Tips for a Safe Summer Trip to the Sunshine State

While you might be (a little more than!) ready to put up that out of office and come join us in Florida for a sunny summer adventure, it’s important to not lose sight of basic safety and security measures you should take whenever you and your loved ones travel.

Here are a few quick tips that will help keep you safe, while still having a great time here in Florida this summer:

Don’t get burned, do your research
Just because school’s out, it doesn’t mean you should head out without doing your homework. As you finalize your plans, research your travel route, accommodations, and the local area—and don’t forget to have a backup plan just in case. On Airbnb, you can use our secure messaging tool to ask your host any questions you might have about their home or the local area. You can also message your host to coordinate check-in and stay in touch throughout your trip in case any questions come up.

Get away, but leave a light on
A safe vacation starts at home. No matter how safe your neighborhood might be, it’s important to take a few precautions before heading out. While you’re away, stop your mail and arrange for a neighbor to come by to collect any packages or flyers that might come to your door. It doesn’t hurt to leave the light (or two) on—literally. Keep a few lamps set to a timer while you’re out to make it look like your home is as bustling as usual.

Always communicate and pay on Airbnb
Keep your payment and your personal information protected by staying on our secure platform throughout the entire Airbnb process—from communication, to booking and payment. You should never be asked to wire money, provide credit card information or otherwise pay a host directly. If you are, please report it to us immediately.

Do a safety check
Once you’ve arrived at your home, make sure you know where all of the relevant emergency equipment and safety information is located. If you’re not sure where something like the first aid kit or fire extinguisher is or how to work an appliance in the home, don’t hesitate to ask your host.

Be WaterSmart
If you’re coming down to Florida to soak up the sun, chances are you’re hitting the beach or maybe you’re even staying at a home with a pool. In addition to being mindful of how much time you spend in the sun and applying (and re-applying!) sunscreen, be sure your family is up to date on the latest water safety tips for the pool and the beach. An accidental drowning can happen in a matter of seconds, so adults should always be fully focused when supervising children who are in or near any body of water. To learn more, visit WaterSmartFL.

Remain alert
You might be checking out from the daily grind, but that doesn’t mean you can leave your common sense back at home. Public areas, public transit, tourist attractions, and beaches are far more crowded than usual during the summer season. While it’s easy to be distracted by the excitement or bored by long lines and bumper to bumper traffic, it’s more important than ever to remain alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Take sensible precautions, and if you see anything suspicious be sure to alert local authorities.

Research local travel alerts and warnings
Whether you’re traveling with Airbnb or not, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on any weather alerts or travel warnings that might impact your trip. Summer in Florida can mean unpredictable and changing weather conditions, so be sure to check out the state’s Emergency Management website, here, for the latest information and resources.

If anything isn’t right, reach out
If you arrive to your Airbnb and something’s not quite right, reach out to us. We’re standing by 24/7 in 11 languages to help with anything from rebooking assistance to refunds or reimbursements.

By keeping these tips on hand and planning your summer trip with safety in mind, you can help ensure you and your family have a great time visiting us here in Florida.

Read more >>

It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere – Jimmy Buffett’s Landshark Bar Opening in Daytona Beach in January

The man who brought retirement to Margaritaville in Daytona Beach, Jimmy Buffett, brings the party to the beach in January. Construction is underway for Landshark Bar and Grill on South Atlantic Avenue, also known to Parrot Heads as A-1-A.Jimmy Buffett Redering

Along with Landshark, a Tex-Mex cantina called Cocina 214 Restaurant and Bar is also being built. Landshark will be operated by Orlando-based IMCMV, while Cocina 214 by a local investor group.

Jimmy landsharkbar2

It’s all about the food, fun, music and merchandise. Don’t forget your Cheeseburger in Paradise. Both restaurants plan to open by late January, in time for the upcoming race weeks and bike weeks in Daytona Beach.

 

Loading…
Read more >>

Carribean Cruise? After Irma and Maria, What Ports are Open for Business – AAA

While some islands continue to recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, AAA wants travelers to know the majority of the Caribbean is still open for business.

“The Caribbean needs us now more than ever,” said Vicky Evans, Assistant Vice President, Travel Sales Development, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “These islands heavily rely on tourism to stimulate their economies. While a small number of islands work to recover, the majority are welcoming travelers right now.

“Cruise lines have identified alternative ports to give affected islands time to recover, and to ensure passengers get the tropical vacation they envisioned,” Evans continued. “As a result, Hawaii has become a popular alternative destination for some travelers. However, there is still incentive to sail the Caribbean. Cruise and tour companies are offering as much as 30-50 percent off the price for select departures to the Caribbean through the end of this year.”

Cruising the Caribbean – Who’s Open / Who’s Closed?

The vast majority of ports in the Caribbean are now operational. Of the 62 ports in the Caribbean, approximately 75 percent (47) are welcoming cruise ships, according to the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA). AAA experts recommend travelers talk with their travel agent about the popular Caribbean destinations that are listed as ‘open’ for their upcoming travels. Ports listed as ‘closed’ are working quickly to reopen, and many hope to welcome cruise ships back before the end of the year.

OPEN

•Antigua
•Aruba
•Bahamas
•Barbados
•Belize
•Bermuda
•Bonaire
•Curaçao
•Dominican Republic
•Jamaica
•Key West
•Martinique
•St. Kitts & Nevis
•Saint Lucia
•St. Vincent & The Grenadines
•The Cayman Islands
•Trinidad and Tobago

CLOSED

•Anguilla (Road Bay)
•British Virgin Islands (Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, & Virgin Gorda)
•Guadeloupe (Gustavia)
•Dominica (Roseau)
•Puerto Rico (Ponce, San Juan, & Isabel Segunda)
•St. Maarten (Phillipsburg)
•Turks & Caicos (Grand Turk Island)
•U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John, & St. Thomas)

In addition, the Florida Keys have reopened to travelers – ahead of schedule – following Hurricane Irma. Also, Mexico saw little impact to its tourism infrastructure following two recent earthquakes and Hurricane Katia, which made landfall in the eastern part of the country. Popular ports of call in Dominica, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, San Juan and Tortola hope to be operational by the end of the year.

For anyone planning a trip to a destination recently affected by a storm, AAA Travel experts offer the following tips.
Work with a travel agent, purchase travel insurance, stay informed, be flexible and check for AAA Diamonds.

Read more >>

Daytona Lagoon Water Park – Successful 2017 – Post Irma Open for Business

Daytona Lagoon, the premier family-friendly water park and year-round mega family entertainment center located in Daytona Beach, FL, celebrated a successful 2017 season filled with new attractions and exciting promotional events.

2017 additions and upgrades included:

• Indoor “Sky Maze”, featuring the Sky Trail® Navigator ropes course with 10 obstacles and over 2,500 square feet of challenging obstacles;

• 70-foot Sky Rail® zipline, spanning the entire length of the Sky Maze, hovering 12 feet above the MEGA arcade;

• Fully renovated indoor laser tag arena, which now spans more than 3,600 square feet and features high-tech lighting, sound, and the latest equipment including, Delta Strike laser guns and vests; and

• Six new and exciting games at the MEGA arcade, including an Xtreme Crane and two Mini Bowling lanes.

Daytona Lagoon also hosted family and community-drive events such as:

• Free Military Day for all active duty and retired military personnel;

• Wednesday Family Nights, held every Wednesday during the Summer;

• Girl Scout Day;

• Free Military & First Responders Day for all active duty and retired military personal, and first responder personnel (Police, Fire Department & EMS);

• Christmas in July, which was a successful Canned Food Drive supporting Halifax Urban Ministries;

• Faith Night; and

• Get paid for your grades, rewarding kids for academic and scholastic achievements.

“2017 marked a tremendous season at Daytona Lagoon, as we expanded and broadened our exciting attractions and family fun events throughout the year,” said Tyler Currie, General Manager of Daytona Lagoon. “Our new attractions and renovations in 2017 were met with remarkable attendance, and countless guests trying out our new Sky Maze ropes course and zipline.”

After suffering Hurricane Irma-related damage, the Park’s Family Entertainment Center including the MEGA arcade, laser tag arena and Go-Karts, and the Water Park are reopened and operating on the normal schedule. Kraken’s Conquest suffered considerable damage and it will remain closed until it is replaced with a new attraction in 2018.

Currie added: “Daytona Lagoon is committed to ensuring a safe, clean, and importantly, Family Fun and Family Priced park for guests of all ages to gather and relax. The community’s strong and immediate response to Hurricane Irma showed our true colors and I am grateful for the support we received from our dedicated staff, valued vendors and public officials. The park is open and running on our regular schedule for the remainder of the year while we continue to work diligently to repair and restore the areas of the park that were damaged.”

The Park’s wet attractions will officially close for the year on October 29th. The Park’s Family Entertainment Center including the Sky Maze and Sky Rail, MEGA arcade, laser tag and Go-Karts will remain open throughout the year, on Fridays 5pm-11pm, Saturday 11am-11pm, and Sundays 11am-8pm. The Park’s Family Entertainment Center and indoor attractions will be available for rent year-round for any private parties and birthday celebrations by appointment. For further details on reserving the Park for a special occasion, and for extended hours of operation and pricing options for endless fun for everyone, please visit our website: https://daytonalagoon.com/.

The new and upgraded attractions, and events are part of United Parks’ commitment to keep Daytona Lagoon the premier family-friendly water park and year-round mega family entertainment center with “Something for Everyone.” In addition to Daytona Lagoon, United Parks also operates Hydro Adventures in Poplar Bluff, Mo. and is poised to become the next operator of historic Rye Playland in Westchester County, N.Y.

Read more >>

Kick in The Grass: NFL Players Try Out the Tri-Oval

It was a unique setting, to say the least: a group of National Football League players staging an impromptu workout Tuesday morning on the pristine tri-oval grass at Daytona International Speedway. For a couple of hours, the world’s only motorsports stadium had the feel of a football stadium.

That’s not as surprising as some might think. There was a time when football was commonplace at the “World Center of Racing.” In 1959, the facility’s first year of operation, local high school Father Lopez played several games at DIS; in 1974-75, Bethune-Cookman University, also located in Daytona Beach, played four games at the speedway.

Participating in Tuesday’s exhibition in front of the stadium’s 101,500-seat layout were NFL placekickers Chris Boswell of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cairo Santos of the Kansas City Chiefs and University of Florida All-American Caleb Sturgis of the Philadelphia Eagles; Buffalo Bills punter Austin Rehkow; and assisting with returns were Atlanta Falcons safety Ricardo Allen and Eric Metcalf, a former NFL All-Pro running back and returner. Allen is a graduate of Daytona Beach Mainland High School.

Those players are in Daytona Beach this month for the “One On One Kicking” camp being held at nearby Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. One On One Kicking offers elite training programs for kickers, punters and long snappers of all ages, ranging from grade school to high school to college to professional. In addition to the pros, camp attendees took part in Tuesday’s speedway workout.

Sturgis was surprised when told of DIS’ football history, saying “I wasn’t aware of that. That’s pretty awesome. Today is just a neat experience. You can kick anywhere but very few times in your life do you get to experience something like this.”

Added former University of Idaho player Rehkov, who the Bills signed this spring as a free agent: “I’m so excited to get out here and hit some balls; it’s crazy to see all these seats here.”

Allen, who went on to play at Purdue, especially enjoyed the return trip home. The speedway is only a half-mile away from his prep alma mater.

“I never had tickets to the races, so to be able to come out and field punts and train on this field … this is like sacred ground,” Allen said.

Read more >>

Largest Fireworks Show at D I S July 1st – DETAILS

Following the conclusion of the 59th Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola on Saturday, July 1, the Independence Day holiday weekend classic featuring the stars of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Daytona International Speedway will once again showcase one of the largest fireworks shows in the Southeast.

Massive fireworks shows have been part of the tradition of the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola dating back to the inaugural nighttime running of the event in 1998. As the champion celebrates in Gatorade Victory Lane, high in the sky above the “World Center of Racing,” Fireworks By Santore will deliver a thunderous 15-minute patriotic celebration, complete with a one-minute, 30-second grand finale.

A crew of 10 from the Flagler County-based company will need seven days to set up the show from 15 different locations along the backstretch. To put together the extravaganza, which is electronically fired using state-of-the-art digital firing equipment, Fireworks By Santore will utilize:

· Shells ranging in size from 1’’ to 8’’

· 10,000+ lbs of explosive powder

· 11,000 individual explosions

· Enough control wire to circle the 2.5-mile tri-oval two times

Included in the show are Cube Pattern Shells that will produce a 3-D box with the letters U.S.A. Types of shells in the show range from the more traditional such as Chrysanthemum, Peonies, Dahlias, Willows and Salutes to specialty shells such as Smiley Faces, Star Patterns, Double Rings, 4 Color Changing, Shell of Shells, Crossettes, Strobing Diadems, Twilight Glitters and vibrant new pastel colors.

Other shells include Sweeping Rings, Sweeping Inward, Sweeping Outward, Mushroom, Jelly Fish, Cut Glass, Octopus, Kaleidoscopes, Diamond Screamers and Tourbillions.

Santore

Read more >>