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Travel 2006    

Road & rail


Millions of Americans still prefer to see the U.S.A. the old-fashioned way.

Traveling with pets is getting doggone easy
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Kain says the single biggest obstacle to traveling with a dog remains getting from point A (your home) to point B (the fun) if you can't or don't have time to drive. "You cannot take a dog on Greyhound or Amtrak, so you've basically ruled out anything but airplane or car," he says.

The Kains strongly caution against sending your pet as air freight, which costs about $75 each way. "They treat a dog like cargo, and anyone who has flown knows how they treat cargo," he says. Some airlines, however, will allow you to bring a very small dog (less than 15 or 20 pounds, depending on the airline) on board with you for the same fee, but generally no more than two are allowed per passenger.

Hoteliers aren't the only ones who have made accommodations for pets. Many theme parks and other attractions now offer affordable day kennels so your pooch won't pout while you're out and about. Disneyland's kennel, for instance, is only $15 a day and you can visit as much as you like.

Trams, boats and ghost tours
Once you've worked out the logistics of getting to your destination with your pet, the fun you can have is almost limitless. Len Kain says some public transportation systems, including Washington state ferries, the Toronto and Boston subways and San Francisco's famed cable cars, welcome dogs, while many others allow small animals on board in carriers. Or thrill your dog with a ride (in summer, of course) on the Mammoth Mountain or Squaw Valley ski trams.

Got a water lover? Several Mississippi riverboats allow dogs, and while you can't take Fido on a cruise ship, you can cross the big pond with him on the QE2, as long as he stays in the indoor/on-deck kennels. You can also bring your dog on car ferries to Alaska, but he must remain in your car or RV and is not allowed in cabins or dining or seating areas.

Concerts in the park, public gardens and scenic overlooks are all great fun for four-footed friends. In addition, the Kains can recommend from firsthand experience horse-and-buggy rides (yes, they allow dogs on your Central Park hansom ride) and ghost tours, where their standard poodle Toby once provided a perfectly timed impromptu howl.

There is at least one tourist attraction the Kains found most dog-unfriendly.

"Toby was a year old and we took him on a mine tour in Colorado where you go 300 feet down in a train," says Kain. "We loved it, it was so cool, but then they turned on the digging machine to demonstrate and it was like 110 decibels. We had to take him two mine shafts away to save his ears. The people didn't like it either."

What are your summer travel plans? Take our reader poll and see what other Americans will be doing this summer.

Jay MacDonald is a contributing editor based in Mississippi.

-- Posted: May 15, 2006
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