Jan 14, 2015 Great Travel Resource: Trips with Pets Happy New Year, Pals! During this nasty weather, I like to spend my time dreaming of fun trips that my humans, brother and I can take together once it gets warmer (and less icy). Thankfully, we just connected with the people at Trips with Pets, a wonderful online resource for all things pet travel related (and headquartered in neighboring Wake Forest, N.C.!). I sat down with President & CEO Kim A. Salerno to get to know her better and find out how we all can use her site. Barley: Hi, Kim! Thanks so much for agreeing to chat with me. I think your site is wagtastic because I love going on trips with my humans. I hear you have a lot of fur-kids at home. Is that part of why you started Trips with Pets? Kim: Yes, it certainly is. Prior to starting TripsWithPets.com, I was in the online human-only travel industry. Being a crazy animal lover, dog mom, and frequent traveler, I saw an opportunity to create a site that would make it easy for folks like me to travel with their pets. We wanted to build a site that helped ensure that pets are welcome, happy, and safe in their travels. So, in addition to our site featuring pet friendly accommodations, our site offers many other helpful pet travel resources – like pet travel tips and pet travel supplies. Barley: Well, that sounds great for a traveling pup like me. What are some of your favorite resources on TripswithPets.com? Kim: Our #1 feature is our pet friendly hotels & accommodations! Our site features over 30,000 pet friendly accommodations across the US and Canada. You are able to book these accommodations directly through our site or call to book - 24/7! The TWP Pet Travel Store is also a key feature on our site. We sell all types of pet travel gear -- from pet car seats and seat belts to vehicle pet barriers and portable dog potties (you heard me right!). Many pet parents come to our site when they are planning a move with their pet. We have a very popular Pet Moving Guide. It provides all kinds of tips and helpful resources to help make the task of moving with your four-legged family members go smoothly. Barley: Now that would've been helpful a few years back when my humans and I moved from Chicago. It was a long 14 hour car ride. So as a pet travel expert, what are your top three tips for taking your pet on a trip? Kim: There are many categories of pet travel tips, but these are the most common areas that pet parents inquire about: Pet Friendly Hotel Tip: Request a first floor room near an exit. This makes potty breaks and walks much more convenient.Pet Car Travel Tip: Ensure your pet is properly secured in your vehicle. You “buckle up” the rest of your family members – your pets should be no different.Pet Air Travel Tip: Book direct, non-stop flights during non-peak time. This will help reduce the stress on your pet…and you. It will also reduce potential safety risks. Barley: My brother Hops and I completely agree with the hotel tip. We hate having to go down a bunch of stairs just to go potty! Now, let's talk about your own personal pet trips. Do you have a funny story you’d like to share? Kim: Fortunately, my personal pet travels have been uneventful. However, a couple years ago I traveled to Scottsdale, AZ, and stayed at the pet-friendly Firesky Resort. This resort is part of the Kimpton Hotel Group -- a high-end boutique hotel chain -- ALL of which are pet friendly with no breed or weight restrictions and no pet fee. They offer pet amenities that rival those of humans. I heard about them and decided to stay at their resort. I was not traveling with my pet, so they provided one for me. I had a pet fish in my room name Zelda! One day I was out in the courtyard and spotted a nicely dressed woman walking what I thought was a very overweight dog. As I got closer, I discovered that it was not a dog, but a pot bellied pig. She was a regular guest at the resort and traveled their every year with her pet pig. Barley: (Note to self: Force humans to book trip to Firesky so that I can meet a pig). Oh, sorry, Kim. Just got a little side tracked there. Anywho, we've found that there are tons of great places that we pets are allowed to go nowadays. What is your favorite pet-friendly place in NC? How about outside of NC? Kim: I’ve only been in NC for about 2 years so I’ve yet to explore all the amazing pet friendly places and accommodations that North Carolina has to offer. However, we (my pups and I) do of course, LOVE the Triangle area. In addition to a great number of pet-friendly accommodations, the Triangle has a very robust and passionate pet community. There are so many pet-friendly activities and places to enjoy with your pet. I take my pets with me on my day-to-day errands & stops – as they are welcome in many shops and stores. A typical day out with my dogs includes stopping at Wake Forest Coffee, doing a little shopping at The Cotton Company, picking up supplies at Home Depot, then maybe heading over to Dirty Dogs Spa for a little pampering--all of which are pet friendly! If you’re looking for a beach getaway with your pet, the North Carolina coast boasts amazing pet-friendly vacation rentals--from moderate accommodations to luxury vacation homes. If mountains are more your style, head out west where you’ll find quaint pet friendly bed & breakfasts, cabins, as well as luxury vacation rentals. You can find them all on our site! Outside of NC, my favorite pet-friendly place (so far) is Portland, Maine (in the summertime!). There are numerous off-leash beaches and hiking areas, restaurants with outdoor seating areas that are pet friendly, as well as a pet-friendly ferry service. They even offer whale-watching tours that are pet friendly. A great spot! Barley: I've had a tail-waggin' time with you today, Kim. You've given us some great ideas and tools to help us have fun (and successful) trips with our humans. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our pals? Kim: Traveling with your pet can be an incredibly enjoyable and bonding experience. Whether it’s across town or across the country, don’t miss the opportunity to share your travels and adventures with your pet. Thanks, Barley! You’re cute! Connect with Trips with Pets at www.tripswithpets.com and Facebook.com/tripswithpets.