Author: rusdi123


The 5 Biggest Differences Between the US and Europe

August 30, 2020

Real estate and leisure

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So, to the meat and potatoes (arroz y habichuelas in Puerto Rico)! These observations are purely facts (with a little bit of my opinion thrown in) and not listed in any particular order. Thanks for reading this far! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the rest. Of course, I have to mention that I did lump Europe, a continent composed of 50ish countries (depending on your political views), into one entity, but I was careful to select things that I have personally seen and experienced in at least a couple different countries in Europe. So, that should count for something, right?

1. Smoking
I remember a time in the US when you would go to a restaurant and they would ask you, “Smoking or non-smoking?” Now, everything is non-smoking. Most public places are smoke-free zones. As a non-smoker, I love this. However, moving to Europe may not have been the wisest place to move for a non-smoker who is bothered by the smell.

The Europeans smoke – in public, at home, or wherever they want. Granted, there are some locations where you’ll see a no-smoking sign, but they’re few and far between, especially if you want to go out for nightlife. And even if there is no smoking indoors, there are, without fail, at least three smokers sitting right in front of the door of whatever non-smoking establishment. Europe seems to be receiving the “smoking is bad for you” rhetoric and scientific evidence to back it up, just a little bit later than the US. Although, I am aware that France is aggressively tackling the issue and has seen decent results.

2. Driving
I cannot say with any confidence that European drivers are worse than American drivers. I can say that certain driving expectations are different and therefore affect how drivers act. For example, on European highways there are not exits every 12 miles with food and gas options, like in the states. Or, that Americans will pass you on the right side, but this is blasphemy in Europe. Or, that you can turn right on red in America, but this is illegal in Europe. And, my personal/least favorite, there are no highway cops, and any ticket you’ll get will come from a (sometimes cleverly hidden) camera on the side of the road that flashes a bright white light of guilt at you, and you get to lament speeding, all the way home.

3. Food
Americans are the undisputed champions of food consumption. Food is cheap and accessible. The grocery store in the states is quite similar to a European grocery store, but just add two more cereal aisles, a full chips-candy-soda aisle, three more health food aisles, remove the wine and beer aisle(s), and voila, the stores are identical.

At restaurants, if you order a large meal in the states, you expect to take home what you didn’t finish. In Europe, typically the rations aren’t large enough that there will be any food left, but if you request to take the food home you may received some confused stares, and may possibly leave empty handed.

4. Nature Calls
In America, if you gotta go, it is quite easy to find a restroom at a gas station or a public place (excluding New York). In Europe there are several countries that charge you to use the toilets at gas stations and in public places, but there are some others that simply don’t even have a toilet to offer. If you are accustomed to not going before you leave the house in the states, when you travel to Europe, I wouldn’t recommend taking that chance.

5. Customer Service
We all knew it was coming. Anyone who has been to Europe (or Europeans who have visited the US) knows that most European countries are not known for their stellar customer service (*cough, cough* France & Germany *cough,cough*). Shoot, if you have ever seen a movie or heard someone else talk about their trip to Europe, you probably knew that!

A poor customer service experience in Europe is one of those things that isn’t always as bad as it sounds, but it will for sure happen to you at least once; just like in the US! But, the differences are the motives and your recourse. In the US, customer service in restaurants is over-the-top because waiters work for tips. In Europe, they don’t, so kissing your butt is not vital to their livelihood. Also, in Europe, there is no Better Business Bureau, so if a bank teller or store owner is rude to you, you just have to suck it up and not shop there anymore.

So, what do you think?
If you visited Europe and the US, what differences have you seen? Am I 100% right or only 99% right?

Thanks for reading!

Do you like to travel and learn about others’ culture and language? If so, join me on my adventures as I travel around the world, interacting and immersing myself in new environments.

Key Factors to Consider When Buying a Travel and Tour Franchise

August 30, 2020

Real estate and leisure

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If you are considering investing in a travel and tour franchise, it is likely that you have many questions. For many people, the idea of setting their own business can be incredibly daunting experience, but also one of the most liberating experiences of their lives. In this article, we will look at some of key considerations which you should factor in when making this decision.

The travel and tourism industry is literally booming globally – now contributing over two trillion pounds to the economy. More and more people are thinking about how they can get involved in the travel and tourism industry, recognising the explosive and exponential growth. Starting your own travel business from scratch is one option that people often consider, however starting without a network of contacts or even a base starting point can be extremely tricky. A huge number of start ups will fail within 12 months, so always try to avoid this pitfall.

The more popular market to success within the travel industry is the travel, or tour franchise market. What this essentially means is instead of setting up a travel business from the beginning, you can buy a travel franchise which actually gives you a firm starting point to begin your business. There are quite a few travel franchise businesses online, however there are probably only a couple of established businesses. If you do choose to purchase a tour franchise, make sure to do your research and pick the franchise company which is the best fit for you.

So what can you expect in terms of support when you buy a travel franchise? When buying a franchise, there are always different levels of support. Think of this a three-tiered membership: platinum, silver and gold. The more initial investment that you are willing to put up, means the greater level of support and guidance that you are likely to receive. Nonetheless, there are some common levels of support which you should expect from all travel franchises.

The first thing you should expect is a fully comprehensive training or induction programme. Lots of franchise operators will actually offer a residential training course, so this is likely to be an intensive course over a number of days or weeks. This can be a great opportunity to spend significant time with the franchise tour operators and really pick their brains, whilst trying to soak up an incredible amount of information.

It is also likely that they will be inducting a number of other new franchisees at the same time. This is also a fantastic opportunity to meet some like minded people who are also at the beginning of the same journey that you are on. If you can take the opportunity to spend time with them and get to know their motivations behind setting up a new franchise, you can increase your knowledge but also begin to build up your travel network. In the travel industry in particular, your network and who you know can really be a determining factor in how well you do.

You can also expect some of the more practical tools for setting up a new franchise. This might include a laptop, hopefully pre-loaded with any specialist software and templates that you might need. This may not always be included as a standard support tool, so you should always try to make sure that you fully understand everything that is being provided. A functional website, which is branded towards your company name and logo, is also something which you expect.

Finally, you might also receive some branding materials, such as leaflets, tri-folds and business cards. Remember when you meet potential clients, handing them a business card can be a great way to exchange your details with them and keep in touch.

Reasons Why Travelling Is the Best Hobby

August 30, 2020

Real estate and leisure

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Going on a road trip, exploring new places, cuisines and learning the culture does rivet you, right? Then yes, travelling is indeed your hobby. You are a wanderlust and seek adventure. Travelling is fun and at the same time rejuvenating too. It enriches the soul. We leave a tiny part of us with our travel diaries and learn more about ourselves. Travelling might be an addiction to many of you and world tour the biggest dream so congratulations you are on the right track because travelling is certainly the best hobby. Let us delve into it more and see how:

1. It lets you appreciate the beauty:

Why do we love to travel so much? Because we long to behold the beauty of nature then be it a mountain or an island or any old city. It lets us appreciate the finer aspects we lack in our daily mundane routine.

2. It ignites the creativity:

Most of the poetries, songs, paintings and in short an art form is defined by beautiful places and destination. You discover myriad places, people and culture which causes you to write or paint. Travelling is a boon to the creativity. The more you travel to places, the more refined shall be your art.

3. It helps you grow as a humane:

Travelling solely or in a group teaches a great deal of things. It carves you into a better human. You learn to interact with people and know their stories which impact on a greater level. Travelling and adventure lets you open to new possibilities. It even helps you to combat your fears.

4. It provides haven for food lovers:

Tired of eating the same old things daily? Well not at all because you travel. You learn new cuisines, tastes and suddenly you want to know the recipe. Ever happened with you? Food lovers are same globally. We live for food and new variety is more of like heaven on earth for us.

5. It lets you enjoy solitude:

Although you are travelling in groups yet travelling does let you enjoy your own company. It is soothing and seldom the inner talks are beneficial for a lot of problems we are confronting in our life. It teaches you to love yourself.

Never got a chance to chalk out a plan and travel toy your favorite destination out of the routine? What are you waiting for? Make things work out, pack your bags and head to the place, pronto because travelling is the best.

Planning for Long Weekends

August 30, 2020

Real estate and leisure

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WORK! WORK! WORK! We all are very much occupied from Monday to Friday while continuously working at our desk with full dedication. Do not spare time for ourselves even when we are at home, What all we do after such a long tiring work is to eat and take rest during weekends, subsequently prepare ourselves for another upcoming Monday with all the tiring work grind again for rest of the week.

Who doesn’t want a break from routine? Who doesn’t want a long weekend to enjoy with family/friends? Who does not want to rejuvenate so to face the tiring and routine lifestyle again in office?

Everyone wants a break from hectic routine. Everyone wants to have fun and relaxation without being tensed about work, meeting deadlines and stressed out due to the pressure of meeting expectations.

Pre Planning for Long Weekend Outing

But then again, while going for a long weekend, escaping from your daily routine comes with a price of planning and packing in advance.

Planning requires many things to be considered beforehand. What should I carry with me? What should I wear on the journey?

What kind of dress should I pack for the party, the dinner, and trip to explore the city?

There are many things, you have to plan to go for a long weekend outing.

Packing these kinds of stuff is not a difficult or tiring task; the difficult task is to decide.

It is to choose which garb to pack. Let us help you a little in this weary task.

Here are some ideas that you might want to consider for attires to be packed.

“Travel and change of place impart new vigour to the mind.” Travelling is something which we all love. But even during travel, we have to clinch what clothes we want to wear. As it is very much important for us to be comfortable even during travel. These are some of the garbs you might want to take a look to determine from.

Dress by default – You never want to dress up like a bum or a hobo to go on a journey. You won’t want to overdo your look, but you won’t even want to look like someone who just woke up from the bed.

Dress up comfortably– Dressing up comfortably is a must. You won’t want to wear your tight jeans for travelling. Wearing some trousers, joggers who have some room in them are ideal to wear for a journey. Wearing fitting t-shirts or shirts in which we feel tight is never comfortable to wear for an expedition. It would be best if you go with your loose tees to wear for a trip.

Use quality luggage – Luggage is a vital thing for your travel. You would always want a luggage which would keep your clothing safe, keep you organized and at last your luggage should be able to take thumping here and there and still protect your gadgets. Luggage should be easy to carry and light in weight.

Comfortable shoes – Wearing comfortable shoes is as crucial as wearing a comfortable attire. You can never expect to have a comfortable journey wearing your heels or wedges or even your many straps boots. Wearing sports shoes & sneakers is the best option to go with other than slippers/floaters. Both slippers and shoes would be very comfortable for you to wear and remove whenever you wish without doing much work.

Some travelling tips and tricks that’ll help you a lot –

  • Pack less: Do you really need six pairs of heels, an iron and 6 jeans? Travelling with the least luggage should be your goal. Take less and you’ll travel faster and easier if travelling by flight then even cheaper.
  • Learn a little: Learning a new language never hurts. So learn few words o the local language and have the courage to use them. Just a few words will go a long way; locals tend to warm to those who try communicating to them in their own tongue.
  • Hoodie: Always pack a hoodie in your luggage. Hooded tops make excellent travel garments, just slip up your hood to retreat from the world of noise and light when you want to sleep.
  • Bring your earplugs: If silence is golden, then ear plugs are worth their weight in platinum. For a long trip, invest in some good noise cancelling headphones. They are worth every penny to tune out a noisy road, snoring man or chattering people.
  • Pack reading stuff: Always pack some stuff that you can read on your long journey, be it a paperback or Kindle. Kindle are made for long travels, no more carrying heavy paperbacks, increasing your luggage weight and have many books to read.
  • Roll your clothes while packing rather than folding them.
  • Carry Sun glasses & Sun Screens to take care of yourselves from intense sun beams
  • Carry little extra cash: Always carry cash, while travelling. Not too much as it can get stolen and you’ll always have ATM to take out some cash. Carrying some cash is required as what if the ATM you go to stopped working or doesn’t have cash. So have some cash with you that you can use when necessary.
  • Keep balm / Mosquito repellent: Balm not only soothes your sore muscles after a lot of travelling but also works as an insect repellent, mosquito repellent is other must have in the travel.
  • Wake up early: Rise before sunrise, it’s a magical time for clicking photos due to soft diffused light. Have the best attractions to yourself while avoiding crowds.
  • Don’t feel embarrassed: Even if you do something embarrassing, don’t feel embarrassed. Laugh at yourself with others. Don’t be afraid if things are screwed up. You will definitely look like a fool while travelling to new places. But it’s worth enjoying every moment.
  • Take a lot of photos: Great photos are ultimate souvenirs. You meet those people once so capture with your camera in a form of photo.
  • Back up: Keep a backup of your documents like passport, driver’s license, etc. backup your files and photos of your computer on an external hard drive and online with some storage in the cloud. You never know when your laptop, wallet or luggage might get stolen.
  • Get lost: Write down the name of your hotel so you can catch a taxi back if needed, then just pick up a direction and start walking. Explore the place on your own. You’ll get to see how people live and work in different regions, the actual part of the town with your own eyes rather than other tourist or someone else’s eyes.
  • Eat local food: Going to a new place and not eating their local food, that’s absurd. Go, eat and explore their taste and delicacies.
  • Break out of your comfort zone: Go on a solo trip. Break out of your comfort zone, meet new people, interact with them, learn from them and make some lifetime memories.

5 Ways to Travel Solo Without Going It Alone

August 30, 2020

Real estate and leisure

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Solo travel has become a hot topic. Unlike “single(s)” travel, it is a broader group. It can include those who are single, married or have a partner/significant other. It may be a business person looking to add a leisure weekend or extension to a trip for work. Two stumbling blocks to solo travel can be: I. whether it is lonely to vacation as a “party of one” and ii.whether eating alone, especially dinner, is really uncomfortable.

Now having visited 68 countries and all 50 states, I have found 5 good ways to go alone without feeling you are “going it alone”.

1. River Cruise and Small Ship Cruises

I highly recommend river cruises and small ships. They are especially a good fit for a first time solo traveler. However, they are also great for well-traveled solos in two cases. That is where destinations like Cambodian boat villages are not otherwise easy to reach. Secondly, they work well in places where security is an issue.

Here are the key advantages of such river and small ships for solo travelers, they:

-Give you time alone but a group for tours and meals

-Can be competitively priced when compared to a piecemeal approach

-Make unpacking a one-time chore

-Work well with land packages

-Often have discounted package pricing including flights

2. Select your own lodging, and take day trips.

Here are the key advantages of this independent approach, it:

-Affords you the opportunity to select your own interests and travel style.

-Provides more opportunity to interact with local residents.

-Gives you a “day-off” when you need it.

-Works with a range of budgets.

3. Combine both of the above approaches.

I really favor this approach when I travel. On solo travel for 17 days at New Year’s, I toured Southeast Asia. I started with a private taxi tour in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I then joined a top Mekong River Cruise on to Vietnam. On the last leg, I had five days in a 5-star hotel in Bangkok. In my last stop, I tried all 3 ways of sightseeing: 1. A large bus tour 2. A private guide and 3. Self-directed subway tour.

This blended approach puts you in the driver’s seat and:

-Will let you set your own course while being free to pick and choose

-Gives you a part-time group of travel mates but also time alone

-Makes it possible to follow a budget (or splurges) tailored to what works for you

4. Sign up ahead for a class abroad.

This has become very popular now for cooking classes in France and Italy. However, for decades, language classes abroad have lured students for short-term or full summer programs. Add to that options for photography classes, skiing and scuba diving.

Here are the key benefits to this approach.

It:

-Provides you with a ready-made group

-Gives you a local contact to hear what not to miss off the tourist path

-Make it possible to connect with classmates for meals or sightseeing

-Results in providing local contacts in an emergency

5. Join a volunteer group or exchange program.

I have done this twice. My first trip out of the US was at 18 joining 5 other girls on a summer YMCA project in Trinidad and Tobago. It was the best way to learn about day-to-day life in another country and participate in community activities.

The benefits were endless. They included:

-Meeting local residents outside of the typical tourist path

-Seeing distant and often more unusual destinations

-Providing volunteer efforts to communities than may have experienced natural disasters or other hardships.

If you are new to solo travel, take a look at each of these options. You will be surprised how fast solo travel gives you the chance to make new life-long friends from around the world so that you feel you are solo to more!

Top 5 Benefits of Traveling by Charter Bus

August 30, 2020

Real estate and leisure

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If you are planning to go on a group tour, you can have a lot of benefits by hiring a charter bus. This way you can enjoy a lot of benefits. Given below are 5 major benefits. Read on to know more.

Environment Friendly Travel

It’s the responsibility of all of us to keep our environmental clean and free of pollution. This is one way of staying healthy, as the air we breathe in should be clean. If you travel by bus, you will use a lot less fuel per head. A fully loaded car consumes 5 times more fuel than a loaded chartered bus. So, if you travel on a bus, you can protect the environment, which is a good thing.

Eliminate Stress

It may be stressful to drive to new places on your own. You may come across crazy drivers that always try to cut you off. Therefore, it’s hard to keep many cars together, blowing horns in traffic jams. In this scenario, you are more prone to accidents.

On the other hand, if you hire a charter bus, you will travel with an expert driver who has a better idea of the roads. So, your mind is at ease throughout your journey. Therefore, you can relax and enjoy your trip. After all, you don’t want to go through all the stress when going on a tour with a group. Your purpose is to have fun. So, hiring a bus is a good idea.

Higher Safety Rating

Compared to traveling alone, you may not be at a higher risk of accident when going with a group on a vehicle. The fact of the matter is that the drivers of chartered buses know the latest safety procedures, so they try their level best to follow the traffic rules and stay on the safe side.

Save Money

The cost of traveling by a charter bus is a lot less than traveling alone. The math is simple. The total cost divided among all of the passengers, so per head cost is significantly low. As a matter of fact, you will pay several times less with this method. The money you save can be spent on other things that you love to do. Therefore, this option is cost effective.

Enjoy the ride

Since there is an expert driver behind the wheel, it will be easier for you to enjoy the sites. Moreover, you will be able to get a chance to socialize with others instead of focusing on a lot of unimportant things. Actually, traveling with others can be a lot fun. You will meet with new people, develop stronger relationships and even connect with some old friends.