A 2009 survey by the Travel Industry Association of America found that more than 14% of U.S. adults had traveled with their pets in the previous three years (dogs being the most common travel companions, comprising 78% of pet travelers). The Hospitality industry quickly caught on to this trend, as evidenced by the pet-friendly attractions and accommodations that seem to be popping up everywhere! To help pet owners navigate the myriad pet-friendly options for staying and playing away from home, numerous websites and mobile apps have emerged. For the second article in our “Essential Apps for Pet Owners” blog series, we profile a few of the most popular apps in the pet-friendly-travel category. With tools like these in your smartphone, pet owners can be assured: you’ll never have to roam alone!
Trying to find a dog-friendly cafe nearby? The website iLoveDogFriendly.com has a smartphone app that can point you in the right direction. The app reflects the bounty of dog-friendly travel options from the company’s robust website, with over 18,000 listings of places that will welcome you and your pet. The location-based search tool directs users to restaurants, hotels, dog parks, and beaches in areas around the U.S. and Canada. Smooth integration with social media platforms like Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter make it easy to log your adventures and photo-ops along the way. Available for Android and iOS devices.
If your pooch is an international jet-setter, BringFido is the app for you. Reflecting the BringFido.com website, the app offers access to the resources of a full-fledged dog-friendly travel agency, including the ability to call a Pet Friendly Travel Expert for personalized guidance through the booking process. App users can get all the info they need on dog air travel (including U.S. Pet Air Travel Regulations) and swap travel tips with fellow humans in the Dog Forum. Travelers can use BringFido to send a free “Dog e-Postcard” to the folks back home. The app also serves as a convenient source of dog-product coupons and free samples, and it enables dog owners to keep current on local mutt mixers with its Events Calendar. The free BringFido app is available for iOS only, but any smartphone user with a data plan can access the website while on-the-go.
Fido Factor could best be described as the Yelp of dog directories. Searches for dog-friendly destinations — restaurants, bars, dog parks, pet stores — can be refined by ratings or specific features. User reviews are focused around an establishment’s dog-friendly factor: for example, if the dog-friendly patio seating was shaded, or whether waitstaff at a particular restaurant had water bowls available for furry visitors. In addition to writing reviews, app users can add pictures from their own pet’s visit to any of the listings. The app is currently available for iOS only, and listings are heavily concentrated in the San Francisco region. The fun, user-driven content, however, gives Fido Factor potential to expand in its geographical relevance.
Have you got a favorite app for pet-friendly travel that we didn’t mention? Do tell! Happy trails to you and your favorite furry travel companion!