Road Trip Tips

If you are preparing to take a road trip, you know that there is more to it than just getting in and driving to your destination. Whether you are going a great distance, or just a few hours away, there are plenty of things that you can do to make sure that your trip goes off without any problems. These may seem like common sense approaches, but by following these, you will save yourself a lot of time and effort along the way.

 

The first thing that you will want to do is map out the route you are taking to your destination. While it is easy to simply type your address into your phone’s GPS, it does not hurt to examine your route before leaving so your can know what to expect. Even if your route is a going to be relatively straightforward, examining the route prior allows you to anticipate any problem areas or confusing sections. If you know you have a quick exit ahead of time, you can make the necessary mental note ahead of time. Giving your route a once through before hitting the road can help you get a sense of what to expect.

 

Before you head out on the road you will want to make sure that your vehicle is ready for the trip. This means more than getting a full tank of gas too! In the days prior to your departure, it is probably a good idea to visit your mechanic. Explain that you are heading on a road trip and ask them to put your vehicle through a standard maintenance inspection. This will give you confidence that you have a vehicle ready to take on the open road. Be sure to ask for an oil change and to replenish anything that may be low, like windshield wiper fluid. This is also a good opportunity to replace any headlights that you think may need it. Basically, you want to make sure that you car is in top shape before you head out for your trip.

 

Finally, you will want to make sure that you have packed everything that you need for an extended road trip. The first thing that you should pack into your vehicle, whether you are renting a car or taking your own, is an emergency kit. If you get stuck somewhere, having even a basic emergency kit is a good idea. From there, you will want to include your luggage, as well as anything you want with you in the car, think electronics, chargers and food. It may be a good idea to stop at Finish Line and get some comfortable shoes that you can wear as well.

 

When planning a road trip, no matter the destination, there are always things that you should keep in mind. From the route you plan on taking, to vehicle maintenance and emergency kits, the more work that you do before you leave, the better off you will be in the long run. Make your next road trip your easiest one yet!

Organising a Leaving Do

When one of your colleagues is leaving their job, it’s an emotional time. As well as having to say goodbye to a trusted friend, possibly someone you’ve relied on in stressful times, there’s also the additional work to be picked up, and new starters to absorb into your team. This stress is multiplied if you are responsible for organising the leaving party for your departing colleague. A lot rests on it: it’ll colour all their memories of their time at the company, and if your colleague is retiring this is your chance to leave a lasting impression to see them into their retirement.

Getting it right is important. So today we’re taking a look at some tips for organising a work leaving do so you can do justice to the friend and colleague you have to say goodbye to.

Venue

It’s important to fit the venue to the event. If the person who’s saying goodbye hasn’t been with the company for very long, then going all out at their leaving do would be disproportionate and wouldn’t leave you a way to escalate in order to show more respect to someone who’s been in service to the company for longer.

If the person you’re recognising has worked for a long time, and especially if they are retiring it makes more sense to pull the stops out. If you’re looking at venue hire in London, there are plenty of options that let you tailor the event to the person: don’t forget this is their goodbye, so it should make them feel comfortable.

If they’re a bit quieter a nice way to recognise their contribution is to book a nice restaurant and take them for dinner with some of the colleagues they’ve worked most closely with over the years. If you’re saying goodbye to someone more gregarious, who has been the committed life and soul of the party over the course of their career, holding a big event in a larger is a good send off. It allows them to be the centre of attention once more, and for all the people they have influenced to say goodbye.

Gifts, Speeches, Entertainment

It’s important to remember that whatever you organise, it all comes back to the person who’s leaving. If your plans start to get a little grandiose try to think about whether the person who’s leaving would enjoy it. If they wouldn’t, cut back your plans and focus back on them. Make sure everything is serving the purpose of saying goodbye to a valued colleague, and allowing them to say goodbye. Appreciation can be low key, or quite dramatic as long as it is appropriate to the person you’re saying goodbye to.

What is HRD?

Human Resources is one of the most undervalued teams in many start-ups. They arrive after the other initial wave of talent, who get used to working together, making their own rules and being flexible in order to give their passion to this business. HR is established later, as more staff join, and can look like an impediment, with a focus on procedures and compliance rather than simply getting on with running the business.

This is an extremely short sighted point of view, and if you don’t value and work with your HR team you’ll find yourself shedding staff, with the ones that are left fragmenting off into insular groups and not working together to do the best for the business.

One of the most important functions of a Human Resources team is HRD (Human Resource Development) and today we’re going to take a look at why it’s important for your company, so hopefully you can begin to see the value in your HR Team.

Development

HRD is a programme of development for your employees. Making the most of the ‘human resources’ in your company is just good sense. You wouldn’t assign computers randomly, and without reference to the needs of the teams using them, so you should take just as much care with the actual people in your employ.

The first step in an employee development programme is to actually recognise the skills you have in your workforce. Regular appraisals allow both employees and their managers to rate their performance in different areas, and as well allowing them to improve in basic ways (like punctuality and efficiency), it identifies ways for them to develop their skills and grow their career.

This could be seeking some management experience, developing technical skills with the tools your business uses, or even looking to work with another department. Either way, it’s important to identify targets the employee can sensibly attain.

A good development programme doesn’t just get you better staff – though that’s an important aspect of it. It also helps you retain the staff you have, and use the experience they’ve gained in your company. This is the sort of invisible experience that it takes new hires a long time to acquire and work at full efficiency: how best to use your systems, who to talk to when they need to get things done, the right way to approach a tricky team member.

Employees who don’t see a future at your company are liable to quit, and a good HRD programme means they can always see a future at your company.

Europe Begins To Slowly Eliminate Gas Combustion Engines

Starting this year, the beginning of the end of new internal combustion engines could be commencing. The future of electric cars as the norm for vehicles is coming sooner than expected. However, they are still currently pretty rare in most of the country and only account for less than one-percent of the country’s auto sales. In the future, though, automotive historians may look back and pinpoint 2017 as the year when electric vehicles went from being a fantasy to a reality. It will quickly change from a promising automotive fad to a widely inevitable fact throughout the industry.

Experts have said that the tipping point for the death of gas combustion engines has developed because of three different things. They believe each of the following have all rippled outward with both cultural and economic consequences:

China’s Flexing

On top of their setting very aggressive production quotas for the EVs, China has already planned to stop using internal combustion engines by as early as 2030. They are taking a lead role in the inevitable shift to plug-in vehicles. They are the world’s largest automotive market. Because of this, they are forcing the rest of the world to follow suit.

Debut Of The Tesla Model 3

Tesla’s first mass-marketing vehicle began a new era of excitement for EVs because of the car’s low starting price point of around $35,000. It has also been popular because of its slick design.

Major Auto Makers Plan “All-Electric” Future

At the end of 2016, General Motors finished out the year being the third-largest auto maker in the world. This means that their decision to create a group of 20 new electric vehicles by the end of 2023 was bound to create a huge impact on the global automotive marketplace. Volkswagon, Audi, Volvo, Ford and BMW have all announced their EV plans for the future in recent months as well. The executive director at Edmonds.com of the industry analysis department has said that this electrification thing is starting to suddenly feel very much real. She is noticing momentum in the industry that wasn’t really noticed before.

Even though an “all-electric” future is still years away from becoming a reality, as the momentum builds with EV, there are different ways in which the adoption of EV is expected to play out. These ways include the following:

  • The future of big oil companies
  • Gas stations will disappear or change completely
  • The impact on the environment
  • The ever-changing future of automotive mechanics
  • Power grid changes

Sales of battery-based vehicles took a dip around the world in 2016. Europe is working hard to begin establishing a network of charging stations for the public. This move is to make it much easier for people to own and operate electric, plug-based vehicles. Even before there is a total ban in Europe and around the world on gas combustion engines, Paris was already beginning to lay out their plans to end the sales of all diesel vehicles. One reason for this is to help relieve the city of their smog problem that is caused by the fumes from diesel vehicles.

German automakers are looking to stop producing new gas combustion engines in as little as six years. This is because they are beginning to focus their production efforts more and more on self-driving technology and electric cars.

All in all, the changes in the auto market will rely heavily on the consumer and their power to purchase the vehicles which are on the market. If the cost of all-electric vehicles continue to rise, many buyers will need to look for new ways to come up with financing to cover the extra expenses. Some consumers may begin looking into finding ways to get car title loans completely online in order to get the money they need.

Collecting the Smaller Versions of Your Dream Car

Imagine driving a sports car. A shiny black angry sports car with thundering engine roars and unmatched speed and handling. Can you feel the morning breeze while driving to the mountainside? Well, don’t we all fantasize riding an awesome sports car?

Getting to that level where you don’t have to worry about the price of maintenance and buying an insanely expensive sports car is quite a steep hill to climb. Or maybe you are getting there already? Well, congratulations! I sincerely hope you soon get your dream car.

However, for many of us who can’t fathom the price of these marvellous sports vehicle yet, there is an arena where we can indulge without spending as much! In fact, this arena can be a worthwhile and fruitful hobby. Let me welcome you to the world of diecast car collection.

Collecting Diecast Cars

I bet you had a few diecast cars when you were young. I know you have torn a few of these while growing up. Right? Can you feel the nostalgia? Yeah? Yep, before the invention and proliferation of screens, we used to pretend driving these miniature cars at staggering speeds of 200 mph! Whoa! Can you feel the wind? Well, today, we don’t get to play with toys that way anymore because of these screens.

The diecast toy industry grew exponentially after the Second World War. Yep, that’s how old the industry is. Many manufacturers of diecast toys have made a lot of money after the depressing effects of the war. The rich and the poor alike played with these toys during those days.

World’s Most Expensive Diecast Model Car

Probably, your dad or your granddad has a collection of the cars we are talking about! I bet you destroyed a few of their most valuable pieces and you got scolded when you were younger! Well, some of these diecast cars are worth a fortune today! If I tell you some diecast model cars are even more expensive than a real sports car, would you believe it? The world’s most expensive diecast car model is pegged at 7.5M Euros. That is way more expensive than the real thing!

Diecast Car Collecting Today

I believe we cannot outgrow the child in us and toys would still have an appeal to us even in our seasoned years. Many people have been collecting toys for fun and leisure. However, there is more to toy collection than filling your showcases with rare collectibles.

If you shop exclusive miniature cars today, chances are, they may get their values pumped up in the future! However, it’s not just buying random cars and waiting for it to turn into gold. You must check and look for what is rare and what is hard to find. When the time is right, maybe your grandson can make a fortune out of it!

However, there is one more way to make a fortune out of it! This one may not be easy, and you have to have a hunter instinct in you. You can hunt online and check prices of rare diecast model cars. Another way is to hunt toys in antique shops. Some store managers are willing to sell diecast toys, and other toys for the matter, for a lower price to move their products.

Now, to make a profit out of your car collection hobby, you can post your collection over an online auction or a specialty toy store.

Car Collection at its Finest

Many of us would love to have a huge garage filled with the rare and expensive collection of sports cars. In the meantime, while we are not there yet, we can try collecting the smaller versions of it!

Ways to take care of your leased car

A car lease is a more significant responsibility compared to when you purchase the vehicle outright. Because although you won’t be making high payments for the car, you are responsible for its condition as soon as you sign the contract and drive away.

Owning a Leased Car

Leasing a car is a lot similar to renting as you are just borrowing the car from the dealer for the next few years. You are also given a set of limitations to what you can and can’t do with it while it is in your care.

But aside from the limitations, you also have a responsibility to make sure that the car is up and running and getting you to your destination in one piece. But how do you do that? With proper maintenance.

The dealer may be paying for any damages, but it is also imperative to know just how you can add that extra touch. Doing this will allow you to make sure that you won’t be paying a fee once it’s time to return the vehicle. And with that said, here are a few ways you can take better care of your leased car

Treat it like your own. When you borrow a friend’s car, you make sure to take care of it because you don’t want them to get mad, and you respect their property. A leased car is borrowed from the dealership. It is not yours. But treat it like how you would your car and make sure that it is always clean, and well maintained. It will say a lot about you as a person.

Check the Oil/Tires. Your car takes care of your transport needs, so it seems only fair that you take care of its needs too. Check your oil regularly to make sure that the engine is getting enough and not grinding into its other parts, accelerating its deterioration. You also want to check your tires and have them switched around every 50,000 km.

Wash and Wax. A clean car is a happy car. Take time every weekend, or every two weeks if you’re busy, to give your vehicle a thorough cleaning. You can do this on your own, or take it to a car wash. Clean its interiors, wipe the windows clean, and if you’re feeling extravagant, you can even get it waxed. It goes the extra mile for you every day (literally) and washing it is one of the few things you can do for it.

Watch your mileage. Your lease limits you to a specific distance on the odometer. If you’re not willing to pay the extra fee for exceeding the mileage in your contract, it’s best to keep an eye on your odometer. It’s important to know that the reason dealers ask for a fee when you exceed is that driving the car further means more depreciation in its value. The best way not to worry about the mileage is to ask them if you can get additional before you drive away. That way, you won’t have to worry as much.

Always get the right Petrol. Certain vehicles ask for unleaded, some ask for diesel. Always remember to get the right kind of petrol for your leased car or risk the chance of damaging the engine. You can bet that the dealer will charge that as negligence on your part, and warranty will not cover that. So, pay attention, and get the right petrol.

Proper maintenance is important, as it can make the difference between a car that breaks down under 50km, and a car that runs fine over 200k. But if you want to have a car and be able to modify, and drive it wherever you want to go, then your best bet is to avail car finance to help you make that dream into reality. At least with finance, the car is all yours once the payments are up.

Planning a Smart Office

While it seems like the factory floor has been quickly evolving to make space for new and more innovative equipment, other than computers getting smaller, the office still looks relatively the same.

The cubicles are still there, along with the photocopier and printer in the corner. The modular carpets, flickering florescent lights, and stale donuts are the baseline for when it comes to office environments. However, with companies like Google and Facebook investing in interesting and stimulating offices, therefore attracting a high caliber of employee and getting a high level of productivity out of them, there has been a huge movement towards investment into the office.

It’s time to welcome innovation into the workplace. The office should be a smart, cutting edge place to be- not just somewhere to put in your eight hours and leave.

Let’s build a smart office!

  • Take Down the Cubicles

Though cubicle walls are great for privacy and for blocking out distractions, it’s also a great place to hide your unproductivity. When the walls come down, people are more accountable for their actions- no more cat naps on the keyboards! Some major employers have even experimented with flexible desk space, where each employee chooses where he or she will work that day- whether a long table, by a window sill, or on outdoor patio. It’s a more equalizing way to work for sure.

  • Eco-Friendly

Being smart is more than just having the greatest in technology. It’s also reflective of your mission and how conscious it is of people and the environment. Implement eco-measures like smart thermostats, LED lights, sustainable bathroom retrofits, as well as paper saving policies. If you think these are a bit expensive for your budget, remember that these are often also cost-saving mechanisms that will help you in the long run.

  • Stay in the Loop

Look into video wall display solutions for control rooms for large scale visualization of important numbers, stats, messages, or more. Take the white board to the next level with a video wall which can display important news that everyone will benefit from knowing. No more dropping down screens or malfunctioning projectors- this will save your face more than once when you have an important presentation that you can easily show. This is a paperless and technologically advanced way to share all kind of news from charity goals, today’s office birthdays, goals for the month, or even a Skype call from corporate!

  • Ergonomic Furniture

Many offices have already adopted this into their internal offerings, but ergonomic office furniture is the bare minimum if you want to maintain a smart office environment. If you want employees to be excited about working with you and not rush out the minute the clock strikes five o’clock, you need to make sure that they are comfortable at their work stations. Create a variety of environments from standing to sitting in well-suited chairs to make sure that pain isn’t a reason for your workers to putting in less effort.

  • Plants

It’s time to say goodbye to those dated fake office trees! Instead, pepper the office with live leafy greens or even vertical gardens that are known to help create a healthy environment. The oxygen exchange is only one of the many benefits live plants provide. They are also aesthetically pleasing, help relieve stress, and even help with noise reduction.

A smart office isn’t just one that is high tech when it comes to software- it also extends to places like the washroom, the kitchen, and the layout of the space. Invest in changing your working environment to one that people will love and see attitudes change as stress goes down, ambition and drive rises, and you retain employees for longer than ever before.

Appliances That Are Worth Fixing

In an age when everything seems so disposable, it’s easy to get into the mindset of “it’s broken, just throw it out.” Though this might be the case for shattered glass or a plate, there are many things that are still worth fixing. We often think that the cost of repairing appliances or objects outweigh that of replacing it, however that’s not always true. Sometimes it’s more cost-efficient, not to mention environmentally sustainable, to take your item in for repairs rather than throwing it in a landfill. By the same token, sometimes it just doesn’t make sense.

If you are battling with broken appliances, these are ones that are usually worth calling a technician for:

  1. BBQ

You have tried cleaning it, you have replaced the propane tank, yet there’s still something off about your barbeque. Instead of just giving up on it and either putting up with unevenly cooked meals or replacing it, have a technician take a look at it. Barbeques are expensive appliances, and when properly maintained and looked after, can last many years. If you know that your barbeque has “good bones” and is made of good quality materials, don’t give up on it- just repair it!

  1. Built in Ovens

Many new kitchen designs are integrating built in ovens as they are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. However, the issue is that once it is broken, it is difficult to replace it so that it seamlessly fits into the current design. It’s definitely worth exploring the option of fixing the one that you have now, especially since the cost of removing the current oven and installing a new one is likely more than what it would cost for you to fix the one you have.

  1. Washing Machines

Though washing machines can seem complicated because they have both electrical and plumbing components, there are very basic issues that commonly occur and which a trained technician can fix without too much time or effort. Front loaders often suffer from an off-axis drum or issues around the drum seal, while top loaders often have issues with their lid switches. Since these are easy to diagnose, it won’t take a skilled technician long to find the problem and repair it, therefore saving you the cost of replacing it.

  1. Refrigerator

A broken fridge is a big problem, especially when it is full of food that will spoil if not kept cold. Keep appliance repair technicians who serve Montreal area for your home appliance repair on speed dial because it’s often a quick fix that can completely solve your problem. Instead of paying the big bucks to replace your refrigerator, these minor repairs are affordable and can prolong the life of your refrigerator by many years. Even if you do decide to replace your current one for something a little newer or more convenient, it could be worth it to still fix your old refrigerator to use as overflow during the holidays or big family events.

Fixing a toaster or a kettle might not always be worth the time and money that goes into repairing it, however, fixing bigger appliances can save you money and hassle. Remember that these are general guidelines and not rules, and you need to be cognisant of the fact that everything has a lifespan and even items built of the highest quality will one day be past the point of no-repair.

Find a local repair technician that you can trust to do his or her best in repairing your broken appliances. This relationship might end up being one of your most treasured one, at least most valuable when it comes to money saved!

4 Clothing Retail Store Staples That Everyone Should Have at Home

Some things are meant to be shared. Though retail store equipment might not be the first thing that comes to mind, it’s definitely something that many of us wish that we had. How is it that their space full of clothes looks so appealing and neat while our closets are also full but no where near as amazing? It’s time to explore the secret tools that the retail clothing companies are using to boost their appeal to customers.

Here’s what you’re missing:

Garment Racks

Apart from the cool look of garment racks in bedrooms for an “industrial loft” feel, they offer a lot of function in addition to being a unique design element in your home. Once you have garment racks that meet your everyday needs for mobilizing garments on hangers from one location to another, it will be difficult to go back. Think of being able to transport freshly laundered items easily on wheels instead of by hand, where they can easily slip, getting wrinkled and dirty again. It’s also a great idea for switching your seasonal wardrobe which you can leave intact on your garment racks and just wheel in and out when the weather changes. It could seriously change the way that you store clothes in your home.

Steamers

How is it that in retail stores, there are no creases to be seen on the hanging clothes? Weren’t they shipped to the store in boxes? The steamer is a magic wand (literally a wand) that, with the help of steam, releases any creases that might have formed during shipping or even regular wear in the store. It leaves the garments fresher and is safe to use on all fabrics, even ones that an iron would quickly melt like tulle. Though you might want to keep your iron for heavy duty items like thick tablecloths, everyday ironing needs can be met quickly and efficiently with a steamer.

Full Length Mirrors

Everyone needs a full-length mirror, even if they don’t consider themselves fashionistas. These mirrors are staples in the fitting rooms of stores, letting the customer see the garment on their bodies, evaluating the fit, color, and style. At home these mirrors can avert fashion disasters as they allow you to see your entire outfit at once, checking if all the pieces go together well and whether the shoes go along with it. Denying yourself the chance to give yourself a once over puts you at risk of wearing something that looks good in your head but not in reality, potentially undermining your appearance and reputation at work, school, or with your acquaintances.

Room Spray

Have you ever noticed that when you walk into your favorite stores they have a distinctive smell? Well unless it’s a perfume shop or sells scented candles, it’s more likely than not a special room or linen spray that the store uses to engage your sense of smell when you walk in and shop. It’s also nice that when you come home and unpack your new goodies, they let off that same subtle aroma as well. You can play that trick too! Find a signature scent that you really like and spray your home with it regularly so that it becomes part of its identity. Pay special attention to your closets and drawers, they deserve a spritz as well!

These retail store staples are often overlooked while you are shopping, however they are essential to creating a great shopping experience for you. Perhaps once you invest in getting them, you’ll start wanting to shop in your own closet rather than continuously filling it with more and more new items!

Am I Leaving on a Jet Plane?

I am a frequent flyer that travels at least once a month. Just like everyone else, if I make plans to be somewhere, I make sure I am there. This is why I dread being at the mercy of the airline. I can be there ready for my flight an hour early, in line getting ready to walk onto the plane, or I could even be in my seat on the actual airplane, when I hear that sickening announcement. “Ladies and gentlemen, I am sorry to inform you that there will be a delay for our flight today.”

Half the time I am not even sure why the flight is being delayed. It is obvious when it is weather related. But when it is not due to the weather, doesn’t that mean that it is the fault of the airline? Unless there is a creature out there on the wing pulling up panels like on the Twilight Zone, the airline should be providing some compensation for the amount of time being wasted on my schedule. A simple muffled apology over the loudspeaker is just not good enough.

There is something the airlines do not want you to know. The hidden truth is that if your flight has been cancelled by the airline, then you may be able to claim flight cancellation compensation. Again, the less people that know about this, the better it is for the airline. They are not going to provide this information to you when your flight gets cancelled. They may even try to fight your claim for a bit, but they know they need to offer compensation in certain circumstances.

In the case of a flight heading to Canada from Europe is cancelled, the airline must comply with the regulations in effect in these places. Not only do you receive money back from your cancelled flight, but you may also receive up to $900 because of the intrusion on your own personal schedule.

With flights going from place to place in only Canada, it can be a bit complicated though. Passengers are often offered a meal voucher and a night at a hotel as compensation. If they do not offer that, be sure to ask for it. If the airline does not honor your request, ask for a supervisor to talk to instead. Many of these cases are handled on a person-by-person basis. If you do not hold steady on your request, they may brush you off to the side.

Airlines from the European Union can be asked to compensate passengers when their flights are cancelled due to the airline’s incompetence. In fact, the law states that a written document outlining compensation amounts be handed out to travellers when their flight gets cancelled. Have you ever been handed out such a document? Me neither. However, that is the law that they are supposed to follow.

According to the law from 2009, the United States airlines are supposed to compensate passengers when their international flights have been cancelled. Again, it is the law. And they, too, are supposed to hand out written explanation of compensation to the passengers affected.

Once your flight has been cancelled, approach the staff and ask for the compensation available to you by law. Do not be shocked if they act like they do not owe you anything. Airline employees are often like that, regardless if you are asking for compensation or not. For passengers who encounter difficulties navigating the administrative procedures, there are companies that you can contact online that will take over your battle and deal with the airline. It’s a shame that the airlines do not honor these laws in the first place. Do not feel bad when holding them accountable when they cancel your flight.

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