Tips on Leaving Home for a Long Holiday

Planning any trip away from home requires some doing, especially if it is a long one. For someone doing it for the first time, it becomes all the more daunting, even with the various guides, blogs and apps available online these days.

Brown and White Wooden House on Green Forest

[Photo courtesy of Pixabay/pexels.com]

The question, however, which comes up more often than not is from where to begin? If you follow this step by step guide on what to be prepared for next time you step out of home on a long vacation, then the task of getting there and getting back home again will become much less overwhelming.

Make a list

A thing to do list will go a long way in taking care of what you need before you set out and not worry about leaving home for long. Just add things you remember, even if you have to cross them out again. This will not only make travel easy but planning better.

Travel light

When going on a lengthy holiday, one does get tempted to pack as much as you can to last the trip. The truth is that you will require a lot less. Just  carry clothes for about ten days and then by specific clothes for the location once you reach there. This way you need not haul a bulky bag for months on end.

Take care of the loose ends

Leaving home for an extended vacation can have some annoying drawbacks. Apart from forwarding your contract details to a reliable person, the problem of having someone to pay any upcoming bills needs to be taken care of.

Prepare your travel kit

Plan your itinerary and give the details to parents and friends. Make copies of your passport, visa and other travel related documents and make several copies for yourself and passing on to friends and families. Finally do not forget to take travel insurance – it as an absolute must.

Plan your mode of transport

Cutting down on transfer travel time and cost makes a great difference to the entire journey. The actual charge for valet parking at any airport terminal, both for short and long term can be quite high, even after the significant discounts on offer. It is better, therefore, to have a private transfer arranged to avoid the hassle of standing in the long taxi queue and over payment. Try booking a reliable transfer agency like KiwiTaxi, online. You will not only save on parking charges but will ultimately spend much less on your transport costs. While flying may be an option in some places, hiring a recreational vehicle from KiwiTaxi, can be not only cheaper but also have ample baggage space especially when travelling with families and kids.

Once you have decided to make the big adventure trip, the one which will take you miles away from home for months on end, these are the minor things which will come to your help and need to be tackled. Remember, any vacation is supposed to be fun and relaxing, therefore, a poorly planned one can result in a major headache.

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5 Ways To Afford Home Improvements That Aren’t An FHA Loan

Home improvements are great to add value to your property, but they can be a pain to finance. In fact, most homeowners tend to focus on personal loans or an FHA 203k loan – they can be used for refinancing and repairs instead of buying a new home – when they look for financing options. But, believe it or not, there is more than one way to finance your home improvement project without taking a personal loan. Below, you’ll find 5 ways that should do the trick for you.

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Build an eco house

#1. Let the home raise money for the improvement

If you already have a first mortgage on your home, homeequitylineof.credit can be a valuable option for you. You can draw out money as it fits and choose to pay it back when you can, as long as you keep the minimum monthly payment. You don’t even have to pay interest either until you use the money. But beware, though: If you can’t make the payment, you could end up homeless.

#2. Go green and get funded

If you decide to go green and add eco-friendly transformations to your home, you might not even have to pay for it by yourself. According to archive.epa.gov you can find funding opportunities for green buildings, including grants and tax-credits. There is a variety of national and local programs available. For an updated list, you may want to get in touch with your local authorities.

#3. Find a construction loan

Construction loans are rare and they are difficult to obtain. But this short-term loan option allows you to pay for the construction or extension work. You will need to need to make major renovations to be eligible for this kind of loan. At the end of the construction process, you will need to get the end loan, which is a loan to pay off the first loan. However, construction loans are very cumbersome in terms of application and funding, as the money is only released at specific stages of the project. Finally, if the work can’t be completed within the agreed scheduled, you might have to pay additional costs until you can move in.

#4. Borrow your 401(k)

It’s common for 401(k) programs to let you borrow from your account and pay back the loan over a number of years – generally five – via payroll deduction. However, you can only borrow up to 50% of your account balance, which limits the amount you can get. Additionally, if you leave your job or change company, you will need to repay the loan earlier. In that case, the loan becomes a withdrawal on which you owe taxes and penalties.

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#5 Reverse mortgage for 62+

If you are 62 or older, you can get a reverse mortgage on the percentage of equity that you own in your property. While a reverse mortgage is expensive, you don’t have to repay it until the home is sold or you’ve changed address.

Each way of funding your home improvements presents specific advantages and disadvantages. Unfortunately, unless you inherit a bunch load of money from a rich aunt, you will need to pick the most suitable borrowing option for your situation.

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How to Shop the Right Rod Pocket Curtains

The rod pocket curtain is a variation of tailored curtain giving each window the best covering treatment to protect the entire home from the prying eyes of Peeping Toms. It is designed to enhance the appearance of your home no matter how large or small your windows are. Rod pocket curtains are manufactured with different sizes of pockets enough to insert the rod for easy installation. You can have a header to turn your window look elegant and fabulous.

These curtains are available in floral, geometric figures, plaids, checks, or stripes. You can pick a width of 68 inches to as much as 84 inches depending on the size of your window frame. Bold colors are perfect for the living room where most family members gather for their bonding moments. The polyester rod pocket curtain is the best option for your home office so that the light cannot distract your working mood. Striking colors in nylon or taffeta could add more inspiration to your kid’s study room.

White Bed Pillow on White Bed Comforter in Brown Room

[Photo courtesy of Markus Spiske /pexels.com]

Before you purchase the curtains, decide which size is suitable to your window length and size. Most notable lengths for curtains range from 84”, 96’’ and 108.” If you want elegant looking windows, the 108 inches is suitable for your home. A large window and sliding door need 120 inches length rod pocket curtain. If your house has Mediterranean or European features, try to have faux silk or silk curtains. They give your window the best treatment.

Stripes are a big no if your window is too tall while checkered is discouraged for short windows because it makes the window look stouter. Rod pocket curtains are effective in giving an illusion of width so be careful when you hang them on the window. If your window is short, you need to hang the curtain rod very close to the ceiling while the hemline should be floor length. Wide windows need curtains rods to be extended in few inches from the window frame while the entire curtain could cover them.

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Save Money And Make Your Next Renovation Eco-Friendly

When it comes to protecting the environment, the benefits are a long way in the future, and the costs are immediate. That’s why, according to interior designer and TV personality George Clark, people aren’t going to change the way they live – at least not without some benefits in the here and now.

Rather than taking an ideological view on the climate, Clark is more pragmatic. He says that if people are going to change, they need some incentives other than another Al Gore presentation about the end of the world.

Fortunately, things have moved on quite a bit since the early days of eco-friendly design. It’s no longer such a compromise to renovate a house in an eco-friendly way. In fact, in some situations, it’s incredibly high tech.

For regular homeowners, this means both getting some benefits and saving money on gas and electricity bills. Living more sustainably and reducing utility costs go hand-in-hand, and it’s something that everybody can benefit from.

Governments have realised this too. In the UK, for instance, the government wants to fit solar panels to 800,000 “social houses” to reduce utility costs for low-income residents. When you compare gas and electricity prices before and after the change, there’s a large difference. And that’s the benefit of eco-living: it helps level the playing field. No longer do you need a substantial income to run a big house, just the right approach to energy usage.

Here are some renovations that are eco-friendly and could save you money in the long term.

Build Draught Excluders Into New Doors

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If you’re planning on fitting new doors, you might be able to save a bit of money on your gas and electric at the same time. Rather than fitting draught excluders, which can look cumbersome and get dirty really easily, find ways to use the door itself to plug gaps between one room and another, especially exterior doors. The good news is that the majority of modern exterior doors come with draught-excluding seals which work much better than regular excluders. Find a door that fits the door frame perfectly and put an end to inch-thick gaps under your doors which let in all the cold air from outside.

Buy Furniture And Fittings Second-Hand

Most people think that the biggest energy cost involved in the delivery of goods comes at the shipping stage. But, in reality, it’s actually the manufacturing stage which involves the most energy use, especially for products which contain metal. As a result, even if you buy furniture locally, you may not be reducing the carbon footprint of your renovation.

It’s always better, therefore, to make use of old furniture: furniture that would otherwise have been thrown in a skip and dumped in a landfill. What’s more, second-hand furniture offers opportunities that new furniture doesn’t. Upcycling a piece of new furniture doesn’t make much sense. But taking something that is apparently past its best and making it new again can be a gratifying experience and something that’s well worth doing at least one.

Choose Low Electricity Appliances

When renovating a room, we rarely consider the type of appliances we choose. But it turns out that not only is the choice of appliances essential for eco-living, but it’s also important from a stylistic point of view.

Appliances, like radiators, aren’t just appliances anymore – something which many homeowners just hope will fade into the background. They’re fast becoming focal points for the room. There’s no longer any need to stick with your original cast-iron radiator and decorate the rest of the room around it. You can get different styles of radiators that can be made to suit any room and look good too.

A current favourite is tall, thin radiators that snake their way all the way up a wall to the ceiling. Gone are the ugly traditional column and cast iron radiators. Designer radiators are here to stay, and they look a heck of a lot better than their counterparts. Designer radiators come in chrome, stainless steel, and aluminium, as well as different colours.

Replace Your Drapes With Thicker Material

According to estimates, as much as 30 percent of all the heat lost from a home is lost through the windows. That represents a significant bump to your electricity and gas bill. But the good news is that you can stem the loss of heat through judicious investment in drapes.

Thin curtains might be all the rage right now, but thicker drapes can be made to work too, especially when paired with the perfect interior. You don’t want your drapes to look too heavy or overbearing, like something out of Wuthering Heights, but you do want something that will stop heat escaping, especially now winter is approaching.

Most professional drape suppliers will allow you to choose the tog of the material. Selecting a higher tog can help to keep small air pockets within the material, providing additional insulation and reducing heat loss.

Experiment With LED Lighting

LED lights were originally invented back in the 1990s. But, as with any new technology, they were extremely expensive, to begin with. Today that’s all changed, and the cost of LEDs has come down considerably. No, they’re not quite as cheap as old-fashioned incandescent bulbs just yet, but they’re well on their way. And, importantly, they provide greater bang for the buck: LED bulbs are able three times as expensive as regular bulbs, but they may last thirty times as long and use 10 percent of the energy.

There’s also another feature of LED lights that make them particularly appealing to homeowners: their versatility. It turns out that the underlying LED technology is a lot safer than traditional lighting technology and this means that LED lights can be arranged into all sorts of configurations which simply weren’t possible in the past. LEDs can be made so small and use up such little energy that they are now being fashioned into sources of light which mimic things in the natural world, like rushes and twigs. LEDs can also be placed in areas where it would previously have been difficult to put bulbs, again adding to their versatility. Lighting a space from multiple vectors, for instance, is easier with LED bulbs than other varieties.

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Stick With Wood Frames

If all you cared about was looks, which would you choose? Factory-produced UPVC window frames or wood frames? In all likelihood, it’s the latter. And the reason? Factory-produced UPVC frames are generic, ugly and hard to repair if they get damaged. Wooden frames, on the other hand, can be sanded down, chiselled away and be replaced piece by piece if necessary.

But there’s another reason to stick with wooden frames whenever possible: plastic frames are just downright dangerous for the environment. According to health experts, UPVC frames emit a toxin which can harm your health as well as the rest of the environment. Wood frames covered in non-VOC paint don’t.

Fill Your Cavity Walls Before You Start The Decorating

If you’re stripping back your old decor and are looking to replace it with something new, it’s worth thinking about filling the spaces between your cavity walls before you start decorating. Homes which don’t make use of cavity wall insulation can see their gas and electric bills skyrocket. What’s more, halfway through a renovation is the opportune time to start injecting insulating material. It’s cheap, and it’s best to do it while the decorating is ongoing to minimise disruption.

Buy Furniture Made From Recycled Materials

Have you ever wondered where all your recycled plastic and metal goes? Most of it goes back into new packaging products, but a small chunk of it also goes to make furniture.

The great thing about recycled furniture today is that you would never have guessed it was, other than the fact that manufacturers tend to be very proud of the fact. It’s high quality and sometimes more durable than unsustainably sourced furniture, thanks to its high plastic content.

Scrap Radiators Entirely

Waiting the screed

[Photo courtesy of Bill Nichols/Geograph.org.uk]

As discussed, efforts have been made to redeem radiators. But no matter how hard designers try, they rarely fit into the design of a room. Plus, they’re also not particularly energy efficient according to Clark, which is why you should consider alternatives.

Fortunately, you don’t have to freeze in the winter to keep your home stylish: just choose underfloor heating. Not only does it keep radiators out of your living spaces, but it’s also more energy-efficient, slashing the cost of your gas and electric bills.

Use Local Materials For Renovation Works

Bamboo is often considered to be an eco-friendly material because it grows quickly and comes from bamboo farms. But bamboo is cultivated a long way from its target market. Buyers of bamboo are often people in rich countries in the northern hemisphere, whereas bamboo tends to be grown near to the equator. That means that there’s a lot of energy involved in shipping it to your house. You can bypass all of this, of course, by source sustainable materials locally.

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