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Travel

TSA New Security Rules for International Travel

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules for international travel were developed and implemented to ensure that all TSA rules for airport security are strictly adhered to, and to detect and eliminate any threat to the security of passengers or crew on airplanes traveling internationally.

Development and Implementation of New Security Rules

The TSA began phasing in new rules for international travel in 2009. One of the first steps was to require all passengers to have proper government-issued identification that exactly matches the name on the reservation. When making a reservation, the traveler must also give information verifying gender and date of birth. The information is required for both domestic and international travel.

In January, 2010, The TSA issued new security rules for passengers flying on planes entering into the United States. These rules were implemented after continuing threats to the United States by terrorists and suspected terrorists. The TSA wants to be sure that terrorists, suspected terrorists or others who may intend harm to passengers or flight crew cannot bring anything aboard a plane that would harm anyone or potentially destroy the plane. The new security rules implemented by the TSA have the support of many countries abroad. The TSA has stated that passengers entering the United States on any aircraft that originates from or travels through any other country will be required to cooperate with enhanced screening measures. Enhanced screening measures involve, but are not limited to the advanced full-body scanning process of the backscatter or new wave millimeter scanners. This full-body scan advanced technology is already in use in many other countries, as well as the U.S.

In April, the TSA changed the enhanced screening to an even stricter level. Initially, in January, there was a list of fourteen countries which was used as a means of the enhanced screening. It now is in effect for any traveler coming into the United States from any country anywhere in the world.

Secure Flight

Section 4012 (a) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 required the Department of Homeland Security to take over matching passenger lists to no fly and watch lists. Secure Flight is a program developed for that purpose by the D.H.S. Its mission is to enhance the security of air travel, both in the U.S. and abroad. It works behind the scenes to more quickly identify those passengers who are on the no-fly list or the “watch” list. Secure Flight conducts pre-screening measures to identify those persons on the watch list and thwart any potential terrorism or other danger. The Secure Flight has been instrumental in the enforcement of the new rules for air travel. It not only conducts the pre-screening on flights originating from countries of known terrorist activity, but also flights out of or within the U.S. After Secure Flight checks each passenger’s identifying information against watch lists, the information is transmitted back to the airlines.

The Benefits of New Rules for International Travel

The threat of terrorism and other criminal acts committed by those traveling from other countries remains a constant threat. The United States, by joining with the international aviation community continually works to protect citizens, travelers and airline crews from violence and terrorist acts. This is accomplished through the development and implementation of tighter international travel security rules.

Travel

Visiting the Dallas Frontiers of Flight Museum

There is no reason to wait for the once-per-year air shows to see the greatest exhibitions of flight and fantasy or touch the powerful and cool metal of some of the most noted planes to ever fly in the sky. The Frontiers of Flight museum is a bit of a misnomer, since it is so much more than a museum. It is essentially, a full air show, gift store, a fun place to visit and more-museum and history lesson all rolled into one-and it is a fantastic place near Love Field in Dallas, to beat the summer heat while having a good time too.

Starting with the museum, visitors can see a wide variety of aviation related items and artifacts, from parts of planes, aviation jackets, helmets, and other aviation related paraphernalia. The items are not limited to just Earthbound/skyward aviation though, since the Frontiers of Flight museum also displays space travel, including boasting that the Dallas Frontiers of Flight museum has on display the only moon rocks in North Texas. Of course, the astronaut dreamer of us all will be impressed by the display of the Apollo 7 command module.

For those who are a bit more hands-on about flying, the Frontiers of Flight museum has open cockpit days where visitors are able to sit in and touch things in a real plane cockpit. For those wanting to take it a bit farther, the flight simulators are a blast. For the kids, there is the FunShuttle, able to be built and flown, watching it climb over 100ft up in the air. What better way to beat the summer heat in Dallas, Texas than hands-on airplay like that?

During the school year, schools, churches and youth group tours find Frontiers of Flight a wonderful place to bring groups of children, for fun and education. However, during the summer, the Frontiers of Flight museum really shines. Model airplane projects can be built and flown, special guest speakers come at various times during the summer as well, and the flight demonstrations are not to be missed.

With the fee to tour the museum and see the flight artifacts and touch and take pictures of planes and cockpits of planes and have a good time while eating the summer heat, you can’t beat the admission price of less than $10 for adults. If your child has a summer birthday, the Frontiers of Flight party tour and package is a great way to beat the summer heat and celebrate their special day!

Located near Love Field airport, at 6911 Lemmon Ave, Dallas, Texas, the Frontiers of Flight museum is only a short drive and central location to most of the Dallas area, and well worth the trip for an outing or adventure, particularly for the flight enthusiast. For those not so interested in flight, check out the annual swap meet – something for everyone at Frontiers of Flight to help beat the summer heat in Dallas, Texas! For more information, you can call the museum at 214-350-1651.

Travel

Kayak Vs Sidestep which site is better for flight offers?

If you are searching for cheap flights then you no longer have to visit just Expedia or Priceline any longer. There are now two other travel sites which are quickly growing in popularity. One of them is Kayak.com and the other is Sidestep.com. So which one is better between these two? Following is a comparison of the two websites to see which one offers the best deals.

First lets start with Kayak.com. This website helps it’s consumers to find travel sites that offer affordable airlines, hotels, and rental cars. The best part is that Kayak.com does not charge any fees for their services. What many don’t realize is that this website was founded by the same people who first came up with Orbits, Travelocity, and Expedia. The difference between Kayak.com and other travel site is that they do not just search their own site, but over 140 airline websites and other travel agencies that are found online. They even search several international sites so that you can get the best deal on cheap affordable airline tickets. You also have the option of signing up for fare alerts, and they will even compare the prices they find with that of other travel sites like Expedia.

Now what does Sidestep.com have to offer? Well to start with it also searches more than 200 travel websites in order to find users the cheapest flights, hotels, and car rental services. They search airlines across the world to get the best deal. They also offer travel guides and reviews generated by their consumers. They average about 5 million visitors per month just from the United States. The only problem with sidestep.com that I have found its that it takes a long time to load because it is searching so many different sides.

As far as profit is concerned it seems that Kayak.com is definitely coming out on top so far. Which is probably why the two have decided to merge. Considering the fact that the two sites are very similar and they both offer cheap flights as well as other features this merger could only end up being beneficial.

Most of the money for both sites is made through partnerships and from advertising. Kayak’s layout could definitely use some improvement since it has too much of a search engine look to it. If you take a look at Sidestep.com you will see that it has a much better interface with a lot more content to browse through. The social network site for travelers that is offered on SideStep.com is also a huge plus for the site. When it comes to finding cheaper flights however and better travel deals overall I would have to say that Kyak.com really wins that one hands down. I have yet to find any better deals on Sidestep.com than I have found on Kayak.com. No that they are merging both companies will be even better. Both of the companies make well over $50 million dollars in revenue, so profit is definitely not a problem with either company. The bottom line is that you can easy find affordable flights and plenty of options to choose from. Both sites offer something different so it does depend slightly on what you prefer.

REAL ESTATE

The Disadvantages of Owning a Condo

So, you think you want to own a condo. You want smaller space. You don’t want to deal with mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. Fair enough. However, you should definitely look before you own. Yes, condos have a downside.

One problem is other people’s pets. If other condo owners don’t obey the leash law, you may find someone else’s dog on your leg. Also, you might be the unlucky recipient of a late night barking serenade if someone is walking his or her dog in the evening.

Another problem is insulation. If the insulation is poor, you have no privacy. For instance, your conversation may be heard by your neighbors, and vice versa. (Do you really want Nosy Nellie to know your family dirt? Also, do you want to hear your neighbors really think about you?) Neighbors may also hear your doors closing. Also, if you have downstairs neighbors, they may hear your toilet flushing or even your footfalls if you have on hard shoes. (When I said no privacy, I meant it.) In addition to privacy issues, it’s easier to hear a neighbor’s television or radio, and vice versa, because of the poor insulation.

Want a home business? You better check your condo rules. That’s right. Some condos don’t allow you to use your own home as a business.

Another problem is decorating your home. Some condos don’t allow you to change your front door or the blinds on the windows or patio. Also, if you want to have work done on your condo, it has to be approved. (Oftentimes, the company that does the work has to be approved, as well.)

At this point, you may be wondering what the difference is between owning a condo and renting an apartment. One big difference is voting. Yes voting. For instance, in some condos, owners vote on whether or not the condo entrances are locked in the daytime. Do you really want other owners determining how secure your home is?

Another difference is, if you don’t like the apartment, you can leave when your lease is up. With a condo, you have to sell it.

In conclusion, a condo is not really your home. Living in a condo has a lot of the advantages and disadvantages of renting an apartment. However, if you want to leave, you have to sell it. So, before owning a condo, you might want to try renting one first.So, you think you want to own a condo. You want smaller space. You don’t want to deal with mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. Fair enough. However, you should definitely look before you own. Yes, condos have a downside.

One problem is other people’s pets. If other condo owners don’t obey the leash law, you may find someone else’s dog on your leg. Also, you might be the unlucky recipient of a late night barking serenade if someone is walking his/her dog in the evening.

Another problem is insulation. If the insulation is poor, you have no privacy. For instance, your conversation may be heard by your neighbors. Do you really want Nosy Nellie to know your family dirt? Neighbors may also hear your doors closing. Also, if you have downstairs neighbors, they may hear your toilet flushing or even your footfalls if you have on hard shoes. (When I said no privacy, I meant it.) In addition to privacy issues, it’s easier to hear a neighbor’s television or radio, and vice versa, because of the poor insulation.

Another downside is voting. Yes voting. For instance, in some condos, owners vote on whether or not the condo entrances are locked in the daytime. Do you really want other owners determining how secure your home is?

In conclusion, living in a condo has a lot of the advantages and disadvantages of renting an apartment. However, if you want to leave, you have to sell it.

REAL ESTATE

Real Estate in Today’s Marketplace

You decided that you want to sell your current property. You thought, why should I spend money unnecessarily,

I can just sell my property myself, but can you in today’s market place with so many foreclosures and short sales throughout the real estate market nationwide. Your home is probably the largest investment that you have. Without the professional guidance and assistance of a Realtor you may find that selling your property yourself may entail numerous complications and issues. Realtors abide by a strict code of ethics and generally pledge to promote and protect the interest of the party that they represent as well as having a fiduciary responsibility to the other parties involved in a transaction. It is important to ask yourself if you are really saving money selling your property yourself if you do not have enough knowledge regarding selling and marketing your property to the general public. You may determine that working with a professional real estate agent is a lot less expensive than you may have thought.

Real estate agents evaluate the current market conditions within your area, showing you the properties that are currently available as well as those that have sold and closed escrow within the past 6 months or less. They also use the tax records as well as the Multiple Listing Service to evaluate the pricing structure. Market trends are continually changing, so the values within your immediate area change as well, and foreclosures have affected the market values within many neighborhoods nationwide. You do not want to price your property too high for the current market or too low. Unfortunately foreclosures have forced the values down within many areas. Marketing your property within a difficult market is also challenging. Pricing is just one aspect of real estate, others include forms of advertising. What type of photographs are best to put in an ad for on line advertising. In the current market is it best to use social media to advertise your property, or various real estate web sites, and what about print advertising is this still a valuable medium in toady’s market place?

If you decide to try and sell your property yourself, how are you going to show the property, open houses or by appointment? Many times we find in the industry that open houses are not the best way to market a property. You need to be available to show the property to prospective buyers and this may include night time and weekend showings, so are you going to be available during all of these times to meet prospective buyers? Real estate agents generally place a lock box on a property giving access to the other agents to show the property to prospective buyers. This enables them to have flexibility with the showing times and of course the agents should always let the seller know that they plan to show their property and give them an approximate time that they can expect them to be at their property to show it and leave their business card at the subject property as well for follow-up about the property.

With the current economy you are putting yourself and your property in jeopardy by not knowing who the individual is that is coming into your property if you hold an open house yourself. The individuals that you are allowing into your residence have not generally been pre-qualified by a lender. A lender spends the time to evaluate the income, credit worthiness and current financial obligations of an individual and basically informs them of what price range property they can afford as well as the monthly payment that they can afford. The lender evaluates their ratios and also discusses various loan programs with the client so they understand what they are getting themselves into when they purchase a property. The lender also will explain to the buyer the various point structure sometimes associated with a loan, such as discount points and origination points as well as additional fees required to obtain a loan. The lender will also follow the loan process as it progresses including the appraisal and making sure that the property appraises for at least the sales price as well as having all the documents prepared for the closing.

There are many additional steps in preparing a property to close escrow and in some states they involve the use of real estate attorneys and in other states they use title and escrow companies instead of an attorney. Funds need to be collected and documents prepared prior to the close of escrow. This is where the use of a title and escrow company is important for they contact the current lender and ask for loan balances and the pay off statement as well as handling many additional aspects of the closing process for both the buyer and the seller.

In a short sale or foreclosure situation there is major involvement with the financial institutions that the sellers loan was originated with. Also many issues may arise within these particular facets of real estate, that an individual seller may not know how to handle themselves, without proper legal representation or a real estate professional who has the knowledge and expertise to handle these types of transactions and have them close escrow.

In summary it is really important to consider whether you have enough knowledge in the current real estate industry to be able to list and sell your property yourself. You may determine that working with a professional Realtor may be the right decision, for they may be able to actually get the job done in an efficient and less stressful manner than you trying to do it yourself.