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Important news before you travel:

If you are in the United States you should be aware of certain Travel Advisories which are given to citizens who choose to travel abroad. These advisories can affect you and may even change your travel plans. So before you go to the airport you should always check to see if your destination country is on the List of the United States Government Travel Advisories.

For more information: Check out the link below which will send you to the US Governments official website.


https://travel.state.gov
TIPS ON MAKING HOTEL RESERVATIONS:


When traveling for business or fun, there’s nothing worse than thinking you have a reservation and learning your hotel reservations been lost, your room has one bed and not two bedrooms, or you thought your check-in time was noon, only to find out it is really 3:00pm. To help avoid these things from happening, there are a few helpful hotel reservation tips seasoned travelers recommend:

Always use a credit card when making a hotel reservation. A credit cards offers the guest some level of protection should the hotel stay go awry. Any disputes a guest may have with the hotel, or with the billing can more easily be rectified through the credit card company. The card company will act as a mediator once their client can show effort to resolve the dispute. Additionally, if a dispute cannot be resolved, the credit card company has the authority to remove the charge from a client’s bill. If cash were paid, a hotel guest would have no recourse. Note: If you don’t use your own credit card to secure a reservation, be aware that the person whose name is on the card will be responsible for showing the card and signing at check in. If the card does not belong to the person staying at the hotel, notify the desk before leaving home (prior to arrival) and ask what their identification procedure is. They may accept a letter from the credit card holder authorizing use, and a copy of both the front and back of the card.

Ask for deals/discounts at each hotel. Many hotels offer corporate, AAA, senior, or even mid-week/off-season discounts. If one is not offered - ask about them. Many hotels now offer ‘rewards’ programs and some hotels reduce rates by $50 or more, for simply signing up for their program. If making reservations online, look for internet-only rates and shop various websites to find the best deals. Travel agents can often secure unadvertised specials or late check-in opportunities which can translate into huge savings.

When making reservations speak clearly and repeat spelling of all names. There have been many reservations lost because of inaccurate spelling and guests have been told they did not have rooms when a hotel or an entire city was booked to capacity. If any special requests are made, verify them and if possible get them in writing. Also make sure to get the name of the employee. Verify everything spell names and verify information/requests etc. Double check reservations prior to leaving for hotel and make sure names of all hotel employees you’ve spoken to are taken.

When reservations are made, changed and cancelled-confirmation numbers are given. Make sure all numbers are kept in a safe place until credit cards are billed and all charges are verified. Cancellation and confirmation numbers are often the difference between being charged for a hotel reservation that was cancelled, the possibility of a free upgrade when the hotel overbooks and you can prove when your reservation was made, and being stranded away from home without a room for the night.
Discuss hotel policies prior to making reservations, and verify them at check-in. Some hotels require credit cards at check in for any hotel charges, such as telephone usage, room service, meals in the hotel, or even take -out arranged through the hotel with area restaurants, etc. If a credit card is not available, a cash/check deposit maybe required for any services/fees that may accrue during the hotel stay. Determine when check-in/check-out times are, when cancellation policies go into affect and verify occupancy limits if staying in a room with multiple occupants.

Remember these hotel reservation tips when scheduling your travel plans. Whether by internet, through a travel agent, or by telephone, it pays to research the hotel and be meticulous when making arrangements. A little pre-planning when making reservations can save major headaches when traveling away from home.
WHY A TIMESHARE PROPERTY MAY BE YOUR PERFECT VACATION ANSWER:

You may not know it but many people throughout the world have Timeshare properties which they use for vacations.

A timeshare is a property with a particular form of ownership or use rights. These properties are typically resort condominium units, in which multiple parties hold rights to use the property, and each sharer is allotted a period of time (typically one week, and almost always the same time every year) in which they may use the property.

Units may be on a partial ownership, lease, or "right to use" basis, in which the sharer holds no claim to ownership of the property.

Two basic vacation ownership options are available: timeshares and vacation interval plans. The value of these options is in their use as vacation destinations, not as investments. Because so many timeshares and vacation interval plans are available, the resale value of yours is likely to be a good deal lower than what you paid.

Both a timeshare and a vacation interval plan require you to pay an initial purchase price and periodic maintenance fees. The initial purchase price may be paid all at once or over time; periodic maintenance fees are likely to increase every year.

Deeded Timeshare Ownership. In a timeshare, you either own your vacation unit for the rest of your life, for the number of years spelled out in your purchase contract, or until you sell it. Your interest is legally considered real property.

You buy the right to use a specific unit at a specific time every year, and you may rent, sell, exchange, or bequeath your specific timeshare unit. You and the other timeshare owners collectively own the resort property.

Unlike a vacation home which may be vacant part of the year, you only pay for what you use. Thus, the use of a very expensive property could be more affordable; for one thing you don’t need to worry about year-round maintenance.

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WHY CREDIT CARD FEES DRAIN YOUR SAVINGS


Everyone knows that interest rates make credit card very expensive to have and maintain but few people know that fees are the real source of money loss.

Your credit card will come with a credit limit -- the maximum amount of credit that will be extended to you. In the past, if a particular credit card charge would put you over your credit limit, the transaction would be rejected. If you wanted to make a charge that would put you over the limit, you had to pay down your balance first.

In recent years, credit card companies allowed customers to make charges that put them over the limit. Of course, this convenience did not come free -- the companies charged hefty fees for over-limit charges, and usually did not tell customers that they were going over the limit.  

This changed somewhat with the enactment of the Credit Card Accountability and Disclosure Act of 2009 (the CARD Act). Under the rules of the CARD Act, a credit card company cannot charge over-limit fees unless you “opt in,” that is, agree in advance that the company can allow transactions that would put your balance over the credit limit. Even if a credit card company processes a transaction over your limit, if you did not opt in, the company cannot charge you an over-limit fee.

The Credit CARD Act is often called the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights. President Obama signed the bill into law in May, 2009. Many of the most significant provisions of the law took effect in February, 2010. The law has two main purposes:

Fairness - Prohibit certain practices that are unfair or abusive such as hiking up the rate on an existing balance or allowing a consumer to go overlimit and then imposing an overlimit fee.
Transparency - Make the rates and fees on credit cards more transparent so consumers can understand how much they are paying for their credit card and can compare different cards.

If you do opt in, the company can charge over-limit fees. The CARD Act places some limits on those fees. The company can only charge you one over-limit fee per billing cycle, but it can charge for the same over-limit transaction in a total of three billing cycles if you do not bring the outstanding balance below the limit before the bills are due.

The best strategy to avoid over-limit fees is simple-don’t opt in! And don’t add an over-limit protection plan. This may require some diligence on your part, so that you don’t accidentally opt in. For example, a credit application may have a box to check or a line to initial or sign that is really an agreement to allow over-limit transactions.

Not sure if you may have opted in by mistake? If you opt in, the company must provide a written statement confirming you agreed to let them process over-limit transactions. You can revoke this agreement at any time. (The over-limit fees would still apply to over-limit transactions already processed.) You can revoke the agreement with the same method you used to opt in.

So, if you opted in by phone, you can revoke your agreement with a phone call. Not certain how you opted in? Contact your credit card company and find out. As always, send a confirmation letter in case there is a dispute later.

Penalty Fees
Many credit card companies charge penalty fees for:
•  late payments
•  over-limit charges (if you opt in), and
•  payments returned for insufficient funds.

The CARD Act limits these fees to the actual amount the violation cost the company, or to a maximum of $25 for the first violation and $35 for a second violation (if it occurred within six billing cycles of the first violation). Still, these fees can add up. Be sure to pay your bill on time and make sure you have enough money in your bank account to cover your payment.

Only about 5% of credit cards charge annual fees, so look for one that doesn’t. But, you also have to look out for other fees. New fees seem to pop up all the time. Now that the CARD Act has limited the amount of fees for late payments, returned payments, and over-limit charges, credit card companies may get even more creative in finding ways to add fees. For example, one card targeting people with poor credit charges a one-time $45 “processing fee.” Some of these fees may not be included in the written disclosures.
more on CARD act




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