7 Best Online Travel Communities

True, Tripadvisor, Frommer’s and the Lonely Planet are some of the best online travel communities going, but they’re far from the only ones amongst the greats. So go on, expand your travel community horizons and check out our 7 Best Off The Radar Travel Communities:

1. Travelistic

From YouTube to Hulu to Yahoo, were a video obsessed bunch. Travelistic has cleverly taken this to head and created a travel community wholly centred around video.

Log on and you’ll find over 10,000 user submitted travel videos, to view, comment on and inspire your future travels. Want to visit the Great Wall? Journey to the top of Everest? You can do it all on Travelistic, without ever leaving home.

2. Igougo

A masterful all in one travel community, where you can plan your trip, compare flights and hotels and share your travel experiences with the world.

Just type in a destination and you’ll be instantly connected to a plethora of photos, reviews and users who have traveled or reside there. When you’re ready to go, create your very own trip journal and give back to the community by sharing your own travel experiences.

3. Trip It

Less of a travel community and more a travel service, Trip It is perfect for the organization nut in all of us. Just enter your flights, hotel stays and destinations and let trip it create an optimized travel itinerary for you in seconds. Never miss another plane or train again.

For those who truly want it all, upgrade to the pro version and Trip It will automatically alert you if there are changes or delays in your travel plans. That means less time at the airport, and more time at the beach.

4. Dopplr

Create a map with the dates and location of your travels; share it with the Dopplr community, check out other’s maps, then meet up with those whose travel plans overlap with your own. If you’d like to keep your location a secret from some (mom, dad, a raging x), don’t worry, you can control who can and can’t see where you are.

Along the way you’ll get a wealth of location specific travel information, so you’ll always know where to stay, where to eat, and what to do. Taking the thinking out of traveling, we like that.

5. Travbuddy

Travbuddy’s got all the ingredients that make for a killer online travel community; helpful forums, honest reviews, stunning travel photos and a dedicated membership 1.5 million strong.

Travbuddy ups the ante by giving you your very trip blog, allowing you to easily post your stories, pictures and reviews as you go. There’s even a built in mapping feature that builds a map of your travels as you venture across the earth.

Wherever, you’re headed, this is one buddy you don’t want to leave behind.

6.Travelers Point

Besides being a great place to plan, book and share your next trip, Travelers Point has hands down one of the best travel resources on the web; wiki travel guides.

These 100% user created and edited travel guides, give you the collective wisdom and travel experiences of over 250,000 members, right at your finger tips. From country and city guides, to travel health and safety information, you’ll find everything you need to get in the know, before you go.

7. Travel DODO

Travel DODO takes travel reviews and puts them into a fun, easily digestible format, Travel Do’s, and Travel Don’t.

Want to find out which restaurants, hotels and attractions are best avoided in France? Just click on the location on the interactive map, and you’ll be given a list of places to cross off your list (travel don’t), so you spend your valuable vacation time wiser.

Frankly, you’d be a DODO, not to check up here before you GOGO.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring an Airport Car Service Vs Transporting Yourself?

When you need to get to or from the airport, there are a number of travel options available. Discover the benefits offered by airport car services so that you can make an informed decision about your airport transportation the next time you fly.

Air travel can be an extremely stressful experience, especially when you consider the time and hassle it often takes to get to and from an airport on either end of a journey. Working with a private airport transportation service can help mitigate this stress so that you can get to or from your on-the-ground destination with minimal difficulty. Find out what benefits a private shuttle service to airport destinations can provide versus self-orchestrated travel, and consider if airport car services would be right for you the next time you fly.

In terms of self-directed car travel to or from an airport, driving yourself or having someone else drop you off are the two most common scenarios. While these do offer some cost benefits and a degree of travel flexibility, they also have their shortcomings. In both of these cases, you’re creating the opportunity for a lot of travel-related stress. When you drive yourself to the airport, you’re forcing yourself to focus on driving in a high-traffic area while also trying to adhere to an extremely time-sensitive schedule. That’s guaranteed to raise your blood pressure! Once you get to the airport, you’re also locking yourself into paying for parking for the whole time you’re gone. If you try to avoid the parking cost by having a friend or family member drive you, you still end up engaging someone else in the stress of traffic and the time crunch of an airport run. Many of us take these airport travel stressors as par for the course. However, they don’t have to be. There are other travel options available, such as private airport shuttle services or car services.

Very often the word “shuttle” may conjure up images of minibuses or vans crammed full of travelers. While those types of airport shuttles do exist, they won’t necessarily reduce your stress load during your travel experience! A door-to-door airport car service, however, will. In this context, the terms “shuttle” and “car service” are used interchangeably to reference a town car or other private vehicle that will get you to or from an airport. The drivers of these cars are fully trained, licensed, and insured, and provide fast, reliable, and, above all, comfortable airport travel. When you engage this type of airport shuttle service, all you need to do is give them the details of where you are, where you need to travel, and what your time frame is. The company will do all the rest, from calculating departure or arrival times to loading and unloading your bags for you. This type of assistance can be especially helpful if you’re in an unfamiliar area, or if you just have a lot on your plate and need to have one less detail to think about.

What to Pack for Travelling

This is what I consider to be essential items for any traveler/backpacker. These are items which I have used in my past travels, and have served me well.

Backpack

The first most obvious thing for any traveler to decide on is whether to use a backpack or a suitcase. During my first solo travel experience to Southeast Asia, Korea and Japan, I traveled with a backpack. For under 50 I bought a Eurohike 55 litre backpack with a rain cover, which came in handy during the monsoon season! The pack was top-opening, and didn’t really offer much by way of security. I therefore bought a special backpack transit case which I put my backpack into and made it secure from theft, but also made it secure from airport conveyor belts. I had heard that the conveyors in airports sometimes broke clips from backpacks if they were not properly secured, and that some airlines didn’t even want to have backpacks on their airplanes because they were a safety threat. I actually lost the backpack case during the course of my travels, and had to resort to wrapping my backpack in black bin bags and tape in order to prevent the clips from catching airport conveyors. The backpack was comfortable, with some very nice cushioned padding. However, I realized as my trip went on that the pack was a little too large. I had read on many different websites that the smaller and lighter your pack, the more comfortable your trip will be. This is so true. It is not just about how light the pack is for you to carry, but also practical reasons like traveling on packed trains and subways with a giant wardrobe on your back. The backpack was incredibly annoying whilst traveling on busy subways, as I didn’t know if, and how badly, I was bumping into people – but I am sure that I definitely was! However, it was great to have my hands free when I needed to pay for tickets and also carry bags and water bottles.

Suitcase

On my second trip to Japan, I decided to ditch the backpack and travel with a medium sized suitcase. I was traveling for 3 weeks, and had planned to move around the country quite a bit. I was worried about the condition of the suitcase’s wheels by the end of the trip, but altogether I preferred the comfort of a nice suitcase. The suitcase takes up the use of your arms, but it does relieve your back. I found time and again that my backpack was becoming too heavy and cumbersome for longer walks; a suitcase, meanwhile, makes walking a pleasure. Trying to find your hotel in the humid and busy conditions of Bangkok with your gigantic backpack is not a pleasant experience. Though, going up stairs is a pain with a suitcase, but with a backpack it is a breeze. This may be important to you as it is best to travel around a Japanese city (and many other Asian cities) via the subway system, and sometimes they have enormous staircases leading to the platforms. The final clincher is that a suitcase makes you look more businesslike and professional; a backpack makes you easily identifiable as a traveler or tourist, and makes you stand out far more. If I entered a nice hotel with my backpack, I wouldn’t be given the same service as if I travelled with a suitcase. I believe that backpackers have a bit of a bad name in some countries, as backpackers tend to be younger people who are more prone to loutish behavior due to letting of some steam after finishing university.

Daypack

You don’t want to take your suitcase or backpack with you on your daily walks or excursions, so you need a nice convenient daypack. I actually took a shoulder bag, as it looked more stylish than a small backpack. But be warned, a shoulder bag can give you some irritating neck and shoulder pains if you over pack it with large water bottles or souvenirs. In this instance, a nice mini backpack is better as it transfers the weight evenly on your back and shoulders.

Travel Insurance

I always take out travel insurance as you never know what could happen during your trip. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Medical help abroad could cost you thousands if you do not have the correct insurance, so always read the insurance policy properly. When I search for insurance I always turn to comparison sites, such as moneysupermarket. This way you can compare all the different companies offering insurance and their relative policies.

Skype

Skype is a free service which allows you to call anyone in the world (who also has a Skype account) for free. The service is completely free when using the Skype-to-Skype service, and the prices are competitive if you want to call mobile phones or landlines. You can use Skype on your iPod Touch, an actual Skype phone or on your laptop. If you are taking a laptop abroad, you can even use your webcam to make video calls, but if you are not taking a laptop, I found that many internet cafes in Asia had Skype already installed on their computers. Skype also allows you to send instant messages, play games and even transfer files. All in all, Skype is a great device which you should be make use of whilst traveling.

First Aid Box

I like to take a mini first aid box when I travel. The boxes come in some very nice convenient sizes with everything you could need for your trip. Items can include: plasters, antiseptic cream, insect repellent, and various tablets for common travel sicknesses.

Clothing

I will not speak at great lengths on clothing, as I believe this is a personal choice and dependent on different people’s needs. However, I will say that you should always pack light, and think about whether you will ACTUALLY need an item of clothing. Sometimes, I have fallen into the trap of packing far too much clothing ‘just in case’. Whilst traveling in Asia you can always pick up cheap clothing, so there is no need to over pack. The minimum I would take for a month traveling is: 3-4 t-shirts, 2 shirts, trousers, two shorts, swimming shorts, 2 pairs of socks, trainers/sneakers (I would buy some that look formal but are as comfortable as trainers).

Travel Washing Line

I take a small washing line on my trips in case there is not enough places to dry my clothes. If you are packing light, you can just wash your clothes more often, and you will sometimes need a washing line for extra space.

Travel Sink Plug

I used this occasionally when I stayed in hostels. In some budget accommodation you will not have a sink plug, which makes shaving difficult. The travel plug is therefore recommended if you are considering staying in budget accommodation. Also, even some higher grade hotels have faulty plugs in their bathrooms, so it is generally a good item to take.

Toiletries

As a dandy backpacker I have a vast array of toiletries. My toiletry bag consists of: shavers, moisturizers, sun cream, nail clippers, eyebrow tweezers, aftershaves (which I tend to buy from airport duty free), lip balm, deodorant and more!

Rain Mac

If you are traveling anywhere that has a monsoon season then a rain mac is a great idea. Monsoon rain is awesome, and can just take you by surprise and leave you drenched. A little rain mac can be scrunched up into a very small size and can easily be carried in your daypack.

Swiss Army Knife

I sometimes take this on my travels as it has various useful devices: a bottle opener, scissors, toothpick, tweezers, screwdriver heads and numerous knives of varying shape and sizes.

Travel Towels

I recommend taking a large travel towel. These can be folded into an incredibly small size and take very little space in your luggage. They also dry quicker than ordinary towels.

Camera

I really don’t know much about cameras but I definitely know that you will need one on your journey. It’s a way of recording experiences that are not possible in any other way. I just bought an 8 megapixel camera in Bangkok – it has served me well.

Batteries

You will need these for your camera, so make sure you take enough spares from your own country, which tend to be cheaper than whilst abroad.

Mobile Phone

A mobile phone is now a necessary gadget in all parts of life, and is very important during your travels. It is a great device to keep in touch with other travelers, but is also a safety device if you become lost or in danger. Remember to take you charger though, or it will become useless after a few days.

Backup Sim Card

Just in case you lose the first Sim card you can just take another Sim, which are usually free.

Backup Debit/Credit Card

I would take a backup card just in case I lost my main card. If I lost my main card I could just cancel it and then transfer the money from my main account into my backup account via internet banking.

Pens and Paper

You will occasionally need to write things down, such as directions or contacts, and a pen and paper would be very helpful. I would always travel with a mini pen and small notepad in my daypack so that it was easy to get to. You can always use your mobile phone or iPod Touch for this as well.

Travel Adaptors

Travel adapters are necessary if you want to charge your iPod or mobile phone. Once you know where you are going, you can find out what converter plug you will need. It will save you having to search around in your destination country. Some plugs are all-rounders and cover everywhere.

iPod Touch

My iPod Touch has been irreplaceable during my travels. Not only is it great for watching movies, listening to music and playing games whilst waiting for your flight or on long train journeys, it also has practical uses. By downloading free applications via its Wi-Fi capabilities you can turn your iPod Touch into a hotel or hostel finder, a currency exchange service, a travel guide and much more. I also bought a special, and inexpensive, earphone and microphone set for my Touch, which allowed me to use Skype wherever I had free Wi-Fi. Actually you can find free Wi-Fi everywhere in Southeast Asia: McDonald’s, Starbucks, shopping malls, hotels and even airports. However, I surprisingly found that Wi-Fi access is not so easily found in Korea or Japan, and tends not to be free if it is offered.

iPad

I don’t actually own one of these but they just seem to be a large iPod Touch. All the convenience of the iPod Touch being a nice pocket device which is easy to take everywhere is lost on this device. But maybe I am missing something about it.

Travel Guides

I love to read travel guides and always take them on my trips. My favorite guides have always been DK Eyewitness Travel Guides. I regularly use DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: Thailand, Japan and Rome to name a few. I found them incredibly helpful, but most importantly I loved the focus on culture and historical sites. The guides are wonderfully illustrated, easy to navigate, and the pictures and captions are beautifully presented. In addition, the historical sections are informative, well illustrated and a joy to read. I would also recommend Rough Guides and Lonely Planet, which I have also used in the past.

Money Belt

I originally bought one in order to hide my valuables, but then just used it to hold my bus/train tickets or small change so that it was easily at hand and I didn’t have to rummage though bags or my pockets. The money belt can be used as just a regular bum bag (fanny pack if you’re American) without valuable items and just left on display rather than inside your clothing. I just used it as an extra convenient pocket.

Official Tibet Travel Guide – Must-See for Beginners (Part 1)

Climate of Tibet:

1. How’s the climate in Tibet? Is it hot in summer? Is it very cold in winter?

Tibet is in a high plateau, and it belongs to typical downy special climate. Climates are quite different in different areas of Tibet. The eastern Tibet which is at a lower elevation is warmer than western Tibet. In some mountain areas, there are four seasons at the same time in different altitude. The weather in a day varies greatly, too. The night is cold while the day is warm. It spans 12-15 degrees centigrade in a single day.

Climate in southeastern Tibet including Nyingchi and Chamdo is balmy with an average temperature of eight degrees centigrade; while in western Tibet (Shigatse and Nagqu) is quite cold with an average temperature below zero degree.

However in the central area of Tibet, the climate of Lhasa and Tsedang is more favorable for traveling. Travelers can visit these two areas all year around, not too hot in summer and not too cold in winter.

2. How is the road condition in rainy season in Tibet? Need I take any rainproof with me?

The rainy season in Tibet is mainly from June to August and it does have a very bad impact on the roads. However, there are many track maintenance workers and local army would also give help to restore the roads. Generally speaking, it only takes a few hours to make the roads feasible again. As for the rainproof, you are suggested to take raincoat, rain-proof trousers and shoes if you want to trek, climb the mountain or ride a bike. If you have group tours organized by some travel agencies, usually you don’t need to take rainproof with you, because Tibet often rains at night and the weather is quite good in the daytime. Besides, the tourist bus is always along with you.

3. What is the best time to travel to Tibet?

Generally speaking, early April is the beginning of travel season, which lasts to mid-June when a large number of Chinese travelers rush to Tibet for summer holiday. Late June to the end of National Holiday is the peak travel season when some important festivals held in Tibet, like Shoton Festival, Gyantse Dawa Festival and Nagqu horse riding Festival. After mid October, Tibet turns to winter and as the visitors reduce greatly, more than half of hotels are closed for the poor reservation.

As for the best time to travel, it depends on your travel requirement.

1. If you want an extremely cheap price, go to Tibet in winter, from December to next March. All the things are quite cheap; even the tourist sites offer 30-50% discount on entrance fee. Hotels are cheap, too. You can enjoy 5 star hotels with less than 100USD including breakfast. Compared with traveling in August, the cost of a winter tour is only 50%-60% of a summer tour. Because of the poor amount of visitors, the Potala Palace allows you to spend even a whole day in it. Besides, the monks are not busy and have spare time to chat with you.

2. If you like trekking, do it at May or September when the monsoon will never bother you and the weather is balmy and pleasant.

3. If you love Mt.Everest and want to see the clear face of it, try to avoid the rainfall season and foggy weather.

4. If you love to visit the grass land in north Tibet, do the tour in July when the flowers bloom in vast grassland and groups of yak and sheep, Tibetan nomad tents spread all over the grassland.

5. Those who want to drive to Tibet through Sichuan-Tibet highway should avoid the rainy season. There will be mudslides, cave-ins and mire on certain sections of the road, blocking the passage of vehicles.

About high altitude sickness

1. What is high altitude sickness? What’s the symptom of high altitude sickness?

High altitude sickness may occur at high altitudes (over 2700m) due to the decreasing availability of oxygen. It usually occurs following a rapid ascent and can usually be prevented by ascending slowly. Symptoms often manifest themselves six to ten hours after ascent and generally subside in one to two days, but they occasionally develop into the more serious conditions. Common symptoms of high altitude sickness include shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, stomach illness, dizziness, and sleep disturbance.

2. How to avoid or relieve high altitude sickness?

  1. Keep a good mood, don’t be too excited or be too worried about high altitude sickness. Before visiting Tibet, get as healthy as possible, both physically and psychologically.
  2. Take care of yourself and avoid catching cold before going to Tibet, and not to take shower at the first two days after you are in Lhasa to avoid being cold, or you will easily suffer from altitude sickness under weak physical condition.
  3. Do not drink any alcohol on the first two days when you are in Tibet. Drink plenty of water and eat light, high-carbohydrate meals for more energy.
  4. Do not run, jump or do some taxing jobs at the first two days. Being peaceful and having a good rest are important.
  5. Once you have the symptoms of altitude sickness, take some medicine (it is said that it’s helpful to have some butter tea if you can adapt to the flavor of it) and don’t go higher. Medication and oxygen also help to prevent altitude sickness. Mild altitude sickness symptoms can be treated with proper medication. If medication and oxygen do not relieve the symptoms, go to hospital or evacuate immediately to a safe altitude!
  6. Oxygen can help you relieve the symptoms of altitude sickness, but do not use it too often in Lhasa while your symptoms of altitude sickness are not serious. If you feel chilly or feel very uncomfortable, you should go to the nearest hospital available in the area.
  7. In addition to the normal medications for traveling it is advisable to bring high altitude medication. Seek suggestions from your doctor.
  8. Tell your tour guide quickly if you don’t feel well and follow the guide’s advice.

3. What should I do if I have high altitude sickness after arriving in Tibet?

There are hospitals in many large cities in Tibet. You may adapt to mild high altitude sickness by yourself slowly and you may go to hospital if it is serious. After you have already had high altitude sickness, you should rest well, do not move too much, keep eating, drink some water with black sugar or take some medicine. If the high altitude sickness is pretty severe, you should go to hospital, or descend to some lower places, or leave Lhasa immediately. High altitude sickness shall disappear after you descend to certain altitude and it has no sequel symptoms.

4. Is high altitude sickness more serious if going to Tibet by plane than by train?

Exactly, but both means have their advantages and disadvantages. You are more likely to have high altitude sickness because you don’t have enough time to adapt to the plateau environment gradually if you go by plane. The altitude change is directly from several hundreds meters to more than 3000 meters. While, if you go to Tibet by train, you can adapt your body to the high plateau environment slowly and gradually. Then, you may relieve or avoid high altitude sickness.

5. People with what kind of diseases can not go to Tibet? Do I need physical practice before traveling to Tibet?

People with the following diseases can not travel to Tibet:

  • People with all kinds of organic heart diseases, severe arrhythmia or resting heart rate over 100per minute, high blood pressure II or above, all kinds of blood diseases and cranial vascular diseases.
  • People with chronic respiratory system diseases, medium degree of obstructive pulmonary diseases or above, such as bronchus expansion, emphysema and so on.
  • People with diabetes mellitus which is not controlled properly, hysteria, epilepsia and schizophrenia.
  • People with bad cold, upper respiratory tract infections, and body temperature above 38F or below 38F while the whole body and the respiratory system have obvious symptoms, are not recommended to travel to Tibet until they’re OK.
  • People who were diagnosed to have high altitude pulmonary edema, high altitude cerebral edema, high altitude hypertension with obvious increase of blood pressure, high altitude heart diseases and high altitude polycythemia.
  • High risk pregnant women.

If you are not sure about your body condition, you may have a physical examination. But you are not supposed to do more exercise before going to Tibet, for exercising will give more burdens to your heart and you’ll need more oxygen, which may easily cause high altitude sickness.

6. Why can not people with cold go to Tibet? What should I do if I catch a cold in Tibet?

Your immune system shall be weak if you catch a cold and you may suffer high altitude sickness easily because of it. Besides, severe cold may easily turn to some more serious high altitude diseases, especially pulmonary edema, which is very dangerous. So you are not supposed to travel to Tibet before you get rid of a cold.

While, if you catch a cold in Tibet, things might not be so serious, because your body has already, to some extent, adapt to the plateau environment and you can go to a doctor and take some medicine

Permits & certificates

1. Are there any limitations or restrictions imposed on foreigners to travel to Tibet? How about overseas Chinese, Taiwan Compatriots and Hong Kong and Macao compatriots? How to handle it and how long does it take?

There are some special requirements for foreign travelers to Tibet. Firstly, foreign tourists to Tibet must be organized by travel agencies, with confirmed routes. Secondly, a Tibet Travel Permit issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau is indispensable. The Tibet Travel Permit must be obtained before they head to Tibet. What’s more, foreigners are not allowed to travel alone in Tibet by their own, even with the travel permit. They must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide. Tibet travel permit is also required from overseas Chinese and Taiwan Compatriots, while Hong Kong and Macao compatriots can travel to Tibet like other Chinese citizen with valid Home Return Permit. Foreigners, overseas Chinese and Taiwan compatriots can apply for Tibet travel permit from Tibet tourism bureau or certain qualified travel agencies with valid passport (copies), visa (copies) and job certificate. Usually, it can be obtained in one week and 2 to 3 days if you are in urgent need.

2. What is Tibet Entry Permit? How to get a Tibet Entry Permit and what documents are required to get it?

Tibet Entry Permit, also known as Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) Permit or Tibet Visa, is the basic document for foreign travelers to enter into Tibet. No foreign visitor can visit Tibet without holding the Tibet Entry Permit in their hands. Foreign tourists are required to show both their Chinese Visa and Tibet Entry Permit when they change for the boarding passes of flying to Tibet or board trains to Tibet.

Tibet Entry Permit is officially issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, in purpose of restricting the numbers of foreign visitors. With this permit, foreigner tourists can travel in Lhasa region including Lhasa city, Yamdrok Lake, Ganden, Tsurphu, Namtso, Drigung Til and Reting.

Tibet Entry Permit is not available for independent travelers. Foreign travelers have to travel in tour group and ask legitimate travel agency to apply Tibet tour for you.

Documents required:

You can get Tibet entry permit (TTB permit) by sending certain qualified travel agency the first page of your valid passport and a copy of your Chinese visa by fax or by email, and state clearly your occupations (Foreign journalists and diplomats are not allowed to go to Tibet as a tourist). If you are Taiwan Compatriots, send us the copies of your MTP-Mainland Travel Permits or called Taiwan Compatriot Entry Permit/travel document (commonly known as “Tai Bao Zheng”), and tell us your occupations.

If you are the citizens of Hong Kong and Macau SAR, China Re-entry Permit for Hong Kong & Macau Compatriots is enough to travel in Tibet. You are not required to apply for the Tibet Permit.

Pay attention: If you are planning to travel to places officially closed to foreigners in Tibet, an Alien’s Travel Permit is required.

3. What is Alien’s Travel Permit?

Except Tibet Entry Permit, an Alien’s Travel Permit is required if you are planning to travel to places officially closed to foreigners in Tibet, such as Mt. Everest, Rongbuk Monastery, Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasorovar. Alien’s Travel Permit is not needed for places in Lhasa region, towns of Shigatse and Tsetang, or nonstop travel on Friendship Highway.

Alliens’ Travel Permit is required to visit ‘unopened’ areas. Which is issued by the police (Public Security Bureau, “PSB”). Usually you can apply for it once you arrive at Lhasa. For tour groups, our guide will ask you for the passport and TTB permit and submit it to the Foreign Affairs Section of PSB for the Travel Permit. It normally takes several hours and the cost is 50 CNY/person. If you are an individual traveler, you need to join local tours to ‘unopen’ areas, and the local travel agencies will arrange the PSB for you as well. Pay attention, there is no travel agency can provide ‘PSB permit-only’ service.

Notice: If you want to do a Tibet overland tour from Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai or Xinjiang province to Tibet, you must got the PSB permit before your tour starts.

4. Which parts of Tibet are listed as the closed areas?

At present, you have to apply for a Travel Permit if you are planning to visit the following places:Tsedang: Samye Monastery, Tomb of Tibetan King, Trundruk Monastery, YumbulakhangShigatse: Sakya Monastery, Mt. Everest, Rongbuk MonasteryGyangtse: Pelkor Chode Monastery & Kubum StupaNgari Region: Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasarovar, Tsaparang, Years, etc. Nyingchi Region: Basum-tso, Pomi, Rawo-tso, etc.Chamdo Region: Chamdo, Riwoche, Tengchen, etc.

5. Are there any other certificates and permits may be required in Tibet?

Except Tibet Entry Permit, Alien’s Travel Permit, there are Military Permit, Foreign-affairs permit and other permits which may be required when traveling in Tibet.

Sensitive border are as such as Mt Kailash and eastern Tibet also require a military permit and a foreign-affairs permit. For Tholing and Tsaparang in western Tibet you will also need a permit from the local Cultural Antiquities Department. All these will be arranged by our travel agency one month before you enter Tibet. The Military Permit is issued by troop while the Foreign-affair’s permit is issued by Foreign affairs office in Lhasa. It normally takes 10-15 working days to get them all.

6. How to deal with the visa from Tibet to Nepal? Can I apply for Nepal visa in Lhasa? Is it fast? Shall I be denied?

Nepal has two embassies in China: one is in Beijing and the other is in Lhasa. It is easier and more convenient to handle the Nepal visa in Lhasa as long as you conform to the certain procedures. And there are seldom any cases of denial. But the visa officers don’t work at regular time, so you are recommended to stay several more days in Lhasa to apply for Nepal visa and it is more secured if you handle the visa first after you arrive in Lhasa. The general consulate of Nepal is in Lhasa, near the Norbulinka Park. Normally you can get the visa in the afternoon of the next working day if you submit the application and necessary documents in the morning of the first day. The time to submit document is from 10am to 12am, Monday to Friday. So, you need plan a couple of days in Lhasa to wait the visa. The time to get visa is usually at 4pm, once you get the visa, you can fly to Kathmandu or set out to Zhangmu border by cars or by bus.

To apply for Nepal visa in Lhasa, you need prepare the original passport, 2 passport size copies and complete a form. Your passport must be valid at least for the next 6 months. There are three kinds of visas according to period you plan to stay in Neal, the 15 days, 30 days and the 3 months. If you are going to stay more than 15 days in Nepal, it is better to get the visa in Lhasa, as the border office issued 15 days visa only and it is relatively expensive to extend the visa in Kathmandu or Gorkaha.

You can also get Nepal visa at the border. Not far away from the Friendship Bridge, you can get the arrival visa of 15 days stay at the border office with 25 USD. You need prepare a passport size photo and complete a form as well.

What to Pack:

1. What drugs to take when traveling to Tibet?

In the first few days after arrival in Tibet, you may experience some degree of altitude reaction. Colds, insomnia and digestive disorders are common. Take an adequate supply of any prescription medication you use regularly, including medicine for cold, headache, stomachache, and insect bite, diarrhea and so on, like the Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Antibiotics, throat lozenges, nasal decongestant and vitamins etc. Most over-the-counter medicines, such as aspirin and anti-diarrheal pills, are available in Lhasa, but are more difficult to obtain outside of urban areas. It is advisable to take anti-altitude sickness drugs to cope with oxygen deficiency. Bring diamox pills which are believed to be able to prevent the altitude sickness effectively. Please consult your doctor prior to your travel to Tibet.

2. What food to take when traveling to Tibet?You may take some chocolate, dried beef, hot pickled mustard tuber, biscuit and other food and snacks you like. You’d better take food with high calorie. You may also take some gum with you, which may help relieve the symptom of syrigmus and headache. When traveling to remote areas of Tibet it is a good idea to pack some food, snacks, and drinking water. It is not always easy to find food or drinkable water in these areas. Water purification equipment, such as hand pump filters, is not necessary, as bottled mineral water and thermoses of boiled water are available everywhere throughout Tibet. Water purification tablets can be useful during trekking. It is a good idea to take a good quality multivitamin to supplement your diet since a supply of vegetables and fruits may not be readily available.

3. The necessary commodities you should take when traveling to Tibet Necessities: sunglasses, hat, sun cream, skin cream, lipstick, long sleeve clothes, sweaters, Passport, visa, money, credit card, camera, film, batteries, toiletries, cosmetics, knife, watch, day bag-pack, big travel bags (soft luggage), water bottle, journal, reading book, writing materials, binoculars, family pictures and snack foods.

4. What kind of clothes and shoes should be taken when traveling to Tibet?

Clothes

The temperatures change greatly on the altiplano. In the north part of Tibet, people wear thick coats all year round (including July and August which are the hottest months in most of the areas in China). The highest temperature is 4-5 degrees centigrade in northern Tibet. It also snows in July and August.

The temperature difference in a single day is big. In Lhasa, the temperature in July arrives at 30 degrees centigrade at daytime, but falls to 10 degrees centigrade at night. Sometimes it will snow or sleet at night, so you’d better take some down garments (those with hats will better), woolen sweaters, warm gloves, warm and wind-proof shoes and socks. Wearing several layers of clothing that can be easily added or removed is the wise choice since temperatures may vary greatly within a single day.

Most hotels in Tibet have no central heating. The air-conditioners in single rooms do not work well in the cold night. In winter, from November to next March, of course you need bring down jackets, warm sweaters, gloves, warm pants, woolen hats. It is very cold in the morning and evening. In summer, wearing a T-shirt in day time but the Jacket is necessary at hotel in the morning and evening.

During the peak tourism season, April, May, September and October, you need to prepare T-shirts, overcoats and jeans, warm sweaters. Besides, frequent rainfall in this season makes waterproof clothing and raingear absolute necessities.

Even in summer, a down coat is necessary for those who are traveling beyond Lhasa and Shigatse into more remote areas such as the Everest Camp. A windbreaker plus a sweater will work nicely for strolling around Lhasa in summer.

Other essentials to pack include four or five pairs of cotton or woolen underwear, four or five pairs of woolen socks, long sleeve cotton or lightweight wool shirts and T-shirts. Women should avoid skirts or dresses.

Also, whenever you visit Tibet, if your plan includes overnight at Everest Base Camp or Namtso Lake, or a several days outdoor trek in mountain area, to keep warm is very important. The winter clothes are a must. However, you do not need to worry too much about clothing, you can buy any kind of clothes you need in Lhasa and clothes is quite cheap.

Shoes

It is very important to have a strong comfortable pair of boots, especially your travel covers remote area and you have to walk for a long distance. For example, if your travel reaches Everest Base Camp, you need to cover 8 km from Rongpuk Monastery to EBC and back. Lightweight boots are fine, but Tibet can be wet and we will do extensive walking, so make sure your shoes fit well and are suitable for cold and puddles. You should also have a pair of comfortable and tough sandals.

5. What certificates and documents should I take with me when I travel to Tibet?

Of course you should take your passport, China visa and Tibet travel permit with you. Or you won’t be allowed not even to get on the plane or the train.

There are overall four documents required for foreign tourists who want to travel freely in Tibet:

Chinese Visa – you can apply for in Chinese Embassy in your country;

Tibet Entry Permit – It is issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau and is a must for foreigners entering Tibet;

Travel Permit: It is required when you are planning to travel to the closed areas in Tibet, and you can obtain it after you arrive in Tibet

Military Permit – you have to obtain if you are planning to travel to some military sensitive areas.

Five Vacation Planning Travel Tips to Save You Time & Money on Your Vacation

Vacation planning is fun and easy so you don’t need to get overwhelmed. The first thing I want you to do is to take a deep breath and don’t panic. If you’ve never done this before, relax. I am here to help you with some simple steps to plan a great vacation.

1. Determine Your Budget.

There are many ways to go about determining your budget, but I usually set a price of how much I want to spend (per person) and then go from there to determine how to find the best travel deals based on where I want to go on a cheap vacation. You need to be reasonable regarding what the budget will be for your vacation or getaway. A very realistic and reasonable budget for a cheap vacation is between $800-$1200 per person including airfare, hotel, car rental, food, tips, and airport parking. I’ve traveled all over the country on business and the average budget for a two-to-three day business trip is about the same amount so it’s a very reasonable for a cheap vacation for an entire week (especially when it involves air travel and a much longer stay).

2. Choose Your Destination.

Here’s a little insider travel secret. I’ve traveled to some amazing vacation destinations at amazing prices, but I don’t usually choose my destination. The destination chooses me. It can get a little frustrating but I can tell you that if destinations did not chose me, I would never have went to Jamaica and seen a live starfish swimming underwater when I was snorkeling off of a beach in Negril, climbed the Great Wall of China, traveled through the Panama Canal or met a baby sloth at a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica just for starters. I went to those vacation destinations not because I had a deep desire to travel to Montego Bay, Beijing, Panama City, or Puerto Limon, but because I was chasing a travel deal. Now, vacation planning via chasing a deal is a great way to get cheap vacations and save a lot of money. I have been on some incredible trips and gone to vacation destinations I never would have had at the top of my travel destinations “bucket list,” but I realize chasing the travel deal has prevented me so far from going to Tahiti’s island paradise of Bora, Bora (my life long travel dream) and I still want to do the “Sound of Music” tour in Salzburg, Austria. So you usually have a choice: chase the best travel deal or choose your travel dream.

3. Book Your Airfare, Hotel, and Car Rental.

When you’re vacation planning, the best way to save hundreds of dollars on your vacation is to book everything together as a complete travel package. I don’t have any technological reason as to why this saves you money, but it does. Feel free to experiment with your own online travel booking engine of choice with this concept by making queries separately and then as a package, but it’s been done before and proven to save you money. I do know that Rovia Travel has the best online price 68% of the time as compared to Travelocity and Expedia according to a recent independent survey by Topaz International so you may want to check them out.

4. Research Your Vacation Destination & Plan Your Travel Itinerary.

Researching my vacation destination and planning great itineraries is one of the things that I sort of excel at in vacation planning because I love researching the hot tourist attractions of the vacation destination I’m visiting. I know some people just like to “wing it,” but that lack of vacation planning can really add hundreds of dollars to your trip. There are two great ways to do your research. First, there are so many online tools at the local tourism offices of the areas your visiting that have all the main information at your fingertips, plus many have coupons or travel deals you may not have been able to find in other ways. The second thing I like to do is pick up a great guide book for the destination I’m going to. Frommer’s Travel Guide Books and Rick Steves’ Travel Guide Books for Europe are very well researched and written and these authors update their books almost yearly so you know you have up-to-date information.

5. Make Two Checklists.

Now you need to make two checklists for your vacation planning. One is a list of things to do before you go on vacation. This includes finding a pet sitter, getting a neighbor to pick up the mail, calling your mobile phone service to arrange for a text/email package while you’re away if you’re traveling internationally, secure a passport or visa (if you need them), get medical vaccinations if necessary, call your credit card companies to let them know you’ll be traveling and what cities or countries to expect charges to come up on, and things like that. The second list for your vacation planning is a list of things to pack.

Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? Now you see how simple vacation planning is even for an inexperienced traveler. These are the basics of vacation planning and now that you know how to plan your vacation, we have a lot of extra bonus travel tips my travel website (see below) to help you discover a world of ways to see the world. Bon Voyage and have a fabulous vacation.

School Bus Safety – What To Teach Your Kids

Over 20 million children nationwide ride the school bus every day. While school buses are regulated to some extent by federal law, not all states have the same safety standards. For example, New York, New Jersey, and Florida all have state laws in place which require school buses to have lap belts installed for student use. No federal law exists, however, which makes this a national standard. In fact, the debate over seat belts in school buses has been going on for years.

That being said, school buses do not have a bad safety record. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses have some of the best safety records on the road in terms of deaths per distance traveled – just 0.2 deaths per 100 million miles. Furthermore, while some 30,000 people died in passenger vehicles crashes during 2004 alone, only 71 school bus passengers have died in accidents in the past eleven years combined.

Of course, as scintillating as the statistics may be, no one can argue that they are perfect. Children are society’s most valued resource, and it only takes the death of one child to make a significant impact on a family and community. One must also consider that many more children die as a result of being hit by buses than do while passengers on a bus. Even though bus drivers are required to undergo safety training and to take extra precautions due to the nature of their job, accidents happen. Nearby drivers may also be at fault. Despite laws which require motorists to stop for school buses, thousands upon thousands of irresponsible drivers ignore these laws daily, creating a serious safety risk for children getting off the bus.

As a parent, one of the best things you can do is reinforce bus safety guidelines with your child. Even though such rules may already be communicated in school, children often look to their parents to give the final word on issues. Be ready to answer questions your child may have, and make sure he or she understands how to be safe around buses.

– When waiting for the bus, stand several feet away from the curb. Do not enter the street or attempt to board the bus until it has come to a complete stop and opened its doors.

– While riding the bus, do not distract or otherwise aggravate the driver. Keep backpacks, lunchboxes, and other objects out of the aisle, as these create tripping hazards.

– When getting off the bus, use the handrail and watch your step. Try not to cross in front of the bus. If you must do so, walk several feet ahead of the bus and wait for the driver to signal for you to cross. Watch out for passing motorists when crossing the street.

– Never, under any circumstances, crawl under the bus. Not even to retrieve lost property.

Teaching your child to respect these safety guidelines can reduce the chance of a devastating accident on the bus, at the bus stop, or at school.

Deducting Travel As a Business Expense

As a general rule, travel expenses are deductible as a business expense as long as the expense is considered by the IRS to be an ordinary and necessary business expense under (IRC section 162). But when you incur a travel expense outside the United States, that is when the rules begin to change. Do not assume that 100% of your foreign travel expenses are tax deductible. And better yet, consult with your CPA during the planning phase of your foreign travel in order to maximize your opportunity for a tax deduction.

General Rules Regarding Travel Expenses:

Travel expenses traditionally includes the following categories of expenses associated with at least one overnight stay (i.e. where sleep is required while away from home):

1. Transportation Costs – Transportation includes airplane, train, bus, car, or ship between your home and business destination. It also includes commuter bus, taxi and limousine transportation.

2. Baggage and Shipping Costs- This category includes the cost of sending baggage, samples, display materials between regular and temporary work locations.

3. Lodging Costs – Such costs include overnight hotel stays and temporary housing costs.

4. Meals – Allowable meals expenses include food, beverage, tips and tax. If the meals qualify for a tax deduction they may be 50% or 100% deductible. Meals between employees/employers are generally not deductible unless a business purpose can be substantiated. In cases in which there is a business purpose, the meal is eligible for a 50% tax deduction. Meals also include customer-related meals in which business is discussed (50% deduction).

Also allowed are meals related to business-related travel that includes an overnight stay (50% deductible. If the overnight travel is related to an employer-sponsored social or recreational event the meals are 100% deductible. If the meal is related to promotional activities that are made available by the business to the public such costs are 100% deductible.

5. Cleaning – This category includes dry cleaning and laundry expenses incurred during your travel period.

6. Telephone – Business calls, fax costs or other communication costs associated with the business travel are deductible.

7. Tips paid for any travel expense category are allowed as a tax deduction

8. Other – Other costs related to the business travel might include internet fees, computer rental fees, equipment rental fees, supplies etc.

Travel expenses must be temporary in nature. What this means is that the travel period cannot last more than one year. If the travel lasts more than one year all of the travel expenses become non-deductible.

Special Rules:

1. Conventions – In order for travel costs associated with a convention to be tax deductible, such costs must be directly related to your company’s business and must benefit your company’s business. Conventions outside North America are allowed, however, there is reasonableness test that must be met. Reasonableness is based on the purpose of the meeting, activities taking place at the meeting, activities of any sponsors, homes of sponsors and other material facts and circumstances that the IRS will consider in determining eligibility for the tax deduction.

2. Cruise Ship Conventions – If the convention meets the ordinary and necessary business purpose test and the reasonableness test then the IRS will permit a tax deduction equal to $2,000 per person, per year for travel expenses incurred in connection with the cruise ship convention as long as the ship is a U.S. flagship and all ports of call are located within the United States or its possessions. In order to deduct cruise ship convention travel expenses the business must attach two written statements to their tax return. Statement #1 must be signed by the business owner. This statement specifies the number of hours each day that were devoted to business activities, total days of the trip and the program of business activities on the ship. Statement #2 must be signed by an officer of the cruise ship convention organization and provide detailed schedules of the meetings and the number of hours the taxpayer attended.

3. Travel Outside the United States – Only costs associated with the days in which business was conducted are allowed as a travel tax deduction. Business days include days spent traveling to and from the business destination. Days spent on non-business activities are not counted as business days. Weekends and holidays are considered business days if they fall between the business days. Where part of the foreign travel includes non-business days, travel costs must be prorated by dividing the number of business days by the number of total days. This
percentage is then applied to the total travel costs in arriving at the tax deductible travel expense deduction.

4. Non-Convention Cruise Ship Travel – The travel deduction allowed for this type of travel is determined by the IRS every year, so it changes every year. IRS publication 463 lists the daily deductible amounts allowed(called per diem rates). You multiply the per diem rate by the number of travel days in arriving at your tax deductible travel expense amount. If meals are a separate charge you are allowed to deduct 50% of the meal costs in addition to the per diem amount.

Travel Agents Are Still In Demand

Although their are numerous online travel services a traditional Travel agent is as much an important part of the trip as comfort is to traveling! The role of a travel agent has been increasing with the times and today most people are dependent on them for executing most of their travel plans so that they can rest easy and just enjoy their trip.

It is the responsibility of the travel agent to help and guide the travelers about the constantly changing schedules and airfares, availability of packages for vacation, and a lot of travel information that the traveler may not know about.

Choosing a reliable travel agent can be an important decision, since how you travel and your comfort will be largely decided by the travel agents. You should verify the information given by the travel agents, to be on the safer side and minimize your travel hassles. In case of International travel, choosing a proper agent becomes more important.

The right agent should be able to foresee your problems and guide you about them. They should provide information related to customs regulations, important documents like visas, passports, currency exchange rates and certificates of vaccination.

Many hotels, cruise liners, resorts, and special travel groups make use of travel agents to market their travel packages to the ever increasing rate of people choosing to travel both inland and overseas. Most agents advice you on destinations and make arrangements for hotel stays, transportation, tours, car rentals, etc.

Information on weather conditions, restaurants, tourist attractions, and other such necessary information are also provided. A good travel agent could also take the trouble of checking out hotel services to gauge their quality of service in order that they can base references on a first hand report.

With the changing times, the travel industry has seen a big development in terms of Internet bookings and travel related information made available on the net. The number of people using online services is growing. This has resulted in a change in the view of the convenience of traditional agencies.

A poll result of American tourists revealed that over 92 percent of them generally buy their travel related necessities online. According to these consumers, online travel agencies have cheaper rates, are the easiest to use and offer all the relevant information. A word of caution is necessary for those using the Internet for their travel bookings. Be sure to navigate the site, verify that the agent has a good back-up system.

Also ensure that there are no added costs that are credited to your credit bills.

Till a few years ago, travel agents provided free services to their customers. Travel agents worked as agents for airlines, hotels, rental car companies, etc. The agencies worked on a commission basis from these suppliers.

But free travel agent services began changing as a result of certain changes in the rate of commissions. For example, in 1995 Delta Airlines imposed a $50 limit on domestic airline commission rates.

Some Useful California Travel Information

It is critical to highlight California travel information, given that the state has a reputation for being a hot vacation spot. There is so much to explore in the huge state of CA, including the state’s breathtaking beaches; the Golden Gate bridge; wine tasting regions; Monterey Bay in San Francisco; the San Luis area; and child friendly parks such as Disneyland and Legoland.

Tourists remain enthusiastic about the breathtaking beaches in CA. Gorgeous beaches can be located all across the state, though Southern CA has a climate that is more suitable than the northern part of the state where going to the beach is concerned. Some of the beaches in CA include Huntington Beach, also known as Surf City, and the gorgeous beaches in Anaheim that surround the theme parks in the city.

Another well known tourist magnet in CA is the Golden Gate bridge, which is located in the famous city of San Francisco. This bridge has set the backdrop in many films, and it can be seen via an antique fire truck; helicopter; or movie tour. Kids typically enjoy the antique fire truck tour. Viewings of landmarks in San Francisco are usually included in tours of the bridge.

California is also renowned for wine tasting, especially in San Francisco’s Napa Valley region. While Napa Valley conjures thoughts of grown-ups sipping divergent wines, a region located in the area called Calistoga actually has quite a few activities that are suitable for families to enjoy together. They include Harry Potter activities, a safari, and a train ride.

Another place to see in CA is Southern San Francisco’s Monterey Bay. It is a lively tourist spot that is home to Cannery Row, which is also the label of a Steinbeck novel. The Monterey Bay Aquarium and a profusion of sea otters sea lions, and whales are just a few of things to see by the bay. Big Sur Coast is not far away from the bay. It is by one of the most gorgeous and scenic dives in the world. Area beaches are breathtaking, but the water in them is cold.

San Luis is an inexpensive place between Los Angeles and San Francisco that is great to visit in California. There is a great Children’s Museum and Natural History Museum there. Also, a profusion of cheap hotels are located in the vicinity, on top of beaches. An farmer’s market that is free offers many activities including live musical entertainment is a great place for families to enjoy within San Luis.

Disneyland and Legoland are two of the best known theme parks in the world. People with children are well aware of them, and they both contain lots of kid friendly activities. The drawback where these parks are concerned is the expense associated with going to them.

The top places to dine, lodge, and go for entertainment can all be found via the Internet. Many online travel sites exclusively cater to these topics, and they can be found through the major search engines.

In conclusion, there are quite a few things to do in CA, and many places to eat, sleep, and enjoy entertainment in exist around the state. They include the state’s breathtaking beaches; the Golden Gate bridge; wine tasting regions; Monterey Bay in San Francisco; the San Luis area; and child friendly parks such as Disneyland and Legoland. The Internet has a lot of good CA travel information available.

How Often Should I Travel?

I once found myself in London sitting on the floor of a friend’s flat, debating my next move. I had been traveling for a couple months and couldn’t decide whether I wanted to visit Morocco or Istanbul next. I had never been to either and both were well out of my normal comfort zone, a combination of criteria that should have insured a feeling of excitement no matter which route I chose.

Instead, both options felt boring to me. I knew, cultural differences and random unexpected experiences aside, what to expect from my next destination, wherever it was. No matter which location I decided on I would end up in a routine similar to the one I had been on while traveling the past couple of months. No matter how odd the destination I arrived at I knew I’d be able to find my way and do just fine for myself.

I realized I couldn’t choose between the two options because I quite frankly didn’t care to go to either of them. The growth I experienced on this trip seemed to be at a plateau and no amount of culture shock seemed like it would jolt me back onto the fast track of enhanced personal revelation.

Debunking the Myth of Eternally Vagabonding

After a couple months on the road I was tired of traveling and just wanted to go home. Though “going home” presented its own problems as I didn’t have a home to return to. I left with the aim of traveling indefinitely, yet even when I had been back in the States I moved often, leaving one location for another every couple months, sometimes within the same city, sometimes across the country.

Now, sitting in London, totally ungrateful for the opportunities at my fingertips, I wanted a real home. I thought endless traveling would be right for me but I was wrong, and it became clear the notion of vagabonding indefinitely wasn’t right for everyone. In fact, in all my travels I’ve realized the notion of constant, consistent, endless travel isn’t right for just about anyone. For most of us, travel is a special experience and not the way of life we desire for our day-to-day existence.

A Quick Caveat

If most of us weren’t made to travel indefinitely, than how often should we travel, and for how long should we leave home?

The answer to this question will always be intensely personal and depends on individual factors that are both ephemeral (personal disposition, relationships back home) and entirely tangible (money, work, mortgages and leases). For the rest of this article I’m assuming you’re in the fortunate position of being able to travel whenever you want, for as long as you want.

What’s the Point of Travel?

Before you can answer how often you should travel you need to first answer why you want to travel.

Do you get bored when you stay in one place for more than three months at a time? Do you love surfing and do you want to explore the world’s best beaches? Are you intensely interested in food and do you have a laundry list of native cuisines and restaurants you want to munch on? Do you simply want to see more of the world? Or do you simply want to expand your understanding of the world by experiencing as much of it firsthand as you can? Everyone has a different reason to travel, and knowing why you want to explore the world is a good first step towards figuring out how often you should leave home.

In my opinion there’s really only one reason for travel, a single reason that lies at the heart of every specific explanation you can give for your wander lust. People want to travel because they want to grow.

We travel to grow- to grow our ideas of other countries, to grow our ideas of the world, to grow our ideas of what it means to be human, and most of all to grow our conception of who we are and what we want out of life.

Thinking in Cycles

If we travel to grow then it makes a whole lot of sense why indefinite travel tends to lose its appeal over time. After a couple of months of traveling you will hit a peak. You will have learned everything you’re going to learn from the trip you’re on and you will have settled into a new routine, a new set of expectations, a new perspective that will eventually become just as rigid as the one you developed back home.

Humans are adaptable, and while the thought of being able to live out of a single bag in a country where no one speaks your language may seem like the height of adventure before you leave home, after a couple months backpacking in Cambodia you’ll settle in to a life that once seemed an insurmountable challenge.

Once you hit that wall in your travels you’ll return home and find home life to be challenging and foreign and filled with opportunities for growth and appreciation you never noticed before you left on your adventure. And then, after a few months pass you by, you’ll feel locked into a stultifying routine once more and ache to push yourself by hitting the road once more.

The answer to how often you should travel sits within the rhythms of growth and adaptation lying within all of us.

Finding the Right Pattern

While everyone is unique and everyone follows slightly different flows of exploration and consolidation there are a two patterns for alternating between travel and home life that seem to strike a chord within the greatest number of people.

  • 2-3 months at home followed by 4-6 weeks traveling. Spending 2-3 months at home gives you the time you need to focus intensely on work, on home life, on building relationships, on seeing friends and family, and other similarly domestic activities. 2-3 months in one place also tends to be the amount of time it takes until the average traveler starts to feel the itch to explore once more. 4-6 weeks of traveling is a good amount of time to gain a good feel for one or two locations, making this pattern good for people who are happy seeing a small handful of new locations every year.
  • 6-9 months at home followed by 2-3 months of traveling. This pattern lets you focus very deeply on a specific work project or other type of consolidation-oriented task whose completion you then reward with an extended period of perspective shaking overseas travel. Even the most ardent travel nut seems to find it relatively easy to stay in one place for 6-9 months when they have a passion-driven project to focus on. Once you leave home again 2-3 months is enough time traveling to either get very deep in a new culture (it’s an especially good time frame for learning a language) or to visit a couple new countries in one trip.

No matter which pattern you choose, no matter if you make up your own pattern, just know that travel is part of a larger life cycle, so find the right cycle that meets your particular needs for both adventure and security.

Taxi Services in Mississauga

If you need a taxi in Mississauga, you have no need to go to a taxi rank or special taxi stop. Taxis roam the streets looking for fares. So if you hail one, it will stop for you. You are permitted to sit in the front or the back, as you choose. If you need to order a taxi to fetch you at a designated place or at a certain time, you can telephone the taxi company and arrange it beforehand.

The taxi driver has the right to refuse to transport you if you are offensive or if you are under the influence of alcohol. He may also choose not to transport an excessive amount of baggage, or more than his allowed quota of passengers for the type of vehicle he has. This is typically up to about four passengers. He will expect you to hire a second taxi as well, if you exceed his limits for passengers or baggage.

Taxi tariffs are standardized in Ontario. In Toronto the initial fee when you get into a taxi is $4-00, and this is $4.25 in Mississauga. Thereafter the meter starts running, and it will cost you 25 cents for every.155 km. That works out at about $1-60 per kilometre.

Mississauga is the home of the Pearson International Airport. At the airport certain rules concerning taxis and limousines apply. You are permitted to use any taxi you like to drive you to the airport and drop you off, but arriving at the airport on a flight, you are allowed to use only the 360 taxis and 276 limos that are already parked there and have the regulation permits to pick up passengers.

Many taxi companies have a flat rate to and from Pearson Airport. These fares are usually a little cheaper than the metered rate per kilometre.

If you have a special preference among taxi or limousine companies you will need to pre-arrange this to allow them time to obtain a temporary permit to fetch you from the airport. If you have special needs, such as a wheelchair enabled taxi or a baby car seat, for instance, you can pre-arrange this with either a taxi company or with the airport itself.

At the airport the taxis and limousines parked there have standard permitted tariffs that they are allowed to charge you, for different destination areas of Greater Toronto, as well as out of town. Sometimes there is a flat rate to certain areas that are a little cheaper than the metered charge. The average tariff for taxis with permits for picking up passengers at the airport is about $1-45 per kilometre for taxis, and $1-55 per kilometre for limousines.

Do remember that in a taxi, as in nearly all road vehicles, you are required by law to wear your safety belt. Your taxi driver ought to warn you about this, but he is not required to do this by law unless you are under age, or need help owing to a disability. So if the taxi is stopped by a traffic officer, you could personally face a fine if you have not buckled up.

The Truth About Government Travel Advisories, Warnings and Alerts

If you’re like most people and you believe that government travel advisories, warning and alerts represent the most accurate advice for business travelers then you are terribly mistaken.

Here are the key elements that all business travelers and travel managers need to know regarding the validity and application of government travel alerts and travel related advice. Knowing and understanding these few simple issues will save your company unnecessary travel delays and disruptions under almost any circumstance. The main points to always consider in the wake of a renewed or updated advisory, warning or alert is the target audience, specific government resources, commercial relevance and the avoidance of evacuation scenarios.

The primary demographic for government advisories are first time travelers, backpackers, families and anyone else with little to no prior traveling experience and preparation or the lowest possible denominator. It is this group that governments aim their advice and analysis towards with the belief that if this group is adequately informed, then all remaining demographics will be covered. Unfortunately this results in an artificially low benchmark for all travelers not within this group.These other groups depend upon travel for business productivity, management and administration and the more likely to have their travel plans altered unnecessarily due to many government alerts. This is in part due to corporate risk avoidance (in the belief the government travel advisories are adequate) and insurance companies bench-marking many of their travel policy exclusions on that of government travel advice (again, in the belief the government are catering to their needs too). Unless you are a first time traveler, significantly inexperienced or lack appropriate business support while traveling, then the majority of government travel advice does not apply to you.

Detailed examination of dedicated resources aimed at travel related advice and content typically reveals little more than a handful of “specific” resources. That is, someone or department dedicated solely to the collection, analysis and dissemination of commercially relevant travel advice. Most government resources are “shared” services when it comes to travel intelligence and advice with general non-government travel a very small increment of their overall mandate. Smaller countries have no dedicated resources and simply “share” the advice from coalition partners or more populace countries, further diluting the relevance to their citizens. Most continuous travel advisory services, provided by a government, are little more than a chronology of publicly available media updates. While resources are limited in the first instance, it is the lack of commercial experience that constitutes the greatest flaw to government travel advisories.

What little resources there are that are aimed at travel intelligence typically lack any direct commercial experience. Therefore, all their apparent advice is predicated more on the interests of the government (resulting in censorship, omissions and politically correct publications) than that of any business sector or commercial demographic. When you have soldiers, government agents and police officers commenting on matters relating to commerce and business travel, you get little actionable advice due to their inability to put into commercial context the impact events may have from a purely commercial perspective rather than a transnational or political viewpoint.

Behind closed doors, most governments admit they do not maintain nor posses the resources (assumed by most of their citizens) for large scale evacuations from any corner of the globe. Regrettably many travelers have grown to assume that complete failure to take responsibility for their own safety and security while traveling will always be compensated by the government’s ability to swoop in and save then if they should so choose. This is wrong and very dangerous for those with such a belief. For those governments that would even consider an evacuation of their nationals (not very many) they will often go to great lengths to advise their citizens to leave or make personal arrangements long before any government is forced into acting. Landing troops or foreign government elements in someone else country is always the choice of last resort and highly prone to complications, even if it were possible.

Anything published by a government will always have the country’s national interests such as economy, trade and diplomatic relationships carefully considered before release. Anything that may threaten such strategic goals is likely to be withheld, including government travel advisories, warnings and alerts. Now that you understand the importance of being self sufficient and discerning when it comes to government travel advice you will waste less time placing priority on such updates and focus on more commercially relevant inputs. As a result, your company travel risk management process will be far more resilient and less impacted by the stop/start affect created by government updates, warnings and alerts. You may also now identify gaps that need to be filled by insufficient commercial content from government sources.

Government travel advisories, warnings and alerts focus on the wrong target demographic, lack the appropriate resources, have little commercial relevance and seek to avoid last minute acts such as evacuations. Now that you too are aware of these limitations you should be better positioned to make business decisions in the wake of crisis, emergency and dynamic events that affect a location and your business travelers. Business travel risk management is a commercial process and can only be achieved with appropriate commercial products and services.

Travel Website Dictionary

For the benefit and convenience of the traveler and adventure lover travel dictionary is compiled. This dictionary provided a complete guide to all the aspects of traveling. You might be a regular business traveler looking for some discount on travel cost or the wanderlust looking out for a vacation that many travelers do not take. For every kind of traveler with whatever their requirements, website dictionary is the solution.

There are a number of things that go into planning a vacation and without a good travel dictionary this is impossible on your own. The road map has to be conceptualized and the itinerary must be sorted out. While you can get a customized itinerary for you self you can also select one suitable to your travel destination from an array of great tours travel website dictionaries boast of.

Only a travel website dictionary will be able to get you the latest updates on prices of tours, discount packages and the umpteen frills all travelers look out for. You can get them right in your inbox by signing up with them. The latest fares and the festivals are all listed on travel website dictionaries.

Before spending your hard earned money on a lavished tour it’s always a good idea to sample its preview. And what better way to do that than through the eyes of experienced travelers and their travelogues. On a travel website dictionary you get the opportunity to communicate with there travelers who have been to the sites where you plan to go. Get the best tips and cultural information on the food habits, dress code and religious customs before you arrive.

A travel website directory is one that gives you the chance to sit back in your easy chair and book a travel guide over the net. Isn’t it a better proposition to have your travel guide waiting for you on arrival than to scout the alien city seeking one out. Travel agents who register on travel website dictionaries have a name for themselves, and can give you the right information which many guide books are unable off.

A travel website dictionary is also regularly updated and you will get all the latest information about new sites to visit, the recent change in hotel room tariffs and what is new in town. You can source contact numbers and get more information from their websites and agencies that have been listed. A Travel dictionary has a huge list of hotels, taxi services, insurance companies, travel guides and travel tips that you cannot expect to find any where else.

Benefits Of A School Bus Driver Endorsement

A position as a school bus driver is a perfect job for a CDL driver who wants to work regular work hours and enjoys working with children. Most school bus drivers transport public elementary school, middle school or high school students. These are stable jobs paid for by the various school districts of the counties the driver is employed by. These jobs usually offer good salaries and employee benefits which include health insurance, holiday pay and vacation pay. School bus drivers usually work a set schedule. A typical schedule involves picking children up early in the morning to take them to school and returning to schools in the afternoon to pick them up to return them to their neighborhoods. Drivers can also earn extra money by driving students to special events. Middle schools and high schools often have after school activities which include various sports events. Football games, basketball games and other sports events are often held at different locations through the city. Drivers can earn extra money by transporting the athletes, cheerleaders, dancers, etc. to these games.

Another benefit of a school bus drivers schedule is that a typical drivers work day starts early. Most children are picked up early in the morning and dropped off at their schools between 7:30a.m. and 8:00a.m. depending upon the schedule set by the school district. Drivers are then off duty until they return to schools in the afternoon to pick the children up and return them to their respective neighborhoods. This allows a sufficient amount of time for drivers to work a part time job or attend classes either during the day or after their work day ends. Some drivers like to use their off duty time to exercise, do chores, or take a morning nap. Whatever drivers like to do with that time, a school bus driver schedule allows them the flexibility to do so.

To be qualified to become a school bus driver you must receive a Commercial Driver License (CDL) with a school bus driver endorsement. To qualify for the school bus endorsement you must meet specific criteria. Applicants must take and pass a driving skills test in a vehicle of the same vehicle group that the applicant intends to drive. Applicants must also pass the knowledge test for obtaining a passenger vehicle endorsement. The knowledge test demonstrates knowledge concerning the proper loading and unloading procedures with children. This includes knowledge of the safe operation of:

Stop signal devices
External mirror systems
Flashing lights
Emergency exits and procedures for safely evacuating passengers in an emergency
State and Federal laws and regulations related to safely traversing railroad-highway rail grade crossings.
Knowledge of other warning and passenger safety devices required for school buses by County, State or Federal law or regulation
Other operating procedures and practices required by law but not otherwise specified.

Many school bus drivers have found their jobs to be very rewarding and a good career choice for them. It is a very challenging career which requires a high level of responsibility as you will be responsible for the safety of a bus load of children in your care. If you are up to the challenge, you too may enjoy a career as a school bus driver.

Ten Tips for a Trouble Free Paris Taxi Experience

If you’re visiting Paris for more than a few days, you will most likely have an occasion to use a taxi. Maybe you’ll be using a taxi for your Paris Airport transfer – traveling from Charles de Gaulle or Orly airport to the Paris city center. Or maybe you’ll want to splurge for a night when you visit the Paris Opera. The Parisian taxi system is heavily regulated, so these tips will help to ensure that you’re Paris taxi experiences don’t turn into Paris taxi adventures!

    1. Know how to find an unoccupied taxi – Spotted from down the street, it’s not always easy to tell if a taxi is occupied or not. Luckily, the “Taxi” light on top of the car tells you everything you need to know. The old system (which will be phased out by July 2012) uses a white plastic sign that is either lit or unlit. IF the light is lit (yellowish light), the taxi is unoccupied and you may stop it. If the light is off, the car is occupied, the driver is on a call, or the driver’s shift has ended. The new system, beginning in 2011 uses a white plastic sign with a green light (unoccupied) or a red light (occupied).
  • Taxi Stands – In Paris, certain locations throughout the cities are set up as taxi stands. Whenever you’re ready to get a taxi, simply go to a main thoroughfare and look for a sign next to the street that says “Taxis”. On busy streets during busy hours, you may find a few people already waiting. The rule is first come, first served, so locals will not treat you kindly if you try to jump the queue. Taxis are prohibited from taking on passengers within 50m of a Taxi Stand. So if you are having problems getting a free taxi to stop for you, but they all stop at the end of the street. Take a look and see if there is a Taxi Stand close by.
  • Extra Fees – Taxis are allowed to charge you an extra fee for certain services. Pickups at train stations, airports allow a supplement of up to 1€. Each suitcase put in the trunk (over more than 5kg) maybe be charged 1€. Animals and a fourth passenger may be charged a supplement.
  • Busy Nights and Rainy Days – Be aware that the number of taxis available is regulated and is not necessarily the number that would be available in a free market. On rainy days during tourist season (April – October) in touristy areas and on weekends on the Champs-Elysees after 2AM, it may be very difficult to find an unoccupied taxi.
  • Use a radio taxi – If you are in an out-of-the way location, consider calling a taxi. You’ll pay a little bit more, but you’ll also avoid very long waits in the case of a busy night or a rainy day during tourist season. If you’re in a hotel the reception can call the taxi for you. If not, you can use a service like Taxi G7 or Taxis Bleues.
  • Pay in Cash – Most taxis don’t accept credit cards, so be prepared to pay in cash (Euros). A tip of approximately 10% is standard.
  • Avoid unlicensed taxis – Legal taxis in Paris have a TAXI sign on the roof. From time to time in touristy locations and at the airport you will be approached by people asking if you need a taxi. These offers should be declined. Legitimate taxis stay in their cars and wait for passengers at the taxi stand (including at the airport). The unlicensed taxis could charge you much more than the normal fare.
  • Write your destination address on a piece of paper – Many taxi drivers in Paris only speak French. So unless your French language skills are very good, in order to avoid misunderstandings, it’s best to write your destination address on a piece of paper and hand it to the driver
  • Know the fare system. Parisian taxis charge three different fares: A,B, and C. The A fare is the cheapest, it is valid during the daytime, inside the city limits. The ‘B’ fare is more expensive, it is valid during evening hours and on weekends inside the city limits, and at night outside the city. The ‘C’ fare is the most expensive, it is valid outside the city limits and inside the city limits at night on weekends
  • Take a ride along the river Seine late at night. Driving along the Seine while Paris sleeps is a good way to experience the City of Light. Late one night, between 3am and 5am, take advantage of the opportunity to see Paris in a new way. Ask the taxi driver to drive you along the Seine between Bastille and Place de la Concorde. You’ll be glad you did!
  • Ask Your Local Travel Guru: What's New on the Travel Industry Wire?

    As a travel guru for many years now, I have seen the travel industry wire adapt in so many ways. As you already know, we now live in a world with instant and infinite amounts of information, right at our fingertips. Like everything else, the travel industry has adapted, grown and cultivated a new identity with our present day world of information. Until beaches start disappearing and people can be teleported across continents, there will ALWAYS be the want and need to visit our regular and new destinations.

    The travel industry plays a substantial role in the global economy. During 2015, the travel industry wire forecasts global GDP to grow by 3.7% and employment by 2.6%. This demonstrates the sector’s enduring ability to generate economic growth and create jobs at a faster rate than the global economy, which is due to grow by 2.9% in 2015. By the end of 2015, the Travel & Tourism sector will contribute US$7,860 billion, 10% of global GDP, once all direct, indirect and induced impacts are taken into account. The sector will account for 284 million jobs, 9.5% of total employment, or one in eleven of all jobs on the planet. By 2025, the global travel & tourism sector is projected to contribute 357 million jobs and generate $11.4 Trillion dollars. Ask your favorite travel guru and he will show you the various components all contributing to these massive amounts. Let’s check out what the travel industry wire says:

    Hotel Industry

    Among all the sub sectors of the travel & tourism industry, Hotels is one of the biggest fragments. The travel industry wire explains that hotels generated a global of $457 billion dollars in 2014. Your travel guru has most likely coordinated a recent trip within the Intercontinental Hotels Group. The company contributed the highest revenues, earning $22.8 billion dollars. In the United States alone, the total revenue within the hotel industry climbed to $163 billion dollars. The majority of tourists visiting the United States of America (65.1%) choose to stay in a hotel, where the average daily is a healthy $121.30.

    Aviation industry

    Although the major corporations, leading sector, seem to always changing names and planes, the industry cultivated a whopping $783 billion US dollars in 2014. Your travel guru may have whispered about some of the airlines not performing, but the industry continues to grow at rate of 7.4% every year. The travel industry wire indicates that Europeans, Americans, Chinese & Brazilians combine for the highest market contributors.

    Cruise Industry

    Cruises have steadily become a popular choice of travel the past few years. These are an easy sell for your local travel guru… The luxurious ocean liners, offering food, fun & music for the entire family have created a loyal gathering that continues to grow. Due to the growth rate of 6.55% every year, Cruise lines have postured their company growth strategies, by building larger capacity ships, ship diversification, more local ports and more destinations. The travel industry wire indicates that the average cruise traveler spends approximately $1728.00 every year, with over 22 million people jumping on the floating palace. The cruise industry contributes about $39.6 billion dollars in 2014, and is poised for a solid 6-7% increase.

    Online Travel Market

    Any travel guru, coupled with the travel industry wire statistics, will tell you that the online travel industry has EXPLODED over the past 5 years and will only continue to skyrocket. As more and more people use smartphones and as these smartphones continue to develop into personal super computers, the more information we have, the more we want. Online travel revenue reached $340 billion dollars back in 2011, worldwide and 39% consisted of American bookings. Obviously, the deluge of data & information has contributed to the online travel industry, but hotels and hotel broker websites have been the main proponents to this boom. As everything turns to online information, bookings, etc… the travel agencies, travel gurus and everyone associated with the industry has jumped in. Rarely do you see a corporation dependent on the travel & tourism industry, that hasn’t adapted to the online market.

    The Future of the Travel Industry

    The travel & tourism industry is an enormous portion of the global economy and will only continue absorb market share. The travel industry wire explains that the sectors and their respective technologies are developing at a rapid rate, procuring the consumer process into a much easier-and faster encounter. Just ask your favorite travel guru.

    Monsters on a Bus

    When I finished my drivers test last week, I was welcomed aboard as a new full time driver for Lisa Motor Lines and given a choice: if I wanted to start trucking that very afternoon I could have an International tractor right there in the yard in Fort Worth. If I didn’t want to drive the International (and who does?) I could have an older, five years, Freightliner tractor…

    …but…

    …The Freightliner was in Tampa, Florida, another reason to opt for the Freightliner. March in Florida, how bad could that be? I’d have to go to Tampa to retrieve the truck…

    …but (and this was the really BIG BUT!)…

    …Lisa would only send me to Florida by bus, a Greyhound, thirty hours from downtown Fort Worth to Tampa. The bus left at 6:00 a.m. the following morning and, God willing, would arrive in the Sunshine State around noon the following day. I hadn’t been on a cross-country bus since I was a kid. It might be kind of fun in a weird sort of a way, I thought. Besides, what could possibly go wrong?

    I presented myself with all my gear (a lot of it) at the Greyhound station in downtown Fort Worth at 5:45 a.m. and was immediately assailed by the driver, a big man who threw his considerable weight around like a wrecking ball. He would not answer any questions from passengers, shouted orders like a drill sergeant and cussed and griped under his breath the rest of the time.

    He yelled orders; passengers had to line up inside the terminal behind a specific door (we were all standing outside at the bus door). When a woman asked him to repeat the door number he dismissed her. “I already said the door number and I ain’t going to repeat it. You better learn to listen better.” He walked off. Later as we were boarding, a young man stepped out of line to throw a piece of paper in a nearby trashcan, the driver yelled, “Hey! When I say ‘all aboard’ I mean get on the bus! Don’t you get out of line again or I’ll leave you here!”

    This bullying of the passengers continued all the way from Fort Worth to Dallas (what, a half an hour?), but I was so furious by the time I arrived at the Dallas terminal I was ready to chew through anything that got in my way. I found the station supervisor. “You need to fire that driver! You need to fire him off this job right now! He’s the meanest son-of-a-bitch I’ve ever met!” The words spilled out of my mouth like too-hot soup, but it was obvious this was not news to the supervisor who just turned and sauntered away.

    The attitude of all the Greyhound employees I encountered, be they drivers, counter help or baggage handlers, was the same. Their sarcasm, condescending attitudes and aloofness were unconscionable! The drivers had all the warmth of vengeful prison guards. When a black woman, just as angry as me, deigned to ask still one more question, the driver retreated to an almost identical tirade about. “I already said it once, I ain’t going to say it again…,” like he had memorized it out of the company handbook, doubtless the very short chapter on Customer Service. But this brave woman wasn’t taking any more lip from the driver. “When I want a lecture I’ll call my mama!” she yelled back, overpowering the driver. “What I want from you is a civil answer to a simple question!” I joined in the applause the woman had earned. The driver was not moved.

    The problem facing Greyhound is not merely one of escalating fuel prices, expensive equipment in poor condition and spotty passenger counts, but one of attitude and if it’s true that ‘manure’ roles down hill, Greyhound’s front line employees are standing in the cesspool created by distant, insensitive and uncaring management. The bad eggs need to be rooted out and fired. If there are any employees left after that house cleaning, they need to know that they’re going to be next ones thrown ‘under-the-bus’ if customer service doesn’t improve.

    The ride was interesting. The bus was sort of clean, kind of like a football stadium right after a big game. It ran well when it was running (it quit three times, once in traffic and the police had to come and stop cars while the driver [a different but equally rude one] rummaged around in the engine compartment).

    The day wore on into night and the array of odd passengers made the trip surreal. It was just as weird to see a well dressed, refined woman with coiffed hair and stylish clothes, as it was to see the grizzled old man in three different plaid pajama pieces, a bathrobe, slippers and a cowboy hat.

    But in the hours when you can only see another passenger in the headlights of a passing car or truck, everybody looks weird. At that hour of the night we are all refugees, monsters who don’t know, don’t want to know, or don’t want anyone else to know where we are. It’s a grim parade with vampire overtones, one that kept us all from restful sleep.

    Tampa came into view as the sun was hovering over the bay in the western sky. Only six hours late – not bad, I was told. I didn’t make any lasting acquaintances, you don’t on a trip like that, only momentary relationships that serve to wile away the daylight hours or to keep the monsters – the other monsters in the night – at bay.

    But unlike our Greyhound drivers, when the sun came up, we passengers turned back into human beings.

    Travel Insurance Options for Traveling Abroad

    Travel insurance is just one of things that are necessary when traveling abroad. Travel insurance can be a very practical solution to providing protection for unexpected emergencies while traveling. This type of insurance protects your investment and allows individuals to travel with peace of mind. There are several options available for going abroad depending on the length and type of trip. Travelers can easily compare plans from leading providers, receive quotes and purchase a plan instantly. Travel insurance can insure against unexpected illness, injury, employment loss, luggage loss and more.

    It can provide coverage for Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption. This insurance provides coverage due to unforeseen illnesses or death. Pre-departure trip cancellation insurance provides protection in the event of the traveler having to cancel flight or hotel reservations due to an immediate member of the family’s death or illness or other covered events. Trip interruption insurance provides benefits if the traveler is unable to continue the covered trip after departure due to covered events. As an option, there are companies that also provide policies that cover cancellation for any reason.

    Another option available for travelers insurance is for medical emergencies. This type is beneficial particularly when visiting abroad. Insurance for medical emergencies will provide coverage for doctor visits, medication and even evacuation for medical emergencies. This is particularly important for individuals with chronic conditions or those traveling to underdeveloped countries. Travelers may also have the option of insurance that will provide coverage for tickets that are not refundable and the trip has to be cancelled. Some insurance will even cover missed flights, which can be, a life saver due to delays and overcrowding.

    Baggage protection is another type of insurance available. This type of insurance covers direct loss, theft, and damage of your luggage during the covered trip. Travel Accident Protection is another insurance choice that is available. This type of insurance provides coverage for accidental death and dismemberment. This type of insurance provides protection if the traveler is injured in an accident and suffer a loss while covered under this type of plan. A comprehensive travel insurance plan is a great option and a very popular choice for vacationing abroad. This option can provide a wide range of insurance coverage and may even allow travelers to choose what options to incorporate which is why it such a popular choice.

    There are several types of companies that offer insurance for travelers. Most travelers prefer to purchase this insurance directly from travel insurance agencies or companies. It is also offered by most companies that offer tours as they generally offer insurance to their clients. Major cruise lines as well offer the option to purchase travel insurance. Cruise line operators usually offer a host of plans to travelers when they schedule a cruise. Travelers can purchase insurance from a travel agent which is very convenient to purchase travel and insurance in one place.

    Once you think about the high price of travel and the low price of insurance, this type of insurance is a very reasonable investment. There are plenty of things to worry about when traveling but by protecting your vacation plans with affordable traveling insurance, unforeseen events do not have to be one of them. Since it is not possible to foresee what may happen during travel, a insurance plan is a great value. Travel insurance can slash your losses in numerous situations.

    Cheap International Travel Insurance – How To Find The Best Plan

    When traveling abroad, one must always take in consideration good and cheap international travel insurance. Travel insurances have now become a necessity when traveling. Many travel companies and insurance companies have coincided so as to make sure they provide the customers with the superb service they truly deserve. There have been many packages that come together with the booking of travels. Several cheap travel insurance can be searched online and offline, through a visit to a well respected travel agency or insurance company. This travel insurance makes sure that a trip is well secured with the assurance that the client will not have to worry about sometimes inevitable situations. Several coverage terms are available for different companies. They key to getting a good deal is through rummaging amidst the plethora of the offers available.

    Being well informed of the availability of the offers is one good way to start a deal. Overseas travel is an adventurous risk which could lead to several uncertain situations as well. Countries have different cultures and even their medical systems are quite different from each other. A traveler may have a medical plan but having one does not assure that the international medical needs will be covered. Aside from these, basically, the two main reasons why a person must get cheap international travel insurance is the fact that sometimes, a trip is cancelled or it is delayed. When this happens, the travel insurance can take care of the expenses to be incurred. Cheap travel insurance worldwide is required for security. It will also provide the client the peace of mind he or she deserves when on the trip. Worldwide travel insurance is a must have for every traveler. An ideal plan covers the trip cancellation, medical transportation expense, baggage loss, delayed departure, curtailment, legal assistance or even overseas funeral expenses. However, carelessness will not be taken cared of by the company. The insurance can be arranged upon the time of booking the trip.

    Most travel agencies offer cheap international insurance on packages. These packages are based on the traveler’s needs and wants. The traveler is therefore always the one in charge. He or she is the one responsible of choosing the perfect plan to suit his travel.

    There are also some travel networks sites on the internet which provide information that is always easy to understand and offer rates that are within your budget. Having cheap online travel insurance can make someone smile without all the worries of unexpected expenses. A couple of them also offer a free and instant quote for the traveler to know what type of insurance he or she is most likely to avail.

    There are several types of travel insurance. There is this thing called the emergency evacuation covering the medical expenses, group travel, annual multi-trip for those who travel on a regular basis, international insurance benefits for families and many more. Global travel insurance is the best way to ensure that the trip will be hassle-free.

    Don't Have Time to Travel to Your Favourite Destination This Year? Think Again

    Believe it or not, our life revolves around travel everyday! When we think of the word “travel,” we would normally think about exotic vacations, airplanes, road trips, our dream travel destinations, all inclusive hotels on a tropical island, you name it! Traveling is simply moving from point A to point B. This includes but not limited to traveling to work, traveling to school or even traveling to a destinations a few blocks away from our home.

    Humans and animals travel for various reasons. During the winter time, some birds such as the Canadian geese, travel south to far as Mexico to escape the cold (humans do that too!), we as humans travel to work in order to make ends meet and the list can go on forever. Not to mention, we travel to other places on this planet to temporarily escape our chaotic environments, then we come back to it rejuvenated. Sometimes we even travel permanently to other destinations for various reasons such as seeking a “better life,” reuniting with family and taking up a new job offer.

    Just about everyone has their own dream travel destination. Many people in developing countries dream about traveling to the USA to taste the American dream; many people from developed cold countries dream about traveling to tropical countries such as Jamaica to taste at least two weeks of sunshine and many others from various regions around the globe dream about exploring other countries that are known to have extraordinary scenery.

    Now unfortunately, many of us don’t get a chance to fulfill our travel dreams in our life time for various reasons such as lack of finances, can’t get the time off from work or just simply having to fulfill other commitments. These common excuses mentioned here are all understandable; however, the truth is you can still fulfill your travel dreams if you work hard at it. The question I have for you is, “How important are these travel dreams to you?” If your dream travel destination doesn’t have any form of priority in your life, don’t expect to be going anywhere soon! Yes, I would certainly encourage you to be realistic with your finances and resources at the same time. If you really want to go on that trip that dreamed about all your life, make it happen!

    Start planning ahead with your family about the family travel plans. If you plan at least 1-2 years in advance, you can make it happen (depending on where you’re traveling). For example, if you’re planning an all inclusive trip to the Caribbean for a family of four, and save at least $200 US or more a month, you’ll be amaze to see how much you’ll end up by the end of the year!

    You may say “I can’t afford this” but think about all the unnecessary things that you’re purchasing and add up how much you can be saving and who knows, you and your family can be able to fulfill that travel dream in less than a year! By saving up from now, you can pay for that vacation with cash without going in to debt if you start saving now. Yes, it’s going to take some sacrifice but at the end of the day, it’s all worth it. It’s good to also plan ahead with your boss when you want to take time off from work. If you own your own business, plan ahead of time to set aside some days off from work.

    Did you know that there are some benefits about traveling? Education may be the first benefit. Yes, traveling can also be a learning experience. A person from a developed country who travels to a developing country may learn how to complain less and appreciate life more in his own developed country. A person from a developing country who travels to a developed country will learn that he can have a “better life” in another environment though this may not be true all the time.

    Traveling to other nations may give you the opportunity to discover developmental and business opportunities. If you’re an entrepreneur or investor who is on a vacation in another country, you may learn about some investment opportunities that may come with great rewards.

    Traveling may be good times to get know your friends and family much better. Not to mention again, it’s one of the best opportunities to relax and escape the stressful world for a while. I enjoy traveling myself and I also enjoy encourage people to travel other places, and even locally. My traveling experience has taught me that there is much more to life than I thought before. In other words, my view about life has changed for the better.

    Happy New Year to you! I hope that you, your family or friends, would be able to fulfill the travel dreams that you have in mind during this year. Remember, your traveling journey starts now by implementing the plans. All the best!

    How Lawyers Can Market Themselves For Divorce Cases

    Indianapolis is the fourteenth largest city in the United States. It has 829,718 residents according to the 2010 census. Over the past 10 years ending December 31, 2010 Indianapolis averaged 4705 new residents per year. Indianapolis reported 4844 divorce petitions filed in 2010, which represents an above average filing year and 2009 reported 5504, which was a significant increase over the average. It does not, however, rank among the top 50 divorce cities in the United States. The dubious distinction of being the divorce capital of the world belongs to Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Many of the divorce petitions filed in Indianapolis are pro-se, which means that the person filing the petition is representing themselves. For the rest of the litigants who file or who are named as the respondent in these legal proceedings, they will be represented by a lawyer. Indianapolis Divorce Attorneys compete for the roughly 800 potential clients who file each month and they do so by print and electronic advertising. As the internet becomes a more popular venue for commerce, more and more lawyers and law firms are finding the internet to be a very dynamic venue in which to advertise their services. They employ a number of strategies to place themselves at the top of the heap, including paying major search engines for the right to be listed prominently at the top of the search pages. Since Google has the lion’s share of the internet market, this is the place where lawyers compete for position. At least those that know and understand the workings of the internet.

    Despite this competition among divorce attorneys, and between all other attorneys for that matter, referrals from other clients and other lawyers remain the most common means of bringing new clients to the office. This may be due to the fact legal issues in general and divorce in particular tend to deal with highly personal and sensitive issues, and clients need to feel safe with the people who represent them. Finding lawyers that are known to their friends goes a long way to subdue any fears they might have about sharing their inner most thoughts with a complete stranger.

    Many lawyers do not practice in this field, but virtually every full service law firm and even boutique law firms have at least one lawyer on staff who handle divorce and family law matters. There are very few attorneys who claim to practice exclusively in the family law arena, but there are a few. While this area of law is not highly technical or difficult, it does require a broad range of knowledge and it is not something a complete novice should tackle alone. There are simply too many pitfalls waiting for the inexperienced lawyer to stumble into as the case develops.

    Give Your Loved Ones the Best Family Healthcare

    There are many times when despite all the precautions, you fall ill. It is therefore important that people have the ability to get treated at such times. Family healthcare is one of the most basic needs of man. People need to seek treatment as soon as the first signs and symptoms of an illness show up. It is important that people are able to get the required medication and cure for their problem as soon as it starts lest it should turn into something far worse. Often minor problems could lead to major ones. When family members try to avoid going to a doctor, or getting treatment, it is mainly because the cost of treatment is too high for them to bear.

    Family healthcare is one of the most important thoughts on the minds of the elders in the house. When it comes to children, the numbers of problems they can face by just going out of the house to play are countless. Since there are numerous infections in the air, it is difficult for anyone to stay protected from all illnesses. It is the same with adults in the house, when you are in office, at the market, or just at a neighbor’s house, you are vulnerable to a large number of illnesses. Family healthcare does not just mean that when a member is sick, he/she gets treatment. It rather means that when a person is hale and hearty, he/she should get regular check-ups to stay the same.

    Whether it is the kids in the family or the adults, treatment for medical problems is seldom cheap. Everyone wants the best family healthcare for their family. But this means that people have to spend a lot of money on the same. This can easily be avoided with a medical insurance plan. The policy would pay for all the healthcare problems undergone by family members. At the same time, if the members use the plans wisely, then they have a better chance of staying healthy and leading a happy life.

    People thus have the chance of staying healthy without having to pay much. The health insurance plan would take care of most aspects of family healthcare-inpatient treatment, day-care procedures, and other such problems. However, most such plans do not cover outpatient treatments. But there are plans that cover outpatient consultations, dental treatments, spectacles, etc. also. These are known as outpatient benefit plans.

    All healthcare problems that a family faces can be dealt with. But the cost of doing so makes it difficult to get the right quality of treatment for individuals. There is the option of availing health insurance policies to cut the cost of family healthcare. But the problem is that people have the inclination to get the right health insurance plan for family members but they just get confused in selecting the right one.

    When selecting the plan, one should remember that the policy is meant to get the family all the healthcare assistance it needs. This means that even pre-existing and hereditary diseases should be covered. However, it is not necessary that they be covered from the very first day. Such illnesses are often covered after a waiting period. One should be well aware of the waiting period before buying the policy.

    A family is meant to share everything-happiness, sadness and problems. However, in most families, there are few earning members and more dependents. This means that while there are some members who earn money, there are more who spend the same. Thus the fiscal strain that is felt by the earning member can be easily understood. He/she has to provide for the needs of the whole family. However, when the cost of nearly everything around us is increasing, there is seldom any means by which all the ambitions of a family can be fulfilled. Family healthcare is one of the most difficult aspects of a family budget.

    There are times when a person has the option of getting treatment that he/she needs, but in order to save money they avoid the same. This leads to further problems. Since there is no means of predicting the problems faced, one cannot tell the cost needed to deal with the same. The cost of healthcare is ever increasing. As time goes by this cost is going to go up manifold. It is important to stay protected against such high costs, so that there is no compromise on family healthcare and at the same time no stress on the earning members.

    There are insurance plans that can come to the aid of a person at such times. However, the problem is that people often feel that they do not have the means of buying a health insurance plan. This is contrary to the reality. When a person cannot afford a mediclaim plan, there is no means by which he/she can afford the cost of treatment. Thus it is best to save money enough for a health plan and then buy the same. Also, one must be able to understand the offerings of the plan one is purchasing. The insurance plans are available with variety of offerings and in different values of sum insured. First, one needs to select the cover of benefits he/she is looking for and then accordingly he/she can choose a plan.

    Apollo Munich offers comprehensive plans that are designed to take care of a family’s healthcare needs and give them adequate coverage for all medical problems that are likely to arise. It puts up the policy wordings on the website of the company in very transparent and simple terms. One can also buy and renew plans on its site. All the plans are designed t provide all-round family healthcare coverage. Apollo Munich offers mediclaim policies that are designed to give all-round protection to families. There are a variety of policies which are designed for the same.

    What is Your Fashion Style?

    When it comes to clothing do you usually stick to one particular style or should you be called a fashion scientist due to the tremendous amount of attention you pay to trends. It can also be possible that you are not aware of your personal style. Whether you are aware of your style or not read this guide to learn a little bit more about it and what changes you can make (if desire).

    1. Sexy Lexis- Lexis is all about wearing clothes that reveal skin such as cleavage and fit extra tight. She may feel that conservative or unrevealing clothing are only for older people. Lexis might need to learn when to tone down her sexy image. For example: She should avoid walking in to church wearing a blouse with a plunging neckline. Unless, she is ready to receive a few dirty looks.

    2. Care-Lesley- She wonders: What is Fashion? Can I eat with cheese? She really does not know what the latest trend is and frankly can care less. Lesley should try something new once in a while just for fun and avoid getting stuck on a specific style.

    3. Rebellious Chica-She makes her own rules when it comes to fashion. Avoids to all extends looking like everyone else. Just like sexy lexis some circumstances will require toning down her personal style. On a job interview she should conform to the expected attire standards. At least until she lands the job.

    4. Fashion Diva-Her middle name is style. Always on top of her image and hates to be seen more than once wearing an outfit. Keeping up with fashion trends can get quite expensive. She needs to watch her finances closely in order to avoid overspending.

    5. Sporty Lady- She loves her jeans and sneakers and will not go anywhere with out them. She should play dress up once in a while. This will help her look and feel better, even if the changes are temporary.

    6. Comfy Carmen-Carmen is all about comfort. She chooses her attire based on the way it feels. She should steer away from bulky looking shoes that will make her feet look wider or bigger and clothing that fit too loosely. Clothes that are too big will make anyone look heavier and older.

    7. Elegant Elenin- Elenin is always dress to impress. She will not allow anyone to see her dressed down. However, it will be beneficial for her to loosen up or dress comfortably once in a while. People can not look perfect all the time.

    8. Stuck in time- This type of person does not remember the last time she bought a piece of clothing. She will not stop wearing her clothes until it has a hole in it. She should avoid using the same clothing for too many years until it comes back in style (20 years later).

    9. Balanced Brianna- She probably has one of the other personal styles mentioned in this guide but, understands clearly the certain situations require she dresses up or down. She will not be hesitant to try a new style as long as it does not make her look like a fool.

    Flooring Services for Unfinished Wood Floors

    When deciding between floorboard materials and wood types, home builders and engineers have to decide between 2 kinds: finished and unfinished wood floorboards. Depending on the specificity of the project, an unfinished wooden floorboard might be needed. There are projects that require a certain angle of sanding. Some projects might require a specific wooden surface texture. There are a lot of variations that contractors can make when it comes to their projects.

    Features Unfinished Wood Floors

    These floors are sometimes a better choice for home builders because they are easier to match with already existing flooring. They are much more useful when it comes to partially replacing floor surfaces. This happens a lot to those who need flooring repairs in only some parts of their houses or buildings. Unfinished wood floors are also easier to match with already existing furniture and wooden accents. When following a specific design of a room, it is important for contractors to stick to the requirements. These floors allow them flexibility regarding the floor’s design and appearance. This means they can control the level of polish of the floor, and even the color of the floorboards. Some designs require custom color staining because they need colored floorboards that are not available in the market. Overall, unfinished floorboards are particularly useful for custom-designed houses and buildings.

    Professional Care vs. DIY

    There is no doubt it is much better for home builders and contractors to hire professional floor service providers to provide unfinished wood floors sanding. The disadvantage that most homeowners have in this regard is the lack of experience and the necessary equipment for the job.

    There are DIY materials available everywhere on the internet. There are articles that guide people to sanding unfinished wood floors step by step. Experts have also created videos that instruct people how to sand their own wood floors. But are these enough preparations for the task of unfinished wood floors sanding? The fact that a non-professional has never had any experience with sanding equipment still remains. The quality of sanding that he/she will accomplish may not match that of a professional’s.

    Experts know exactly what to do with these floors. Tell them the specifications that you want done and they can get right on it. Besides delivering the perfect unfinished wood floors sanding services, they can finish the job efficiently. This means that they will take less time to finish and make the least amount of mess. Some flooring service providers even offer a dustless sanding service.

    The effort, time and money a home builder will commit to sand unfinished wood floors on his/her own might go to waste if he/she fails to meet the right sanding specifications. Lack of experience is the biggest factor. Professionals are more than happy to sit down and discuss with you the specifications that your home or building needs. Furthermore, they are flexible with their deals and price ranges. This is why it is much more efficient to hire expert floor service providers.

    Online Tax Preparation – Preparing Tax Returns

    Preparation of tax returns should be done very cautiously, because the tax payer is responsible for each and every word written on the tax return even though it is prepared by a professional. The preparer should be able to provide you with practical and convenient tips for tax saving.

    You can find an efficient tax preparer online only if you put genuine efforts in searching for one.

    Check while hiring tax preparer online

    There are certain things that one should follow when hiring an individual or a firm for online tax preparation:

    • Legally speaking, the professional preparer should sign the returns form in the preparer areas. He/she should furnish the identification number on the return. He or she should give a copy of the return to the tax payer.
    • The preparer should be very accurate with filling in your details. Your personal information along with your registration number should be mentioned accurately.
    • The tax preparer should be efficient in online accounting.
    • Do not sign on blank tax returns form ever and do not use a pencil for signing as the signature can be easily erased and your signature replaced.
    • You should present any notices and refund checks that you might have got from your attorney to the tax preparer for preparing the returns.
    • Online bookkeeping is something that your tax preparer should be efficient in.
    • The tax preparer should be adequately qualified and experienced for his/her job, because each and every word he or she writes in the return from is evaluated by the tax collection authorities, and there is every opportunity of the tax payer being penalized for terms that are vague or seem to be unreliable.

    Online Tax Preparation Process

    Tax preparation should be done with a lot of caution as each and every word mentioned in the tax returns form is the responsibility of the tax payer, even though it might be prepared by another person, a professional or a firm. The tax preparer should be well versed in his/her work. He/She should be adequately qualified and experienced to prepare the tax returns statement. He/She should fill out the form with clear and reliable statements and should sign the tax returns form wherever applicable.

    He/She should fill in the areas on the tax return form where the preparer’s information is required. Details like identification number should be clearly furnished on the form and should be signed. The person should not leave any blank areas. The details of the tax payer presented on the returns form should be accurate. It is mandatory for furnishing the registration number of the tax payer. The tax preparer should be able to provide easy-to-implement tax saving tips, and he/she should be adept at online bookkeeping and accounting. Any notices and refund checks, if obtained from an attorney, should be furnished to the tax preparer. On the whole, preparation of tax return statements should be done in a very careful manner as mistakes might cost the tax payer a lot.

    Top Designers in Fashion – Style And Fashion Weeks

    Fashion designers are creators! The fashion shows and the fashion weeks attract fashionistas even in this time of financial insecurity. The catwalks are full of beautiful models presenting glamorous collections however, the buzz of the fashion weeks is dimmer.

    The social and the financial instability through which the world is going through today has affected the fashion industry and the fashion designers. But in times of crisis there is no need to despair you just need to make the most of the situation given. This seems to be the motto after which the designers are creating their collections this year. Even the tops designers at fashion weeks have adapted to this trend. The collections seem to be down to earth and more wearable than the ones in the previous years.

    However, even if there is this common ground from where the designers leave when they start their collection there are many differences in the style and attitude of their clothes. We can actually separate the fashion trends and styles according to some of the biggest capitals of the world. For instance, the French scene is dominated by designers such as Gautier, Nina Ricci and many others. However, Paris seems to be losing it fashion crown to London. Some of the best designers here are Vivienne Westwood, Sir Hardy Amies, Christopher Kane and many others.

    The French designers have always respected the chic and classy trends and have focused on high glamor styles. Their clothes are sophisticated and are almost always accompanied by smart accessories. Having boutiques and shows all over the world they seem to have an aesthetic sense of fashion that prevails at any time. The British designers on the other hand create conservative attires using extravagant material. Their creations take us to the idea of royalty and dignity.

    The style of the designers is characteristic of the city where they reside however, choosing a particular clothing item is something of personal taste. There are many fashion trends and styles but you should always invest in clothes that represent you and your personality.

    The Best Kept Secret For Selling Your Home – Furniture

    Driving down a familiar street, as houses are passing by, you see it – For Sale. The real estate company wedged their sign into your neighbor’s front lawn. The gossip swims around the neighborhood as common remarks like “I wonder how much they are selling for?” or “I wonder why they are moving?” intrigues our curiosity. But the real question we should all be asking is – “what kind of furniture do they have?”

    Yes that’s correct, I said Furniture. Why you ask? Well, let’s jump to it. When selling a home, there are a lot of anxieties, preconceptions, and all sorts of things to get done. In this process people often get carried away in the actual preparation of selling their home opposed to the ultimate goal of making it appealing to the buyer. Let’s forget all the real estate company’s jargon, and break it down to 4 rough main points that come into the minds of buyers.

    1. Money

    2. Location

    3. Appearance

    4. Property

    These are the 4 main things that need to get tossed around inside the mind of a buyer. All subcategories of buyer concerns like what type of school district does the area have, or taxes, that would fall into location, money, and other main categories. So not to make our buyers lemmings that walk around uttering these four mantras in zombie like fashion; all minor questions get placed into these four. Lets move on. So where is our furniture? You ask.

    So now we have our buyer, ready for action, and really looking for what he, she, or they want in their dream home. Buyers will compromise these four main categories, not by leaps and bounds but enough for you to sell your home happily. The furniture connection to selling your home is a simple one – Value. Having expensive furniture does not mean, you can up the price on your home, since you will most likely take it with you, and the buyer knows that. The value I am talking about is what I call “Creative Value”.

    Creative Value is a fundamental attraction to selling to a consumer/buyer. Why would someone pay an enormous amount of money for a movie prop, or Babe Ruths baseball card? – Created Value.

    Technically you can say well it’s just a card, piece of clothing, plastic, metal, or whatever it is, just like money is made of something. No, it’s the value you can show people its worth, its imagined and is worth whatever someone will pay, right? Well, Yes. The aim to get a little more for your house is to show people the value, that atmosphere it has, whether it’s earthy, modern, homey – whatever. Create the value, by welcoming buyers into the world you make for them.

    Furniture is just one step in the process of selling your home; commonly overlooked it is an integral part of “Created Value” that will lure buyers into something they can imagine, and be happy with. This is going to be a place that they rest, live, and dream in, your first priority to selling your home is showing them the world you create in your home. Your imagination can be inspiring and create a value all on its own with whatever decor you decide; it just might be the type of place someone would want to call home.

    A Brief History of American Home Furniture

    Author Marilynne Robinson alludes that most Americans believe they live in an “invented nation”, as well as a “manufactured culture.” She agrees with this, but only to a certain extent. She also views America as unique, not simply a borrowed or inherited culture. Over time, America is has become a multi-cultural country and with that has created its own culture, style and traditions through its evolving history. What better way to see this, than in traditional American home furniture, unique to the country, and based on the merging of various other cultures.

    When the early colonists arrived from England, they brought with them their British manners, culture, furniture and other belongings. They were essentially British and still under British rule up until the American Revolution. Until that time, American home furniture was no different than British home furniture. It was either carried across the seas or recreated in the colonies in the exact style of British furniture. At the close of the Revolution, nothing was imported. Americans, in their new nation and democratic state began to focus on their individualism as a country, including designing and manufacturing their own American style furniture.

    In America’s early nation-building days, furniture was hand-wrought and hand-crafted. As the country grew, so did industry, and factories were built along with businesses. The efficiency of the factories soon replaced the need for hand-crafted work. However, the early pieces were not the finest, but it meant people did not have to rely on expensive and difficult-to-possess imported furniture from Europe.

    Department stores emerged at the close of the American Civil War. Companies like Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck controlled the majority of the factories and the furniture they sold in their stores soon became standard and simplified. Across the country, a diverse people were all using similar furniture bought through the mercantile catalogs or at the brick and mortar department stores.

    Tastes and trends change regularly, even today, and while the present trend in American home furniture may lean toward clean contemporary styles, there is still a love for America’s earlier hand-crafted furniture, which is now sitting in antique stores at very high prices. These traditional pieces only increase in value with each passing decade.

    America has created its own culture and traditions, partly based on need after the Revolution and partly based on the merging of borrowed cultures that have helped to enrich the country’s own style. American home furniture is based on tradition and style.

    Mens Fashion Tips: The Art of Creating Permanent Fashion Styles for Men

    Many men and women do not have much idea about Mens Fashion. Very often the advice I have been approached on are what men can wear to appear professional or what men should wear so that they do not look outdated but overtly trendy.

    I would greatly suggest understanding the basics of men’s fashion and put this knowledge into a permanent mens fashion style. There would not be anymore worry about following trends but perpetually looking stylish.

    The basics of fashion for men boil down to knowing what each piece of apparel is made up of. The fabrics used determine a lot on the quality of the apparel. Good fabrics allow the apparel to withstand wear and tear.

    If any men’s clothing or accessories that wear out fast would naturally make it look old and badly cared. This does not reflect well of the men wearing it and easily put most men out of style just by looking shaggy.

    The next important point we need to note are the details found in every apparel and accessories. Details can be subtle but it creates a very big impact in the eventual outlook of the styling.

    So before we start playing with details, the knowledge of each detail’s responsibility and how it helps in holding up the item or even gives significance to it in style can assist us in choosing the best men’s clothing.

    Learning how to coordinate is another tough thing for many men. It does not need to be if they just understand about the various concepts of coordination. Starting from differentiating the type skin complexion they belong to would be the most basic knowledge to acquire.

    Then they just need to put on the right color clothing against their complexion that perks up their facial skin tone and brings the attention to their face.

    After that, coordinating colors between the various men’s clothing is another method. There are various ways to match different and similar or same hues as well as the shades of hues to achieve the nicest blend of colors.

    If they are adventurous, then there are more that they can create that puts two very contrasting colors and yet a harmonious fusion of such colors without looking weird or clownish.

    Putting patterns against each other is another challenging task in mens fashion. It is through the play of patterns that can make many men look very trendy and stylish.

    If not properly done, those clashing patterns would be a very trying and poorly executed attempt. It boils down in knowing the types of patterns and their scale before choosing how to put them together.

    Men can go for two to four similar or different patterns coordination without even looking overdoing the matching. It is fundamental to keep the flow of patterns as natural as possible and create a relaxing look from the combination.

    It is good to have an idea of how to put all these mens clothing and accessories together. From there we can develop a permanent styling and never have to worry about the next trend or whether it is unprofessional. At least all aspects of men’s fashion have been touched on. Therefore, if you are daring enough it is always possible to transform it into fashionable styling.

    How to Choose Your Rose Gold Watch?

    Rose gold is one of the most beautiful choices for jewelry. It is also known as Russian gold, although this term has become somewhat rare. It not only inherits the luxury feature of gold but also displays something much more fascinating for the eyes. It is not as flashy as gold. But it looks still nice and classy. At present, Russian gold timepieces are very popular. If you are shopping for nice Russian gold timepieces, the information below may be helpful.

    Decide the Color of Your Watch

    The first thing you should take into consideration is the color of the watch, namely, how rosy you hope your timepieces will be. People create Russian gold by combining gold and copper together. Therefore it has a reddish look. The different amount of copper in the gold decides the level of the color. Russian gold has 3 levels of color – pink gold, rose gold and red gold.

    Other Colors for Your Watch

    When you have decided the level of color, you can choose other colors you like. For example, timepieces for men are usually black watches or gold watches which only have touches of Russian gold since pink gold is not suitable for men’s watches. A black watch strap with a watch face of rose gold and black is a good option for men. However, women’s rose gold timepieces can be entirely made of rose gold. Or they may be made of silver and rose gold in the design. What’s more, don’t forget to choose a right watch band such as metal, leather or ceramic.

    The style of Your Watch

    Russian gold watches have a lot of styles such as classic, traditional, romantic, effeminate, modern, strong and futuristic. The most important thing is that you must choose the style according to the occasions in which you want to wear your watch. Don’t forget to think about other additional features such as sapphire and diamond.

    What’s Your Budget?

    Rose gold timepieces are available at different prices. Some cheap watches are priced less than $100 while some expensive ones are priced at more than $10000 each. Do you want to buy a luxury watch for some formal occasions? Do you need one to wear daily? No matter for what occasion or for whom you are shopping, you must decide your budget before you begin to shop in order to find your ideal watch efficiently.

    What’s Your Ideal Brand?

    Some people don’t care much about the brand of the timepieces. But there are still many people who only buy watches of designer brands like Omega. These people believe that designer brands are symbol of quality and status. Do you care about the brand? If you do, make sure that there is a balance between your budget and your desire.

    The functions of Your Watch

    After you have decided the brand, style and budget, you must think about the functions of your Russian gold watch. For instance, some watches are shock-resistant and solar-powered. If you are interested in these functions, you may want to have a look at that watch.

    In a word, before you make your decision to buy your Russian gold timepiece, you must take style, functions and cost into consideration. Hope the information (stated above) will be helpful for you.