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Archive for June, 2012

Flying? Banned Items That You Might Not Have Thought Of

When you think of items that are banned on airplanes, what first comes to mind? If you were like most individuals you would say sharp objects.  Of course, sharp objects are banned on all airlines, but did you know that there is a long list of other items.  In fact, many of these items are items that you may have never given thought to before.  If you are gearing up to take a flight; it is advised that you give these items some though.

Before you learn more about the items prohibited, it is important that you know there is a difference between carry-on luggage and checked luggage.  Carry on luggage is the luggage that you will be carrying and keeping with you at all times. Your checked baggage is the baggage that will be stored on the airplane, out of your reach.  When examining items that are prohibited aboard an airplane, it is important to remember that some items are not completely banned. While a large number of items may not be allowed in your carry-on luggage, there are other some that will be allowed in your checked luggage. 

Recently, a new ban was imposed; that ban is on liquids.  Due to recent security threats, a large number of liquids are now banned from being stored in your carry-on luggage.  These liquids commonly include, beverages, liquid or gel based beauty supplies, and food with a liquid or gel based substance. Despite the new ban, there are a few exceptions.  Those exceptions include small doses of medication, small doses of eye drops or saline solution, and small amounts of baby formula.

In the event that you are vacationing to play sports, such as golf, you will need to check your golf clubs and other sports equipment, no matter how much you want to keep them by your side.  Prohibited sports items, which cannot be used as carry-on luggage, include bows, arrows, bats, golf clubs, ski poles, pool cues, hockey sticks, and lacrosse sticks.  If your sports equipment is expensive, you will want to make sure that it is probably packed, to prevent damage.

The majority of tools are also banned from being included as carry-on luggage.  You will find that some tools, such as screwdrivers and pliers, are allowed, but they must be no longer than seven inches.  Banned items, which must be stored in your checked luggage, include axes, crowbars, saws, drills, and hammers. 

As previously mentioned, sharp objects are prohibited aboard most airplanes. These items can be stored in your checked baggage, but they are not allowed aboard the plane in your carryon luggage. The only exception is scissors that are have blades shorter than four inches. Sharp objects that you will be only be allowed to store in your checked baggage include knives, swords, box cutters, and ice picks. 

In the event that you need to travel with any of the above mentioned items, you are advised to plan ahead first.  It is important that you store any of the previously mentioned items in your checked baggage.  You will be unable to pass through airport security checkpoints until after your baggage has been checked. This means that you if you are caught with a prohibited item in your carry-on luggage, in most cases, it will be too late to have that item rechecked.  Instead, you will most likely end up having to hand it over to airport security, never to see your item again. When it doubt, check it or leave it at home. Those are the best ways to ensure that you do not lose anything of great value. 

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Comparison Shopping When Re-Financing

Homeowners who are re-financing their home for the first or even the second or third time should thoroughly research all of the available options to ensure the best possible interest rate and terms are secured. Homeowners are sometimes lazy when it comes to re-financing. There may a large drop in interest rates or a change in the financial situation which warrants a re-finance. Although the homeowner may be aware that a re-finance is warranted, the homeowner may not be aware that it sometimes takes a great deal of work to find the best possible rates and terms.

Homeowners are often inclined to re-finance with the same lender who granted the original mortgage or with the same lender who handled prior re-finances. The theory behind this reasoning is along the same lines as, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” These homeowners figure their current mortgage is adequate and they are happy with the current lender so there is no need to investigate further options. However, this cavalier attitude can be quite costly for the homeowners.

Try All the Options

Homeowners who are considering re-financing their home should contact a number of lenders and obtain rate quotes from each of them. When soliciting quotes the homeowners should consider all of their available options but should limit these options to established lender. While a newer lender may be offering fantastic rates and loan terms it is considered quite risky to go with this type of lender as opposed to a more established lender.

Homeowners who wish to further investigate smaller lenders who do not have an established history should proceed with caution. Unless the lender has trusted friends or family members who are willing to vouch for the lender, the homeowner should investigate these smaller lenders carefully. Visiting a website address is not the best way to ensure credibility. Designing a professional looking website is a fairly simple process. Most website designers could design and upload such a website in less than a day.

Friendly Competition

When comparison shopping for the most favorable rates, homeowners should make it well-known that they are shopping around for rate quotes and are not making a decision immediately. Lenders who know they have some competition may be more likely to offer a lower interest rate than they would if they did not think the homeowner was considering other options. Although this may not seem quite fair to the lender, the business of re-financing is a competitive business. Just like a plumber might offer his most competitive rate if he knows the homeowner is seeking estimates from a number of different plumbers, lenders are apt to do the same. They make their money from homeowners and having a homeowner re-finance their mortgage does not help them out at all financially.

Some lenders may think the homeowner is bluffing and may not offer the best rate initially. However, if the homeowner rejects the offer and states they have a better offer with another lender, the first lender may be enticed to offer an even lower interest rate just to see if they can sway the homeowners. While cost is certainly important, it is not the only factor to consider. Some homeowners might re-finance with a lender who offers slightly higher rates if the homeowner feels as though this lender is more responsive to his needs.

Social Networking Websites, Thinking About Joining A Online Community?

Have you ever thought about joining an online social networking community?  If you love meeting new people, there is a good chance that you have given it some thought.  Despite wanting to join, there are many individuals who make the decision not to. Are you one of those individuals?  If so, is it because you feel overwhelmed? There are literally an unlimited number social networking websites out there to choose from and many are full of members.

While you would assume that it is nice to join a social networking website with a large number of community members, some individuals, maybe even yourself, feel that it is too much to handle. For instance, did you know that MySpace, a popular social networking website, has over one hundred millions members?  If that isn’t overwhelming what is?  If you are interested in joining an online networking community, but one that has fewer members, you are encouraged to look for social networking websites that have a particular focus. That focus is often on popular topics, issues, views, and interests.

A social networking website that focuses on one thing in particular is often referred to as a specialty social networking website. This is because, unlike traditional websites, not everyone can become a member. To become a member of a specialty social networking site, you must have an interested in the topic at hand.  These websites drastically reduce the number of members. Although you will have less community members to socialize with, you will find that more have the same interests as you do. In that, a small number of internet users, with the same interests as yourself, is better than millions of members that you don’t have anything in common with.

If you are interested in finding a specialty social networking website, you are advised to perform a standard internet search.  You will want to search using the words social networking site and whatever else you are looking for.  For instance, if you are looking for a social networking website designed just for animal lovers, you may to combine the words social networking with animal lovers, pet lovers, cats, dogs, and so on. Whether you are searching for social networking websites that focus on a popular hobby, religion, or politics, you are sure to find that you are looking for.

In your search for specialty social networking websites, it is likely that you will come across Facebook or Classmates.  Facebook and Classmates are both considered specialty social networking sites because they tend to focus on high school and college students, including those that are attending and those that have already graduated.  Both of these websites work to connect you with individuals that you are currently going to school with or those that went to school with, in the past.  If you have already graduated, Facebook and Classmates are great when looking to reconnect with old friends or even make new ones.

Other popular social networking websites focus on religion.  Whether you are Christian or not, there are a large number of social networking websites that have a focus on religion. These websites not only allow you to meet other internet users, but they allow you to meet those that share the same beliefs and views as you do.  By using a religious social networking website, such as HolyPal and JesusCrowd, you will not have to spend the time searching for those who are the same religion as you, you will automatically be entering a community where everyone preaches and believes the same things.

As previously mentioned, there are a fairly large number of specialty social networking communities that you can find online. These communities are not just limited to those that are for pet lovers, religious followers, or those looking to reconnect with old classmates, as mentioned above.  With the way that social networking websites have increased in popularity, it is safe to say that you should be able to find an online networking community, no matter what your interests are.

Knowing When Your Ready To Buy

All across the United States, there are millions of people looking to a buy home – either now or in the future.  Over the last few years, lower interest rates have come along, making it more affordable than ever to buy a home.  When most people stop and give it some thought – buying a home makes a lot more sense than renting a home or an apartment.

In order to buy a house, you’ll need to start saving your money and have enough for the closing costs and a down payment.  Your down payment will normally need to be around 15% of the price or the value of the property – whichever is lower.  To be on the safe side, you should always try to have 20% to put down.  If you aren’t able to put 20% down, you’ll need to buy some private mortgage insurance, which will cost you more in terms of your monthly payment.

In most cases, the closing costs will run you around 5% of the property price.  Before you purchase the home, you should always get an estimate.  An estimate won’t be the exact price, although it will be really close.  You should always plan to save up a bit more money than you need, just to be on the safe side.  It’s always best to have more than enough than not enough.

You’ll know your ready to buy a home when you know exactly how much you can afford, and you’re willing to stick with your plan.  When you buy a home and get your monthly mortgage payment, it shouldn’t be any more than 25% of your total monthly income.  Although there are lenders out there who will say that you can afford to pay more, you should never let them talk you into doing so – but stick to your budget instead.

Keep in mind that there is always more money involved with a home other than the mortgage payment.  You also have to pay for utilities, homeowners insurance, property taxes, and maintenance.  Owning and caring for a home requires a lot of responsibility.  If you’ve never owned a home before, it can take a bit of time to get used to.

Before you fill out any applications, you should always look over your credit report and check for any errors.  Although you may think you don’t, you can easily get an error on your credit report and not even realize it.  If you have an error on your credit report, it can cost you a lot of money in interest rates.  An error will decrease your credit score, which will put you in a higher interest bracket and ultimately cost you a lot more money in the end.  Therefore, you should always know your credit before you approach a lender.

If you check your credit report early enough, you may leave yourself enough time to fix any problems and get your credit back on track.  Rebuilding credit can take time though, sometimes even years.  You should always plan ahead – and give yourself plenty of time to fix your credit.

Buying a home will require a bit of commitment on your behalf.  You should always strive to get the best possible deals, which means knowing your credit and where you stand.  This way, you can get the best interest rates.  You don’t want to buy a home with bad credit, simply because you’ll pay a lot more money for the home.  If you take the time to fix any credit problems and save up some money – you’ll be able to get a much better home for your money.

Consider the Amenities

The amenities on a rental property can often be the deciding factor for many renters. The available amenities may make a less affordable property seem more appealing. Conversely a property which is more expensive may be considered worthwhile if the amenities offered are considered valuable enough to compensate for the higher price. When making this decision, homeowners should consider their own personal preferences as well as their budgetary constraints to make an informed decision. Before making a decision to rent a property, the renter should carefully consider which amenities are necessary, which amenities are optional but highly desired and how much the renter is willing to pay for these amenities.

What Amenities Do You Really Need?

Although many of the amenities offered by rental properties are not exactly necessary to live, there are some amenities which some renters would not consider renting a property without. An exercise room is one such example. While this is certainly not necessary, many renters prefer having this option. Without a onsite exercise facility, many renters would have to consider joining a gym for their exercise needs. This will likely increase the monthly expenses significantly and, depending on the location, may also make it inconvenient for the renter to visit the gym. A onsite exercise is significantly more convenient than traveling to a gym in another location. For this reason many renters consider the added expense associated with an on site exercise facility to be worthwhile.

Some renters may even consider only renting an apartment in a facility that has a pool. Although this is not a necessity some renters, especially in warm climates, might only consider living in a rental property where there is access to a pool especially if the majority of rental properties include this amenity.

What Amenities Do You Really Want?

In addition to the amenities a renter feels he needs, there are some amenities which may be desired as opposed to necessary. A movie theater may be an example of this type of amenity. Renters may not decide against a rental property which does not have this feature but may be more inclined to select a property that has this feature as opposed to one that does not as long as the price is comparable.

A meeting space may be another example of an amenity which may not be required but that many renters are willing to pay extra to have. Renters who entertain frequently may enjoy this type of amenity because it affords them extra space for entertaining. They may be able to easily invite eight or more people over for a dinner party if there is meeting space available but this might not be possible if the renter were confined to their apartment.

Are You Paying Too Much for Amenities?

While some amenities may be viewed as necessary and others may merely be viewed as worthwhile and still others may be viewed as superfluous, the most important decision renters will have to make is how much they are willing to pay for these amenities. Comparison shopping may be the best way to determine whether or not certain amenities are financially worthwhile.

Renters who are considering apartments of similar size in the same geographic region should consider the amenities offered as well as the price of the apartment. Apartments of similar size in the same area should be fairly close in price. However, an apartment which offers more advanced amenities might be significantly higher in price. Renters should list the available amenities and use this information in making cost comparisons. This information can be used to determine whether or not the renter is willing to pay a higher price for such amenities. Renters who conclude the additional cost is not warranted have determined that the prices of the amenities are not worthwhile to them and they are likely to choose the more affordable apartment which features fewer amenities.

Backyard Reunions: Easier Than You May Think

Family reunions are the times when many families come together. In some cases, they are only time that everyone in a family gets to see each other.  Unfortunately, it seems as if family reunions are becoming a thing of the past.  While family reunions still exist, they are not as popular as they once were.  Due to having children, busy sports schedules, and long work hours, many families are unable to have a family reunion, but you may be able to change that.

As previously mentioned, family reunions are difficult because everyone has their own, unique schedule.  Busy schedules are not the only reason why family reunions are becoming a thing of the past.  Family reunions are also difficult because many families do not know where to have them. Many public parks and campgrounds are now changing their guests. For many, these fees are difficult to afford. If location is what is preventing your family from having a reunion, you may want to consider your own backyard.

A backyard family reunion, either you are thinking it is a really good idea or a really bad idea.  Even if you feel that a backyard family reunion will not work, you are still advised to give it some thought. After closely examining the advantages of disadvantages of having a backyard family reunion, you should be able to make an informed decision. Making informed decision is better than making one on impulse.

Perhaps, the greatest benefit of having a backyard family reunion is that you will not have to travel far. The problem with most family reunions is that people relocate.  This means that not everyone lives in or around the same area. Instead of you having to travel, the rest of your family will have to. This may not only help to eliminate unnecessary travel expenses, but it is also convenient, especially if you have children.

Another advantage to planning your own backyard family reunion is that you will be in complete charge of the planning. How many times have you been to a party and wondered why the host did or didn’t do something? Planning your own family reunion will ensure that everything is just the way that you want it to be. While you may want to consider the suggestions offered by your other family members, you don’t necessarily have to use them. That, alone, is enough to make many homeowners want to plan their family’s next reunion.

While a backyard family reunion does have its advantages, there are disadvantages as well. One of those disadvantages may include the size of your yard or the size of your family. If you have a large family, but a small backyard, it may be impossible for you to host your next family reunion. However, that does not mean that a backyard reunion isn’t a good idea, it just means that you cannot be the host. Instead, you may want to consider speaking to your other relatives.  With your assistance, someone else may be willing to host the next family reunion. 

The cost of hosting a family reunion may not only be expensive, but it may exceed what you are able to afford. When you consider all of the food, drinks, snacks, and decorations are that are needed, it costs quite a bit to host this type of party. Despite the large cost, you may be able to turn this disadvantage into an advantage.  You can do this by seeking assistance from your other relatives. Whether you ask for financial assistance or a dish to pass, the cost of hosting a family reunion may significantly decrease. 

As with any party, including a family reunion, it is your decision as to whether or not you want to host one. By keeping the above mentioned advantages and disadvantages in mind, you may be able to decide whether or not a backyard family reunion is possible. If it is, you may not only enjoy the experience of planning your family reunion, but you may also enjoy seeing those that you haven’t seen in a while.

Traveling by airplane, Relax and enjoy your flight

Each day, a large number of American citizens hit the sky.  While many are only traveling from one state to another, there are some who are traveling from one country to another. If you are one of those individuals, you may be nervous, rightfully so.  If you are a first-time flyer or if you have a problem with flying in general, it is advised that you learn to calm your nerves as much as possible. Although it may seem impossible to do, there are a number of benefits to doing so, namely for your own safety.

Unfortunately, in today’s society it seems as if air travel has gotten a little bit out of control.  Airport security, airline personnel, as well as other passengers, are all concerned with their safety. While it is important to be concerned with your safety and the safety of others, it is seemed as if what it takes to make everyone feel unsafe has also gotten a little bit out of control. If you are on an airplane, especially on an international flight, and someone carelessly mentioned the word bomb, your flight would probably land at the nearest airport. The same can be said for uncooperative passengers. That is why it is extremely important that you remain calm, aboard an airplane, at all times.

Many travelers are nervous about flying, all on its own, however, others display a wide array of emotions for other reasons. One of those reasons is dissatisfaction.  On international flights, like all other flights, you will find that your actions are limited in the air. There are only certain times when you can remove your seatbelts, use the bathroom, or use your electronic equipment. If these times do not meet with your schedule, you are advised to just deal with it. Becoming upset or hysterical will not accomplish anything for you; expect for maybe a date with local authorities at your next stop.

One of the number one reasons why trouble begins on a plane, even if is innocent enough as being scared to fly, is because travelers do not know the consequences of their actions. A nervous, jittery, or confrontational passenger is what flight attendants are taught to look for. Although you may not be a terrorist, you may be displaying noticeable symptoms. In the event that this does happen, your plane will likely be rerouted, where you and other passengers will be met with airport security or local authorities.  Depending on what your actions involved, you may be charged with disorderly conduct or something similar. Essentially, this means that it is extremely important that you remain calm at all times.

In addition to remaining calm aboard an international flight, it is also advised that you remain calm at the airport. All international airports are on high alert. This means that they will not only be looking for prohibited items, but suspicious travelers as well.  If you are nervous about flying, you need to think of something enjoyable; it may help to calm your nerves. If you are asked to do something by airport security, such as step aside, you are advised to do so. If you do not, it is likely that a confrontation could brew.  Starting a confrontation in airport is just as serious as starting one in the air.  In fact, you will likely be met with the same consequences, as mentioned above.

Although it is important to know what could happen to you if you fail to remain calm in an international airport or aboard an international flight, is it is also important to work on ways to stay calm.  Whether it involves thinking happy thoughts, bringing along headphones, or by taking long deep breaths, it is advised that you develop multiple ways to keep yourself calm and level-headed.  If you fail to do so, you may regret your decision to fly for the rest of your life and that is something that shouldn’t have to happen.