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       *** TRAVEL NEWS ***
               

If you are in the United States you should be aware of certain Travel Advisories which are given to citizens who choose to travel abroad. These advisories can affect you and may even change your travel plans. So before you go to the airport you should always check to see if your destination country is on the List of the United States Government Travel Advisories.

For more information: Check out the link below which will send you to the US Governments official website for the
latest information which includes the COVID-19 Virus travel restrictions.


https://travel.state.gov


HOW TO PAY LESS FOR FLIGHTS


1. Buy your tickets online
Buying your tickets online will actually help you save more money than buying at the airport or at an agent. Services like Google Flights or others which can be found by a simple online search.

2. Join Frequent flyers
Frequent flyer programs have a lot of benefits and some can offer discounts on future tickets after building up miles, and others may even offer free flights!

3. Not All Sales are Lowest prices
Sometimes a flight ticket may be on sale, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is a bargain for you. Always keep this in mind because that sale could end up costing you more than other deals!

4. Check For Hidden Fees
Always check other fees for tickets that may not be listed at first sight of the price. Make sure to be aware of the price of the ticket at all times and this can be avoided. Many hidden fees are luggage or even meals.

5. Compare Ticket Prices
If you are shopping online, there are various sites you can use to compare prices for different venders of tickets.

6. Choose The Right airline
Make sure when traveling on a budget to go with the airline that is the most comfortable to your budget. Even though it may not be as popular as others, they all get you to your destination!

7. Select an  Off-Hours flight
When shopping for tickets, try to buy tickets that have flights early in the morning or late at night if you can. Sometimes these tickets can save you a bundle!

8. Buy tickets months In Advance
Try to plan your trips, if possible, months in advance to save a lot more in the long run. Sometimes, depending on where you travel, this little tip can end up saving you hundreds on your tickets.

9. Find Vacation Packages
When planning your vacations, try to purchase trip packages as they can end up saving you a ton of money in the long run. If you have the time, compare a package with the costs of buying everything separate.

10. Different Types Of Flights Help You Save
Sometimes it would be wiser if possible to purchase a flight that maybe has one stop before it reaches its final destination, instead of doing a non-stop flight. This can end up helping you save and you can even enjoy the different merchandise at the airport you stop at before your flight continues.





              WHISTLER SKI RESORT 
     AMERICA'S BEST SKI DESTINATIONS


Located in the town of Whistler in British Columbia, Canada - Whistler's Ski resort  has almost 10,000 acres of ski terrain and is one of North America's most popular ski destinations....read more


  REFINANCING YOUR MORTGAGE
         CAN SAVE YOU MONEY


Interested in refinancing home mortgage loans but not sure it makes financial sense? Learn how to crunch the numbers and make an informed financial decision rather than playing an expensive guessing game with these simple steps.

A lower interest rate can save you money each month on your mortgage and can save you thousands over the life of the loan. Is it possible to lower your debt and reduce monthly payments by taking out a new loan? Surprisingly the answer is often "yes". Learn how to get a lower interest rate by refinancing without breaking the bank.

How Refinancing Works
Refinancing basically involves taking out a new loan which is used to pay off the prior mortgage. To put it another way, the new mortgage replaces the old one. This is especially helpful when interest rates have dropped since it allows homeowners to pay off older mortgages with a high interest rate in exchange for a new mortgage with a lower interest rate.

Getting a Lower Interest
To demonstrate how effective it is to lower your interest rate by refinancing, consider an example of a buyer who purchased a home for $210,000 in 2001. The original mortgage was $200,000 for a 30 year term with a fixed interest rate of 7 percent and monthly mortgage payment of $1330. Since the original down payment was only 5 percent or $10,000 plus closing costs, they also had to pay PMI or Private Mortgage Insurance of $125 per month.

Now that mortgage rates have dropped to 5 percent or even less, the homeowner is contemplating a refinance. The current balance on the home is $180,000 and the value of the home is appraised at $260,000. Since the home has 20 percent equity and the homeowner does not intend to take cash out at closing, they will automatically save $125 per month in PMI. By refinancing at a lower interest rate of 5 percent fixed for 30 years the new mortgage payment will be approximately $965 per month ...a savings of nearly $400 plus the PMI of $125 for a total monthly savings of over $500 per month. 

               
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          WHAT TO KNOW
  BEFORE YOU BUY A HOUSE



Most buyers conduct a lot of research online before ever stepping foot in a home. Buyers spend an average of 6 to 8 weeks, according to the National Association of REALTORS, trying to figure out where they want to live. But once the neighborhood is selected, most buyers end up buying a home after 2 or 3 home tours.

Figure out what you can afford before you look. Get pre-approved for a home loan before your home search so that you don’t waste time on those that you can’t afford. Scour your credit history and resolve any black marks before applying for a home loan.

Homes typically should cost about two and a half times your salary as a rule of thumb, although you also must consider your monthly expenses and what you want to save. Because you will be responsible for unforeseen repairs and property taxes, a healthy amount of savings can come in handy.

Beware of mortgage brokers who are a little too fast and loose with approving you. If you qualify, you may be able to make a down payment as low as 3 percent interest. Paying down “points” is good for those living in a home for three to five years, as it takes a dent out of the interest rate as you pay a portion of the interest at closing.


              
READ MORE





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WHAT YOU CAN DO IN MADRID



Vacationing in a city as big as Madrid and managing to see and do everything is no easy task. From sprawling museums to traditional restaurants and bars, every corner you turn uncovers a spot that draws in tourists and locals alike.

The city's main tourist artery runs the famous Metrópolis building to the Plaza de España. Shops, bars and even a casino line this wide street that stretches for more than a kilometre. If you start walking at the Metrópolis building, with its stunning dome crowned by a bronze statue, the next landmark you'll come to is at Gran Vía 1, the address for Grassy jewellers since 1952.

A bit further on, the Hotel de las Letras deserves a peek inside before you're wowed by the window display at the Loewe shop or stop to have a drink in the legendary Museo Chicote, which, despite its name, isn't a museum at all, though there is some art on the walls in the form of photos of celebrities who have passed through the swinging doors.

Madrid possesses a modern infrastructure, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighbourhoods and streets. Its landmarks include the Royal Palace of Madrid; the Royal Theatre with its restored 1850 Opera House; the Buen Retiro Park, founded in 1631; the 19th-century National Library building (founded in 1712) containing some of Spain's historical archives; a large number of National museums, and the Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising three art museums: Prado Museum, the Reina Sofía Museum, a museum of modern art, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, which completes the shortcomings of the other two museums. Cibeles Palace and Fountain have become the monument symbol of the city.

Central and bustling, Puerta del Sol is one of Madrid's best known squares. Several busy historical streets, such as Calle Mayor, Calle Arenal, Calle Alcalá and Calle Preciados, converge here and it contains several of the city's best known landmarks.

One of these is the famous clock at Casa de Correos, the headquarters of the regional government of Madrid. On 31December each year thousands gather in front of the clock and follow the tradition of eating twelve grapes as it strikes twelve, in a televised ceremony viewed by millions of Spaniards.

In the same place, opposite the Casa de Correos doorway, is the plaque marking Kilometre Zero, the point from which the country’s radial roads are measured and alongside which many Spanish tourists have their photos taken every day. The Puerta del Sol also contains the statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree, much loved by locals and a popular meeting point. The same image appears on the city's coat of arms.

On the opposite side, at the entrance to Calle Arenal, is the "Mariblanca" statue of Venus, a replica of the seventeenth century original that used to adorn a fountain located here, now held at the Casa de la Villa. Very near to the statue, in the centre of the square, is the equestrian statue of Charles III, the king who modernised Madrid in the eighteenth century with a series of improvements to the city's infrastructure.

The Plaza Mayor is an arcaded square which is the heart of Hapsburg Madrid, the historical centre of the city and one of its most charming neighbourhoods, full of small streets and passageways that were once frequented by swordsmen and rogues. Various stores selling craftwork and traditional products and the area’s typical restaurants recall the colourful market held here from the end of the 15th century to the mid-19th century, where meat, vegetables, fruit, groceries, clothes and fabric were on sale.

Over the centuries it has also been the scene of popular festivals, bullfights, beatifications, coronations and the occasional auto-da-fé, but today the arcades provide shade for artists producing paintings, drawings and caricatures, while on Sundays there is a small fair for collectors of stamps and coins. Before Christmas, the Plaza Mayor holds a traditional market specialising in nativity figures.

Notable among the buildings is the Casa de la Panadería, today the Madrid Tourist Center, whose 20th century decoration contains mythological figures related to the history of Madrid. In one corner of the square we can find the Arco de Cuchilleros, the most famous of the arches built after the fire in 1790.

Adjoining the arch are some picturesque buildings that are notable for the height and inclination of their façades, which recall buttresses. This arch was the location of the workshops supplying knives to the butchers in the square, where the Casa de la Carnicería, an old warehouse for meat, was also located. The central statue of Philip III dates from 1616 and for centuries guarded the entrance to Casa de Campo.

The Prado Museum presides over one of the most-visited tourist itineraries of the capital: the Art Walk. As well as Las Meninas by Velázquez and the Third of May 1808 by Goya, one can see in its galleries masterpieces of the Spanish, Italian and Flemish schools. The Prado has a priceless collection of 8,600 pictures and more than 700 sculptures.

The museum can only display part of its vast collection, and in 2007 an extension to its premises, designed by architect Rafael Moneo, was opened. It consists of a building around the old Jerónimos cloister, which is linked to the main building. As well as holding one of the best collections of 16th and 17th century painting, with works by by artists of the stature of Hieronymus Bosch, Titian, El Greco, Murillo, Rubens, Goya and Velázquez, the museum houses important collections of decorative art, drawings and engravings, which are less well known but of great value.

The collection of Spanish Painting is what gives the Prado added value compared to other famous art galleries. In its halls one can contemplate works ranging from romanic murals dating from the 12th century to paintings created by Francisco de Goya in the 19th century. In these halls - distributed between the ground, first and second floors - one can find canvases by El Greco, such as Gentleman with his Hand on his Chest and The Adoration of the Shepherds.

Art lovers will appreciate the Golden Age paintings housed by the museum, especially the more than forty canvases painted by Diego Velázquez, including Las Meninas, Las hilanderas (The Fable of Arachne) and The Adoration of the Magi.

Also included in the Madrid must see list is the Madrid Rio. Madrid Rio is a huge recreational and cultural area both for its landmarks and leisure facilities and the culture it houses, and for being a reference point from which to contemplate and come into contact with monumental Madrid.

From the playful viewpoint of the new system on the bank of the Manzanares, it provides the perfect recipe for a good time with family. Children will have fun in the 10 play areas found along the Salón de Pinos, all with swings made from sustainable, natural materials such as wood and hemp rope, forming webs, hammocks, hanging bridges or climbing vines. Each zone has different characteristics according to age, so there are areas dedicated for younger and older children based on skill, balance and strength.

But it is also a place where adults can enjoy a great cultural offering. For all cultural activities (exhibitions, music festivals, theatre ...) that are held in Matadero Madrid, you pass by new bridges and beautifully constructed bridges. In Madrid Río there is also the Puente del Rey, where the Spanish football team celebrated its victory in the South Africa World Cup in 2010.
go to Madrid




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