5 Travel Tips for Easier and Enjoyable Travel

I reckon travelling abroad is without doubt one of the most exciting things we can experience in life.When I travel my sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing are all receptors of amazing and exceptional differences to my “normal” day-to-day living creating euphoric and fantasising thoughts for the moment and the future. I can’t tell you how many times I have said or heard it said… “Loved it! I’m going to move there as soon as… “It seems that the more I travel the more I want to travel, if you are a traveller you know what I mean and if you haven’t yet done it… I’m telling you “get it happening”… travel is one of those respectable, legitimate, addictions that make life even more pleasurable.Given that the objective of travel is to have “the best time” I am always looking for ideas of how to make the process of travel easier and more enjoyable so that I can be fully focussed on the chilling out, living the dream, being adventurous, experiencing alternate lifestyles and customs, etc, etc aspects of my trip.My 5 Travel Tips for easier and enjoyable travelI have come up with my Five Travel Tips that have helped me maximise my enjoyment of travel… you will find these below, now just remember that some of these get a bit serious and they are meant to be, what I want you to do is accept them for what they are and have the belief that they will play an important role in you having… “the best time”.Remember this, your government wants to help you and pass on their advice to you as a citizen of the country that will help you in setting out to have “the best time’ when you travel abroad so I strongly recommend you review their websites for information about travel. They have been involved with their citizens travelling for a long time now and they have multi-thousands of experiences to draw on. If you are Australian download the “Travelling Well” booklet from the Australian Government’s website it has fantastic information for your travel planning and if you are living elsewhere I am sure the government of your country will have something similar in the way of advice for you.Putting travel documentation together is somewhat of a pain in the backside when you are all fired up and excited about your upcoming trip. The fact is that without it and if it is incorrect you are not going anywhere and that is nobody else’s fault, it is yours, so put an effort in here and be responsible for gathering what you need. As a guideline you will need – Passport, Visa(s), Travel Tickets, Itinerary, Travel Insurance, Identification and check with your country’s government website for any other documentation you may require for your trip.OK, let’s get to my 5 Travel Tips… just before we do here is a little something extra for you.BONUS TRAVEL TIPSKnow where your Passport is at all times and keep it secure. I had mine stolen one time along with airline tickets, wallet, etc. With no identification it was very challenging to prove who I was and I lost 4 days of my holiday being checked out and issued with a new passport.Rule of thumb. If you are being touted for a taxi inside an airport do not go with them. More than likely you will be taken the long way and the experience can become quite stressful.Give the local language a go! It’s fun, the locals will appreciate it and you will be rewarded for it along the way and make a lot of friends.MY TOP 5 TRAVEL TIPS Planning Passport, Visas, Vaccinations, Health Records, etcTravel Insurance Don’t travel without itTravel Luggage, Airline seatingArrival Transfers, Check in, ConciergeOut and About Cash vs cards, Be street wise, Respect1 PLANNING Make sure your Passport has at least six months’ validity from your planned date of return to Australia. NOTE: Return not Departure!Get extra passport photos to carry with you in case your passport is lost or stolen and you need to replace it while you’re away.Make sure that you have the right visas for the countries you are visiting or transiting and check any other entry or exit requirementsDo some research on where you are going. Get on the net and browse, checking out the history, the culture, the highlights of where you are going – that way you will get much more out of your visit.Visit your local government website site related to travel because it will have a wealth of useful information and ideas. In Australia you would go to the Australian Government’s travel website so look for something similar in your part of the world. I recommend you get into this site as soon as you have decided to travel.Register your travel information with your relevant government travel organisation. Why would you do this? Well it helps them contact or find you in an emergency – whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or family issue at home. It. may also be used to pass other information to you such as important travel advice updates, notice of elections and information on other matters relevant to travellers and expatriatesMake copies of your travel itinerary, passport details, insurance policy, visas and credit card numbers. Carry one copy in a separate place to the originals and leave a copy with someone at home.Go to your doctor or find a travel clinic for the best source of information about medical and health measures, immunisations and disease outbreaks overseas. Ask them about taking any medications with you into the countries you are visiting and also what vaccinations you will need to have and the approved paperwork to go with you.Make copies of your passport details, insurance policy, visas and credit card numbers. Carry one copy in a separate place to the originals and leave a copy with someone at home.Get a CS Health Passport. This is a personal health record that is so easy to carry with you. I have one of these and I find it so simple and effective. It gives me a feeling of security and safety during my travels in providing a lot of information about me should I need medical or health assistance. Check it out on http://www.cshealthpassport.com a great investment for you and your loved ones.2 TRAVEL INSURANCE I reckon that if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel… regardless of how healthy and fit you are. Take out comprehensive travel insurance and ensure it covers you for the places you plan to visit and the things you plan to do and that it covers any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. Also make sure your insurance covers you for the whole time you’ll be away and know what is not included in your policy.Check out what your Government will or won’t do for you as a traveller. For instance my Australian Government will not pay for a traveller’s medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.3 TRAVEL Minimise the amount of luggage you take with you. I pack plenty of layers. It’s much easier to add on and strip off when the weather turns than carry around bulky, heavy items that probably will not be used. Rule of thumb… if you are taking it in case you need it, leave it at home. You will get more in a case if you roll your clothes up, they are going to get creased anyway. Ironing is easy, lugging bags everywhere is not.Know your airplane. Most online reservation systems tell you the exact model of the airplane you’ll be on. This means you can use http://www.seatguru.com to help you choose your seats. If in doubt, call the airline, not your online travel service.Window seat or aisle seat?… take the aisle! Here’s why… with an aisle seat you can put your carry-on luggage overhead and get to it whenever you want and that keeps the space under the seat in front of you free for total feet comfort. OK, so you have to get up to let people go to the restroom, but for me my legs say ” thankyou” for getting a chance to walk aroundGet some ear-plugs. Ah! What a bonus for travelling. They’re very reasonably priced and effective as they can really reduce noise levels on planes and in hotels, giving you a better chance to sleep. I recommend the soft foam ones, the others are like cramming rocks in your ear.4 ARRIVAL When visiting foreign countries, the most stressful thing for me used to be figuring out airports. I suggest you have someone meet you when you arrive… a friend, a client, a work colleague, a hire car driver… your stress level will drop dramatically. If you are by yourself arrange a hire car service before you leave your home country, which typically costs about as much as a cab, they’ll be waiting for you in baggage claim with a sign with your name on it, escorting you straight away to your hotel with a minimum of fuss and a lot of answers.When you check in, most accommodation places will have already allocated you a room. Always ask what else is available or express what you want, maybe a better location in the building, a view, a quiet room. Very often they will be able to meet your request.If you are staying in a hotel your most important contact will be the Concierge. It was only a few years ago that I understood what these people are really for. They are basically paid to be your local friend, with advice, recommendations, and contacts waiting for your use. Need to find a restaurant, get tickets for a show, want directions, advice on finding a gift for your partner? It’s all a phone call or conversation away. Be mindful that they are busiest at check-in time and pre-dinner so if you need advice best bet is to catch them at off times. Give them a tip. They’re worth it.Get a business card from your hotel when you check-in and put it in your wallet or purse straight away. If you were to get lost when you go out you can just hand the card to your cab driver and you’ll get home. Or do what I have done call the hotel, say you’re a guest, and they’ll help you out.5 OUT AND ABOUT These days, unless you’re going to be backpacking in Guatemala, all you really need is ID and a credit card and some local currency. You can buy with your card just about anything anywhere, certainly if it’s in the realm of traditional shopping. If you are off to markets and street buying you will need local currency however keep it to a minimum and don’t flash it around.Take precautions to avoid being a target of crime. Do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewellery and do not carry excessive amounts of money. Also, do not leave unattended luggage in public areas and do not accept packages from strangers. Don’t expect to be treated differently from the locals just because you’re a tourist. Be aware and comply with the laws of the country you’re visiting… remind yourself that you are not a lawmaker you are a visitor. Respect the local religion and cultures. When in Rome, do as the Romans do!So there you are, my Top Five Travel Tips. Of course there are more, hundreds probably. Work with these five and you will be setting up a “the best time” trip.Then add more from your own experiences.

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Local Google Advertising For Small Businesses

Everyone wants their company to Rank #1 in Google (or as close as humanly possible).What if you sell products or services LOCALLY?Would you want to field phone calls from a thousand miles (or more) away from your target demographic area? Would it do you much good to rank in Oklahoma if you only competed in Florida? There is such a thing as LOCAL Google search results. Before we get too carried away, be advised there are 3 parts to a Google search page and one of those is specifically local.- Anatomy of a SERP
- What is a serp? “Search Engine Results Page”. They are divided into 3 distinct sections.
- The Local Business Listings
- The Organic or Natural (main body of search listings)The Sponsored listings/ Paid listings/ Straight Advertising or in other words Google AdWords Number 3 can sometimes be split in 2 places: AdWords are always on the right side of a SERP, but depending on the volume of searches (and the volume of people paying to rank for a given keyword) sometimes sponsored listings are at the very top of a search result page. Google is far and away the largest search engine but not the only one on the planet that people use; Yahoo, Bing and AOL search, Ask.com, and every yellowpage clone I’ve seen lists the sponsored links prominently at the top before any eyes ever get to the main body of listings.Google shows different results to those out of town than they show to people locally (that includes you). Google can do this because they knows quite a bit about you, before you ever hit the “search” button. If someone is searching for X locally (and Google knows that hypothetical person is physically searching IN said locality) the Google Maps listings will display above the organic listings.If said person is searching for X product or service in a given location and they are NOT physically located within said locality, the local business listings (Google Maps) will show up in the middle of the organic listings.What you want to do as a business owner is to get your company website to rank in 2 or more of the 3 available slots. My research shows me that it seldom does a company good to rank in the organics if they are not ranking in the Google Maps. Similarly if you are found in the top of the Googlemaps but not in the top ten organic listings this can severely lessen the number of phone calls or inquires your advertising is attempting to receive.If you (or the SEO firm you contract with) manages to get your business in all 3 slots in a serp, that’s the brass ring of local Google advertising. Depending on the product/ service and the competition vying for those serp rankings, if you’re in all 3 spots of a serp, you are most likely to clean up. The reason is that your prospects are likely to assume that Google apparently thinks very highly of you if it lists you “everywhere”.For a fee, a competent search engine marketing firm can get your company listed prominently in 2 or more of those coveted Google segments. For a fee I’ll do it as well, but for free I’ll give you this much: Rename your website with the geographic area you wish to compete in and you’ll do much better than a competing website named something else.Hint: No one cares what your name is, I know you’re very proud of it, but trust me, the prospective clients you’re wooing care ONLY about 2 things: What they need and where they can get it.For example, I’m located in Maryland, so any client of mine who is paying me to rank statewide, will get a serise of blogs with Maryland in the title, in the domain name, in the opening paragraph of text and so on.

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The Fed moves up its timeline for rate hikes as inflation rises

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday considerably raised its expectations for inflation this year and brought forward the time frame on when it will next raise interest rates.

However, the central bank gave no indication as to when it will begin cutting back on its aggressive bond-buying program, though Fed Chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged that officials discussed the issue at the meeting.

“You can think of this meeting that we had as the ‘talking about talking about’ meeting,” Powell said in a phrase that recalled a statement he made a year ago that the Fed wasn’t “thinking about thinking about raising rates.”

As expected, the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee unanimously left its benchmark short-term borrowing rate anchored near zero. But officials indicated that rate hikes could come as soon as 2023, after saying in March that it saw no increases until at least 2024. The so-called dot plot of individual member expectations pointed to two hikes in 2023.

Though the Fed raised its headline inflation expectation to 3.4%, a full percentage point higher than the March projection, the post-meeting statement continued to say that inflation pressures are “transitory.” The raised expectations come amid the biggest rise in consumer prices in about 13 years.

“This is not what the market expected,” said James McCann, deputy chief economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments. “The Fed is now signaling that rates will need to rise sooner and faster, with their forecast suggesting two hikes in 2023. This change in stance jars a little with the Fed’s recent claims that the recent spike in inflation is temporary.”

Markets reacted to the Fed news, with stocks falling and government bond yields higher as investors anticipated tighter Fed policy ahead, including the likelihood that the bond purchases will slow as soon as this year.

“If you’re going to get two rate hikes in 2023, you have to start tapering fairly soon to reach that goal,” said Kathy Jones, head of fixed income at Charles Schwab. “It takes maybe 10 months to a year to taper at a moderate pace. Then you’re looking at we need to start tapering maybe later this year, and if the economy continues to run a little bit hot, rate hikes sooner rather than later.”

Even with the raised forecast for this year, the committee still sees inflation trending to its 2% goal over the long run.

“Our expectation is these high inflation readings now will abate,” Powell said at his post-meeting news conference.

Powell also cautioned about reading too much into the dot-plot, saying it is “not a great forecaster of future rate moves. “Lift-off is well into the future,” he said.

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