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Fun things to do this summer

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While spring may be nowhere to be seen, summer is in fact just around the corner. If you don’t yet have any summer plans, this post is for you. Here are some fun things to do this summer:

Get Social

Winter means long nights of watching Netflix and scrolling through social media. But once the sun is out, it’s time to get back to socializing. Invite friends over for a barbecue or boozy brunch outdoors. Hit the beach with a group, or get tickets to a fun festival. Head to an amusement park, take a road trip, or simply commit to saying “yes” to every invitation.

Get out of your comfort zone

We all have a few things we’d like to do but we’ve been putting off. Do something that lights you up or gets you out of your comfort zone this summer. Maybe you’ve always wanted to test drive a Mercedes Benz, you’d love to go skydiving, or you want to go whitewater rafting. Whatever it is, commit to getting out of your comfort zone this summer- you won’t regret it.

Travel

Sumer was made for travel. Whether you want to take a road trip, a weekend away, or a two-week vacay, now’s the time to start booking. While prices can get high in the middle of summer, booking a trip for the end of the summer will mean fewer tourists, lower prices, and something to look forward to- even when the cooler weather is around the corner.

Get active

Most of us aren’t as active as we could be in the colder months. As soon as the sun is shining though, you have no excuses. Go for a walk or run, get friends together to try a new class at the gym, sign up for a 5km, go rollerskating, try stand-up paddleboarding, or anything else that gets you outside and active.

Start a new project

Planning a business venture? Want to learn how to paint? Need some free time to finally redo the wallpaper in the dining room? Summer weather is perfect for new projects. WIth sunshine comes optimism, along with motivation and great weather to get things done. Ask your friends if they have a similar project they’d like to get started so you can work together and socialize at the same time.

What fun things will you be doing this summer? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Professional Wanderlust? Secure That Job Overseas

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If you are finding yourself becoming afflicted by the undeniable sensation of itchy feet, it’s time to make a change. In an ideal world, you’d take a sabbatical, travel the globe and then return to your professional role refreshed and reinvigorated having scratched that itch. However, the chances are that your employer won’t allow you to venture off to some far-flung destination on a whim and you need to plan your escape overseas a little more carefully. Using your career can be the ideal way of broadening your horizons. Take a look at how you can quench your wanderlust thirst and secure that dream job overseas.

Prepare For A New Culture

If you are planning to venture off to the glorious city of Buenos Aires, you need to make sure that you have conversational Spanish under your belt. There’s no point deciding to move to Argentina because you loved the vacation you spent there as a child and you think the climate will suit you, if you don’t make any efforts to learn the language. To immerse yourself in a culture, you need to understand the people. More importantly, most jobs will require at least a basic understanding of the native language and a willingness to learn.

Food, customs and living arrangements will be different wherever you travel to. Some destinations like the UAE or Dubai will make an effort to house expats together, so the culture shock isn’t too extreme.  Be sensible and do your research before you sign any contract.

Qualifications

The idea of working overseas may have been part of your professional mindset for years, or it may be a more recent phenomenon. Either way, you can undertake qualification to enhance your employability. A course like the MSc International Accounting and Finance using distance learning means that you’re able to study while still in your current role. By adding an international element to your practice, you’re enhancing your resume for potential overseas employers. Competition for roles abroad can be fierce, and it’s vital that you are proactive to give yourself the edge over your rivals.

Take A Leap Of Faith

You may have no choice but to do all the prep you can, hand in your notice and book yourself on a flight to the country you want to live for the next couple of years. If you’re keen to work in Japan, you’ll need to be physically living in the country before you can even think about finding a job in Kyoto or Tokyo. Japanese legalities make the sponsorship of potential foreign employees nigh on impossible. However, the opportunities are there. You simply need to take a leap of faith, learn the Japanese language and commit to finding a role out there.

Many people talk about broadening their horizons and working overseas; fewer people actually do it. By following this advice, you could find your career trajectory taking a whole new and exciting international path.

Planning a trip to Europe? Don’t miss these cities

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Most people dream of a trip to Europe, but if you’re planning a trip you may begin to get a little overwhelmed. After all, it’s a massive continent with so much to see and do. Personally, I like to go to places that are a little less visited than the average European city, so you may want to book a Europe tour that mixes some classic and off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Here are some of my favourite cities to visit in Europe:

Prague

One thing I’ve noticed about Prague? I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about it. Of course, that doesn’t mean the city is perfect, but anytime I mention I’ve been to Prague or someone tells me they’ve visited I only hear about how great the city is. And I wholeheartedly agree. Prague is beautiful, with incredible architecture, great food, and tons of fun things to do. I visited just in time for the Christmas market, and it remains one of my all-time favourite experiences in Europe.

Budapest

Just six hours from Prague, Budapest is another city that continues to grow in popularity each year. The city has recently seen a deluge of tourists, especially groups of Brits coming for Stag nights. The beer is cheap, and the nightlife is incredible, with the ruin bars open until the early hours of the morning every night of the week.

Don’t miss the House of Terror. This will give you a great insight into just what Hungarians have been through and help you understand a little about why Eastern Europeans have a reputation for being cold. I also love the hop-on-hop-off bus tour as it’s a great way to see the city. You’ll get to see historical Buda in the east and chilled, vibrant Pest in the west.

Warsaw

I loved every part of Poland, and Krakow is also a must-visit. But for me, I was most surprised by how modern Warsaw was. The city was turned to rubble in WWII and it’s incredible how the Polish people have rebuilt and are stronger than ever. The food was excellent, the public transport is great, and if you’re planning a trip to Europe, the entire country is a must-visit.

Edinburgh

I could seriously see myself living in Edinburgh one day. The Scotts are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met, and I go crazy for the delicious scones in this city. Edinburgh is seriously beautiful, the nightlife is crazy, and it’s where J K Rowling wrote Harry Potter (don’t miss the free Harry Potter walking tour- especially if you have kids).

If you want to see a bunch of different cities in a short amount of time, it’s a good idea to book a tour. That way, all the hard work is done for you and you can simply relax and enjoy each city.

 

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4 Tips for Moving Overseas

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I’ve moved overseas a few times: the first time to the Czech Republic, the second time to Spain and now I live in Antigua, Guatemala. Moving overseas is a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, learn a new language and even save money. However, there are quite a few challenges when moving abroad, such as how are you going to get money into your new country and bank account, finding a new apartment or house to live in or rent, and establishing a new circle of friends. I decided to write this article on the top 5 tips for moving overseas to help you get ready for your move!

1. Send Money Overseas
If you’re planning to use your bank card in order to do ATM withdrawals until you have your finances sorted in your new country, you may find yourself surprised by how fast the fees will creep up on you. Overseas money transfers are a great way to cut down expenses and to ensure your money gets exactly where it needs to be. You may think that a $5 or $10 ATM transaction fee is quite reasonable, but when you have to pay big ticket items such as a bond for an apartment, those expenses can creep up really fast.

2. Consider Renting an Airbnb
It’s probably not financially viable to rent an Airbnb indefinitely, as the rates are more expensive than monthly rentals. However staying in an Airbnb for the first few weeks or months is an excellent way to check out an area before you commit to contracts and find yourself locked in. It’s a great way to try out a few different areas, see how the public transport is etc before committing.

3. Be Social
It’s easy to get distracted by the busyness of the move and then you may find yourself a few months into living in the new country realizing you don’t really have any new friends. Try to be social from the get-go. Accept all invitations, even if the person inviting you doesn’t seem like best friend material. This will allow you to get to know them and you will expand your social group in the meantime. There are websites like Meetup.com where you can find activities in numerous towns and cities around the world to meet up with people.

4. Don’t Abandon Your Friends At Home
You never know who will be tempted to visit you if you keep in touch. There’s the expression “out of mind, out of sight” but don’t do that with your friends. Each week I make a habit to get in contact with a friend from back home, whether it’s catching up for a Skype call or just sending a quick Facebook message.

Looking for an Opportunity to Invest? Try the Tourism Hotspot of Antigua and Barbuda

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The sister islands of Antigua and Barbuda, with some 365 pink and white sand beaches and pristine turquoise waters, are considered to be among the most beautiful places in the world. With candy-coloured villages and a rum-infused mellowness, theres something quintessentially Caribbean about these palm-flanked isles. Theres a distinct English accent too, from the bustling capital of St Johns to the salty English Harbour, historic forts and ramparts are the vestiges of a colonial past.

 

Having long tugged at the hearts of would-be explorers and buccaneers, the expansion of Antigua and Barbudas tourism industry brings ever more visitors each year. The lush tropical nation welcomed over 200,000 guests in 2016, and is forecast to draw over 380,000 international visitors per year by 2026. Its no wonder tourism is the key driver of GDP, generating around 60% of the islands income, and you can have a part of it.

 

Antigua and Barbuda welcomes investors

 

Antigua and Barbuda, like many other Caribbean nations, welcomes investors from around the world. The most notable investment opportunity in Antigua and Barbuda is its Citizenship by Investment Programmea legal process whereby individuals can obtain citizenship through investment in a variety of approved real estate projects, encompassing hotels, villas, and resorts.

 

Because of the growth of the tourism industry, there is rising demand for tourist housing facilities, and real estate developments make fantastic opportunities for investors seeking high returns. Approved projects in which private investors are welcome to purchase property include Tranquility Bay, Verandah Estates, and the Antigua Yacht Club Marina Resort.

 

Investors vying for citizenship are also able to make a donation to Antigua and Barbudas National Development Fund (NDF), intended to support a more sustainable future for the islands tourism and business sectors.

 

This two-pronged investment option was put into law in 2013, and emulates the longstanding citizenship by investment programmes of countries such as St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica. It is these countries success with their programmes resulting in large inflows of investment and economic growth that has raised expectations for development also on Antigua and Barbuda.

 

There are big names leading the way

 

Actor Robert De Niro is actively involved in the Caribbean tourism industry, and last year invested US$250 million in a project on the island of Barbuda. The property development deal gives the green light to the renovation and expansion of the former K-Club on Barbuda into an exclusive 5-Star resort. The project, which comprises a 77-room hotel and spa, 50 villas and cottages, restaurants, a casino and a luxury marina is expected to attract additional investors to the country.

 

Aside from big celebrity names, a number of private enterprises are promoting growth on the islands too. Late last year, a US$40 million Marriott project broke ground on its Coconut Bay Resort project, due for completion in 2018. During its construction, the resort will provide 180 jobs, and 240 once the property is open; representing a significant source of employment for the people of Antigua and Barbuda.

 

Antigua and Barbudas Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment, and Energy, the Hon. Asot Michael, said of the project: We are confident that having the Marriott name and respect of brand as part of our portfolio will lead to increased airlift, in particular from the US market.” Overall, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has set the goal of increasing room capacity to 10,000 within the next seven years.

 

Investment in Antigua and Barbuda promises significant returns

 

Thanks to this investment in the tourism and hospitality industries, Antigua and Barbuda is prepared for an increase in tourism. Intended to lure new travelers, V.C. Bird International Airport was completed in 2015, welcoming regular flights from the likes of Jet Blue and Alitalia. September 2017 has been set as the latest start date for the construction of a new 6,100-foot runway on Barbuda, which is expected to bring an additional 30,000 visitors to the islands in the first year of operation.

 

There seems little doubt that Antigua and Barbuda will open up a new world to individuals who seek luxury, beauty, unexpected opportunities, and unique experiences in a truly exceptional destination.

Considering Costs- What you need to consider for your start-up

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Co-working is a new trend in modern business which essentially means sharing an office space with other business people and entrepreneurs. It is the alternative to the home office or the traditional office set up.

Co-working spaces are great for freelancers and individual entrepreneurs because they give you the chance to work in a fully equipped office without having to dedicate funds into setting up an actual office. A Servcorp Shared Office is an example of an ideal workspace for a small business owner or entrepreneur.

The cost of sourcing equipment, furniture, contractors and licenses for resources costs time and money that most start-up ventures simply dont have. It would be wise for any start-up to strongly consider a co-working space or shared office. Everything is already set out for you; all you need to do is business.

These are numerous shared workspaces popping up now that investors have realized they are the way forward. There are a few things that you want to clarify before you rent a shared workspace though. An Internet connection is critical, as is video conferencing software. A high quality shared workspace will also have a dedicated local telephone connection and receptionist who answers calls, all-inclusive. That is a great service, which adds professionalism to your start-up, without you having to worry about hiring and paying a receptionist yourself.

Co-working spaces allow you share office space with other like-minded individuals. This is a key asset for any professional, regardless of their background or experience level. The ability to share ideas with people from a range of different businesses can give you new ideas, fresh perspectives and key critique should you seek it.

Self-discipline

Start-ups just arent about workspace though. They are about self-discipline. Not only with money, but having self-control and sticking to a budget is key. Self-discipline is needed in every way if you are to run a successful business. Planning and goal setting are key ways in which you can structure your objectives and make them achievable so you are not over-extending yourself.

If you have roster of staff at the outset of your start-up, holding a weekly meeting to appraise them of new changes in the business is important. In any start-up, changes happy frequently and suddenly. You dont want your employees to be caught off guard by changes and to misinform investors and stakeholders regarding new or recently changed information.

Balance

Maintaining work-life balance is also key. You could pour your heart and soul into your start-up and it becomes your breakfast, lunch and dinner. They do require more nurturing and hard work than your traditional nine to five office job, however dont let work consume you. Set goals and stick to them.

Finances

All start-ups, big or small require some financial backing to get off the ground. It may be thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars depend on the scale of your business. You need to decide early on how you are going to fund your start-up. This might be through investments or small business loans. Finding a path to funding that suits your business and pursuing it early is vital for success.

Expertise

The most thorough and innovative ideas count for nothing if the person who has the idea lacks the skills, knowledge and persistence to carry the idea through from beginning to end. The how to is much harder than the what in this case. Industry experience is important in any new business venture and if you dont have that experience, getting your hands dirty and leaning on people who do have that experience is going to be your key to success.

 

Is Learning A Language A Career-Driven Move?

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Despite the fact that industries are forever growing and branching into offshoots, we still have quite a narrow view about how valuable different forms of education are to a whole range of careers. In particular, there are a lot who dont put a lot of stock in languages. However, in a world thats more connected and more communicative than ever, an extra language could be just what you need to get that job.

Returning the favor

Learning a language can be valuable enough not just for the linguistic skills you get. It can also be a great step into returning the favor and going on to teach language yourself. You can use what youve learned from your experience and an online ESL masters to teach English in the country whose maiden language youve learned. Or you can go on to get further qualified in the language youve learned and teach it to other native English speakers.

The new language of marketing

Marketing is a language that all businesses are learning to speak more fluently and many of them would like to speak it in as many different countries as possible. To that end, they have need of translation and localization services. There are plenty of people starting their own businesses or working in-house to translate and make culturally appropriate the campaigns of not only private companies but all kinds of organizations. As you might have guessed, you need a little more than the linguistic knowledge to succeed in this field. Its a good idea to spend some time in the country of the language that youre hoping to work in so you can understand the culture as well. Localizers dont just translate. They make sure that the end result is culturally relevant to the audience as well as linguistically relevant.

They key to a global market

Language knowledge can help you in all kinds of jobs, even administrative tasks. More businesses are trying their hands overseas. They need not only marketers but staff that can help them expand. It can be your opportunity to explore a new country through your career, too. Your language makes your valuable to a business even if youre not doing a job thats specifically related to that language.

Join the community

You can do a lot of the overseas work for your employer from the comfort of your home country, too. A lot of online companies have large communities that extend overseas, especially in video games. In the games industry, in particular, companies look for community representatives online that can keep in touch, get feedback, and show support for their worldwide player-bases. Of course, video game companies arent the only ones in need of community representatives as more and more industries put more effort into growing their own online hubs.

Of course, the choice of language you take will also have an impact in how broad a range there is for your skills. You can find jobs with relevance to all languages, but those most in demand are Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, and Arabic.

 

5 Tips for Looking For the Right Neighborhood In a New City

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Moving to a new city? Congratulations. Spreading our wings and exploring a new way of life is one of the lifes great adventures. While its scary, its also the perfect opportunity to learn more about ourselves and live life to the full. Whether youre moving for work or something else, youll need somewhere to live. Buying a home in a city is much different than buying in your own hometown, however. Here are five tips to make sure you end up in the neighborhood thats right for you!

Google is Your Friend

The internet is about more than Facebook posts and funny videos! Theres a wealth of information there, which you can use to make your move go more smoothly. Wherever youre moving, you wont be the only person in history to have done so. Try to find blog and forum posts about people who have moved there: they might just tell you something they wish theyd known before they bought their home. You can also learn a lot about which areas of the city are safe, good for children, have strong transport links, and so on.

 

Speak to the Locals

Theres only so much you can learn from a computer screen, however, and its important that you talk with people who actually live in your new city. A realtor wont just help you find and buy a place to live: theyll also have an encyclopedic knowledge of the city, which you can then use to determine which part of town is right for you. If youre moving for work purposes, ask to be put in touch with another employee who relocated to the city. Theyll be a good person to direct the many questions you have to!

Actually Visit The Neighborhood

Everyone who lives in a city can tell you things about their hometown. Some opinions – like those who work in the real estate business – you should give more precedence to, of course, but you dont just take their word for it: make sure you actually spend a significant amount of time in the neighborhood youre thinking of buying in. Everyone sees things differently. Being armed with as much information as possible is important, but itll be your own decision that really matters.

Dont Rush

Itll be advisable to find a temporary place to live for the first month or two before you look at getting somewhere longer term. You dont want to have to rush through a purchase just because youre desperate for a place to live! Youll end up in the place thats right for you if you take your time and consider all the options, and you can only do that if there isnt a timescale on when you need to find a home by.

What Are Your Needs?

All cities are different, but theyre not that different. Whatever your needs from a community and neighborhood, youll probably find that theyre catered for in your new city too. You dont have to settle for less just because youre new in town!

Heres what you need to know about travel warnings and advisories

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We know youre not keen on travelling to Iraq, or Afghanistan and your country might be currently advising you to avoid going to these countries. In any case, travel warnings dont always mean that its a bad idea to plan a trip to your desired destination.

Did you know that in the past few years, U.S., U.K, and Canada have released advisories about going to Mexico, China, Thailand, Indian, and even the United States? Before deciding to avoid a particular location, its worth looking at what travel warnings mean, why theyre released, and the most important question of all why should we care?

Whats a government travel advisory

Travel advisories are issued to let citizens know about safety concerns than can affect travel to a certain region or country. They are released for a couple of reasons, which includes epidemic, terrorism, political unrest, natural disasters, wars, outbreaks of crime, and others. These warnings may also cover areas of the world where governments cant respond to issues of citizens travelling there countries with no embassy, or if the embassy functions are being threatened by local violence.

Governments also make a distinction between long- and short-term travel advisories. For example, the U.S. State Department gives travel warnings for current issues such as problematic governments and civil wars, while travel alerts cover temporary issues like election-related demonstrations and natural disasters.

Will travel advisories stop me from travelling?

No, it wont. However, you should get a comprehensive annual travel insurance to save on cost as well if you expect to travel to a particular destination regularly. Since a travel advisory cannot stop you from travelling, keep in mind that while the government will try to help you if you run into trouble abroad, youll be travelling at your own risk the need for travel insurance.

Other considerations:

  • In most cases, only parts of a country are affected by a case of unrest, natural disaster, or violence while the rest of the country will be welcoming and safe for While your security always comes first, take note that the fallout from an out-of-the-way act of violence can affect a country’s tourist industry and have an adverse effect on the economy of a developing nation.
  • Assess the danger especially if its terrorism or violence. Pay attention to what kind of attacks are taking place and its targets. Assaults that specifically pinpoint foreign tourists raise a bigger red flag than civil unrest. If the violence happens away from primary tourist destinations, there will be less risk for tourists.
  • Find a safety net. Check if your country has a consulate or embassy in the place youre bound to visit and make sure that its staffed and functioning. You dont want to be stuck in a foreign country without an embassy who can help with emergencies.

The bottom line

If youre decided to go anyway despite a travel advisory, its a good idea to register yourself with the government (if possible) and check in with your family or friends at home so they know when youre going and planning to return. And dont forget to purchase a travel insurance policy after reading carefully to see whats covered and what isnt.

Tips for Cutting Down on Travel Costs

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Travel is one of life’s greatest luxuries and adventures. Seeing new places, meeting new people and visiting places you’ve seen in movies. It’s exciting! While travel can be expensive, there are tons of ways you can cut down costs to ensure that you can visit more places and travel a little longer than you thought.

Here are some of my favourite tips for cutting down on travel costs:

1. Use Airbnb
Hotels can often be pretty pricey, but I’ve been using Airbnb for the past few years to save on accommodation. The benefits are two fold, because not only is it cheaper than a hotel, but you usually have a decent kitchen so you can cook, further saving money on your trip. It’s a great way to feel like you’re at home, away from home.

2. Find Mistake Fares
There’s heaps of sites and Facebook pages dedicated to the art of finding mistake fares. Often airlines accidentally release fares that are way cheaper than usual. I’ve managed to find flights from Guatemala to Paris return for only $450 which is super cheap. Just book your accommodation and other things a little later, in case the airline cancels the deal.

3. Save Money with Advanced Train Fares
Booking a train fare in advance is great for a number of reasons – you’ll get a wider range of times to choose from, as well as more seat selection. Booking weeks in advance can save you 50% or more of the total fare, so it’s definitely worth looking into. Below is a handy infographic from Voucher Cloud that helps explain how you can save serious money with advanced train fares.