Planning That Trip Of A Lifetime? Handy Travel Tips And Hints

In this age of discount airlines and never-ending travel deals, the idea of a trip of lifetime may seem a little novel, but it’s still the dream of thousands of people. Nowadays though, you don’t have to wait until retirement to head off into the sunset.If you’re thinking of organising a trip that takes you from one end of the world to the other, it’s best to plan ahead before you get up and go. After all, when you’re lazing back on a sun-drenched beach in Tahiti, the last thing you want to worry about is whether you paid your credit card bill before you left home. (You may get a nasty surprise at the hotel reception and a declined card.)Here are some handy travel tips and timely reminders.Seasonal differencesWhen it’s fall and winter in the northern hemisphere, it’s the complete opposite in the southern hemisphere – spring and summer. If you’re planning to spend time in different zones, you’ll need to pack different weights of clothing and footwear.Security updatesThere are strict new security measures and luggage requirements both carry on and checked luggage with global airlines. Check your local sites for specific advice and understand what you can take on board and check in. Many previously “innocent” items are now prohibited.To lock…or not If you’re flying to the US, there are new procedures in place for your carry on and checked luggage. If your bag is locked, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may open it and screen the contents. TSA is not liable for damage caused to locked bags, but you can prevent this by using a TSA-recognized locking mechanism. These “special” locks can be opened by TSA using tools provided by participating industry members and can be bought at popular retail outlets.Check your house and contents insuranceIf you’re travelling for several weeks, get a house sitter or someone to check on your property regularly. Some home insurance policies may not be valid if your property is left unoccupied. I found hsbc home and contents cover that gives you 60 days coverage if you go away. Take a look for yourself.Cashed up? You can’t get far without money, so organise some traveller’s cheques and local currency. You could take a Cash Passport plastic card with you as a handy alternative to cheques. It gives access to local currency from any Visa-linked ATM overseas. You load it up with a deposit in one of four popular currencies: US dollars, Euros, Sterling or Aussie dollars.Credit cards are widely accepted in most places, but make sure you have paid your bill before you leave home and top up the balance with additional funds. Put your card bill on direct debit to your savings or cheque account so the balance is paid off each month.ATMs are not everywhere While ATM cards are widely accepted around the world, not all ATM cards may work overseas. If you are going off the beaten track, there’s every chance you won’t find a handy ATM in a shopping mall as you trek to marvel at those thousand year-old temple ruins. Take some local cash for small purchases, meals and taxi fares.Tasty adviceIf you have a long wait, miss a connection or arrive in the middle of the night at your destination, carry high-protein snacks or granola bars to keep up your energy levels. It might be hours before your next meal. An ipod is also a good companion to have in between flights. Just plug in and chill out.Travel insurance for peace of mind What if something went wrong and you needed to be airlifted home? That would make a dent in your savings. No one likes to think about something going wrong, annual travel insurance offers some sort of security. Searching online, I came across hsbc travel insurance cover that you can use for both a single trip or on an annual basis. The great advantage is it offers a 24 hour multi lingual service, medical referral and travel emergency help. You don’t want to be stuck in pain with no one understanding your screams!Make copies of your documents and plans It’s a smart idea to make copies of your passport details, insurance policy, travellers’ cheques, visas and credit card numbers. Carry one copy separately from the originals and leave a copy with someone at home.There’s a big world out there. Bon voyage.

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401K and Real Estate Investing-An Overview

Is it possible to combine your 401k and real estate investing? Wouldn’t it be great to invest in real estate with a maximum amount of pre-tax dollars, realize the huge gains possible only with real estate investing, and then re-invest those dollars in your tax-free 401k?Of course it would, and there are ways for the savvy investor to combine their 401k and real estate investing.First, you could borrow funds from your 401k. This is not necessarily the best way to combine your 401k and real estate investing, but it might be worth looking into if you have no other available funds for investing. Realize that there are limits on the amount you can borrow, and the interest you pay won’t be deductible, as it would with a typical mortgage. Choose this option only after doing your homework.The second method of combining your 401k and real estate investing is the IRA roll-over. If your 401k allows you the benefit of rolling over into an Individual Retirement Account, this may be the best way for you to go. Select a specific type of IRA- called a “Self-Directed IRA” to roll your funds into.The Self-Directed IRA is a very powerful investment vehicle that allows you to direct exactly how your money is invested, within certain limits. For instance, you could direct that the money be invested in a REIT (real estate investment trust), an apartment complex, or a strip mall. When you sell and realize a profit, the increase in the IRA is tax-deferred. This is a huge benefit, and you should really consider this method of combining your 401k and real estate investing.One downside to the roll-over – you would be giving up the employer contribution portion of your 401K deposits, if any. Another reason why you should weigh this option carefully before deciding to use it to combine your 401k and real estate investing.Finally, and the simplest method of combining your 401k and real estate investing, is to ask your 401k account manager if they allow the funds to be invested in REIT’s directly. Some do, and this is a low risk, high return strategy for a lot of investors.Whatever you do, don’t make a hasty decision to combine your 401k and real estate investing. Each of the above methods has a different risk/reward ratio, and you should familiarize yourself with them first, before risking your hard-earned money.

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How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Queensland

Queensland is known as the sunshine state. It has everything to boast about from pristine beaches to dense rainforests and the authentic Australian outback is one of the most preferred holiday destinations. The Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s most beautiful natural formations occupies 2,300 km of the Queensland coast line.

Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and the state can be broadly divided into Bayside, Brisbane (central, inner north, inner south, outer north, outer south, west) central Queensland, far north Queensland, Outback Queensland, North Queensland, Southeast Queensland, Sunshine coast, Gold coast and Townsville region.

Real estate is a booming industry in Queensland. To become a Real Estate Agent in Queensland, AU you need to hold a real estate license. To be eligible for the license you need to be more than 18 years old, you need to have a place of business in Queensland, you must be a suitable person (as per defined guidelines) and have the requisite training.

Training is very important to become a Real Estate Agent in Queensland, AU. There are as many as 19 units that need to be successfully completed. If you are a part of the real estate industry already and have worked as a sales person, letting agent or the like, you would have most certainly completed six to eight chapters already. You can then get a Recognition of Prior Learning and then you will not have to repeat the chapters you already know. Formal education in real estate is also evidence to get Recognition of Prior Learning. You can contact your work place and let the learning centre know the chapters you have already done and study only the remaining.

Training courses are offered through correspondence and at centres. With correspondence mode, you have flexibility of timings and can do it from home. You can do the learning after school or work and there does not need to be too much adjustment in your daily schedule. The other advantage is that you can study at your own pace and take your own time to complete the course. There are no timetables to follow as well. But classroom training has some major advantages. With classroom training, you get ready access to the instructors and your problems/queries can get solved easily/quickly.

Many organisations provide workshops at various intervals during the year to help candidates prepare for getting the license to become a Real Estate Agent in Queensland, AU. There are many types of real estate licenses you can get, specific to the job you want to do. If you are only interested in auctioning property then an auctioning license will be enough, but a complete real estate license gives you the spectrum required to get into any sub field.

With a full real estate license one can become a Real Estate Agent in Queensland, AU and own and manage a real estate agency. One can sell real estate without getting into the hassle of passing it through an established agency.

Once you become a Real Estate Agent in Queensland, AU you:

1)Can buy and sell properties, put up business, residences and land on rent or have any kind of interests in them.
2)Can collect rent on behalf of the owners of the property.
3)Can do transactions or negotiate in the sale of property
4)Can negotiate and exchange buy, sell or rent residences and businesses, land or livestock
5)Have interests in livestock. You can buy, sell or exchange livestock
6)Can inspect or appraise property that is up for sale or rent
7)Can advertise, place signs on property that is up for sale or rent.
8)Can show property to buyers or anyone who wants to rent them

To become a Real Estate Agent in Queensland, AU you will have to fill up a form that you would get on the official website and pay for the personal background check as well. The license is usually processed within four to six weeks. This can be longer if any documents are missing and the authorities have to get in touch with you about this. Hence it is important to ensure that all your documents are attested where ever necessary, all the charges are paid for and the form is filled without any error.

Getting a full real estate license in Queensland will let you have a career in real estate like you had always wanted.

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