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If you’re planning on creating content with your pet on the road this year, you won’t be alone: according to Pet Jets, a private air transportation company for people and pets, more than half of all pet owners plan to travel with their pets this year.

Road trips on the rise

After being cooped up for much of 2020, road trips have found a renewed interest in 2021. While a small number of travelers — less than 5% — will choose to fly with their pets, most pet owners opt to load up the car and hit the road. This means more flexibility in scheduling and provides more options of where to stop along the way. Because, after all, getting there really is half the fun.

Who’s Traveling?

Not surprisingly, dogs are the top travelers; since cats are notoriously finicky about their likes and dislikes, they may not take kindly to being crated for a car ride. On the other hand, dogs often enjoy the adventure of a car ride and can add a whole new dimension to your road trip.

Instead of looking for a generic truck stop, you can add to your road trip fun by finding dog-friendly parks and beaches along your route. That lets both of you stretch your legs, answer nature’s call, and have a little playtime together.

With more pet owners embracing travel, companies are creating a wide range of options and experiences for road-warrior woofers and their humans.

Here’s a look at four trends that are driving pet travel in 2021.

Comfort Rides

You want your pup to be as comfortable as you are on your trip, so make sure you start out with the right setup. Pets should never be allowed to roam freely around the vehicle while you’re driving, so invest a pet car seat that’s big enough for them to sit in comfortably. Look for a car seat that meets safety standards and has a generous amount of padding. The inside should be washable (accidents happen!) and it should provide them with a good view out the window.

Pro tip: If your four-legged sidekick is smaller, consider a pet booster seat that connects from the top of the car seat to give them a chance to see the world outside! 

Active Getaways

Getting outside with your pup is a great way for both of you to get some exercise and enjoy the benefits of nature. You won’t be alone; according to the pet supply company ZippyPaws, sales of adventure products jumped more than 20% in 2020 as people headed outdoor with their dogs. You may already know what gear you need for a vigorous hike, but make sure you put some thought into what your pup needs, too: a sturdy harness, collapsible food and water bowl, a durable leash, and a canine first aid kit. You can also find great day packs for your dog to wear to carry his or her own gear.

Pro tip: Always remember to factor in weather conditions when going on hikes with your pup. Consider getting a cooling vest for those summer adventures and take along the sweaters, coats, and protective booties when it’s cold.

Work Away From Home

A change of scenery may be all you need sometimes, and if you’re still working remotely, this is a great way to get the benefits of a vacation while still getting your work done. Finding a dog-friendly hotel, whether it’s in your city or in a scenic location you’ve wanted to visit, has become more popular for weary workers looking for a change of pace.

Running the gamut from basic to luxurious, dog-friendly hotels offer accommodations that can include pampering experiences for your pup such as gourmet meals, plush doggie beds, and “Spaw Days” that include grooming and massages.

Pro tip: Bring your pet’s blanket even if you’re staying in a hotel that offers luxury beds; it will make them feel more “at home.”

Dress the Part

What better way to enjoy your road trip than by twinning it the whole time? Get your Instagram-worthy photos when you plan your wardrobe in advance. Pet clothing is a hot trend right now, so there’s no better time to find matching outfits to complete your vacation look. From matching bandanas and T-shirts to hoodies and jackets, you can show the world you and your pet are the perfect match.

Pro tip: Sunglasses are a cute look on dogs, but they’re also great for protecting their eyes from wind and dust, so make sure you have a pair for both you and your pup!

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