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Pet Travel Wednesdays: 4 Tips from The Points Guy, Brian Kelly

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While you may be a seasoned solo-traveler, jet setting with your pet can be a bit harrier. So we turned to Brian Kelly, travel expert and founder of The Points Guy, to ask for his personal tips on flying with Miles (pictured), his adorable French bulldog. You need only to scroll through their Instagram feeds (Brian and Miles each have their own) to be impressed by this dynamic duo.

Here are Brian’s top four tips for flawless pet travel:

It’s not as stressful for you OR your pet as you think: I think my major concern before traveling with my puppy was that it would be too grueling and tiring for him, but he seemed to handle everything in stride. During our time at the airport and on the plane, I'm within his sight at all times, and as long as he can see me or feel my hand on his travel carrier, he's absolutely fine. The same is true in hotel rooms – Miles is just happy to be wherever I am and it didn’t matter that it wasn’t at home. 

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TODAY Show Video: Hotel Stays for Pets

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Going on vacation? Don’t leave Buddy home. It’s just another dog day at these pet-friendly hotels.

Pets-Only Hotels

There are a growing number of amazing hotels just for your pet—no people, please!

Paradise for Paws

There are three locations for this dog and cat resort—two in Chicago and one in Dallas/Ft. Worth—each near airports. Accommodations include large dog suites, as well as a gated community of bungalows for cats (select bungalows have window perches and fish aquariums). Dogs can exercise in the indoor grass area and splash in a bone-shaped pool. For cats, there’s an Adventure Jungle for climbing custom-made cat trees. Dog suites from $49/night; Cat bungalows from $27/night.

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Kickoff: Pet Travel Wednesdays

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From their wind-sniffing snouts to their wagging tails, dogs truly are travelers' best friends. Besides the obvious perks (wet kisses), travel companies are also rewarding us for bringing Fido along. Virgin Australia and JetBlue offer frequent flier miles for your pet, while D Pet Hotels Chelsea takes care of feeding (private chef) and grooming (“pawdicures”).

So we decided to show some appreciation to our furry friends, as well. Each week, we’ll turn to our most trusted pet travel experts—our followers—for tips on traveling with your four-legged companion.

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Introducing Frequent Flier Miles… For Your Pet

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Clearly we’re not the only ones obsessed with globetrotting pets. This week, Virgin Australia launched a new program for its furry fliers, making them the second airline to offer frequent flier miles to its four-legged jet set (JetBlue, with its JetPaws initiative, has been offering miles for a few years). Miles get added to the human handler’s account—Peaches sure isn’t carrying her own status card—and members can expect a minimum of 300 points per pet flight. Now if only the flight attendants could pass out some kibbles along with those pretzels…

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Photo credit: istockphoto

Breaking Down the Trends in Pet Travel

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When my husband and I welcomed our first pup into our lives just over a year ago, little did we know how it might change our travelling style. After frantically trying to coordinate back-up dogsitters from across the pond in Scotland on my first international trip post-adopting, I couldn’t help worry about my big bear of a cuddle buddy for the rest of the trip. Hence the marathon of road trips that followed (luckily, she’s good in the car). Clearly, I’m not alone, though. According to a study released this week by DogVacay.com, “pet owners aren’t fully enjoying the benefits of what should be a relaxing travel experience because they are worrying about their pets.”

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United Opens First Class Lounge (for Dogs) at O’Hare

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Check in with your dog at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and your pooch will get first-class treatment: a personalized doggie biscuit (name emblazoned in icing), a custom bed and a can of pink hotel-logo tennis balls. But when it comes to flying, "first class" has not really existed for pets.

United is hoping to change that. The airline just announced the opening of a first-class style kennel at O’Hare for pets who are too big to fly in the cabin. Similar to facilities in the airline’s Newark and Houston hubs, O’Hare’s PetSafe kennel promises 28 clean, ventilated and temperature-controlled enclosures, comfy vans that will chauffeur critters to their flights, and staffers who will exercise your pet and, according to the release, “provide grooming and bathing on request” (presumably your request, not Sparky’s).

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New York's Soho Grand Launches the City's First Hotel Dog Park

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Thinking of bringing Spot to the Big Apple? Guests at the Soho Grand Hotel—a dog-friendly hotel if there ever was one—now have a couple of new amenities for their furry companions. This weekend, a dedicated dog run opened its gates—complete with fire hydrant water stations, bespoke benches, and design by gardener-to-the-stars Rebecca Cole.

But make no mistake: this isn't a place where your pup will run laps on end (this is New York after all; space comes at a predictably high premium). With downtown-inspired graffiti and oh-so-chic garden decor (yes, that's ornamental kale), it's the ideal place to teach your pup about the virtues of unwinding—that's what vacation is for, right?

See: America's Best Dog-Friendly Hotels.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Photo courtesy of SoHo Grand

Surprising Number of Travel Innovations Announced Today

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Strange things are afoot in the travel world today. It seems like our inboxes have been flooded by announcements of weird and wonderful innovations. Here's a selection of the most interesting news of the day (that would be April 1, by the way).

Ever the publicity hound, Richard Branson announced that his engineering team has secretly developed the world's first glass-bottom airplane. (Picture above) The plane's underbelly will be completely see-through, allowing travelers the "opportunity to look down on the beautiful scenery of Great Britain as they fly." But rest assured: Cabin crew will be trained to calm the nerves of vertigo-prone fliers. (Amy Farley)

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International Destinations for Cat Lovers

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Where should a traveler completely obsessed with cats go for a feline-themed getaway? (Asking for a friend, of course.) Check out T+L's latest must-click article, Craziest Places for Cat Lovers and find out.

Marvel at the descendants of Ernest Hemingway's six-toed cats in Key West, Florida. See a thousand-year-old mummified cat at the Kuchuing Cat Museum in Malaysia. Enjoy the rides at the Hello Kitty Theme Park in Tokyo. All of that and more, in the only cat-related slideshow ever on the internet*.

*Update: Apparently there are one or two other cat-related slideshows on the internet. But do they include a houseboat for cats in Amsterdam?

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

Doggie Vacation: Pairing Pooches with Homestays

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MSNBC.com Travel
  |  Valerie Steiger, a life coach in Canyon Country, Calif., had a 4-month-old puppy and tickets for a 10-day trip to Thailand.

Steiger knew that Joey, a cavalier King Charles spaniel-shih tzu mix, would need more attention than what a traditional stop-by-the-house pet sitter could provide, so she went online in search of a good boarding kennel.

Instead she found DogVacay.com.

The site, which officially launched March 1 in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and soon after in other major cities, matches dog owners in need of pet-care services with people willing to host dogs in their homes for a fee. (Photo courtesy of Debra.)

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