Millennials are Trading Handprints for Noseprints

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What Petplan’s travel survey reveals — and confirms — about the nation’s young adults

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Piling into the car for a road trip is a time-honored summer tradition among American families – and for Millennials, the family is getting furrier. According to the fourth annual travel survey by pet insurance provider Petplan, Millennials are hitting the road with their pets more than any other generation.

Responses from over 2,200 pet parents revealed several stark differences in travel trends between Millennials —those ages 18-29 — and older generations:

  •     Say yes to pets: 84% of Millennial respondents travel with their pets, compared to 79% of the 30-and-over crowd.
  •     Guilt tripping: 66% said they feel guilty about leaving their pets at home and 77% worry about their pet while they’re away. Among older respondents, only 32% reported experiencing guilt, and 55% felt worried.
  •     Furry family welcome: 78% of Millennials bring pets along when visiting family and friends (and 74% spend the night), up from 62% of older generations.
  •     Pets over people: Regardless of age, nearly half of all respondents said they would rather take a trip with their pet than their partner. Meow-ch!

So why are Millennials promoting Rover to co-pilot more than older generations?

One key consideration is that Millennials are starting families later in life: 67% of Petplan’s survey respondents are unmarried and 86% don’t have children. While some have argued that pets have replaced children among this generation, research has actually found that 82% of Millennials see getting a pet as an important step in preparing to have a family.* That includes “practicing” traveling with them, as 61% of Millennials prioritize having a pet who’s easy to travel with.*

“This generation came of age facing a tough job market and record debt, but in the face of all that uncertainty they could count on the love of their pets. In a way, they started their families before ever welcoming a spouse or children into their lives,” says Petplan co-founder and co-CEO, Natasha Ashton.

No matter the age of the pet parent, before hitting the road with furry friends in tow, brush up on these top travel tips from Petplan:

  •     ID is key: Pets should always wear proper identification, but it’s especially important when traveling. Make sure your pet’s ID includes a current cell phone number and contact information. Also consider a microchip just in case your pet’s collar was to come off by accident.
  •     Vet the (local) vets: 10% of survey respondents needed to bring their pet to the vet unexpectedly while traveling. Petplan’s Vet Finder Tool can lend a paw to find the nearest vet or emergency clinic based on your destination’s zip code.
  •     Harness the hound: Because unsecured pets can leap into a driver’s lap, obscure their vision or cause other distractions, it’s safer for everyone on the road when pets are properly restrained in the car. With lots of options available, from harnesses and booster seats to carriers, pet parents can find a safety restraint that’s just right for their pet’s breed and size.
  •     Pack the pet bag: In addition to kibble, toys and treats, pack a first aid kit for traveling pets with bandages, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic wash and a medicine dropper. Download or print Petplan’s full first aid checklist to be completely prepared.

For more information about keeping pets happy and healthy while traveling, including downloadable resources from Petplan veterinarians, visit

*Wakefield Research, “The Millennial Pet Owner,” 2014


Petplan is more than a pet insurance provider. We're dedicated to providing pet parents with the support, resources and tools they need to keep their pets not just surviving—but thriving—into their old age. Simply put, we aim to be the kind of company that will make our pets proud. For the third consecutive year, Petplan was listed among Forbes' annual ranking of America’s Most Promising Companies – a list of 100 privately held, high-growth companies with bright futures. Petplan is the only pet insurance provider to have been included on Inc. Magazine’s list of 500 fastest-growing, privately held companies in America.

Petplan’s fully customizable cat and dog insurance policies provide comprehensive coverage for all hereditary and chronic conditions for the life of the pet as standard. Petplan policies are underwritten by AGCS Marine Insurance Company in the U.S. and by Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Company in Canada. The Allianz Group was rated A+ by A.M. Best in 2014. For more information about Petplan pet insurance, visit or call 1-866-467-3875.

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Jessica Kinney
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