Business Credit Cards » vacation Information and Tips on getting the right card Wed, 05 Feb 2014 15:20:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top 10 Travel Scams to Watch Out For Thu, 19 Jan 2012 04:14:26 +0000 Site Administrator Traveling is generally an exciting and enjoyable experience, but it doesn’t take much to ruin a good trip. Every day, unsuspecting tourists fall victim to sneaky travel scams. It doesn’t matter how beautiful or quaint of a location, there are always scammers waiting to prey on naive, money-toting vacationers. Most scams can be prevented by using your common sense, while others are trickier and harder to spot. Before you travel domestically or internationally, it’s a good idea to do your homework and brush up on these 10 common travel scams.

  1. The overly helpful local

    Whether you’re traveling in the states or internationally, you should be wary of the overly helpful local who might try to scam you. This scam can be initiated by one or multiple people, but the goal is generally the same. The overly helpful local may approach you and warn you about pickpocketing and the safety of your wallet. They will also offer help with the ATM, so they can either get a good look at your pin number or steal your cash on the spot. These overly helpful locals have also been known to scout out people with flat tires or car problems and ambush them. Many times, the local will assist you and demand a tip for their help. Beware of these overly helpful locals and try to get assistance from a reputable source or establishment.

  2. The swoop-in

    The swoop-in is a carefully planned scam that preys on unsuspecting travelers. One of the scammers squirts mustard or a white substance that looks like bird poop and another person swoops in to wipe the mess away with napkins. While the unsuspecting tourist is being helped, another person or two come to the scene to steal wallets, purses, passports, and anything else they can get their hands on. Avoid becoming a victim of this scam by refusing help and cleaning the mess yourself.

  3. The attractive flirt

    This scam mostly applies to single male travelers who are easily smitten by attractive, foreign women, but that doesn’t mean an attractive male couldn’t pull the same stunt on a woman. The scam is fairly simple and quite predictable. An attractive, flirtatious woman approaches a single man and invites him to have a drink with her at a bar or nightclub. One drink can turn into several, resulting in an exorbitant bill at your expense. European travel expert, Rick Steves, says there are some variations to the scam, but warns against accepting invitations from complete strangers, especially when drinking.

  4. Monkey business

    It’s not every day that you see a monkey roaming the streets in America, which is why so many tourists fall for this unexpected scam. Once you get down on their level, everything is fair game for these furry creatures. The quick and nimble monkeys are trained to swipe your wallet, purse, passport, camera, sunglasses, and other belongings and run off. Then, a seemingly helpful local will offer to retrieve your items, but not without a fee or tip for their assistance. Oftentimes, the person who retrieves the goods is actually responsible for training the monkeys to be petty thieves. The best way to avoid this scam is to stay away from the monkeys or keep your important belongings out of reach.

  5. Phony police officers

    Scammers often go under disguise to make their ploy much more believable. A popular scam is to pretend to be police officers. They will stop travelers on the street and ask to see their wallet to search for counterfeit bills for their "protection." While the fake police search your wallet, they might take some bills and credit cards in the process. Although it can be difficult to tell the difference between real police and fake police, you might want to study the city’s police uniforms to avoid falling for this scam.

  1. Gold ring scam

    The lost gold ring scam has been going on for years and is particularly bad in Paris. Scammers will approach tourists with a "lost" gold ring and ask if they dropped it. As tourists examine the ring, they discover the pure gold authentication and the scammer asks them to try it on. Once the person tries on the ring, they are stuck. The scammer will ask the tourist to pay for the ring, often at a much higher price than what he or she paid for it, then proceed to beg for money. Avoid falling victim to this scam by ignoring the scammers or simply tell them "no" in your language of choice.

  2. Menu switcheroo

    While dining out abroad, watch out for the menu switcheroo. Restaurants that are looking to make some extra money will show tourists one menu before they order and present an overpriced bill after they finish eating. Anticipating a complaint, the manager or restaurant employee shows the customer a different menu with the inflated prices and insists that the bill is correct. This scam doesn’t always work out in the restaurant or establishment’s favor, but it’s a good idea to study the menu, keep one at your side, and brush up on the local language in case you have to argue your point. Also, before you travel, see if the U.S. Embassy has issued a tourist advisory that names certain places that have been known to rip off travelers.

  3. The slow count

    Another scam to look out for is the slow count, where cashiers purposely count a tourist’s money slowly, hoping that they will get antsy and leave before getting their total amount. The cashiers will take long pauses and move extremely slowly to make the process even more aggravating and drawn out. Avoid this scam by clearly stating the value of the bill and counting your money before you leave.

  4. Overpriced taxi ride

    Taxis are a necessary form of transportation when traveling abroad, so it’s important to keep your guard up when riding in them. The most common taxi scam is being overcharged by the driver. Avoid becoming a victim by using taxi stands, asking for the fare up front, and only taking taxis with meters in them.

  5. The gypsy baby toss

    If you’re traveling to Italy or Eastern Europe, you may have been warned about gypsies and their pickpocketing ways. A common way for gypsies to snatch your cash and belongings is to do the baby toss. Gypsy women will target single female travelers and approach them while holding a baby in a blanket, which is often a baby doll. Then, they’ll toss the baby into the travelers’ arms and another person will quickly steal their purse, wallet, jewelry, and anything else that’s accessible. The best way to avoid this shrewd scam is to steer clear of gypsies and beggars because they’re often up to no good.

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15 Gadgets to Turn Your Car into a Mobile Workstation Mon, 08 Oct 2007 13:55:30 +0000 Site Administrator Whether you’re constantly on the move for your business or just like to get some work done while you’re stuck in rush hour, working in the car can be a dangerous, messy ordeal. Fortunately, there are loads of gadgets out there that can help you turn your car into safer, more functional mobile office. Check out these gadgets that will allow you to work effectively.

  1. Parrot Easydrive Bluetooth Car Kit: Bluetooth is a necessity for the businessperson on the go today, and this car kit from Parrot makes it easy to simply plug and play. It also makes doing business on the road safer, as it keeps your hands free to hold onto the wheel. This system can be used with any car and any Bluetooth-enabled phone. Simply plug the speaker into your car’s cigarette lighter and you’re ready to get to work anywhere.
  2. Sony VGN-TXN15P/B: While laptops by nature are meant to be portable, some are more portable than others. If you’re in the market for a new laptop, consider getting one that won’t be a pain to lug around everywhere with you. The Sony VGN-TXN15P/B fits the bill: at only 3 pounds it’s light enough to carry without giving you a backache, and it won’t take up much room at only 1 inch thick. It may not be versatile enough for the hardcore computer nerd, but for those looking for portability, it can be a great solution. If that’s not your style, try one of these other ultra portable models.
  3. CarGoDesk Mobile Workstation: Stop tossing your work gear into the seat next to you and get organized with a mobile workstation. Simply secure it in the passenger seat next to you with the seatbelt and it provides easy access to all of your business necessities. The non-skid surface on top keeps your laptop from sliding around and side compartments organize all of your files. You can even mount your PDA, GPS and cell phone for easy access. At $149 for the basic model, this solution is one that will do the job without maxing out your credit card.
  4. Fellowes Micro Trac Mouse: For those who can’t stand using the touchpad on their laptop, but don’t have the room for a standard mouse, the Micro Trac Mouse can be a great solution. Users hold the mouse in their hand like a water pistol and move the trac ball with their thumb, eliminating the need for a flat surface. It works well for computing in small spaces.
  5. The Tripp Lite PV600 inverter: Keep your electronics powered while you’re out of the office with the Tripp Lite Inverter. It harnesses the power of your car’s battery to supply power to up to three AC outlets at once. This makes it possible to keep your laptop, cell phone and PDA up and running even if you can’t make it home to plug them in.
  6. TomTom GO 700: Never get lost on your way to a business meeting again with the TomTom Go 700 portable GPS system. Voice directions will guide you from address to address, and if you don’t have a separate Bluetooth system, the TomTom Go will allow you to make hands free calls. With this gadget’s real-time traffic updates, you’ll never get stuck in traffic. Best of all, it’s portable to any car you use.
  7. Logitech IO2 Digital Pen: While typing notes is ideal, it isn’t always practical when you’re on the go. The IO2 Digital Pen allows users to quickly archive their handwritten notes on special digital paper and transfer them to a computer automatically. You can add items to your to-do list or calendar simply by writing them down, and the pen comes with numerous tools to help you organize your notes.
  8. PLANon DocuPen RC800: Recording handwritten notes is fine, but what if you need to scan something on the go? The DocuPen is a fully functional handheld color scanner. It can store up to 100 pages of information in its memory, and it takes only seconds to scan a page. Now you can scan, upload and send documents no matter where you are.
  9. Targus Wifi Scanner: Don’t lose your connection to the Internet just because you’re not in the office. With a wifi scanner, you can find hotspots anywhere you are. Tiny enough to be carried on a keychain, the Targus Wifi Scanner will detect hotspots and tell you their strength before you even turn on your computer.
  10. Kingston Technology DataTraveler Secure: Keep your data safe and secure when you travel with this USB drive from Kingston Technology. In fact, when you’re on the move, this USB drive might even be a more secure place to store your data that your computer, with its data encryption and password protection. This security powerhouse is can take a beating, too. The titanium case can withstand repeated drops and water, keeping your data intact evenif you accidentally drop it into a puddle or your morning coffee.
  11. Otterbox: Your gadgets can take quite a beating with frequent travel, and some of your more delicate electronics may not be able to take it over the long haul. Protect them with Otterbox. You can get protective gear for everything from BlackBerrys to laptops, keeping your gear safe from water or crushing damage.
  12. iGo everywhere130: Keep your laptop and mobile gear charged anywhere with the iGo everywhere130. This power solution allows you to charge and power your electronics from the office, your car, or even an airplane. Best of all, it’s tiny enough to fit in your pocket.
  13. Palm Treo 700w: If you don’t already have a smart phone or a PDA, you should seriously consider investing in one if you’re doing business on the road. The Palm Treo’s Windows operating system allows you to edit Word and Excel documents, view PowerPoint presentations, and check your email when you don’t have the time or space to whip out your laptop.
  14. Canon Pixma IP90: Sometimes you just don’t have time to run by Kinko’s to pick up some printing so bring a printer along with you instead. The Canon Pixma will allow you to print important documents in full-color for yourself or clients on standard 8.5 x 11 paper. The printer also has optional Bluetooth interface allowing you to print wirelessly from your laptop or PDA.
  15. Think Geek Roll-Up Keyboard: If you’ve got an itty bitty laptop, you might want to bring along a full-sized keyboard to make typing extended letters and projects easier and more comfortable. This roll-up version is as portable as it gets. Simply unroll it and plug it in to start typing. When you’re done, stow it away almost anywhere.

Entrepreneurship is all about the personal freedom to leave the office when you want to. But along with that freedom comes an obligation to see essential projects through to the end at unexpected times. The 15 tools identified in this article will help you turn your car into a mobile workstation which will help ensure that even when you aren’t in the office, the essential tasks still get done.

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Nomadic Entrepreneurs? Tue, 12 Jun 2007 23:00:28 +0000 Site Administrator The Lost Girls and their around-the-world travel plans seem to have inspired others to stoke their travel lust, including entrepreneurs. And since location for digital entrepreneurs isn’t much of an issue anymore, what if someone carried being a mobile entrepreneur to another level? That is, could you be a successful entrepreneur while spending a significant portion of your time traveling around the world? Or at least while moving from location to location after a period of time.

Since the cost of living is not consistent around the world, meager revenues in some parts of the world could go a long way elsewhere. And there are enough of those elsewheres that you could spend many years being an expatriate, changing your home base and still living well. That is, provided you could continue to earn the same revenue regardless of where you go.

Of course, the best platform with minimal hassles for that kind of career is the Internet. If you have the entrepreneurial spirit, you can surely find additional opportunities in each locale – which you can then at least attempt to promote online.

In fact, anyone who builds up a successful Internet business will at some point probably be able to live abroad long-term and still maintain the business – even live off of it. For this reason, I think that the next “Age” will the be Age of Leisure. People will start quitting their jobs and live off online businesses, and to deflect the boredom of less work, will start travelling for long periods.

There are of course a number of negative aspects in taking extended leaves:

  1. Banking issues.
    You can’t quite conduct all of your monetary transactions digitally. Close, but you’ll need hard currency at times, and that means having access to local banks. Some countries only allow landed immigrants and citizens to hold bank accounts.

  2. Citizenship status.
    Losing certain status in your home country if you don’t spend X months per calendar there. And if you are planning to stay extended durations in each locale, you may need to apply for special visas, etc., especially if you are earning a living, even online.

  3. Taxes.
    You may have to pay income taxes in two countries.

  4. Impermanence.
    You no longer have a permanent home base. How do you ensure that your snail-mail/ packages get forwarded? Email as well as phone calls can be handled online, of course.

  5. Displacement.
    There are of course expatriates everywhere, but it’s not for everyone. If you decide to become a true expatriate, you lose your status, and that makes it more difficult to come back and visit with friends and family.

Hopefully governments will realize that more citizens will become nomadic, and maybe the forward-thinking ones will make it easier for digital nomads to retain citizenship, pay taxes, etc.

So, assuming you can work out the negative aspects, it’s quite possible that you could turn yourself into a roving entrepreneur. It takes a certain personality to pull it off, of course, but I think it can be done.

You could even set up a travel-cum-entrepreneur weblog, write about your experiences, and potentially earn advertising revenues. If you talk about the places you visit in detail, there’s also the opportunity to earn Amazon book affiliate commissions. There are many other options to consider, but I also suggest you try to set up a Squidoo lens for each city you visit/ live in.

These websites/ weblogs could fund your travel as you seek out new entrpreneurial opportunities.

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The Mobile Needs of Digital Entrepreneurs Mon, 04 Jun 2007 23:00:31 +0000 Site Administrator The entrepreneurial playing field was forever changed with the Internet, as any digital entrepreneur knows. And those of you planning to start down the entrepreneurial path should know all the benefits of being an online-based business over an offline business. Still, even if you’re the latter, the Internet affords you the ability to run a portion of your business online and to stay connected when you have to travel.

Being able to work anywhere is either a blessing or a curse, depending on your point of view. I like to think of it as a blessing, since I work entirely online.

Some of the benefits of being a fully digital entrepreneur:

  1. Work from anywhere with an Internet connection, including the beach while on vacation.
  2. A short work week, should you want it.
  3. Work with virtual teams, with members based anywhere in the world.
  4. Cheaply build a brand online with free or inexpensive tools and web2.0 applications.
  5. Opportunities to add online revenue streams, sometimes with great ease.

Of course, to achieve this kind of digital nomad lifestyle, there are some things that you need. Andy Abramson, a well-known VoIP blogger, has been writing a fair bit about digital nomads. He has a list of 15 things a global nomad wants in a hotel, so that they can work anywhere. Some are absolutely crucial, others just conveniences. A number of commenters offer some additional items for consideration.

Other VoIP and tech bloggers offer their comments re Andy’s post: Ken Camp, Global Nerdy, Jon Arnold, Russell Shaw, Jim Courtney, and Matthew Miller. Having followed most of these bloggers’ blogs for nearly a year, I happen to know they do travel. So while not all of them are true Digital Nomads, they are close to that category. It’s also their job to write about the IP (Internet Protocol) communication tools available.

Being a VoIP blogger myself, though not as frequently as in the past, I’d have to say that a good VoIP program is the number one software tool in a Digital Nomad’s arsenal, after a web browser and before a web feed reader. And if you plan to be a travelling digital entrepreneur, you need to choose a good VoIP client. More on that later, though you can read Christina Laun’s Ultimate guide to VoIP on a Mac, if you’re so inclined.

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Maybe a Part-Time Online Work Week? Thu, 31 May 2007 23:00:50 +0000 Site Administrator Shortly after asking Career or vacation, about whether a 4-hr work week was feasible or not, and whether you could be an expert at anything with so few hours, I actually found myself reducing the amount of time spent each day writing or researching.

It’s only been a few days, but I actually feel a bit of relief. While I initially felt guilty, I’ve reminded myself that after nearly 21 years of working 50 or 60 hours per week or more, I deserve a break today. Except that I have been taking mini-breaks since January.

In fact, if I really added up all the hours per week that I spent in focused work – that is, with no TV on – I might really only be doing 35-40, with the rest spent partially goofing off. I say partially because this includes trying out a variety of software and web services. A lot of my time is also spent in communicating with colleagues, and this activity seems to be taking up an increasing amount of time.

Any seasoned entrepreneur knows that success hinges on networking, and it’s no different online. So find efficient ways of networking yet spending a minimal amount of time has been a quest for me.

Aside from that though, I can almost fathom living a 20-hour work week. And if I can actually break through my workaholic nature, I know exactly how I’d spend the extra time, in no particular order:

  1. Learn more languages.
  2. Travel to countries where I can speak the language.
  3. Pursue my photography again, possibly set up a digital stock portfolio.
  4. Volunteer at the Humane Society.
  5. Volunteer at senior centers.
  6. Finish my science fiction novelettes/ novellas.
  7. Invest in property.

Obviously, you may have different ways to spend your time. The question is, can you handle a 20 hour work week without getting bored? What about that 4-hour work week that Tim Ferriss wrote about?

I can’t see myself dealing well with a 4 hr wk, maybe due to the work ethic that’s ingrained into me over a lifetime. However, with an increasing number of people dealing with poor health and sometimes unable to work a regular job, I think we’ll see more people pursue a part-time online career and find that they can earn enough to live on – possibly more than they could earn in any offline job.

Those with the entrepreneurial spirit – working online – will find that they have the option of a shorter work week. And the offline world will have to follow suit to some degree.

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Career or Vacation? Tue, 29 May 2007 23:00:29 +0000 Site Administrator Is this a trick question, or what? Steve Pavlina puts forth a question (about halfway down the page, in the Lifestyle section):

Would you rather earn $5,000/mth working 5 hrs/week or $10,000/m working 50 hrs/wk?

This is asked in relation to Tim Ferriss’s book the 4-Hour Work Week (non-affiliate link). I haven’t read the book, but as a workaholic, I’d be inclined to say #2: 50 h/wk. That’s only 10 h/d on a 5 day schedule, and in my mid- to late- 20s, that was normal for me. Yet, I still managed to enjoy myself on weekends. A lot. That included mini-outings. So 50 hrs/wk is nothing, provided I actually enjoy the work. If I don’t, I move on and find work I do enjoy.

However, as an online freelancer cum bootstrapping publishing entrpreneur, I have been putting in more hours than I ever have offline and earning less (70+ h/wk). I made more money per hour when I was a web programmer/ consultant on contract. The difference is that the potential for more is there online, and in realizing that, I am actually starting to scale back my workload a bit and pursue projects I’ve been putting off. I actually think of these as mini-vacations from work – even if they’re only a few hours or days.

But here’s what really excites me about working online, and if you are thinking of it, or have recently started, this should be foremost in your mind:

  1. Fair game.
    The Internet levels the playing field. Twelve-year old bloggers are making some nice money that go beyond an allowance.

  2. Choices, choices.
    There’s a vast array of choice. What are you interested in? There is probably a way to monetize it, if you are creative, innovative, and find a way to stand out.

  3. A million vacations.
    If you’re an online worker and have either a self-sustaining website or can find a few guest writers to keep things running, you can pretty much take a vacation whenever you like.

I’m focusing on the latter. If can scale back my workload to just a few topics, I’ll end up with blocks of hours or days where I can run my web experiments – which will be the seeds of my envisioned great startup business. You can focus on this too: maybe you don’t feel comfortable with a permanent 5 hour work week, but surely you’ll enjoy this luxury once in a while, if you can make up for it at other times? That’s what I enjoy most about freelancing, if you can handle the wild variations of revenue.

Even better, if you score a web success, save the money, “seed” a new project, then go on vacation/ retirement for a bit, you come back fresh-minded for the new project. Is that something you’d enjoy? Because I believe that this can happen online. Just don’t give someone $4000 for the information when the answers are mostly free all around.

Now this advice applies to either freelancing or being an entrepreneur. Take it from someone who didn’t bother taking vacations most of his life: enjoy your life now, not “tomorrow”.

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