How to Budget for Your Dream Holiday

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Is there a place you’ve always wanted to visit? Maybe an exotic medieval city in Southern Europe, or a tropical island where coconuts grow in great bunches high up in lush palm trees?

Perhaps you simply haven’t had the time to get away, or maybe you’ve been struggling to justify the expense.

Here’s a look at how you can budget for your dream holiday and finally work towards turning it into a reality.

Keep a record of your income

The first thing to do at the start of any budgeting scheme is to keep a record of your earnings. This can be done in a variety of ways, both paper and digital, but it’s absolutely crucial that you keep a record of how much money you’ve got coming in, so that you can reasonably determine how much you’re able to set aside.

investing in a check stub maker can be one good way of achieving this, as can signing up to a service such as Mint.com.

Cut out the waste in your day-to-day life

If you’re going to begin putting money aside for your dream holiday, you’ll need to free some up first. One of the key ways that this can be accomplished is by looking at the different areas of your life where you frequently spend money, and plugging up the unnecessary “leaks”.

Simply put, these “leaks” are under-the-radar expenses which don’t serve a vital function in your life, can be avoided with a small degree of attention and planning, and which add up to substantial costs over time.

Examples of these leaks could be things like buying a ready-made sandwich from the shop every day on the way to work, instead of making your own. Or paying subscriptions to entertainment services which you rarely if ever use.

Put aside small amounts at a time

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, goes the saying attributed to Lao Tzu. This turns out to be a great bit of advice for anyone who’s budgeting for a particular event.

If your holiday would cost you a thousand dollars in total, you’d likely find it difficult to pull that money together in any given month. If, however, you started putting a couple of hundred aside in a savings account each month, you could end up with enough for the trip within a few months. That’s without financially crippling yourself in the meantime.

Taking the long view, planning ahead, and saving in small increments is one of the ultimate secrets of turning your dreams into a reality. If you’re not doing it already, you should be.

Research your destination well in advance

Researching the destination you plan to visit is essential in creating an accurate budget for your trip. It does you no good to set aside a certain amount of money for your adventures only to arrive and find that you’ll need to spend far more than you originally thought.

There’s no reason for this to be a painful exercise. Treat it like a game. Spend time searching the web for attractions in the area, read reviews, get a sense of what, specifically, you’d like to get up to and how much it’d cost you.

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How To Plan A Road Trip Safely And Efficiently

Going on a road trip can be one of the most amazing experiences of anyone’s life because there’s no limits on what you can see or do. If you can drive there, you can experience it. However, road trips can sometimes go wrong and in this article, is going to be how you can plan a road trip safely and efficiently.

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Packing

First and foremost, you will need to pack your car with everything that you will need on your road trip. Even if you’re not necessarily driving for a long period of time there are still many essentials that you will need to take with you to make sure you’re not left stuck at any point. Here’s your checklist:

  • Phone and phone charger (with a car adapter to charge while you’re driving).
  • Water, and lots of it too. You never know when you’re going to be stuck somewhere, especially if your car breaks down at any point.
  • Clothing. Pack enough to last you the entire trip incase you’re unable to stop anywhere to clean your clothes.
  • Camera
  • Something to sleep in. If you’re not going to be sleeping in your car, of course.
  • First aid kit
  • Washbag full of personal toiletries like shampoo and toothpaste
  • GPS or a map
  • All important documents like your passport, visa and driving license.
  • Toilet paper
  • Pots and pans
  • Food that’s not perishable for the length of your trip
  • Toolbox
  • Any necessary medication, and also some NSAIDs in case you happen to have any minor complaints.
  • Music, because what’s a road trip without some amazing music?

Another thing that you will need to do before setting off, is to check your car to make sure that it’s safe enough to drive. If you’re not sure how to do this, take it to the garage for a quick service to avoid any chances of accidents while you’re driving.

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Driving

Once you’re ready to set off, make sure that you’ve got your first route to your first destination planned out. If you’re using a GPS, put the location in and get your road trip underway!

While you’re driving, you will need to make sure to remember some key points so that you can stay as safe as possible on the road. These are:

  • Never drive drowsy, because tired drivers can be just as dangerous as drunk ones. If you’re feeling fatigued, pull over for some coffee and a bit of sleep before carrying on with your journey.
  • Never drive after an alcoholic drink. There are safety laws put in place for a reason, and the best way to avoid an accident or conviction, is to not drink at all if you’re going to be driving. If you’re travelling with someone, make sure to remember that if either one of you has had an alcoholic drink, that you should not be driving for at least a day to make sure the alcohol has left your system.
  • Put your phone where you can’t reach it so that if it rings you will have to pull over safely to see who is trying to contact you. Don’t let yourself become distracted while driving.
  • Keep your eyes on the road at all times. You might be a safe driver, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is. Don’t trust anyone when it comes to driving on the roads.
  • Remember to have your dash cam switched on if you’ve got one fitted in the car, so that you can prove you’ve been driving correctly if needs be.

Even though you’re doing your part to keep the roads safe to drive on, if you do happen to be in a car accident while you’re driving, don’t hesitate in contacting a car accident lawyer who will be able to assist you in claiming against the driver at fault.

Sight Seeing

Finally, the sight-seeing. Breath in the incredible world that we live in and bask in the glory of making it to such a wonderful part of the earth. Don’t forget to take lots of snaps to look back on for the rest of your life. If you get the chance to do something out of the ordinary like take a hot air balloon ride, then do that too!

Road trips can be an amazing experience if you take the right precautions. Make sure to follow this guide if you’re planning on taking a road trip in the future, and most of all, enjoy yourself!

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The Challenges For A Small Business In The Catering And Hospitality Sector

Getting started in a new business is never easy, but it can certainly be exciting. It brings a lot of freedom when it comes to making all the decisions. And you know your success depends only on you. Best of all, you’re in the top position from day one! But there are many challenges and obstacles that all businesses need to face. If you’re hoping to get started in catering and hospitality, you may have even more to worry about:

Licensing

The first challenge you have to overcome is the red tape for licensing and permissions. The premises from which you operate must be fit for purpose and approved for the work you’re doing. You may also need to be personally licensed to sell food and beverages. It’s important you keep in contact with your local authority representative to ensure you have everything in place before you start trading. And yes, there will be costs involved here.

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Equipment

Setting up a commercial kitchen or bar is another challenge new business owners face. Big brands like Beverage Air manufacture most of what you might need to get started. Find an equipment supplier that knows how to help you figure out what your kitchen needs. You might want beverage fridges on the shop floor for customers too. In some places, your equipment will need to be checked for safety every few years. Find out what you need to know before placing your order.

Health, Safety & Hygiene

Health, safety and hygiene are the most important things you need to consider. In fact, you should be thinking about them every hour of the day! Not only does the health and well-being of your customers become your responsibility but so does the safety of your staff. They must be trained and sometimes certified to use certain pieces of equipment. You’ll need to provide all the facilities customers need to be comfortable while on your premises.

Can’t Cook and Serve!

Whether you’re opening a small sandwich kiosk, or you’re about to launch a hotel, you can’t be in two places at once! You either handle the food, or you handle the money. This means you need at least one other member of staff with you at all times during opening hours. You might hire someone casually, but you might get more loyalty, commitment and performance out of a payroll employee. Consider the training required as well as the ongoing appraisals. Don’t forget – they will need vacations too!

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The Personal Touch

Hospitality thrives with a personality in charge. Get to know your customers and make sure they have opportunities to get to know you. People like to feel special when they’re eating and drinking in your establishment. After all, repeat business or loyal customers are easier to acquire than new ones every single day. Offer rewards schemes, and don’t forget the personal touch!

No business is guaranteed success. It takes hard work, astute marketing skills, and a friendly personality to make in the hospitality sector. So what are you waiting for?

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Winter Is Coming! Prepare Your Home

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Winter is only a couple of months away now and the season of snow and ice is almost upon us. What does that mean? Well, we should certainly be starting to think about how we can prepare our home for frozen chills. One possibility to consider for instance would be to install shutter gutters. Shutter gutters are rather useful in the build-up to the winter season. As fall arrives, the leaves begin to drift from the trees, falling on and around our homes. For instance, you might find that your gutters are regularly blocked up with leaves. But that won’t happen if you have shutter gutters. Shutter gutters fit over your gutters and stop any dirt, muck or leaves entering, keeping them clean and completely clear. It’s rather useful and will stop your home smelling due to clogged gutters. Let’s look at some of the other improvements you can make to your home before winter.

Cut The Grass Short

The first step that you should take is to make sure that you are cutting the grass as short as possible. If you’re a new homeowner, you might not realise that grass doesn’t actually grow all that much through the winter season. So as long as you cut it short early enough, you won’t have to worry about it growing out of control. Instead, you’ll have a lawn that looks freshly mowed all through the winter months. Of course, to do this, you need to make sure you have the right power equipment like a Honda lawnmower. A mower like this has enough power and weight behind it to ensure that your lawn is trimmed within an inch of its life. That’s exactly what you want heading into the season of chills.

Improve Insulation?

You might be looking at a more expensive change that you can make to your home for winter. If that’s the case, consider the possibility of improving the insulation around your home. One of the ways that you can do this is by upgrading the windows and doors in your property. New windows and doors, hopefully with double glazing will keep the warm air trapped inside the home and let the gold air out. That’s exactly what you want to ensure that your home is the perfect place to spend those winter nights. Of course, if you don’t want to spend a few thousand improving your home for winter, you can think about just getting thicker curtains and a thicker duvet.

Backup Power

If you live out in the country, you might find that winter power knocks out your electricity at least once or twice. That won’t be detrimental in the middle of the week when you’re at work, and the kids are at school. But, it will certainly be a problem during the festive season. Imagine not being able to get that turkey cooked for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas day. The solution is a backup power generator. Costing a few hundred, that will allow you to keep the lights on and get the oven powered even if the rest of the neighbourhood is pitch black.

We hope you find this advice helpful when preparing your home for winter.

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