Tips for Successful Road Trips

Do you have a road trip on your bucket list? The options for destinations are truly only limited by your imagination. Whether you’re travelling solo, with friends or family, a little advanced planning will ensure your road trip is a huge success filled with memories to last a life time. Follow these recommendations from the professional road warriors to ensure your trip goes as smoothly as possible.

Decide if you’re driving straight to your final destination, staying for a few days or a week, or if you intend to make multiple stops overnight along the way. Once your dates, destination and budget have been secured, it’s time to ensure your transportation is set. If your intent is to drive your own vehicle, take this opportunity to have all inspections completed. Check the tire pressure and tread, windshield wipers and oil and fluid levels. If you’re not confident your vehicle can make a long road trip without encountering major problems, consider taking advantage of the awesome deals offered by Groupon coupons and snag a Dollar Rental Car coupon. A deal on a new vehicle will certainly provide peace of mind for your road trip.  It’s also substantially cheaper than securing plane tickets for the group or entire family.

Research online or with your local car and driving association the best routes for your trip. Sight-seeing options across the country abound. Determine the maximum amount of time you’re prepared to drive each day. Know that driving safety experts recommended driving no more than two hours for one stretch. Plan stops at least every two hours to stretch and take a short walk. If there are multiple drivers in the car, this is also the opportunity to switch drivers.

Finally, begin to research your lodging options along your designated route. From luxury hotels to shared rooms, the options are nearly limitless. Book your accommodations well in advance of your trip. Making the assumption that hotels along your route will have vacancies upon your arrival is risky and could put a damper on our road trip. Be sure to take plenty of pictures along the way as this is sure to be a road trip full of wonderful memories that can be enjoyed for decades to come.

5 Fixes That Can Improve the Gas Mileage on Your Car

With fuel prices rising all the time, there has been no better time to carefully evaluate what can truly be done about how much we end up spending on gas or diesel. Mileage per tank has really gone up over the years thanks to engineering improvements. However, no one feels “neutral” about the numbers that come up next to the dollar sign at the pump.

Looking for a way to keep some extra cash in your pocket and make improve your gas mileage?

Regular Maintenance

Keeping your engine running in optimal condition is one easy and important step to getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to your fuel bill. When everything is clean, there’s no clogging, and your oxygenator is running as it should, the fuel will burn more efficiently and cleaner than if you let gunk accumulate under the hood of your car.

Minimize But Expand When Needed

It’s common sense that the smaller and lighter your car is, the less fuel it burns. However, there’s only so small you can go when you have your daily tasks to attend to, whether that’s for your job as an electrician or your role as the chaperone for the school field trip. The key is to get a size that works for your lifestyle most of the time, and for times when you need more, just get an addition. Nothing can beat the convenience of a fibreglass truck box for your vehicle when you have a lot of equipment that you need to tote around (fibreglass is the lightest utility material you can find). Otherwise, a hitch and a trailer could be something worth investing in instead of getting a larger vehicle.

Drive Smartly

We all have somewhere to be. However, slowing down to speed limits can also mean saving some gas money. Staying around and under 55 mph can get you further on your tank, as the fuel economy of most cars drops off after 60 mph. You might not save much time, but you will save some nickels for your next road trip! If you want more specifics on the best speeds to travel at for maximum fuel efficiency research your car make and model.

Decrease Air Drag

You might think that these are just small details, but even something like a roof rack can majorly increase the drag on your vehicle, sabotaging your fuel economy. If there’s anything attached to your car that could be increasing the drag on it, you will want to take it off for longer trips or for long swaths of time that you aren’t using it for. The same goes for weight- if there are some heavy objects just “hanging out” in your vehicle, think about how you are paying for that extra weight in fuel. It’s a real thing.

Tires at Right Pressure

Not only is keeping your tires at the right pressure important to the safety of your vehicle, but it improves your gas mileage. It’s also a great idea that will make your tires last longer than when they are underinflated. Make it a point to check the pressure on a weekly basis and refill as necessary. It doesn’t take much time or effort as there are pumps usually available at gas stations, and it can mean a lot to your safety and your wallet.

Regular maintenance and care can go a long way on how much you spend on your vehicle fuel on a weekly or monthly basis. Start with these 5 tips and let us know how it went!

Auto Insurance Considerations for Electric Vehicles

There are many reasons to buy an electric car.  From the environmental reasons to saving money at the gas tank, electric cars are becoming an increasingly popular option on the market. One thing that people might not think about prior to buying an electric car, however, is how much insurance on such a vehicle will cost.  While there isn’t a complete consensus out there, some evidence might suggest that electric cars are more expensive to insure than their non-electric counterparts.  On the other hand, some suggest that it’s still depends on the specifics of the individual car —what’s the engine size? Is it considered a fast and therefore, a more “reckless” vehicle? How high is the price tag? Is it a more expensive vehicle?

Is insurance higher for electric cars in general?  Here are some reasons why it could be:

1) Higher repair costs 

If a vehicle is more expensive to repair, then your auto insurance coverage is going to be more expensive. A BMW with expensive parts is going to have a higher insurance premium than a Honda Civic that uses cheaper parts.  Most electric vehicles will tend to fall closer to the part costs of a BMW than a Honda Civic, so insurance premiums will likely be higher.

2) Higher price tag

Electric cars tend to be more expensive in general than their non-electric counterparts.  For example, a new 2017 Fiat 500 might cost you around $15,000, while the electric version of the car, the 2017 Fiat 500e, is going to cost you twice that around $30,000.  So, insuring the electric version of this car is going to cost you more than the non-electric version, simply because the price tag is doubled.  As the price tags of electric cars drop, so will the cost of insurance.

3) Smaller cars tend to be more damaged in accidents than larger cars 

Of course, not every electric vehicle is a small car, but a lot of them are.  For these cars, an insurance company might consider the size as more “risky” when it comes to the cost of repairs after an accident.  In their minds, a small electric car might get a lot more banged up and thus require more money in repairs than a larger vehicle.  This is certainly not a blanket factor for all-electric cars, particularly now that we’re seeing a lot of larger electric models coming to the market.

Overall, are electric cars more expensive to insure than non-electric cars? While the evidence might suggest that it is, it still simply boils down to the individual cars.  As long as electric vehicles cost more to buy and to repair than non-electric vehicles, they are going to cost more to insure.  Of course, with electric vehicles, you’ll see a lot of savings at the gas tank and other financial and environmental benefits, so the higher insurance rates might not be problematic and might “pay for itself” with these other extra savings.

Just shop around all of the insurance companies and be sure to check out the discounts they offer to find the coverage that is right for your electric vehicle.

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.

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!

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.

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!

4 Handy Things to Have When Insurance Shopping

Even if you consider yourself a shopaholic, chances are that your trip to the mall doesn’t revolve around finding the perfect insurance policy. Insurance is a necessity in our society and you’ll find legal reasons to have it for your car and home. On top of that, you’re likely being strongly encouraged to also insure your life, especially if you’re the breadwinner in your family. However, just like there are all kinds of insurance, there are many players in this industry, from banks, private insurance companies, brokers, and more.

Navigating this complicated web of legal documents and insurance policies is not for the weak of heart. That’s why we have put together a “toolbox” which should not just help get you out in one piece, but ultimately satisfied with the results.

List of Insurable Assets

The most popular kinds of insurance are auto and house, however, you might have more assets to insure like your business or a vacation property.  Even if you don’t own your own home, look into tenants’ insurance to protect all your belongings inside the space you are renting. Many insurance companies can offer you a better “bundle” rate than when you spread your insurable assets throughout several companies and policies. When asking for a quote, ask for their rates for the separate assets and then having them bundled together. Don’t be afraid to put in counter offers- remember, it’s a big market and you’re bringing them your business.

Details of Assets

If you want an accurate quote quickly, you’re going to need to have all the details on hand. From information about your property, including value, size, property size, age, condition of the roof, closest fire station, what kind of boiler you have, etc., to information on your car’s model, make, age, accident history, and more. The better prepared you are to give this kind of information, the quicker you will be able to get a quote and eventually choose a service. If possible, call ahead and ask for the list of questions that you will be required to answer so that you can gather the information beforehand and be ready for the questionnaire, whether it’s done in person, over the phone, or over the internet.

An Insurance Broker

Rather than calling every insurance company and filling each of them in with your details, when you go to a broker, he or she can compare many policies at once from a range of companies. You’ll have insurance brokers who work for you, not the insurance company, to provide expert, unbiased advice. A well-connected broker might even be able to get you better rates for the same policy in the same company than if you just called them directly. So, you don’t just drastically cut down your research time, you also usually get a much better rate then if you approached insurance companies yourself.

List of Discount Reasons

So apart from bundling your insurance policies for a better rate, look for more reasons for which you could score a discount. Make a list of possible attributes from being an alumnus of a university, member of the Chamber of Commerce, being employed by a certain company, to being a professional in a well-regarded industry. Never be afraid to ask, “is that the best you can do?” or ask if there are discounts for any of the previously mentioned reasons.

Insurance shopping doesn’t have to be that complicated. If you are prepared for the “hunt”, your insurance broker will be able to quickly put together a number of quotes from different companies. Use your toolbox wisely, and you’ll construct a policy and rate that you can live with.

Top 5 Tips for Buying the Right Boat for summer

Summer is fast approaching and with it the urge to get out on the water, whether that water happens to be a lake, river or the ocean, and take advantage of all that mother nature has to offer.

The best way to do that is with a boat, if your budget can afford it, and today’s blog will help you to do just that and purchase a boat that fits your budget. Enjoy.

1) Your very first task should be to visit a large boat show. Boat shows are truly the best place to see a large number of different types and styles of boats, as well as different sizes, so that you can see all of the different prices, options and so forth. Having all of this information will allow you to make a much better decision on which boat/engine combination to purchase. A boat show is also an excellent place to meet lots of boating experts who can guide you in your decision.

2) Take your time. A boat is a large and expensive purchase and something you will likely have for many years. If you take care of it well, you may also be able to pass it onto your children. Point being, take your time making a decision on what type of boat to purchase so that you’re satisfied with that decision for the next few years (at least).

3) If you’re new to boating, definitely look into taking a boating safety course. The simple fact is this; while it might steer like a car, a boat handles much differently than an automobile and, if you don’t know how to handle it correctly, you could easily cause an accident or worse.

4) Keep in mind that their are a lot of additional costs when it comes to owning a boat. If you don’t have somewhere to keep it, you will need to either rent a space in a storage lot or a “slip” at a marina, both of which are relatively expensive monthly costs. Also, if you purchase gasoline from a marina, you can expect the price to be at least 30% higher than at your local gas station. Boating accessories like water skis, fishing rods, life jackets and so forth also will add to the cost, sometimes significantly.

5) If possible, take a test drive. Referring back to #2, a boat is something you will hold onto for many years. That’s why, whenever possible, you should definitely take it out for a test drive to make sure that you like the way it handles before you make your purchase decision.

And there you have them, 5 excellent tips that should help you to make the right decision when on a new boat. We wish you happy and safe boating!

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