Record Numbers Set to Travel This Holiday

Linknet Travel News Digest – December 21, 2005 – Travel may be expensive this time of year, but the AAA is still predicting this will be a record year for travel in the U.S.

The organization estimates that 63.5 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home for either Christmas or New Year’s. This is up 1.7 percent from last year. Approximately 81 percent will travel by automobile.

Travel plans are aided this year by the calendar. With both Christmas and New Years falling on Sunday, that makes for two long weekends, and for many people, an entire week of holiday revelling.

Travel Websites Still Offering Deals

If you’ve waited till the last minute to make your winter or holiday travel arrangements, there may still be deals to be had — in spite of the fact that most travel sites are usually pretty pricey this time of year.

Rather than fly planes with empty seats, the major airlines will usually turn these seats over to online ticket sellers. Because you are dealing with relatively small numbers of empty seats, the deals can disappear quickly. A deal you find in the morning may not be around in the afternoon.

Some sites where you can find deals: Priceline.com, Cheaptickets.com, and Hotwire.com

Be prepared to act quickly, and take what you get. The real cheap tickets often have a one or two day stay over, and are non-refundable.

Tips for Travelling with Children

Why not use some of that idle travel time to pack in some learning activities for the kids. Here are some tips for parents who want to engage their children in learning, creating, and exploring.

1. Take a sketch pad along. Create a family memory book with your children. Share family holiday memories and illustrate them in the book..

2. Bring along some blank note paper or note cards, and help your child create some original greeting cards. Illustrate them with original drawings, and add short original verses.

3. Encourage reading during travel. Bring some of your children’s favorite books and encourage your children to read. Discuss the topics before you leave and let the kids help choose the topics.

4. Instead of videos or DVDs, why not buy a talking book (recorded version of a classic) and play that while you travel.

Passports Required for Caribbean Destinations in New Year

The North Port Sun Herald reports that if you are travelling to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Central or South America, you will need a passport as of January 1, 2006.

The passport is not required by the destination countries. It is required to get back into the U.S. These new measures have been instituted in what is called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, in order to strengthen border security. Plans also call for passports required for travel to and from Mexico and Canada by January 2007, although this policy is currently under review.

Tips to Be Safe When You Are Travelling

Travelling with family is fun if you plan it right. You always need to get a well-planned tour plan for your family. If you are planning a grand holiday to an unknown destination, then you have to keep in mind few things to travel safe throughout your journey. It is always better to stay alert and ready for all kinds of dangerous situations. That is why planning wisely is highly important for you.

Choose a destination that suits your budget and interest as well. It is the first thing that you need to consider for a safe travel experience. Here are few important aspects to make you get started.

Travel News and Alerts:

When you have planned a holiday and selected your destination, it is vital to go through all recent news related to the spot. If there is any news of the storm or any travel warnings, then you have to cancel your trip to avoid hazards. You can research about the place online to get more information on their cultures and customs.

Check Your Visa:

Check all the visa related requirements for foreign travel. You have to apply for your visa in advance for a safe travel experience. Having a full clear visa to your destination ensures a good touring experience. Renew your visa on time to avoid problems.

Check out on Policies and Laws of Your Travel Destination:

As a traveler to any country or a state, you may know the general policies and laws. This can make sure that you will face no policy or law related difficulties at your journey. People always strive for destinations that are rich in culture and free of violence. So checking policies and regulation is vital at travelling.

Carry Important Credentials:

Carrying the identity proof, passport, visa, driving and other important credentials is important. In the case of ski vacation passports and Identity proofs are must for start on. In any case, if you find trouble at your journey these credentials will be a way to help you out.

Carry Light Backpacks:

When travelling around, you may face difficulties carrying heavy backpacks. That is why, packing light is helpful. Troublesome situation can arrive at any time, so pack your bags light so that you can enjoy going far places.

Play Safe:

You can surely enjoy the holiday by trying various kinds of adventures activities. But, you have to careful at every place to avoid unwanted hazards. Bring fast aid box with you at your journey to mend small injuries.

So, if you want to have a safe and soothing journey and experience comfortable travel, then these tips will surely help you out.

A Popular Travel Directory For Your Travel Website

Meet the world’s largest travel and tourism directory. All listings are free and your business website can be listed in the appropriate category. In addition to the directory information, you will definitely find useful travel news about airlines, car rental, hotels, maps, directions, and other information needed by a traveler or a travel professional.

A journey to an international destination requires some careful planning; it is not an easy task and to get the right information for your travel plans is paramount. Often, you need to check these information before you get there. A good destination guide allows you to make the right decision, choosing between many similar supplier websites.

Restaurants, hotels and flights near your choice of stay are also very important. Because you need to compare results in order to obtain a good price. This travel directory has these information readily available and easy accessible.

Online booking now enables travel operators to avoid middleman enabling them to price their travel packages cheaper. Travelindex directory helps customers to find cheap travel packages if they do a little of the work themselves like surfing it to locate cheap travel solutions to fit their requirements. With the availability of online travel services, you do not need to visit shop to shop for a travel agent or make endless phone calls to obtain quotes.

Travelindex directory, with its Best Destination.com is a destination guide which can be consulted when a visitor needs information about anything regarding travel and destinations. Do not start your trip without preparation. Get the latest travel professional news that will make your journey more pleasant and productive and get you where you want to go with the greatest possible ease.

Listing on Travelindex directory is simple and easy. Firstly, you need to create a personal account, free memberships are also provided and after that you can add your website to contribute and inform others with specialized travel related information. As a member you can publish, for free, your latest travel news, best or last minute offers and even a video about your property, hotel or services. For all these reasons it is important for you to select this online travel directory as the ultimate travel marketing platform for your travel and tourism business while assisting travelers to get great travel arrangements done.

There are various benefits of online travel directories and destinations guides like affordability, speed of services and convenience. You can get a lot of quotes from various online companies very quickly over the Internet and you can also obtain a great deal at the best price. By booking your travel professionals online, you not only get a competitive quote but also make your travel arrangements at the comfort of your home or office. Thus online travel booking can save your time and money.

The advanced search form on Travelindex is very comprehensive and lets you refine your search by combining several search criteria to filter the search results to the best matches possible. The listings detailed information is a model for the industry and brings you all contact details including direct links to website, booking page and email of the listed travel and tourism company, allowing you to ge in touch directly with your selected provider and to plan your nest trip with confidence.

Hostels – Smart Choice For Real Travelers

Hostels are in high demand these days among travelers who are on a budget and want a place to stay without breaking the bank. Top destinations such as London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and New York offer a wide variety of Hostels accommodation in prime central locations, perfect for exploring what the city has to offer. Hostel accommodation is great for all budget travelers whether they’re looking for adventures, exploring new places while travelling or just need a break and a clean place to stay.

Hostels offer affordable accommodation and are a great place to social network and meet people from all over the world, hostels accommodation are a good option for anyone looking to save money on their accommodation, not just young people or backpackers.

Hostels now offer private rooms, En-Suite bathroom facilities, Games Rooms, Lounges, TV’s in the rooms, Free Wi-Fi, and Breakfast, Hostels are also a great accommodation option for large groups as they can accommodate large numbers of people without hassle.

Hotel/Guesthouse or Hostel, When to Choose What

Everyone has their own tastes and budgets, so when it comes to choosing the right accommodation for a holiday there are a lot of things to consider. There is a wide range of accommodation options on offer to traveler’s, Hotels, Guesthouses, and Hostels to mention but a few.

Most of the time, a key factor in choosing which type of accommodation to stay in, boils down to cost and ones budget.

In the past it was a given that Hotels are the number one accommodation chosen by traveler’s, but these days due to the credit crunch making it difficult for people to travel, people are finding that the alternatives like Guesthouses and Hostels are a much better choice. For many budget conscious travelers to be able to visit top cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and New York, Hostel accommodation is defiantly the best option.

First of all you don’t need to spend as much money, and second the guesthouse and hostels now offer just as many facilities as the Hotels. In fact in some cases they offer more, as a lot of Hostels offer, Guest Kitchens so you can cook your own meals if you wish, while many expensive Hotels don’t even allow you to bring food into the Hotel, they expect you to eat from their expensive restaurants or order room service. Laundry Facilities so you can wash your clothes as if you were at home, instead of using expensive valet service in the Hotels.

Because hostels are affordable, it allows one to use the money saved on the accommodation to actually enjoy oneself with what the city has to offer.

When, Where & How to Find Hostels accommodation

Hostels are becoming more and more popular with a wider variety of clientele, from the unusual students, backpackers and independent travelers to the new hostellers such as families and business people.

It’s hard to find a city in the world that doesn’t offer some form of hostel, guesthouse of budget accommodation to cater for the ever growing budget traveler market.

When it comes to the top travel and holiday destinations like, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and New York, there are countless hostels, guesthouses and budget accommodation options to choose from and it can be difficult to choose the right one to suite your needs.

There are a few things to consider when choosing where to stay:

*Price
*Room Type
*Location
*Facilities

It is very time consuming trying to go to each accommodations website and almost impossible to compare them in this way.

How to Save Money Buying Travel Online and Get the Best Deal

Want to save some money when booking your travel online? Here are some tips to help you do just that. You at home have access to thousands of travel deals with the click of a mouse.

1. Sign up for travel e-newsletters

Many airlines, tour operators, online travel agencies and travel sites have newsletters that they will send you via email; these usually include their latest travel deals.

2. Shop around

Check various travel sites and make sure you are comparing apples to apples, know what is included. That great cruise deal may not include airfare to the port! Also check in with a travel agent to compare prices. They may in fact have a better travel deal for you.

3. Consider all possible discounts

Do you have Air Miles or frequent flyer miles you can cash in? AAA/CAA membership or other affiliations? Ask about child or senior discounts. Do they have family rates or group rates? Don’t be afraid to ask.

4. Make the travel web sites do the work

Some of them will let you specify the dates of travel and vacation you are looking for and will send you an email when the price reaches your limit.

5. Travel in off-season.

Off-season will vary depending on where you are travelling so do your research and find out when that is. Off-season includes winter for Europe, summer and fall for the Caribbean, and when the kids are in school for theme parks like Disney and so on.

6. Traveling during the week can save you money

Saturday and flights during the week are less crowded and therfore more likely to have last minute discounting. Some companies charge a bit less for vacation package that leave mid-week. Many business hotels may also charge less on weekends.

7. Read your newspaper’s travel section

The Saturday travel sections in most newspapers are still a good source for travel news, tips and last minute travel deals, departing from your city. Read them religiously.

8. Do some negotiating of your own.

Just ask for a deal or a better price! This will usually work if you are dealing with a hotel or car rental company directly. It may also work with some travel agents.

9. Book last minute

When looking for a last minute travel deal, start shopping around about 6 weeks prior to your departure to get a good idea for prices and availability. Narrow down where you want to go and compare some prices. About 3 weeks prior to departure is probably your best time to book. When you notice packages begin to sell out, you want to book before you miss out on that travel deal. The prices only go so low and sometimes sell out before they really drop in price.

10. Book early

Some of the best deals may be had booking early. Most tour operators and cruise companies offer discounts for early booking. If there is a specific date you want to travel and or you have a specific resort or destination in mind, you are better off to book early and secure your vacation than to risk waiting for a last minute travel deal that may or may not happen.

Keep in mind the cheaper is not always better. If you save a few hundred dollars by adding lots of stops to your flight or staying in a hotel you are not happy with, it won’t be worth it. Save some money but don’t compromise too much with what you really want and need.

Top 7 Things to Consider Before You Start Investing

Be it investors, potential investors or general public who is looking to start investing, everyone gets excited the minute they have extra cash on their hands and one of the usual plans is to invest it for quick profits. People want to start making their money work for them and that’s a very understandable and rational thought but sure enough one needs to be practical about their finances as well. There is a lot of due diligence and groundwork that goes into understanding the financial markets before one must start investing and it’s for their best as well!

An investment making company will generally help you get started with your investment and offer you end-to-end insights into how to make more money and how to invest money to achieve your financial goals. However, there are a few things you as an investor must consider before approaching any Asset Management Company or getting started on your investment journey.

Here are the top 7 things one should consider before they start investing to make more money:

1. Pay Off Prior Dues

No investment can start without you actually being done paying off your dues and clearing your credit. A clean slate for all your debts is very essential to begin investing stress free and focusing on returns.

2. Create Cash Emergency Fund

Before you start investing it is very important for you to have a separate cash fund prepared just in case of emergencies. There is no questioning the volatility of the market and you can’t really depend on redeeming from market when in dire need. Having an emergency fund lets you start your investment journey with a bit more ease.
3. Create Financial Goals

One of the most important questions often asked is how to invest money and earn quick profits! However, there is much more to investing than just expecting returns. It is equally important to have your financial goals set it place and invest accordingly. Be it buying a dream home, car or saving for retirement, an investment making company will know exactly how to help you get started.

4. Understand Financial Instruments

There are tons of financial instruments in the market which offer numerous benefits. The bigger question often is what you as an investor wish to achieve, quick profit, long term stability, lesser risk or just saving for the future? It’s not tough to make more money with your investments as long as your priorities are already quite clear.

5. Due Diligence on Investment Options

Asset Management Companies have a variety of financial instruments that an investor can pick from and ensure that they make more money. If you want to know how to invest money wisely on the other hand then it is best if you do your due diligence on all the financial products in the market and then make an informed decision to earn quick profits.

6. Research on market trends

How to invest money wisely is indeed a question every investor should be asking themselves or the investment making company who is helping them build a portfolio. Keeping updated about the market, staying on top of news in the world markets and knowing the current business trends makes it easier for the investors to pick their financial instruments for investment.

7. Evaluate your risk bearing capacity

Every individual has their own risk bearing capacities. An investment making company will often ask you the risk level your profile fits in as an investor as it helps them decide where and how to invest money and earn quick profits. How to invest money is often a question answered at the expense of how much risk are you willing to take for the same,

As simple and lucrative investing and making quick profit sounds, the truth is that unless you have a foundation in place and thorough research to build up, your investment portfolio won’t be solid.

How To Identify Rare Comic Books

Among all of the worldwide categories of collecting, comic books are relatively new. At one time, only kids were interested in reading them for entertainment. In June 1938, Superman, the first superhero appeared in Action Comics #1, most kids were attracted to the man dressed in blue and red holding up and crashing a car above his head. Suddenly, a run of other types of superheroes had most kids paying a dime to buy one. If they had a dollar, they could have bought ten books with zero tax. However, kids read them up to a certain age and their mothers generally threw them away, which is a shame because they would have been valuable.

So, can comic books still be lucrative investments? Absolutely. This is why so many serious collectors wish they had time machines, so they could go back to the past to buy those good oldies. They could imagine getting their hands on Action Comics #1, or Detective Comics #27(the first appearance of Batman) and selling them for millions of dollars today. However, collectors must put fantasy aside and look to more recent and possibly less expensive prospects.

What kind (genre) of comic is it? For this article, I refer to the most popular superheroes. Although they are usually worth more than other genres that include: Cowboy; Romance; Famous Cartoon characters like Disney, Warner Brothers; War; Comedy and others.

Period: Comic books belong to different “ages”: “Platinum Age”(Printed on or before 1938); “Golden Age” (1938-1955); “Silver Age (1956-1969); “Bronze Age” (1970-1981); “Copper Age” (1981-1991).

Is the book “DC” or “Marvel”? Some better known DC superheroes include Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Green Lantern. Marvel Comics began in 1939 with Captain America, Human Torch and the Submariner. Before 1961, Marvel Comics were originally named “Timely Comics”. Some titles became popular, such as: “Tales to Astonish”; “Amazing Fantasy”; “Tales of Suspense”. These titles introduced some of the famous characters that movies widely feature today: Tales to Astonish 27 introduced Antman; Amazing Fantasy #15 introduced the world to Spiderman; Tales of Suspense #39 featured the first appearance of Ironman. Other well-known comics brought groups of superheroes: Fantastic Four #1 (1961); The Avengers #1 (1963), The Xmen #1 (1963).

Edition Numbers: The lower the edition number, the more the book will be worth. As you know from the last paragraph, many heroes’ first appearance didn’t originate in issues #1. Superman originated in Action Comics #1, but, a year later he got his own comic book – Superman #1(1939). Also, Batman got his first appearance in Detective Comics #27, but soon got his own comic with, the first appearance of Robin – Batman’s sidekick in Batman #1(1940). Wonder Woman’s first appearance happened in Sensational Comics #1, which later became “Wonder Woman”.

Original price: Comic books have gradually increased their newspaper prices. The lower the original selling price, the older they are and in most cases worth more: $.10, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 50, 60, 75 (from 1938-1988). Today, the lowest priced comic books cost around $3.99-$4.99.

The Investment Mistake Otha Anders Made

In 2015, an elderly Louisiana gentleman cashed in at a nearby bank, a truckload of 55-gallon plastic water jugs of pennies that he had collected over the previous 45 years. After the last penny had been counted, Otha Anders received over $5,130 as the total amount for his pennies. That’s over 510,000 pennies. To the general public, this news probably sounded wonderful, but to every American numismatist who collects and buys coins for fun and profit, Anders lost a lot of money.

According to the News-Star of Monroe, La., Anders referred to each of his pennies was a “God-given incentive reminding me to always be thankful.” In Anders case, however, a “penny saved” may be more than “a penny earned.” Many of those that he cashed in to get instant money, would have been worth more money.

Since Anders began his penny hoarding in 1970, he would have picked up many “wheat” pennies that the Mint struck between 1909 to 1958. Even today, there are still many “wheat” cents in penny rolls and circulating change. When he started saving in 1970, he would have found many wheat cents in great condition. Over the last 45 years, most of each of those pennies would become more valuable than one cent.

According to the “Guide Book of United States Coins 2015″ by R.S. Yeoman, wheat cent values ranged from $.10 in “good” condition to several hundred dollars in “almost” uncirculated condition. Also, the guide records a few extremely rare pennies that were worth up to $5,000 in uncirculated conditions. However, it would be impossible to estimate how much the numismatic value of the entire collection might be; each coin would have to have been examined by reputable coin dealers who could have helped him sell his collection, but it’s easy to imagine Anders would have made over $20,000 if he had had the patience to get them evaluated.

In addition to numismatic value, there is a precious metal value for the price of all of the coin’s weight in copper. All American copper coins struck until 1981 contained 95% copper. According to the “InvestmentMine” website, in 2015 the average value of copper was $2.86 per pound. All of Anders’ pennies together weighed over 2,800 pounds. So, if he picked out all of the coins, we’d multiply 2,800 pounds and 2.86 the sum in copper would have been a total of roughly $8,000. However, a conservative estimate of the number of pennies made of copper was 75%, we’d get about $6,000, which is about $900 more than he received.

Image Optimization for SEO – Best Practices

Quality content is the key to SEO success. Content doesn’t just mean your text contents. Images must be an integral part of your content strategy. At times, single images can be far more effective than your 1000 word blog post. It also helps you improve blog post quality and performance.

Images, Infographics, Videos and all other multimedia contents on your web page will help you in increasing the user engagement on your site and makes the visitors stay on your site for longer duration which helps in reducing the bounce rate.

Not just adding images to your contents, you should also optimize those images for better SEO performance. Optimization of images must be the one important aspect of your on-page SEO process.

If you are using images in your content, there are many aspects to be considered related to SEO.

Relevancy

Using images doesn’t mean that you should fill up your content with loads of pictures. You should use it only when it is required and also you should use images that are more relevant to your content.

Placement of your images is an another important aspect. It should be placed at a relevant location in your content according to your text content.

Use original images

Originality always helps in improving your user experience and your authority. Usage of original images will be helpful in improving your SEO performance. You can create original images with a graphic designer or you can take your own photographs with a quality camera. It is the reason top White hat SEO companies employ talented graphic designers for creating quality images.

If you are not able to employ an in-house graphic designer or if you are running out of time, you can always use high quality images from the web. But the important factor to be considered is it should be copyright free.

There are many tools available for getting copyright free images without any cost. The most popular ones are Unsplash, Flicker, Freeimages.

Image Size

Images are the main source for damping your site’s speed. And site speed is a crucial factor in your SEO performance. So, you should be extra cautious in using images without compromising your page speed.

It should not also affect your image quality, you should have a correct balance between. You can achieve this by reducing the file size by compression. You can use tools like Photoshop for compression.

File name

Search engine crawlers are visually impaired, it can even interrupt a 5000 word text content, but it cannot interrupt a single image and what the image is about. It is the reason using a keyword rich file names for your images is an important aspect in image optimization.

Google bots and other search engine crawlers can read your image’s file name and if it is named with your target keyword, it gives a signal to search engines about the image topic and thus helps your SEO performance.

For example, if your image is related to selling sports shoes, rather than using the file name as “IMG_89868″ you can use it as “Black_Tennis_Shoes”.

Alt text

Similar to the file name, search engines can read Alt text of the images. Alt text is known as “Aleternative Text”, is an HTML attribute used to describe the content of images.

You should use Alt text which is relevant to your images and it should be clear and descriptive. You can use your target keywords in the Alt text but be cautious about Keyword stuffing.

If you are not focusing on Image optimization, you are missing a huge opportunity in improving your SEO performance. You can use above mentioned best practices in your on-page optimization process.

Best Support And Opportunities For All Youth

American youth currently face challenging realities along their way to adulthood. With parents working longer hours and the absence of grandparents and other community adults who used to make up support systems, the intergenerational fabric of community has been frayed. Youth development strategies aim to reweave community fabric in a new way – one that takes the supports and opportunities young people should have, and re-institutes them in the context of young people’s realities today. While many of these realities are harsh ones, we know that young people themselves want to be involved in their communities. The importance of building positive youth/adult partnerships in this process cannot be stressed enough.

The mobilization effort is based on influencing three critical elements: information, attitudes, involvement. The transformation of each of these areas, both in the public and private domains, is a necessary condition for change. For example, in the area of information, the country is currently focused on collecting primarily negative youth information, e.g., teenage births, dropouts, and juvenile arrest rate. Inspiring a 180 degree shift, we need to collect information such as: average number of hours youth participate in after-school activities, computer to youth ratio in non-school hours, and the percentage of youth who hold part-time jobs. The three elements are intertwined, for how information is gathered and communicated impacts attitudes as well as how and if people choose to become involved.

Only through broad community commitment, strong public will, and diverse partnerships can youth development take root, go to scale, and be sustained over time. Ultimately, the mobilization must be supported by partnerships among all of the systems in a community that affect young people (i.e., education, corporations, health care, juvenile justice, religious groups, and recreation). To build these relationships and establish youth development infrastructures to improve developmental paths of adolescents will take at least 10 years.

Localities currently spending their resources on efforts to “fix youth” will need to pool, redirect, and increase their financial commitment to youth development. These additional dollars will ensure all youth equal access to supports and opportunities, especially youth living in economically distressed areas.

Our information on the services young people need, and use, is still hit or miss. Communities do not know what they have or what they need. They usually have no way to tell how well services are being used and what services need to be improved.

Good information is important for youth services for exactly the same reasons it is important for everything else. Accurate, accessible standardized information lets people find the services they need and use them effectively. It lets communities manage, evaluate and improve their services and determine the need for changing them, eliminating them, or developing new ones.

Many national efforts to measure outcomes presently use deficit-driven indicators to assess young people’s condition in society, such as teen pregnancy rates, juvenile crime numbers, and percentages of high school dropouts. Although these measures are important, they do not tell the whole story about young people’s experiences. Measures that reflect positive conditions and experiences of young people are also important.

The accelerated trend of the past decade toward empowering our nation’s young people to succeed has fostered a new awareness and commitment to this most valuable resource. Some basic questions are:

- How much do we currently spend?

- How much should we spend?

Some progress has been made through new initiatives in education finance reform and services integration, providing more effective delivery of social, health and educational services for children and youth from the classroom up to the government. This document establishes an initial framework and formula for assessing the financial resources and mechanisms necessary to move American society closer to this ideal. The following were found to be potential root causes of these trends in spending:

- Devaluation of adolescents.

- Lack of consensus on youth development.

- Lack of adequate and protected funding. Funds are not protected and dedicated in the manner necessary to sustain the long-term, comprehensive process that is youth development.

We can support the move toward the ideal by:

- Seeking new types of information.

- Building on the after-school momentum.

- Making a sustainable public investment.

Youth development is an investment that must be made by each sector of the wider community – public and private. Examination of the federal-state matching, local dedicated taxes an incentives for business and philanthropy could lead to models for providing adequate and sustainable funding for youth development. National intermediaries must work to cultivate this leadership at all levels of government, and at the grassroots, by creating constituencies.