A Few Essential Travel Tips

Travel the internet before you travel the world.If you did not book your transportation, hotel, and rental car at an online travel site, you made your booking far more complicated than it had to be, and you probably paid more than the rock-bottom price. Promise yourself you will use the internet for your next major adventure. So, while you do that read some essential travel tips right off and get a head-start.- Here is one of the most essential travel tips: Before you board your flight, long before you exit the plane, review the airline security rules and the travel document requirements at your destination: What can you carry in your carry-on luggage, how much luggage can you check and how much will you pay for that convenience? Do you need your passport and supplemental travel documents? Do you need vaccination records or other health information? Does your destination put any restrictions on what you may bring with you?- A little knowledge of history and literature goes a long way as you visit major landmarks: Do you know why they built the Eifel Tower and for whom it is named? Do you know the whole story of the Taj Mahal? Do you remember which famous work of literature found its way from imagination to paper at the Hotel Del Coronado? When you understand the history, you more easily comprehend the people’s reverence for their landmarks. Get some destination specific travel tips from friends who have already visited that place.Know before you go.Take time to learn a little bit about the culture and customs in your destinations. Study-up on the most common tourist mistakes so that you do not commit them, and learn enough about the local currency that you can estimate how much you are paying for all those souvenirs and curios. Learn proper etiquette for meeting and greeting new people, and pay special attention to tipping etiquette, because you do not want to omit key people from your gratuities list nor do you want to insult professionals by tipping when you ought not. Learn about the dress codes: most cruise ships and many upscale European casinos require evening attire and prohibit some casual styles.Most of all, take time to learn about health and safety risks: Could you be exposed to bacteria or viruses for which you have not developed immunity? Do officials either require or recommend vaccinations before you travel? Because every major urban area everywhere in the world, you should find out which neighbourhoods are safe for tourists, and you should find out how late the night life rocks on before it becomes unsafe. Some extremely popular tourist destinations come with their own signature frauds and scams-everything from holy relics to card tricks and shell games. Learn to discern which ones are harmless amusements and which ones endanger your health or wealth. Some of these travel tips are easily available over the Internet and in the books.If you cannot use your apps, use your maps.The more adventurous your plans, the more you probably should outfit yourself with an upscale, go-everywhere phone. As you choose your handheld communicator, you may face a small dilemma: Veteran travellers stress iPhone’s wealth of travel-friendly apps, new converts to Android phones emphasize how easy ‘Droid makes using Google maps, and hardcore business people still rely on Blackberries. Of course, the good news is that fierce competition among those three big brands has driven down the prices of all three.As you explore new territory, you do not want to call attention to yourself as a tourist, but you cannot venture out unprepared. Even if you feel confident you can rely on your cell phone for directions, standard phrases in the local language, and decent quality pictures, you still should carry a map and your phrase-book just to be sure. If you do get lost and decide to navigate your own way out of your confusion, pause long enough to make certain you and your map are oriented to north, south, east, and west. And keep in mind that, in many cases and many places, it’s best just to take a cab back to your hotel.

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Tips For Real Estate Agents – How to Keep Your Costs Low in the Real Estate Game

You probably didn’t become a real estate agent on a whim and you certainly didn’t pass your licensing exam without plenty of studying and preparation. You’ve heard that it could take 60 or more days before you begin to make any kind of money as an agent. Now you’re wondering how to keep your costs low as you build your real estate career.Costs of being a real estate agentMany people seem to think that as a realtor, you are paid big commissions and that, “agents make way too much money overall”. What the general public may not know is where an agent’s money goes on a monthly and annual basis related to supporting the agent’s business.Real estate agents are not employees – they are independent contractors working under the license of a real estate broker. Some brokerages will cover a larger portion of the agent’s monthly expenses. Other brokerages expect their agents to handle nearly all of their individual expenses of operation.The monthly / annual cost of being a real estate agentAmong the agent’s monthly and yearly operational costs (estimate, costs vary widely from state to state):

Licenses and permits – $100 – $500/year for initial sales license and renewal fees.

Realtor Association dues – +$120/year.

MLS fees – $25 – $100/month; there may also be a startup fee.

Commission splits – 30% – 85%/transaction; 50/50 splits are common.

Desk fees – $25 – $750/month for desk space and branding.
Some brokerages are marketing themselves to agents as “virtual” offices where the agent works from a home office rather than a store front. While this is good news for many agents, there still are monthly and annual expenses an agent must cover:

Computer, office equipment, supplies

Specialized industry software

Mobile phone with strong service package

Home internet services


Vehicle expenses including maintenance, gas, insurance

Marketing costs (online marketing can cost $1,000 or more a year)
Keeping costs lowKeeping costs low as you begin your real estate career takes ingenuity and careful planning. Here are some ways to keep costs down:

Choose a supportive brokerage -One national brokerage helps new agents establish themselves by absorbing a larger portion of an agent’s startup costs such as desk fees, marketing costs, cost of signage and business cards, no agent transaction fees, and more.

Blog/website – Develop a blog/website presence; it can be a cost-effective start to promoting your real estate services. Keep content current and fresh.

Social media – Market through Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter but don’t stress about creating content for each. Republish some of your blog content on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Pinterest can be used to attract clients to your business, blog site, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts. Use Twitter for sending out price and real estate alerts and micro-blogging.

Avoid elaborate, high-cost image advertising – Ads placed in local magazines and TV are costly for a startup business.

Track your advertising- Regularly evaluate all advertising expenditures and their results. Keep working with what produces the most favorable results and shelve what doesn’t work.

Watch your budget – Be mindful of every expense and planned purchase. Take advantage of deductions that can apply for working from home and small business tax incentives.

Full time vs part time – It may be difficult to sustain yourself full-time at first. Many agents advise against building your real estate business on a-part time basis. It will be difficult to sufficiently build a client base if you are unavailable for meetings, client contact, viewing and showing houses on a timely basis.
Supporting yourself as you develop your real estate business will take time and creative money management. Study the successful brokers and agents, learn from their best practices and adapt what you can to your own marketing and budget situation – and believe in your own success!

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Beginning a Yoga Practice for Sedentary Lifestyles

Physical activity is one of the most important actions in which any person can take part. There are many reasons to practice Yoga, but one would be to decrease the chance of an untimely death. That said, living a lifestyle that is mainly sedentary can have disastrous consequences. Whether this lifestyle is led by choice (being a notorious couch potato) or by necessity (logging long hours at a desk job), it is important to incorporate physical activity back into your life; and Hatha Yoga is the perfect way to do this.

A long term sedentary lifestyle causes damage to the body, by weakening muscles and decreasing flexibility. A radical upsurge of activity, however, can cause injury. Since Yoga posturing is a low impact activity, it is a wise choice as a tool to gradually ease into an active lifestyle.

Your hip flexors have been caused a lot of trauma, due to all that sitting around, so it is important to stretch them daily to avoid lower back pain. The Warrior I pose, or Virabhadrasana, is a great hip flexor stretch. While performing this exercise, it is important you ensure your body is in proper alignment – with your heel perfectly in line with your knee, and your hips are aligned in a forward position.

The reclining hero pose, or Virasana, is also an excellent stretch for your hips, and can be practiced every day. Downward Dog is a great pose to promote healthy blood flow. Sun Salutations are also very beneficial because they increase the body’s activity greatly and speeds up the metabolism. To start with, go through each pose gradually and mindfully. Do not worry about making up for past mistakes. Set your own pace to create a healthier lifestyle.

A lack of self-discipline may have been what created your sedentary lifestyle, but self-discipline is what is needed to end it. Make it a habit to practice Sun Salutations as soon as you wake up, for a healthy greeting to your day. It is crucial to carve out time for physical activity and do it – no matter what. If it’s hard for you to give up your TV, practice Yoga in front of it! Find little spaces of time to do poses, and slowly increase that amount each day, until your sedentary habits are replaced.

Turning a sedentary lifestyle around is crucial to your health and your future. Imagine how accomplished you will feel when you achieve this goal, and use that as your driving force. The self-discipline you gain, while practicing Yoga, can assist you in other aspects of life, as can the many other benefits of practicing Yoga.

© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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