Money and animals: Travelling with your pet

As pets have become part of our family, they've increasingly become part of our travel plans. This summer, as people everywhere scale back their vacation budgets, driving instead of flying, expect to see more dogs and cats coming on vacation. Financially, it often makes sense considering how much it can be to hire a trustworthy dog-sitter.

The good news is that the travel industry is finally catching on -- or trying to. I've been traveling for 12 years with my big shepherd mutt Jolly and have seen lots of improvements in his lifetime, but pet owners still have to put a lot of effort into having a good vacation with our pets.

Decades ago nearly every hotelier would've considered you wildly eccentric for traveling with your dog. Many establishments are still hold-outs to this antiquated philosophy, fearing that people will be traveling with out-of-control beasts who will take a break from chewing furniture only to mess the rug or scare other guests. Some give the excuse of allergies. I have allergies; I'm sympathetic. But I've never seen anyone go into anaphylactic shock because there was a dog in the room last week.

The number of people who travel with their pets depends on who you ask: the Travel Industry Association says 14% of people travel with their pets, mainly dogs, in a 2002 survey. Trip Advisor surveyed travelers in 2007 and found 56% of American animal owners took their pet on vacation.