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a satisfied hotel guestInstead of finding dog kennels or pet sitters while they're away, more people are choosing to take their furry friends along with them on weekend getaways or even extended vacations.

And why not? What used to be a mere convenience being offered by the occasional roadside hotel is today being touted even by luxury chains as a clear incentive to stay.

The major target of the growing pet travel industry? That would be empty nesters and senior travelers who are free to travel with their surrogate "kids" and who are accustomed to spoiling them in style.

And its not just campgrounds and motels that are offering pet-friendly accommodations. Along with a gourmet pet menu and room service, a number of luxury pet-friendly hotels (like the Fairmont and Copley) are also setting out the red carpet for pets of all stripes including dogs, cats, birds and mice.

Tips & tricks to pet travel on the road

Cats especially like all the comforts
of home, so be sure to bring along
their usual bed, blankets or toys.

Of course, you'll want to plan at least a few weeks before the big trip to make sure that your well-versed in pet-friendly vacations.

Like small children, pets are happiest when surrounded by remembrances of home, so do take along their usual feeding bowls, blankets and toys.

Also consider a trip to the vet if you think your cat or dog might be prone to motion sickness. Your vet may be able to prescribe medication or a mild sedative to get them relaxed and all ready to travel.

If traveling by car, always secure your pet or carrier with a special harness that attaches to a seat belt. This is for everyone's safety, as pets may become flying projectiles during a sudden stop or accident while on the road.

Traveling with pets by air

• If traveling by air, check with airline policies for transporting your pet, and try to choose a direct flight to minimize travel time for Kitty or Fido.

• Before departure, remember to have all necessary paperwork on hand such as a health certificate stating that your pet is free of disease, fleas or ticks. If you unsure about this requirement, your vet can probably advise you.

• More requirements to watch for? In addition to regulations for properly-sized pet crates, most airlines will not accept pets as baggage or cargo where destinations are too hot or too cold (usually below freezing or above 85° F) This is to ensure your pet's safety in the event they are detained at a destination where holding areas may not be temperature-controlled.

More about pet-friendly hotels & travel around the Web:

Just up ahead, discover more information on pet-friendly places for your travels, including dog friendly cities, related hints on pet health and safety while on the road, along with listings of hotels that welcome pets in the US and worldwide ... - A directory of more than 25,000 hotels, B&B's, ski resorts, campgrounds, and beaches that are pet-friendly, along with tips and tricks to helping Kitty or Rover become a seasoned traveler.

TravelPets - More info on what to expect before you take off on that trip with your pet. Find pet-friendly lodging, tips, pictures, checklists and more. - Discover listings to everything from hotels and accommodations to beaches, parks and dog runs in the U.S. and Canada, with at least one link to a dog-friendly college dorm. - Learn where your dog can exercise and socialize with a directory of dog parks across the U.S. and Canada, and offering tips on how to start a dog park and a 'digital' dog park discussion list.

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