Globe Trotting Pets

There's a new kind of tourist that, now more than ever, is hitting the road, visiting the World's Biggest Balls of Twine and getting room service at fancy hotels: pets.

Increasingly, Americans are finding their favorite at-home companions make excellent traveling partners as well, and more and more businesses are accommodating them.

''More people are traveling with their pets (and because) places see this as a way to increase their revenue stream, more and more are letting people have their pets with them,'' said Fred Grayson, CEO of Petswelcome.com. ''I get messages from people who say, 'I've never taken a vacation in 15 years because of my dogs and now I can go on vacation with them.' ''

Grayson's Web site lists some 15,000 pet-friendly lodgings in the United State and Canada, and 30,000 pet-friendly venues such as campgrounds and ski resorts. A decade ago, he estimates, there were less than 4,000 pet-friendly destinations.

Pampered Pets

The Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, not only offers pet room service and pet-sitting service, but holds summer and winter dog marathons. The hotel has 17 suites designated as pet-accessible, ranging from $149 to $289, which are nearly always booked. David Huntington, the hotel's manager, says there have never been serious pet-related problems.

''In my experience, people who stay in the hotel treat their dogs like children, baby them, and the dogs are never a problem,'' he said. ''In all the time we've had dogs here, we've had at most half a dozen instances where we had to ask them to calm the dog down, and we've never asked anyone to leave because of their pet.''

Grayson estimates that nearly 25 percent of the 154 million American households that include pets travel with their furry friends, which he attributes to the fact that animals have become something of a celebrity accouterment.

''More and more famous people have pets, people like Mary Tyler Moore and Betty White and Tippi Hedren and Bo Derek,'' Grayson said. ''Clinton has a dog and a cat, so people kind of feel more comfortable with the idea of having pets with them a lot because that's what the people in power are doing.''

And pets aren't just road-tripping it cross-country; it's getting easier for them to travel to Europe, where the ubiquitous piles on the streets are evidence that the continent is the world's dog-and-cat haven. Great Britain has already begun dismantling its century-old animal-quarantine laws.

Dawn Habgood, who co-wrote On the Road Again with Man's Best Friend with her husband, Robert, said a good 80 percent of the questions she gets on her Web site, Thejetsetpet.com, involve overseas travel and animal-immigration laws. She advised that because regulations vary from country to country—from dog-loving France to pet-skittish Australia—travelers should thoroughly research a foreign nation's animal laws beforehand. And if you're thinking about taking a trip to someplace even farther away, consider that you may be consigning your beloved Bowser to a 24-hour trip in the hold of a noisy airplane, she said.

But while the American hotel industry seems at first glance to be embracing four-legged pals, there have been some adjustments to make. Habgood noted that many hotels that attempt to accommodate pets quickly reverse their policy the first time a dog left alone in a room rearranges the furniture with his teeth.

Hotels that charge pet-cleaning fees often prove to be the most prepared for canine or feline visitors, Habgood and Grayson agreed.

Words From the Wise

Both Habgood and Grayson had other tips for those traveling with their hounds, Abyssinians, ferrets, tarantulas:

*Train your dog to a crate as a puppy, and take the crate along on trips.

*Be sure to bring your pet's favorite toys; also bring a jug of the water your animal normally drinks and slowly wean him or her off of it and onto the drinking water where you're going.

*When you arrive at your destination, consider finding a pet sitter to stay with your dog while you're out exploring the sights.

*Get your animal accustomed to car rides by taking it on longer and longer rides before you go on vacation.

*Bring a leash and proof of ownership, especially in Canada.

*Check with your airline to make sure the baggage area where your pet will be kept is pressurized and heated. Consider having a vet give your pet a mild tranquilizer for the flight.

*Be prepared for the unexpected: Even the most mild-mannered pet may act differently in new surroundings.

*Research whether or not there is dangerous wildlife where you're going, and make sure to keep your animal on a leash outdoors.

Both experts also noted an increasing number of resorts which cater to people who want to bring their animals. Habgood recommended the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and the Hotel Columbia in Telluride, Colo. for dog lovers. Because of the long flight and restrictive laws, Hawaii is a difficult place to bring animals.

Grayson said nearly anyplace in Florida and California will prove to be pet-friendly, but especially noted that Disney World and the Orlando area often have well-run on-site kennels.