Traveling is very exciting but planning the trip doesn’t tend to be as much fun. Arranging the logistics of any trip can be complex and mentally intimidating. By educating yourself with these travel tips, you can make the planning process as painless as possible.Educate yourself on the current political and social situations of a country before you visit it. Check online for information and updates about anything happening overseas that could affect your travel plans. By checking the website, you will avoid running into any dangerous situations while abroad.It’s a good idea to get National Park passes if you often visit National Parks. They only cost $50 and remain good for use that year at any national park.When you travel, don’t forget to pack a plastic contact case. These can serve as compact and light weight containers for liquids like moisturizers.To make the most of your precious travel time, don’t forget to consider how the weather may influence and affect your travel plans. Check the forecast for your destination. There is nothing worse on your vacation than having to retreat from the weather when you least expect it.To avoid jet lag, try to stay up until about 8pm local time. Resist the urge to fall asleep too early because this will only prolong the disorientation of jet lag. The sooner you can adjust to local time, the sooner your jet lag will disappear.Plan for comfort by choosing seats you’ll enjoy on your plane flights. While not true of all carriers, most airlines will allow you to specify where in the plane you would like to be seated. After booking a flight, always watch the booking site to see if this option becomes available. You are sure to be happier with a seat of your choice, rather than having to take any seat that is left.If you are leaving the country, make sure you have the visas you should have. Getting a visa doesn’t mean that you can just enter a country as there are various visas; it is important to do your research. To figure out which visa you need, consult your travel agent or even the country’s embassy website.Keep track of your important belongings when traveling. If you are carrying a purse, be sure to have it tucked neatly under your arm. Do not carry a bag with easy access to any of the pockets. When buying a travel bag, keep this in mind.Getting to your destination and finding out your bags did not make it can be scary, but avoid panicking. Ask airport staff for help. They will direct you to someone who can start the appropriate paperwork. Be sure to have your travel documents handy for this. Generally, your luggage will show up, and you’ll get it as quickly as possible.Take a minimum of valuable items with you when you travel. The more you take with you, the higher your chances of losing the items. Even worse, they could be stolen.Reading online reviews can help narrow down your search for the perfect resort or hotel, while also making you aware of what to expect. The information available online will help you to avoid places that other travelers have had a bad experience with and assure that you have the best experience possible.Many airports have added these to enhance waiting areas and provide a diversion and entertainment for young children while waiting for flights. This makes delays seem far more manageable and can also make the wait more enjoyable for your children.In order to start your vacation on the right foot, make sure that you acquire some of that country’s currency before you get there. Exchange rates at airports can come with some hefty fees, or it could be difficult to find an exchange office that is open if you arrive to a country at night. Many large banks can sell you foreign money, so head there prior to going the airport.Travel is a great opportunity to learn more things. Traveling to foreign lands provides you with an ideal opportunity to teach your children about the workings of the world beyond your own country, and, with just a few sensible precautions, it is also completely safe. This is a wonderful way to create an understanding of the rest of the world and to build tolerance of others.If you plan going camping or hiking, be sure to keep a map handy of the surrounding area. You should also consider taking a long a GPS unit or compass in case you lose your way.
Depending on their circumstances, property owners may choose to manage their properties themselves, or they can outsource these responsibilities to a professional property management company. The following questions should help you decide whether or not you should consider hiring a property manager.How far do you live from your property, and how often can you visit on a regular basis?For your property to be a successful investment, inspections, maintenance, and collections need to be performed regularly and often. This can be feasible if your property is close by, but the larger the distance, the greater the temptation not to keep a close eye on things, and that can be a recipe for disaster. Plan on making monthly scheduled visits and be prepared for a middle of the night emergency call that requires your immediate attention. Determine if this is feasible for you in the long run.How do you deal with stress? Are you a tolerant person?In addition to the seemingly simple task of collecting rent every month, property management tends to come with its share of unique challenges. Ask yourself how you would react in the unfortunate event that tenants:
Get in fights with other tenants or neighbors
Have domestic disputes
Conduct illegal business in the dwelling
Carry on all-night parties and revelry
Try to sneak extra people or animals into the home
Decide to sue you
Trash the property
Incite the wrath of the HOA because of repeated deed restriction violations
Refuse to pay rent because they are a “professional tenant” and know how to work the legal system for the maximum amount of free housing at the owners expense?
Are you currently overwhelmed with your property(ies)?Do you have things under control, or do you need help?How many rental properties or units do you have?The larger your investment portfolio, the easier it is to let things slip through the cracks, and the more you stand to gain by employing scalable best practices. Hiring a competent property management firm can help mitigate these challenges.How experienced are you in handling maintenance and repairs?Are you able to fix it yourself, and if not do you know who to call? Maintenance and repairs are an important part of landlording, and need to be done well and in a timely manner. If you question your willingness or ability to manage this, you might want to consider hiring a property management firm.How quickly are you able to get your unit rented?Advertising, fielding calls, and showing the unit have to be performed in earnest to keep vacancies from eating into your profit margins. If these activities are not your cup of tea, or if you have historically had an unacceptably high vacancy rate, you may want to consider hiring a property management firm.Can you handle the accounting and record keeping for your property?From profit and loss statements to tax deductions, this area needs special attention and becomes an increasingly larger burden for larger portfolios. Some owners (especially those with a back ground in finance) will do just fine, others may opt to hire an accountant to help with the book keeping. If you feel like this might be a weak point you might want to consider hiring a property management company.Are you willing to be on call 27/7/365?It’s important to answer this question honestly, because as a landlord you have an obligation to your tenant. Emergencies don’t happen all the time, but when they do, you have to be willing and able to handle them immediately. Can you handle being called at 2 am to fix someone’s overflowing toilet?Are you prepared to deal with late payments and if necessary evict non-paying tenants from the property?Many new owners are uncomfortable with being the “bad guy”, and try to be understanding by making exceptions. The problem is, this only invites further abuse and excuses by tenants. Late payments should be dealt with immediately. Sometimes only a friendly reminder is needed, but in other cases it can be a very confrontational process ending in eviction. It’s also important to know the laws governing this process to shield yourself from liability and lawsuits from delinquent tenants.How well do you understand the laws governing land lording?Making sure your property is run according to the law is critical both in preventing lawsuits, and in sheltering yourself from liability in the event that you are sued. Whoever is responsible for managing your property, whether yourself or a management company, needs to be familiar with these rules.From a financial standpoint, is managing your property the best use of your time?Your decision to hire or not hire a management company should boil down to whether or not it is a good fit with your lifestyle and is financially the best use of your time. Individual investors will have to evaluate the opportunity cost of both options based on their unique circumstances.