Pack Up the Pets
May 20th, 2018 by Pamela A. Keene

Depending on where you vacation, your four-legged friends might have fun, too. Photo courtesy of Pinellas County Marketing and Communications

Good news for Fluffy and Spike. No more being carted off to the vet’s or putting up with pet sitters. Now they can go on the family vacation.

More hotels, restaurants, beaches, parks and campgrounds are now pet-friendly.

Numerous websites help identify pet-friendly destinations and services.

PetsWelcome lists by state hotels and vacation rentals (www.petswelcome.com).

VisitFlorida gives pet owners a dog’s perspective of vacations, complete with photos and videos. It features pet-friendly hotels, resorts, beaches and restaurants (www.visitflorida.com/Pet_Friendly_Florida).

BringFido can be searched by state, and lists events, activities, restaurants and services (www.bringfido.com).

DogFriendly helps locate dog parks, pet-friendly events, campgrounds and city-specific pet information (www.dogfriendly.com).
AAA has a complete guide to traveling with pets (www.autoclubsouth.aaa.com/travel/drive_trips_pets.aspx).
Among the highlights:

  • If you are traveling by car, stop about every two hours for a water and bathroom break for your pet. Please clean up after your pet.
  • Although your dog seems to like hanging his head out of the car window, it is not safe; he may be hit by objects flying up off the road or injured by a sudden stop.
  • Use a specially designed pet restraint system or crate in the car. This will protect both the pet and passengers if there is a collision.
  • A break in routine can be hard on your pet, so avoid changes in diet.
  • Leash your pet before you open your car door.
  • Take plenty of food and water for your pet.
  • Make sure your pet is current on vaccinations. Ask your vet for a health certificate to take with you.

Great Travel Websites
Before computers, people who traveled to unfamiliar places often bought travel guides.

Names that come to mind are Eyewitness Travel (www.traveldk.com/search/florida), Fodor’s (www.fodors.com/world/north-america/usa/florida), Frommer’s (www.frommers.com/destinations/florida) and travel expert Rick Steves (https://blog.ricksteves.com/blog/florida).

My travel bookshelves are filled with guides to Italy, France, Turkey, Southeast Asia, Africa and other places.

Because attractions and cultural sites at most of these places don’t change much, I see no harm in holding on to them for return trips or to refresh my memories.

However, knowledge of the world is now at our fingertips through robust websites and blogs, which are constantly updated and offer the latest travel deals, up-to-the-minute weather, hotel promotions and even tips for out-of-the-way places that are must-see.

Leaving It All Behind
Adventurous baby boomers who have been able to retire early are setting a new trend: extended travel by RV.

They are renting out their homes for six months, a year or more, putting their possessions in storage, packing the basic comforts of home and driving cross-country.

Worried about how to get your mail? Want to find the least-expensive campground near your next destination? Need help about what to pack? Websites such as www.drivecrosscountry.net and www.frugal-rv-travel.com offer tips and activities to do along the way.

What are you waiting for?

After months on the road, you will find you can go home again—and it will seem like a new place.

Florida native and travel enthusiast Pamela A. Keene is a freelance journalist who specializes in travel, gardening, personality and feature writing. She is also a photographer and accomplished sailor. Her website is www.pamelakeene.com.