Five Nifty Traveler Tips You Will Enjoy

I sure do like to travel. In my life plan, the most important elements to my existence are are family, health, happiness and travel. Fortunately for me I have been able to combine all of these elements in one big happy life package.Here are five humerous but useful travel tips that I picked up over the last 2 decades from traveling around the globe. From the ruins of Machu Picchu to the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, as well as 40 of the 50 states, here are just a few of my long list of travel nuggets for local travel in the beautiful united states. I have accumulated these particular ones over the last 5 years, and best of all they don’t cost a dime!1. The Versatile Hotel Coffee Packets: While traveling in the Midwest, I almost suffocated in my economy rental car that smelled of dog and body odor. Out of desperation, I placed the coffee filter pack from my hotel on the dashboard hoping to act as perfume. To my surprise, not only did the car adopt the cozy aroma of ground coffee, the filter bags actually seemed to absorb the odors in about a day.2. Getting Full Use of the Campfire: When camping in the Sonoran desert, we build a warm fire when the sun set to keep us warm while we ate our dinner. Remembering a story I read when I was a boy, I placed four medium sized river stones around the fire (not in the fire). When we were ready to go to bed, I wrapped each of the rocks in a bath towel. Please note that they were hot but not sizzling to the touch. To make a long story short, we all slept like warm babies with our little packages in our sleeping bags that night!3. Customize Your Luggage: When the cheap plastic wheels broke on my suitcase, I decided to replace them with an old pair of Rollerblade wheels. My suitcase lasted another five years and the gliding of the wheels were so much smoother and quieter that I replaced all my other luggage wheels with them.4. Put Your Library Tax Dollars to Use: I own a timeshare in Hawaii. One day I discovered that as a local property tax payer I qualified for a library card. I don’t know if you have been to a library lately, but now when I am on vacation I can rent CDs and DVDs and best of all its closer than the nearest Blockbuster.5. Let Technology Be Your Guide: If you want to get more detailed information on a desired destination, consult YouTube and Google. With YouTube you can find lots of people who post videos of their trip. This will give you a good feel for the true lay of the land rather than some post production masterpiece that was paid for by your resort. Use Google satellite to see what the actual terrain looks like and if your short walk to the beach requires crossing a four lane highway.

How to Avoid the Most Common Home Buying Mistakes

You read about it everywhere in the news, and it is really true – now is the best time to purchase a new home. Interest rates are at unprecedented lows, there are many terrific houses on the market, and prices are terrific.When you buy a home, you need to avoid some costly mistakes that many people make. Be sure that you don’t repeat these else you might end up losing money and be living somewhere that you aren’t too comfortable with.Never make the mistake of not taking a second look at the home. When you are hunting for a home, it does feel good to have finally found the right one. Be sure that you go through it at least a second time in detail to get the real picture of the house. Carefully look at everything.Be sure that you also consider the additional costs that your home is going to cost. There might be specific taxes, association fees, insurance, and other fees that you aren’t budgeting for. Find out what these are to make sure you can afford your place.Be sure that you know that neighborhood you are moving into. Go to it during the day and evening hours to hear about the noise, traffic levels, and other things that you can’t tell from just one trip out there. You might not like the area.Find out how long the house has been for sale. While you might be getting a good deal, you might also have a problem with selling the home later. You don’t want to get stuck with something you can’t sell.Be sure you pay the money to get an inspection. Don’t skip this. This will let you know if there are major problems with the home that are going to cost you significant money down the road.When you do get a loan, don’t get one that you can barely afford with interest rates that can change. Many people get themselves into a bind when their mortgage goes up a few hundred dollars and puts the home in jeopardy.Follow these simple tips to avoid some of the most common home buying mistakes.

Three Myths That May Stop You From Becoming a Lifestyle Entrepreneur

The desire to live a laptop lifestyle seems to be something that is envied and ridiculed by people at the same time. Most people don’t understand the concept of being a lifestyle entrepreneur so basically they are just drawing conclusions. In this article, I’ll cover 3 myths of becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur.

Myth #1: People who work at home/lifestyle entrepreneurs can spend little time working but can still earn a lot of money

Yes, there may be earning opportunities out there that allow you to have passive or residual income. But here’s the thing — before you reap the fruits (aka income) of your labor, you usually have to pay your dues, which is the 4 letter word know has work. For example, if you have an affiliate product to promote, one method of earning residual income is by placing ads or affiliate banners linking back to your website. Visibility is key to earning money online and people must see what you’re selling.

Myth #2: The Laptop lifestyle isn’t considered “real” work

You may have read some rants by work at home professionals and lifestyle entrepreneurs about this one. They are often dubbed as people who don’t have a real job and just sit in front of their laptop all day. This usually results in boundary issues from friends and family members as they’re seen as “being at home”. You may be called upon to watch kids since you’re home anyway, errands and grocery shopping, etc.. Being a lifestyle entrepreneur is also a job. It will consume your time – so be careful in setting your schedule and letting people such as your family and friends understand that you need time to work, even if you’re just staying at home.

Myth #3: This kind of business is just a waste of time because it’s a fad

People who are out of touch with reality may see the internet as a fad. Rest assured, it is here to stay! Still, others might be afraid of venturing into a laptop lifestyle because they might think that Facebook and other websites might have the same fate as Myspace. Doing business requires you to create a foundation and the internet is simply a medium to conduct business. Having an online business requires hard work, persistence and determination to succeed. You have to promote your product or service through consistent advertising, word-of-mouth referral and building a prospect and customer database. In order for your business to be sustainable and attain longevity, you should keep current with your industry, just as any other professional does with continuing education. That is the secret to success as a lifestyle entrepreneur.

Videos for Marketing – 4 Types of Video

There are essentially four types of videos for marketing your online business, product, service or yourself. It’s easy to learn how to make a video with clips with Amazing Sales Videos. Each type has advantages for your video marketing strategy, but some can be prohibitively expensive while others may look cheap and be ineffective. The following is a quick and easy description of the four types of videos for marketing your online business.

Broadcast Quality Video

A broadcast quality video is a high quality product which could be placed on network television. The production of such a video will usually entail the use of script writers, a producer, a director, and a cast of actors. The end product is usually very impressive but the cost of such a production can be frightening, ranging from $40,000 to $250,000.

Web Quality Video

Web-quality videos for marketing would be similar to broadcast quality in style, however; this is a product in which much of the production is your responsibility, usually requiring you to provide script, imagery, and voice.

The end result might be a bit less polished, but the cost of such a production may be more in line with your budget, usually about $1000 per minute of finished video product. However, the cost in time to you and your staff may be more than you are willing to pay, as you try to generate a quality script and voice. Plus, are you and your staff actors or business professionals?

Do-it-yourself Video

Do-it-yourself video production sites can greatly reduce the cost of using videos for marketing and can be found all over the internet these days. These are basically impersonal slideshow production sites, where you supply all imagery and text. A computer program then plugs your input into a video template with some music.

Many of these services are free of charge, as an inducement to purchasing higher quality, and higher priced, video production services. The major drawback here is, of course, a generic look without compelling personal engagement with your prospect, as well as the name of the site you used being featured in your video, detracting from your message.

Professional Slideshow Video Production

Similar in style to the do-it-yourself production sites, but with professional input and feedback from an actual human being, a professional slideshow video production will offer customized background templates and music scores into which your imagery and text is placed. With this type of video production, you are able to create a much more polished video slideshow in which to promote your product or service.

This type of video also allows for a uniquely tailored approach to your presentation which is targeted to your market, as well as the ability to re-purpose, or re-use, text and imagery already available to you. Further, you own the product, with no promotional material form the production company included in your video.

The cost for such a service is much more reasonable than full production video sites, ranging from about $30 to $150 depending on the length of your video slideshow. Also, professional text production, script writing, and voice-over services may be provided at an additional cost.

For the online marketer, local business, small business owner or entrepreneur, professional slideshow video production tends to be the most cost-effective means for taking the plunge into videos for marketing. Another great idea is learning how to make a video with clips. The use of these services offers professional quality, as well as professional feedback and input into your video marketing strategy, while at the same time helping you to greatly reduce your promotional video cost.

Legitimate Stay at Home Employment With Legit Online Jobs

Instead of legitimate stay at home employment, many on the internet find scams and thieves. The roadway of the internet is littered with the husks of those who have tried to make money online, but have found heartache and disappointment. How can you save yourself from this heartache? It can be difficult, you have to do your research and use common sense. Eventually you will need to take action and take a leap of faith. But you can make the leap intelligently. If you’ve purchased one plan or many plans and still aren’t making any money, don’t give up. Understand that you must put forth some effort but you can make money online.Legit Online Jobs has done all the research on legitimate stay at home employment for you, so you don’t have to go out there wasting your time looking for the honest, legitimate companies, to get legitimate work. Instead, you acquire the access to Legit Online Job’s extensive database of companies, choose whom you will work for, and start working.Legit Online Jobs is a go between for companies with real advertising needs and you, the person who smells opportunity and wants to take advantage of these companies’ needs. These companies would rather pay someone from home than staff a market research or advertising department. Using Legit Online Jobs to align yourself with the legitimate stay at home employment is better for you than the do-it-yourself path, because Legit Online Jobs screens the scams from the opportunities so that you don’t become yet another husk on the roadside.As stated before, much of information contained in Legit Online Job’s system can be found elsewhere online, but the price you would pay far outweighs what you pay through Legit Online Jobs. You would pay not for the information, which is free, but for the time you waste learning how to accomplish what you would with Legit Online Jobs on your own, the mistakes, the lack of free starting credit and other perks you get with the site, not to mention the unreliability and confusion you get with the free information. So, sometimes free isn’t better.

Top Health and Fitness Tips You Can Use Effectively

There are many people who are looking for a source that will provide them fabulous tips for development of their body. Proper maintenance of development of a human body is one of the important tasks that will provide a peaceful and happy lifestyle. Maintaining proper health mainly depends upon the ability of the person to fulfill best dietary and fitness measures.There should be proper balance between various kinds of diet consumed by the person. It is also essential to involve in sufficient level of exercise to maintain proper blood circulation. There are some useful health and fitness tips that will provide outstanding development of body.The importance of diet and involving in exercise sessions will be illustrated in a fabulous manner. The information that is provided will surely be of great use for all people who are looking for best method of body development.There should be more level of importance that should be emphasized to obtain balanced diet. The food that is being consumed should contain appropriate level of various kinds of substances such proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, essential fats and minerals. There should be proper percentage of this food maintained in the human body for effective functioning of human body.There are various supplements that are available in the market and this will provide wonderful benefits to fulfill various nutrient requirements of human body. It will be possible to maintain proper blood pressure and correct cholesterol level with the help of healthy foods.People are satisfied in a great manner with the help of development that is being provided with the help of balanced diet. Vitamins and calcium are important factors that play an important role in strengthening of teeth and bones in a wonderful manner. The omega 3 fatty acid that is present in fish oil is another excellent source that enriches the functionality of heart in a wonderful manner.It is very much essential to involve in exercise regime that will provide wonderful maintenance of human body. Many people have benefited in a great way with the help of cardio sessions in gym. Cardio sessions in gym will be of great use in increasing the heart beat rate. This will provide more level of blood circulation across the body and there will be great development that will take place in the body. It is advised to involve in 3 cardio sessions per week in order to make sure you always do enough exercise.

Photography Schools – Which One to Choose?

There is a lot of choice when it comes to places where you can learn photography, but which would be the best for you? For sure there are plenty of online learning resources, but you will not get that practical experience you need. You will learn a lot more being with other students and a good teacher. Having said that, online information is good at getting the basics down, and is a good place to start.What exactly you require from a photography class will help you decide which one to go for. For example, a college which is not just for photography will only offer basic levels. If you only intend taking up photo-taking as a hobby then the basic levels of instruction will probably suffice.If you really want to take your photo-taking seriously you should go for a school or college which specializes in it. These specialized schools will probably employ a professional which should really help you learn the specifics and expand your know-how.You must decide what it is you exactly want from your photo-snapping, once you have decided that you can choose your school or college and set about applying for a course. Do your online research and try to find any local courses or even courses further afield.You may need to take specialized classes in basic disciplines such as lighting, composition and various other basic routines. Portrait photography, for example requires an understanding of light, angles, balances, and will teach you how to get the reactions you want from your subject. The digital photo-taking world requires the understanding of several different techniques that were not required when using the older type of film camera.As you get into it and really start learning all the ins and outs you may decide that you would like a career in photography. There is a lot of help both online and off-line if this is the path you choose.One specialized area of photo-taking is taking photographs under water. Most normal schools and colleges do not cater for this and you may have to do a bit of searching to find one which specializes in it. Underwater photography would make for a fascinating hobby or even better, a profession. To me, the underwater world is more interesting than the world above it. 

Which Health Insurance Plan Is Best for Me?

Health insurance has proven itself of great help and financial aid in certain cases when events turn out unexpectedly. In times when you are ill and when your health is in grave jeopardy and when finances seem to be incapable to sustain for your care, health insurance is here to the rescue. A good health insurance plan will definitely make things better for you.Basically, there are two types of health insurance plans. Your first option is the indemnity plans, which includes the fee-for-services and the second is the managed care plans. The differences between these two include the choice offered by the providers, the amount of bills the policy holder has to pay and the services covered by the policy. As you can always hear there is no ultimate or best plan for anyone.As you can see, there are some plans which may be way better than the others. Some may be good for you and your family’s health and medical care needs. However, amidst the sweet health insurance plan terms presented, there are always certain drawbacks that you may come to consider. The key is, you will have to wisely weigh the benefits. Especially that not among these plans will pay for all the financial damages associated with your care.The following are a brief description about the health insurance plans that might be fitting for you and your family’s case.Indemnity PlansFlexible Spending Plans – These are the types of health insurance plans that are sponsored when you are working for a company, or any employer. These are the care plans inclusive in your employee benefit package. Some of the specific types of benefits included in this plan are the multiple options pre-tax conversion plan, medical plans plus flexible spending accounts, tax conversion plan, and employer credit cafeteria plans. You can always ask your employer of the benefits included in your health care/insurance plans.Indemnity Health Plans – This type of health insurance plan allows you to choose your own health care providers. You are given the freedom to go to any doctor, medical institution, or other health care providers for a set monthly premium. The insurance plan will reimburse you and your health care provider according to the services rendered. Depending on the health insurance plan policy, there are those that offers limit on individual expenses, and when that expense is reached, the health insurance will cover for the remaining expenses in full. Sometimes, indemnity health insurance plans impose restrictions on services covered and may require prior authorization for hospital care and other expensive services.Basic and Essential Health Plans – It provides a limited health insurance benefit at a considerably low insurance cost. In opting for this kind of health insurance plan, it is necessary that one should read the policy description giving special focus on covered services. There are plans which may not cover on some basic treatments, certain medical services such as chemotherapy, maternity care or certain prescriptions. Also, rates vary considerably since unlike other plans, premiums consider age, gender, health status, occupation, geographic location, and community rated.Health Savings Accounts – You own and control the money in your HSA. This is the recent alternative to the old fashioned health insurance plans. These are savings product designed to offer policy holders different way to pay for their health care. This type of insurance plan allows the individual to pay for the current health expenses and also save for untoward future qualified medical and retiree health costs on a tax-free basis. With this health care plan, you decide on how your money is spent. You make all the decisions without relying on any third party or a health insurer. You decide on which investment will help your money grow. However, if you sign up for an HSA, High Deductible Health Plans are required in adjunct to this type of insurance plan.High Deductible Health Plans – Also called Catastrophic Health Insurance Coverage. It is an inexpensive health insurance plan which is enabled only after a high deductible is met of at least $1,000 for an individual expense and $2,000 for family-related medical expense.Managed Care OptionsPreferred Provider Organizations – This is charged in a fee-for-service basis. The involved health care providers are paid by the insurer on a negotiated fee and schedule. The cost of services are likely lower if the policy holder chooses an out-of-network provider ad generally required to pay the difference between what the provider charges and what the health insurance plan has to pay.Point of Service – POS health insurance plans are one of the indemnity type options in which the primary health care providers usually make referrals to other providers within the plan. In the event the doctors make referrals which are out of the plan, that plan pays all or most of the bill. However, if you refer yourself to an outside provider, the service charges may also be covered by the plan but the individual may be required to pay the coinsurance.Health Maintenance Organizations – It offers access to a network of physicians, health care institutions, health care providers, and a variety of health care facilities. You have the freedom to choose for your personal primary care doctor from a list which may be provided by the HMO and this chosen doctor may coordinate with all the other aspects of your health care. You may speak with your chosen primary doctor for further referrals to a specialist. Generally, you are paying fewer out-of-pocket fees with this type of health insurance plan. However, there are certain instances that you may be often charged of the fees or co-payment for services such as doctor visits or prescriptions.Government-Sponsored Health InsuranceIndian Health Services – This is part of the Department of Health and Human Services Program offering all American Indians the medical assistance at HIS facilities. Also, HIS helps in paying the cost of the health care services utilized at non-HIS facilities.Medicaid – This is a federal or s state public assistance program created in the year 1965. These are available for the people who may have insufficient resources to pay for the health care services or for private insurance policies. Medicaid is available in all states. Eligibility levels and coverage benefits may vary though.Medicare – This is a health care program for people aging 65 and older, with certain disabilities that pays part of the cost associated with hospitalization, surgery, home health care, doctor’s bills, and skilled nursing care.Military Health Care – This type includes the TRICARE or the CHAMPUS (Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services) and CHAMPVA (Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affair). The Department of Veterans Affair (VA) may also provide this service.State Children’s Health Insurance Program – This is available to children whose low-income parents were not able to qualify for the Medicaid.
State-Specific Plans – This type of plan is available for low income uninsured individuals.There are many different types of insurance plans that you may have the prerogative to know about. By learning which health care insurance fits your situation, you can avail of the many options that will likely be of great assistance to you in times when you will need it most. Insurance costs have typically become one of the common draw backs in choosing for an insurance quote. However, weighing the benefits will really matter. Make sure that you always read the benefits, terms and conditions before landing to whichever type of health insurance you choose.

Job Searching And Unique Places To Find Offerings

There are certain places where everyone checks that is looking for a job. They go pick up a newspaper and look in the classified section. They go online and look on Craigslist, and other online locations that list job opportunities. They also go on to LinkedIn and put all of their job qualifications, experience, and educational degrees online. These are all pretty wise if you are looking for a job, but that is where everyone else is going as well. There are many other unique places to find job offerings.Perhaps you should be looking at bulletin boards at places like Starbucks, or at snack shops which are inside high-rise office buildings or small lunchtime restaurants in business industrial areas. It seems there are always job offerings available. Another interesting idea is to talk to someone that does mobile detailing in office parks, and ask them if they know if anyone is hiring, you’d be surprised how much information they know about the local business districts.You might also go and talk to a church during non-Sunday services, and ask the pastor if they have any information on potential jobs. Tell them of your situation, and your need to find work, and they may just refer you to someone who owns a business who attends the church who is looking for help right now. You’d be surprised how well that works. Community college bulletin boards also have job listings, and even if you aren’t a young person, you still might answer that call. Perhaps you might even be more suited because you have a little experience under your belt.If you are looking for work in the automotive sector, you might talk to the guy who delivers and sells tools in his van to all the automotive repair shops. They are definitely in the know, and they know when someone leaves or when a position opens up. What I’m saying to you is this; you don’t have to do everything the old way, you have to use your creativity and open your mind to other potential opportunities, things that other people may not be looking for – sometimes using unique strategies when searching for a job will yield the best results.Further, if you are a creative person, and a better detective while looking for a job, then I’d say you probably deserve it more than the next person. After all, you are using your mind, and that’s what an employer really needs. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Why Home Improvement Loans Suck

Imagine the scenario: you’re ready to buy your first house. But you don’t have the cash lying around to buy your dream house, so you decide to settle on a fixer-upper that you’ll spend your free time turning into the perfect home. If you’ve been through the home buying process this already, then you probably remember this quite well. In fact, buying a fixer upper in need of major TLC is a rite of passage for many homeowners. Tons of first homes need work done like re-painting, deck repair, all new floors and wallpaper or an extra bathroom.

Of course the problem is that most first time home buyers simply don’t have the funds to pay for these home improvements after closing on their mortgage. So they go into a do-it-yourself mode. Sometimes they use home improvement loans to help pay for the work. Other times they do all the work on nights and weekends. Maybe the financing comes from credit cards. Sometimes, it’s all one terrible experience. This begs the question: Why do home improvement loans suck?

They take too much time. From the bidding process for the work, to the actual upgrades and construction to moving day, it can be very time-consuming. Many borrowers say closing a home improvement loan takes more than 3 months, and might never even close. An efficient lender who understands the home improvement loan process should be able to get your loan closed in a little more than a month. Sometimes even less time than that.

Renovation mortgages are too much work. Yes this option will take more paperwork. After all, the bid process alone can add a lot of extra work to the process. However, working with an experienced mortgage consultant will help you avoid the extra work, requiring mostly just extra signatures.

No one understands programs like FHA 203k or HomePath Renovation. It’s true that many real estate agents haven’t heard about some of the options for financing upgrades. Many deals die because the buyer sees a house they like but there may be a few things they’d like to change. The challenge to home improvement loans lies with the effort to help educate real estate professionals and buyers alike.

Do it yourself work is a real pain. Putting in a new kitchen takes time and skill, and doing all on your own isn’t likely something you want to do. Same with a bathroom, wider hallways for wheelchair access or painting the entire house. Again, it’s not something you may want to do, and that’s okay. Home improvement loans are generally for paying a professional to do the work. They’re not really for the DIY crowd.

Buying a new home is easier than buying a fixer-upper. This is certainly true in many cases, but it’s not always feasible. And with so many homes on the market today under the foreclosure cloud, you can actually find a great deal on a fixer-upper and roll the cost of the repairs right into the monthly payment! Plus, older houses have more character than subdivision cookie-cutters.

They are expensive. Home improvement loans generally come with a little higher interest rate, it’s true. Interest rates are based in part on risk. Paying for home improvements can be risky, as the after-improved value is used to predict the future worth of the house. But the difference between a home improvement loan and a regular mortgage is pretty low. It’s definitely lower than the cost of financing the work and materials on a credit card!

Store credit is so much easier to get. Again, this may be true, but you’ll pay a much higher rate than a home improvement loan and you’ll have to do the work yourself. If that’s your goal, then a home improvement loan isn’t for you.
Home improvement loans are definitely not for everyone. There’s no doubt that they take a little extra time and work. Sometimes you can find a newer home that needs less work for a good price. And that’s okay. Go for it. But if you find a home that’s average and needs your personal touch with a few upgrades and renovations, then a home improvement loan just may be your next step. Good luck in the house hunting, and let us know if there’s some way we can help!