‘The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel’

Author and journalist Kelly E. Carter (shown with her beloved Lucy) has written the just-published "The Dog Lover's Guide to Travel," from National Geographic Books.

A new book takes you and your pooch to 75 dog-friendly spots.

Although I don’t have a dog of my own, I’m a total dog person. I’m sure people think I’m nuts when I call my parents’ dog Nala my ‘sister with fur.’ I rarely get excited when passing a baby stroller on a city street, but break out into a spontaneous smile every time I encounter a four-legged furball on a leash. And nothing makes me happier than to step onto an elevator in my South Loop high-rise and see the adorable face of an excitable pooch. (Of course, I remember the names of the pets – but shame on me, rarely know their owners.)

So I was especially thrilled when my good friend and fellow travel journalist Kelly E. Carter told me last year that she was penning a book about taking your dog person on the road across North America. After countless interviews and trips throughout the United States and Canada, her labor of love, The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel: Best Destinations, Hotels, Events and Advice to Please Your Pet – and You made its debut last week. This gorgeous, full-color tome from National Geographic Books is a sizable paperback, and in it, Kelly takes pet lovers to 75 of North America’s best pet-cation destinations.

Although the book has just been published, it’s already been written up in American Airlines’ American Way magazine, Sunset Magazine, The Bark and Every Day with Rachael Ray. Publishers Weekly has called it “the ultimate resource for traveling with your furry friend, from doggie daycare to canine cruises, including walks you can take with your dog and tips from local pet parents.”

Always in tow as Kelly spent 2013 researching the book was Lucy, the author’s beloved long-haired Chihuahua. I first met fellow Italophile Kelly in 2004 while we both were living in Italy – me in Florence, she in Positano. Like me, Kelly always longed to live in bella Italia — and she left what many would call a dream job covering celebrities in Southern California to move with Lucy to Italy. What a life they created for themselves. Little Lucy became Lucia during their sojourn, and they made quite the pair as 6-foot-plus Kelly would fashionably stroll the streets of Florence and the Amalfi Coast with her miniature pooch in tow. All the traveling they did back then, when Kelly worked as a freelance writer for several international publications, helped lay the groundwork for her NatGeo book.

The pet travel expert for AOL’s PawNation and Elite Traveler magazine, Kelly’s also the founder of TheJetSetPets.com, an online resource for people who travel with their pets. And she’s already a New York Times best-selling author, having co-written Come To Win: Business Leaders, Artists, Doctors, and Other Visionaries on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession (Amistad, $25.99) with tennis superstar Venus Williams back in 2010.

Within The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel, the destinations are grouped by region – Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Northwest, Southwest & Southern Rockies, West & Hawaii, and Canada – and then alphabetically. Talk about a comprehensive collection of places to go. She’s covered everywhere from Cape Cod to Portland to Austin to Toronto.

And of course there’s a great section on Chicago. Kelly and Lucy made a special trip to the Windy City last summer to do their research, inviting me to join them on Mercury’s Canine Cruise that sails every Sunday from July through September with pets and their people. While here, they criss-crossed the city so Kelly’s book could tell travelers about fur-friendly Montrose Dog Beach and Wiggly Field. Wag-welcoming eateries including European-inspired Pierrot Gourmet, RL Restaurant, and the riverside Cyrano’s Café & Wine Bar. And several hotels, including the Hotel Lincoln and The James, graciously put out the welcome mat for dog people.

These two certainly have been hitting the road and skies lately promoting the book. They’ve done local TV appearances, radio interviews, and Facebook chats. (If you’ll be in San Francisco, the Bay Area, Carmel-by-the-Sea or Colorado come July, check out their appearances.) And they’ll be on Good Morning America any day now, as GMA contributor Becky Worley recently traveled to San Francisco, spending a few days hanging out with Kelly and Lucy for a dog travel segment pegged to the book’s recent release.

If you’re a pet person– or know someone who is – check out and pick up The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel. It’s available in paperback and in Kindle versions at Amazon.com. Here’s wishing happy travels to you and your four-legged friends, wherever they take you!


About Maureen Jenkins

Maureen Jenkins is a food/travel writer and communications professional who's visited nearly 35 countries and territories, lived in Florence, Italy, and recently spent a year living in a charming village near Paris, France. The self-proclaimed 'urban travel girl' talks travel, food and wine – abroad and in Chicago – in "TCW Travel Connection.” Read more of her thoughts on living globally at UrbanTravelGirl.com.