Showing posts with label Travel Related. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel Related. Show all posts

6 November 2019

4 Tips for Moving to the States from the UK

Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty (image via Pexels)
Ah, America. You can love it, or you can hate it, but you absolutely can’t ignore it. It’s a cultural powerhouse, one that grabs our attention. While these days it often feels like all we hear is bad news from across the pond, it’s always worth remembering that the States still remains an incredible plan to visit and to live. When you’re actually there, the headlines that make the news are just part of the background noise; the day to day life is (mostly) fantastic. If you’re thinking of making the move to the US from the UK, then take a look below, where we outline some essential tips for making the transition as smooth as possible.

A Cultural Fit

Every time anyone discusses the United States, they talk about is if it’s just one big old country, where everything is kind of the same everywhere. This is not true -- it makes much more sense to think of America as fifty individual countries that are grouped together, or at least 11 different cultural regions. There is a huge difference between New York, and, say, New Mexico. So before you decide on where to live, think about the type of cultural region you’d like to live in. Outdoorsy vibe? Liberal politics? Cosmopolitan, traditional? They’re the important questions that need answering.

The Right Paperwork

It should come as no surprise that America is one of the most difficult places to move to. People in the UK tend to think they can move anywhere relatively freely, but the United States is different. If you’re intending on moving there, you’ll want to work with a US immigration lawyer. They’ll have the expertise needed to find the right type of visa for you, and can provide help when it comes to the paperwork. There’s no room for mistakes when it comes to your legal status -- if you get something wrong, you could face a ten-year ban, even if it was an honest mistake.

Making the Move

It’s hard enough to move down the street, let alone to another country. When it’s time to move, you’ll need to seriously think about logistics. The best method is to sell everything that doesn’t have sentimental value, and buy new belongings with the cash once you arrive. For the stuff you do want to bring, you can give the responsibility to an overseas courier. That way, you can just travel on the flight free of worries. You really don’t need to have the added headache of worrying about, say, your microwave when you could just buy a second hand one for cheap.

Prepare for Differences

Finally, prepare yourself from differences. The UK and the US are similar in some ways, drastically different in other ways. Also, the United States is not like how it is in films or television shows -- well, it kind of is, but there’s much to discover once the gloss is off. Just embrace the adventure, it is a great country, if only for a few years.

5 November 2019

AsylumConnect Launches First Ever Mobile App For #LGBTQ Asylum Seekers

AsylumConnect Launches First Ever Mobile App For LGBTQ Asylum Seekers
AsylumConnect Launches First Ever Mobile App For LGBTQ Asylum Seekers
Tech nonprofit AsylumConnect has launched the first-of-its-kind mobile app for the tens of thousands of LGBTQ asylum seekers fleeing their homes for safer ground each year. AsylumConnect had previously been available as a dynamic web application.
"Our free app instantly connects persecuted LGBTQ people with verified safe services and support. With today's launch, we have improved our platform's mobile accessibility and user experience at this pivotal moment for LGBTQ and immigrant communities," said Katie Sgarro, AsylumConnect co-founder and president.
From leaving their dangerous home country to resettlement, it is often a matter of life-or-death for LGBTQ asylum seekers to be able to easily connect with legitimate and LGBTQ-affirming lawyers and other direct service providers. 

LGBTQ asylum seekers and other LGBTQ populations (undocumented immigrants, homeless or isolated youth) use AsylumConnect as a free digital one-stop-shop referral site to meet their needs in all aspects of their lives, including: housing, legal, medical, mental health, education and employment. 

  • Lawyers and other direct service providers also use AsylumConnect to gather verified referrals.

The AsylumConnect mobile app on iOS and Android offers an improved user experience and new features:

  • Streamlined user experience: improved content organization, new bottom navigation, and fresh designs throughout the app
  • New verified resources and locations: at launch, the app connects users to verified LGBTQ-and immigrant-friendly services in 25 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico
  • Anonymity: designed to protect users' privacy online
  • Search filters: filter out services that require specific documentation (medical insurance, proof of age/income/residence, or a referral)
  • Translation: available in over 100 languages
Next, AsylumConnect will introduce enhanced map visualization, offline capabilities, new locations and an integrated private online community for LGBTQ asylum seekers.
Since launching in 2016, AsylumConnect has connected over 11,000 unique users to verified LGBTQ-and immigrant-friendly services in the U.S. and has been accessed in over 150 countries. Financial and in-kind supporters include: Roddenberry Foundation, U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants, Clinton Foundation, Brooklyn Community Foundation Immigrant Rights Fund, One Degree, Urban Justice Center's Social Justice Accelerator, and Miller Center's GSBI Social Entrepreneurship at the Margins Accelerator.

About AsylumConnect

AsylumConnect is a tech nonprofit providing the first and only digital resource platform for LGBTQ asylum.

About Katie Sgarro, AsylumConnect Co-Founder & President 

Katie Sgarro is based in New York and is a social entrepreneur and LGBTQ advocate. During her senior year in college, she publicly “came out” in order to co-found AsylumConnect. Her experience denying her own LGBTQ identity drives her to ensure that other LGBTQ people live freely. Sgarro has led AsylumConnect for 5 years in establishing the first ever digital resource platform for LGBTQ asylum.

For her work on AsylumConnect, Sgarro was selected as the winner of MCC15’s Millennium Peace Prize at the United Nations and the 2015 Business Today Impact Challenge. In 2017, she was named to the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Alumni Honor Roll of social innovators and as a Mogul Influencer. Sgarro was also named a Washington Post’s WP BrandStudio Influencer in 2018. In 2019, Sgarro became a Roddenberry Fellow and joined Urban Justice Center’s Social Justice Accelerator. In 2019, Sgarro was also selected as one of 24 emerging nonprofit leaders for American Express Leadership Academy's Converge Academy in Brooklyn, NY.

She has been a featured speaker on LGBTQ rights and public good technology, and her work has appeared in national outlets including Teen Vogue,, The HuffPost, NowThis, The Advocate, and The Hill. She received a B.A. cum laude in Health & Societies from the University of Pennsylvania and a M.S. in Management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. 
Katie Sgarro
Katie Sgarro (image via
    SOURCE: AsylumConnect

    11 October 2019

    'Transparency: An LGBTQ+ Glass Art Exhibition' Makes West Coast Debut at Museum of Glass

    Pearl Dick. Us, 2017. Blown, sculpted glass; 12 1/2 x 16 x 6 inches. (Photo by Randy Korwin. Courtesy of the National Liberty Museum.)
    Pearl Dick. Us, 2017. Blown, sculpted glass; 12 1/2 x 16 x 6 inches. (Photo by Randy Korwin. Courtesy of the National Liberty Museum.)
    The nation's first museum exhibition of Studio Glass works produced exclusively by artists in the LGBTQ+ community, Transparency: An LGBTQ+ Glass Art Exhibition makes its West Coast debut at Museum of Glass on October 12, 2019. 

    Curated and organized by the National Liberty Museum, this three-dimensional mediation on queer experience emphasizes the importance of being open about identity, a hallmark of liberty and creative freedom.

    Transparency, which originally opened for Pride 2017, speaks both to the medium of glass and to the artists' freedom to acknowledge their identity, regardless of the political or artistic consequences. It includes work by more than 20 glass artists, including Nancy Callan, Pearl Dick, Tim Tate, Kim Harty, Joseph Sircoulomb, and Sabrina Knowles and Jenny Pohlman. The featured pieces were chosen by the artists, keeping with the spirit of self-advocacy and creative self-expression that characterizes Pride.
    "The National Liberty Museum's mission is to promote freedom and self-expression, and nothing better exemplifies that more than this groundbreaking exhibition," said Meegan Coll, Director of Glass Programs at the National Liberty Museum. "We are so excited that we could partner with Museum of Glass to not only bring the work of these artists but also the message of Transparency to the West Coast."
    The opening of Transparency at Museum of Glass correlates with Refract: The Seattle Glass Experience, happening October 17-20. Refract is the nation's newest festival showcasing creative uses of glass in the Pacific Northwest. 

    • In partnership with Refract, Museum of Glass will celebrate Transparency with an opening party, including a meet and greet with several participating artists, DJ, cash bar, and free access from 12-2pm on Sunday, October 20.
    'Seaform Pavilion, Chihuly Bridge of Glass' - Museum of Glass, Tacoma
    'Seaform Pavilion, Chihuly Bridge of Glass' - Museum of Glass, Tacoma

    About Museum of Glass

    Located in Tacoma, Washington, Museum of Glass is a premier contemporary art museum dedicated to glass and glassmaking in the West Coast's largest and most active museum glass studio. 

    Opened in 2002, the Museum has established a reputation for hosting impactful and engaging artist residencies, organizing nationally traveling exhibitions, and creating unique programs for visitors while building a growing permanent collection chronicling the development of modern and contemporary glass. 

    Museum of Glass provides an environment for artists and the public to ignite creativity, fuel discovery, and enrich their lives through glass and glassmaking. 

    • Museum of Glass is a non-profit organization sponsored in part by the City of Tacoma Arts Commission, ArtsFund, The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, The Dimmer Family Foundation, and the Driscoll Foundation.

    23 September 2019

    US: Record Numbers Dare to Enter Nation's Haunted Attractions

    Most Entertaining Haunted Attractions from left to right: Bates Motel Haunted House, Glen Mills, Pennsylvania; 13th Floor Haunted House, Denver, CO; Haunted Hotel, San Diego, CA; Cutting Edge, Fort Worth, TX; Dent Schoolhouse Haunted House, Cincinnati, OH
    A pounding heart, heavy breathing, and cold-shivers from unsettling senses are some of the feelings that entertain haunted house fans by pumping up their adrenaline and releasing screams and laughter. People love a controlled scare for fun. America Haunts, the leading industry association of premiere haunted attractions, reports that the popularity of haunts is growing, especially within mega haunts. These mammoths of scare ushered a record level of visitors in 2018, many exceeding a 9% increase in patrons for the season.

    Stirring the spirits to generate crowds takes more than hocus pocus. There is a lot of wicked year-round planning and professional skills needed to entertain and spook the masses. Befittingly, America Haunts recognizes the 5 most entertaining haunted attractions in the U.S. for 2019.

    In addition to working late and their penchant for scaring, this group of mega-haunt producers are technological wizards, spooky-set builders, and many of the realistic masks and make-up techniques are their own creations as they are pushed to be better than Hollywood to entertain audiences often just a grasp away.

    The top 5 most entertaining haunted houses in the United States are:

    1. Bates Motel Haunted House and Haunted Hayride Philadelphia metro, - Glen Mills, Pennsylvania: This haunt mixes up a triple threat to scare its guests. Aside from the Bates Motel Haunted House, it also has the Haunted Hayride and Revenge of the Scarecrows Haunted Trail attractions. The realism will make you swear they conjured up dead spirits that elicits visitors to scream with applause throughout this spectacular haunt.
    2. 13th Floor Haunted House Denver, Colorado: One of the world's greatest mysteries is the hidden 13th floor - hidden by building owners but discovered in Denver that goes by elevator straight down. 13th Floor guests witness the unforeseen frights not found anywhere else, plus in 2019 have new attractions: The Other Side, Tales of Unknown, and Clown that promises well-done, scary fun.
    3. Haunted Hotel San Diego metro – Mission Valley, California: There was a "disturbance" in 2019 so wicked that the Haunted Hotel was relocated to bigger digs in Mission Valley - featuring 3 haunted attractions in one location. The undead unearthed by the move are ready to inflict terror at the Haunted Hotel and its hellevator. Kill-billy Chaos, and 3-D Freak-Fest gives even more reason to watch out from this terror-filled place of thrill.
    4. Cutting Edge Fort Worth, Texas: Born from an abandoned meat-packing factory this world-record, largest haunted house packs in horror chills and thrills. Visitors will feel their pulse rise with the dark, rhythmic beats of a nationally acclaimed zombie drum line in this haunt. The Cutting Edge experience includes a cemetery and a Texas-sized swamp where getting out may actually take you six-feet under.
    5. Dent Schoolhouse Haunted House Cincinnati, Ohio: The dark past at Dent Schoolhouse,  where a janitor ended some young lives, makes Dent especially haunting. The looming presence of the spirits in undeniable to all the senses as visitors make their way throughout classrooms, the cafeteria, and more. This school bell conjures up the best cast in the Tri-City's area with help from the supernatural to make this a hands down favorite in the nation for a great night of scares.

    About America Haunts:

    America Haunts is the national association of top-tier haunted attractions dedicated to excellence in fear-based, sensory entertainment, thrilling more than a million visitors annually. America Haunts' members are recognized for their longevity in the industry, technical expertise, innovative design, and relentless talent with a penchant to generate screams for fun and excitement.

    Related Stories:

    18 September 2019

    Queen of Haunts' Thirteen Top Picks For The Most TERRORific Haunted Attractions In The US

    Queen of Haunts, by day Amber Arnett-Bequeaith, presented the TERRORific Haunted Attractions on her 45th seasons
    Queen of Haunts, by day Amber Arnett-Bequeaith, presented the TERRORific Haunted Attractions on her 45th seasons
    Choosing the best haunted houses in the nation is a labor of love for the Queen of Haunts, also known as Amber Arnett-Bequeaith. She has spent a lifetime in the haunt industry – celebrating forty-five seasons. 

    Some of her early memories as a five-year-old was sleeping in a coffin and raising up from it to toss pedals on passersby in her family-owned haunt in Kansas City. The family still owns the haunt it created in 1975, the Edge of Hell, marking it as the nation's oldest operated commercial haunted house. The years following, they expanded to a whole bevy of scare-based attractions including haunts Beast and Macabre Cinema, a ghost and gangsters tour, hayrides, and the Festival of the Full Moon where the Queen of Haunts reigns over scary fun and laughter.

    "The most common question I get is what is the best haunted attraction to visit," said the Queen of Haunts. This fright-for-fun expert is quizzed by all types of people – from scare enthusiasts with either a penchant for travel or a bucket-list of thrill goals, or others simply wanting to hear how their local haunt stacks up. While she admits she is hard to scare and knows the inside "tricks of the trade," she favors the haunts where the scares are invented but the fun is for real – best described as "terror-ific".

    The United States is a behemoth in the haunt industry, with approximately 1,200 haunts focused on fear-based entertainment – without counting the charity-run, smaller-scale haunts. In the sea of choices, the Queen's picks are sure to cast scares to make fun memories for a lifetime.

    The top 13 TERRORific haunted attractions for heart-pounding, hair-raising fun:

    1. Edge of Hell, Kansas City – perhaps close to her beating heart, but this granddaddy of haunts creates a mind-blowing scary experience from heaven to hell and the world's largest serpent is undeniably first-class in fright!
    2. Cutting Edge, Dallas – marches onto the list with the acclaimed zombie drum line and scares that go above and beyond – on the edge of darkness.
    3. Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride, Philadelphia – take it from a seasoned haunt expert, a Bates Motel and haunted hayride will leave you scared out of your wits.
    4. Beast, Kansas City – this time travel to the medieval times where an eye for an eye can be vicious and reflects the monster of men and a sensory-experience that includes jumping out a second-story window.
    5. NETHERWORLD, Atlanta – this sprawling one-story haunt has something for everyone to leave you scared to the bone.
    6. Headless Horseman, New York – a legendary haunt that sits among the hills outside New York where the beheaded horseman made that fateful ride and scares the dickens out of those who venture. The presence of horses ramps the scare beyond horse speed.
    7. Macabre Cinema, Kansas City – the haunt for everyone who loves horror movies but wants to be part of the action – it even includes some real horror movie sets. You won't have time for popcorn in this adrenaline-fueled attraction.
    8. Spooky Woods, Greensboro/Highpoint – thrill-seekers are in for a new kind of scare on the Sudden Death Express train ride – giving new meaning to going off the rails!
    9. Dent Schoolhouse, Cincinnati – mix a horror back-story of an old schoolhouse with extraordinary haunt technology and you'll swear the spirits are present and inflicting terror.
    10. Erebus, Detroit – a time machine that is disguised as a haunted house to make all the visitors actual guinea pig subjects – leaves them trembling with the prospect this research project is scary.
    11. Haunted Hotel, San Diego – relocated to a bigger space opens the door to even more scares. The crowds are sure to be breathless inside a hotel that leads to mayhem and macabre.
    12. 13th Floor, Chicago – the superstitious naturally know to take heed going to the 13th floor - most buildings hide the floor from access. The adventure into Chicago's 13th floor will make everyone a believer in this dark reality.
    13. 13th Gate, Baton Rouge – Wrapped in history and the eeriness of the dead above ground in mausoleums makes it all the more believable that the nightmare inside these gates will raise the hairs on your neck.

    28 August 2019

    Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Makes Thrilling Debut at Walt Disney World Resort

    Grand opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
    Grand opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge (PRNewsfoto/Walt Disney World Resort)
    This will be a day long remembered at Disney's Hollywood Studios, as the park took its first step into a larger world with the grand opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, was flanked by the mighty Chewbacca and other Star Wars characters Wednesday morning as fireworks exploded overhead during the land's dedication ceremony.
    "With the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, we've set a new standard for the most immersive storytelling in the galaxy," said Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. "Every experience in Batuu – from piloting the Millennium Falcon to building your own droid – puts guests deeper into their own Star Wars story."
    Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, which opened at Disneyland Park in California on May 31, 2019, is the largest and most technologically advanced single-themed land expansion ever in a Disney park. The 14-acre land transports guests to the remote planet of Batuu, full of unique sights, sounds, smells and tastes.

    Guests become part of their own Star Wars stories as they experience galactic food and beverages, such as iconic Blue Milk and Green Milk. They can craft their own lightsabers or build their own droids in immersive, interactive retail experiences. They can explore an intriguing collection of merchant shops and may even come across iconic Star Wars characters.
    Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
    Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (Walt Disney World Resort)
    • In one of the land's signature attractions, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, guests take the controls of the most famous ship in the galaxy as pilots, gunners or flight engineers in an exhilarating experience that responds in real time to the actions they take. 
    • A second anchor attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, will debut Dec. 5, 2019, at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Jan. 17, 2020, at Disneyland. In the most ambitious, immersive and advanced attraction ever imagined, guests will become part of the action during a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance in an experience that will blur the lines between fantasy and reality.
    Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Main Hold in Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (Walt Disney World Resort)
    The new land builds off decades of collaboration between Walt Disney Imagineering and Lucasfilm Ltd., a global leader in film, television and digital entertainment production, including the Star Wars franchise. The work on Star Wars between these two creative powerhouses dates back to 1987, when the groundbreaking Star Tours attraction opened at Disneyland Park in California.

    12 July 2019

    World Animal Protection Celebrates JPMorgan Chase Decision to Cancel Advertising Featuring Elephant Performers

    Tourists bathing elephants.
    Tourists bathing elephants. (Credit: World Animal Protection / Nick Axelrod)
    World Animal Protection, a global animal welfare organization with offices in 14 countries, is praising the decision by JPMorgan Chase to suspend its advertising campaign featuring direct contact with captive elephants. 

    The "Plan Yourself Free" campaign for Chase Private Client featured a couple's direct contact with elephants on a volunteer vacation. In the ad, the couple are seen washing an elephant by hand, a harmful, but common practice at some captive elephant venues.

    The elephants are also seen walking in a line holding the tail of the elephant in front, which is not a typical behavior of mature elephants in the wild, but of elephants who have been tortured into that behavior.

    • Following discussions with World Animal Protection, JPMorgan Chase will cease the ads in July 2019.
    "JPMorgan Chase made a responsible decision to remove these ads which sent a dangerous message that direct contact with wildlife is acceptable," said World Animal Protection Executive Director Alesia Soltanpanah. "Elephants are trained using harsh and cruel methods to perform unnatural behaviors and interact directly with people in the manner portrayed in this ad. When people see elephants used in live shows, offered for rides, used for selfie props, or washing interactions, these elephants have been cruelly abused and forced to perform these actions."
    "We thank World Animal Protection's leadership for reaching out to us," said Jeff Pilarcik, a managing director in marketing at Chase. "While we took great care in the filming, we learned more about the other side of elephant tourism and have ended the ad campaign."
    World Animal Protection's, Taken for a Ride report found that up to 550,000 wild animals are exploited in the tourism industry worldwide. Three out of four venues studied found conservation and welfare issues including damage physically and psychologically to elephants. Tourist demand for direct interaction with elephants such as riding and feeding leads to a lifetime of abuse. Elephant washing as shown in the ad forces elephants to remain in water longer than they would naturally and reinforces demand for elephants in captivity. The constant presence of strangers requires elephants to be controlled by keepers through harsh obedience training from a young age that includes severe restraining, pain and discomfort.

    Elephants forced into direct contact with people are anything but free. Taken from their natural environments and exploited for entertainment and profits, captive elephants tamed for entertainment never truly experience a life free from suffering and cruelty. Close interaction with captive elephants also regularly leads to injuries and fatalities of keepers and sometimes of visitors.

    Through its Wildlife. Not Entertainers campaign, World Animal Protection engages with travel companies around the world, revealing the hidden cruelty behind the scenes at wild animal entertainment venues, to help bring about a world where animals live free from suffering.

    To date, more than 220 travel companies around the world including Education First, Thomas Cook, TripAdvisor, World Expeditions, and Extraordinary Journeys have ended sales and promotion of elephant rides and shows by signing World Animal Protection's elephant-friendly pledge or making a commitment to wildlife-friendly travel policies.

    18 April 2019

    Interesting Sources Of Inspiration For An Office

    Reading room
    Reading room (image via Unsplash)
    Setting up shop can be a complicated process. If you ever decide to start your own company in life, you may find that you want to do it in your own way. And it’s always a good idea to put your own spin things. Uniqueness can be a huge selling point in business, and if you have a niche business idea, then looking to get really personal with your entire approach is a great idea. Maybe you’re selling collectable books or comics or movies? Maybe you’re setting up a club or a media service? Either way, you may find that you need business premises that suits your unique business idea.

    To do this, you’ll need some inspiration. But because you’re looking to be different, unique, and interesting, then you need ideas that are exactly that. Here are a range of sources that you can get inspiration from for that.


    A great place to start is with movies. Because they’re visual, and you may find that there are great pieces of inspiration that you can take from seeing different locations, buildings, interiors, and décor. If you have any favourite movies, then definitely look to them for ideas on what you can do to bring your business location alive in a unique way.

    Fantasy Fiction

    If you’re big into your books, you may find that there’s a certain office space in a novel that inspires you. While there may be a range of fictional office locations you could consider here, you’ll want to find inspiration from somewhere that suits your style. If you’re into fantasy, then you’ll want to see what kind of weird and wonderful locations, buildings, or areas that might inspire you to create the office of dreams.

    Historical Buildings

    Another idea that you can turn to for interesting inspiration, is historical buildings. Because you may find that looking at different buildings and seeing how they were made, then taking architecture inspiration can help you. For this, something like the City Hire timeline can be the best place for you to start. You may even find that there’s a historical building with a free office to rent in it, which solves your search for it.

    Art Work

    And, of course, you can definitely look at a piece of art for inspiration too. Maybe there’s a particular scene or pattern that you love? Maybe there’s a theme or a message that you can work with? Sometimes, this is a subtle but impactful way to create the office design of your dreams.


    Finally, you may find that you can get a lot of inspiration when you travel. And you can get a range of different kinds of inspiration that gives you different ideas for design, layout, or even the style of the building overall. Whether it’s the architecture in Paris, the colours in Marrakech, or the culture in New York City, it can be really interesting to take ideas when you travel, to then see where the inspiration might take you.

    16 April 2019

    Is a Holiday Home a Good Investment?

    A holiday home
    A holiday home (Image via Pixabay)
    If you are looking to generate a second income, as many people are, then buying a holiday home could be a good option for you. It needs to be seen as more of an investment, that’s for sure, but it can be a good income generator and help to pay for itself. Plus, it means that there will always be somewhere for you to travel to, as well as being able to rent out to others. When it comes to owning a second home, or a holiday home, then you may be left wondering about the practicalities of it all and thinking about realistically, how much money you could earn.
    If that sounds like you, intrigued but unsure, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are some answers to help guide you in making a holiday home decision, and looking at realistically what kind of money you could be looking at.

    What are the best options for raising capital for a holiday home?

    The majority of people are likely to choose a mortgage to help with the purchase of a holiday home, simply because a lot of people are unlikely to just have several thousands of pounds just hanging around. Holiday home mortgages tend to differ slightly from standard residential mortgages so they could definitely be worth looking into. There are, of course, options like equity release and so on.

    Why Do Homeowners Let out their Homes?

    Because there have been some changing tax rules around buy-to-let properties that have put people looking to invest off, short-term holiday homes to rent are becoming an increasingly attractive option, especially when compared to a long-term let option. And with sites like Airbnb on the rise, it does help to make it easier to list your property and get a second home to rent out.

    But the thought of running a holiday home may sound quite stressful and a little too much like hard work. The good news is that you don’t have to do it yourself. Of course, there will be costs associated with it, but you could use a management team to run it for you.

    What is the Expected Return on Investment (ROI)?

    At the end of the day, the decision to get a second property can be quite a big one, so naturally, checking that you will be able to make money from it is what you will be wanting to do. How good of an investment is a holiday home? On average, it has been found that you can make around £18,000 annually through people booking to stay in the rental. But there are massive factors that can impact how much you are able to charge people, and other things like extras. The things that can make a difference, and help you to charge more (or less) are:

    A summer house
    A summer house (image via Pixabay)

    • The location of the property. There will be people looking for rentals in all sorts of locations. But you can make a lot more money through a central city location, as well as one that is close to certain tourist spots like the beach. So if you’re on the lookout for a new property launch 2019, then look out for the ones in the best locations (whether that is suited for tourist or business people is up to you).
    • On a similar note, the type of guests that you want to have will play a role in what you can charge. If you want to keep things pretty basic and just have families with children there, then you will make money, but perhaps not as much as a couple or business group that are looking for something more luxurious. So think carefully about the pros and cons of the guests that you’d want to stay in the home.
    • The features of the property are going to play a role in what money you can make. A property abroad with a swimming pool is going to be able to charge more than the house next door to it that doesn’t have one. So what features appeal, and what features would your ideal guests want?
    • The number of rooms in the home is an obvious one, but an important thing to think about nonetheless. You can charge more generally, in a large home compared to a small one bedroomed one.

    Maximise Your Income

    When you’ve bought your holiday home, making sure that it doesn’t cost you more than you can make from it is going to be one of the main goals. So you will be looking to make a good income from it. There are some trends that can certainly help to give your revenue a boost.

    There are things, as mentioned above, that can help your income to be higher, by the things that your home has. If there is a pool or a hot tub, then research shows that it would be likely to earn more than half of what a home without could earn. So although there may be an upfront cost for those kinds of thing, it can help you to earn more in the long run. Small things like making sure that you have wifi is going to add extra cash too. If there is a choice between somewhere with wifi that costs a little extra compared to somewhere without, a lot of people are going to choose the former option.

    Home comforts are also something that is attractive to travellers when they’re looking for somewhere to stay. That could mean providing a few bits and pieces in a welcome pack, having things that they’d need like highchairs, as well as offering a home that is pet-friendly, can all be good ideas.

    If you are able to work out the finances and put a plan in place, then a holiday rental could be a great investment for your future, as well as something that you could do for work if you’re able to take over the management of it all by yourself. It just takes a leap; finding the right property is the first step, and then you can go from there.

    5 February 2019

    Marvel Studios' First Female-Lead Super Hero Captain Marvel Takes To The Skies With Alaska Airlines


    Ahead of the highly-anticipated release of Marvel Studios' Captain Marvel on March 8, International Women's Day, Alaska Airlines unveiled a special-edition plane today, featuring Marvel Studios' first female Super Hero lead. The Captain Marvel-themed plane was debuted today at Sea-Tac International Airport at a gate celebration for guests flying to Orange County, California.
    "This new plane featuring Captain Marvel will delight guests of all ages," said Natalie Bowman, Alaska Airlines' managing director of marketing and advertising. "We're excited to showcase a pilot who's risen to Super Hero status––an image that embodies strength and confidence and inspires future aviators across our expansive network to go further."
    Decked out in a stunning red and navy suit, Captain Marvel is taking flight and commands the attention she deserves as a female pilot who acquired special powers to fight for the greater good. Guests boarding the Captain Marvel-themed plane will see a film logo when they board. An image of a cat named Goose from the film, will surprise guests seated over the wings.
    "Our collaboration with Alaska Airlines is taking our fans 'Higher, Further, Faster' with this amazing opportunity to fly with our fearless Super Hero and pilot, Captain Marvel," said Mindy Hamilton, SVP of Global Partnerships for Marvel. "We are so excited that our fans will be accompanied by Carol Danvers on their next adventure."
    The Captain Marvel-themed 737-800, tail number N531AS, begins flying throughout Alaska's route network today. With a cruising speed of 530 mph and sporting a larger-than-life image of the movie's namesake Captain Marvel, the plane will visit fans throughout the country via cross-country routes and flights to Hawaii.

    Marvel Studios fans can follow Alaska Airlines on Twitter and on Facebook to learn about the promotions related to the new film. From Feb. 6-9, Alaska Airlines social fans and followers can enter for a chance to win one pair of tickets to the premiere of Marvel Studios' Captain Marvel, including roundtrip airfare and hotel accommodations for two in Los Angeles. Terms and conditions are available online.

    About Marvel Studios' Captain Marvel:

    Set in the 1990s, Marvel Studios' "Captain Marvel" is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that follows the journey of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes. While a galactic war between two alien races reaches Earth, Danvers finds herself and a small cadre of allies at the center of the maelstrom.

    The film stars Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Rune Temte, Algenis Perez Soto, Mckenna Grace, with Annette Bening, with Clark Gregg, and Jude Law.

    Marvel Studios' "Captain Marvel" is produced by Kevin Feige and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jonathan Schwartz, Patricia Whitcher and Stan Lee are the executive producers. 

    The story is by Nicole Perlman & Meg LeFauve and Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet, and the screenplay is by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet. 

    Captain Marvel - Poster
    Captain Marvel - Poster
    "Captain Marvel" opens on March 8, 2019 in U.S. theaters.

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    22 November 2018

    Award Winning Charity Reveals Travel Associations Could Do More to Protect Wildlife

    Baby elephant tied up, waiting to entertain tourists at a venue in Thailand. After brutal training as youngsters, elephants like this one spend their lives forced into unnatural interactions with tourists
    Baby elephant tied up, waiting to entertain tourists at a venue in Thailand. After brutal training as youngsters, elephants like this one spend their lives forced into unnatural interactions with tourists. (Photo: World Animal Protection)
    Just over half a million captive wild animals globally are suffering to entertain tourists, including elephants, sloths, tigers and dolphins. Many animals are beaten, chained up, isolated and forced to perform tricks. These experiences often cause the animals pain and psychological trauma. Many tourists are animal lovers who don't realize these attractions harm animals.
    Travel trade associations, for the most part, are looking the other way. World Animal Protection commissioned the University of Surrey to review 62 travel associations on whether they provide their members with animal welfare guidelines and require them to be met. 

    The research shows only three of the 62 associations provide guidelines (TA (UK), ANVR (Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators) and GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) and only one (ANVR) is monitoring its members' progress in implementing the guidelines.
    The research also states that around 110 million people annually visit cruel wildlife attractions, either independently or through tour operators or travel agents.
    Not only is all this harmful to animals but there are also major safety risks to tourists participating in wild animal attractions. In Thailand, 17 fatalities and 21 serious injuries were reported in venues with captive elephants between 2010 and 2016.
    "We hope travel associations will consider the research findings, step up, show leadership and take action to protect animals," says Melissa Matlow, the Senior Wildlife Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection. "Some travel companies have committed to not selling cruel attractions, but many still do. There will be a big impact on animals' lives if travel companies align with tourist values on animal welfare."
    Strong views on wildlife protection are especially common in younger generations. Research firm, Northstar, recently conducted a series of traveller focus groups for World Animal Protection that showed people under 35 are more aware of animal cruelty issues. They prefer seeing animals in their natural habitats rather than in forced interactions.
    World Animal Protection is also working with various travel companies in Canada, including G Adventures and World Expeditions.
    G Adventures is shifting tourist demand towards more ethical wildlife tourism. They are also part of CEWT (The Coalition for Ethical Wildlife Tourism) along with World Animal Protection. 

    This coalition was created to encourage stronger industry standards and legislation to phase out using wild animals for tourist entertainment.
    "Travel trade associations have a very important role to play in educating their members about responsible travel," says Jamie Sweeting, Vice President for Social Enterprise and Responsible Travel at G Adventures, "Too many animals continue to be harmed by tourism and we call on travel trade associations globally to do more to work with their members to put a stop to this cruel and unnecessary behaviour."
    Several recommendations from World Animal Protection were put forward from the report. Vague language – such as 'good conditions' and 'natural behaviour' – should be avoided within any animal welfare guidelines. Elephant riding and other direct visitor interaction and forced performances with wild animals must be classed as unacceptable.

    Many animals like monkeys, tigers and elephants endure painful training to force them to do unnatural things like give people rides, perform tricks and allow people to get close to them for a photo.
    Many animals like monkeys, tigers and elephants endure painful training to force them to do unnatural things like give people rides, perform tricks and allow people to get close to them for a photo. (Image via World Animal Protection)
    Although it's clear more work needs to be done, the mission of World Animal Protection is not going unnoticed. It was recently announced that the charity grabbed the top spot in the "Best for Wildlife" category at the World Travel Market, in London, U.K, based on the success of its global Wildlife Not Entertainers campaign to improve animal welfare and wildlife conservation. The charity now has over 200 travel companies no longer selling captive elephant entertainment.
    Over 1.6 million people have signed World Animal Protection's animal friendly travel pledge. This signals there is a demand to phase out cruel wildlife attractions, like elephant riding, dolphinariums, and tiger selfies once and for all.

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    31 March 2018

    FlyView Takes You Flying Over Paris at One-of-a-Kind Virtual Reality Attraction

    FlyViewParis, flight over Paris
    FlyViewParis, flight over Paris
    FlyView has opened a unique virtual reality attraction where visitors can visit Paris from the sky with a jetpack, taking in real-life 360° views of monuments and scenery - no computer graphics here!

    This permanent attraction makes possible to fly over the world's most beautiful city, a dream come true for millions of people.

    Take Off from a 1,000 m² (11,000+ sq. ft.) Launch Area at Place de l'Opéra in Downtown Paris 
    Visitors enter FlyView from Place de l'Opéra, they will arrive in a lobby resembling an airport terminal with check-in counters, flight attendants and screens announcing upcoming flights.
    The launch area has 50 jetpacks, making it one of the world's largest virtual reality installations.  
    Once on board its jetpack (mounted on actuators), and equipped with a virtual reality helmet (HTC Vive), the visitor sees himself take off and rise above the rooftops of Paris. The flying sensations are more real than life. An unprecedented technological feat!
    FlyViewParis, take off room
    FlyViewParis, take off room
    "The countdown begins… the jetpack turbine winds up… the machine starts to vibrate… the lights go out… the roof opens… and then, liftoff!

    The visitor shoots up their silo and breaks out over the roofs of Paris. 

    The flying sensations are just like real life. 

    The adventure has begun!"

    See Paris as Never Before with this Exhilarating, Unforgettable Experience 
    The itinerary explores Paris's main monuments in a totally unique way. It will be an exhilarating 13 minutes!  While everyone has the same itinerary, each person will see different things because of the immersive, 360° view.
    This sophisticated device synchronizes the platform with the jetpack's movements-taking off, flying forward, stopping for panoramic views, moving sideways, and dropping down next to a monument-to create an immersive experience over Paris with ultra-realistic flying sensations that little ones and grown-ups alike will love.
    The experience is breathtaking.  The views over Paris are magnificent.  The flying experience is spectacular.
    FlyViewParis - Notre Dame de Paris
    FlyViewParis - Notre Dame de Paris
    "FlyView is my childhood dream of flying and seeing the world from above come true. I hope to share this incredible experience with as many people as possible. This experience brings together poetry and innovation to create another high-quality cultural activity in Paris. I want to offer Parisians and visitors to Paris an exhilarating adventure that is both accessible and unforgettable," says Arnaud Houette, FlyView founder.
    FlyViewParis - The Eiffel Tower
    FlyViewParis - The Eiffel Tower
    It took about 100 people working for three years to create the FlyView experience.  The latest technologies and unparalleled cooperation came together on this ambitious project:
    • The (exceptional) views of Paris from above were filmed with a drone, a device with seven 360 degree cameras, and a team worthy of a film production; 
    • First-time approval to film over Paris and in such close proximity to monuments;
    • 50 jetpack simulators mounted on actuators were custom-designed and built in France;
    • HTC Vive virtual reality headsets offer the most realistic immersion possible.

    Practical Details:  

    Open 7 days a week - hours and reservations at

    Single ticket: €15

    For visitors at least 4' tall (about 8 years old)

    Accessible to visitors with reduced mobility

    30 Rue du 4 Septembre - Place de l'Opéra - 75002 Paris - Opéra metro station

    Arnaud Houette, Founder of FlyView Paris
    Arnaud Houette, Founder of FlyView Paris
    SOURCE:  FlyView
    The Video:

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