Travelling Tips for the Disabled

Unlike in the past, today people with disabilities have been recognized, and are less discriminated against. In many countries there are legislations that protect them and make their life a little easier. Also many public buildings have been designed or renovated in order to accommodate people with disabilities.With all these improvements, people with disabilities are now able to travel for vacation or a business trip to places far away from their home. However, with all these improvements we have made, travelling for people with disabilities is still a challenge for them, especially when they are travelling alone or, they are travelling to an unknown destination. Below is a guide to help people with all forms of disabilities to travel safely.1. Plan well in advance
Planning is key to any form of success. This is very important because it reduces chances of getting stranded and being inconvenienced. Booking flights and hotel rooms are the top priorities, however if you are going to stay at a friend’s or a relative’s house; notifying them in advance is very important. Then they can be prepared and even pick you up from the airport.2. Book hotels that are disabled friendly
Hotels with disabled friendly structures are very convenient as they allow disabled individuals to move freely with minimal effort. Most of these hotels also have special emergency protocols that ensure disabled individuals are not left behind in case of an emergency, unlike some hotels where these issues are over looked.3. Use a travel agent that offers travel packages for disabled travelers
Booking flights and hotel rooms with travel agents that offer travel solutions to disabled people is advantageous in a number of ways. They ensure they book for their disabled clients airlines and hotels that are disabled friendly. They strive to offer services and suggestions that will ensure their clients travel comfortably.4. Understand and know your rights when at the airport
Travelling, for people with disabilities, is very hectic, especially when they arrive at the airport. They face the challenge of getting proper information and directions. This is further aggravated by the huge number of people traveling and long queues. In airports, there are attendants that are supposed to attend to the needs of those travelling with disabilities.Disabled travelers should not, and are not, treated differently when they go through security measures. They are also protected from any form of discrimination from any airline. Disabled travelers are advised to be very conversant with their rights to avoid and report any form of discrimination when travelling.5. Bring extra medication
There is no harm in carrying an extra dose of medication when travelling. People do lose their luggage as they travel so, having an extra dose will act as a backup when one dose gets lost. This also ensures that when travelling, a disabled person does not run out of their medicine forcing them to start looking for a drug store when travelling. These medications should be stored properly to ensure their safety.6. Take a doctor’s note and contact information when travelling
A doctor’s note contains important information about a condition that a disabled person is facing and this will help doctors save a lot of time on tests in case of an emergency. Contact information for your doctor allows other doctors to get important information from your doctor should the need arise. This small, but vital, information can save lives.7. Use direct flights
It is very hectic and tiresome for a disabled traveler to use connecting flights. Using connecting flights exposes them to loss of their luggage and even injury as they get in and out of a plane. Using a direct flight cuts all these risks down and saves a lot time and energy when travelling. Direct flights also ensure that those travelling with disabilities are not stranded in an airport as they wait for a connecting flight.8. Disabled travelers are advised to have some knowledge about where they are travelling to
There is nothing more difficult than looking for directions to a place you do not know about. This is even harder for disabled travelers so, it is advisable to have at least some knowledge and understanding about their destination. This will give them an upper hand when moving around and the knowledge to know where to go and where not to go. This will be very helpful when they are stranded or experience an emergency situation and need urgent assistance.9. Carry the appropriate luggage
Disabled travelers are advised to carry luggage that they can manage when they are travelling. Unless they have company, travelling with a huge amount of luggage is not easy. Traveling lightly enables disabled travelers to be more flexible to situations that arise besides, a large amount of luggage can also easily get lost.10. Enjoy travelling
Many disabled people do not travel often because of a lot of limitations which discourages them. However modern technology ensures safe travel for all regardless of their condition. Travelling should be enjoyed by all since it is a chance to experience new things that are different than what they are used to.

Avoid Debt Management Scams

Anyone who has paid attention to the mounting credit card crisis afflicting modern Americans should not be surprised by the sudden explosion of debt management firms in the last decade. The debt management industry has grown exponentially over the past few years, assisting any number of borrowers with their financial burdens, but, as with any new business that concerns itself with debt and credit cards, a breed of predatory debt service ‘professionals’ seek only to exploit the economically desperate households by promising savings they could never deliver and sometimes even defrauding them altogether. Scam artists are an unfortunate consequence of any profession, and the debt relief industry is no better or worse. However, since word of mouth and a reputation for honesty and competence can make or break a company – especially a finance company – these nefarious loan workers don’t last long. However, just in case you’re unlucky enough to meet one of the less reputable debt management workers, here are a few tips to identify the worst sort.Since debt consolidation loan programs are the most popular form of debt management, let’s start with loan officers and how they can trick unwary homeowners into borrowing more than would be advisable upon their property. Essentially, this sort of debt consolidation depends upon home equity. Credit ratings (above 700 FICO scores, ideally), debt to income ratios (less than forty percent of gross months income should go to home mortgage payments and revolving debt payments), and employment histories (clients most likely to be approved should have worked the same job for two years as provable by W-2 tax returns) are, of course, important. However, the most important element for mortgage debt consolidation will be the amount of home equity the homeowner currently enjoys.Now, not only is home equity a tricky subject at present with property values falling all over America, but this drop in values is largely the fault of mortgage companies themselves. With an absence of regulation somewhat absurd in retrospect, criminally negligent loan officers and mortgage brokers (together with processors that looked the other way and appraisers that exponentially bumped up home values) gave loans to borrowers that should never have deserved them. The resulting mortgages proved more than the homeowners could possibly afford, and the glut of foreclosures (which should have been expected) drove down home prices which only worsened the potential refinance and debt management solutions homeowners would ordinarily presume to be available. Furthermore, these same foreclosures cost the original mortgage lenders (within a debt industry dependent upon constant cash flow for their bottom line) tens of millions of dollars and a previously inexplicable number of mortgage companies simply faded away. Though many of these businesses deserved to go under, the sudden failure of so many mortgage companies had a dire effect upon the American economy and our newly skyrocketing unemployment is but one consequence.This is not to say that all of the mortgage refinance options are to be avoided. While it is much harder to take out a mortgage loan under current conditions, some homeowners – facing adjustable rates or balloon payments – simply have no choice. On the other hand, it is NOT necessary for them to include their credit card debts within their refinance no matter what the more aggressive loan officers would try to convince them of. Home mortgage refinancing is a form of debt management, of course, and making sure that what will be the average American consumer’s largest lifetime debt falls under acceptable (and formally fixed) interest rates should be of the utmost priority. However, what trustworthy mortgage professionals will explain is that the longer the term the more money you pay with even a locked prime interest rate. That’s just the way compound interest works. For that reason, mortgage professionals attempting to explain debt management should do whatever it takes to make borrowers have the lowest terms that would be comfortable for their household budget.Not, you understand, that they should try to find the lowest payments for borrowers (obviously, it would be rather the opposite), but rather the fewest payments that they would have to pay over the course of the loan. A fifteen year term, if applicable, should be advised before the thirty, and biweekly payment programs that add up to essentially thirteen months of payments every year with accompanying years off the loan pay-off should also be strenuously encouraged. Perhaps most importantly, the loan officers should always ensure that the lender did not include some provisions against early pay-offs. Prepayment penalties, though technically legal, are the most underhanded strategies of less than trustworthy mortgage brokers. Anyone who tries to force through a prepayment penalty on unsuspecting homeowners or tries to convince them of the merits – often they’ll knock a few hundred dollars off the loan fees – should be avoided no matter their (evidently overstated reputation).While all of this should be fully recognized by homeowners before they start talks with any mortgage lender or broker, your authors are aware that debt management this day and age primarily concerns itself with credit card debts. There are many other sorts of financial burdens for consumers to worry about, but the average American’s greatest worry tends to be the overload of credit card bills. Student loans, for example, generally boast the lowest interest rates of all types of debts. Hospitals and insurance companies, whatever their public perception, regularly work with their debtor clients to make sure that their medical bills are not an undue burden, even offering stays of payment. Auto loans, it is true, sometimes have higher interest rates, but they’re still rarely above those offered from mortgage loans or home equity loans. Nevertheless, even if there is a significant different between the interest rates (and, for credit card debts, there is almost always a steep drop once consolidated), the smart borrower has to remember the effects of compound interest. It is easy to see why loan officers would try to sugar coat the debt consolidation program, their pay is based around the overall size of the loans that are refinanced or taken out, but that is no reason to willfully ignore the borrowers’ true needs.Not to belabor the point, but the worst suggestion that an unscrupulous loan officers can inflict upon their homeowner clients would be advising them to throw their credit cards debts onto a mortgage consolidation lasting decades. This is not debt management, this is debt avoidance. Borrowers will find that they are still paying their debts, but, after the interest continues to multiply, they will be paying their debts many times over. Worse still – especially in these trying times – homeowners are surrendering their ever more precious equity for only a temporary fix. Credit scores will fall from the sudden amount of credit card accounts now open, and, more to the point, how many consumers, once they have moved their debts over to a different loan source, would be able to resist the temptation to revisit their former spending habits and once again rack up bills through thoughtless purchasing. The key to any true and lasting debt management must be the debt professional working with the consumer to actually pay off their debts! Simply moving them to an equity loan that, for the moment, lowers their payments (however much longer and how much more they will inevitably pay) does nothing to assist the borrowers’ long term financial stability. Any viable program for debt relief must concentrate not only upon education to prevent such debt from occurring in the future but on actually eliminating the borrowers’ debts!There are many other varieties of debt management, of course – not all debtors, after all, own their own homes. Consumer Credit Counseling companies have been exploding in popularity of late, but they contain their own string of suspicious activities each consumer must keep an eye out for. Since the industry does not tend to care so highly for certification, they attract more than their share of con artists and shady ‘corporations’. For this reason, borrowers must be incredibly diligent when investigating the bonafides of any business that they consider dealing with. Do not be fooled by flashy web sites or nice offices in well regarded areas. Debt management is about the people that you work with and many of the best debt professionals and debt management films, working in such a new industry, will not spend the time or money on advertisements while trying to make their way through a career or business with the best of motives.Once again, though, even for those Consumer Credit Counseling companies that actually are legitimate, so much of the industry still depends upon credit card conglomerates (the very creditors that your debt management representatives are ostensibly fighting against) for half of their payments. Have you ever wondered why there are so very many Consumer Credit Counseling commercials on the television urging unsuspecting debtors to take a change at easing their financial burdens? As it turns out, above and beyond the sky high fees initially charged to the debtor clients themselves, the CCC firms get even more money from the various lenders. It is all part of a ploy by the credit card companies to prevent borrowers from attempting to declare bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection has been greatly lessened over the last few years of an unfettered congressional deregulation, but the option does still attract a number of desperate debtors, and, though the chances are slim to none under the newest changes to the bankruptcy code statutes, some may have even have a chance to successfully wipe clean their unsecured debts (though it would also mean basically erasing the entirety of their possessions).Because Chapter 7 bankruptcies do still remain a threat to their eventual bill collection, the credit card companies help fund the Consumer Credit Counseling companies so as to convince hapless borrowers to maintain and try to repay their loans, albeit in a different form. There are benefits to signing up with the program, to be sure. Interest rates are lower (not that they could actually be higher) and many of the creditors will agree to waive some of the fees assessed from over limit accounts or payments that arrived too late. However, considering the amount of money Consumer Credit Counseling professionals would charge for the opportunity – and, also, keeping in mind how damaging the Consumer Credit Counseling approach would be to the prospective client’s credit ratings once entered – most every applicant should be able to search out a better route to debt management success.Debt settlement is another form of debt management rising in publicity the past few years, and these types of companies have many similar features to Consumer Credit Counseling firms. Both industries, after all, ask borrowers to sign over their collected debts (once again, primarily those unsecured ones which would be affected by bankruptcy protection). The debt settlement industry, however, does have a national certification program with which borrowers may rely upon to ensure that the people that they are dealing with could be properly trusted. Furthermore, since the underlying principles behind debt settlement thoroughly guarantees that there will be no collusion between the debt management professionals and the credit card companies, consumers do not have to worry about their counselors serving two masters. With debt settlement, the specialists working upon the specific case maintain an adversarial (though, as you’d imagine, still friendly for business purposes) relationship with the credit card companies so as to negotiate a reduction of their clients’ total balances. The debt settlement representatives have no reason to ever do anything more than work for the debtors’ best interests. That’s the only way their careers and the industry as a whole will survive and thrive within the new economic realities.No matter the foundations of the debt settlement industry’s guiding principles, however, there still exists (as always will, with any possible employment opportunity) desperate scavengers aiming to take advantage of their clients’ ignorance and neediness regarding complicated financial matters. As we have said, these few practitioners of economic scams are found sooner rather than later and let go, but borrowers must always be wary of any debt management specialist that insists upon his or her fees paid up front. Initial consultations, by industry standard, should always be free of charge. They are, after all, trying to impress the clients with their professionalism so as to win their business, and it is highly suspicious that they would ask for money before they have even begun to do their job. Debt management must garner the trust of both the debtors and the creditors. Do not take the advice of anyone that you believe would be purely out for the quick buck.For that matter, there are also any number of less than legal financial ploys that may sound like normal business practices but, in actuality, would leave the borrower open to charges of fraud. In the same way the malfeasant loan officers may urge homeowners to go with appraisers promising to pump up home values to tens of thousands of dollars more than the properties are actually worth or fool with pay stubs and tax records to suggest greater gross incomes than the true earnings, some debt management professionals might even advice that their client ask for a different Employee Identification Number. The purpose of altering Employee Identification Numbers is purely to trick lenders into disregarding credit report information and would be thought of as highly fraudulent behavior punishable by the fullest extent of the law. Before signing off on any such activity, make sure that you contact an attorney or – at the least – read up on the consequences of such actions. Whatever minimal savings may result from these sort of tactics are hardly worth the legal struggles that may ensue.All of these warnings are not meant to turn prospective borrowers away from the good that proper and law abiding debt management counselors could do for household dearly in need of debt relief. The overwhelming majority of specialists working in these fields obey the strict letter of the law and, even beyond that, the specific rules of their chosen field. Most debt professionals enter the industry because they enjoy helping borrowers climb through the thickets of debts and find a better life for themselves and their families. Do not assume, just because of a few bad apples, that debt management specialists should be considered suspicious solely because of the nature of their work. As with any profession – from mechanics to congressmen – there are always bound to be a few brigands only out for themselves, but, with careful study of their company and a close reading of precisely what they are attempting to do, it is not that difficult to figure out which ones you should trust.

Tips for Small E-Retailers Competing Against Ecommerce Giants

In today’s digital marketing age, more and more retail stores are building ecommerce websites. An ecommerce site enables any size retailer in any place of the world to have a global market reach. When promoted effectively, an ecommerce site can also offer immense cost-efficiency for customer acquisition and product sales.Parallel to the enormous growth in ecommerce, most industries and product sectors are being dominated by a few major ecommerce giants. These powerful players often have a prominent brand image accompanied by targeted search engine ads and wealthy online marketing budgets. This has made competing against such ecommerce sites a difficult endeavor, especially for small e-retailers with limit ad spend.In sectors where it might seem impossible to steal market share from ecommerce goliaths, there is usually always a way to capture a good chunk of customers. The trick is to get the creative juices flowing and find out which channels are the most relevant, least competitive, and cost-efficient. Below we highlight three tips that can help small business ecommerce sites compete with big budget brands.Carve a Fine Niche
One of the most important approaches to building a successful ecommerce store is to establish a very specific market niche. This is particularly significant for boutiques and small business retailers with a very distinguished inventory. Unlike some large ecommerce stores that offer a broad range of goods, determining a very focal niche will help to establish a retailer as a specialty provider for a certain category of products. This can help to promote greater trust and credibility in potential customers.Well-established ecommerce sites typically sell all sorts of products within a certain category, such as ‘motorcycle clothing.’ Take the time to do some research on the inventory that your ecommerce competitors offer with respect to your own product lines. Your objective is to pinpoint the areas that could be the most profitable for your ecommerce efforts. This may involve narrowing your focus to very select product categories as the overall theme for your online store, such as ‘leather motorcycle jackets.’Starting off slow in a niche that you’re confident will drive sales is an excellent tactic for small business ecommerce. As you begin to dominate one product category, you can start exploring new categories to expand your sales potential.Mix Up Your Marketing Efforts
Marketing your ecommerce site can seem like a daunting task. However there are a few primary channels that are paramount for ecommerce. These include Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, organic search engine optimization (SEO), and social media marketing. In a nutshell, ecommerce marketing hinges on being found in the search engine results as well as being recognized on social media platforms. But before picking which channels are priorities, think of approaching a marketing plan with a more holistic approach.Between SEO, PPC, and social media, none are more powerful than the other. Although each channel is very different, that all share the same degree of potential in attracting more customers. More times often than not, including a blend of search engine marketing tactics that use both SEO and PPC is the best approach. Because SEO is a long-term effort, using PPC to test which keywords are most profitable is one of the best strategies. This can save a lot of work down the road by optimizing for keywords that only provide sufficient profit margins.Social media platforms, like Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, help to build more recognition in your brand. These platforms can help sustain loyalty as well as funnel traffic to your website. Social media offers a great way to share content, generate interest, and build a following. This can help sustain ecommerce success by promoting repeat purchases and the viral sharing of great content that’s connected to your brand.Promote with Richness
Online shoppers in particular feed off insightful information that’s presented in a rich media format. The use of images, audio, and video can be momentous for ecommerce marketing. The ways in which you can use such media offer endless ideas.Reviews are big deal in the ecommerce arena. Customers see a lot of value in quality reviews that accurately describe the features, benefits, and pitfalls of certain products. For this reason, recording your own reviews or product highlights in the form of a video can be an ecommerce game changer, especially if those videos are optimized and found in the search engine results.Visual stimulation is huge on the Internet. In addition to videos, including a wealth of images on your product pages can significantly help sales. In fact, product page mini-galleries are becoming popular for many ecommerce stores, so adopting this strategy is becoming essential. The use of more informative images, or infographics, is also a creative way to attract customers. Social media can be used to share this content, which can help lead to more exposure and the potential to go viral.Successful ecommerce is rooted to empathy. That is, how well you as the marketer can put yourself in the perspective of your target audience. Understanding how to present your brand, as well as your communications is key. Good ecommerce marketers have a sharp sense of awareness. They know what it is their target customers are looking for, and how to best enlighten them on how their ecommerce store can meet their needs.