Those who know me well, realize there’s nothing I like more than a little “wine and bitch” session. That’s why if I had my druthers, this April I’d be high tailing it—along with my dog Max—all the way out to Greenough, Montana for the second annual "Wine & Bitch Weekend" at The Resort at Paws Up.
For all you singletons out there, fear not that you might find yourself sitting home alone on Valentine’s Day sipping champagne and eating an entire pint of chocolate chip ice cream. But as anyone who has a pet knows, you're never really alone.
There are options—and good ones—that allow you and your dog to spend some real quality time together and get your respective paws pampered at the same time. While exploring spas for me and my dog Max, I came across a company called Specialty International Tours who offers a program called “Voyages with Dogs.” I’m already liking the sound of this.
Every Thanksgiving I pile my dog Max into my Toyota Land Cruiser and head south to visit my family. The truth is I would never go without him—he’s my child, of course—and since my parents are crazy pet people too, they welcome both of us with open arms.
Having traveled so much with Max over the years, I’ve learned that there are some very important ‘rules of the road’ that everyone should be aware of when traveling with your dog. While taking your furry friend along for the ride can be tons of fun, it can also present some real dangers—to both of you.
More and more pet owners in the U.S. are choosing to travel with their pets, and while the Travel Industry Association of America (TIAA) estimates that only 6% are doing so by plane, the numbers are on the rise. And airlines are stepping up their game offering everything from frequent flyer programs for furry friends to “pet-only” airlines. Here are some of the highlights:
Frequent Flyer Programs
Midwest Airlines is the only airline offering pets free trips through their Premier Pet Program. For every six paid one-way flights, pets earn a free round-trip ticket. The cost to fly your pet is $300 round trip below the cabin and $250 for in-cabin travel.
The first pets-only airline, Pet Airways—which takes off this month from five U.S. cities: L.A., Chicago, New York, D. C., and Denver—now tops the list of pet travel perks.
A safe and comfortable alternative to commercial lines’ cargo class, Pet Airways aims to ease both animal and owner stress alike, with an online flight tracking and individual carriers secured in temperature-controlled cabins. Doting attendants check up on “Pawsengers” every 15 minutes and walk them upon landing (unfortunately, there’s no in-flight snack service—vet’s orders).
Flights can be booked through the Pet Airway’s website which crashed when it opened for reservations in April. But your furry four-legged friends will have to wait in line. The airline is booked solid throughout the summer. Bone voyage!
Lisa Cheng is an assistant research editor at Travel + Leisure.