## Casinos And Lotteries

But if a rollover were to come around,maybe this could be plausible.And actually rather than stretching itto Dubai, if you lined up all of these ticketsand the combinations end-to-end, itwould actually stretch from London to Plymouth.So you’ve got something that’s a bit more doable.And what they started to do is collect together these ticketsand fill each one out by hand to get every single oneof these combinations.And then they waited.They waited for about six months until the May BankHoliday in 1992 when the rollover hit 2.2 million.And they put their plan into action.They took all these tickets they’dfilled out, started taking them to shops, and buying them up.And in many cases this raised some attention.So shops that would usually sale maybe a thousand ticketsin a week were suddenly selling 15,000.The Lottery perhaps expectantly, frowned upon this a little bitand tried to stop them.And as a result, when the lottery draw came around,they’d only bought 80% of the possible combinationsof tickets.So there’s still an element of luck as to whether they’dwin the jackpot.Fortunately for them, that jackpot’s winning setof numbers was within the combinationsthat they bought up.

So they won that week.Unfortunately, there were two other winners that week.So they had to split the jackpot.But when you added up all those lower tier prizesthat they match five numbers, four numbers as well,they walked away with a profit of 300,000 pounds.Now for me, years ago when I heard the story,that was just a fantastic illustrationof how you can take a pretty simple mathematical insight,a good dose of audacity and hard work,and convert it into something that’s profitable.And this isn’t the only instance that people havetargeted these kind of games.For the UK lottery, the draw is random.So really the only way you can guarantee a winis to use this brute force approach by simply buying upall of the combinations.But not all lotteries are the same.Take scratchcards, for example.On the face of it, scratchcards are completely random.If you think about it, they can’t be completely random.Because if you’re producing scratchcards,and you just randomly generate whichcards are going to be winners, there’sa chance that by sheer chance you willproduce too many winning cards.If you’re a company making scratchcards,you want some way of controlling and limitingwhich prizes go out.As statisticians will call it, you need controlled randomness.You want the prizes to be fairly uniformly, evenly distributedamongst the occasions.But you don’t want the generationto be completely random.

## Poker Guessing Game

A lot of gamblers find out how to perform casino poker by the means of acting in a similar fashion to other people. They might merely imitate others at the Party Poker desk, otherwise they may try to perform like a expert they have seen on the television. This is the wrong way to begin participating in it. Numerous gamblers who compete in the contest are simply poor at it. Imitating a badly performer means copying great deal of their weak habits. Always keep your party poker room competitors guessing. it`s a bad feeling whenever you need to question what your rival is holding. Performing a guessing game is not simply infuriating; it is a losing proposition too. You should be making your rival wander. In case you are at a casino poker where you`re the one always wandering then you`re a concerned performer and you are probably going to finish losing. One way to halt guessing is to apply high hands, another is to perform daringly. Save your elegant plays on behalf of when you are running good. In skillful online poker gambling, at the time your luck is running bad, partipoker room adversaries commonly become inspired and play smarter. You are not anymore a rival to be concerned with in their minds. Many of your fancy plays would not operate because you have lost the fear factor, that is important to lots of bluffing tactics. Meanwhile, you ought to become a very careful player.

A smart on line poker player bears in mind that he`s not faultless. As soon as a clever Party Poker participant plays bad, he learns. He does not accuse others. He doesn`t cry. He learns from the error and proceeds. All Party Poker gambling demands luck. While fortune tends to neutralize itself with time, players of course concentrate on the immediate results and their consequences.

Thanks for reading this article, I hope, you have learned something new. I really enjoy sharing my passion with you. Be sure to check other articles about casino. Stay tuned for new materials. Be responsive with your game and your money, Good luck, and don`t forget to have fun!

## Going on a Trip to Portugal: Insight into the Historical Events and Lifestyle

Portugal is endowed with an 800 km coastline. Water sports such as surfing, windsurfing and sailing are very popular in this country and tourists can enjoy these activities during their vacation. The Atlantic islands of Madeira and the Azores also offer several facilities, where ardent water sport loving visitors can enjoy to their heart’s contentment.

Sea has always held a fascination for mankind and the long seacoast of the country and mild climate are favorable for several beach activities. Tourists can laze on the beaches or go for a stroll to savor the beauty of the sea. Portugal has an ancient and long established history of seafarers. Many coastal towns and resorts have sailing clubs that run coaching courses for visitors. Visitors can also hire boats from these clubs.

Guincho outside Cascais in the Estoril Coast is claimed to be the best beach worldwide for surfing and thus hosts several international championships too. It is very easy for tourist to procure windsurfing boards and sailing boats on hire and also avail of coaching lessons in the resorts of Algarve. The modern marinas at Lagos and Vilamoura in Algarve are important yachting centers. There are a number of small harbors and anchorages all along the Portuguese coast. Tourists adept at sailing may also hire a boat and crew and sail out into the sea.

Water sports like canoeing and kayaking are very popular in the country. Several rivers like Mondego, the Zezere and the Cávado run through the country where many of these competitions and are events held.

## Tours

A stroll alongside these channels could give an insight into the historical events and lifestyle of Portugal. Also it would be a great way to see the countryside.

Cycling tours are a great hit with most tourists due to the mild climate and fairly flat terrain of the southern and central regions. The conditions are ideal for bicycle touring and mountain biking. It is possible for tourists to rent bicycles at holiday centers, while tourists who are cycling enthusiasts prefer to carry their own customized bicycles for touring. Algarve in the southern coastal region and the flat and largely unpopulated regions of Alentejo, further north are favorite destinations to go for a cycling tour. Minho, a fertile and hilly region in the northwestern part of the country attracts tourists because of its impressive scenery and gourmet cuisine.

Peneda-Gerês is appropriate for mountain biking as the tourist can cycle through the panoramic natural beauty of Portugal. The country also boasts of a rich riding tradition and is home to the exquisite breed of Lusitano horses.
There are several regional fairs held throughout the year, which are combined with religious festivals. The Roman Catholic country celebrates most Christian festivals and is a major attraction for the visiting tourists.

As a tourist, there’s nothing to complain because there’s plenty of recreational avenues wherever you turn. Whether you like organized tours or simply want to trek, you’ll never have to choose between this, and that because there’s plenty of outdoor activities to choose from apart from.

## Weather

The weather is cool and rainy in the northern area while in the south the weather is warm and dry. The average temperature in the Portugal mainland is 55 degree F in the north and 64 degree C in the south. Portugal is one of the warmest countries in Europe. Spring and summers are sunny with the months of July and August recording the highest temperatures. In the center of the country, the temperature during these months reaches 86 degree F to 95 degree F. Sometimes it reaches as high as 113 degree F in the southern interior. On the other hand, autumn and winter are marked by rains and winds, and the temperature rarely falls below 41 degree F. Snowfall does take place in the mountainous regions of the north.

## Money

The currency of Portugal was the Escudo, which comprised of 100 centavos (154.24 escudos was equal to US \$ 1 in 1996). However, in May 1998, Portugal with ten members of the European Union, decided to officially switch to a new single currency called the Euro. The euro has been adopted for all financial transactions and has been in operation since January 1, 1999. The euro has been functional since 1999 for electronic and accounting purposes. Euro coins and bills were issued in the year 2002, which also marked the termination of the Portuguese currency as the legal tender. However, the local currency of Escudos was in circulation until the 1st of March 2002 and was finally and completely replaced by the Euro on 28th February 2002.

## Currency Exchange

Travelers’ checks are widely accepted, primarily for exchange purpose in the banks as well as at the exchange booths. However, this exchange is possible only on payment of a fixed amount, which is a sort of commission, given to the banks for encashing the travelers’ checks. At Lisbon airport, the charge for encashing travelers’ check US \$9.5. You do need to have your passport with you to encash your travelers’ checks.

Commercial banks can be found all over the country. They are open Monday to Friday but remain closed on weekends and on public holidays. Normal working hours are from 8.30 am to 3 pm. In addition to the commercial banks and their branches, hotels, camping parks and hotels also have exchange facilities. The amount charged for exchange of cash is about US \$3. The exchange rates are, however, subject to change and each and every bank or a financial institution has a different exchange rate to offer. In the Algarve region, the euro can be bought or exchanged very easily at banks, Bureau de Change, hotels and even at some shops. Bureaus in big towns offer the most competitive rates and commissions. There are automated cash points as well in most of the supermarkets and the shopping areas of most of the towns and villages in Portugal.

ATM’s are widespread all over the country and they have transactions displayed in English. Bankcards, Visa and MasterCards work in most of the ATM’s and cash can be withdrawn in the local currency.

## Telecommunications

The telephone system in Portugal has undergone tremendous development in the recent years. A state-of-the-art telephone network was established by 1998, which included high-speed broadband capabilities. This new infrastructure has boosted local as well as international communication.

International calls can be made by first dialing the international code of ‘00′ followed by the respective country’s code, the area code and lastly the specific number. The rates for calling long distances are relatively less between 10 pm and 8 am on weekdays and on weekends and public holidays. Helpline numbers assist users with connectivity problems. 009 can be dialed for problems related to European countries, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia and 098 can be dialed for all other countries. Direct dialing facilities are also available, wherein you can call the operator in your country.

The GSM network facilitates standard mobile telephone service in Portugal. This also enables you to avail of roaming facilities. The two GSM service providers in Portugal are TMN, associated with Portugal Telecom, and Telecel.
At the Lisbon Airport, GSM phones are available on rent for non-residents for a minimum period of three days. These are made available by both Telecel and Telerent or TAP. Portugal’s international dial code for mobile phones is 268. Public telephones are spread across most cities and towns and can be used for making national and international calls.

## Taxes

In Portugal, the Value Added Tax or VAT is known as ‘IVA’. This can be reclaimed by visitors who do not reside in the European Union, if their stay is less than 180 days. For this, the visitors need to fill in a form called ‘Isencao de IVA’. This form is supposed to be presented to the custom officials before leaving the country.

The IVA fluctuates between 8% for basic items like books and food to 17-19% in case of luxury goods and other items that a foreign visitor purchases in Portugal. The price of almost all the items and services is already inclusive of the VAT. If the tourists from any of the non-euro countries make purchases of a minimum of 60 euros in one shop, they can avail of IVA refund. There are shops, which provide this facility and these display signs such as, ‘Europe Tax-Free Shopping Portugal’.

If you purchase a minimum of 60 euro in one shop, they can avail of the benefit of IVA refund. There are shops which provide this facility and these display signs like “Europe Tax – Free Shopping Portugal “.You can take the help of the staff in the shop for getting the refund. The refund comes usually in the form a check and the administration fees are deducted beforehand. At the airports of Lisbon, Porto and Faro, the visitors are required to display their goods, checks and passport at the customs counter in order to claim the refund in the form of cash, postal note or through credit cards. In case of overland travel, customs at the final EU border point can be contacted for the purpose.

## Travel and save money: Cheap hotels in London

Do they actually exist?

Do inexpensive hotels in London actually exist?

Well, yes, they do, but you should keep in mind that ‘inexpensive’ is a relative term as far as London is concerned. The hotels included on this page will set you back anything from £100 to £200 per night for a double room.

Depending on your budget, you might not think this is particularly ‘inexpensive’, but accommodation in London is so ridiculously pricey, and some of these hotels are so centrally located, that they actually represent very good deals.

A lot of the more inexpensive hotels in London are categorized as 3-star, and there’s a vast amount of dross among them.

The hotels listed here, however, are highly regarded, generally well-reviewed, and represent good value for money because of their location, facilities, etc.

Fielding Hotel

Tube: Covent Garden

Size: 25 rooms

Right in the heart of Covent Garden, the Fielding Hotel stands on a pedestrianized street and, from the outside, rather resembles the kind of family pension you might find in Italy.

Facilities and services are basic. Although the front desk is manned around the clock, there’s no bar, breakfast room, concierge, or room service. And there’s no lift.

The location, however, is hard to beat – less than a minute’s walk from the Royal Opera House, within walking distance of most West End theaters, and close to the restaurants of Soho and Chinatown.

Strand Palace Hotel

Tube: Charing Cross / Covent Garden

Size: 785 rooms

Located right opposite the Savoy Hotel, the Strand Palace is huge, central and very popular.

Like many other inexpensive hotels in London, it’s a functional, no-frills, three-star establishment. Rooms are modern and predominantly small, with 24-hour room service and complimentary Wi-Fi – but no air-conditioning, which can be a bit of a problem in summer.

Slap bang in the middle of Covent Garden, within walking distance of a huge number of London’s most popular attractions, not to mention its theaters, bars, and restaurants, this is a solid, great value hotel.

Luna Simone Hotel

Tube: Victoria / Pimlico

Size: 36 rooms

Two converted houses make up the Luna Simone Hotel, a family-run establishment in the charming neighborhood of Pimlico, an area much in demand for its proximity to Westminster.

Most of the main tourist attractions are within walking distance, but there’s also a bus that stops right outside the hotel, which will take you directly to Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square.

base2stay Kensington

Tube: Earls Court / Gloucester Road

Size: 67 rooms

Located in South Kensington, overlooking a garden square, base2stay – which aims to offer ‘affordable luxury’ – sits somewhere between a traditional hotel and a serviced apartment. All rooms have mini-kitchens and there’s a large supermarket a few minutes’ walk away, making this the perfect option if you want to keep costs down by doing some self-catering.

Kensington Palace, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal Albert Hall are all close by, and the hotel is near to a couple of tube stations, giving easy access to the center of town.

Lancaster Gate Hotel

Tube: Lancaster Gate /Queensway

Size: 188 rooms

Located in a white stucco-fronted building typical of the Bayswater area and just steps away from Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, the Lancaster Gate Hotel is one of the most popular inexpensive hotels in London.

Recently renovated, the rooms are clean and bright, and the doubles and triples are very spacious by London standards.

The hotel is equidistant from Notting Hill and Marble Arch, and it’s possible to walk to both – although the public transport connections are good if you should decide you’ve had enough exercise.

Hoxton Hotel

Address: 81 Great Eastern Street, EC1

Tube: Old Street

Size: 208 rooms

I can hardly believe I’m including a hotel as upmarket as the Hoxton in the ‘inexpensive hotels in London’ category – but it’s true! Their pricing structure works along the lines of a low-cost airline – prices start low and increase as your date of arrival nears (the opposite of most hotels). By booking six months in advance, you can, therefore, get a room for less than £100.

Hoxton is one of the trendiest places in London, but it’s a bit off the beaten track tourist-wise and the streets are quiet at night. A lot of affluent people have moved into the area in recent years, but it also has its unsavory elements and is quite rough around the edges. However, it’s perfect if you want to experience a bit of East London life, with markets, tiny pubs, and a buzzy atmosphere.

## Overcome Fear Of Public Speaking With Great Preparation

“Be Prepared”

Although I was never a Boy Scout, their motto holds especially true when it comes to reducing your public speaking fear. The more you know your material and the more you have rehearsed, the more confident you will be during showtime.

It seems ridiculous now, but I can go back to presentations years ago where my preparation was non-existent or just plain wrong. I essentially reviewed the material but did not even go through a mock presentation. When I say mock, I mean at least verbalize the talk out loud. It helps with inflection and just hearing the sound of your own voice in the moment.

The first thing you can do is to *really* know the material you are covering during the talk. Knowing your material inside and out will give you extra confidence. Spend some extra time understanding, in depth, each piece of the talk you give. I typically like to think about what questions my audience may ask. This forces me to prepare better; I’m also ready for the end of the presentation where you open the floor for questions.

Know the Setting and Event Details

Gather as much information as you can about the details of your talk or presentation.  This will build some extra comfort and allow you to tailor the event to your advantage.

• If part of a larger event or meeting, what time will you be going?  Would you prefer to go in the morning or afternoon.  Usually, you don’t really have a choice but if you do, pick a time where you feel relaxed and alert.  Earlier is probably better so you’re not stressed out all day waiting.
• Are you first in a lineup?  Last?  Before/after food?  I like to know if I’ll have some time before I’m up to just mentally relax.  Sometimes you’re stuck in a room and have to just sit and listen until you’re up; that can be tougher.
• How much time will you be allotted?  Make sure your verbal practice sessions are shorter than your time slice since you will likely be asked a few questions.
• Go check out the room if possible or request information from the organizer.  Is it just a meeting room with a projector and table?  Or maybe it’s more of a hall or stage – if so, will you be able to use (or must you use) a podium?  Will there be a mic available?
• What is the format for the presentation?  Is the organizer combining everyone’s materials for one slide deck or are you expected to plug-in your laptop and work directly from that?  Will most people be standing to present or working behind their computer?  You want to know so you can practice the same way.

These details make a big difference in how you prepare your materials and how you practice.  You do not want to be surprised, so get as many of these details as you can well before the event.

Knowing the setting gives you another preparation point – being able to emulate the circumstances of your talk in practice sessions.  I have literally went through live practice sessions at the event location – this includes planning out where I want to stand and imitating use of a mic.  I think most people with public speaking anxiety do a lot better if they know what’s in store for them.

If you know your background material and have gathered as much information as you can about the event and location, you should be able to put together your slides and other presentation material.  Now this is highly subjective based on the talk, but I would suggest keeping it simple.  For example, on slide decks I like to do 3-5 bulleted items per slide – I tend to structure my bullet points as guides or triggers that help me remember what I will say during showtime.  If you are giving a speech that does not require slides  you may want to prepare cue cards or a cheat sheet to help you out.  Regardless, you need to come up with enough material to fill up the time slot you have allocated.  A good general rule is a no more than 1 slide per minute allocated.  I’ve seen people show up with 50+ slides for a 5m talk! Don’t do that.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Now comes the fun part – verbally going through your presentation and making adjustments as necessary.  Edit your presentation/talk as needed then continually repeat until you are satisfied.  While verbally going through the talk, you should look for ways to simplify your bullets (this makes it much simpler for yourself), cut out fodder or tangents, reword phrases or topics so they “cue” you better.  For myself, some sentences I know I’ll say have to be reworked so they sound more natural.

At some point, you will feel pretty good about your job and you can just rehearse to yourself or some friends or family if you’re comfortable.  I like to go through my talk at least 10-20 times before the event.  It sounds like a lot but the majority of those are me just talking to myself out loud to get the inflections and pace correct.

Depending on the magnitude of the event or talk, here are some other things that really help:

• Do at least one run-through at the event location if possible, going through where you will stand, where you may pace, hand motions, mic usage, etc.
• Video tape yourself to hear how it sounds and how you look.  I just use my laptop webcam now, which works just fine.
• Time yourself and make sure you leave at least 5-10m for questions.
• Give your presentation to your significant other, family, or close friend(s).  They may not understand the content, but can provide feedback on your delivery.

Doing live practice and video taping can really help get you comfortable and confident; this should help reduce your fear of public speaking as well.

Q & A Preparation

As mentioned way above, a good exercise to go through beforehand is to anticipate what questions the audience may ask.  Think of 5-10 that you can prepare answers for ahead of time.  This builds depth in your expertise and is just adds another level of confidence.

Summary

While you may not be able to fully get rid of your public speaking anxiety, you can certainly reduce it by being very well prepared.  While the ideas may seem time consuming, they have worked pretty well for me, even to the point where I can spend less time preparing and still feel fairly comfortable about a talk or presentation.  Give it shot next time and good luck!

## “The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats” by Jeffrey Masson

Book Title: The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats

Author: Jeffrey Masson

I have to confess to being an unrepentant ailurophile, so it was only natural that I would look forward to reading Jeffrey Masson’s The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats. In no respect did Masson’s wonderful exploration of the probable emotional states of cats in general and his own five cats in particular, disappoint.

It would be upsetting to think that such a book examining cross-species understanding (humans and cats), only appealed to cat lovers. Masson earlier wrote a similar work examining dog behaviour. He cannot be guilty of an accusation of species prejudice!

Part of the book’s richness is how much it also draws on the most recent research on cat behaviour and in a lively and personal style, Masson attempts to answer some of the enigmas of their behaviour. Enigmas that have plagued many cat observers. Why does it seem that cats will go to the one person a crowded room who either has ailurophobia or who exhibits a dislike of cats? Why do cats appear to stare at nothing with so much intensity at times? Why is it that cats appear to see so well in “the dark”? (They can’t of course, see in total darkness.) Masson’s explanation for these behaviours is always conversational and never didactic.

Added to the book’s splendour is Masson’s own experiences with his five cats and how keen he is in observing their individual behaviours. There is the playful Miki, the purring dreamer Minnalouche and the sad loner Yossie, whose emotional life Masson admits, remains a locked safe even to him.

The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats may not make you a cat lover, but I defy anyone to emerge from a reading of this treat of a book, without a strong respect for a much maligned and misunderstood species.

The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats by Jeffrey Masson is published in Australia by Random House Australia.

“The Christmas Train” by David Baldacci

Book Title: The Christmas Train

Author: David Baldacci

When one tries to be complementary in one’s views, it is disheartening when the author conspires to completely disable most positive statements.

David Baldacci’s The Christmas Train, has, as a result, frustrated this reviewer who was prepared to overlook the second paragraph of the novel’s unnecessary repetition of a conjunction begging to be underused in the English language; if the subsequent narrative was one of power. Sadly, it is not.

The novel embraces the sadly ever-present American puritanical streak (a passenger sleeping naked in quarters that he has paid for, is berated); while hypocritically asking the reader to admire the hero because of his propensity to attract two lovers (a former and a current). The moral ambiguity of this childish rationalization is never tackled by Baldacci, whose apparent philosophy on life returns the reader by implication, to a lifestyle the misogyny of which endured for many, until the end of the 1960’s.

Similarly the rapid and unlikely resolution to the hero’s dilemma is inadequate and dampens the one promise that the novel held out: that the characters may develop rather than act as neat devices in a novel never sure whether it wants to be mystery or journeying tale.

The references to Twain’s “The Innocents Abroad” and Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest” don’t really work either. Rather than enhancements to the novel, they function more as crutches for the author to use when he wants to regulate the pace of the plot.

The Christmas Train is a nice bit of whimsy but don’t get on board expecting too many literary presents.

The Christmas Train is published in Australia by Pan Macmillan Australia.

## Making Time in Your Schedule to Study

We all have things to do in the day that may prevent us from studying. Perhaps you have a full time job or you have a family to raise. Whatever the case may be, you probably struggle working in time to focus on your studies. This is not a good thing though because it could hold back your grades and your education as a whole. Rather than being the victim of a busy schedule, you should make an effort to study whenever you can. If you are a motivated person willing to go the distance with your learning, you could do quite well in college.

### Here are some tips to help you work in a time to study in school.

Study a Little Bit Every Day

You are more likely to retain the information you learn if you take it on in short supply. You could make time to study every night of the week right before bed, and then your mind would have a chance to absorb the information while you sleep. Just study a small set of words, lists, or facts for 30 minutes before you go to sleep at night, and then you will slowly be able to build up the knowledge you need. If you have a busy schedule as a whole, this may be the only way you can work in time to learn.

A lot of professors have podcasts of their lectures that you can download and listen to on the go. You could also find audio files of your textbooks to listen to when you don’t have time to read. That gives you a chance to learn while you are driving in the car or working out at the gym. If you play the information while you are falling asleep, you may be able to retain some of it subconsciously. You don’t have to be right next to a book to study. You just have to find a way to learn the information in it. Audio files can help you do just that.

Study at Lunch

Sometimes the only way you can study for class is to do so during your lunch break. Bring a sandwich to work and eat it out in the car while you read. That way you are guaranteed to have peace and quiet when you study. If you have breaks during work that you can use to study just a little bit of information, use them wisely. You might be surprised by how much you can learn in your off time.

Make Time

At the end of the day, it is your job to make time for studying. You may have to sacrifice some time in front of the TV to do that, but that is a small price to pay for a good education. I don’t care how busy you are or how much you think you have on your plate. You can take some time to study for your courses. This may not always be easy to do, but it is far from impossible. If you do not have time for some homework, ask for help the professional essay writers.

Try to get yourself in a studying rhythm so that your schedule does not change from week to week.

If you know when to study for each of your classes, you will have a better time retaining the information you need for your tests and quizzes. Study for your Tuesday classes on Monday, your Thursday classes on Wednesday, your Friday classes on Thursday…whatever you need to do to get the information in your mind. With a little planning, you should have no trouble learning everything you need to know for class.

## The ever increasing popularity of modern cruises

Cruises

The evolution of cruise liners carrying freight, in days gone by, to the modern day era where cruise ships will sail through exotic waters and dock at fantastic ports has been a tremendous one. It’s been a great transformation and now cruising takes up a massive share of the holiday market. One can tailor-make their cruise holidays to what they want to see and do, and so it’s possible to find cruise deals well suited to your budget range and requirements. In the past, cruising was considered inhibitory in terms of cost. But, nowadays with many companies like, celebrity cruises, offering bespoke packages you can now find a cruise you want to go on at a reasonable price. With the demand growing and growing for cruising, more and more companies are coming into the fray with different destinations and itineraries. So, it’s important to look at several factors for choosing cruises. First off, one should be looking at the duration of the cruise. If you only have one week’s holiday, it makes little sense in going for a 2 week cruise holiday. Then do your research on the kinds of destination visited by the ship and what itineraries they offer. Also on your list to look at, should be the facilities onboard the ship. For example, MSC cruises offers a great range of onboard entertainment and activities to keep both young and old entertained. Also Cruise deals are vitally important in decision making. One should always try and see if any group or family discounts are offered.

Cruise Deals

For years now people have always wanted to get the best value for money when they go on holiday. This is not just limited to booking their flights, accommodation and any other associated costs. Once they arrive in the actual destination they want to be sure they are getting value for their pound (or dollar). So it’s important they choose a destination where the exchange rate is favorable. However, now cruises are extremely favorable as one does not necessarily have to be confronted with such issues- as most things are included in the original price. Take Fred Olsen cruises, for example, they give fantastic value for money. One should not have to fork out too much extra whilst on board. Obviously onboard they are gratuities, and one may like to have some spending money for gift items and snacks etc. But most ships cater towards your every need with no extra cost. Cruises can offer the perfect package for someone wanting to cut down on their expenses whilst they are actually on holiday. One major concern for people is entertainment and facilities on board. Will there be enough to keep all parties busy? NCL cruises has recently been rated as one of the best companies out there in terms of modern ships and the current cruise deals they offer are extremely competitive. The market can also be great for late deals, if you have left things to the last minute.

Come sail way

Cruises offer a perfect chance to escape land and take to the open seas. Not only, this but more people than ever are taking to the seas to get a different sort of adventure to a traditional sun and sand holiday. There are fantastic fleets of vessels available to the modern day cruise passenger with everything you could find and more on a typical beach resort. Furthermore, one can easily find great Cruise deals available online, ensuring you make good savings. But the main advantage cruising has over traditional holidays is the value for money. For instance, Caribbean cruises aren’t as prohibitively expensive as before. And the further you go on a cruise the more you can fit into your holiday. If you are a first time cruiser it’s really up to you on what type of  vacation cruise you want to go on. Perhaps, it’s advisable to opt for European destination (if leaving from the UK) cruises. This would provide a good taster, ensuring a good build up to a longer duration cruise. Also, one is never short of activities to do whilst onboard. Many modern ships have state of the art entertainment facilities and a whole host of activities. P&O cruises, especially, have a range of activities on board their ships including fitness center and swimming pools. There are cruise deals out there so it’s best to ensure you get the best price for you and all your fellow cruisers.

Off and away!

Cruises are a great opportunity for all sorts of people to mix on board a luxury vessel. It gives experienced cruisers and first-timers to share a great experience and see some fabulous places. Whatever, your reason for going on a sea voyage, be sure to do some initial research online. Also, find out what do you can expect onboard, what itineraries are offered, how long the cruise is, if any kind of cruise deals exist, what kind of cabins are offered and most importantly how much is the cruise going to cost. But it needn’t be expensive. Deals are found in abundance; particularly Royal Caribbean cruises seem very competitive in the market. But, these days one is flooded with choices. It is worth looking around and getting the best possible price. However, if you opt for selecting cruises occurring at peak times in the summer holidays expect to pay more than usual. For many the transition from a beach holiday in the Algarve to a cruise holiday can be a hard one. But many companies offer so much more, Cunard cruises being one of them. Finally, it’s important to get an idea of what clothes to pack for formal and informal events, getting great cruise deals, and also getting the right season for your cruise. After all, the last thing you want is going on a cruising holiday and being disappointed because of the weather. So the most important thing is doing enough research before you go.

## Tips On How To Find Last Minute Travel Bargains

If you do much traveling, then you know that it can be a lot to take care of when you’re trying to make plans for your travels. Most people will make plans six months or more in advance, especially when they’re planning a big trip. This gives you time to get everything in order and to find the best deals available, but you may be missing out on last minute travel bargains.

There may be times when you find yourself making last minute travel plans and when this happens, you need to know how to find some bargains. You can’t just call up a travel agency and expect to get a good deal just like that.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be a little spontaneous and still save money with last minute trips.

You could check out Grand Circle River Cruises which offer last minute discounts on unbooked tickets. Many airlines, hotels and rental car services will offer discounts to last minute travelers because they would rather cut their prices than not make any money at all. Therefore, hotels offer some excellent last minute deals on their rooms, airlines will give you a great rate for vacant seats that needs to be filled and car rental agencies will often reduce their daily rates. Just keep an eye out and you are sure to find some last minute travel bargains in your area.

So, whether you’re making last minute plans for family holidays or if you just want to take a spontaneous trip, the following information can help you get the best last minute travel deals. When you save money on your traveling plans, you’ll have more to spend on yourself.

## Tips On How To Find Last Minute Travel Bargains

• Never be afraid to ask for discounts. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know for sure what options are available.
• Search the web for last minute travel specials. You never know what you can find when you dig deep and there are some websites that specialize in last minute travel plans.
• Consider taking a package deal because sometimes you can get better deals when you book your seat on a plane, the hotel and the rental car as a package.
• Be flexible if you truly want a good deal. If you’re not picky about the day and time that you travel, you can find excellent deals.
• Do your traveling in off-peak times instead of weekends and holidays.
• When you find a good deal, take it immediately. If you wait and try to get it later, the offer will most likely be gone.
• Be persistent and search for a good deal. If you sit around and wait for them to come to you, you’re not going to have much luck.

You can even make 90 day last minute travel plans or less when going on long trips such as visiting another county when you follow the tips listed above. It’s also vital that you stay informed and always know the details surrounding your trip. This would include such things as flight times, options for rental cars, hotel information and so forth. Last minute travel bargains are available anytime of the year when you put forth the time and effort to find them.

This guest post is by Amar Hussainand is Part One of a Two Part article.

I remember the first time I ever sold a text link. It was for 3 months and I got completely ripped off. Still at the time I was over the moon. As a blogger when you make your first buck that’s when you’ve made the move from amateur to professional, by definition anyway. I’ve come a long way since then and it’s not been smooth sailing. Trial and error has taught me different aspects of monetization and I will share with you some lessons that I’ve learned.

To give you a little background on my blog. It’s just over a year old and is PR3. I’m not a big name blogger, I don’t have massive stats and I’m not a regular feature on Top 10 lists. Sure the accolades and the prestige would be great, but they don’t pay the bills. What actually makes me sad is there are blogs bigger and better than mine but they have no idea how to convert what they have into financial reward.

Blogging started as a hobby and then I realized its potential for monetization. I run a business, not a blog. Don’t get me wrong I think the community we have is great and I have made some fantastic connections. I see my blog as a means not an end. Yes I like making money but only because money enables me to do the thing I love; Travel.

I’ve tried various monetization strategies mainly text link ad sales and affiliate links. I’ve had more success with text link ad sales and currently average \$1800 a month from these. So how do I go about leveraging this? My top tips for you…

Be open

Be seen

When I first started getting approached by advertisers I used to ask them where they found me. A lot of the time they responded that they found me on a blogroll or comments. Exposure is paramount. I do a lot of link exchanges which means that not only do I get back links and referrals but my blog’s name is out there. It’s also great for networking too. Some of my friendships in the community started this way.

Be prepared

I’m a slave to my e-mail but this is for a good reason. One time I didn’t respond to a potential advertiser until a week later. By the time I got in touch he had already spent his advertising budget. An early bird really does catch the worm. I have a template e-mail saved meaning that when I receive an advertising query I can respond quickly. The most common query I get is “what advertising do you offer and how much does it cost?” Work out what advertising options you are willing to offer and how much you will charge for them. Always set the price slightly higher. This way you have room to negotiate the price down to an acceptable level.

Be practical

The industry standard is for payments to be made via PayPal. I’m sure most of you have one but in case you don’t it’s worth setting up. Getting money out of anyone who owes it you is a pain and it’s no different with advertisers. I once had an advertiser that would transfer money monthly, well that’s what they were supposed to do. I spent that much time chasing them each month that I actually refused to work with them again. Time is a valuable commodity too.

My advice would be to upgrade your PayPal account to a Merchant account. This enables you to create subscriptions that will automatically transfer money to you from the advertisers account. Alternatively, and more preferred by advertisers, is to be paid for a fixed term. I normally shoot for 6 or 12 month ad lengths which means that I don’t have to go through the renewal process too often. As an incentive I will offer a discount for a 12 month ad or if they opt for multiple links. For something like this I offer around about 10% discount.

Be organized

Be transparent

This should go without saying really. If it’s a sponsored post, say so. I always put a disclaimer in my posts. Not only is it best practice but it’s the law. I’d like to think that readers understand that you should be able to profit in some way from all the free content that you provide. People prefer honesty at the end of the day. If you are writing a sponsored review ensure that you are writing a fair and balanced review. Let the advertiser know that you will only agree to write an honest review before you accept.

## Create a Powerful Pillar Post

Why should I visit your blog? What do you have to offer me that will make my life better, easier, brighter? We all fall in love with our blogs. We love the little space on the internet that we have created, we marvel at the coding we learned to change the background color from gray to a slightly darker gray. We are sure that others must appreciate this work, the thought and energy that went into it.

The truth is harsh. Most people will give your blog 2 seconds before moving on. There are a number of factors besides great content that go into a decision to stick around and dig further into a site, layout and design, calls to action, rhetorical questions, something unexpected to name just a few (we’ll explore these in later posts). However, content is the quickest aspect to identify, test and change if needed. You can tell very quickly how social media reacts towards it, how often it is shared, and how much traffic it brings to your blog.

What is a Pillar Post?

A Pillar Post is the best content you have that feeds the burning desires of your target audience. It is what ideally you would want every reader to see first, to hook them and get them interested in what you are writing, the ideas you are advancing. Over the course of the life of your blog you will write a lot of content, hundreds if not thousands of posts. Within this gold mine you need to have a few posts that orient the reader to what you are all about, that provides structure, answers questions and like a good pillar holds up the mine from collapsing.

6 Characteristics of a Powerful Pillar Post

1.    It should be evergreen content. This means that the information in it does not go out of date. It doesn’t matter if someone finds it today, tomorrow or in 1 year. The message will still be relevant, useful and shareable.
2.    It should be relevant to your site and reflect the core values of your story and mission. People might love a “best wordpress plugins for travelers” but if your main topic is Family Travel than it will confuse your readers and the message of your site. It will also lack the authority you have built up in your niche. A better use of your time would be something like “5 Tips to Travel with Kids” or “10 Reasons Children Make Travel Better.”
3.    It should be scanable (yes I just invented a word). Breaking up posts with headers and sections is good blogging practice in general, but with Pillar posts it’s even more important. Readers should be able to grasp the meaning, sections and how it will help then in just a few seconds. They are more likely to read or at least skip to the sections they are interested in if you make it easy on their weary internet eyes. List posts make very good pillar posts for this reason
4.       It should answer a question or a need. A post that provides value to a reader, or solves a problem will be one they are more likely to bookmark and share.
5.       It should be SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly. This goes hand in hand with points 3 and 4. Google loves lists and sections as it can determine what the post is about easier. If you are answering a question or a specific need (i.e. how do I travel with kids?) your post is more likely to come up higher in the rankings. You should have 2-3 keywords and phrases that you want your post to rank highly for (more on how to do this well in future posts). But lay the ground work now and your life will be much easier in the future when we discuss link building and SEO.
6.    It should be prominent. If you’ve followed 1-5 and you have a rocking post it would be a shame if no one ever saw it other than when you first posted it. Build internal links to it on your site. Promote it consistently throughout the life of your blog. Show it off on your home page with links to pages like “Get Started” “What We’re All About” or continuing with our example “Family Travel 101.”

Pillar Post Examples

I have created pillar posts for both Todd’s Wanderings and for the Travel Blog Challenge that reflect the different focus of each site. For Todd’s Wanderings I concentrated on how to build a lifestyle that allows you to travel the world and get paid for it.

5 Steps to World Travel and Getting Paid to Do What you Love

I also experimented with a more visual appeal with The Happiness Chart as a way to spread my message further and easier.

With the TBC I focused on the two main themes of the site: Building Traffic and Earning Money. You might not have realized it at the time but the 2 pillar posts are:

15 Traffic Building Tips From Some of the Internet’s Most Popular Bloggers

16 Money Making Tips From Some of the World’s Most Popular Bloggers

The fact that I was able to attach so many popular bloggers to both of these posts lends them weight and authority. It also has the added bonus of being flattering to these bloggers so that they have an interest in seeing the posts become popular.

Today’s Homework

Write a Pillar Post

Today your homework is to create a Pillar Post that incorporates as many of the above characteristics as possible. Even if you already have a pillar post your blog can only be strengthened by adding another (or 2 or 3 if you’re feeling ambitious).

Promote the heck out it and then promote it some more at least once a month. Find a place to link to it on your homepage, either from a Favorite Posts list or through a Popular Post link if it’s one of your most popular articles (if you did your homework well it will be!).

To make it easier to keep the conversation going and for new people to join in later I have decided to use the Forums as a way for us to share our work, get advice and hopefully help promote each other even more. Each blog homework will now have its own forum thread!

## How to Spend Less Time Blogging and More Time Traveling

This is a post by Dave and Deb from the Casino Trust Rank NZ who have been monitoring online and offline gambling facilities in NZ and also all over the world.

One of the most important aspects of running a travel blog is being able to travel.  This can be a difficult task.  While many travelers start up a travel blog at the beginning of their first around the world trip, many fail or lose interest part way through their travels.

Running a successful travel blog takes a full time commitment and this can really cut into your quality time seeing the world.

How can a person travel and enjoy their time exploring the earth while running a successful travel blog?

It is much easier to keep up to date with everything when you are at home in the comforts of your living room, but on the road any situation can pop up.  You may be in the middle of the jungle for several days or climbing a mountain without Internet access. Many countries have terrible and slow connections and you may find that you cannot upload photos or even get into your site.

You have to be prepared for any situation and you never want to have a blog that hasn’t been updated for long periods of time.

We have developed a system that not only allows us to travel, but to go on multiday adventures without even looking at the Internet while still managing to post content 7 days a week.   While things are easier when we are not travelling, we have our greatest increase in traffic and interest when we are out exploring the world. So our goal is to be on the road as much as we can each year.

Here are the ways that we manage to stay on top of social media, post content regularly and manage to contribute to other blogs through guest posts and interviews regularly.

1. Schedule Posts

Before leaving on a trip, we have two weeks of blog posts already scheduled.  We stay two weeks ahead on our blog at all times. This gives us a cushion if we find ourselves in a situation where we can’t get to an Internet.  Even though we are not in the location that we are writing about at the time, nobody knows it.  Only our core group of friends and fellow bloggers know the truth about where we are, but they are not the audience we are writing for. We write for people searching for information on a location or people that are interested in our adventures and don’t know us personally. They still get the story, just two weeks later than when we were there.

1. Schedule Social Bookmarking Sites

It is extremely important not to fall out of the loop of social networks.  We receive a lot of our traffic from twitter, facebook and StumbleUpon. We learned early in our travels that if we didn’t tweet and share other people’s content, they would forget about us. We use a combination of Hootesuite and  su.pr to schedule tweets.  Bloggers that we know who put out good solid content regularly are tweeted automatically from Hootesuite using their RSS/Atom application.   In doing so, we can instantly share their content and not even be online.

Su.pr is another great way to spread out our tweets and to post on facebook. We will spend a day scheduling people’s content to be tweeted and shared at different times throughout the week.  This allows us to add a human element to our scheduled tweets.  Autotweeting doesn’t allow any personality, but when scheduling tweets with your own little comments it allows you to engage with your audience.

We also use su.pr because it gives people an easy option to submit our posts to StumbleUpon.  It must work because we receive a lot of traffic from StumbleUpon.

1. Photos

We host our photos on SmugMug and Flickr. This allows us to mass upload photos to be used on the website.  SmugMug houses our more professional travel photos while Flickr hosts our snapshots. Both types of photos are just as important to further the story of a post.  These sites are useful because it is quick and easy to upload several photos at once rather than inserting one photo at a time to the blog.  All we have to do once we write the article is to link the photos to the post where we want them. This saves valuable time online.

1. Write posts ahead of time

There is a lot of down time when traveling. You can spend hours on a bus or sitting in an airport. Use that time to do work.  Pre write your post on your laptop and sort and choose your photos for uploading. When you have an Internet connection all you have to do is copy and paste your content into the site. And when it comes to your photos, all you have to do is upload the album that you have already made.

I even pre write my tags and the excerpt for my post so that I don’t waste time having to think about anything at the Internet.  The less time I have to spend online, the more time I have to enjoy my travels.

1. Keep a Journal

When you are out on a tour jot down some notes. This will help you write a post faster than trying to remember details or having to look up information.  I brainstorm ideas all the time in my journal and keep it close by for quick reference.

1. Buy an iPhone or Blackberry

We always carry an iPhone to answer emails.  Advertisers contact us daily and we would hate to miss out on a business opportunity because we can’t get on the Internet.  We buy a SIM card and data plan in each country as soon as we enter. Our iPhone has become one of our most important items because its an excellent way to stay connected.   We can send out tweets and facebook updates and moderate comments on our blog all while stuck in transit.