When Scott Hardy hits the road, he always makes sure to leave room in his suitcase for his stuffed animal.
That's right, the 34-year-old businessman always travels with Barkley, a stuffed beagle. No, it's not for his two daughters. No he doesn't sleep with a nightlight and no he isn't smuggling drugs.
Seven years ago Hardy's then girlfriend, now wife, gave him the doggie as a reminder of her.
"I travel enough that it's a nice reminder of home," said Hardy who runs an online legal notice company, Top Class Actions.
Housekeepers like to put it on top of his pillow or prop it up prominently on the night stand.
Even when Hardy travels on an annual guys trip -- a beach trip to Mexico this year -- Barkley comes along.
"I've had some friends who are like, 'What's with the stuffed animal?'" the Phoenix-area man said. "It's just a reminder of my beautiful bride."
"Barkley stays in the suitcase when I'm home," Hardy added. "He only comes out for trips."
Hardy isn't the only adult traveling with a stuffed animal. In fact, as many as one in every four grown men might just have a teddy bear tucked away in their suitcase.
How do we know this?
Well, in the last 12 months, British hotel chain Travelodge has reunited more than 75,000 bears with the owners. That's a lot of stuffed animals left at its 452 hotels in the United Kingdom and Spain. So the company decided to investigate a bit further.
Travelodge surveyed 6,000 Britons and discovered that 35 percent of adults admitted they sleep with their teddy because they found cuddling their bear comforting. Additionally, many said the calming feeling of a bear hug helped them lower their stress level after a hard day.
And it turns out that a large number of the bear-toting travelers are men.
Travelodge said that 25 percent of men reported they take their teddy bear away with them when going away on business. The stuffed animal supposedly reminds them of home and -- some say -- helps fill a cuddle-void left by distant partners.
One in ten single men surveyed admitted they hide their teddy bear when their girlfriend stays over and 14 percent of married men reported they hide their teddy bear in the wardrobe or under the bed when any family and friends come to visit.
Fear not, it's isn't just men who travel with stuffed animals.
Laurie Luck has a stuffed dog that she sleeps with every night -- at home or on the road.
"Puppy goes everywhere I go. He's kind of my security blanket," Luck said. "He's been everywhere. I sleep with him every night. I know that sounds terrible for a 42–year-old woman to say, but it's true."
Puppy has been camping, on a cruise. He's gone everywhere that Luck has been in the last 26 years.
Yes, that's right, Puppy isn't a holdover from childhood, but a more-recent acquisition.
"I was never allowed to have a stuffed animal or a blankie as a kid because my mom didn't want me to leave it and then not be able to sleep without it," said Luck, an animal trainer. "So 26 years ago, a friend gave me this. It sort of resonated with me. It was the stuffed animal I was never able to have as a kid."
She has never lost the stuffed animal when traveling but said to do so would be "disastrous."
"Puppy is more of a priority than my cell phone or purse," she said, adding, "I know I probably sound like an overgrown child."
Today, Luck said her friends and family accept her bunkmate when they learn about Puppy's existence.
"I made sure my husband was okay with it before we got married," she said. "I had to sort of break the news: I sleep with a stuffed animal. This is what I do and I hope there won't be a problem."
Click to view image: 'Mr Bean'
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