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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Hit the road for Florida where deals await Canadians

   One-Tank Trip for Nov. 11-17

   (c) By Jim Fox
    For Postmedia Network/Sun Media newspapers, websites

   Get your motor runnin' and head out on the highway.
   That refrain by Steppenwolf is a common one for thousands of Ontarians who are doing just that en route to their winter playground in the sun.
   The annual migration of the so-called “Snowbirds” to the sun-drenched environs of the “Sunshine State” is under way.
Another beautiful winter day in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Jim Fox photo)
   Writer Dave Hunter, the authority on the I-75 expressway to the sun, is back with an internet-updated guidebook for the 20-plus-hour, “one-tank-a-day” trip to Florida.
   As well, while expressing his “love” for Canadians, Florida Governor Rick Scott was in Toronto recently to launch a discount program for visitors from the north.

   This is Florida’s response to helping ease the pain of Canada’s colourful currency at 78 cents to the U.S. greenback.
   Adding in bank or credit card exchange fees, it costs about $1.30 for each U.S. dollar spent.
   Thick early-morning fog blankets downtown Atlanta in this photo taken from an I-75 hotel room. (Jim Fox photo)
   Florida’s new Canadian Power Play Program features 20-per-cent discounts on airfare, rental cars and lodging to counter the currency’s continued weakness.
   This will “help even out the dollar value,” Scott said.
   “We love Canadians – you’re a big part of our state and our biggest group of international travelers,” he added.
   The governor stressed that Canadians are “so important to Florida’s tourism industry and the 1.4-million jobs it supports for families.”
We’ve arrived at the Florida Welcome Center along Interstate 75. (Barbara Fox photo)
   There were 3.3-million Canadians visiting Florida last year, accounting for 23 per cent of the state’s international visitors and they spent $3.6 billion.
   “We are doubling down on our efforts to bring more Canadians to the Sunshine State with our new program,” said Ken Lawson, Visit Florida president and ceo.

   Let’s make a deal
   Twenty-six Florida businesses and tourism partners, including Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations, are participating in the program.
   Florida businesses and tourism partners taking part are: An Owners Dream Management; Beachwalk Resort; Beacon South Beach Hotel; Blue Heron Beach Resort; Caprice Resort; Coca-Cola Orlando Eye; DoubleTree Orlando at SeaWorld; Emerald Grande; Florida Citrus Sports; Hampton Inn Panama City Beach; HCV Orange Lake Resort; and Hertz/Dollar Car Rental.
   There’s also Madeira Bay Resort by TRS; Magic Village Resort; Marenas Beach Resort; Residence Inn Miami Aventura; ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals; Sailport Waterfront Suites; Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort; Sundial Beach Resort & Spa; Suwannee River Hideaway Campground; the Don Cesar Hotel; TreeUmph! Adventure Course; and Xtreme Action Park. Details at LoveFlorida.ca

   On the road again
   Dave Hunter and wife Kathy, who split their time between Mississauga and Lakeland, Fla., have written the book on travel to Florida.
“Along Interstate 75,” an exit-by-exit guide to driving the expressway to the sun.
   Their preferred route is I-75 that winds 1,542 kilometres between Detroit and the Florida border.
   They have been making this trek for 48 years and writing about it the past 24 years in their “Along I-75” guidebook and companion publication, “Along Florida’s Expressways.”
   Each page is packed with helpful information, covering 25 U.S. miles or 30 minutes of driving.
   It reports on road conditions, speed limits, construction zones, best routes around big cities, radar enforcement hot spots and upcoming lane changes.
   There are some 3,000 information listings telling what is within a mile of each exit including gas stations, restaurants, lodging, rest areas and local attractions – with GPS coordinates.
   Dave, a history buff, also tells of interesting geology, flora and fauna, historic and unusual landmarks along with side trips to make the journey more entertaining.
   The print edition is supplemented by updates on the books’ websites so the information doesn’t “grow stale.”
   The current 19th edition has 53 major page updates, including a “better detour” for Detroit’s closed I-75, construction news and helpful travel notes.
   The guidebooks from Mile Oak Publishing Inc. cost $29.95. Details: i75online.com
   They are available at CAA travel offices, Chapters, Coles, Indigo and Amazon.ca, or call (519) 524-6901 (shipped the same day).


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca  

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