Connected car technologies have your vehicle make use of the Internet to “communicate” with other vehicles and through the use of an artificial intelligence, even drive your vehicle for you and choose the best path by “talking” to other vehicles about traffic jams and the safest route for users. With connection to the Internet, connected car technologies will also use cloud technology for storing data about your vehicle. The best features of connected car technologies, according to me, include the following.
Connected car technologies still allow you to be the man of the vehicle and not the passenger. The vehicle will instead inform you of temporary road blocks, approaching emergency vehicles and other information that will help you make driving decisions early before such events arrive at your location, increasing your safety twentyfold on the road.
2. Car Manufacturer Design
I’ll admit it; I almost crashed into other vehicles making use of my smartphone’s GPS services that help me navigate to my client’s location instantly. You could put your smartphone on your lap or through a makeshift accessory that allows you to place your smartphone under the rear mirror view of your vehicle. With an integrated car manufacturer design, this GPS feature, along with a plethora of good heads-up displays, will greatly help you avoid accidents by ensuring a smooth interfacing with your vehicle.
3. Car Crash Detection
The capability of your car to “communicate” with other cars enables it to limit your speed when approaching other vehicles. When a driver is operating a vehicle possibly under the influence of substances, the vehicle could still protect other drivers in the road by having its own emergency mechanism for any kind of danger.
Most feedback I get from my recent customers in my day job is that they find it troublesome to go abroad, especially in the nether regions of countries with beautiful sights and resorts is that they could not communicate properly with the locals. I advised them to take a crash course in studying languages. Yes, I know it’s a big hassle to study languages, but they help you greatly, even if you’re just carrying a book of the usual phrases of such countries.
1. Language Barrier
The most obvious reason to bring along a small book of common phrases is that it helps you transcend the language barrier. Customers usually tell me they find it difficult to ask where the bathroom is, often resort to pointing at items in the menu without any idea what to try and so on. For obvious reasons, carry a language translator app on your smartphone or a book.
If you take at least 2 months to study the language of where you’re staying in, you could actually reap benefits by knowing more about the culture of your vacation location. Culture is an important thing to know during your vacations. I myself once travelled to South Korea and studied a bit of Korean and I enjoyed conversing with the locals, who explained to me with pride the history and culture of their country.
Respect from foreigners is a big thing, even if here in London we encounter different races knowing how to speak the language to show respect for us locals. When you speak their language, locals feel respect from you and they give you plus points for effort, and a few more surprises sometimes. Trust me on this.
Many of my clients ask me how they can save money from smartphone and communications bills while they’re abroad. Because most telecom providers do not have local equipment and facilities to support international roaming, the costs for your mobile and internet could skyrocket quickly. Here are a few things I learned from clients who improvised to save money from smartphone and mobile charges.
1. Unlock Your Device
Probably the easiest way to save money would be to unlock your smartphone or mobile phone from a “network locked-in” period. Most telecom providers will contract their customers with a brand-new device, which they will pay through instalment via monthly bills and they will be locked-in with the network for the next few years. Unlocking it helps you get more usage out of your device.
2. Get a Local Mobile Device
You’ve got your smartphone and if you could buy a local mobile device, namely phones below £7, you could actually make calls. Buying a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that runs on the local telecom services will definitely save you money rather than using an international roaming data plan.
3. Prepaid or Post-Paid
In some countries, you could buy a mobile phone and the SIM card from a network operator separately. Most of these retail SIM cards sold virtually anywhere are prepaid. This means you could buy credits to use the phone’s services. This could save you more money rather than going for postpaid, especially if you are staying less than a month in-location.
One time, Ben was my client. Ben was the average-looking guy, with a lovely wife and a young son. He wanted to visit Nepal with his family. So I got him everything he needed. I gave the itineraries and he and his family were okay with it. He skipped the health insurance; he said he didn’t look the type to need one. And so they were off.
A few weeks later, Ben came home having contracted Hepatitis. It seems his vaccinations were not enough to prevent him from getting the disease. What should have been a fun time trying out new kinds of dishes and learning about the culture of other people was spoiled because of his disease. Today, he is fine, but he doesn’t look like the aveage-looking, adventurous husband he used to be after the experience.
I always advise my clients that before they go on their trip, they should consult with their medical professional first. I tell them about the health alerts regarding every country they wish to have a vacation in. Travelers who get diarrhea are lucky to go home in one piece; some tourists come back having contracted dengue, malaria and other bug-related diseases.
The leading health problem of the tourist today is not the hazards most countries and vacation spots have; it is their carelessness and the lack of anticipation for any danger that awaits them. Travel is fun, but like anything fun, it also has its dangers.
Capital Gains Tax or CGT is really a pain in the neck and if you’re earning more than £10600 in profits, you’re going to have trouble going through 18% or even 28% of taxes in your profits. I’m a travel agent and travel agents know that £10000 is possible in a year and investing in properties is a good way to get rid of the excess.
Why I invest in properties is because it ensures my money generates more money in the process. When I’m not around, I have a landlord handle the security of my estates. These estates are quite expensive, and if sold, they could get more than £10600 in profits.
Here’s one way I avoid the 28% tax. First, I have tenants live in the properties and charge them an adequate monthly rate. In the first three years, I could have the property rented out. When it falls below the £10600 mark, I sell it. It increases the value of the properties while ensuring I have less capital gains tax.
While I have to worry about the properties tax, the CGT is a bigger problem that needs to be reduced. One time, my father, also a wise investor, sold futures at separate years to avoid the high tax on capital gains. It makes much better sense to take advantage of a yearly allowance of £10600 rather than sell it all in what seems a big profit until you see how much tax you pay.
I’ve bought at least three cars in my entire professional career and only one of them was a new car. Why I’m against buying new vehicles is that it gets you to spend more money and when you resell it, it gets valued down. Here are a few downsides of buying a new car.
1. They Lose 20% Value Instantly
The moment you drive out your vehicle, you actually lose 20-25% of the original value you paid. When I purchased a new vehicle, I actually found that just after a week, I’ve lost around £1700 for my car’s value. I thought of selling it secondhand then knew that once I sold it I can’t get my capital back.
2. Insurance is Higher
Because your car is new, your insurance repayment is also higher. When I paid for my vehicle, I needed insurance for my vehicle. Its risk value was higher because it was a new and untested model. As it was out of the authority’s “radars” for now, it needed a higher insurance value. Also, the car dealer explained the insurance is higher because its parts are not too available anywhere and will need a special means to acquire.
3. Taxes are Higher
New cars are automatically given very high luxury taxes. The best safety equipment your new car has claims its price from the tax you pay.
In the previous year, the debacle regarding the British Bankers Association calling on the FCA to set a deadline on PPI claiming set many claimants to get their refunds before the targeted deadline of April 2013 passes. However, as the deadline did not push through, the end of PPI claiming is still uncertain according to experts and observers.
The Financial Ombudsman, where most bank complaints go when banks dispute with the customer, is currently receiving 2000 PPI claims daily. Last year alone, it addressed at least 281,000 PPI claims coming from banks and 86% of these disputed complaints favoured the customers. Natalie Ceeney expresses her theory that banks only work with customers fairly when they have a proposed compensation package and are confident with their estimates. However, once the compensation packages finally deplete, they turn to tighter measures.
On their side, the financial industry of the UK expresses their concern about the rising number of fraudulent claims coming from claims management companies. Why they employed the stricter measures about the PPI claims they receive is because some refunds go to the claims management company themselves, who use their expertise to make even the most obviously suspicious claim grant merit.
However, claims management companies state that they rigorously check the PPI claims they receive and the Claims Standards Council defends claims companies because people see them as the only way to finally have a legal representation against the unfair policies of their banks.
The slowdown caused by the banks and the millions of PPI claims yet to receive compensation makes the end of the UK’s biggest financial scandal very unpredictable.
When I’m a travel agent, I’ll endorse everything expensive in your travel location for you to eat in. But when I’m outside my job and not earning my keep, I know a thing or two about saving your food budget during travel. Let’s face it, eating in expensive restaurants and five-star hotels are a luxury, especially if you’re dining in Europe and other western countries. Here are a few things I know about saving budgets for travel involving food.
1. Meal of the Day
If you really want to try a dish by a five-star hotel but you don’t have anything specific in mind (given that you trust everything the hotel or restaurant provides is delicious but expensive), you could try their meal of the day. Most meal of the days (or the seasons, for some hotels and restaurants) are at least 20-30% cheaper than their original price.
If you’re more focused on events and local travel tourism rather than food tourism, you could do your own groceries and cook your own food instead. Most apartments have their own cooking areas, which can work to your advantage. If you can’t find one, eating food at convenience stores is a cheaper option as well.
I’ve heard lots of my customers telling me that they found a rip-off or an imitation of their favourite five-star hotel or restaurant dishes served in some unknown or unnamed restaurants with prices 50% off and having the essence of the original dish itself. You might want to try this. However, be sure that the food they serve is clean and it will not cause you any health dangers.
For people like me who travel far to go to work, enduring traffic along the way with changing temperatures, knowing when to replace certain parts of our vehicles is important. I’m a vehicle nut, and I love knowing how to take better care of my vehicle whenever needed. So, here’s a compilation of advice I got from the car dealerships and repair shops I’ve worked with regarding the regular replacements of certain car parts.
1. Radiator Fluid
Your radiator fluid is an antifreeze coolant that helps your car cool down while it runs. If you know when to replace your radiator fluid, you could prolong your engine’s life and the functionality of your car. According to my sources, changing the radiator fluid every 24,000 to 36,000 miles of driving, or that’s at least 24 to 36 months, should be suffice. However, if you’re a frequent driver like me, you might need to change your radiator fluid every 12,000 to 15,000 miles.
2. Oil Change
Oil change is important because their viscosity and acid content can increase or decrease. In layman’s terms, their quality deteriorates over time, which can affect your engine’s performance. Performing an oil change for every 7,500 miles is important. If you’re driving a diesel engine, every 3,000 miles you’ll need an oil change.
3. Spark Plugs
Your batteries work fine, but your car won’t start because your spark plugs are already busted. Spark plugs are the core starters of your vehicle and if they’re not in good shape, your car, regardless of how mint conditioned it is, will not function at all. Standard copper plugs can last between 10,000 to 20,000 miles. Iridium or platinum spark plugs can last for 60,000 miles or even more and their high-end counterparts can go more than 120,000 miles. However, as always, it is important to determine your driving frequency, as these are only gauges you could use to replace them.
As a travel agent, it is my responsibility to ensure the safety of my clients. As you are all my clients, to cut thing short when working with me or your travel agent and ensure your safety, keep in mind everything listed here before you leave for your international flight.
1. Passport Copies
Have at least five copies of your passport to ensure that even if your passport gets stolen, you could still prove your citizenship and get back to the country you’re spending a vacation or your activity in. Make sure to leave a copy of your passport at home and an electronic one that you could access from any computer terminal as well.
2. Insurance and Vaccinations
Most embassies have requirements for people from one country visiting another country. Before leaving, make sure that you have a medical check-up and have your insurance company give you the proper shots and vaccinations you need to stay healthy inside the foreign country.
3. Monetary Conversion
Bringing enough money is the key to a fruitful and smooth vacation and knowing the local conversion of your money in the foreign land is important. Sometimes, your 1 piece could be equivalent to at least 0.19 centavos in the foreign country. So be sure to check the exchange rates so you know how much money you should bring.
4. Get Guidebooks
Always get a guidebook that is published in your country before leaving for another country. Most of these guidebooks have maps, signs, common languages and phrases locals use and other useful information about the foreign country.