3 holiday travel tips to save you money this season

If you are planning to leave town for the holidays, you may want to consider these money-saving tips before you book your trip.

Travellers dining and shopping at PBIA
Travellers dining and shopping at PBIA

Erin Warren, a shopping expert at Splender, a cash back shopping website, has put together a list of tips for families who want to plan holiday trips without breaking the bank.

Warren’s recommendations include:

  1. Book travel plans midweek. If costs are an important factor, flying in the middle of the week (Tuesday and Wednesday) can help save hundreds of dollars. Many airlines will offer lower fares to fill empty seats during the middle of the week, so being on the lookout during this time can be a huge advantage.
  2.  Purchase indirect flights. Although there might be a layover, many indirect flights tend to be an inexpensive option for travelers looking to find an affordable option.
  3. Combine multiple deals to save money. Savvy consumers can use online shopping portals through airline programs to earn bonus miles or points for purchases through credit card programs. In addition, shoppers can also “double-dip” to earn two types of rewards with the same purchase or strategically stack rewards and then apply coupon codes for maximum savings.

 

Local spas, wellness businesses offering month of deals

Spas and wellness centers across the county will offer dozens of deals and discounts next month as part of a promotion designed to help bring more tourists here.

Although the event, dubbed “Spa and Wellness Month,” is being organized by county tourism leaders, the discounts and promotions are available to both locals and out-of-town visitors.

Eau Spa (Provided)
Eau Spa (Provided)

Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s official tourism marketing organization, will kick off the 31-day campaign on Oct. 1.

Treatments start at $50 and wellness experiences begin at $5 at spa and wellness establishments from Boca Raton to Tequesta.

More than a dozen local spas and wellness providers are participating in the promotion, which was created by the marketing organization to put the spotlight on the area’s “broad range of wellness-focused amenities and activities.”

Here is the complete list of offerings:

Beaute Therapies Medical Spa
Cost: $149

Save: $301 (Regular price: $450)
Venus Legacy Neck Treatment: Combat stubborn fat areas and cellulite with proven (MP)2 technology—Multi-Polar Radio Frequency and Pulsed Electro Magnetic Fields— combined the innovative VariPulse™ technology, which enables therapeutic heat energy to safely travel deeper into the skin, resulting in increased blood circulation, noticeable skin tightening, and immediately plumped and glowing skin. Results can be seen in as little as one treatment with no pain, discomfort, or downtime. One treatment per person for the special price. Twenty four hour notice of cancelation required.
Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation
Cost: $8 per class or $50 for a pass of eight classes
CMAA Therapeutic Recreation – Gentle Yoga: Stay active, stretch muscles and reduce stress in a class modified for each individual. Participate by sitting on a yoga mat or in a chair. Recommended for all abilities. Passes expire three months from date of purchase.

Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa
Cost: $159 Save: Up to $130 + receive 20 percent off retail purchases Summer Sun-Sation Package: Choose two of the following spa treatments for $159: Swedish Massage, Custom Facial, Soothing Sun Wrap, Ocean Body Scrub or Express Manicure and Pedicure. Also enjoy 20 percent off retail purchases and access to the pool, beach and fitness center. Valid through October 31, 2016. Changes or cancelations must be made within 24-hours of scheduled appointment time. Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa will donate 10 percent from this promotion to the Susan G. Komen® Organization.

Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa
Cost: $314 Save: More than $200

Ultimate Spa Retreat Package:
Includes luxurious accommodations in a one- or two-bedroom condominium paired with two 50-minute spa treatments, per stay paired with unlimited use of spa facilities for two adults including steam room, heated marble beds, relaxation room with hot tea bar, private whirlpool, waterfall showers and lockers. Rates from $314 per room, per night.

The Salt Suite

Cost: $15 Save: More than 50 percent off regular price

The Salt Suite Savings: Discover a 100 percent natural alternative to find relief from stress, respiratory ailments and skin conditions. For every Salt Therapy Session booked, The Salt Suite will donate $1 to American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Program.

Anushka Spa, Salon & Cosmedical Centre:
Cost: $79 Save: $30 (regular price $109)
The Signature Facial: The signature facial is a luxurious treatment that enhances the face and décolleté through gentle exfoliation, extraction, a rejuvenating mask and hydrating massage.
The Breakers Palm Beach
Cost: $99
“Coming Together” The Breakers and Essie for Breast Cancer Awareness: Expert spa technicians pamper one’s hands and feet with this 50-minute manicure and pedicure combination service utilizing OSEA all-natural, vegan and organic skincare products. Includes a take-home nail kit inclusive of Essie’s “Coming Together” polish, compliments of The Breakers. When guests wear “Coming Together,” the resort will donate 50 percent of the net proceeds from this service to the Susan G. Komen® organization. Rates from $99 per person.
Cosmo and Co. at 360 Beauty, Health, Wellness
Cost: $99 Save: $56 (original price $155)
Fire & Ice and Eye Bright Facial Treatment: This ultra-anti-aging iS Clinical Innovative Skincare® treatment combines botanical antioxidants to resurface skin, reduce fine lines, and encourage cellular renewal. A warm Resurfacing Masque of powerful botanical acids, retinol, niacin, and antioxidants leave skin polished and glowing. Then, a Revitalizing Masque using nature’s most nourishing hydrator hyaluronic acid and cooling aloe vera reveals luminous, fresh, and hydrated skin. Emerge fresh and ready following Eye Bright, which illuminates tired eyes by treating fine lines, wrinkles, dark circles and puffiness. Rates from $99 per person for a 50 minute treatment. One treatment per person. Twenty four-hour cancellation required.

Eau Spa

Cost: from $150 Save $145 (regular price $295)
Sea Salt & Honey Pumpkin Polish and Mask: The decadent Sea Salt & Honey Pumpkin Polish and Mask begins with a sea salt exfoliation that will gently slough off rough and dry skin, leaving a smooth visage. Wrap it up with a pumpkin puree clay mask that incorporates bentonite and illite clay to draw out impurities, detoxify and increase blood circulation. Add a Dry Float bed for an additional $25. Eau Spa will donate 10 percent of sales from this treatment in the month of October to Making Strides of Palm Beach. This special may not be combined with any other discounts, gift cards or gift certificates, and is subject to availability.

Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
Cost: $125 Save $45 (regular price $170)

The Pink Moon Massage: Warm and relaxing organic lavender oil is used in this gentle and soothing 50-minute Swedish massage. Hydrating pink rose, vitamin E and a shea butter hand treatment are also included. This treatment is not recommended for those who may be pregnant. Spa guests must be 14 years or older. Four Seasons Resort will donate ten percent of sales from this treatment during October 2016 to the Susan G. Komen® Organization.
Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa
Cost: $99 Save $26 (regular price $125)
Bliss Massage: This 50-minute massage helps to harmonize and rejuvenate, combining frankincense inhalation and aromatherapy oils, creating a unique journey of relaxation. Rates begin from $99 per person and include access to the resort’s beach, fitness center, pool, steam room and restaurants, as well as 20 percent off spa retail purchases, on day of service. Pricing does not include an 18 percent service charge. Ten percent of all proceeds received from this promotion will be donated to the Susan G. Komen® Organization.

The Lane Spa
Cost: $69 Save $10 (regular price $79)
Lane Spa Signature Massage: During this indulgent 60-minute service, experience an eclectic and therapeutic massage customized to one’s specific needs. The treatment includes a warm neck wrap and is finished with moist hot towels for the feet and back. Rates begin from $69 per person. Not valid with any other discounts, coupons, or specials.

Nspa at The Delray Beach Marriott
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the inaugural Spa & Wellness Month in The Palm Beaches, Nspa will offer the following services and therapies:
o Express Manicure & Pedicure – From $50 per person, save $10 (regular price: $60) for a 60-minute service
o Swedish Massage – From $99, save $31 (regular price: $130) for a 50-minute service
o Custom Facial – From $99, save $31 (regular price $130) for a 50-minute service
o Shampoo & Blow-dry – From $35, save $10 (regular price: $45)
o 20 percent savings off any other 50 or 80-minute service.
Pricing does not include an 18 percent service charge, which will be added to the final bill upon check-out. This promotion cannot be combined with any other promotion or discount. Special pricing is only available Monday through Friday during October 2016.
The Seagate Hotel & Spa
Cost: $150 Save $65 (regular price $215)

On Cloud Nine: A relaxing neck, back and shoulder massage using pink hibiscus oil melts away tension and soothes sore muscles. Face, scalp and feet are then treated, offering deepened tranquility. ESPA’s Pink Mud nourishes one’s hair while ELEMIS’ Rose Absolute and Moringa Oil hydrate and detox skin with a decadent lifting facial massage. A hot towel foot cleansing ritual followed by the stimulation of pressure points on the feet encourages the release of blockages and increases energy flow. This package consists of three 25-minute treatments. Gratuity is not included.

Serenity Rose Massage & Wellness
Cost: $80 Save $35 (regular price $110)
The Aurora Experience: The combination of therapeutic grade essential oils and soft tissue manipulation align the body and balances energy while relieving tension. Oils are applied to the reflex points of the feet and along the spine to enhance overall bodily function. The Aurora Experience transforms the total body into a state of wellbeing, balance and wholeness. This one-hour massage treatment is non-invasive, relaxing and natural. Owing to the use of essential oils, this treatment should be avoided for those who experience skin or heat sensitivity. The package and rate is subject to availability.
SiSpa at Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island

Cost: $150 per person Save $50 (regular price $200)
Route to Wellness: This 80-minute service includes a spa-flexology and the choice of a full body Swedish Massage using light to medium touch or a Classic European Facial, which includes cleansing, exfoliation and extractions if needed, followed by a facial massage and moisturizer that best fits one’s skin type. Ten percent of all Wellness Wow and Route to Wellness services during Spa & Wellness Month will be donated to Jupiter Medical Center Comprehensive Cancer Services. Reservations are
required for all packages, which are single guest and same day use only. There is a 24-hour cancellation or change policy. All packages will be charged a 20 percent service charge on the original value of service.

Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa

Cost: $50 Save $33 (regular price $83) + receive a $50 spa credit

Tideline Spa Tropical Bliss & Bubbles: Choose from a Classic Pedicure or Gel Manicure that combines tropical fruit (mango and coconut) lotions and scrubs with a glass of bubbly. This package is available between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday – Saturday only, holidays not included. Rates begin from $50 per person plus a 20 percent service charge. Complimentary valet included as well as a $50 credit towards a second spa treatment on the same or following day, attributed to services valued higher than $150.
Waldorf Astoria Spa at Boca Raton Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Cost: $149 Save $26 (regular price $175)
Tropical Coconut Scrub: This 50-minute vitamin and mineral rich treatment gently eases away tension as warm coconut milk is gently massaged into the skin. Invigorating pure sugar cane and tropical nut oils enliven the senses, revealing healthy radiant skin. The Waldorf Astoria Spa at the Boca Raton Resort & Club is exclusive to resort guests. All guests must be above 18 years of age.
Cost: $50 per person Save: $29.80 (regular price is $79.80)
Day Pass + Traditional Ritual Bath Package: Receive access to the resort’s Waldorf Astoria Spa amenities and signature Traditional Ritual Bath treatment. Inspired by the legendary Alhambra Palace in Spain, the 50,000 square foot spa features 44 treatment rooms, various spa treatments, sunning terraces and 10,000 square feet of tranquil gardens featuring waterfall whirlpools and a private spa pool. Unwind in the celebrated Ritual Bath, complete with nine individual mineral baths as well as Swiss and waterfall showers, whirlpool, steam, sauna and inhalation rooms. Rates begin at $50 per person.

Woodhouse Day Spa
Cost: from $75 per person Save $25 (regular price $100)

Organic Discovery Facial: Enjoy a 50-minute treatment that will restore clarity and radiance. Ideal for the first time spa-goer or a new Woodhouse guest who simply wants a taste of the goodness the spa has to offer. Rates begin from $75 per person. Woodhouse Day Spa will donate $10 from each Organic Discovery Facial purchase during Spa & Wellness Month to the Blue Water Babes breast and ovarian cancer charity.

Hilton West Palm Beach
Cost: $10 donation per person to participate in yoga offering

Fitness Bootcamp & Yoga: Locally-renowned TotalMovement boot camp instructor Erika Strimer leads a boot camp on the hotel’s event lawns each Tuesday and Thursday morning at 6:30 a.m. during October. These are complimentary to guests and open to TotalMovement members. The class is a combination of high-intensity interval training and coaching. Also, each Saturday at 10:00am, The Palm Beaches’ yogi and motivational speaker Jennifer Martin will lead a 75-minute all-level Vinyasa yoga class, free for guests and open to the public with a suggested donation of $10.

Manatee Lagoon
Cost: $5 per person
Mindful Moments Yoga: Led by a certified instructor, Manatee Lagoon offers one-hour yoga classes against the calming backdrop of Lake Worth Lagoon. The instructor will adjust the class based on experience level and will suggest modifications as appropriate. Each guest will be provided with a complimentary yoga mat for use at the class as well as a Florida Salt Scrub gift item. Advance registration is required and availability is on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants must be 21 years or older. Visit http://www.visitmanateelagoon.com/event/ for the class schedule.

Nspa at The Delray Beach Marriott
Cost: $10 per person Save: $10 (regular price $20)

Meditation Ritual: Begin this journey with a ritual cleansing of the hands and an herbal foot bath. Wash away the stress of the day while opening the mind and body to receive the full benefits of Meditation. Next, be escorted to a mediation room for a guided session. This service is most beneficial when added to any body treatment, facial or massage. Rates begin at $10 per person for a 30-minute session. Nspa will donate $5 to The American Cancer Society for each guest who receives a Mediation
Ritual in October 2016.

Serenity Rose Massage & Wellness
Cost: $15 per person Save: $5 (regular price $20)
Fundamentals of Meditation Class: This class introduces the benefits and practice of meditation through guided instruction. Participants will benefit from the groups energy; gaining mental clarity and discipline, as well as enhancing creativity and inner peace. Mindfulness and deep relaxation techniques are employed to provide a direct path to freedom and enlightenment. Profound results will be experienced on all levels of being – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. A limited number of openings are available for each class to ensure personalized attention. This package and rate is subject to availability.
SiSpa at Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island
Cost: $70 per person Save: $55 (regular price is $125)

Wellness Wow: Kayak, paddle board or snorkel for two hours, then relax with a 25-minute Spa-flexology therapy, which strengthens any part of the body that is a source of pain, illness, or potential debility through the application of pressure at the foot, stimulating the nerves in the body and encouraging the flow of blood. Ten percent of all Wellness Wow and Route to Wellness services during Spa & Wellness Month will be donated to Jupiter Medical Center Comprehensive Cancer Services. Reservations are required for all packages, which are single guest and same day use only. There is a 24-hour cancellation or change policy. All packages will be charged a 20 percent service charge on the original value of service.

The Seagate Hotel & Spa
Cost: From $325 per night Save: At least $189 (regular price $514)

Spa & Wellness Month Hotel Package: Includes a one night stay in deluxe accommodations (either a deluxe king or deluxe queen room) paired with the “On Cloud Nine” Spa Package for one (1) guest. Rates begin at $325 per night and are subject to a $30 resort fee and 12 percent tax. Spa gratuity is not included. During Spa & Wellness Month, The Seagate Hotel & Spa will donate $25 from the sales of each of these packages to The Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute at the Boca Raton Regional Hospital

Want to fly to Havana? U.S. announces airlines that can take you there

The hotel Nacional is seen in Havana, Cuba.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The hotel Nacional is seen in Havana, Cuba. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

On the same day JetBlue made history with the first regularly scheduled commercial airline flight to Cuba in more than 50 years, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the eight airlines given final approval to fly to the island nation’s capital.

Until Wednesday, several airlines had received approval to fly to Cuban cities not including Havana. The JetBlue flight that took off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Wednesday morning was heading to Santa Clara, about three hours from Havana.

Now JetBlue, along with seven other carriers, have the final OK from the U.S. government to seek approval from Cuba to finalize flight schedules and destinations.

Here is the full list of airlines, along with their proposed routes and frequency:

• Alaska Airlines — Los Angeles, once daily

• American Airlines — Miami, four times a day; Charlotte, once daily

• Delta Air Lines — New York (JFK), once daily; Atlanta, once daily; Miami, once daily

• Frontier Airlines — Miami, once daily

• JetBlue Airways — Fort Lauderdale, twice daily (except once on Saturdays); New York (JFK), once daily; Orlando, once daily

• Southwest Airlines — Fort Lauderdale, twice daily; Tampa, once daily

• Spirit Airlines — Fort Lauderdale, twice daily

• United Airlines — Newark, once daily; Houston, once weekly (Saturdays)

The decision by the Department of Transportation places Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport as one of the top airports serving Cuba, with about 40 flights daily just to Havana.

Marking the departure of JetBlue’s first commercial flight to Cuba on Wednesday, Fort Lauderdale airport CEO and Director Mark Gale said the number of flights to Cuba out of the airport is a “testament to the reputation of Fort Lauderdale.”

Stacy Ritter, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, called Wednesday’s flight to Cuba “a milestone.”

“To be the first in something so historic is truly astounding,” she said.

Read more about travel to Cuba — including what you need to do if you want to go.

How JetBlue made history this morning with flight to Cuba

Seth Miller, New York, is the first passenger to board a commercial flight to Cuba in over 55 years at Fort Lauderdale International Airport on August 31, 2016. JetBlue has started service to Santa Clara, Cuba. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Seth Miller, New York, is the first passenger to board a commercial flight to Cuba in over 55 years at Fort Lauderdale International Airport on August 31, 2016. JetBlue has started service to Santa Clara, Cuba. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

There were cheers and balloons as JetBlue sent off its first regularly scheduled flight from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Santa Clara, Cuba — the first such flight between the U.S. and the island nation in more than 50 years.

Among the guests on the flight: U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Although about half of the 150 seats on the plane were occupied by journalists, many travelers said they were making a pilgrimage-type journey to visit family, or explore their birthplace.

That was the case for Domingo Santana of Miami, who came to the United States in 1968.

Planning the trip was made even more special, he said, because he bought the first ticket for the flight.

Domingo Santana of Miami was the first passenger to buy a ticket on JetBlue's flight to Cuba Aug. 31, 2016. (Kristina Webb/ The Palm Beach Post)
Domingo Santana of Miami was the first passenger to buy a ticket on JetBlue’s flight to Cuba Aug. 31, 2016. (Kristina Webb/ The Palm Beach Post)

“It’s historic not only that it’s the first flight … but I also get to discover the country where I was born,” he said. “This is my first time going back home.”

Santana’s tip for those hoping to go to Cuba: If you have a Cuban passport, be sure to use that name when booking your flight.

Mark Gale, CEO and president of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, said he’s proud of his team and JetBlue.

The airline accounts for about a fifth of all flights at the airport.

“To have that very, very first flight come out of our airport is a great honor,” he said.

Fort Lauderdale’s airport is host to more weekly trips to Cuba than Miami — something Gale said is “a testament to the reputation of Fort Lauderdale.”

Read more here.

JetBlue to offer new service from South Florida to Aruba

A JetBlue plane. (Getty Images)
A JetBlue plane. (Getty Images)

JetBlue is launching a new flight from South Florida to Aruba.

The daily flights begin Jan. 4 and will travel nonstop between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport.

One-way tickets to Aruba start at $99. The airline already offers flights to Aruba from New York and Boston.

“Of Aruba’s total 1.22 million stay-over visitors in 2015, we welcomed a 7.7 percent increase in U.S. travelers,” Aruba Tourism Minister Otmar Oduber said in a news release. “As Aruba grows annually, JetBlue remains a valuable partner in accommodating the increased demand for travel to our One happy island — where year-round sunshine, award winning beaches and diverse culture are only the beginning of the Aruba adventure.”

According to JetBlue, the flights will leave Fort Lauderdale at 11:22 a.m., arriving in Aruba at 3:24 p.m. The return flights will depart Aruba at 4:20 p.m. and arrive in Fort Lauderdale at 6:25 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

Palm Beach County sets tourism record

A record-breaking 3.9 million people visited Palm Beach County during the half of the year, marking the highest tourism count ever recorded from January to June, even as local tourism officials went into crisis mode this summer to counter the perception that blue-green algae had blanketed the county’s coastline.

A plane comes in for a landing at Miami International Airport. (Getty Images)
A plane comes in for a landing at Miami International Airport. (Getty Images)

Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s official tourism marketing organization, said countywide hotel occupancy levels for the month of July were at an all-time high – reaching 71.9 percent.

The county is on pace to beat last year’s record breaking level of 6.9 million visitors. Discover officials said they expect 7.2 million tourists to travel here in 2016 – an increase of 4.3 percent over last year’s level.

This month, Gov. Rick Scott announced the state set a tourism record for the first six months of the year, with 57.4 million visitors flocking to Florida.

The record-breaking levels comes on the heels of a difficult summer for the state’s tourism industry, which includes a Zika outbreak in Miami Dade County.

Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that five cases of locally acquired Zika virus have been confirmed in Miami Beach.

Miami Dade County has two locations verified to have Zika-infected mosquitoes.

The state announced on Aug. 8 that a Palm Beach County resident is among those who have acquired the virus locally. The infected person recently traveled to Miami Dade County, ground zero for the outbreak of Zika acquired through domestic mosquitoes.

In June, a gay nightclub in Orlando, the state’s top travel hub, was the scene of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. The following week, an alligator killed a toddler at the Walt Disney World resort.

Jorge Pesquera, Discover’s president and CEO, attributed the county’s record-setting tourism levels to the organization’s marketing efforts as well as the region’s attractions and cultural offerings.

“Visitors continue to discover why The Palm Beaches are the best way to experience Florida,” Pesquera said. “Discover The Palm Beaches continues to promote marketing messages and content that touts the number of ‘best in class’ experiences offered by our large and diverse destination. Best in class hotels, beaches, golf, culture, fishing, diving, nature, dining and equestrian events are just some of the amazing attributes available in our 2500 square miles. It’s no wonder more people are looking to discover the destination.”

National tourism marketers to descend on Boca Raton this month

Hundreds of tourism marketing officials will travel to Boca Raton later this month to attend one of the industry’s top seminars —  a gathering local leaders say will help shine a spotlight on Palm Beach County’s growing convention and meetings business.

A plane comes in for a landing at Miami International Airport. (Getty Images)
A plane comes in for a landing at Miami International Airport. (Getty Images)

The U.S. Travel Association will hold its 2016 Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations, known as ESTO, at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. The four-day event, which begins on Aug. 27, is expected to draw tourism professionals from across the United States.

“Destination marketing professionals from states and cities around the country will be coming to attend this prestigious conference, which is reporting record attendance, surpassing 800 delegates,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO for Discover The Palm Beaches, the official tourism marketing corporation for Palm Beach County. “Hosting such a major event in Boca Raton allows us to shine among our tourism peers, as we get to show what makes The Palm Beaches such a desirable place to hold conventions and visit for leisure activities.”

The seminar comes as Palm Beach County tourism leaders boost efforts to build the area’s reputation as a destination for meeting planners, conventions and trade associations.

Event bookings at the once fledgling Palm Beach County Convention Center on Okeechobee Boulevard have catapulted to record-breaking levels since the long-awaited Hilton West Palm Beach opened next to the meeting space earlier this year.

Meanwhile, meeting spaces in southern Palm Beach County, including at The Boca Raton Resort, are also drawing larger events. New hotels in Boca Raton and Delray Beach are helping to fuel interest.

The Boca Raton Resort has roughly 146,000 square feet of meeting space. Last year, the resort hosted more than 300 wholesale tour operators, corporate travel agencies and large travel retailers as part of the annual La Cita de las Americas conference.

Discover recently hired several new employees to help market the area as a destination for meetings and conventions. Those employees came from other large destination marketing organizations across the country, bringing with them a number of contacts and business leads. They work with convention center representatives to lure new convention business.

Also driving business: An incentive program that offers to reimburse convention, trade show and meeting planners for certain expenses, if they agree to hold their events here.

In 2014, the county set aside $200,000 for incentives to help attract business while construction was underway on the adjacent hotel. In January, the county pledged an additional $300,000 to help with the effort.

In all, $400,000 in incentives has been pledged to conventions and meeting groups. Tourism officials say the pledges are expected to result in roughly 60,000 nightly bookings at area hotels, while generating $4.3 million in revenue for the convention center, county documents show.

 

 

 

 

 

Free attractions in Palm Beach County to check out this weekend

Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s official tourism marketing organization, recently released this list of free attractions and events in Palm Beach County.

Susan and Chris Cristopoulos take a rest during their bike ride along the Lake Trail near the Palm Beach Country Club. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)
Susan and Chris Cristopoulos take a rest during their bike ride along the Lake Trail near the Palm Beach Country Club. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)

The list includes hot spots from Boca Raton to Juno Beach. The attractions are opened to both locals and tourists.

Here is Discover’s list:

Department of Environmental Resources Management (ERM) Natural Areas

Gallery Exhibitions at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County

Palm Beach Lake Trail for biking

 

Manatee Lagoon, an FPL Eco-Discovery Center

Gardens at Society of the Four Arts

Clematis by Night on Thursdays

CityPlace offers free concerts on Fridays and Saturdays — Pro tip: Scroll down until you see the concerts link; they update the schedule every month

Okeeheelee Nature Center

Underwater Snorkeling Trail at Phil Foster Park

Palm Beach Photographic Centre

Loggerhead Marinelife Center

Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum

Grassy Waters Preserve

Downtown West Palm Beach Trolley

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center

A day at the beach (Check out our list of the best beaches in Palm Beach County)

Group approves plan for Tri-Rail link to Miami All Aboard station

The Bayfront Park Management Trust – a governmental group based in Miami-Dade County – on Tuesday signed off on a plan that will allow Tri-Rail trains to carry Palm Beach County residents to All Aboard Florida‘s station in downtown Miami, according to an official connected with the project. trirail

Two other groups are expected to vote on the $70 million plan later this week.

All Aboard Florida has been working with seven government agencies to pay for a pivotal Tri-Rail stop at its station in downtown Miami. But officials with the private rail venture said Friday they are running out of time to secure the approvals they need to continue construction on Tri-Rail’s train platform.

The Villegas family, from California, waits for the Tri-Rail train at the West Palm Beach station, Friday, June 12, 2015. They were traveling to Miami. (Joe Forzano/The Palm Beach Post)
The Villegas family, from California, waits for the Tri-Rail train at the West Palm Beach station, Friday, June 12, 2015. They were traveling to Miami. (Joe Forzano/The Palm Beach Post)

Tri-Rail now runs between Palm Beach County and the Miami International Airport. The downtown Miami Tri-Rail stop would give Palm Beach County residents service easier access to the American Airlines Arena, where The Miami Heat play, Port Miami, and other nearby businesses and shopping districts, officials said.

Of the roughly 50 daily Tri–Rail trains, about half are expected to travel to All Aboard’s Miami station, officials have said.

Traveling with your pet this Memorial Day? Check out these tips

If you are planning to travel with your pet this Memorial Day, you may want to consider these safety tips.

TripsWithPets.com recommends Memorial Day travelers don’t let their pets stick their heads out of the window while the car is moving. The website also urges drivers to properly restrain their animals to prevent injury.

Conor Carruthers, 18, of West Palm Beach, and his new dog, Luke, get into his mother's car to bring Luke to his new home after adopting him from Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control on May 3, 2015. In celebration of National Adopt a Pet Day the shelter had a name your price adoption special. (Brianna Soukup / Palm Beach Post)
Conor Carruthers, 18, of West Palm Beach, and his new dog, Luke, get into his mother’s car to bring Luke to his new home after adopting him from Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control on May 3, 2015. . (Brianna Soukup / Palm Beach Post)

Here is the website’s complete list of recommendations:

No Heads Out the Window
Although many pets find that sticking their head out the window is the best part of the road trip, it’s not safe. Your pet can easily be injured by flying debris. This should go without saying, but NEVER travel with a pet in the back of a pickup truck. Some states have laws restricting such transport and it is always dangerous.

Frequent Pit Stops
Always provide frequent bathroom and exercise breaks. Most travel service areas have designated areas for walking your pet. Be sure to stay in this area particularly when you pet needs a potty break, and of course, bring along a bag to pick up after your pet. When outside your vehicle, make sure that your pet is always on a leash and wearing a collar with a permanent and temporary travel identification tag.

Proper Hydration
During your pit stops be sure to provide your pet with some fresh water to wet their whistle. Occasionally traveling can upset your pet’s stomach. Take along ice cubes, which are easier on your pet than large amounts of water.

Watch the Food Intake
It is recommended that you keep feeding to a minimum during travel. Be sure to feed them their regular pet food and resist the temptation to give them some of your fast food burger or fries (that never has a good ending!).

Don’t Leave Them Alone
Never leave your pet unattended in a parked vehicle. On warm days, the temperature in your vehicle can rise to 120 degrees in minutes, even with the windows slightly open. In addition, an animal left alone in a vehicle is an open invitation to pet thieves.

Practice Restraint
Be sure that your pet is safely secured in your vehicle. Utilizing a pet safety harness, travel kennel, vehicle pet barrier, or pet car seat are the best ways to keep your pet safe. They not only protect your pet from injury, but they help by keeping them from distracting you as you drive.