smuggled their dog into a hotel in luggage, even if the hotel wasn’t pet-friendly. Another 3% have tried to disguise their dog as a baby to board a plane. And another 7% have dressed their dogs as service animals to gain special access, even if they’re not a service animal.
(Travel Agent Central)
Young dog owners go above and beyond for their pets while traveling. 27% of dog owners between 21 and 24 years of age scheduled day and evening care for their pets. Another 17% create a music playlist. Baby boomers are more likely to take their pets with them, though 25% make homemade treats for their pets to enjoy while they’re away.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Travel
What Is a Pet Passport?
A pet passport is a collection of documents that you need to travel with your pet to a foreign country. Depending on the destination, this may include health and rabies certificates, test results, or other documents issued by your veterinarian or customs officials. (USDA)
What Do I Need to Travel with My Pet in the US?
You don’t need a health certificate to travel across state or territory lines, though some states may require special health clearances. It’s best to check with your veterinarian about any vaccines your pet will need to address local diseases. (USDA)
Who Should I Speak with About Traveling With My Pet?
Before traveling with your pet, speak to your veterinarian and ensure that your accommodation, including flights, hotels, motels, campgrounds, or parks, allow pets. If you’re traveling to another country, speak to a foreign consulate or regulatory agency to see what’s required to bring your pet into the country. (AVMA)
Is It Safe to Travel with Pets?
With planning and preparation, traveling with pets can be safe. It’s best to avoid air travel unless your pet is small enough to ride under the seat, however. Riding in the cabin as checked baggage can put your pet at risk.
If you have to travel with your pet by air, make sure to use a USDA-approved shipping crate and alert all airline personnel to the fact that you’re traveling with a live animal. It’s best to book direct flights to avoid any layovers as well. (USDA)
Can Pets Travel on Long Car Trips?
If you want to take your pet on a trip and flying isn’t an option, traveling by car is a good option. You have to prepare for a long-distance trip with your pet, however, by getting a well-ventilated crate and planning a pet-friendly travel kit with a bowl, food, plastic bags, a waste scoop, grooming supplies, medication, and travel documents.
You also need to plan for your stops along the trip. Not all hotels are pet-friendly, so you have to prepare for your rest stops on your route. Never leave a dog or cat alone in a parked vehicle, especially in hot or cold weather. (ASPCA)
Should I Travel with My Pet?
While it’s great to take your dog or cat with you while traveling, some pets aren’t suited for long trips in the car or flights. Pets that have illnesses, injuries, or nervous or aggressive temperaments or older pets may not be ideal for traveling.
If your pet isn’t good with travel, it’s better to look into boarding or a pet sitter to ensure your pet is cared for while you’re away. (AVMA)
Leaving a pet behind for a vacation can be hard. They’re family, after all. Plenty of people travel with their pets, as evidenced by these statistics. As the trend grows, more accommodation options are welcoming cats and dogs to make travel easier with pets.
Featured Image Credit: Yekatseryna Netuk, Shutterstock