The Jet Set Pets Travels First Class


Talk to many “pet parents” and you’ll find there’s nothing too good—or good enough—for their little darlings with fur. In a country where the American Pet Products Association says we’ll spend nearly $53 billion on our pets this year—and where 73 million of our homes have at least one pet—this industry is pretty recession-proof, with spending climbing each year. Smart hoteliers, airlines and others in the travel industry have done the math and figured out that catering to spoiled-rotten pets and their savvy owners boosts the bottom line.

And that’s why jet-setting journalist and New York Times best-selling author Kelly E. Carter launched, which she calls “the premiere luxury resource for the pampered pet on the go.” At the heart of this enterprise (aka “Top Dog”) is Lucy, her long-haired Chihuahua, quite possibly the least obtrusive traveler you’ll ever meet—on two legs OR four!

Updated at least once a day, clues discerning human travelers in about upscale, pet-friendly hotels around the globe. (This makes sense because back in 2001, Carter was a Los Angeles-based celebrity reporter for USA Today who purposely sought out a dog that didn’t bark, was petite enough to travel inside an airplane cabin—and would behave in five-star properties and with the rich-and-famous.) Thanks to Carter’s work as a Contributing Editor at Elite Traveler—and the articles she’s penned on pet travel for USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and Departures—Lucy has traveled to and stayed in some of the world’s most luxurious resorts and hotels, including a recent stay at the fabulous five-star Mandarin Oriental, Paris. It certainly IS a dog’s life. And this one is better traveled than most of us.

IN 2003, Lucy moved with her pet mom to Italy, where she became fondly known by the locals as “Lucia.” Not only did she pick up her European passport by living in Florence and gorgeous Positano on the Amalfi Coast, but over the years she’s “traveled by plane, train, helicopter, bus, scooter, car, and boat, hung out on yachts, European discos and the Playboy Mansion, attended fashion shows, movie premieres, plays, sporting events and weddings and stayed on private islands, villas and some of the finest hotels, where she is accustomed to receiving massages and room service.” Oh, and she’s also landed in the pages of People magazine and the National Enquirer! All this high-rolling has given Carter—and Lucy—the gravitas to host a site like this. also lets well-heeled travelers—and their humans—check out the latest and greatest pet boutiques, apparel, products and food, as well as a blog written from Lucy’s glamorous and rarely-humble perspective. Practical pet parents can seek out—and share—advice on traveling with pets, find useful resources, and share photos and profiles of their furry friends with others on (True disclosure: My “dog sister” NALA is pictured on the site, garbed in her orange life jacket aboard a Chicago River sightseeing cruise.) Especially useful is the chock-full section on airline pet travel policies, as they vary widely from one carrier to the next.

If you’re still scampering for more pet-worthy news and info, check out Carter’s “The Pet Setter” role and her “Pet Travel Expert Q&A” column on AOL’s new PawNation site.


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