Labor Day Weekend: 34 Million People, Six Million Pets on the Move

Monday, September 9, 2013 - 11:23am

With the American Automobile Association (AAA) predicting this Labor Day Weekend to be the busiest travel weekend in five years, an estimated 34 million Americans are expected to be on the move around the country.

But there are millions more travelers who aren’t being counted in that total.

That’s because, according to the U.S. Travel Association, nearly 20 percent of those 34 million human travelers will have a pet in tow, adding another 6 million of the four-legged variety to the masses on the move.

Though pet travel is not a new trend in America, it’s a growing one: with an estimated 70 million dogs and 74 million cats, the U.S. is considered to be the pet-friendliest nation on earth, with pets being found in more than half of all American households, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Pet travel expert and St. Pete resident Ginger Warder, author of Fido's Florida: A Dog Friendly Guide to the Sunshine State, sees this growth and believes there “tons of opportunities” for pets in the St. Pete/Clearwater area, including dog beaches at Ft. De Soto Park and Honeymoon Island, pet-friendly hotels throughout the area, and various pooch playgrounds, making it the perfect getaway for the whole family.

Warder, who is also a Fodor’s Travel contributor, is featured in Visit St. Pete/Clearwater’s new pet travel video highlighting the growing number of pet friendly activities and accommodations, as well as a few of the more luxurious options available to those wanting to spoil their pets, including special room service menus, pet massages, welcome gifts and more.

Other pet-centric resources available to travelers to the St Pete Clearwater area include pet travel articles and features in Gulf to Bay destination magazine and on VisitStPeteClearwater.com, where visitors can also search for pet-friendly accommodations. So why go through all the hassle and expense to travel with a pet, anyway?

Lucy Dee, who visited the St. Pete/Clearwater area with her dog Maxwell while on vacation from North Carolina recently, had a short answer to that question, echoing the sentiment of millions of pet owners around the world.

“He’s part of our family,” she said as Maxwell frolicked in the surf nearby. “And I didn’t want to leave him at home.