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Important news before you travel:

If you live 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.


          
https://travel.state.gov


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          AIRPORT TIPS


To make your way to a flight on time and to get throught security as quickly as possible you can try the following tips:

1) Sign up. The TSA's PreCheck, a trusted traveler program, has spread to more cities across the U.S. and is now available at some 40 airports. Members of the program are pre-screened and can then whiz through security, sometimes without having to take off their shoes or remove laptops from cases. The U.S. Customs Department's Global Entry program is another shortcut for frequent international travelers, especially as the federal government contracts and customs lines potentially get longer.

Critical Security Checkpoints:
To make clearing security as easy as possible...
-Review the guidelines for liquids and gels on your Flight carriers Carry-On Baggage page before your flight.
-Have your government-issued photo identification and boarding pass ready for inspection.
-Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off, since all footwear must be x-rayed.
-Remember to place all coats and jackets in a bin for x-ray screening.
-Make your laptop easily accessible for inspection.
-Avoid wearing anything metal or place these items in your carry-on baggage for screening

2) Check flight status. Although this is obvious, many people often fail to do this one simple but critical thing.

I recommend doing the same before abandoning your ride or your car just before you head to the terminal; flight status updates change by the minute, so a last-second check is always a good idea.

Most airlines will text you flight status updates if you sign up on their Web sites, and sites like Flightaware.com do the same by text, on the Web and through smartphone apps.

4) Check in online. Especially if you are not checking bags, this can save you a heap of time. I have found that when checking bags, having the pre-printed boarding pass in your hand doesn't help all that much, and check-in agents often reissue another boarding pass when you check in your bags -- but it sure doesn't hurt.

5) Before you leave for the airport, put your ID, credit card and boarding pass (if applicable) in an easily accessible part of your wallet or bag. There are two reasons for this: one, by going through this exercise, you make sure that you don't leave home without these crucial items. Two, you don't waste your (and other people's) time fumbling around for them at the moment you need them.

Check the airport parking situation online. Knowing ahead of time where to park, which lots are open and how far they are from the terminal can save you a lot of anxiety on your drive in, as well as keep you safer as you navigate tortuous and almost always poorly marked airport ring roads. Additionally, during peak travel periods, lots fill up quickly, so you will want an alternate parking plan.

When you are ready to board always take inventory of what you will need to do when you get to the front of the security line. Do a quick mental review of everything you are wearing that you will need to remove (such as shoes, jewelry, watch, jacket), and what you have inside your carry-on bag that might need to be taken out (liquids, electronics). When you get to the front of the line, blast through your mental inventory and make it happen. Done well, you can go from fully clad for winter weather, with laptops and iPads in your bag, to a T-shirt, pants and socks, and all your sensitive electronics in their own bins, in seconds.

Using these tips will get you through the airport, on your flight and towards your destination as quickly as possible.

more traveler informaiton tips available at the TSA website:  https://www.tsa.gov/precheck/faq
         NEW YORK'S JFK AIRPORT

JFK international airport is located 15 miles by highway from midtown Manhattan. JFK’s terminals, parking lots and hotels operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and cover more than 880 acres.

If you choose to enter the terminal with the passenger, please be aware that only ticketed passengers will be allowed past the security checkpoint. However, you may enjoy any of the areas before security. As an alternative, you may drop off your passengers at the Kiss and Fly located at the Lefferts Boulevard AirTrain Station where they can ride AirTrain free of charge to their terminal in just 10 minutes.

Electric Vehicle Charging
Air travelers who own electric vehicles can charge them at Kennedy International.
...read more



  BOOKING THE RIGHT  HOTEL


Hotels are more than just a place to sleep. The best hotels offer information and services that help familiarize you with your location, address the special needs of families and business travelers and, they hope, give you something to write home about.

When it comes to choosing a hotel, it’s better not to rely on star ratings.  Because the criteria for these star ratings are sometimes based on insignificant details, they don’t always accurately represent the quality of a hotel, with some 4 star hotels being of much higher quality than some 5 star hotels, but losing a star because they don’t include a mini-fridge in every room. 

You can receive “five-star service” in a one-star hotel. That small hotel/B&B will many times be family-owned and run, not always have a fancy reception desk (reception may be a small table or desk where a computer, phone and registration book is kept), but they will be willing to sit down with you and give you information such as the best restaurants in the neighbourhood.

The best way to get the most out of your time in the city, help you plan your days, suggest things to do, issue attraction tickets, book a taxi (many smaller hotels/B&Bs have certain companies they work with and trust), and many other things.  The five-star hotel may not have time to spend with you like that.

Star ratings will generally not be an indication of cleanliness and comfort. A one-star hotel/B&B can offer you the same shiny bathroom tiles, clean carpeting and spotless sheets and towels that a two, three or more star hotel can.

there are many websites online with information on hotels and ratings by reviewer's which can offer valuable information in determing which hotel you book on your next trip.

Sometimes making a decision on where to stay can be easy, especially when your finances allow you to book hotels at any price. For those of us who may be on a budget, doing a little search online can often end up saving us hundreds of dollars on our lodging.

No matter where you are or where you are going, booking a hotel is something you want to make sure you do right the first time. Besides, one man's 3 star hotel can be another man's 5 star hotel.

Choosing a hotel with a good location is critical to making your trip a great one. But what does a good location really mean? That depends on what you'll be doing while you're staying at the hotel. You don't need to plan your entire itinerary in order to choose a hotel, but you should have a general idea of what you need or want to do once you arrive at your destination....
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             HISTORIC BERLIN GERMANY

Founded in the 13th century, Berlin has had an eventful history. Excavations from 2008 suggest that the city may be even older than was previously assumed: state archaeologists have discovered an oak beam that probably dates back to 1183.

Almost no other metropolis has experienced such frequent, radical change transforming ...
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        YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

Yosemite National Park is located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more. More than 5 million people visit Yosemite each year....read more

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HOW REAL ESTATE CLOSING WORKS




If you are thinking about buying a vacation home you should know the basics in the Real Estate closing process. The rules vary by location so you will need to find your state's or city's real estate rules to make sure you have the correct information. But generally speaking the process can best be described as the following:

Closing or “settlement” is when you will sign the final mortgage documents and the property will be legally transferred to you. It typically involves you and any co-borrowers, a closing agent and your real estate agent, although closing practices may vary in your local area.

The closing date is set during the negotiation phase, and is usually several weeks after the offer is formally accepted. On the closing date, the parties consummate the purchase contract, and ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer. In most jurisdictions ownership is officially transferred when a deed from the seller is delivered to the buyer.

Several things happen during closing:
-The buyer (or his/her bank) delivers a cheque (generally in the US, a Cashier's check or wire transfer) for the balance owed on the purchase price.
-The seller signs the deed over to the buyer, and delivers the keys.
-A title company, lawyer or civil law notary registers the new deed with the local land registry office.
-The seller receives a cheque or bank transfer for the proceeds of the sale, less closing costs and mortgage payouts.

Closing in escrow usually occurs in states in the western half of the US. A title company (rather than a lawyer) or other trusted party holds the money and the signed deed, and arranges for the transfer. This is primarily so that the seller can give up ownership of the property, and the buyer can hand over the payment, without both parties having to be present at the same time. Escrow ensures an orderly transaction, or if something goes wrong, an orderly termination of the agreement.

On the Eastern side of the US, settlement (as closing is called) takes place on a specified date and time during which all parties (usually including the agents involved) meet at a settlement company presided over or supervised by a lawyer or settlement agent. At that time, the settlement agent disburses all funds listed on the settlement statement (in form of certified or wired funds) and the property exchange takes place, and the deed is then recorded by the company.

When preparing for the loan closing you should contact your closing agent to determine how much money you will need to bring to closing and any other steps for completing the purchase of your home.

You will sign many documents at closing and it is important that you read the documents carefully and ask as many questions as necessary. These documents include:

The Mortgage Note. A legal document that provides evidence of your debt and your formal promise to repay the mortgage loan.
The Mortgage or Deed of Trust. The security instrument that you give to the lender that protects the lender’s interest in your property. When you sign the deed of trust, you are giving the lender the right to take the property back by foreclosure if you fail to pay the mortgage according to the set terms.
The final Truth-in-Lending Disclosure. This document reflects any changes to the terms of your mortgage loan since your application date.
Affidavits and Declarations. Statements declaring something to be true, such as the property will be your principal place of residence.
The HUD-1 Statement. Discloses the final details of your mortgage loan including:
The actual settlement charges you will be paying
A comparison of the costs disclosed on your GFE to the costs being charged at closing
Your final loan terms

Tips for Closing
Avoid feeling rushed by reading all the documents that will be sent to you prior to closing. Oftentimes, real estate agents will review your documents in detail with you before the closing date to ensure you are comfortable. Don’t hesitate to ask your agent for this.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the legal terminology in closing documents. It is important that you understand everything you are signing; most homebuyers ask a lot of questions and it is expected.

The documents in the mortgage process are the same for everyone, regardless of race or ethnic origin.

Consider having an attorney look at the documents or attend the closing with you.
Closing on a home involves a number of important steps. Make sure to pay the same level of attention to these steps as you did when you were house hunting.






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