Funny Pick Up Lines – "Closing" the Pickup

The purpose of this article is not only to give you some funny pick up lines you can use to 'break the ice' and get a conversation going, but also focusing on what you need to do to convince the girl you're 'potential' so she agrees to a date down the track. After all, if you are really serious about the arrival, a funny pick up line really is not much use unless you can take the relationship past that first meet! Read on.

Funny Pick Up lines:

– "Excuse me, I'm new in town … Can I have directions to your place?"

– You: "My magic watch says you're not wearing any underwear." Her: "Yes I am!" You: "Ohh, it must be 20 minutes fast".

– Her: "Excuse me, do you have the time?" You: "Umm, do you have the energy?"

– "You're like a prized fish. I dunno whether I should mount you or eat you."

And what now? 'Closing' the Pickup:

Okay, so you've grabbed her attention. Great! But hang on, grabbing her initial attention is not going to keep her interested in you. Just because you know a great funny pick up lines does not place you in 'alpha' status.

For her to give you a closer look, there are a few things you need to convey to her through your body language and speech. These include confidence, 'charisma', the fact that you're a scarce resource, but also the face that you are distinct to the outcome of this meeting – all in all, you need to know how to create the correct scenario so that you do not respond to her the same as every other guy in the club, which for her would be a boring repetitive process.

So keep these things in mind when looking to 'close' the pick up: – Confidence – Time restriction – Indifference to income – Knowledge of how advance using 'keno' – Sense of humor and playfulness in the right ways.

By being able to tick off each of these, you will be in a much better position to exhale 'alpha' vibes and to differentiate myself from all the other men.

My friends and I had sworn by a particular book which told us exactly what we should and should not do. That is, what gets a girl interested and what put's her off. – It was a pickup book written by a woman! My friends and I attributed our success after using this book to this one single point. Too many pick up guides out there are written by men, but how are men men supposed to know what women want? That's why reading a guide from a woman's perspective was an absolute blast. You can read about it right here

And hopefully you are now on your way to building your self persona, ready for the game!

Cheers

Why Is 3 AWG Electrical Wire the Only Odd Gauge Size?

Gauge sizes in copper electrical wire will get larger as the number gets smaller which means 10 AWG has more copper in it than 12 AWG. It’s very unlikely to find a supplier with stock on any odd gauge sizes such as 11 or 7 because the difference is so minor that the application could easily use the size above or below the odd size needed. However, when the gauge sizes get larger there’s much more room in between each size which is why odd sizes start to be included at 3 AWG electrical wire.

The outer diameter of 14 AWG bare copper is .064 inches compared to the next size down of 12 AWG at.081 inches. That’s a difference of .017 inches which means a 13 wire would be nearly useless to have around. Now, the difference between a 4 wire (.204″) and a 2 wire (.257″) is .053 inches putting a 3 AWG electrical wire directly in the middle at .229 inches. There is also a 1 AWG wire included as the sizes get larger for the same reason.

A 3 AWG electrical wire is most commonly found in the THHN THWN family. THHN stands for Thermoplastic High Heat Nylon and the “W” in THWN stands for Water resistant. Both approvals are written on the insulation of all THHN copper wire nowadays because the cost of manufacturing both types got out of hand. The cost difference between the two was minor so combining them was a good idea.

This type of copper electrical wire is most commonly used in homes and building by installers, electricians and contractors who pretty much just say “I need number 4 wire” and it’s understood by the supplier that they need THHN wire. There is a cost savings for the contractor when they can use 3 AWG wire rather than 2 AWG wire because the cost is directly driven by the amount of copper used to manufacture it. I assume it goes without saying that a 2 AWG wire has more copper than a 3 AWG wire so it makes sense for the contractor to find the 3 AWG wire instead of just purchasing the number 2 before looking around.

Speak to your electrician about the size of copper you’ll need and speak to your supplier about the type of insulation you’ll need based on the application. Suppliers are trained more to determine which type of insulation protects best against indoor, outdoor and underground conditions.

Alternative Loan Options for Residential Real Estate Investment

Conventional loans are typically the hardest to obtain for real estate investors. Some lenders don’t allow income from investment properties to be counted toward total income, which can make global underwriting a problem for certain investors, especially those who already have several existing conventional, conforming real estate loans reporting on their credit. In these cases, the investor must look outside conventional funding for their investments. Two of the more popular choices for alternative financing are portfolio loans and hard money loans.

Portfolio Loans

These loans are loans made by banks which do not sell the mortgage to other investors or mortgage companies. Portfolio loans are made with the intention of keeping them on the books until the loan is paid off or comes to term. Banks which make these kinds of loans are called portfolio lenders, and are usually smaller, more community focused operations.

Advantages of Portfolio Loans

Because these banks do not deal in volume or answer to huge boards like commercial banks, portfolio lenders can do loans that commercial banks wouldn’t touch, like the following:

  • smaller multifamily properties
  • properties in dis-repair
  • properties with an unrealized after-completed value
  • pre-stabilized commercial buildings
  • single tenant operations
  • special use buildings like churches, self-storage, or manufacturing spaces
  • construction and rehab projects

Another advantage of portfolio lenders is that they get involved with their community. Portfolio lenders like to lend on property they can go out and visit. They rarely lend outside of their region. This too gives the portfolio lender the ability to push guidelines when the numbers of a deal may not be stellar, but the lender can make a visit to the property and clearly see the value in the transaction. Rarely, if ever, will a banker at a commercial bank ever visit your property, or see more of it than what she can gather from the appraisal report.

Disadvantages of Portfolio Loans

There are only three downsides to portfolio loans, and in my opinion, they are worth the trade off to receive the services mentioned above:

  • shorter loan terms
  • higher interest rates
  • conventional underwriting

A portfolio loan typically has a shorter loan term than conventional, conforming loans. The loan will feature a standard 30 year amortization, but will have a balloon payment in 10 years or less, at which time you’ll need to payoff the loan in cash or refinance it.

Portfolio loans usually carry a slightly higher than market interest rate as well, usually around one half to one full percentage point higher than what you’d see from your large mortgage banker or retail commercial chain.

While portfolio lenders will sometimes go outside of guidelines for a great property, chances are you’ll have to qualify using conventional guidelines. That means acceptable income ratios, global underwriting, high debt service coverage ratios, better than average credit, and a good personal financial statement. Failing to meet any one of those criteria will knock your loan out of consideration with most conventional lenders. Two or more will likely knock you out of running for a portfolio loan.

If you find yourself in a situation where your qualifying criteria are suffering and can’t be approved for a conventional loan or a portfolio loan you’ll likely need to visit a local hard money lender.

Hard Money and Private Money Loans

Hard money loans are asset based loans, which means they are underwritten by considering primarily the value of the asset being pledged as collateral for the loan.

Advantages of Hard Money Loans

Rarely do hard money lenders consider credit score a factor in underwriting. If these lenders do run your credit report it’s most likely to make sure the borrower is not currently in bankruptcy, and doesn’t have open judgments or foreclosures. Most times, those things may not even knock a hard money loan out of underwriting, but they may force the lender to take a closer look at the documents.

If you are purchasing property at a steep discount you may be able to finance 100% of your cost using hard money. For example, if you are purchasing a $100,000 property owned by the bank for only $45,000 you could potentially obtain that entire amount from a hard money lender making a loan at a 50% loan-to-value ratio (LTV). That is something both conventional and portfolio lenders cannot do.

While private lenders do check the income producing ability of the property, they are more concerned with the as-is value of the property, defined as the value of the subject property as the property exists at the time of loan origination. Vacant properties with no rental income are rarely approved by conventional lenders but are favorite targets for private lenders.

The speed at which a hard money loan transaction can be completed is perhaps its most attractive quality. Speed of the loan is a huge advantage for many real estate investors, especially those buying property at auction, or as short sales or bank foreclosures which have short contract fuses.Hard money loans can close in as few as 24 hours. Most take between two weeks and 30 days, and even the longer hard money time lines are still less than most conventional underwriting periods.

Disadvantages of Hard Money and Private Money Loans

Typically, a private lender will make a loan of between 50 to 70 percent of the as-is value. Some private lenders use a more conservative as-is value called the “quick sale” value or the “30 day” value, both of which could be considerably less than a standard appraised value. Using a quick sale value is a way for the private lender to make a more conservative loan, or to protect their investment with a lower effective LTV ratio. For instance, you might be in contract on a property comparable to other single family homes that sold recently for $150,000 with an average marketing time of three to four months. Some hard money lenders m lend you 50% of that purchase price, citing it as value, and giving you $75,000 toward the purchase. Other private lenders may do a BPO and ask for a quick sale value with a marketing exposure time of only 30 days. That value might be as low as $80,000 to facilitate a quick sale to an all-cash buyer. Those lenders would therefore make a loan of only $40,000 (50% of $80,000 quick sale value) for an effective LTV of only 26%. This is most often a point of contention on deals that fall out in underwriting with hard money lenders. Since a hard money loan is being made at a much lower percentage of value, there is little room for error in estimating your property’s real worth.

The other obvious disadvantage to a hard money loans is the cost. Hard money loans will almost always carry a much higher than market interest rate, origination fees, equity fees, exit fees, and sometimes even higher attorney, insurance, and title fees. While some hard money lenders allow you to finance these fees and include them in the overall loan cost, it still means you net less when the loan closes.

Weighing the Good and the Bad

As with any loan you have to weigh the good and the bad, including loan terms, interest rate, points, fees, and access to customer support. There is always a trade-off present in alternative lending. If you exhibit poor credit and have no money for down payment you can be sure the lender will charge higher interest rates and reduce terms to make up for the added risk.

When dealing with private lenders make sure to inquire about their valuation method.

Also, with hard money lenders, you should be careful in your research and background checking. While hard money loans are one of the more popular alternative financing options, they are often targets for unscrupulous third parties. Before signing any loan paperwork make sure to run all documentation by a qualified real estate attorney and/or tax professional. If you suspect fraud or predatory lending contact the state attorney general office.

What Are Corner Guards and Why Use Them for Baseboard Corner Damage?

Whether you have experienced damage to your baseboard corners or would like to simply protect them from potential damage from a vacuum or from pets, corner guards may be right for you. Corner guards are used to protect the interior corners of a room against damage. They may also be referred to as corner protectors. While there are certain edge and corner protectors that help improve safety for your small child or baby, the corner guards mentioned in this article protect your baseboards and wall corners from vacuum and pet damage.

Whenever you vacuum your home, office, or other room, the baseboard corners are at risk of being bumped and scraped. This can happen when using a vacuum extension tube to clean carpet, hardwood, or tile flooring around baseboard edges. It is especially likely when your baseboards are of a contrasting color with the vacuum extension tube. For instance, many vacuum extension tubes are black, which can cause marks on white or other light-colored baseboards when cleaning.

Over time, these marks can cause excessive wear and tear to the interior of your home, degrading its appearance and value. In an office environment, damaged baseboards can make a poor impression on clients or customers that take note of the appearance of your office of business interior. While you may paint over the baseboards, certain damage such as scrapes and nicks are difficult to cover up with paint. Trying to paint can also cause further damage if it stains the carpet or hardwood flooring. Therefore, the best way to protect the baseboard corners and cover up existing damage is with corner guard protectors. There are many different kinds of corner protectors, so it is important to choose the right type for your home or office.

First, the material is an important consideration depending on the type of activity within your home or business setting. Most places are prone to many different activities that cause damage. For example, in a business or office setting, chairs with wheels can bump against the corners, furniture can cause damage, and nightly or weekly cleanings can further tarnish the baseboards. As previously mentioned, in a home all of these same dangers exist, in addition to potential pet damage and other accidents related to food or high amounts of human activity.

Therefore, the best material for a protector is typically a strong metal, such as steel. Protecting your baseboard corners with a strong material can save hundreds of dollars in carpentry and other service costs down the road. In other words, investing in a little into installing corner guards now can save you lots of money and hassle of having to try and fix the damages later on.

A second important consideration for corner guards is the whether paint coating is environmentally safe or not. Corner protector items may come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. While the size and shape are dependent on your exact corner or wall needs, the color or paint coating is an important consideration. Since these protectors will be installed in your home or office 24/7, it’s a good idea to choose environmentally safe coating, such as powder coating, which is safest and cleanest for a living or working environment.

Collapsed Glass in Thermopane Windows

Thermopane or Dual paned windows consist of two panels of glass, separated by a spacer bar and sealed together. Some windows were manufactured with Argon gas injected into the cavity between the glass panels to increase energy efficiency. Argon was used because of its higher insulating qualities over ambient air. In some situations the Argon gas will dissipate out of the window cavity causing the window cavity to have a partial negative pressure or vacuum.

Other Causes of Collapsed Glass

There are other possible causes of a collapsed glass window. During the manufacturing of large thermopane units, one panel of glass is laid over top the other panel, separated by the spacer bar, and then are sealed together. The top panel of larger thermopane units will naturally flex downward in the center due to its weight, as it is sealed into the thermopane. The result is less pressure or gas on the inside of the window cavity, which can lead to a Collapsed glass condition after it is installed and cooled. Ideally, after the large unit has been manufactured, it would be placed upright and briefly vented with a breather tube and resealed to allow the cavity to equalize. The large thermopane that is not equalized will have a lower pressure within the window cavity after it is stood up.

Some smaller thermopane glass units are manufactured with single strength glass (1/16″). This glass can, because of its weakness, flex inward in extreme cold conditions, reducing the insulating qualities of the window.

Lower pressure inside a glass cavity is a significant issue in colder climates, because the gas (air) within a collapsed window cavity has a partial vacuum (low pressure) which contracts, and causes the two panels of glass to flex inward.

Factors that Contribute to Collapsed Glass

  • If the Argon placed inside the thermopane unit has dissipated through the seal.
  • If the spacer bar (the visible, in most cases silver, bar that runs around the perimeter of the thermopane unit) is a narrow type as it was constructed, and leaves very little room for the glass to flex before the glass touches.
  • If the glass in the unit is single strength (1/16″) which is weaker and easier to flex.
  • If the temperature decreases causing the air left inside the window cavity to contract further, pulling the two panels of glass inward.
  • If the thermopane consist of large panels of glass where the top panel of glass flexes downward during construction and is sealed in that position, leaving less air in the window cavity.

How to know if you have Collapsed Glass

The telltale sign of Collapsed glass is a faint rainbow colored spot in the center of the window (this is where the glass panels are touching), and in some cases an oval or round condensation spot in the center of the window on the inside of the home. The homeowner may think that because the oval condensation spot disappears during warmer temperatures, the problem may have resolved itself, but that is not the case. The condition will probably recur and the heat loss through the glass will resume.

Problems associated with Collapsed Glass

A windows R-value is mostly determined by the amount of space inside the window’s cavity. When the space between the glass is reduced, the insulating quality (R-value) of the thermopane unit is reduced. Collapsed Glass causes the two panels of glass to flex in, reducing the space inside the window’s cavity, which reduces the insulating qualities of the window. This extreme flexing of the glass panels can also lead to premature seal failure, which will then require thermopane replacement. In some cases the glass can be flexed so forcibly together that one or both panels will shatter.

Repair Collapsed Glass

Collapsed Glass can be repaired. Using specialized tools a technician can penetrate the glass, which will relieve the negative pressure and equalize the window cavity with the outside environment. A clear seal is then placed over the hole to re-seal the window. This will restore the insulating qualities of the window minus the original argon. If the collapsed glass occurs in a tempered glass window (patio door or other large units where tempering is required) the glass can’t be drilled as it can in an annealed unit (regular thermopane). These tempered glass units can be removed from the window frame allowing the procedure to be accomplished by penetrating the seal and spacer, allowing ambient air in to equalize the window cavity, and then re-sealing the unit.

Conclusion

Collapsed glass is becoming more of a problem as windows age and the original Argon gas dissipates from the window cavities. As energy prices rise, it is more important than ever to restore the windows insulating characteristics and save the glass from future replacement.

Muscle Car Restoration – The Tools You Need

The truth is that there are a lot of tools that will be needed during a car restoration. In this article I will not be talking about how to set up a shop, but rather the tools that you need to restore your car at home. We all know that this is a big job, so get ready to get down and dirty.

The very first suggestion that I will make, is that you absolutely must have a garage to do the work in. It doesn’t need to be a huge outrageous garage, just a place where you can leave your car for a while that will keep it out of the weather, this will not be a fast process.

The garage that you work from also needs to have power, this is also a must. You can’t possibly do all of the work with hand tools. There are a few tools that I will suggest that you could live without if you have to, but most of them will be a must.

It would also be a nice idea to have heat in your garage, this will make it more comfortable to do your work. Below I will add a list of the tools you will need to restore your classic car. This list may not cover all of the tools, but it will cover most of the ones that are a must.

Let me also give a warning here, it you are one of those people who think that everything has to have a time limit, and that time limit must push you to move the job along quickly, this my not be that much fun for you, it will take a lot of time.

List Of The Tools That You Need To Do A Car Restoration

1. This is a must have, you will need an air compressor that can handle the work load that you will through at it.

2. You will need a full set of wrenches, both metrics and SAE.

3. You will need a ratchet, and a full set of sockets.

4. You will need a full set of screwdrivers.

5. You will need a 5″ air grinder.

6. You will need a 1/2″ and a 3/8″ breaker bar, and sockets to use with them.

7. You will need a full set of pry bars.

8. You will need air lines to connect your tools to the air.

9. Optional it is always nice to have a drop light when you need it.

10. You will need paint guns to spray the primer with, I do not suggest low dollar spray gun, get about a mid range brand name gun.

11. You will need air files for shaping the body filler that you will be using.

12. You will also need long hand file boards, the shaping is always better when it’s done by hand.

13. You will need body hammers and dollies to take out dents with.

14. Optional you should have a uni-spotter nail welder to pull dents also, a good brand to look at is stinger.

15. You will need a die grinder, this is an absolute must if you have rust, or dents that require you to cut out the area to fix the problem.

16. You will need a mig welder, this is another piece of equipment that is not an option, it is a must. Do not by a no name welder either.

This may not be all of the tools that you will need, but it should get you well on your way to getting the job done in an efficient manor. You should not have to look for tools every time you turn around if you have these basic tools.

The other thing that I always harp on is safety, you should always do you work with another friend around so in case something happens during the process and you need help. The key idea here is to have fun, and do the job in a safe manor.

Car Restoration

Muscle Cars

No Hot Water From Combi Boiler

One of the most commonly asked questions that I get asked is: why there is no hot water in my taps? To be able to diagnose this problem we need to establish the type of heating system that is installed at the property in question. Generally there will be many options to choose from such us: instantaneous electric water heaters (electric), instantaneous gas water heaters, storage water heaters, electric showers, gas fired combination boilers, gas fired traditional boilers and hot water cylinder, unvented hot water cylinders and variations on above.

This series of articles will deal with the most common systems in UK starting with combination boilers also known as ‘combi’ boilers. Other systems we will discuss in further articles are:

– Unvented cylinders

– Traditional cylinders (vented)

No hot water on combination boiler. The first thing to check in case there is no hot water on combination boiler is to see if it works in central heating mode. To do that you will need to make sure that your wall mounted thermostat is calling for heat. You also may have a programmable thermostat. In that case make sure that it is set to constant on central heating mode. If boiler fires up then we can suspect that a diverter valve is stuck on heating mode. A visit from an engineer will be required to replace this part.

If combination boiler does not work in both hot water and heating modes there are some steps that can be performed by the owner before calling a heating engineer to eliminate most obvious possible causes. Combination boilers require on average 1 bar pressure in central heating system to function satisfactorily. Look for a pressure gauge on the front of the boiler or sometimes on central heating pipe work.

Most boiler makes will have markers in green or red pointer (as on the picture) showing required system pressure. If system pressure is low then that may be the reason for boiler not firing up in both domestic hot water and heating modes. By low we understand below marked field on the gauge. Most boilers will not fire up if pressure drops below 0.5 bar. If low pressure has been detected next step is to top up system pressure. Majority of boilers on the market would have been fitted with a filling loop that comprises of no.2 valves and a flexible metallic connector. Good plumbing practice requires that filling loop should be detached and left by the boiler with no.2 valves capped of to avoid accidental over pressurising the system and leaks from PRVs (Pressure Relief Valve). In reality however 90% of installation have filling loops attached. Let’s assume we have our filling loop in place.

Some filling loops will have a singel tap while other may have 2 taps or a flat screwdriver point. On single tap ones it is enough to turn one tap on. On filling loops with 2 taps you will have to turn both on. On filling loops without taps you may need a small flat screwdriver to turn them on and off.

Be aware that some combination boilers and not fitted with filling loops. The best example is Worcester Bosh CDi range of boilers that require a special plastic key to top them up. This may be a major hassle if the key had been lost! I will not detail how to top those boilers up as there is a very detailed guide on how to do that on Worcester Bosch web site.

Once you know where your filling loop is and how to use it turn the boiler off and fill up the system to around 1.5 bar pressure. On some boilers (Vaillant Eco Tec Pro) there is only green and red field without digits showing pressure. Top up to 2/3 of the green. System topped up? Hot water back on? Great! No hot water? Read on.

With your system at correct pressure check if boiler controls are set properly. There should be hot water thermostat on the boiler. It may be the case that it is turned all the way down. If it is, set it half way up and try again.

System pressurised? Controls in on position? Hopefully your hot water is back on. If not suspect a more serious issue and call a qualified heating engineer to help you with your hot water problem.

Unit Rates and Thai House Plans To Estimate the Cost of Building a House in Thailand

This article is based on my recent experience of actually going through the process of obtaining estimates of the cost of building a house in Thailand including getting quotations from builders in Thailand and also using unit build rates (how much square meter) to build a retirement house in Thailand.

It will be useful to anyone retiring in Thailand or planning to retire to Thailand and build a retirement house.

The Two Main Two Ways To Estimate the Cost of Building a House in Thailand

There are basically two ways of pricing a building project in Thailand.

1. Using Unit Build Rates To Estimate The Cost Of Building A House

The first and simplest method is by using Unit Build Rates, i.e. how much per square meter it costs to build the house in Baht/m2. There are a range of Unit Build Rates for houses in Thailand and these vary according to the standard of the building and the location in the country.

There are other factors that affect the price of building a house in Thailand and these are not normally allowed for in unit build rates.

Just one example is that the cost of building depends greatly upon the particular builder chosen as quotations for the same property from different builders varies greatly.

Unit rates for use in estimating the cost of house construction are readily available where I live in the United Kingdom (UK). There are many websites that list these unit rates and also there are pricing books that give rate per square metre for a range of building types and sizes. This method is commonly used in Great Britain, and other Western countries to work out a budget cost for building a house.

However, in Thailand the situation is different. I have not seen any ‘official’ Unit Build Rates for Thailand but several websites, notably those Forums catering for expats living in Thailand, give some rough figures from people who have built their own retirement house in Thailand.

But that’s all they are – a guide – and really barely worth using even for budgeting purpose.

Two Examples from Thai Websites of Unit Rates for House Build Cost in Thailand

From A1Real.com

Bangkok: “As of March 2006, buyers had to pay 81,975 baht/m2 in average to acquire a condominium unit in central area of Bangkok compared to 72,596 baht/m2 in the last twelve months”.

From Thai-AirPark.com

Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand: “A house built to western standard will cost between 160 to 300 Euros / m2″ (At 45 Euros/Baht (Jan 2010) that works out at 7,200 to 13,500 Thai Baht per m2).

Notice how the unit rate for these two examples are so different.

Another way to get unit rates for Thailand is to approach Thai builders and architects. Unit Build Rates recently sent to me by one of Thailand’s leading Bangkok-based design-and-build companies are in the range of 15,000 to 20,000 Baht/m2.

The method of application of the Unit Build Rates is simple. You work out the total floor area of the proposed building including all floors and multiply by the unit rate. There is no need to find or involve a builder for this method once you have decided on the the unit rate to use.

There are inherent inaccuracies in this approach because the mix of different types of usage will be different in different building.

For example, using my own proposed property in Pak Chong, Thailand, as an example, the house is a typical ‘post’ house and half of the ground floor is left ‘open’ to be made into usable rooms at a later date and the other half simply has blockwork walls to for a workshop.

Clearly the unit rate for these areas is different and different from the first floor that contains kitchen, bedrooms and other living area.

Another example of different type (and hence costs) of building usage using my Pak Chong house as an example is that on the first floor I have a very large (compared to the rest of the house) patio area and also another semi-open area both of which would be a much lower cost to construct than the living accommodation areas.

The fact is that new build houses in Thailand are very often of completely different style and layout to other houses. This is in comparison with the UK where new houses are often built in their hundreds all to the same design. Everyone knows what you will get in a ‘3 bed semi-detached house’ in England. In this situation unit rates can be safely applied.

So what area is used in the cost calculation? Do you use the total area including the ground floor open area and workshop and the first floor patio and semi open area plus the living accommodation areas? Or do you use the unit rate just for the living accommodation and take a percentage of the unit rate for the lower cost areas?

The problem is that I don’t know the basis for the unit rate in the first place. i.e. whether it was for a property similar to mine with the open areas included, or whether it was for a property with a greater percentage of actual living area.

In conclusion the Unit Build Rates method in Thailand can only be used to get a very rough idea of the likely cost and is really not accurate enough for establishing a budget.

2. Obtaining A Quotation From A Thai Builder For Building A House In Thailand

This method depends upon finding a builder to prepare a quotation based (usually) a set of drawings (also called house plans) for the property in question. (The house you want to build to retire to in Thailand) Obviously, the more accurate and detailed the house plans, the more accurate the quotation can be.

Other documents may also be provided to supplement the house plans and these include a Scope Of Works describing the scope of the project (not normally produced in Thailand) and Schedules. The Schedules are typically a schedule of finishes, schedule of doors, ironmongery etc.

There are three major difficulties with this method.

1. Obtaining The House plans And Other Documents

I’m lucky in that I can use the Autocad Computer Aided Drawings (CAD) software package and am familiar with building design so I was able to produce my own CAD drawings and schedules for my planned retirement house in Thailand.

Also, I didn’t start with a blank sheet of paper, instead I downloaded some existing Thai house plans from the Thai Government website (Search for ‘download Thai Government House Plans’) and selected one to use as a starting point for my own Thai house design.

If you don’t fancy this do-it-yourself approach you will have to find someone to make the house plans for you. Whilst this is easy in (if somewhat expensive) in the UK, if you try to find a Thai Architect to do this for you then you may have problems.

Firstly finding an Architect in Thailand is not easy although I did find an architectural and construction company in Bangkok and I subsequently appointed then to make the construction drawings for my own house – but that is another story.

Secondly, how do you explain to an Architect what you want? This is particularly difficult (impossible?) if you don’t already have your own preliminary drawings as I did and if you aren’t in a position to sit down in the same room as the architect and pour over ideas and concepts.

Doing that by email from starting from scratch from outside of Thailand is next to impossible.

2. Translation Of The Documents Into The Thai Language

This is not so difficult if you are prepared to pay for a translator in Thailand.

A translator can easily translate the schedules but adding Thai to CAD drawings in not easy unless the translator also knows how to use the CAD software! My own house plans and schedules are in English only and I was able to get a quotation from a Thai builder.

You might try English only and just get the translator to translate the technical phrases that the builder doesn’t understand. Again, much easier to do if you are in Thailand alongside the translator and builder.

3. Finding A Builder In Thailand

This can be one of the most difficult tasks you have to do.

My wife has contacted at least six builders from within Thailand and only one has produced a price. That price was based on the house plans and schedules that I produced but was about double what we expected, at 2.1 million Baht, which works out at 16,000 Baht/m2.

The answer we get from most of the builders is that they are too busy to work on providing a price for a small house build job. It seems that many builders are engaged on large projects in the coastal resorts of Thailand (e.g. Phucket) and that our tiny little project in Pakchong is not worth their while.

The method I used to find builders consisted of knocking on doors “You have a nice house, can you tell me who the builder was?” I find it easy to approach people and one day I was chatting with the Security Guard at our hotel, “The Mansion” at 8/8 Soi Tedsaban 8, Mittrapap Rd., Pakchong, Thailand, and he announced that he could get a price from at least two builders.

We took him up on that offer but never received the quotations. One was too busy and the other wanted 5,000 Baht up front before preparing a quotation in case we didn’t select him as our builder! By the way, the Security Guard said that his commission was 10 percent!

In this short discussion on how I obtained budget estimates for a retirement home in Thailand I have covered the two main methods, using unit rates and house plans, to secure a budget price and the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Also I have explained the three difficulties you will face when trying to get a builder in Thailand to give you an estimate for building your retirement house in Thailand.

Running A Machine Shop With Portable Air Conditioning Units

The inside of even a small machine shop can quickly heat up because of the operation of industrial tools and the friction that is generated when working with metal. The proper cooling of a machine shop is vital to the operation of a business, since an unventilated space can be hazardous to the workers, the tools and the building itself. Portable air conditioning units that handle this type of industrial space are one part of the solution for a machine shop. It can sometimes take four or more cooling units to maintain a good temperature inside of the building. There are several elements in a shop that can contribute to the amount of heat that must be managed.

Machinery

Large shops must often deal with dozens or even hundreds of machines that are each contributing to an increase in the temperature. This can be caused by multiple turning centers or other tools that use hydraulics and powerful engines. A number of these engines operating at the same time can quickly cause hundreds or thousands of gallons of oil to rise in temperature. This heat is dissipated into the air and can start to affect the performance of other machinery. Shops that do not manage the temperatures around machinery can potentially see interruptions in work because of overheating that locks the tools until the area can be cooled. Portable air conditioners can be used as a cooling solution in targeted areas that might contain high concentrations of machinery that become very hot while in use.

Steam And Moisture

Computer numerical control (CNC) tools come in many different designs. Some of these use water-based coolants to help keep cutting heads and other components cool while a program is running. The result is that the hot components cause the water in the coolant to turn into steam. This steam is then released into the air and can cause the temperature to rise in the machine shop. There are certain systems that can be installed that can help to mitigate some of this release of steam. Portable air conditioning units can be used as a permanent or temporary solution to this problem by providing the ability to reduce the amount of humidity that is created while simultaneously cooling the entire area.

Improper Insulation

Nearly all machine shops require some type of insulation to keep the space warm in the winter and cooler in the summer. Improperly installed insulation or buildings that have no insulation can begin to act like ovens in the summer when the sun hits the exterior walls. Portable air conditioners can be used to negate this increase in temperatures in order to keep the shop at a comfortable level where employees and equipment can operate without problems.

Calcium and Constipation – How to Get Rid of Constipation Caused by Calcium Supplements

Decreased frequency of bowel movement indicates the problem of constipation. It must not be less than 3 times a week. When you have constipation, you pass hard & dry stools that are small in size. The elimination of such stool becomes difficult. You may often feel pain & strain in such cases.

Calcium and constipation are associated to some extent as excess consumption of calcium leads to constipation. The other causes are as follows:

· Less fiber diet

· Lack of physical activities

· Medications

· Milk

· Ignoring the urge

· Dehydration

· Colon problems

Calcium may cause constipation. So, you must take the following precautions while taking calcium:

· Space out your calcium intake.

· Take some vitamin supplements along with calcium.

· Avoid having calcium carbonate as it reduces the frequency of your bowel movements. Also avoid calcium while having food items containing phosphates, oxalates or phytates.

· It is wise to take it at 2 hours gap from the other drugs.

· The best forms to have are orotate, gluconate or aspartate.

· The food items rich in this mineral are egg yolk, skimmed milk, seeds, nuts, cauliflower, cottage cheese, etc.

Here are few tips to get rid of the constipation caused by the calcium apart from the above mentioned precautions:

· Take magnesium rich food. The list includes berries, nuts, grains, apples, cashews, peas, cabbage, fish, etc.

· Drink plenty of water. Try having a glass of warm water with a teaspoon of honey & a half lemon juice. You may take this in the morning before eating or drinking anything else.

· Have at least 350 grams of grapes everyday.

· Eat bael fruit.

· Chewing a few liquorice sticks every day helps a lot.

· Take brown rice instead of white rice.

· Go for a fiber cereal during morning time.

· Avoid refrigerated, canned, preserved and overcooked food items. Take whole grain food items instead of taking refined starch foods.

What to Serve With Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken tortilla soup is a Mexican dish made with rotisserie chicken, tomato paste and Mexican spices. It is a recipe that you can easily prepare to serve during dinner parties, potlucks or just a simple meal that you are having at home. This can be prepared in many ways, and to avoid all the calories and fats, you can even have your own variety to make at home.

While chicken tortilla soup tastes as delicious as it looks, wouldn’t you prefer it if there are other foods or drinks to go with it instead of eating it plain? Now, you might be asking about what to serve with this delicious soup. Here are some suggestions so that your meal will be more delectable.

Beans and Salads
Beans and salads make perfect companions for chicken tortilla soup. For the beans, you can have a bowl of black or pinto beans or refried beans that are non-fat. You will definitely love both dishes, even if the beans do not have that much ingredients mixed with them. On the other hand, you can choose to have a green salad if you can whip it up. What you make will depend on your choice of vegetables and dressings. You can have a salad made vinaigrette which is made of olive oil, minced garlic, lime juice and cilantro. Should you choose to have garnishes, avocado slices, tomatoes or red onions will be perfect.

Entrees of your Choice
Chicken tortilla soup can make a perfect meal even if it is just the dish that you are going to have. However, it can also be perfect for meals that are Mexican-themed. What you have to keep in mind when choosing the dishes for the main course of the meal will be the richness of the tortilla soup. There are those who make the soup rich, usually made with cheese and sour cream. For this, a lighter entrée is well-suited for the meal such as taco salads and other similar recipes. For light soups which are made with broth, chicken enchiladas and quesadillas will be perfect for the meal.

Drinks and Desserts
There are drinks and desserts that go well with chicken tortilla soup. Beer is one that you might want to consider such as Mexican beers. If you prefer wine, you can also have it such as Sauvignon Blanc or any wine of your choice. You have to choose those that will not compete with the flavor of the soup that you are having. Should a non-alcoholic beverage be your choice, flavored water is suggested as well as pineapple ginger drink. Moreover, desserts that are suited for this dish include pineapple or lime ice or a bowl of fresh fruit.

There is indeed a variety of what you can serve with chicken tortilla soup, from drinks, entrees to desserts. Aside from these suggestions, you can also think about other food to serve with this tasty soup, depending on your preferences. But if you choose to just have the soup, you can always do so.

Pig Characteristics and Traits – Understanding Their Behavior Will Help You To Take Care of Pigs

Pigs are a great source of meat, but they are also great pets. Finding out what pig characteristics are will help you to take care of these intelligent animals. Although traits may vary according to breed, several genetic characteristics are present among pigs.

Pigs are one of the most social and intelligent farm animals. The reason why pig farmers create strong pens and fences is that pigs can escape from even a relatively good fence. They are known to work in pairs and sometimes, smarter swine even open other pens to let other pigs escape. They can also learn new behaviors as proven by experiments and research. They can move a screen cursor and remember drawings and scribbles they already knew. Scientists believe they are smarter than primates and even three-year old children.

One of the distinct pig characteristics is their cleanliness. Contrary to other people’s belief, pigs are generally clean animals. This is shown by their choice of toilet far away from their food and water troughs and their shelter. They will also not sleep or lay near the manure. They use mud to block their sensitive skin from the sun and insect bites.

Pigs, like other animals, have sweat glands only on their snouts. That is why they love to be near the water or mud especially in hot weather.

Pigs are near-sighted. They use their sense of smell and hearing to guide them where to go. They also use their snouts to look for food. They are like dogs that sniff things they want to find.

Pigs generally can live for 10-15 years if well cared for. They will keep on growing until they are four to five years old. However, some breeds, like the potbelly pig, do not share these general pig characteristics. They usually weigh only 60 to 300 pounds, depending on what type of diet they are fed. Micro-mini pigs or teacup pigs weigh 29 to 65 pounds, and are specially bred to be small.

Pigs are independent animals. Unlike dogs, they do not care for much attention. They are more like plants that only need to be fed, watered, and taken out of the sun. Of course, spending time with your pig will make it more attached to you, but not like dogs, they will not seek loving companionship.

Pigs can jump. They do jump, only slightly low and only if they are trying to reach for something or are startled. They will also jump if you train them to.

Pigs are highly trainable animals. Because they have good sense of smell, you can train them to retrieve or hunt something for you. Just make sure you have treats of food as a source of motivation.

With these pig characteristics, maybe you are getting really excited about getting a pig as a pet. However, also remember that pigs require a lot of space since they can grow really big. They also tend to be destructive when they are exploring. Some people think that pigs are too smart to be kept as pets. Whatever people and scientists say, the decision is always up to you.

My Dog Won’t Shut Up! How to Stop a Barking Dog

Introduction

Yapping dogs are perhaps the worst nightmare of any person living next door. These are typically toy or small breed dogs that tend to sit at the gate and yap sun-up till sun-down. This article will explain why these dogs are doing this and what you can do if you are the owner of a yapping dog.

Reasons why a Dog Barks Non-stop

Dogs that bark persistently are bored most of the time. There are rare causes like obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD) that cause prolonged barking episodes, most owners want veterinarians to diagnose OCD as the cause for their dog’s bad barking behaviour because there is no real treatment. These owners are often in denial and do not want to face the fact that they have a bored dog. Here are some of the reasons a dog will bark continuously:

  • Boredom is the most common cause. This is often built up energy that the dog has due to inactivity or lack of social interaction. They have no other route of expelling this excess energy, so they opt to bark all day long at anything they see.
  • Habit of barking that has built up over months, even years. This is the worst of the lot. These dogs just bark anywhere and everywhere. At the gate, along the fence, in the house, some just sit in a quiet spot and bark for the fun of barking.
  • Sight problems, dogs that cannot see very well or who have hair growing in front of their eyes are prone to barking. They usually calm down when they recognise the perceived threat.
  • Hearing problems are also a concern. Deaf dogs or dogs that are losing their hearing are prone to barking. Dogs that have very acute hearing will also bark, often at sounds that you cannot even hear, such as construction work four or five blocks away.
  • Very old dogs are more at risk of beginning canine cognitive dysfunction (dementia). This is where their brains are not working as well as they should due to normal old age changes inside the body. Old dogs on high protein diets are prone to this. Their bark will also often change in frequency and they may even howl or have a droning type bark.
  • Aggressive dogs will bark and growl. If they have an aggression problem they will growl, crouch down and bark if the perceived threat does not move away. These dogs are dangerous and it is not advisable to keep them on your property. This world has no place for aggressive dogs.
  • Protective barking is when a dog will bark at something they are not sure of. Dogs will bark at insects, snakes, rats, mice and almost anything they find intriguing. They will try to call you closer to have a look at what they have discovered.
  • Instinct behaviour is also an important cause of barking. Some dogs still demonstrate normal canine pack behaviour and barking is a form of communication and to display territory. Breeds such as Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, German Shepherd Dogs and dogs crossed with wolves seem to be more prone to this type of barking.
  • Last but not least is an obsessive compulsive disorder causing dogs to bark persistently. These are dogs that seem to be habit barkers but do not respond to the corrective measures. This is very rare and your dog will only be diagnosed with this by exclusion of exploring all other barking related issues as described above. This is a tricky disease to treat at the best of times.

Bored Barkers Versus Habit Barkers

These two reasons make up at least 85% of all dog barking issues. This is very important for you to decide which is true for your dog. The reason being is that the method of stopping this unwanted behaviour is very different. If you have a habit barker, often you need to resort to more advanced correction techniques to get the dog over this type of behaviour. It is best that you be honest with yourself, it is difficult to admit that you have a bored dog at home. Here are some tips to help you decide which type of dog you have:

Habit Barkers:

  • Barks anywhere and everywhere.
  • Will sit in one spot and begin to bark.
  • Monotone hysterical barking.
  • Continuous cyclical yap that can be timed, often one bark every 5 seconds.
  • Calling these dogs might stop them for a minute or two then they will continue barking.
  • These dogs are on their own most often, and will not socialize often.

Bored Barkers:

  • Often at some stimulating site such as along the fence or at the gate.
  • Will often run up-and-down a fence or along the yard boundary.
  • If something exciting happens, these dogs change their barking tone.
  • Bark frequency depends on how much action there is, so it is highly variable.
  • Calling these dogs often helps, as long as you have something more exciting to offer them, or else they will return to their barking.
  • Dogs will spur each other on, especially the neighbour’s dogs. They will both run up-and-down the yard boundary barking at each other.

Rules of Correction and Reward

In order for you to win the war of unwanted barking you must learn to discipline your dog correctly. If you do not learn the art of appropriate discipline then you will suffer from poor results. Discipline is such a harsh word with many connotations, so you may use the word correction to help make you feel a bit more positive over winning the war. In most cases it is a war, as the dog owner will either be battling with fed up neighbours, fed up family members and a disheartened attitude towards your once loved pet before they became a barking demon. Follow these tips and tricks and you will restore confidence in yourself, your pet and the disgruntled people putting pressure on you to resolve the issue.

You will need to do the following:

  • Always remain calm and collected. A person who is frantic, hysterical and angry will not be able to correct their dog.
  • Build trust with your dog, if you do not spend time with them, then this is a great start. Talk to your dog in a soft, warm friendly tone of voice.
  • Learn to speak clearly and in varying tones without shouting. This is going to help you immensely when you begin your verbal correction.
  • When you correct your dog there is an uneasy period where the dog may not trust you. It is vital to regain this trust after a correction. You must do this, a dog will never listen to a person who they do not trust or who they are afraid of.
  • Reward all good behaviour. Such as when they are not barking, show them some caring. Or when you see they want to begin barking, but stop when they see you. Your reward is important as this reinforces good behaviour.
  • Reward them with your time, friendly warm tone of voice and a good tickle on the head or belly. Never use food as a reward or distraction.
  • Always be on time with your correction and reward after they respond to a correction.
  • If you are over correcting your dog will run away with a tail tucked under them. If this is the case do not correct again as roughly as you did. Always regain the trust by inviting your dog over for a belly tickle. This may take time for them to trust you again. You must regain their trust to win.
  • Never chase your dog to correct them. This will turn into a game and you will lose.

The plan is first to gain your dog’s trust. Get them to come to you when you call them. Once they come to you, reward them by giving them good praise and a belly tickle. This is the most important part before you begin the correction process. This can take as long as a week to do. They must come to you when you call. Often you may need to crouch down and pat your thigh while calling them. Never chase after them and grab them. Once they are close to you, hold out your hand, palms facing them and let them sniff your hands. Never grab them closer if they are nervous in the beginning. They must learn that coming to you is fun and exciting because they get attention and a belly tickle. Once they willingly come over to you when you call you can begin the correction methods.

Remember that once you correct your dog you must restore trust that same day of correction. This is done as described above, call them over and reward them in a friendly manner.

Never call them over and correct them! This will destroy the trust built between you and your dog.

If you see that they are being good reward them. If you correct them with a verbal cue and they respond you must also reward them.

Most owners are afraid to correct their dog, they believe that correction is cruel and not a good idea. If you rear a belligerent dog that is disobedient and a trouble maker that nobody likes and do not want it, it is your fault for not correcting them. Their fate is far worse than giving appropriate discipline to correct unwanted behaviour. Dogs that cannot be handled live a life of misery. Nobody wants them and they are often put to sleep to end their suffering.

Correcting a Bored Barker

These dogs luckily do not require much correction. The correction comes in correcting the owner in owning a dog. These dogs are bored day in and day out. They are not active enough during the day and have lots of built up energy. They will often run up-and-down along a fence and are quite fit. The first tip you can try is getting into the habit of spending time with your dog. They need you to help use up their unspent energy. You can try the following:

  • Teaching your dog to retrieve a ball, rope toy etc. A 20 minute play in the yard helps a tremendous amount for you and your dog. Not all dogs will retrieve, however most will chase balls. So if your dog is not a retriever you can make him chase balls by buying 4 balls and throwing them around the yard. Once he catches one throw the next.
  • Going for a walk around the neighbourhood. This is excellent for your dog. Sometimes it is unpleasant as there are so many dogs in the area that walking your own one becomes a tedious job of wrestling them to leave all the other dogs. Or the cacophony of noise while you are walking is very unpleasant. Refer to Part 2 & Part 5 in particular of the Basic Dog Training Article Series for information on how to walk your dog correctly.
  • Take your dog to a park or sports ground for a good run around. Take balls and toys and really get in there and play with your dog. They will greatly appreciate this.
  • Teach your dog to swim if you have a pool. This will help in the warmer months. Swimming uses a lot of energy and will tire your dog.

The idea here is to first burn all your dogs’ energy during the day. Once evening comes they would rather rest instead of barking the whole time. If this does not work you can go to a higher level of correction.

Here are appropriate correction techniques:

  • The first step is verbal correction. Walk outside in visual and hearing range of your dog. When they bark, say in a loud, clear tone “Name of Pet – Quiet.” Remember that you must be calm and collective, not yelling and screaming at your dog. Take charge and show them you mean business. If they stop barking, call them over and reward them with praise saying that they are a good dog. A belly tickle helps a lot. Wait for 5 minutes and make sure your dog does not begin barking again.
  • If the top approach does not work then you must make your correction more meaningful to distract the behaviour and get their attention. You will need ammunition to help you get the message through. Some of these dogs are so worked up that they need firmer convincing to abandon this behaviour. The best ammunition are light stones found in the garden, just smaller than a hand size. If you cannot throw accurately you may need to get sand clods instead. Keep a few of them handy at the door where you will be coming out of to correct them. Walk into visual and auditory range and give a clear, commanding tone verbal correction as above. If your dog ignores you, give the command once more then throw the stone or sand clod at the dog. Do not worry if you hit them, this stone is too small to hurt them seriously. Remember that you are trying to get a point across and you must sometimes bruise them a bit to get the message through in stubborn dogs. How hard you throw the stone will depend on their tolerance to correction. If the dog stops and looks at you, you have thrown it hard enough. If the dog runs away with its tail between its legs, you have over corrected a bit and next time you should throw a bit softer. The most important aspect is to regain trust right after this correction. You must crouch down and call your dog in a warm and loving tone as described above. Once you have regained trust it is time to see if this has worked.
  • In most cases you will need two to three weeks of correction to stop the behaviour of boredom barking.

Remember to correct and reward, if you break trust you need to regain it for this to work.

Correcting a Habit Barker

These dogs are often stubborn and very independent. They will look at you defiantly and bark often with just verbal correction. You can use the boredom barking correction to begin with. Very often you will need to strengthen your correction to imbed the message that barking is an unwanted behaviour. You can try the following:

  • Water acts as a great deterrent. You will need to arm yourself with a bucket of water. If the dog barks, command them to stop with a verbal command. If they persist, repeat the verbal command and then throw them with water. You can walk right up to them with the water and throw it in their face.
  • You can also try a high jet of water from a high powered water gun or hose connection. Remember to always give the clear, loud verbal command as described above, then if they continue give them the last verbal command and wet them.
  • Once this is done, most dogs are very confused and scared of you. You must regain their trust and reward them when they come to you.
  • Never chase your dog. Or else you will be in trouble by making this correction a game.

Water does the trick in almost all cases.

With all corrections, you must regain trust after you have corrected. Remember to reward your dog every time you see they are not barking, if they respond to a verbal command call them over for a reward.

Correcting Other Causes for Barking

Many other causes of barking have been mentioned, they only make up the remaining 25% of causes. Some can only be channelled and not cured such as instinctive and protective barking. If your dog has excellent hearing often the most helpful is locking them indoors at night to solve the problem. If your dog has hair growing in front of its face, trim it and this will often help.

If your dog has dementia, deafness or OCD then you will need more effort to correct this. These causes of barking are extremely difficult to cure. Luckily these make up the least amount of cases. You will need to work with a licensed veterinarian and a behaviourist to cure these.

Conclusion

Barking dogs are a real life concern for all dog owners. If you are an unlucky owner with a noisy dog it is your job to correct it before they become a neighbourhood disturbance. Often working with your dog will solve the issue. Remember that the first step is to gain a trust relationship with your dog before you begin correction. Most trouble dogs are detached from their owners, so securing a good bond will often solve most of the problem. Luckily most of the barking dogs fit into two categories, either a boredom barker or a habit barker and these require owner participation to correct in all cases.

Booking Your Hotel Accommodation at the Last Minute Can Save You Money

Many accommodation providers such as hotels, motels and serviced apartments often have a percentage of their rooms remaining unsold in the normal course of business. They sometimes refer to these rooms as "distracted inventory" available at a discounted price. This allows them to realize revenue that would not normally be received. Rooms made available on websites could be discounted by as much as 60%. The term generally used to describe the discounted room rates is last minute accommodation rates or short rates.

You may ask what's in it for the hotel?
Discounting is not a new concept in this industry, although it has typically been promoted via corporate rates or bulk purchases. This new online delivery of room rates allows the accommodation providers to offer specials to the larger public. Like yesterday's paper, the supplier would still rather have some revenue for the room than none at all.

A great tip for finding special rate deals is by typing "last minute accommodation rates" and the name of the city into your web search. Although there are many websites promoting these offers, a quick scan of the result pages will reveal those websites that display multiple offers on a single page. This makes for easy comparison between various suppliers. The full or rack rate together with the discount rate could be displayed and the magnitude of the saving becomes apparent.

Tips on booking your stay :
Last minute booking services are almost exclusively advertised online. This is due to the instant confirmations, live updates on availability and the huge audience that now exists online.

But when anyone provides credit card details online, they need to be as vigilant as if they were handing some cash on the street:

– Make sure that the payment pages are secured with HTTPS, as opposed to the regular HTTP address.
– Make sure the website has acceptable terms and conditions, you do not want to be left empty handed because of the small print.
– The absence of online transactions has led many suppliers to ask for a deposit, instead of full payment up front. This is a reasonable approach, as you would not normally pay for your stay until departure.
– Lastly, make sure the website offering the discount is providing confirmation of your payment and reservation.
Some services offer to "register your interest" and only when you have paid, will they check availability with the hotel or motel. You may as well just call the provider yourself, if this is the case.

Although it should not need to be said, remember to take receipt of your online booking for check-in. Or if necessary you can call prior to confirm your booking and maybe also advise of check-in times, special needs or requests etc.

When booking your stay for transit over early morning departures, most providers have dedicated sections for accommodation listings close to the airport and also offer a free service or parking for up to a week. Alternately you want to make sure a shuttle service is available from the motel or that they can organize such a service.

Typically last minute accommodation rates generally apply to the next 4 weeks or 28 days only. So for those spur of the moment spontaneous decisions it is ideal. Remember last minute rates are generally for two people only and you need to inquire if additional people can be accommodated and if so what the charge will be, check for any inclusions or extras on offer too. Inclusions can prove to be of excellent value and include such offers as free breakfast, a bottle of champagne or drink voucher or despite a free shuttle service to and from the airport.

Your New Retirement Lifestyle – Frugality: Doing the Best With What You Have (Part 3)

In this third article on frugality, I would like to continue to explore ways to enjoy various components of your retirement on a frugal basis.

FRUGAL TRAVEL IDEAS

As we our now in our Third Age, that period of time after raising a family and work, we may have dreams. One of those dreams may be to get out and see the world. If you are living under budget constraints, you do not necessarily have to be tied down to your home. There are a variety of ways to travel. These days, airlines, hotels, scenic attractions, and other vendors do indeed offer incentives to attract seniors. The key here is to be able to find these deals. The most important consideration in the early stages of planning is to come up with a budget. Then you will need to decide where you’d like to go.

Be certain that you broadcast your true age whenever you get the opportunity to that you can take advantage of all senior discounts. Utilize those American Automobile Association and American Association of Retired Persons cards. Indeed, they do offer all kinds of travel discounts. Many hotel chains offer senior discount programs. Some even offer a 50 percent discount.

Take a Tour! A great way to save money is to join a tour group. Those may include alumni associations, church and retirement community travel groups, and even municipal senior or park and recreation travel groups. Remember, you are getting a group discount on everything from entrance fees to hotel rooms. In my previous books I discuss the wonders of Roadscholar. This organization offers nearly 8000 lifelong learning adventures for those of us over 55 in all states and over 50 countries. Programs are offered in conjunction with educational institutions, museums, national parks, performing arts centers and others. Most fees are all-inclusive. At the time of this writing there were a variety of programs offered for less than $600.

If you have a condo with a fantastic city skyline view, why not swap it for a vacation with someone who has a place overlooking a Caribbean beach. House swapping as been referred to as one of most pronounced ways of getting a feel for wherever you travel. Intervac International offers listings in at least 50 countries. They suggest vacation duration of between 2 and 4 weeks. The website offers a variety of listing pictures. Advantages of doing this include the elimination of hotel and maybe even car rental expenses, immersion into another culture’s lifestyle, and the security and comfort of living at home while being on holiday.

Renting another families’ home has become more popular in recent years. The main reason for this is that it is a frugal alternative. There’s that word again! Often times you can save money over hotel costs because you do not incur service charges or gratuities and you have more space. That is, you have a kitchen and a living room and perhaps even a private pool or a hot tub. And, you have the advantage of renting in a more rural location. Many vacation rentals give travelers the option of inhabiting real neighborhoods in their destination and living like the local residents.

Rental properties include homes, cottages, condominiums or town homes. There are many agencies that rent properties. One of the most reliable is Vacation Rentals by Owner. They feature 160,000 rentals in over 100 countries worldwide.

If you are interested in volunteering during retirement, think about taking a volunteer vacation, more commonly known as voluntourism. Basically, you combine traditional travel with volunteer work. In essence, you are taking a service-based vacation. You will find that there are many adventure travel companies that offer these trips. Basically, you would be deeply rewarded spending a few hours per day giving back to your favorite nonprofit organization. In consideration for doing this, you most often are provided with free food and lodging as well as plenty of time for hiking, wildlife viewing, fishing, photography and making new friends. Of course another major advantage is the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture of the people you are helping, especially if you volunteer overseas. If you are not into the activities of nature, or are not in the greatest physical condition, there are many organizations of a cultural nature, such as museums, that offer similar programs. Be sure to check out Road Scholar.

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES

If you enjoy cultural activities, specifically the fine arts, there are a variety of frugal choices available to you. Fine arts typically include the visual arts and performing art forms such as painting, sculpture, music, dance, theater, photography, and even certain aspects of electronic media (video, digital photography, and digital printmaking). Aside from the traditional ways to enjoying these activities such as enrolling in private classes or taking a college course, there may be other alternatives.

You may be able to participate in day trips sponsored by the local senior center or parks and recreation department. My research has shown that the cost of these trips is generally quite reasonable since these organizations are non-profit. In addition, check out performances by my local colleges, universities, and theater groups. My wife and I regularly obtain senior citizen discounts. Another resourceful way to attend theatrical events is to volunteer at the production. For example, as an usher your responsibilities would include escorting patrons to their seats. Your reward is usually a free seat.

Museums are a great source of cultural activities. In addition to ongoing exhibit changes, most museums offer a calendar of events. Many offer lifelong learning seminars, lectures, and trips of a cultural nature at a reduced rate for seniors. You may also find concerts, poetry readings and other classes. Be certain to check the offering at your local museum.