A camping trip is on many people’s agenda, whether in high summer or late autumn. What’s not to love about camping? The fact that it brings us closer to nature (and all the great benefits this has to our mental state and stress levels) or that it offers a short, yet so rejuvenating, get away from the craziness of the hurried modern lifestyle? No matter the reason you choose to go on a camping trip, packing some cool accessories and gadgets can make living in the great outdoors even more enjoyable. Below are some you could consider whether you are staying in a tent or a cozy cabin.
Rugged smartphone case
A smartphone case built from a thick, dirt-resistant material will protect your phone from unexpected falls in creeks or the rough mountainous terrain. Prefer cases made from polycarbonate, which is a material known for its durability and also shatterproof and flame-resistant properties. Take a look in the current market, and you will come across plenty of models that are waterproof up to 5 or 6 feet, as well as cases with rubber grips.
Some really awesome chargers convert hydrogen and carbon into electricity – enough to turn your camp stove into a power source so you can cook a meal. They come with fuel cells that are activated by fire. You simply place these fuel cells under the charcoal of your cook stove, and they generate power to charge your LED light unit (or any other device) with some 20-30 hours of light (in full charged mode).
Speaking of charging options, one should not forget the good-old solar charger, which still comprises an excellent choice for the times you are enjoying the great outdoors. The great thing about solar chargers is that they have evolved so much in the last few years that you may even find rollable models that you can carry comfortably in your backpack. Look around, and you will surely come across models that feature lithium-ion batteries, a multi-pronged USB cable to charge several gadgets in one go, and polycrystalline solar panels, which are selling like hotcakes right now!
Now, if you need a more robust solar charger, keep an eye for shock and water-resistant models with a clam-shell case. Such models usually come with a variety of adapters to charge almost any gadget you may bring along.
A must for every camping and hiking enthusiast. Today’s water filters are more advanced and come with a 2-stage filtration process that effectively removes chlorine, protozoa, bacteria, and bad taste, allowing you to get safe water at all times when on the go. On top of that, many models are also lightweight, compact, and made of durable stainless steel. The best thing about them? They don’t require batteries or electrical power as they usually sport a replaceable activated carbon capsule.
Multi-functional camp stove
Modern camp stoves use biomass like pine cones and twigs, providing a lighter and cleaner way to prepare a meal when on a camping trip. They no longer need fuel so dragging fuel canisters is a task you won’t be performing anymore. Plus, the heat they generate when you cook turns into electricity – enough to charge your lights or gadgets.
Going on a camping trip and eating grilled food definitely go hand-in-hand. Forget the days when portable grills were heavy and bulky, making them quite a challenge to carry around. Treat yourself to a rolling BBQ grill made from lightweight and very durable aluminium. To be able to roll up into a compact, easy-to-carry cylinder of no more than a pound or two such grills usually comes with hollow modular grates. Size-adjustable stakes and grill guards may also be included in the package.
Whether you choose to look for a grill that is coated with non-stick Teflon for easy cleaning and healthier food is really up to you, especially considering the debate going on about its use the past few years.
Having a set of portable speakers that you can connect to your smartphone or MP3 player to ensure you have some music in your tent is always a great idea. But, what happens when you set up camp somewhere quite remote and you need to figure out ways to keep your pack as lightweight as possible? This is where a folded cardboard amplifier comes into play. The flat-pack gadget neatly stores in your backpack or pocket for when you set up camp. Just pop it up and let the music swirl around the campfire.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you had a pot that could convert heat into electrical power to charge your gadgets when on a camping trip? In the current market, there are plenty of such thermoelectric generators that do exactly that. All you need to do is add water to the pot (you will need a heat source like a stove or campfire to place the pot on), and it will do all the work. Don’t worry about fire hazards. Just make sure the model you choose comes with a long-enough, flame-resistant, heavy-duty wire that will allow you to safely charge your stuff or even power your fan, light, and speakers.
All gadgets aside, going on a camping trip comes with a need for power. And, although some devices can indeed provide some power to charge low-power USB appliances, you still need to find a way to keep things running (i.e. a small refrigerator), so you may experience this outing with all the comforts you like. This is why it is always best to have a small, portable diesel generator with you. There are many super-silent diesel generators for sale that require a minimum installation effort on your side to choose from. Just determine your power needs and pick the one that covers them adequately!
Enjoy your outing!
Posted in Tips
The gambling and casino world has seen its own share of myths and secrets. These secrets sometimes play to the advantage of the casino and well as to the players. The disadvantage and advantages of these secrets to the two entities are usually vice versa.
Some secrets in the casino gambling world have been revealed over time, and only punters who have taken advantage of these secrets can emerge victoriously over the casino’s house edge from time to time.
You can take advantage of these secrets at land-based casinos as well as at online casinos like Novibet’s official website. Here are a few of them.
1. Some games are designed to suck you dry
There are some games that are set up to benefit the casino more than the players. The likes of table games and online slots are designed to favor the house, and it’s no more a secret.
For this reason, gamblers who intend to make it big in the industry are advised to ignore these games, although there will be the occasional urge to test their wits in order to garner maximum bragging rights.
These games include Let it Ride and Caribbean Stud. These set of games give the casino a significantly superior house edge over punters.
2. You must know that you’re being scrutinized and watched.
Casinos usually have surveillance systems in place to enable them to monitor the individuals who gain access and play their games. This ensures that crooks and fraudsters don’t have a field day whilst playing at various designated tables.
If you are regularly ending up on the winning side or lucky enough to land a jackpot, you must do well to know that you’re being scrutinized to ensure that no foul play was involved. Therefore, players must stay in line whilst playing at land-based casinos.
3. Dealers at the table can only feel sorry for your losses
You must expect nothing more than gestures of sympathy form a dealer when you end up on the losing side. They are prohibited from intervening or making any comments at the table.
They might castigate you in their hearts for failing to take a chill pill and stop placing bets after a constant run of losses, but that’s all they can do.
Posted in Tips
Your tyres are the only link between your vehicle and the road, a critical contact area that is no bigger than the palm of your hand. They provide the vital grip for braking and the control of your steering, it is essential for stopping safely in an emergency. The distance it takes you to stop can be the difference between life and death. There are a variety of factors that can affect your stopping distance like your speed, brakes, tyre pressure, tyre quality and more. This post was written to help drivers identify problems with their stopping distance and address said problems immediately.
When thinking about your stopping distance this first thing to consider would be the speed you are driving at. Your stopping distance is made up of two factors, the thinking distance and the braking distance. The thinking distance is the time it takes the driver to process the information in front of him and react to said information by pressing the brake pedal. On the other hand, braking distance is the length travelled from pressing the brake pedal to the car coming to a complete stop. The faster you are going, the greater the distance travelled before you apply your brakes.
The invention of anti-lock brakes was welcomed because it helped drivers to maintain control of the vehicle in an emergency brake situation but it does not help the driver when it relates to reducing their stopping distance. However, properly maintained brakes can make an enormous difference. All brake pads are built with a block of friction material that pushes against the brake disc when the brakes are applied. This friction material wears down over time and the brake disc can become grooved causing them to overheat and lose stopping power. It is also worth remembering that brakes can also be affected by wet and icy roads which lead to moisture between the pads and discs that can make them less effective at bringing your vehicle to a stop.
Your tyres need to maximise their contact with the road to provide the best possible stopping distance. When tyres are over or under inflated, the tread contact patch is reduced, underinflated tyres pressure will make more contact with the road on the outer edges of the tyre while overinflated tyres will make more contact with the centre. Both over and under inflated tyres is unwelcome news for you and your stopping distance. Not only does this cause irregular wear and tear of the tyres but it also reduces traction which means that the tyres will be less effective at biting into the road surface and bring the car to a halt.
It is a known fact that premium products work better than cheaper ones and this is the same for tyres, buying premium tyres from well-known manufacturers not only provides you with peace of mind, it also gives you the confidence to know that you are purchasing something from a credible business. Countless tests have been carried out and they all come to the same conclusion, premium tyres really are worth the extra cash when it comes to grip, control and most importantly the stopping distance.
Posted in Tips
As the summer ends and the start of school season begins parents and caregivers will start to get prepared by stocking up on stationaries and fitting new uniforms and buying new shoes. But there is one thing that is bound to get ignored and that is making sure that your car is up to another semester of drop-offs and pick-ups. With all the extra driving and the rush to be on time there are expenses related to repairs and additional fuel costs that could add up of your vehicle isn’t prepared for the school year. To help parents and caregivers be better prepared for this school year we have compiled a list of easy-to-do tasks tips that will get your vehicle ready for the school year.
The first and most important check should be your tyres. A blown-out tyre can cost you time and money in the future so you should make a habit of checking it regularly. You should be sure to check your tyre tread, inflation, alignment and any other signs of wear and tear. If you are unsure of the correct tyre pressure you should check your owner’s manual for the recommended level. You should also be checking your tyres for cuts and bulges, if you find anything you should consider calling out a mobile tyre fitting team to fix or replace at home or at work.
To avoid adding extra strain to your day when it’s your turn for the school run you should be checking your fluids ever so often. Your engine oil, wiper fluid, brake fluid and other liquids should be checked and if needed topped up often. When checking the engine oil, you should first make sure that the engine is cool, then pull out the dip stick and wipe with a clean cloth and then dip back into the oil compartment to a more accurate reading.
Not only is driving with broken lights dangerous it is also illegal and if pulled over it could be an inconvenience or it could be points on your licence so why risk it? To check yours you should apply the car’s handbrake while stationary and then turn all your car lights on, including but not limited to the headlights, brake lights, fog lights and indicators. Walk around to inspect the vehicle from every angle. If any of the light bulbs are out you can check your owner’s manual for the type of bulb and order online for the chance to save some money.
When driving, it is very important to be able to be able to see everything around you which is why it is important for your windscreen, windows and mirrors to be clean and clear. You can use a simple window cleaner and clean cloth to with the surfaces and to get rid of any smudges and handprints that might be on it.
With kids being kids it is important to make sure that all of your seat belts are in proper working order. Kids don’t really care where they are as long as they can play and jump around and being in a car is no different. If left unsupervised they can cause chaos and cause distractions so it is always a good idea to make sure that they are properly fastened in before you begin the school run.
Posted in Tips
We all know how expensive weddings can be: the dress, the rehearsal dinner, the reception all add up to thousands of dollars. That being said, there are also a lot of other costs that are part of a typical marriage that we don’t always think of when we’re planning a major life event. Here are some other costs you’ll probably encounter when you’re itemizing your wedding expenses and overhead:
The rings. Although most couples split this into engagement ring and wedding rings, often their purchased as a set long before the big day so the cost isn’t included in the final breakdown.
Miscellaneous meals and trips. If you’re planning multiple shopping trips with members of your wedding party, chances are you’re going to be picking up the tab for multiple meals, too.
Drivers. Sure you’ve planned for a limo after the ceremony, but you might have to arrange taxis or other drivers for parents and other elderly family members. The same goes for out of town visitors: you may have to pay for your grandparent’s hotel stay during the big event.
Honeymoon expenses. Even if you’ve booked an all inclusive cruise or resort stay, you’ll have meals and tips and extra events to pay for along the way. Make sure you know the rates and expected gratuities for your destination.
Vacation time. Sure, you get paid time off on your vacation, but your bills don’t take a break just because you’re getting married. Make sure you don’t get behind when you’re planning ahead!
Gifts for the wedding party. It’s customary to give each member of the wedding party a token of your appreciation, and that can add up quickly. Guys, gals, and the flower girl and ring bearer will all need something that shows you thank them for standing with you.
Extras for parents. You’ve probably covered the flowers for the moms, but you’ll most likely spend extra on meals and other items while entertaining your parents and planning the event.
Sitters. Most likely, you’ll need a gift or payment for a housesitter and possible pet sitter while you’re on your honeymoon, so remember to add this to your final tally!
Posted in Tips
If you’re thinking of living the ex-pat life out in Spain, you may be wondering how different your life will be compared to your current one. Of course, there may be more good weather and perhaps a better lifestyle, but are taxes any different to what you’re used to? Are you going to need a Visa? How is the education system and what about healthcare? There are all questions which might have your mind racing. So, here a few pointers to help clarify a few things about living in Spain. Of course, you’ll need to do a lot more research before deciding to make the move, but this guide may help you start!
Healthcare in Spain
The Spanish healthcare system is funded by social security contributions. It combines public and private healthcare and people who pay their social security will automatically have the right to use the healthcare system for free or at a low cost. To benefit from the Spanish National Healthcare system, you will need to enrol with the General Social Security Fund. If you are thinking of retiring in Spain, this useful Telegraph article has some valuable information on healthcare.
Social Security Numbers
Every resident is issued with a social security number even if they are self-employed. This entitles that person to healthcare services, sickness benefits, unemployment benefits, and a pension. You have a social security number in Spain, it is valid for life.
There are various criteria you need to meet to become liable for paying income tax. These are listed here on the Angloinfo.com website. On this page you’ll find key information regarding the Spanish income tax rates.
Other taxes such as VAT are charged from 4 to 18% throughout Spain.
Citizens of EU member states that belong to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) or the European Economic Area (EEA) are allowed to travel to Spain without obtaining a visa first. When it comes to non-EU members, you can stay for no more than 90 days in a period of 180 days with a short-stay visa. This visa does not grant permission for the holder to work.
You will need to apply for a working visa, a student visa, or a working holiday visa. There are no visa restrictions for those people wishing to work in Spain on a voluntary basis.
Buying a car
If you want to buy a car in Spain, you will need to either have an official residency card (Tarjeta de Residencia) or proof that you are a Spanish home owner. You may also need to have documentation that proves you are a registered member of the local community, “certificado de empadronamiento” (available from the Town Hall) or have an NIE/NIF number (Foreigner’s Identification Number.) The site above links to Angloinfo.com, which provides a whole host of services to help you move to Spain with as smooth a transition as possible! Buying a car is just one aspect you’ll want to sort out asap.
You may want to buy a property before you move to Spain or while you are renting in Spain. There are many ways to search for properties: typically you could go to an estate agents or look online. Some will also offer an English speaking service. You can also find a number of short or long term rentals in Spain.
Posted in Tips Tagged with: Spain, Spanish National Healthcare, Town Hall, VAT
So your friend or relative has been kind enough to loan you their car if you don’t have one or yours is in for repairs? Make sure that you repay this kind gesture by following proper etiquette and treating their car with the respect it deserves. Here are some important etiquette guidelines that you should always follow when you are borrowing someone else’s car.
Give it Back Better Than When You Borrowed It
As a general rule, when you borrow anything it is a good idea to give it back in better shape than it was when you got it. This rule is certainly true for borrowing someone’s car. Next to a home, the car is probably the second most valuable thing most people own so you need to treat it with a lot of care.
This means keeping the car clean on the inside and outside and returning it with a full tank of petrol. Filling up the tank is expensive these days, so if you return the car empty then you will have actually cost your friend money to lend the vehicle to you. It’s accepted that the appropriate etiquette when borrowing a car is always to give it back with a full petrol tank.
Keep it Clean
It might seem common sense, but don’t give someone’s car back in a messy state! Before you return the vehicle, make sure that you give it a once over and throw out any rubbish that might have accumulated inside when you were driving it.
If you need to transport anything dirty and messy, place towels down on the inside of the car to avoid staining the upholstery.
Or better yet, use car boot liners to protect the interior. There are car boot liners available that are tailored to specific models of cars, such as Volvo boot liners, BMW boot liners and Audi Boot liners, so you can choose something that is customized to the size and shape of your vehicle.
If you notice that the car has gotten quite dirty in the time you were using it, such as if a bird poos on it or if it gets splattered with mud, you might even want to take it through a car wash before you give it back to the owner.
Give It Back at the Agreed Time
If you and your friend agreed that you would give the car back at Tuesday at 3pm, make sure that the keys are back in their hand at Tuesday at 3pm or earlier. Your friend might need the vehicle for the things they need to do and if you are late giving it back it will really mess with their plans. If something comes up that is beyond your control that means that you will be returning the car later, let your friend know as soon as possible.
The only acceptable situation in which you can smoke in a friend’s car is if they are also a smoker and they have said that they don’t mind. However, if your friend doesn’t smoke it is very poor etiquette to smoke in their car when you borrow it. You might be desensitized to the smell, but a non-smoker can smell it right away and many people find it unpleasant.
It should go without saying that you should drive your friend’s car as carefully as possible when you borrow it. You might already be a defensive driver, but make sure that you are extra diligent when you are driving a car that isn’t yours. That means no speeding, no risky moves on the motorway and no attempting to get in and out of difficult parking spots.
These are just a few important etiquette tips to remember when you are borrowing someone else’s vehicle. They aren’t too difficult to follow and are simply based on respect for someone else’s property. Just think about how you would like someone to treat your car if you had one and you gave it to a friend.
If you keep these tips in mind when you are borrowing someone’s car they will be pleased that you treated their vehicle so well and they will be much more likely to lend it to you again if you ever need it in the future.
Posted in Tips Tagged with: Audi Boot, BMW, Drive Safely
So you are planning to make a big move down under, but you are wondering whether or not you can bring your furry friend along? You don’t want to leave your dog or cat behind, because they are a beloved member of the family. Most people feel that the hassle of importing a pet is worth it, as they couldn’t imagine leaving their furry friend behind.
Can I Bring My Pet?
The good news is that it is possible to import a cat or dog to Australia. However, there are some regulations that the pet needs to meet and all animals must undergo quarantine in accordance with the Rabies Prevention Law.
Australia allows cats, horses and dogs to be brought in from other countries, as long as they adhere to the quarantine controls. However, other household pets such as guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets and caged birds are generally prohibited.
What are the Regulations?
The quarantine period for a dog or a cat entering the country when emigrating to Australia is 190 days. 180 of these days can be completed in the country of origin, but there must be a minimum of 10 day quarantine for any live animal entering the country.
Also any animal that is entering the country must have microchip identification, which must be done before the rabies vaccinations. The only microchips that can be read in Australia are those that meet the ISO 11785 and 11784 standards. For any other type of microchips you must bring your own microchip reader.
After your pet has been implanted with a microchip they will need to receive a new rabies vaccination. This must be a vaccination that has been inactivated and you should obtain certification for the period of validity of the particular vaccinations. Your pet must be at least 90 days old at the time of the first vaccination.
Once your pet has had their rabies vaccination they must receive a rabies neutralizing anti-body titre test, which ensures that the rabies vaccination has provided adequate antibody levels. This must be tested by a facility that has been approved by the Government of Australia. Your vet should send the results to one of the approved labs and call ahead of time to make sure that they are aware of the destination location and the delivery.
There must also be a final vet exam four days before arriving, which must be performed by an accredited vet. An international health certificate must also be issued at this time. It is also strongly recommended for your pet to have been vaccinated for distemper, parvovirus, contagious hepatitis, bordatella, corona virus and other infectious diseases.
If your pet is a cat it should also be vaccinated for feline enteritis, feline calicivirus and feline rhinotracheitis. These vaccinations should take place at least 14 days before the flight, but not more than 11 months beforehand. It is also a good idea to treat your pet for internal parasites before the move – the first treatment should be conducted within 45 days of moving and the second treatment should be done within 5 days of moving.
- Keep in mind that you will need to file an Import Permit no sooner than 42 days after import.
- It is also important to have your vet complete a veterinary health certificate with 72 hours of entry.
- If your pet is entering Australia by air it must enter as air cargo via Sydney or Melbourne International Airport.
- It is a very long flight, so ask your vet for advice on how you can keep your pet more comfortable during the journey.
- The minimum age for a pet entering Australia is 7 months.
- There are some dog breeds that are not permitted to enter Australia, such as the Pit Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull, Presa Canario, Japanese Tosa, Fila Brazileiro and Dogo Argentino.
There are a lot of steps and regulations to keep in mind when it comes to bringing your pet to Australia with you. You might want to keep a notebook with a list of all the steps you need to take, so that you can methodically check them off one by one. The process of importing your cat or dog with you when you move to Australia is a long and complicated one, but it is worth it because it means you can bring your furry best friend with you.
For more information on Australia immigration, New Zealand skilled visa regulations and more, contact the Emigration Group.
Posted in Tips Tagged with: Australia, guinea, Japanese Tosa, Sydney
Participating in a gap year abroad, either before or after university, can be extremely rewarding. You can choose to settle in one country or spend time travelling the world. Whichever option you choose, one of the most important factors will be finding the right type of accommodation. Where are the best places to search for accommodation and what features should you be considering?
Trying to find accommodation either before you travel or when you’re in the country can be an issue for gap year travellers. Often you’ll be unfamiliar with the country, unsure where the best places to base yourself are. There’s also the issue of finding accommodation that meets your requirements, but that is also affordable.
If you’re looking for somewhere to live before you go, make sure you do some research on the country and gain knowledge of where the best places to stay are. Think about what you want to be close to, such as work, shops or leisure amenities, and exactly what you’ll be doing while you’re there.
Don’t leave it until the last minute
It’s important to start looking for accommodation as early as you can. This way you’ll have time to look properly and you won’t have to make a rash decision because you’re panicking.
Talk to others
It’s a good idea to talk to people who’ve travelled before, even if it’s not to the particular country you’re visiting. They will still have an idea of what’s a good deal. If you have an employer or sponsor in the country then ask them for some suggestions.
Taking a gap year is an opportunity to experience something new, so you don’t have to stick to traditional property options. You can get a truly local experience by living on a farm or with a host family.
Use the internet
One of the easiest ways to search for accommodation when you’re not in the country is through the internet. This enables you to quickly bring up the properties that are available and research local areas. You can join forums for people working abroad, which are great places to ask questions and get advice. When you’re using the internet to book accommodation you still need to be cautious. It’s vital that you don’t transfer any money without being sure exactly what you’re booking. If it’s feasible, try to visit the property beforehand and check that the rent is comparable with other properties.
Middle East accommodation
The Middle East is becoming a more popular location for gap year students. It has some fantastic business opportunities and an excellent property market. The Kuwait Real Estate Investment Consortium is one of the leading property companies in Kuwait. Fahd Al-Rajaan of Wafra Investment Advisory Group is a the chairman of the consortium and brings a wealth of experience that benefits the Middle East real estate market.
By doing your research thoroughly and taking your time to find the perfect gap year accommodation, your time spent travelling will be more successful. This is the perfect opportunity to see exactly what the world has to offer and spend time sampling other cultures.
Posted in Tips Tagged with: Fahad Al Rajaan, Kuwait, Middle East
Not everyone loves the beach. Sand gets everywhere, it can get quite dull fairly quickly and who knows what is lurking below the ocean surface? It is possible to have a fun, fulfilling and relaxing holiday without heading to the coast and suffering the wind, seagulls and unpredictable weather. One of Britain’s great strengths as a holiday destination is it’s diversity. From rolling hills to vibrant cities there are breaks to suit everyone. Providers such as UK Breakaways cover a huge variety of holidays and there some fantastic last minute deals to be had across the internet.
A great guide to some of the most picturesque areas of the country is the official National Parks website. There are parks all over the country which means you can travel as little or as far as you want to get to your next rural holiday destination. Hiring cottages, camping or even ‘glamping’ allows you to get back to nature and might mean that you save a bit of money. There are also activities to be done such as sailing, hiking and cycling.
As Britain is not blessed with the most reliably sunny weather conditions, it is not over-furnished with water parks. However if you are near to Stoke, Sunderland, Blackpool or Paignton you are in luck as they have WaterWorld, Wet N Wild, Sandcastle and Splashdown respectively.
Britain has it’s fair share of great theme parks. Alton Towers has always led the way with great, high-octane rides, a kiddie-friendly offer and fantastic hotels. Legoland Windsor, Thorpe Park in Surrey as well as Flamingo Land in North Yorkshire and Drayton Manor in Staffordshire are also well worth the trip.
Ignore London. We’ve all been there, got the teddy bear beef eater and looked at the wax works in Madame Tussauds. There are many more interesting cities to see around the UK. Since gaining the title of Capital of Culture in 2008 Liverpool has gone from strength to strength with excellent museums, galleries and places to eat. Glasgow has a similarly vibrant cultural offer as does Cardiff. For more ‘olde worlde’ charm try York, Edinburgh or Chester.
For an altogether slower paced break, try a barge holiday either in the Norfolk broads, North Yorkshire or the Cotswolds. Seeing the countryside drift by while enjoying a cool glass of wine or a nice book is a thoroughly relaxing way to spend a few of your annual leave days. Companies such as Waterways give advice and have a portal to book through. In the words of Mr Alan Partridge “Water-way to have a good time!”
For the active family and cycling trips is high energy and lots of fun. Cycling gives you the freedom to see the country on your own terms, it’s safe and great exercise.
Posted in Holidays, Tips Tagged with: Ignore London, Legoland Windsor, National Parks, UK