HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT TRAVEL CREDIT CARD?

A lot of us work hard to save enough money to plan their next holiday, while some of us are smart enough to get various perks from their credit cards to help plan their vacation. In today's world, we all know how certain credit card companies give freebies and perks to its various loyal customers and how significant some of these perks can get to be. Keeping that train of thought, I have written a post to help you choose the right travel credit card. Not only will this credit card help you in your travels, but it will also help you realize discounts and freebies while planning your future holidays.

In order to select that credit card, ask these following questions while you search for that credit card that fits your travel needs.

How good is the sign up bonus?

Most of the travel credit cards offer a healthy sign up bonus in terms of a significant number of miles, free flight tickets, hotel or flight coupons or a combination of the above. A good sign up bonus should be looked into as this will help you jump start the mile collection process.

Does it allow you to earn more miles?

Most of the co-branded credit cards are tied up with the membership account (frequent flyer program) of that airline. Hence, you only get a certain number of miles depending on the transaction. However, there are credit cards out there that allow you to accrue miles on the credit card account while allowing you to accrue on your frequent flyer program too. Basically, a double bonanza! Check on such credit cards.

Do the miles expire?

It is always a bummer to find out that your hard earned miles have expired. It would be ideal to have credit cards where the miles don't expire so that you can redeem it whenever you feel like taking a holiday. Most of the frequent flyer programs (at entry level) have expiration limits. Credit cards have similar limits too. Find ones that have no limits.

Is it attached to one particular airline or is it airline agnostic?

A lot of travellers are loyal to an airline. For such users, a co-branded airline credit card makes sense. But, a lot of us these days choose an airline depending on how much the ticket costs. For such travellers, an airline agnostic card is the way to go as it will allow them to earn miles irrespective of the airline they choose to fly in. Choose depending on your need!

How many miles do I earn per dollar?

This is a very important criterion too. The more miles you earn per dollar, the better it is. For airline related transactions you might earn multiple miles when compared to a non-airline transaction for the same price. Basically, you should be able to earn miles and big miles at that whenever you swipe your card.

Is it associated with major airlines?

It is always good to have a credit card that partners with major airlines and travel companies. That way, you can redeem your miles at one of these big and more well known partners who have a wider international spread.

How much are the annual fees?

A lot of us hate paying annual fees, but sometimes for getting the benefits out of a good credit card, you might have to pay the annual fee. Most of the premium credit cards out there charge an annual fee, but in the long run, these annual fees are covered through their rewards.

Are there any fees for international transactions?

For international travellers, this is a very important attribute to consider. Every time you swipe your credit card outside your country, you get slapped a 3.5% foreign currency conversion charge. Some credit cards do not charge such a fee. Find out more about them.

How easy is it to redeem the miles?

The redemption process is also very important to look into. You can earn big miles, but if the redemption is not good, then the whole point of saving these miles is gone. Look at a bank that offers good standards of customer service, has tie ups with large travel companies for redemptions and allows you to transfer your credit card miles to your frequent flyer account. Ideally, you should be able to redeem your miles online, talk to a customer service representative or walk into the bank to do the needful.

Is there a renewal bonus?

Just like a sign up bonus, it would be great to get a renewal bonus on -payment of the renewal fee.

Is there a minimum spending limit?

Some banks like you to spend a minimum every month. Can you afford such a condition? If not, look for a credit card that has no such condition and thereby allowing you to spend as much and as you please.

Is there a maximum limit for earning miles?

A lot of credit cards have an upper earning limit for the big miles, which means that you stop earning multiple miles once you cross a certain amount in a calendar year. Find out the ones that have the highest limits. That way, you will earn the most miles if you are a big spender and frequent traveller. For normal travellers and normal spenders, you can pick and choose from a wider range.

Does the credit card have a large international network and reach?

The last thing you want to hear while you swipe your card is that your credit card is not supported in that country. Pick a bank that has a wide international network and reach. In most of the developing world, American Express is still not accepted at all merchant establishments. But, Visa and Master card are. Find out which options does the credit card come in?

Does it offer international fraud protection?

You will be using your credit card across the world and at many online portals. You can face fraud at any of these places and a solution might be beyond your scope. In such a case, it is important to know if your credit card comes with a good international fraud protection.

Does it offer insurance cover?

This is not a must have, but a goo to have. Most of the travel credit cards offer free insurance to cover accidental death during travel or while on a journey. Find out if your credit card offers such a cover.

What kind of privilege access does it provide?

A lot of travel credit cards give privilege access to airport lounges, clubs, hotels and more. Such perks are important to people looking to maintain a high lifestyle standard. If you are one of them, you need to look at these privileges closely.



 

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August 1, 2014

Nobody can work forever at a gruelling pace, it's just not possible. Everybody needs to take a break or holiday here and there, some more than others. Whether it be for your health or just to kick back and relax, here are the top 10 reasons why you and everyone else needs to take breaks from time to time.

1. Your body needs to relax
As simple as it may sound, everybody needs to slow down once in a while. As much as some of us want to believe we can work through anything, we are human and our bodies and minds do need to rest. You can only keep going on fumes for so long. It's even harder if you quit caffeine!
The other thing to remember is that it takes a bit of time to unwind. Weekends aren't really enough to catch your breath. Even a one week holiday barely gives you enough time to unwind. Most people find that they finally really start to relax after a few to several days of rest, which means by the end of a week you're finally starting to truly relax. It's generally not until the second week of holidays that you really relax and benefit from your holidays. Unfortunately for a lot of us, it's very difficult to take more than a week at a time of holidays.
And just taking a day off here and there is definitely not enough, sometimes you truly need to take some time to slow down your pace. It's amazing the difference it can make. Don't fool yourself into thinking that one day off is enough to fully recharge, it's not. It's a good start, but that's all it really is. I view it as more of someone drowning and being able to get a grasp of air. It's not enough to save you, but it sure does feel great!

2. Get new perspectives
If you never take a step back, you're always going to be looking at it from the same angle. Taking a break or a holiday gives you the opportunity to take a step back and look at what you're doing from a different perspective.
It's amazing what a little difference in perspective can make. The theory of relativity is really just looking at the world from a different viewpoint. Instead of everything being absolute, Einstein basically realized that everything is relative. In other words we move relative to others, not from an absolute point in space. A simple little difference in perspective lead to a massive improvement in physics. That simple change in perspective completely changed how we view the world and lead to incredible discoveries.
While you probably won't make the same level of ground-breaking discoveries as Einstein did, it may be enough to give you a significant boost in whatever it is you're doing. Looking from the outside allows us the opportunity to grow when and how we least expect.

3. Appreciate what you have
Like anything, if you do it too much, you start to lose your appreciation for it. For example, imagine if everyday someone did your laundry, cooked all your meals, and so on. After a while you would start to lose your appreciation for everything that's done for you, it would almost become an expectation.
It's not until you stop getting the benefits that you really appreciate what you had and lost.

4. Improve the quality of your work
Generally if you do something a lot, you start to get lazy with it. A good example is a business manager or entrepreneur that's had a nice growth and success history. After a few years of getting lots of good results, they may start to slack off a bit on their work because everything is going well. And unfortunately they may be able to get away with it for some time, riding on their previous successes. The bad news is that eventually it will catch up, and that's when bad things happen. We've all heard stories of people who had it but then road the wave until they crashed.
For whatever reason, taking a good break, will help you ramp up the quality of work you do. When you come back, you want everything to be done as best as you can. Things that you'd let slide you now address. Of course we always have to be careful about doing busy work just to be busy (like making sure your email inbox is completely clean). It's just that in many cases you feel refreshed enough to address some of those bigger issues head on rather than deferring them where before you would defer them as much as you can. You're up to dealing with the hard issues.

5. Disconnect to relearn how to focus
It's amazing how good it can be to disconnect. Turn off your cell phone. Step away from your emails. Instead of always being on, multitasking like a mad person, it's great to be able to relearn to focus.
We're so used to constant distractions in our day and age that we forget how intrusive they can really be. After you're disconnected for a while, you start to realize how many of those distractions are really just disruptions. You don't need to receive all your emails right away. You don't need to address every issue right now. You don't need to respond to every email this minute. The world doesn't come to a grinding halt! It's good to remember that once in a while.

6. Discover and learn new things
How often can we just take the time to learn new things which will in turn make us that much more productive? To be quite frank, most people just keep doing things the same way because of two reasons.
The first is because they've always done it that way and they always will. It's easy and they're comfortable with the way they are doing things.
The second reason is that they just don't have the time to learn anything new. That, or in my opinion, they don't take the time. That is to say they don't really understand the value of learning.
This is also partially where you can get the sunk cost effect. Basically the sunk cost effect is where you keep going the same path because that's what you've always done and have invested large amounts of effort and/or money to get it working.

7. Create a strategy for the future
When we're in the thick of it we rarely take the time to create strategies for what we're doing. We're mostly just acting and reacting. Rarely do we plan and strategize. It's generally only when we take a break that we can really do this.
The same is true for almost everything in life. When you're in the thick of it you're too busy dealing with the situation. It's generally only after the fires have been squelched that you figure out what happened, and look at how you can prevent it for the future.

8. Spend more time with family and friends
As though it wasn't obvious enough, we're probably all guilty of working too much. As much as I try to balance work and play, I'm sure I work too much. So taking a break is a good time to improve that balance.
And if you think you aren't working too much, let me ask you this: On your death bed, will you ever tell yourself you should've worked more? Never have I heard of an instance of someone regretting not working enough. All you hear are stories of people regretting they worked too much and didn't spend enough time with their families. Ask yourself right now, if you only had one week left to live, what would you do? I doubt your answer would be to work 24/7 for that week. Most likely you would completely skip working. That says it all right there!

9. Catch up on much needed sleep
A really weird thing about being on holiday is, you always get a lot more sleep. Suddenly instead of sleeping 4-6 hours a day, you might start sleeping 8-10 hours a day, sometimes more. Why is that? Most probably because your body naturally needs more sleep than you allow it to take.

10. Improve your health
And last but not least, it's a good chance to improve your health. Go outside and get some sun. Exercise. Ride a bike. Take a walk. Swim. Go for a hike. Whatever activity you prefer, it's a good time to do it. We're almost all guilty of not exercising enough. And although exercising during a holiday is not enough, it's better than nothing. Plus, if you're lucky you'll continue doing it for a long time after you come back from your holiday.
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Conjure up images of a holiday and what springs to mind? Most often it will be of quaint houses and water flowing nearby, holidays and water seem quintessential.

The gurgling of a stream as it flows past seeming to carry away your troubles and stress, leaving you rested and relaxed. Mountains and hills are another favourite of most people.

What a person seeks essentially is a change from their mundane lives and places they are used to seeing daily.

Dehradun is a town which is well located and connected by road, air and rail to most cities. It is a city where trees and orchards still abound. The hills of Mussoorie are a short drive away and if one knows where to look there are places tucked away from the main town between Dehradun and Mussoorie.

The Riverstone Cottages is one such resort. It is situated in an ideal location. Hidden as it were from prying eyes, where peace and nature abounds yet a short drive from the heart of Dehradun.

The name says it all, stone cottages with a stream flowing in front and the hills all around. This is definitely the place to come for recharging your batteries and discovering nature anew.
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