Free Chicken at KFC & El Pollo Loco!

Ok fellow travelers.  If today you find yourself wandering around a new city with a grumbling stomach and light wallet;  ask around and point yourself to the nearest KFC.   KFC has officially declared today, Monday, April 27 as “Unfry Day” and is offering you some free Kentucky Grilled chicken.  Personally Im a fan of the extra crispy but its hard to complain with gratis poultry.

Fall Foliage: Top Ten Destinations

Now is that time where summer is quickly fading into the horizon and the cool crisp air of fall begins to slowly overcome us and nothing says autumn like the dramatic colors that blaze through the fall trees. So courtesy of ShermansTravel here are the top 10 foliage destination of fall.

Aspen, CO
While Colorado’s aspens don’t offer the vibrant fall color spectacle of say, the Northeast, the yellows, golds, and bold oranges that cover the mountainsides here, against a backdrop of intermittent evergreens, are still reason enough for a visit. Mid- to late-September is the ideal time to catch the show.

Hotels in Aspen

The Catskills, NY
Dubbed “America’s First Wilderness,” this beautiful region harbors a variety of trees – maple, oak, birch, and beech among them – that come into their prime during the last two weeks of September or early to mid-October. Historic towns boast charming B&B’s that make great bases for discovering the family-friendly harvest festivals, farmers’ markets, pick-your-own orchards, crafts fairs, and antique shops that define the region at this time of year.

Hotels in Catskill

Columbia River Gorge, OR
A geological wonder, the gorge itself weaves its way through the Cascade Mountains, forming the border between northern Oregon and southern Washington, and is loaded with lush fir forests and twisted pines, big-leaf maple, cottonwood, Oregon ash, and vine maple trees that show their colors from mid-September to mid-October. The area is also known for its dazzling waterfalls, the remarkable 620-foot Multnomah Falls chief among them.

Hotels in the Columbia River Gorge

Eastern Townships, QC
This section of Quebec stretches as far east as Maine, perhaps explaining why some consider the region to resemble neighboring New England, but with the French influences you’d expect of the province. It is probably no surprise that the maple leaf is the star of the show here, and visitors can enjoy a fiery display on horseback or on foot, particularly from mid- to late-September when the foliage season reaches its peak.

Hotels in Eastern Townships

Great Smoky Mountains, TN & NC
Nestled between North Carolina and Tennessee, the most-visited National Park in the United States is home to 100 species of trees with an awesome display of turning leaves. Peak fall colors are predicted for mid-October through early November; the most memorable foliage coming courtesy of sugar maples, scarlet oaks, sweetgums, red maples, and hickories.

Hotels Near the Great Smokey Mountains Nat’l Park

Litchfield Hills, CT
The Litchfield Hills is a spectacular sight each autumn when the maple, oak, aspen, beech, and birch trees are ablaze with color. You can take in the splendor on one of the many driving itineraries available or see it from the sky on a hot-air-balloon ride. Whatever your pleasure, try to visit in mid-October, when the colors are at their most vivid.

Hotels Near Litchfield

Lost Maples Natural Area, TX
While many think cacti is the main source of green in Texas, the Lone Star State is in fact home to the Lost Maples State Natural Area, which welcomes a beautiful flush come autumn, thanks in no small part to the relatively uncommon uvalde bigtooth maples, whose reddish blush is most spectacular from mid-October through mid-November.

Hotels Near the Lost Maples Natural Area (San Antonio)

Pennsylvania
Move over Madison County, Pennsylvania rules when it comes to covered bridges – the state boasts more then any place in the world. If you’re an admirer, you’re in luck – covered bridges figure heavily on several different driving itineraries worth doing through the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia countryside. Pine, hemlock, and maple trees dominate, and the colors (think gold and flaming red) reach their peak in early October.

Washington County, ME
For hard-core foliage enthusiasts looking to escape the crowds that plague much of New England each fall, Washington County, in Maine, is paradise for a leaf-peeper seeking solitude. The fall colors range from burnt orange to blazing red to golden yellow on the region’s birch, maple, oak, aspen, and ash trees, and are most vibrant from early to mid-October.

Cancun – Best Cancun Hotels

Cancun is in the state of Quintana Roo, at the north-eastern tip of the Yucatan peninsula. During the ’70s, after the construction of the first hotels, it became an exclusive tourist destination. Cancun is divided into two very distinct areas: the hotel area, an island separated from the mainland, connected by two bridges in the North and the South. In the interior is the lagoon called Nichupte. The second area is the centre of the modern city of Cancun, full of shops, restaurants and shows.

Cancun has a large range of 3 to 5 star hotels in the “hotel zone” and some more economical hotels in the city center.

Budget Cancun Hotels

International Club Hostel, Calle Orquideas num 7 Sm 22 mza 14,  +52 988 8 98 26 73 ([email protected]). Great place to stay with many style rooms. All with great rates. It has a swimming pool, free internet, laundry service, kitchen service, room service, lockers, international phone calls, discounts on tours and local shopping, xbox360, play station, movies, and more. It is located one block from famous Yaxchillan where all the local bars are stationed. It is also one block from the famous Palapas Park, two blocks from Avenida Tulum and just 5 blocks from the ADO bus station.

Temptation Resort and Spa, Blvd Kukulkan Km 3, Cancun, ROO 77500,  +52 998 848 7900. Check in: 4PM; checkout: 11AM. 2-3 Star place, Temptation Resort and spa has 3 fancy restaurants with reservations to be made from 10AM to 11AM the previous day. Internet access is $15 dollars for 24hrs. Beach front is calm mainly for boat use.

Las Palmas Hostel, Calle Palmeras #43 (off Calle Uxmal),  +52 8842513. Checkout: 12:00. Just three blocks west of ADO bus terminal. Air-conditioned dormitories with clean bathrooms and showers en suite and secure lockers. Ample double rooms with kitchen and internet access. Quiet location off the main road. Dorms from 100 Pesos, doubles from 250 Pesos (fan) 300 Pesos (A/C).

Villa Playa Blanca, Carretera Puerto Juarez-PuntaSam Km 3.8 SM86M4L11 fracciones 1 y 2 (A lado del restaurante Flamingos),  +52 19981098275 ([email protected]). Checkout: 13:00. 10 minutes by bus from downtown (buses leaving every 5 minutes for 4, 5 pesos). Very quiet and with a nice ambiance. The place could be (and according to the owner will be soon) more expensive. Now it’s a bargain. You get excellent rooms and free breakfast in your bed every morning, all for a good price. Free Wi-Fi, swimming pool and incredible views. Ask for the room “La Palma”, it’s 400 pesos, but you have more than 50 square meters of space for you. Doubles from 350 Pesos (A/C).

Mid-Range Cancun Hotels and Accommodations

Maria’s Kankin, Km. 4.5 Carretera al Parque El Garrafon, Fraccionamiento Mar Turquesa, Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico,  (52) 998-8770015. Marias Kankin is on Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico. The hotel is about 50 minutes from the Cancun airport. Ferry boats also shuttle back and forth from the mainland. As the sunset looms, take it easy and rest in any of Marias Kankin’s nine suites. Decked in minimalist, Caribbean-inspired decor, each air-conditioned suite is furnished with a mini-bar, Internet access, sofa bed, and writing desk + chair.

Crown Paradise Club – All Inclusive Resort – Cancun, Blvd. Kukulkan Km 18.5 | Zona Hotelera, Cancun 77500. Crown Paradise Club Resort offers an inclusive package with amenities such as a water park for the kids with a pirate ship and 8 water slides, excellent a la carte and buffet dining, adult only areas, mini golf, disco, nightly entertainment.

RIU Cancun, Blvd Kukulcan Km 8.5, Manzana 50, Lot 5 | Zona Hotelera, Quintana Roo, Cancun 77500. An all inclusive resort with views of the Caribbean Sea. Several fine restaurants and bars. Choice of activities and entertainment options, including a popular sports bar, night club and theatre with theme shows.

Oasis Cancun, Blvd Kukulkan, 52 998 881 70 00. A pretty good resort for the college-aged crowd. The rooms are clean and surprisingly spacious for the price. Although, the best part about the hotel is clearly the beaches and pools. The pool is generally crowded during peak times but is large and features several swim-up bars. The bad part is that since the Oasis is all-inclusive you basically get what you pay for, the food and drinks are not the best quality. The buffet-style restaurants are bland and the food can get quite repetitive. An exception is the sushi restaurant. All bars also stop serving alcohol at midnight, which is unfortunate, but there is a twenty-four hour liquor store right across from the resort with reasonable prices, somewhat expensive for Mexico but slightly less expensive than alcohol in the United States. They also sell absinthe.

RIU Caribe, Blvd. Kukulcan, Km 5.5, Lote 6-C, Cancun 77500. All inclusive resort with Mayan-style architecture overlooking the Caribbean. Features 506 luxurious ocean view rooms with amenities such as a mini-bar and liquor dispenser. There is a wide array of restaurants, bars and facilities to enjoy, including 24-hour All Inclusive snacks and beverages. Fun and relaxing atmosphere created by the large swimming pool and spectacular beach.

The Royal Resorts; The Royal Resorts have been around since 1974 and include a string of four hotels all in close vicinity of each other. The Royal Mayan, The Royal Caribbean and The Royal Islander are side by side where as the newest hotel, The Royal Sands is no more than a five minute ride in bus. The Royal Resorts offer beautiful villas that overlook the Gulf of Mexico. Each villa is equipped with a kitchen, two bathrooms two bedrooms, one with two double beds, one with a queen sized bed, a living room with two murphy beds, three televisions, one in each room and a terrace that overlooks the other two hotels as well as the Gulf of Mexico. These hotels include free activities such as snorkeling and sailing in the ocean, tennis, and free beach towels. Also on the premises are a number of different restaurants and bars at which the vacationers may dine.

Soberanis Hotel; Soberanis Hotel is in downtown Cancun, Mexico. It is 3 km to the beach and 15 km to Isla Mujeres. The airport is 20 km away. The rooms at Hotel Soberanis are all air-conditioned. They have cable television, a private toilet and bath, and safe. The rooms are further equipped with an IDD telephone, Internet access, and writing desk and chair. Rates include daily breakfast. Non-smoking rooms are available.

Sotavento Hotel and Yacht Club, Blvd. Kukulcan Km 4 Zona Hotelera, Calle del Pescador, Lote D-8-4, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico,  52 998 8494707. Sotavento Hotel in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico is in Cancun’s hotel zone. It sits in front of Nichupte Laguna and is within walking distance to Cancun’s sandy beaches and downtown area. The airport is also nearby. Your affordable accommodation in Cancun features entertaining amenities, such as Internet access and cable television. Non-smoking rooms can be requested. Rates start at USD $40.

High End Five Star Cancun Hotels

ClubMed, Punta Nizuc 77500, Estado de Quinatana Roo Cancun, telephone: (52) 998 881 82 00. An all inclusive resort. A short distance outside the town, at the tip of the bay, on one of the most beautiful sites of Cancun, this Club Med resort is flanked on one side by the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea and on the other by a delightful lagoon. Almost thirty years ago, Club Med was the first to establish itself here on a beach of white sand with gardens of colored coral no distance from Tuba and the superb Mayan, Aztec and Toltec sites, all within reach of a short excursion. Traditional central square, bungalow-haciendas and specialty restaurants.

Gran Melia Cancun, Kukulcan Boulevard, km 16.5, Zona Hotelera, Cancun, Mexico 77500 Tel: (52) 998 1930090. Gran Melia Cancun offers the elegance and comfort exclusive of the most prestigious hotels of the world. It has been awarded by the AAA with their 4 diamonds for 2007, and is well known for its white sandy beach overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The resort also features 4 spectacular pools, specialized “a la carte” restaurants, and activities program for children and adults, a nine hole and par three golf course, a tennis court, two paddle tennis courts and recently awarded by The Leading Hotels of the World as a Leading Spa of the World.

Dreams Cancun Resort and Spa, Punta Cancun Zona Hotelera, +52 (998) 848 7000. Situated at the shore point known as Punta Cancun and surrounded on three sides by the brilliant turquoise Caribbean. All rooms offer private balcony views of the ocean, beaches, lagoon or gardens. Each are luxuriously appointed with marble floors, elegant furnishings, dining area, mini-bar, satellite TV and 24-hour room service. Several provide private whirlpools and other enhanced luxury amenities and services. A pod of 6 dolphins make the resort lagoon their home. Swim with the dolphin programs are available for guests and the general public.

Hyatt Cancun Caribe Resort, Blvd Kukulkan, km 10.5, Zona Hotelera, Quintana Roo (in the hotel zone),  +52 998 848 7800 ([email protected]), 5 star hotel with 296 rooms and views of the Mexican Caribbean. The hotel is within walking distance of the main entertainment areas and shopping malls.

Hyatt Regency Cancun, Blvd Kukulcan, km 8.5, Quintana Roo (in the hotel zone),  +52 998 891 5555 ([email protected]), 5 star hotel with a seafront location. 295 rooms. The hotel is just steps away from world-class shopping, restaurants and the best nightlife in Cancun.

CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort, Blvd Kukulcan, 52 998 881 2000, (Fax: 52 998 881 2085), The CasaMagna Cancun has been completely renovated in the wake of the devastation brought to Cancun by Hurricane Wilma. The resort features 418 rooms and 34 suites. Each room has a private balcony with a table and chairs. The hotel has 3 restaurants on-site, including a steakhouse, a Japanese restaurant and a sports bar. The beach in front of the resort has been restored, as has the pool area. The hotel itself tends to be priced on the higher side for Cancun, but that also tends to weed out the younger crowd. This resort is adjacent to the JW Marriott Cancun and is directly connected to it through a pathway.

JW Marriott Cancun Resort, Blvd Kukulcan, Km 14.5, Lote, 52 998 8489600, (Fax: 52 998 8489601), While traveling on a Mexico Vacation and staying in Cancun, The JW Marriott Resort offers luxury accommodations. The resort is adjacent to the CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort and has a connected pathway.

Hilton Golf and Spa Resort, Blvd Kukulcan, Km 17, Lote, 52 998 8818000, (Fax: 52 998 8818093), The Hilton Cancun, is the only Golf & Spa Resort on the island. The pyramid-like hotel features 426 ocean-view rooms, including 82 secluded Villas offering a private lounge and executive services; five delightful restaurants, including a gourmet-dining beachside grill; seven splendid infinity pools and the largest beach in Cancun. The Hilton Resort has effortlessly embraced the natural timeless wonders of the region with the contemporary features of its cosmopolitan destination. The Hilton Cancun Golf + Spa Resort has been recognized with the AAA Four Diamond Award for over 10 years in a row and the Connie Award for best overall performing hotel within Hilton Hotels Corporation.

Paradisus Riveiera Cancun Resort, SM. 11 MZ., 9 Lote 10 Puerot Morelos, (52) 998 8728383.  Enthusiasts can enjoy the gorgeous weather and beautiful beaches of Mexico. Paradisus Riviera Cancun luxury, all inclusive resort stretches along a lush tropical mangrove preserve on a 5,000 foot long Caribbean coastline and whose beach is protected by the second largest coral reef formation in the world.

You could also try out the growing vacation rental market as well. It’s a chance to experience Cancun without having to share close spaces with thousands of tourists. They are an alternative if you are willing to go without the frills of room service or resort commodities.

Most resorts in the hotel zone have a travel agent on site during the daytime to assist you with making reservations around Cancun, including the Mayan ruins. It is often better to book activities through these travel agents as they are employed by the hotel and cannot easily cheat you. Activities are also sold at booths found in the busier areas. Prices for the same activities are cheaper in Cancun town than in the hotel zone.

Australia – Weather

Like all countries in the southern hemisphere Australia’s seasons follow the sequence:

Summer: December to February

Autumn: March to May

Winter: June to August

Spring: September to November

This means that the Australian Christmas takes place at the height of summer. It also means that the mid-year break for students happens in winter. The end of year break for students is commonly known as the “summer holidays”, or the “Christmas holidays”.

Even though the four “official” calendar seasons have the same names as the northern hemisphere seasons, the weather during these seasons is very different to northern hemisphere weather patterns. Australia is generally a very dry place, so summers can get much hotter. The pattern of rainfall is also distinct – some places have abundant rain at one time of the year and almost none at other times.

Indigenous Australians have long had their own seasonal calendars, which are different from the seasonal calendar brought to Australia by the British in 1788. For example, the Jawoyn, from the Northern Territory, recognize six seasons. Jiorrk, the wet season, lasts from January to February. Bungarung, the end of the rains, lasts from March to mid-April. Jungalk, the hot start of the dry period, lasts from mid-April to the end of May. Malaparr, the cooler, middle part of the dry period, lasts from June to the end of August. Worrwopmi, the humid time, lasts from September to the end of October. Wakaringding, the humid time when the first rains begin to fall, lasts from November until the end of December. All different kinds of weather

All Different Kinds of Weather

Because Australia is such a large country, its weather varies significantly in different parts of the continent. Living in Australia can involve everything from sunbathing on the beach in scorching summers to knocking snow off your boots after a day of skiing; sweating out the humidity during the build-up at the beginning of the wet season, to wrapping up snug and waiting at the bus stop in the pouring rain.

In the north there are tropical regions with high temperatures and high humidity and distinct wet and dry seasons. In the centre of the country are dry, desert regions with high daytime temperatures and low amounts of rain. In the south are the temperate regions with moderate rainfall and temperatures ranging from hot to cold.

The temperature in Australia changes with the seasons, but in general it ranges between highs of 50 degrees Celsius to lows of sub-zero temperatures. The lowest temperatures reached in Australia, however, are not comparable to the extreme lows experienced in other continents. This is partly because Australia lacks very high mountains and enjoys the presence of warming oceans around its coastal regions.

Australia’s Tropical Regions

The tropical regions of Australia are in the north of the country. They include the central and northern parts of the Northern Territory and Queensland, and the northern parts of Western Australia. The weather in the Australian tropics has two very different seasons: the wet season and the dry season.

The wet season lasts about six months in summer and spring, between December and March. It is hotter than the dry season, with temperatures between 30 and 50 degrees Celsius. This is because of the high humidity during the wet, which is caused by large amounts of water in the air. During the wet there is a lot of rain, which frequently causes flooding.

The dry season lasts about six months in autumn and winter, usually between May and October. Temperatures are lower and the skies are generally clearer during the dry. The average temperature is around 20 degrees Celsius.

The “build up” is the humid time of year between the wet and dry seasons. It usually lasts for three or four months. Things become quite tense during the “build up” as people sit and swelter in the humidity while waiting and hoping for the first rains to come. The humidity continues day and night with no respite, so when the rains finally do come everyone enjoys their cooling relief.

Australia’s Dry Regions

The driest regions of Australia are found mostly in central Australia, stretching from most of central and southern Western Australia, through the southern parts of the Northern Territory and most of South Australia, to the far west regions of Queensland and New South Wales, and the north-western parts of Victoria.

The dry and desert regions of Australia are characterized by intense heat during the day and intense cold at night. Temperatures range from around 40 degrees Celsius in the summer to between 16 and 24 degrees Celsius in the winter. At night the temperature can vary from 19 degrees Celsius to zero degrees Celsius; these areas receive little rainfall. Most of central Australia is normally in a state of drought.

Australia’s temperate regions

The temperate areas of Australia are found on the south-eastern coast, reaching south from Tasmania through most of Victoria and New South Wales into the southern parts of Queensland. Temperate regions are also found in the southern most parts of South Australia and the south-western tip of Western Australia.

The weather in temperate Australia is quite changeable throughout the year, with an average temperature of around 30 degrees Celsius in the summer, and cool to cold winters with an average temperature of around 15 degrees Celsius. The summer frequently extends into periods of heat wave and drought, while the winters, while usually cold, wet and windy, are quite mild in comparison to winters in many European countries.

Snow is uncommon in temperate Australia, and unheard of in the dry and tropical regions, but along the Great Dividing Range, the mountain range that passes through New South Wales and Victoria, there are regular winter snowfalls.

Australia Tourism – Outback

It’s called a sun burnt country, but even in the scorched desert you’ll find purple vegetation and lush green waterholes. You’ll also find red hills and fiery sunsets, dinosaur footprints and Aboriginal carvings, colorful characters and rustic pubs. Here in the wide, open spaces, a new adventure awaits you at every turn.

Flinders Ranges, South Australia

Take a scenic flight and see the monumental splendor of the rock basin of Wilpena Pound roll out beneath you, then explore the legendary waterholes of the Flinders Ranges. See Aboriginal art at Arkaroo Rock and explore the area’s pastoral history at Wilpena Pound Station. Afterwards, head to a friendly pub and taste-test some of the area’s famous bush tucker while swapping stories with the locals.

Longreach, Queensland

Join a campfire and hear the poetry of the outback people at the spiritual homeland of the Aussie “bushy”. Here you can learn about the history of the outback and the people who call it home at the Stockman’s Hall of Fame. Home of the world’s first flying surgeon and the birthplace of our national airline Qantas, there’s much to do in and around this legendary outback town.

Broken Hill, New South Wales

Discover distinctive desert landscapes and an oasis of lakes around the former mining town known as Silver City. Once the world’s largest silver, lead and zinc mine, Broken Hill is now famous for its artists, who draw inspiration from the clear light and expansive vistas. Take a sunset stroll around the Living Desert Sculptures, watch birds around Menindee Lakes and do a radio lesson in the world’s largest virtual classroom at the School of the Air.

Glen Helen Gorge, Northern Territory

After trekking through the MacDonnell Ranges, you’ll be overjoyed to reach the broad, cool waterhole of Glen Helen Gorge. This permanent waterhole is a sanctuary for the Finke River’s nine species of fish and migrating water birds. Dive in for a refreshing swim then pitch your tent under the stars. You might even spot a black-footed rock wallaby.

Kununurra, Western Australia

Explore ridges and ranges 350 million years old and see where rare pink diamonds are mined. Jump on a bull at the local rodeo, catch a huge barramundi or join the crowds at an outback horse race. Dine on mud crab in remote camp restaurants and marvel at the vast and magnificent Lake Argyle. However you experience this diverse region, you can bet you won’t forget it.

Mildura, Victoria

This vibrant outback oasis on the Murray River is renowned for its endless sunshine, picturesque vineyards and ancient lunar landscapes. Explore Aboriginal culture in the sand dunes of Lake Mungo or in the sublime World Heritage-listed Willandra Lakes. Dine at award-winning restaurants or cruise past wineries on a house boat or historic paddle steamer. See rugged outback scenery and stunning sunsets from a hot air balloon or tackle them on a four wheel drive.