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4 Ways to Stay Warm in Chicago

Chicago is a great town but it has some of the toughest winters in the continental U.S. Between the icy streets, infamous wind, and cloudy skies, it can be a real challenge to stay warm in Chi-town. Thankfully, there are some delightful and delicious ways to keep Jack Frost off your back. Here are some More »

WestJet Valentine’s Day – will you marry me?

Airline takes two couples to Barbados for the surprise of a lifetime CALGARY, Feb. 9, 2015 /CNW/ - WestJet has created another remarkable guest experience, this time for two love-struck, Toronto-area couples on the beautiful Caribbean island of Barbados. The story begins in November 2014 in a Michael Hill jewellery store in Newmarket, Ontario, where WestJet used hidden cameras to select two men, J.P. and Mike, from among More »

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Living Out Loud in Vegas: It’s Not Just About the Gambling

When you think about Las Vegas, you probably think about the casinos on the Strip. However, quite a few activities in Las Vegas don’t involve gambling. Whether you are looking for an activity for a trip with friends or somewhere to take your children, Las Vegas is a great vacation destination for just about anyone. More »

4 Ways to Stay Warm in Chicago

Ice-skating-in-Chicago.png

Chicago is a great town but it has some of the toughest winters in the continental U.S. Between the icy streets, infamous wind, and cloudy skies, it can be a real challenge to stay warm in Chi-town. Thankfully, there are some delightful and delicious ways to keep Jack Frost off your back. Here are some local favorites.

1. Hot Chocolate in the Park

The ice skating rink at Millennium Park is one of Chicago’s top winter attractions, but it’s also one of the city’s coldest. When you need a break from the rink, there are two excellent nearby options for hot chocolate and other warming treats. The Park Cafe has famous (and affordable) hot cocoa with a floor of convenient rubber mats so skaters don’t have to change into shoes to enjoy their drinks. For those who are ready to call it a day, the Park Grill gets you indoors with some amazing hot chocolate on the menu.

 

2. Mexican Treats

Speaking of hot chocolate, local chain xocoatl serves up authentic Mexican versions of this most popular winter drink, plus fresh baked goods like cinnamon-dusted churros. It’s a bit more of a grown-up experience to take your hot cocoa original-style with the Spice Mexican, or delve into the creamy goodness of a White Chocolate cocoa. There are many other great flavors on the menu that do something special with a timeless classic. For something a little more upscale, Xoco Restaurant makes a fine Mexican sipping chocolate, as well as several other stone-ground confections and fresh craft cocktails.

3. Spice Up Your Life

For those who are more into the savory side of things, nobody does hot and spicy like the no-nonsense Thai restaurant, Pho’s Hot and Spicy. Part Northern Thai street food emporium and part challenge for your taste buds, Pho’s serves up some of Chicago’s hottest eats (literally), including the hearty noodle soup of its namesake and sweet, spicy chicken wings.

Pro Tip: if you’re a “five stars every time” kind of eater, ask your servers to make your food “Thai spicy.” You’ll be treated to some heat that’s off the charts.

4. Find Your Layers on the Magnificent Mile

Anyone who has spent a fair amount of time in Chicago can tell you that the secret to winter survival is layers. That means outfitting yourself from head to toe in the right pants, shirts, jackets, scarves and even long undies so the cold never touches you. There’s no better place in town to find the clothes you need for winter than the Magnificent Mile. It’s the stretch of North Michigan Avenue that’s lined with shops and high-rise malls with everything from designer labels to seasonal sales. There are also plenty of great hotels on or near Miracle Mile. Check out sites like Gogobot to get a great deal on a room that’s just a short walk to all the shops.

It may be a challenge to stay warm in the middle of a Chicago winter, but places like these make it a bit easier. Remember to wrap up, watch for ice, and keep an eye out for the best Chicago has to offer.

WestJet Valentine’s Day – will you marry me?

Airline takes two couples to Barbados for the surprise of a lifetime

CALGARYFeb. 9, 2015 /CNW/ - WestJet has created another remarkable guest experience, this time for two love-struck, Toronto-area couples on the beautiful Caribbean island of Barbados.

The story begins in November 2014 in a Michael Hill jewellery store in Newmarket, Ontario, where WestJet used hidden cameras to select two men, J.P. and Mike, from among those shopping for engagement rings that day. The airline approached the two and asked if they would be interested in proposing to their girlfriends, Stephanie and Heather, in beautiful Barbados.

“Both J.P. and Mike agreed, but of course they couldn’t tell Stephanie and Heather that’s why they were going toBarbados,” said Corey Evans, WestJet’s Manager of Community Investment, Sponsorship and Experiential Marketing. “The girls thought they were auditioning to appear in a new WestJet commercial that we were shooting in Barbados, and had no idea what was going to happen.”

And that’s where the twist comes in.

“The one condition for J.P. and Mike is that WestJet, not they, would decide when and where they would actually pop the question,” said Corey Evans. “The result was an experience the two couples will remember for the rest of their lives, and a funny, heartwarming Valentine’s Day story to share with Canadians.”

WestJet worked with Michael Hill Jeweller and the Barbados Tourism Authority to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for J.P. and Stephanie, and Mike and Heather.

To see WestJet Valentine’s Day in Barbados – will you marry me? please click here. At the end of the video, viewers are also able to watch two additional videos featuring J.P. and Stephanie, and Mike and Heather, sharing their experiences.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, WestJet is featuring a special seat sale to beautiful Barbados. Book by February 14, 2015, and travel by June 24, 2015, with fares starting from:


Departing

Arriving

Air transportation charges
(ATC)

Taxes, fees
and
charges

Total

one-way

price from

Base fare from

Other ATC

Toronto

Bridgetown

$161

$7.50

$56.15

$224.65*CAD

About WestJet
We are proud to be Canada’s most-preferred airline, powered by an award-winning culture of care and recognized as one of the country’s top employers. We offer scheduled service to more than 90 destinations in North AmericaCentral America, the Caribbean and Europe. Through our regional airline, WestJet Encore, and with partnerships with airlines representing every major region of the world, we offer our guests more than 120 destinations in more than 20 countries. Leveraging WestJet’s extensive network, flight schedule and remarkable guest experience, WestJet Vacations delivers affordable, flexible travel experiences with a variety of accommodation options for every guest. Members of our WestJet Rewards program earn WestJet dollars on flights, vacation packages and more. Our members use WestJet dollars towards the purchase of WestJet flights and vacations packages on any day, at any time, to any WestJet destination with no blackout periods – even on seat sales. For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com.

Recent recognition includes:
2015 Best Employers in Canada (Aon Hewitt)
2014 Interbrand Canada’s Best Canadian Brands (Rank #20)
2014 Brands of the Year (Strategy magazine)
2014 Canada’s Most Preferred Airline (Ipsos)
2014 Value Airline of the Year (Air Transport World magazine)
2014/2013/2012 Canada’s Most Attractive Employer (Randstad)
2014/2013 WestJet RBC MasterCard ranked #1 in Canada (Money Sense magazine and RewardsCanada.ca)
2013 Highest equity score: airline, vacation package supplier brands (Harris/Decima EquiTrend Study)

Connect with WestJet on Facebook at facebook.com/westjet
Follow WestJet on Twitter at twitter.com/westjet
Subscribe to WestJet on YouTube at youtube.com/westjet
Read the WestJet blog at blog.westjet.com

SOURCE WestJet

 For further information: Media contacts: Media Relations, 1-888-WJ-4-NEWS (1-888-954-6397), media@westjet.com.

Living Out Loud in Vegas: It’s Not Just About the Gambling

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When you think about Las Vegas, you probably think about the casinos on the Strip. However, quite a few activities in Las Vegas don’t involve gambling. Whether you are looking for an activity for a trip with friends or somewhere to take your children, Las Vegas is a great vacation destination for just about anyone.

Jogging, Biking, and Horseback Riding

Las Vegas is home to 45 miles of walking, biking, and jogging trails that don’t allow any motorized vehicles. These trails have beautiful landscaping that provide shade, along with benches, rest areas, trash cans, pet waste areas, and lighting for evening walks. The Las Vegas City Council plans to expand these trails, hoping to create a network of trails that total 239 miles and connect to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. There are also 11 miles of trails where you can go horseback riding and take in the sights.

(Image of horse via Flickr by Lindsey B)

Art Scene

Chihuly glass ceiling art Bellagio Las Vegas

Image via Flickr by O Palsson

There are art galleries and exhibits throughout Las Vegas, so if you are interested in local or famous art pieces, spend an afternoon checking out some art. The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art featured unique scientific art exhibits alongside Antony Gormley’s “Bodies in Space VII.” The exhibits at this gallery are constantly changing, so you can look at something different every time you make a visit to Las Vegas.

Camping

 

Lake Mead Camping Arizona and Nevada

Image via Flickr by Julie Vazquez

If you prefer nature to surround you during vacations, check out the Las Vegas campgrounds. Most of the campgrounds have running water and hookups, which are helpful if you travel with a camper or RV.

Race Track Fun

Go kart racing Fast Lap Las Vegas

Image via Flickr by Mitch Barrie

Another popular activity in Vegas is a visit to Fast Lap Indoor Kart Racing. Drivers in these go-karts can drive up to 50 miles per hour, racing friends, family members, or fellow visitors around the race track. There is an option to sign up with a group of eight to participate in practice laps, a qualifying heat, and a championship where the winner receives a gold medal. Even those who didn’t win the race can still enjoy lunch or dinner: the package comes with two large pizzas.

Activities for Daredevils

 

The Big Shot ride at Stratosphere Las Vegas

Image via Flickr by maggiejp

Among other things to do in Vegas, thrill rides throughout the Strip let you soar over the hotels and casinos. The roller coaster at New York New York features twists, turns, and loops that will leave you spinning, while the rides on top of Stratosphere shoot you high in the air and may leave you gasping for breath. The Big Shot ride at Stratosphere features a ride at 45 miles per hour, shooting you up and over the top of the hotel with your feet dangling over the skyline. You can also let loose at Vegas Indoor Skydiving, which offers a thrilling way to test your limits.

The next time that you consider where to take a vacation, add Las Vegas to the list. Even those who don’t enjoy gambling can have a great time participating in many other activities there.

3 Tips for Island Hopping in Hawaii

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A Hawaiian getaway is on the top of just about anyone’s vacation bucket list. Why wouldn’t it be? Gorgeous beaches, crashing waves, unbelievable food and a unique culture all make for one unforgettable trip. However, you probably know that visiting Hawaii means visiting more than one island during your stay. There’s a lot to see, after all, and you’ll want to experience as much of what the islands have to offer as possible. 

 

How You’re Getting There

You’re obviously not swimming from island to island, so it’s important to get familiar with how you’ll be traveling. The islands only offer two ferry services: one between Maui and Lanai, and one between Maui and Molokai. Both services also offer guided boat tours around the islands. Keep in mind, however, that the waters can get choppy. If you don’t have your sea legs, consider sticking to the islands’ airport services.

Traveling by air is actually how most island hopping is done. Hawaii Airlines is the only major airline on the islands, but you can find smaller airports all over Hawaii. You can also opt to take a puddle-jumper flight between islands, depending on your preference.

Which Islands to Visit

Sunset in Maui Hawaii

Image via Flickr by palash.biswas

There are eight major Hawaiian Islands, but only six are accessible to the public. Of those six, only four see much tourist action. The Big Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai host millions of tourists a year, while Lanai and Molokai never see more than around 75,000. Each island has something special to offer, so your interests will largely dictate which ones you visit.

Adventurers can stay on the Big Island to enjoy scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, or a hike around an active volcano. Those with an interest in historical events may want to check out Oahu, where you’ll find Pearl Harbor as well as Iolani Palace, where the last monarch of Hawaii was forced into house arrest. Maui is a popular honeymoon destination, with adventures like stunning helicopter rides and relaxing luxuries such as world-class spas.

If you’re still not sure which islands to see, don’t be afraid to ask your hotel’s front desk for recommendations. With numerous places to stay in Honolulu, make sure you find one with friendly, helpful service by using a travel site that offers honest, unbiased reviews.

Convenient Ground Transportation

No matter which islands you visit, be sure to take advantage of whatever public transportation options are offered. They’re surprisingly affordable, and a whole lot of fun.

If you spend time on Oahu, pick up a pass for TheBus, a much cheaper alternative to taxi cabs. You can also find scooter rental services on several islands if you’re interested in a breezy sightseeing experience. Jeeps are another popular transportation option. Although they’re pricier than scooters, they’re a fun way to enjoy the fresh Hawaiian air.

Locals have an easy time navigating all of the islands, but visitors may not be as surefooted. Before you take that trip of a lifetime, get familiar with the ins and outs of island hopping so your experience will go as smoothly as possible.

Miami’s Top 4 Golf Courses

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Heading to Miami doesn’t mean you have to pass on your tee time. In fact, in the Miami area there are a number of great golf courses that will have you improving your game in no time. When you’re looking for a world-class golf course, make sure you check out these options in the Miami area.

Miami Beach Golf Club

When you’re looking for a beautiful course that can help you with your putting, check out Miami Beach Golf Club. Here you’ll be able to set your tee time, and the price ranges from $100 to 200, depending on whether you’re trying to get in during peak season or not. The golf academy associated with the course is top-rated and can help you no matter your experience level. The academy also employs professional golfers, so you’ll be learning from the best. You can also rent equipment here, so you don’t have to worry about hauling your clubs around.

Country Club of Miami

At the Country Club of Miami you’ll find yourself teeing off early. The prices are much more affordable than the Miami Beach Golf Club, ranging from $29 to 58. There are two courses at the Country Club, and you’ll get a different experience at each course. To focus on your placement and strategy, head to the east course. Learning to get around obstacles is the focus of the West course. If you like to play in the evening, you’re in luck, since the courses are lighted.

Briar Bay Golf Course

Golf in Miami

Image via Flickr by chispita_666

With prices from $8.75 to $12, you’re unlikely to find a better deal than the Briar Bay Golf Course. Just because it’s affordable doesn’t mean the course isn’t great. In fact, the course is one of the highest-quality courses in the area, and more than 40,000 games are played here each year. The course is on about 20 acres, and there are unique challenges here you won’t find elsewhere, due to the multi-directional layout. Whether you’re a first time golfer or you’re a pro, this course is fun and attractive.

Greynolds Park Golf Course

If you’re looking for a nine-hole course, head over to Greynolds Park Golf Course. This is the most popular nine-hole course in Miami. This is due to a number of factors, from the amazing staff to the beautiful layout. On top of this, you can play for $13. If you need to rent equipment, it’s not expensive either. While this court is more popular with beginner to intermediate players, expert golfers will still find enjoyment at the course. No matter what time of day you want to play, this course is open from 7 a.m. to sunset.

There are golf courses all over the city of Miami and the surrounding areas. When you’re looking for the perfect green, make sure to decide what is most important to you, and enjoy your game.