Saturday, April 30, 2016

Great Ways To Capture Holiday Memories

I love travelling and holidays – who doesn’t? Getting out of your usual environment feels like a refresh to the system, and gives you some much needed “me” time. Although wonderful, a lot of my holidays feel like they were over in a flash! One of my biggest regrets is not capturing some of those wonderful memories like I could’ve. Here are some great ways to take your holiday home with you.

The first thing I’ll suggest is scrapbooking. If you’ve got young kids who you like to keep occupied, then this is a brilliant way to do it. When you introduce them to all the cutting and sticking involved in putting together a scrapbook, they’ll be overjoyed! Just make sure you’re gathering enough material on your trip. From maps to leaflets to postcards to coins, it can all go in! My only caution is to make sure the kids aren’t completely in charge of the operation. You’ll need to put some time aside to make sure they don’t glue their hands together, or make a mess that forfeits your hotel deposit!


Image Source: Pexels

Probably the most obvious way to capture the memories of holidays is through photos and videos. Bringing a camera of some kind is already a given, especially if you’re going on a particularly adventurous vacation. As you go from place to place, take as many photos as possible. Another time, when you’re reminiscing about your trip, all those lovely memories will be right there on your computer. You may also want to look at some handheld camcorders, and make a video of your trip. Nothing makes the memories come back quite like seeing them repeated! If you’re feeling a little retro, you might want to have your pictures printed and keep them in a lovely photo album. I think there’s something pretty special about being able to reach for one of these and flick through them.

Finally, souvenirs. Okay, everything I suggested is technically a souvenir. You know what I mean though! When I say “souvenir”, you might think I’m telling you to spend a fortune in tacky, touristy shops. While there may be some things you really should buy, some of the best souvenirs are free. On a shelf behind me, there’s a dried starfish I took from the Mediterranean Sea. Whenever one of my friends goes abroad, she picks up a rock and labels it with the name of the country. Literally anything you’re not able to get at home is a great way to capture the memories of your trip. I find it makes the souvenir even better if it’s tied to a specific day or memory. Sometimes, even a beer mat advertising a foreign brand can become a treasure!

These are all great ways for capturing the memories of your travels, but it doesn’t stop there! Painting, keeping a diary and anything else you can think of are great ideas. Just don’t get too caught up in finding something to bring back. You might miss the whole trip!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What Makes Toyotas Such Great Family Cars?

Buying a family car is not like buying a car for any other kind of purpose. You’re thinking beyond the excitement of the drive and even the car itself. You’re thinking about what value it can add to your life, how it can make it easier and how much it costs. That’s why, thinking utility and long-term, we’ve concluded that Toyota might be one of the best. The Japanese titan of a brand has a sterling reputation when it comes to manufacturing cars. But we know it deserves one for manufacturing family cars, too. Here are just a few of the reasons Toyota’s make great family cars.



Fuel efficiency
The head of the family has a lot of reasons to care about fuel efficiency. First of all, fuel costs a lot. Especially if you live in the city where you have to use a lot of it. Secondly, we all have that lingering voice reminding us we really should try live more sustainably for our kids’ future. That’s why Toyota are well worth considering. After all, their Prius practically led the hybrid revolution.

Safety
With our kids’ future in mind, we want to make sure we keep them nice and healthy for it. Which is why safety is another huge priority for a family car. One you’re well covered with when it comes to Toyota. Few manufacturers are as thorough in their car safety testing as Toyota. Few also go to the lengths in introducing new safety technologies as well. Toyota is amongst the first adopting crash preventing auto-brake technologies. The same technologies could be the standard in years to come.

Reliability
If you’re getting something for the whole family, it better be able to go the distance. There’s no tolerating something that’s likely to break down or start losing pieces if you’re taking it around town all day. Reliability is key for any busy family. Reliability is also what Toyota happens to be most known for. Indeed, in Consumer Reports’ 2016 study, it was Toyota and Lexus that topped the brands in ‘reliability’.

Resale value
The safety and reliability of a Toyota mean that it’s going to be operational and doing just fine for years to come. For some people, that’s enough to convince them. For others, they want to know that their money’s going somewhere. Those people will be glad to hear that Toyota ranks amongst the highest when it comes to resale value. Not only are you buying a car, you’re making sure you’ll get some money back out of it when you’re done.

Technology
Safety isn’t the only place where Toyota are putting their research money. They might not be the flashiest cars, but they are doing some great things with technology. Lots of Toyotas have convenience and entertainment technology close to the level of the luxury brands. They’re even looking at ways that your car can change its looks to fit your personal tastes. Even displaying detailed information of how your car is doing on a digital display.

Got A Traffic Ticket? Here Are Your Next Steps

Nobody likes to receive traffic tickets, for obvious reasons. It can have a serious impact on your ability to drive, and if your career involves driving, you could be in big trouble. For a lot of people, getting a traffic ticket simply results in paying for the ticket and going to traffic school. This is to allow them to learn from their mistakes, and move past it.



However, some people may choose to dispute their ticket, or their ticket may be so serious that it requires court action. That’s when things change.

There are two main ways to receive a traffic ticket: moving, and nonmoving violations. Moving violations include speeding and running a red light. Non-moving violations include double parking or parking on a sidewalk, where signs do not specify you can do so.

You should be avoiding dangerous, life-threatening driving at all costs. The ramifications and trouble of such an act aren’t worth it, and it’s important to stay safe. If you do find yourself with a ticket, however, these are your next steps.

Firstly: Do Not Ignore The Ticket

Ignoring it won’t make it go away. If you don’t pay the required ticket amount, the ticket will remain on your record and you could even lose your license. You could even be arrested and be asked to shell out even more! Your best bet is to simply cough up, and attend traffic school. That way, the whole thing will be over and done with quickly.

However, if you plan to dispute your ticket, you should get in touch with the relevant authorities. You may feel that your ticket was issued unfairly, or unjustly. Across the globe, there are stories of people who have been caught speeding while rushing to hospital, for example. In this case, you would have genuine grounds to take the fine right to court.

Secondly: Seek Legal Advice

If you choose to dispute the ticket for whatever reason, this is your next move. There are certain people who specialize in this area of law, such as a traffic defense attorney, and you may need advice. It’s quite a complex area of law, especially if you don’t have sufficient grounds to dispute. You’ll need to be aggressive and assertive, with a solid defense.



You may also have to appear in court by the very nature of the ticket. This is usually reserved for more dangerous offences, such as going over the speed limit by thirty miles. If you are given a court date, it’s vital that you attend it. Failure to do so can result in a jail sentence, loss of license or hefty fine.

Thirdly: Traffic School

If this is your first ticket, and you choose not to dispute, you can attend traffic school. You’ll be awarded a certificate at the end of the course, and will receive a reduction in license points and insurance for your troubles. Some states allow you to attend traffic school every year, or every 18 months. If you aren’t sure, contact your local DMV or government office.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Car Leasing: 4 Pitfalls To Watch Out For

Leasing a car comes with a multitude of benefits, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to take it lightly. Just as buying a new car requires serious thought and consideration, leasing shares the same traits. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could end up with a costly situation. There are potential pitfalls involved, so here’s what you need to look out for.



Getting A Bad Deal

Car leasing requires a good knowledge of how to get the best deal. Just like when buying a car, there are all sorts of options available to you. You need to be able to spot a good deal from a bad one. It’s important to compare quotes on car lease deals as you get started. Check reviews to ensure the company you’re leasing from is reputable. You don’t want to be in a position where you’re in a dispute with them when your lease comes to an end. By doing your research, you’ll be able to prevent any issues like this.



Mileage Limits

One of the biggest reasons why car leasing becomes far too expensive is because of the mileage limit. When you lease a car, you’re required to say how many miles you’ll be doing. If you go over that total, things start to become costly. It’s imperative that you get this right when you enter into a deal. Make allowances for extra mileage if you have to. It’ll cost you a little more now, but it’s a small price to pay compared to the potential costs otherwise.



You Must Keep It In Good Condition

I’ll put my hands up and say that my car is in a dirty state. This time around, I didn’t lease it, which is a good thing as I’d be paying out a lot of extra money for the damage I’ve caused. Excessive wear and tear and needless damage will come out of your own pocket. Also, you’ll be causing the car to depreciate quicker than it should do, costing you more over time. It’s simple really: keep your car clean and in good shape and you’ll have nothing to worry about.



Failing To Pay On Time

Now, we come to the most important consideration of all. You must ensure you’re in a stable financial position to lease your car. You don’t want to find out that you can’t repay the lease as time goes on. Budget well in advance and ensure things don’t get out of hand. If you do get into a position where you’re in trouble, your car could be repossessed. It’ll cause mayhem for your credit rating as well, so you don’t want this to happen in any circumstances.

There are pitfalls in any big purchase, but car leasing continues to be a fantastic option for drivers all over the world. Not only will it give you access to some of the best cars on the market for affordable prices; it can be more cost-effective in the long run too. Follow our tips, and you should find that your lease goes smoothly.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Thinking Of Buying A Hybrid? Read This First!




Source: Pixabay

Hybrid cars are a pretty common sight these days. They’re only increasing in popularity too. Whether it’s the reduced fuel costs or a moral question of the environment, more and more people are switching over. If you’re still on the fence about getting a hybrid car, then this post is for you. Here are some of the things you should know before buying.

The main thing most people who consider buying hybrids wonder about is the fuel economy. These cars vary in specification. However, there are two main categories your vehicle will probably fit into. Regular hybrids are made with a conventional petrol engine, and a battery which is recharged solely by the car itself. These usually have a higher price, but offer significantly improved gas mileage. Typically, you’ll be looking at 40 to 50 miles per gallon.




Source: Wikimedia

Then, there’s the purchase price. Although a lot of hybrid cars are cheaper to fill up, the same isn’t true for buying. In fact, some hybrids can be much more expensive than their conventional equivalents. The cheapest hybrids you’ll be able to find start at around $20,000. Then, there are luxury models which cost closer to $100,000. If you were thinking of getting an all-electric vehicle, then you’ll be looking at a similar price range. Don’t let this scare you off completely though! Some advanced models such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt are eligible for certain tax credits, and a lower purchase price. If you scour the market enough, you’ll be able to find a distinctly cheaper model. However, expect to pay a little more than you would for a normal car.



Source: Wikimedia

Onto the operating costs. If you’ve already looked at some of the prices out there, you might be looking for some payback. By this, I mean cheaper running costs which make up for an increased vehicle price. Obviously, it’ll take some time for your hybrid to pay for itself. This will probably range between five years and a decade. However, it all depends on the fuel costs you’re looking at, which varies from model to model. Compared to a conventional car, you’ll probably be looking at a much better warranty. Manufacturers will offer an extended coverage for cars with parts specifically for hybrids. This usually lasts around eight years, so you won’t have to worry if the batteries or electric motor fails on you. The cost of replacing a battery pack varies from model to model. For services like this, there are many centres like Mick's Automotive which can help you. Plug-in hybrids have their batteries recharged by both the car and external power sources. When charged from outside sources, you can use it for short-range all-electric use, or long-range hybrid use. Generally, the more you can lean on the electric side of your car, the lower your running costs.

Hopefully this has helped you decide whether a hybrid car is for you. Operating one may take some getting used to. However, I’m confident you won’t regret the decision in the long run!

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Learn to Fix Your Own Car in No Time

Being able to fix your own car has a number of benefits. For one thing, it makes you more independent. You don't need to rely on anyone else to sort out simple problems with your vehicle. Another great reason to learn to maintain your car is that it will save you money. You won't have to go to an auto shop if you need to have something repaired. Just get out your tools and do it yourself. There are so many easy issues that you can mend without anyone else's help. Of course, there are still some problems that will require an expert. If you want to take charge and fix your own car, here's how to do it.



Study the Manual

Every car is different, even if many of them are the same in principle. Even though tasks such as changing your oil are pretty much the same with any car, yours still has its unique quirks. For example, it might have different lights the indicate various problems. So learning to fix it isn't just about repairing cars in general. It's about getting to know your car specifically. All cars have a manual, and they're very useful for familiarizing yourself with your vehicle. But what if you don't have one? If your manual is lost or you never owned it, you can find one online. You can easily find a Chilton repair manual for many cars and other vehicles. Check with the manufacturer too.

Take a Class

If you learn best by watching and doing, a class might be the best avenue for you. You can see someone demonstrate something in person and put it into action. Many people find this better than reading about something or even watching a video. You might have missed out on shop class in school, but you can do it as an adult. Try finding a class at your local community college if you want this sort of hands-on experience. You could learn much faster than if you try to teach yourself.

Watch Videos and Read Books

If you would rather just learn what you can in your spare time, you can. There are thousands of excellent resources both online and offline. You can find videos on YouTube and other sites that will give you clear demonstrations. You can buy books and manuals that will teach you how to fix anything. Try looking for forums online too, as they can have lots of members who are willing to help you out.



Put Theory into Practice

Don't forget, you need to practice the skills you're learning. It's all very well to know them in theory but need you need to be able to use them too. If you're not sure about using your own car, consider getting a run-down vehicle to work on. You can use it for tinkering so you can make sure you don't make any mistakes with the car you drive.

It doesn't take a lot to learn how to fix your car. Next time you hear a strange noise, you'll be able to work out how to repair it.