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You might have been waiting all summer for that perfect sunny day, but in the U.S., those rays have turned into a scorcher. With America currently experiencing the hottest summer on record, some of us are wishing for a cooler front. What better time, then, to dream about the Southern Hemisphere, which is going through its winter months? While it may not be easy to book a last minute getaway to these destinations, just lusting over them will hopefully cool you down.
Angel Falls – Venezuela
Venezuela is mostly tropical due to its location just north of the equator, but thanks to its varied geography, pockets of microclimates exist. One such area is the Guiana Highlands, a southern region of the country characterized by imposing plateaus and vast upland plains. From June to early September, the average temperature hits 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 35 degree at night, making this the best time to visit the Angel Falls in Canaima National Park. Renowned as the world’s highest waterfall at 3,212 feet, winter’s torrential rains causes the rapids to swell to their full glory. However, if storm clouds shroud your view, Canaima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a destination in itself, with impressive geological formations and lush greenery.
Summer is a time for pool parties, beach bashes, and backyard barbecues. What do all three of those have in common (other than awesome alliteration)? Beer. Hot sunny days and muggy summer nights are perfect for a cold one. But what happens when you’re also holding a hamburger, a hot dog, a wiffle ball bat, a water gun, an ice cream cone, and a tube of sunscreen in your sweaty hands? Where do you keep your beer (or your backup beer in case your current can or bottle finds itself tragically empty)? You can’t be expected to trudge all the way back to the cooler or refrigerator to procure another beverage. You really shouldn’t be overexerting yourself in the heat! Thankfully, SkyMall knows that you need to have another beer ready at a moment’s notice (and that carrying one in a holster is just plain gauche). If you’re going to party at the SkyMall Tuesday headquarters this summer, you better be packing heat cold. Keep your legs cool and your beer handy in a handsome pair of Beer Can Shorts.
There’s something about the beach that simply makes people act differently. Seemingly normal, well-adjusted adults suddenly lose all sense of right and wrong. There’s a social contract to which we all adhere the vast majority of the time. It’s what keeps us from yelling obscenities on the bus and wiping our hands on other people at BBQ restaurants. At the beach, however, that social contract is shredded, set ablaze, and cast into the ocean as ashes. People rationalize just about any behavior at the beach. That’s why I wrote The Definitive Guide to Going to the Beach. Because, when you’ve seen some of the things that I’ve seen at the beach, you realize that people need help.
Here are some examples of actual human behavior that I have witnessed at the beach:
Ninety-eight percent of Lanai, Hawaii‘s sixth largest island, may just have been bought by Oracle boss Larry Ellison, but Hotel Lanai is offering you a chance to experience his private domain with summer rates starting from $99 per night.
Built in 1923 as a retreat for executives of the island’s former Dole plantations, Hotel Lanai’s 11 guestrooms hearken back to that era with wicker chairs, ceiling fans, and hardwood floors set amid lush palm trees. Adding to its tropical character are Hawaiian quilts, furnishings, and artwork by local artists that adorn each room. Guests can also enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout their stay, and a complimentary breakfast served daily in the lobby from 6:30am to 9:30am.
If you venture out, Lanai has a host of activities on hand, like kayaking off its North Shore, hiking the Munro trail to the island’s highest point, or golfing at one of Lanai’s two breathtaking courses. And when the hunger pangs hit, tuck into baby back ribs, meatloaf, and other hearty American fare at the Lanai City Grille at Hotel Lanai, voted a 2012 Neighborhood Gem by reviewers on OpenTable.com.
To book, visit www.HotelLanai.com and submit a reservation enquiry. The hotel requires a 50 percent deposit at the time of booking, and children under eight stay for free if no additional beds are required.
Perhaps the worst thing about a trip to the beach is sharing that trip with hundreds (if not thousands) of other people. A day at the beach should be a serene, relaxing experience. Hearing other people’s radios and conversations, dodging their frisbees, and avoiding the sand that they kick up turns a pleasant day by the shore into a nightmare. That’s why it’s best to avoid the popular, mainstream, famous beaches for lesser-known plots of sand that provide more privacy with just as much sun and fun. Finding those underrated beach destinations isn’t always easy. If you’re visiting a new city, you might only know the popular beach spots listed in guidebooks or made famous on television.
That’s why we want your help. ShermansTravel readers are spread out across the world and have traveled the globe. We want to know your favorite underrated, unknown, and better beaches. Where should we go in Sydney if we want to avoid the hordes at Bondi? Where can we go in Miami to relax on a blanket rather than be part of the scene on South Beach? What’s a peaceful alternative in Los Angeles to the wacky world that is Venice Beach?
Tell us about your favorite lesser-known but totally awesome beaches in the comments below. Share them on Twitter with the hashtag #betterbeaches (and include @ShermansTravel in your tweets). Post them on our Facebook page. No matter where they are in the world, we want to know! We’ll compile the best suggestions and include them in a future blog post.
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With Memorial Day already in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to turn our focus to backyard grilling. Barbecues are a summer staple (if not a completely suitable replacement for real BBQ). While you might think that you can just grab some hot dogs, hamburgers, and lighter fluid and create a memorable event, it’s important to realize that preparation is the key to a successful barbecue. We don’t grill much at SkyMall Tuesday headquarters because the New York City government frowns upon using charcoal inside of apartment building. That said, we’re well-versed in the tools of the trade and know what it takes to put together a backyard feast worth its weight in flank steak. If you’re going to man (or woman, as it is 2012) the grill for your friends and family, turn to SkyMall and don the Grill Sergeant BBQ Apron.
Memorial Day marks the start of summer in most of our minds (if not officially on our calendars). For many of us, it means the first trip to the beach, a road trip adventure, or a weekend in the country. For others, however, it’s just a long weekend away from the office with no getaway plans. That doesn’t mean that that those folks don’t have travel on their minds, however. Now, I’m not advocating calling something a “staycation;” I’m just suggesting that you use Memorial Day weekend to plot, scheme, and organize a trip that you can take sometime this summer. Use the holiday as your launchpad and start your own countdown to the trip that you deserve.
There’s no right or wrong way to travel. Love your RV? Plan an epic drive through to a national park. Prefer more luxury on your trips? Find a deal on a hotel that will cater to your every need. Summer is perfect for adventure and Memorial Day weekend is the right time to get yourself ready. Read more
For travelers looking for great travel deals, the summer months offer lots of discounts in the Caribbean and Mexico, because summer generally means hurricanes and risky weather. But the Weather Channel has just issued its forecast for the 2012 hurricane season, and the weather looks promising for those tropical Atlantic travelers.
The experts predict 11 named storms, six hurricanes, and two major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) for the 2012 season. The prediction is for storms in the Atlantic Ocean, not necessarily storms that make landfall. These numbers are well below the averages for 1995-2011, which had, on average, 15 named storms, eight hurricanes, and four major hurricanes. However, it should be noted that these are just predictions: in 1992 only six named storms were predicted, one of which was Hurricane Andrew, one of the most devastating hurricanes in recent history.
Be sure to check out our Top 10 Travel Emergency Tips for advice on how to handle hurricanes and other disasters.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights.
For a last-minute Memorial Day Weekend trip, head to sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida for three nights starting at $313. For those who plan in advance, this offer is valid through September 30.
Stay at the historic Riverside Hotel – the only hotel on glitzy Las Olas Boulevard – in a traditional guest room with either a king or queen bed, vintage 1930s decor, cable TV, same-day dry cleaning service, and Wi-Fi access. For $76 more, upgrade to a spacious executive tower room with a king bed, contemporary furnishings, and a balcony overlooking the city.
As an added bonus, the Riverside Hotel adds in the following savings: 25 percent off services from a local salon, 20 percent off dinner at the hotel’s Indigo restaurant which features Classic American Cuisine, buy one get one free ice cream from popular confectioner Kilwins, and half off beer, wine, or cocktails at the hotel’s Golden Lyon Vintage Pub.
The Riverside Hotel provides guests with many amenities such as an outdoor pool with food and beverage service, a fitness center, onsite restaurants, bars and lounges, a business center, and riverside boat slips. Read more
When it comes to summertime fun, not every town is satisfied with state fairs and carnivals. These intrepid communities celebrate quirky bits of history and time-honored traditions that make simple petting zoos seem boring. While some of these festivals might look bizarre at first glance, they serve the same purpose as the more run-of-the-mill gatherings: Get a bunch of people together to have fun. Read more
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