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Posted on Feb 5, 2013 in Guest Posts, Travel Destinations |

Five Things That Make London So Iconic

Every major city of the world has its own individual characteristics, and this heady combination of factors contributes to each location’s unique personality. And while some cities are ultra-modern and others are steeped in history, only a handful are a combination of both. One of them, London, is among the most popular tourist destinations on the planet, and it offers the visitor an experience unlike any other. Here are five reasons why the UK’s majestic capital is so iconic. Red buses The bright red buses of London have changed in appearance over the years, of course, but they remain sleek, welcoming and pleasing to the eye. Most of them are double-deckers, so they can accommodate large numbers of passengers, and even though they can be rather crowded and uncomfortable at peak times, they remain a familiar feature of this wonderful city. If you’re in town on a visit, be sure to ride the bus at least once. Tower Bridge There are plenty of incredible landmarks in London to choose from, of course, but TowerBridge has understandably become a symbol of the city itself. If you think about all of the most famous bridges in the world, none of them is as unique in design as this one. It may not be the oldest, the newest, the tallest or the widest, but it’s certainly the most recognisable. It’s located to the east of the city centre, and it is, to put it simply, a must-visit. Black taxis The traditional black cabs of London are among the most iconic of all vehicles of the world, and they can get you to any part of the city with a minimum of fuss. Drivers have hugely impressive knowledge of the roads, so wherever you want to go to won’t represent a problem to them. The taxi is more expensive than the bus or underground railway will be, but it’s something you ought to experience at some point during your stay. Trafalgar Square Located in the very heart of the city, Trafalgar Square is always teeming with tourists and remains an awe-inspiring public space....

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Posted on Feb 5, 2013 in Guest Posts, New Zealand immigration, Travel Destinations |

Auckland – The Abridged Guide for First Timers

Auckland is known for its breathtaking views and rich culture that can fill up days’ worth of holiday travel. The largest metropolitan city in New Zealand has a lot to offer travellers of all ages. Here’s just a few tips and ideas to help make your first trip to New Zealand’s premier city one to remember for life. What To Bring When travelling to Auckland, there are articles of clothing and supplies that must be packed for ultimate travelling comfort and preparedness. Flights to Auckland tend to be long, regardless of where you are travelling from, so bring plenty of entertainment to stay entertained. For an idea of flight times, durations and prices, go here. Bring clothes for all seasons, as temperature and weather patterns can change on a whim. Use large pieces of luggage to easily hold the clothes for different climates, as well as all of the souvenirs that will be picked up on shopping excursions. Pack the usual toiletries such as soap, shampoo, and anything else you would normally bring on holiday. No additional supplies are required. Hiking boots and other outdoor gear are required for travellers who enjoy spending time in the outdoors, which is highly recommended. Where To Stay There are many hotels of all price ranges and classes to choose from in Auckland. Travellers who are seeking to spend quality time in their hotel on their holiday will want to choose a hotel that will provide an experience of its own. For those who will be using their accommodation strictly for sleeping, choosing a hotel made for business travel may be a good choice. For the more adventurous, there are many places to camp and enjoy the outdoors during the warmer months in and around New Zealand’s summer. Hotel prices vary in Auckland. They start as low as $45 dollars per night, as can be found at the Kiwi International Hotel, and can cost $501 dollar per night at a hotel such as Hotel DeBrett. The price of a hotel in Auckland will depend on the amenities and room features desired by the...

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Posted on Feb 5, 2013 in Guest Posts, Living Abroad, Travel |

Pros and Cons of Renting an Apartment Abroad

Guest post by Mark Russell For those staying abroad for lengthy periods, the debate is usually whether or not to rent an apartment or rather stay in hostels or hotels.  Each side has their merits.  Here are the pros and cons every traveler should read when deciding on what to look for in their choice of rental while on their next adventure. Of course, the first and obvious pro of renting an apartment while abroad is the feeling of home that comes with an apartment.  Whether you furnish the apartment yourself or rent from one already furnished, an apartment invariably has a better sense of home than sharing a bunk room with eight other people, as you’re likely to find in a hostel.  That home has its advantages: a private bathroom (a large pro for many); a private kitchen; usually a living area; control over your own cleanliness or lack-there-of; and last but not least, the ability to control the level of peace and quiet in your temporary lodging.  There is also the added security that comes with renting an apartment versus staying in a hostel. There is a sense of community and cultural inclusion that comes with staying in an apartment instead of a hotel or hostel; an apartment puts you into the shoes of the city’s life, giving you a chance to really get to know the place you’re in and easily a better understanding of your destination than most other tourists who chose the other option. There are, certainly, some drawbacks to renting an apartment abroad.  The first is that renting usually comes with more litigious and financial baggage than in renting a hotel.  Contracts can be messy and can turn ugly, which can be an ever bigger problem in another country.  There are also the particulars of the financial arrangements; some apartment rentals abroad are through Craig’s List posts, verbal contracts instead of written ones, or done with people who are simply opening their home for a brief period of time.  These off-the-book transactions can be suspect no matter where you are and have often resulted...

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Posted on Jan 31, 2013 in Australia, Guest Posts |

Australia Prepares for World Series Poker Tournament

As 2013 begins, Australia’s excitement is growing as the hosts of the World Series Poker Tournament (WSOP) begins to loom. Starting in April, this 5 gold medal bracelet event will see the winner walking away with over AUD $2,000,000 and the prestige of being the best in the world. This will be the 2nd large poker championship being held in Australia this year, and the hype surrounding the Crown Casino and Hotel is infectious. This will also be the first time the championships have been held outside of the US and the UK. Commenting on the national wave of excitement, WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart, reminds us just how important the tournament is to the Aussies; “Ever since Australia’s Jo Hachem won the main event in 2005, we have dreamed of the day we can hear Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi again” It’s been a long time coming for the South Pacific, and it is certainly no wonder that the estimated number of visitors throughout April look set to break records of over 2 million. The Crown Casino and Hotel in Melbourne have been picked as the hosts, as they are easily one of the largest and finest Casinos in Australia, with normal years visitor numbers reaching into the millions. The Crown Melbournes CEO, Greg Hawkins, has spoken highly of his love for the series and how proud the Casino is to host the matches; “Crown is thrilled to have partnered with the biggest poker brand in the world, the World Series of Poker,” said Hawkins. “Players from all over the globe will descend on Crown Melbourne in April, all vying for one of the five coveted bracelets on offer.” The main events will kick off on April 4th with buy ins starting at AUD $1,100 up to high rollers of AUD $50,000+, culminating with the high stakes main event on or round April 13th, which is when the super high stakes Macoa players are expected to make their appearances. Along with the winners being the FIRST to take home the WSOP APOC Championship title, we will also see...

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Posted on Jan 31, 2013 in Guest Posts, Living Abroad |

Living in Australia on a Budget

Living in Australia on a Budget We all know how difficult it can be at the moment; your wages just don’t go as far as they used to and you run out of money before pay day. With the cost of living rising, it can be difficult to keep within our budgets and make sure all our payments are made on time. If you are reading this and nodding in agreement then these tips will help you to reassess your budget, save some money and above all have fun doing it! Living in Australia doesn’t have to be so expensive!  So, to start with we need to know exactly what we have coming in and what dreaded payments are going out; I know this can be a daunting task but we can’t change our finances without this information. Once you know what you are paying each month, then start off by looking at your creditor debts, if you have any, as these may need re thinking before creating your complete budget breakdown. If you have multiple credit cards then I would always recommend transferring your credit to a 0% balance transfer credit card. Not only will this consolidate all your credit, but it will also save you money on interest. If you have a single card then choosing a transfer to a 0% interest card will also help to save on your payments as long as you pay off the card before the time limit. Once you have deduced what your exact payments will be, then you have the budget amount you are left with, it may not be as much as you feel you need but it’s certainly a start. So all the payments left should be your living costs and this is where you can really get creative. Recycle, Reuse and Rework If, like me, you love shopping for new clothes or home ware, but your new budget doesn’t stretch that far don’t despair. There are plenty of ways we can rediscover the old and even grab new items at little or no cost. We all have...

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Posted on Jan 16, 2013 in Guest Posts, Migration News |

Relaxed Visa Laws See Boom of Investor Immigrants

Guest post by Carol Carter Immigration has been a huge issue for Americans in recent years, but did you know that some immigration is designed to encourage job creation? Foreign investors, through special visa programs, are encouraged to invest along certain criteria in exchange for a green card. While job growth is virtually guaranteed there remain some obstacles for those caught in the crossfire of visa immigration law. Challenges Some challenges for investors include the application process which, in past years, has been seen as being burdensome and taking a very long time to complete. (Some applicants had been waiting ten or more years for their applications to be approved.) Since a government report found the waiting time was discouraging applicants, the effort to simplify the investment process has caused the development of new opportunities for investors. The intent of the EB-5 Investor Visa is to encourage foreigners to invest in America in exchange for a green card. Public Infrastructure Brought To You By The New Neighbors The newest avenue of growth has been through investment with companies designated as Regional Centers, a provision created in 1992 and regularly renewed since. Regional Centers (RC) allow funds to be put into a company managed by a third party, such as a developer of commercial real estate. Some of the companies that fall under the RC designation have taken to purchasing state bonds. Of particular interest was a Seattle project to replace an important bridge whose funding was to come from the purchase of bonds. Millions poured in from Chinese investors who were already short-listed to be accepted pending some changes in legislation. Asia‘s Investor Influence The majority of investors who apply for the EB-5 visa come from Asiatic countries including China, South Korea, Taiwan, and others. At the time of the report 83 percent of investors came from Asia, predominantly China. Interestingly, the contribution of funds goes disproportionately towards enterprises in the State of California, the beneficiary of most investments. California maintains its own list of RC projects available for prospective EB-5 visa applications. Other states that maintain lists include...

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Posted on Jan 10, 2013 in Guest Posts |

Fiji 2013: Five Unique Attractions You Must See

Fiji is a romantic tropical paradise. The weather is beautiful year-round, and there is plenty of culture to experience. Many couples and families travel to Fiji for a relaxing getaway. Whether you’re travelling solo, with your significant other or with the whole family, there are plenty of things to do. The following attractions are hidden gems that will make your experience truly unique by taking you off the tourist track and into the heart of authentic Fiji culture. The Hibiscus Festival Held in Suva every August, the Hibiscus Festival is Fiji’s oldest charity festival. It is managed by the Hibiscus Events Group Inc., which is predominantly run by member volunteers. The festival features a lot of fun activities like Pacific arts and crafts, sports and traditional and contemporary dancing. At the end, there is a beauty competition in which women from all around the country compete for the coveted “Miss Hibiscus” title. If you’d like to experience the culture of Fiji at this once-a-year festival, make sure you book your flight to Fiji early so you can be there when it takes place. A Traditional Fijian Village and School Touring a traditional Fijian village will give you a taste of what life is like for the natives on a daily basis. It is vastly different from the life we are accustomed to living. Fijians do not live as comfortably in terms of material possessions, yet they are so full of life and happiness. A typical Fijian village has a school, a meeting house and a church. Some travellers will choose to stay in a Fijian village during their trip. This works well if you are on a budget or if you’re looking to get the most authentic experience possible while in Fiji. Fiji Museum Located in the heart of Suva’s botanical gardens, the Fiji Museum is home to a remarkable collection of archaeological materials dating back 3,700 years, along with cultural objects over 100 years old that represent Fiji’s indigenous peoples and other settlers of the islands. A variety of programs and activities are available to the general public...

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