Holiday Tips to Keep Your Home Safe

The holiday season is one of the busiest traveling seasons of the year. Most of us visit our friends and family for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Unfortunately, this also opens the opportunity for your house to get broken into. If you have a dog and put it in a kennel, you have just eliminated the best security system you can have to protect your belongings. So before you leave, it’s important to take precautions to keep your house safe. The last thing you want to do is come home from visiting family and friends to find out that your home has been broken into and your possessions have been stolen. The following is a list of basic security tips to help you protect your home for the holidays.

• Completely lock up your house – This may seem like a simple rule, but eliminating easy entry points for a burglar is more entailed than you think. You must consider all ways your house could be broken into, which includes the front door, backdoor, man door to garage, and all first floor windows.

• Close your curtains and blinds- Don’t make it easy for thieves to scope out your house. Leaving the blinds and curtains open will only allow thieves to see what of value is in your house. If they don’t know what’s in your house, it may not be worth their while to break in.

• Avoid announcing you will be on vacation on social media – Thieves are savvy, they use social media to their advantage. If a thief knows your home will be vacant, you just opened the door to be robbed.

• Have your neighbors or friends watch your house- Ask your friends and neighbors to drive by your house while you are out of town. Ask them to drive by your house before and after work to watch for anything suspicious. If your friends or neighbors see anything unusual they could call the police and action can be taken immediately. Also, ask them to pick up your mail and remove your newspaper. If a thief sees your newspapers pile up on your front steps or sees mail sticking out of your mailbox for days on end, you’ve just invited them to break into your house.

• Security system- There is great value in having signs or stickers on your doors and windows that indicate you have a security system. Security systems deter thieves. Most security systems have 24 hour monitoring, if a thief sees this they will most likely move to the next house.

• Lights on a timer- Whether you have put up holiday lights or not, it would be a good idea to put them on a timer where each night lights come on throughout various parts of your house. This will make it appear as if you are home.

The last thing you want to do on your holiday vacation is worry about your home. It’s precious time to spend with your friends, family, and loved ones. Hopefully, these simple steps will help protect your home and allow you to have a more enjoyable vacation.

Where to Get the Money for Vacation – Money for Vacation Tips

Many times in the past we have had a dilemma, where to get the money for vacation. We all work very hard each day and a vacation, in my opinion, is something everyone should take at least every couple years.

Due to various things going on in your personal lives, sometimes it’s hard to find money for vacation so you can do all the things you need and want to do on your trip.

Here we have listed some tips and places to come up with funds for your travel plans. Many of us don’t have the problem of coming up with funds, but for the many that do, this article will help you brainstorm a list of ways to put money into the pot.

**Start saving early. Many times people who know they are going to be going on vacation next year will begin saving now, or if you plan on taking a major trip in the future, why not put a little away here and there. This isn’t always an option, but if you had to skip your vacation this year, why not start now – look for travel deals now, figure out your destination, sign up for blogs and feeds, and begin your planning now.

**Use your tax refund. Many Americans every year have the ability to utilize their income tax refunds for a number of purposes. If you are someone who has overpaid the government and get some of that back, this is always an option.

**Set up a vacation fund. Pay yourself first and put some of that into a vacation pot that you don’t touch until your trip. Each year, my parents will do this by putting loose coins into a bank, and by the time their trip comes they have enough money for gas, food, extra fun stuff they wouldn’t have had.

**Cut back on other daily items. Stop buying that $4 cup of coffee everyday. Cut back on dining out at sit down restaurants. Focus on a budget where you can penny pinch a bit. It’s a small price to pay to enjoy your ultimate vacation when otherwise you may not be able to go.

**Do small weekend trips throughout the year. Instead of a week long vacation in some remote location, why not go somewhere closer for a weekend getaway. Camping is great, lake trips, beach trips, and other spots that you can make a quick drive to and just get away for a few days.

**Moonlight or pick up some extra income. I’m sure the last thing you want to do is work more right? Well, due to my Florida website, I make enough extra money that it pays for extras in our lives like home repairs, dining out, and vacations. It has been a tremendous help.

**Use credit cards, but use them wisely. I hesitate to mention this one because many people will whip out their plastics for much of their trip. This isn’t the best way to find money for vacation, but it can supplement a number of things. Using debt to pay for things like vacation can be a downward cycle you don’t want to start, so be careful.

**Eat intelligently while on vacation. We typically take one meal out per day and eat the rest in. This saves us a fortune and we still get to enjoy the tasty eats around our destination of choice.

**Set up a goal. Somehow when you commit to something and put a plan together, things tend to work in your favor. If you want something to happen you can make it happen. Experts call it the “law of attraction” and it seems to work, so why not!

**Be a smart travel planner. Searching intelligently and using the vast resources of the Internet will ultimately find you better deals. When you add up car rentals, gas, hotels, airfare, things to do, etc. they get expensive quickly. They can also add up a lot of savings if you shop around and find good deals while not sacrificing a great vacation.

Travel lovers, this is just a start. Use your creativity and figure out some ways to find money for vacation if you are on a budget. We all need some time away from time to time so do whatever you need to do to make your trip happen.

Hawaii Travel Tips and Secrets

Check out these Hawaii travel tips and see if you get excited like we did.

Are you a little adventurous? Do you enjoy a bargain when it comes to travel?

This is how we travel and it has always worked out great for us. Try it at your own risk, but if you love travel bargains, you’ll love the way this works.

We like to travel in the off season and see Hawaii when it isn’t so crowded. Off season travel has its benefits and drawbacks.

The weather isn’t always the most ideal, yet, it can be every bit as good as the peak season.

We’ve gone in peak season and had crummy weather and we’ve traveled in the off season and had great weather, it’s always a crap shoot any way so we take the chance.

Normally, we get awesome air travel rates in the off season to start of the trip.

We usually only book the first night or maybe the second and then we hit the streets and the hotel lobbies searching for the booklets, newspapers and coupon guide books.

Last time we did this, it was in January, right after the new year and everything was dead.

Hawaii was like a ghost town and we were able to find some of the most incredible deals you could imagine.

We got a flight to Oahu, with a three night stay in a luxury hotel complete with a rental car for just a little more than the normal price of the inter-island flight.

Another time, while on the island of Maui, we called a hotel on Oahu and asked for the price of a suite we had stayed in on a previous trip.

For the price of a normal room, we got a 2 bedroom penthouse suite overlooking Waikiki Beach and facing Diamond Head. This was a corner room with four 10 foot sliding glass doors so it was like having glass walls and you could see everything. It had every amenity and our kids almost went nuts using Jacuzzi tubs, making meals in the kitchen and sitting on the two verandas overlooking the beach. There was a special elevator that only went from the lobby level to the tenth floor.

These are just some of the Hawaii travel tips that we’ve accumulated. We think you might like traveling by the seat of your pants as much as we do. It gives us braging rights with the relatives also.

Next time you visit Hawaii, throw caution to the wind and give it a try. I’ll bet it will be the most exciting and value packed vacation you’ve ever experienced.

Anticipatory Grief and Holidays: 12 Survival Tips

Anticipatory grief – a feeling of loss before a death or dreaded event occurs – is a hard journey. Holidays make it even harder. At a time when you’re supposed to feel happy and joyful, you feel sad and anxious. You’re on pins and needles and wonder what will happen next.

Remember, your grief stems from love, and you may find comfort in that. Holidays don’t erase your reasons for feeling sad and lonely, according to the National Mental Health Association, and “there is room for these feelings to be present.” So accept your feelings and, if you feel like crying, go ahead and do it.

Crying will help you to feel better. Here are some other ways you can help yourself.

BE REALISTIC. You don’t have to create a “perfect” holiday. Do you really need to knit sweaters for everyone? No. Do you really need to serve a six course meal? No. What you need to do is set realistic goals, get organized, and pace yourself. Rather than focusing on one day, the National Mental Health Association recommends focusing on “a season of holiday sentiment.”

ASK FOR HELP. You don’t need to do everything yourself. Family members and friends will be glad to help with planning, decorating, and cooking. One family member could bring a traditional dish, such as pumpkin pie. Another family member could provide linens and launder them afterwards. Your request for help makes others feel needed.

BUDGET. Finances can cause stress at any time, but they cause lots of stress during the holidays. Set a budget for gifts, decorations, and entertaining. Staying within your budget will make you feel better about the holidays and yourself. Your gifts don’t have to be new. Holiays are a perfect time to pass along family possessions – a flower vase, historic photo, or beloved book. Stick a short note about the item in with your gift.

EAT RIGHT. Because nutrition affects brain chemistry, you need to eat balanced meals during the holidays. Yummy as they look, pass up the candy and cookies that come your way. Choose lots of fruits and veggies from the buffet table and one dessert. Keeping a supply of healthy snacks on hand will also help you to eat right.

DRINK MODERATELY. Alcohol makes the holiday blues worse, according to the National Mental Health Association. Too much alcohol can cause you to say things you’ll regret later. If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation or skip it all together. Drink sparkling cider, non-alcoholic punch, or flavored water instead of alcohol.

GET ENOUGH SLEEP. You’ve probably thinking, “Yeah, right.” But you need sleep to survive the holidays. Getting enough sleep is hard to do with so many holiday events going on. However, you may be selective about what you attend, leave early, and get a good night’s sleep. Balance a late night with a short nap the next day.

LIGHT YOUR WAY. Vanerbilt University wellness experts say more people get depressed during the holidays than at any other time. Some of these people have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If you live in a cold climate and the days are short you may wish to be evaluated for SAD. Phototherapy (intense lighting) is usually recommended for those with SAD. Even if you don’ have SAD well lit rooms will lift your spirits.

EXERCISE. Daily physical activity is a proven way to cope with stress. Walk around town or the local mall and look at holiday decorations. Play catch with your kids or grandkids. Bundle up and go cross country skiing. A half hour of physical activity per day helps to chase the blues away.

BE CONCILATORY. According to http://www.MayoClinic.com family tensions may flare during the holidays if members are “thrust together for several days.” Holidays aren’t the time to settle family disputes, they’re a time for concilatory and kind behavior. Discuss family grievances at a later date.

HELP OTHERS. Holidays are associated with families and togetherness according to Jill RachBeisel, MD, Director of Community Psychiatry at the University of Maryland. But, due to the divorce rate and fragmented families, many don’t have this kind of holiay experience. Still, you may connect with a substitute family by volunteering a a senior center, reading to shut-ins, or tutoring children.

MAKE NEW MEMORIES. The memories you make during this holiday season may comfort you in the future. Take digital photos of holiday events and put them on a CD. Send copies of the CD to all family members. Every family has stories to tell and you may create new memories by tape recording some of these stories. You may also videotape holiday events.

SAVOR THE MOMENT. Though you are sorrowful, you’re alive, able to be with those you love and care about. Surround yourself with life: family members, dear friends, colorful flowers, a tail-wagging dog, and hobbies that make you happy. For every moment of life – even the sorrowful ones – is a miracle.

Copyright 2005 by Harriet Hodgson. To learn more about her work go to http://www.harriethodgson.com

A Brief Guide to Understanding Travel Insurance Excess

Trying to find the very best travel insurance can be daunting and difficult. Deciding between annual travel insurance and single trip deals, and even the issue of insurance excess is also likely to cause great confusion. This article may provide some clarification and guidance for prospective travellers.

Essential Insurance Information

Anyone confused by the technical insurance jargon need only really remember that policy excess refers to the expected level of initial payment (from the insured person) in the event of a claim. This will differ greatly, depending upon the level of excess that is agreed when registering for the policy. The insurance company will pay any remaining money, up to the agreed claims cap. Relevant information regarding the excess should be included in the policy document and kept for easy reference.

Additional Protection

As mentioned, the level of excess will vary depending upon what policy a customer chooses. Some insurers may demand as little as £20 in the event of a £500 claim, however others will expect much higher amounts. There may even be stipulations regarding the level of excess associated with different areas of the policy. In the event of theft the customer could have to pay £30 for legal assistance and £50 for the replacement of stolen goods. It’s worth bearing in mind that some cheaper single trip or annual travel insurance policies may have relatively higher levels of excess.

The Excess Waiver

Prospective travellers who are prepared to pay a little more may be given the option of an excess waiver. This means they aren’t required to part with any of their own money in the event of a claim. Annual travel insurance customers may take this option as a guaranteed means of enjoying peace of mind throughout the year, however it may be deemed unnecessary for those simply looking forward to a quiet weekend away! Anyone who requires further clarification on the issue of excess should contact their insurers or seek independent advice. It may be possible to ascertain the track record of companies with regards to insurance payouts.

Policy Excess Warning

Most insurance companies will be unwilling to upgrade existing customer policies and completely waive the excess. This is why it is so important to do comprehensive research and purchase the correct level of insurance in the first place. But it’s also worth checking if any policy waiver covers injuries sustained during extreme activities and the loss of personal belongings. Such issues are particularly relevant to annual travel insurance customers, as it may need to cover a range of destinations and purposes for travel.

Deep Sea Fishing Tips

Fishing in the deep sea is an amazing experience that once tried you will never forget. Here are some tips that will help you to enjoy your trip even more.

1. Watch what the sea and its wildlife are telling you

If you see birds, such as gulls, hovering over an area of water, pay attention. There is a strong likelihood that there are smaller fish that are used by fishermen for bait in the immediate area. This shows that there will be larger fish under the surface of the water. Driftwood is another sign of larger fish in the area. Follow these simple indications and you will be landing fish in no time.

2. Watch out for snooks hiding places

If you are on the lookout for snooks on your fishing trip, remember to look underneath ledges as they are a favorite hiding place for them. Snooks are very similar in their habits to bass.

3. Use crabs during a full moon

Crabs tend to shed their skins during the full moon. So when fishing during a full moon, try using soft crab imitations for your bait. This will entice stripers out of their hiding places to look for the crabs.

4. Find dolphins when fishing for tuna

If you are fishing for tuna, particularly yellowfin, the best way to spot them is to look for dolphins. Tuna school with them, so if you see dolphins you can bet that tuna won’t be far away. Just be sure to be careful that you don’t land a dolphin by accident since they are a protected species and must be treated with respect.

5. Burn, don’t cut

If you find that you can’t cut your line, try burning through it instead. You will find it is much easier to do and avoid being cut if your scissors slip.

6. Fish near a reef.

If you haven’t tried it before, fish near a reef. You will be surprised at the number of large fish that are feeding on smaller fish that live on a reef.

7. Raise your chances with a Circle Hook

If you would like to raise your hook up quota, opt for a circle hook. They will increase your catches due to their make up. And you will find removing the hook easier as it will not stick in the fish gut.

8. Find your sea legs

If you find that you are suffering from sea sickness try watching the horizon. It may sound silly but try to stay on deck if you can. Staying downwind of fumes is also advisable as they can make you feel worse.

9. Anchor trouble

If you discover that you cannot raise your anchor after dropping, use a float attached to it. By noting when the tide turns you should be able to free the anchor and set sail once again.

10. Find the fish in order to fish successfully

If you thought that you should be catching your live bait first and then moving away from the reef to catch more fish, think again. If you stay near the live bait, you increase your chances of catching the larger fish that are feeding on them.

Best Tips for Traveling Alone in a Car Trip

If you must travel alone in a car, here are a few things you need to know and be aware of to help you survive the trip. You can make the trip as pleasurable or as adventurous as you want. Always set a timetable for departure and arriving and try to stick to it. Make allowances for emergencies or problems.

Before you take the trip include the following tips in your plans:

1. Prepare your mind – avoid stress of any kind before getting on the road

2. Prepare your body – make sure you get a good night of sleep and rest

3. Prepare your car – have your car tuned up, oil changed, brakes checked, tire rotated and in good condition, extra fluids in the car (oil, brake, transmission, windshield, antifreeze, etc.) and make sure your windshield wipers and lights are working properly

4. Plan your route – find out the nearest hospitals, hotels, rest stops and restaurants

5. Let someone know your route and check in with that person at designated times to be safe

6. Have your cell phone charged and available for emergency calls.

7. Take along a map or GPS and have it handy or ready in the event you get lost or need directions.

8. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes to drive in

9. Travel with suitcases or bags in trunk of car for safety reasons

10. Try to map out or organize your route (beware of road construction and detours)

11. Have a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks in the event your credit or debit card does not work

While traveling during the trip follow these tips:

1. Try to travel during the day. At night is too risky, especially if the car breaks down.

2. Make frequent or regular stops to break the monotony of driving.

3. If you feel tired or sleepy pull over at the nearest safe place and stop or get a hotel room to spend the night and wake up refreshed.

4. Take along a snack (gum or candy) if it doesn’t make you sleepy

5. Listening to the radio or music is usually good for some people

6. You may want to drive with windows down a little to get fresh air

7. If at all possible do not sleep in the car alone

8. Wear a pair of shades if the sun is too much of a strain on your eyes

After reaching your destination follow these tips:

1. Take a nice hot shower and rest or get some sleep

2. You may want to eat a nice meal after resting

By following these tips your trip alone should be much easier and stress-free. Rather business or pleasure driving alone can be a memorable experience.

Cheap Hotel Reservation – Enjoy Incredible Online Hotel Deals by Booking Online

Astronomical hotel costs are often a headache for many budget travelers who may want to reduce hotel spending so that they can concentrate their expenditure on other more important aspects of their trip. So is there a guaranteed way to enjoy hotel savings? Yes there certainly is. Cheap hotel reservation is now a possibility with the advent of the Internet, which will help you snag your ideal hotel for a much lower rate than if you had booked over the phone.

Information about hotels in your chosen destination is widely available online, meaning that we now hold the power to book hotels at low rates that might not have previously existed. This can be attributed to the ubiquity of cheap hotel discounts on the Internet that allow us to save on our hotel bookings like never before. Thus, budgeting for our entire trip is now much less of a headache, especially since less spending on our hotels is virtually guaranteed though online booking.

Making an Internet hotel booking has never been more attractive, with a mind-boggling range of accommodation in your chosen locale or district available for booking, including hotels which you may not be able to afford previously. Hotel aggregator websites are thus a hotbed of information regarding these various hotels’ specific locations, amenities, services and most of all, the kinds of discounted deals you can get to enjoy.

Before comparing the rates between hotels, you might want to first take a look at the section of the website marked “deals”, where you can find the latest limited time promotions, deals and offers for various hotels, including any last minute promotions. These promotions are especially common when hotels are unable to fill up their rooms during a less busy travel season.

By taking advantage of such heavily discounted rates, you might even manage to book a luxury hotel at a rate that is closer to that of mid-ranged hotels. Hence, the best value for your hotels can be easily achieved by booking online, as you will often be able to snag hotels with excellent offerings at relatively low rates.

When you book your accommodation online, peace of mind is a given as you would have settled your hotel arrangements and costs in advance, especially if you are assured instant confirmation of your booking. By taking care of this part of your travel planning, you can now turn your attention to budgeting for the remaining expenses for your trip.

However, do make sure that you are really getting your money’s worth in your hotel booking by taking into account possible hidden costs such as parking fees, Internet costs and even additional room taxes which may result in higher than expected hotel expenditure. You should keep these costs at the back of your mind when deciding if an online hotel deal is really worth it.

Placing a cheap hotel reservation is now a reality, thanks to the efficiency of the Internet which allows travelers to save time and money when making hotel bookings online. They can also rest assured that their credit card information is safe, as hotel booking websites make use of secure transaction gateways which is safer than revealing such information over the phone. Moreover, travelers are better informed when making their hotel booking decisions and choosing the best hotel deals to go for.

6 Tips For Spending Wisely This Holiday Season

When holiday music is piped into malls and festive themes accompany some hard-to-miss sales, it’s no wonder people are compelled to overspend during the holidays. Here are six helpful tips to keep help keep your holiday spending in check this season.

1. Start with a list. Even Santa knows it’s wise to make a list (and check it twice!) in preparation for the gift-giving season. Make a list with everyone you plan to buy for. Be sure to include family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and anyone else in your life you would like to remember with a gift. Next, set a budget to guide your purchases. If the math doesn’t add up-you have too many gifts to buy and not enough money to go around-pare down your list or reduce the amount you can spend on each person.

2. Comparison shop. Your holiday dollars will go further if you do your homework before pulling out your wallet. Online price comparison engines can help you identify where to find the best deals. Shopping online can be a real time-saver, too, but be mindful of shipping charges. You’ll also want to watch for upcoming holiday sales and plan your shopping excursions accordingly. Black Friday is not the only time you can find deals during the season.

3. Avoid overspending on a credit card. Naturally, credit cards offer the convenience of buying now and paying later. The “pay later” scenario only works in your favor if you’re able to zero out your balance before the next billing cycle. If you don’t pay down your charges for months on end, interest accrues and suddenly that $30 gift has snowballed into an unwieldy sum. If you need to rely on credit to spread the cost of holiday purchases over a few months, factor in estimated interest charges when you make your budget. Or better yet, avoid the credit trap altogether by spending within your means.

4. Keep your savings on track. Saving should be a regular part of your monthly budget. If you’ve worked with a financial advisor before, stick to your savings plan instead of putting your financial future on hold. If you haven’t worked with a financial professional before and don’t yet have a plan for growing your nest egg, give yourself the gift of financial advice this year. A qualified financial advisor can identify strategies to help you achieve your financial goals.

5. Give sentimental gifts that don’t cost much. When you’re in stores, it’s easy to get distracted and start to ignore your budget. Don’t buy into the notion that the price tag of a gift indicates its ultimate value. The best gifts are not necessarily the most expensive. In many cases, a thoughtful, sentimental gift can mean as much or more than an expensive object.

6. Remember to put people first. In our consumer-centric society, it’s easy to get carried away with material things. It’s important to stay focused on what truly matters about the season-spending time with the people who mean the most to you. It doesn’t cost anything to take some time away from the hustle and bustle and savor the special moments that come with the holidays.

Parking Lot Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

It’s the holiday season, and along with all of the fun, comes the need to be aware of your personal safety as well as that of your property. One of the most dangerous places during the holiday season is the parking lot.

Criminal activity picks up this time of year. Most of the time it is theft of property, but in some instances it can be a personal attack. People are busy running to and fro and not paying attention as they normally would to their surroundings.

Keep these following safety tips for the parking lot in mind during this holiday season to protect not only your property, but also yourself.

  • Be aware of your surrounding when shopping. Do not let anyone that you do not know to get close to you. Walk with a purpose and get to your car quickly.
  • While walking to your car, pull your key out and be ready to get in quickly.
  • Women should try not to carry over-sized purses that are easily grabbed.
  • Glance underneath your car as you walk up. Thieves have been known to hide underneath cars waiting for the owner to approach.
  • Glance in the back seat before you get in your car.
  • Try to go shopping with a friend or family member. This is especially true for women. But men are not immune to being attacked either.
  • Try to park in well lighted areas if you are shopping at night.
  • It is best if you can go shopping during the daylight hours if at all possible.
  • Do not leave valuable items in your car where they can easily be viewed. Try to put all valuables in your trunk, or at the very least, on the floorboard.
  • If you are a woman, it is strongly encouraged that you get a security guard to follow you to your car if it is dark out and you are parked far from the store. This is especially true if you happen to be in a mall parking lot.
  • Do not flash money while you are shopping.
  • Women should refrain from wearing pony tails while shopping. According to interviews with prison inmates, women with long hair are more often targeted because they can be grabbed and controlled more easily. So keep your hair tucked under a hat or coat hood as much as possible while you do your shopping.

In short, take extra care to ensure that you are not an easy target. A thief wants an easy target where they can make an easy theft, and then leave without the fear of getting caught. Keep these parking lot safety tips in mind and make yourself a difficult target. Do not become a victim.