About Pia

Pia is an SEO strategist, web enthusiast and blogger. When not working, she' s either at the movies with friends or at home with her husband & son. Follow her on Google.

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-…Oh What Had Happened?

Protection Plan Regret

Have you ever found yourself engrossed in a show or big sporting event just to have the TV suddenly cut out?  If yes, then we know your pain!  Despite the advances in technology today, our high tech electronic devices will eventually suffer mechanical breakdown.  Our protection plans are designed to cover you in events likes this and other accidents.

 

Watch what happens when the unexpected occurs.

 

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5 Ways to Deal with a Flight Delay or Cancellation

flight-delayed

Flight delays and cancellations occur more often than we like, and dealing with such scenarios is a stressful experience for most travelers. It’s much more stressful when unpredicted delays, disruptions, and cancellations occur because of many reasons like a passing thunderstorm, mechanical malfunctions, or a psychopath on the runway.

 

By knowing how to cope with delays and cancellations at the airport, you will be able to keep yourself busy and make the experience less stressful.

 

 

1. Check the Flight Departure Board

The flight departure board gives you a heads up on any possible problems. If you are seeing a number of flights delayed or cancelled that are ahead of yours on the same airline company, be proactive and speak to a representative of the airline to see if they anticipate any problems with your flight. They might be able to tell you that the hubs are very backed up. You can also call the 800 number of the airline. If your flight is delayed, try to find out how long of a delay is expected. This will help you assess how your travel plans will be affected.

2. Utilize Your Mobile Phonesmartphone

Time is of the essence. If your flight is cancelled, get in line as soon as possible for an alternative. While waiting in line, get on the phone and call the airline directly. Usually the airline representative at the call center can rebook you on a flight much faster than having to wait in line to speak to the gate or customer service agents. If you’re dealing with a delayed flight, call anyone who was planning to pick you up at your arrival airport to let them know your flight has been delayed. Also, be sure to load your phone with the airlines toll free phone numbers prior to your scheduled flight.

 

3. Ask What Your Options Are

It pays to have an outline of alternatives before you arrive to the airport. Most times you won’t need to take advantage of the alternatives, but with cancelled flights, the quicker you can act on those alternatives, you will be one step ahead of everybody else. If you do not want to have your flight re-booked, the airline can refund you the cost of your ticket.

trip alternatives

4. Stay Focused

Staying calm and being patient is one of the most important things you can do when there is a delay or cancellation with your flight. You should be mindful that especially in the winter there can be a number of things that can go wrong with flights. Play mind sharpening games in either real life or via mobile app.  Games like Sudoku, Chess, Tetris, and Bejeweled.

sudoku

5. Make Yourself Comfortable

When your flight is delayed, there is often little that you can do but wait. Think of the situation as an opportunity to catch up on some quiet time, remind yourself that getting stressed or panicking won’t change the reality of the situation. Try to take the delay in your stride. Listen to music, read a book, or get something to eat while you wait for your delayed flight.  Most importantly, the airport bar is always a good option to kill time while you knock back a few drinks.

airport bar

Whether it’s a flight delay or cancellation, it’s important to remember that you should be respectful without being concessionary. Be firm without being aggressive.  You always have the option to protect yourself from unplanned flight delay and cancellations with travel insurance protection. Happy travels this summer!

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5 Easy Summer Travel Tips

summer travel destination

With summer vacations starting and 4th of July around the corner, now is the time to venture out and enjoy the warmth and sunshine. Summer is regarded as the best season to go on vacation. It’s the best time you can spend traveling without having to worry about being in the midst of punishing weather. Vacations are supposed to be a fun and relaxing activity, not a disappointing and exhausting event. Whether you are traveling with your special someone, family, or your friends, you have to be well prepared. The best trips involve careful planning. Here are 5 summer travel tips to kick start your summer vacation plans.

 

1. Destination

What is your ideal vacation spot this summer? When deciding, consider your budget, the number of days of travel, and the number of people you will be traveling with. Collect a summer travel guide and decide your place of interest. Get familiar with the maps and tour books of that area.  The internet has a variety of resources – Fodor’s and Lonely Planet are good starting points.

Bay Beach

2. Accommodation & Prior Reservation

It is always a good idea to plan where you are staying well in advance. This will not only save you money but it also ensures that you get the hotel of your choice for your summer vacation. Booking in advance secures you with comfortable travel dates and often will allow you to be eligible for special offers. It would be an excellent idea to get customer reviews of the hotel and its locality.

accomodations

3. Documentation & Monies

Before you plan to travel anywhere within the country or abroad, it is absolutely necessary to collect all needed documents. Carry your travel documents like visa, identification papers, and passport if you are traveling outside the country. Do not forget to carry foreign currency, credit cards, and debit cards. It is very important that you have more than enough money for where you’re going. You don’t want to be stuck in unfamiliar territory because you are short on cash.

currencies

4. Basic Medicines

 Another absolute necessity when traveling for summer is to carry a portable first aid kit with the medicines associated with summer vacations – possible sore throats, diarrhea, summer boils, allergies, cuts, and scrapes. Pack medicines that are part of the family’s daily dose. If you have a history of any illness, carry the health related documents. Enlist your doctor’s number, the local doctor’s number, and the numbers of your emergency contacts.

going to bathroom

5. Shed Extra and Pack Smart

Avoid carrying unnecessary items and pack things that have multiple uses. Always consider the climatic condition of the place you are about to visit and pack your luggage accordingly. When traveling for the summer, it calls for careful preparation. Carry sun-glasses, an umbrella, lightweight cotton or linen clothes, and pleasing pastels. Avoid synthetics and go for sensible footwear like flip-flops or walking shoes. Don’t forget to protect your head by wearing hats, bonnets, or visors if you feel like re-living 1999.

n sync visor

You will surely have a blast on your summer vacation this year if you’re better prepared and organized. This does not mean that you have to give up on spontaneity. You can still do things that you may not have planned for but if you make a plan, it will be in a safe and responsible manner.  There’s always travel insurance and rental car insurance to protect you and your family in case of emergencies.

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5 Father’s Day Gifts for the Cool Dad

Michael KeatonIs your dad as cool as Michael Keaton?  If yes, then he’ll probably like these gift ideas.

 

Dads may be relatively easy to please, but that’s no reason to drop the ball on Father’s Day. A good father will wear that ugly tie until he retires, but he deserves more. We all love our dads, but we are never sure what a great gift would be for him. The best gift ideas for Father’s Day always take a father’s personality and style into account.

 

1. Tickets to the Game

Let’s be real – most dads are sports fans so this is an easy one. Get your dad good seats to the game or tournament of his choice, whether it be basketball, football, golf, or any other sport. To hit the ball outside of the park, buy him several tickets and allow him to invite friends and family. Heck, he might even bring you along!

father+son+baseball

After 35 neglected years, Larry King's stunt double took his son to a baseball game

2. Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity and Sleep Wristband

Help Dad stay in shape in the least activity-intense way possible! Fitbit Flex fits a small monitoring device inside one of two included silicone wristbands that tracks your activity including how many calories you burn during the day and your sleep patterns at night. With the assistance from a free companion app for your iPhone (or a separate Mac/PC app) that syncs with Fitbit’s website, it stores and visualizes the collected data, along with information you enter about your activities, food, water intake, and more. The best motivation Dad needs to get going is smaller than the average watch and looks cool too.

fitbit

Fitbit tells you how many calories you burned using chopsticks

3. GoPro HERO3 White Edition Camcorder

This is the company’s most advanced GoPro camera to date. You can mount the waterproof (up to 197 feet) camera on just about any piece of gear and capture video up to 1440p resolution. Additionally, it takes 12MP photos for ultra high resolution action shots! If your dad has an active lifestyle, a resilient HD camera is exactly what Dad will need to make a digital copy of his memories. This device will capture all of Dad’s exciting experiences, whether it is underwater swimming with sharks, climbing to the top of the Himalayas, or spelunking in a cave in search for guano.

guano go pro

If this dad had a GoPro, he wouldn't have to put his face in bat guano

4. Ryobi One Plus Ultimate Combo Kit

One of the best features about the Ryobi One+ 18-volt Lithium-ion Ultimate Combo Kit is the can’t-miss canvas bag, Dad will be able to spot it no matter how dark and cluttered the garage gets. When he needs power tools, they’re all right there – all 6 of them. The drill alone is compact and powerful enough to handle about any job on Dad’s project list.

ryobi family

This father built a treehouse using a Ryobi drill and his bare hands

5. A Driving Experience

Dads and cars are like Kool-Aid – a homogeneous mixture! Give your dad a Father’s Day gift he’ll never forget by booking a driving experience in a Porsche, Ferrari, or Lamborghini. Participants can really test the car’s limits on a closed race track. Hitting 200mph in an exotic car is like overdosing on testosterone and adrenaline. Furthermore, you could rent your dad’s dream car for a day and let him drive it to the office and gloat about it to his friends. This gift will make him feel like an alpha male like Vin Diesel in The Fast and Furious!

Vin-Diesel

Vin Diesel is so alpha, he once broke up a fight while holding a baby

Just remember that these are only a handful of ideas that you can opt for when choosing the perfect first Father’s Day gift. What you want to remember is that the gift you pick should be memorable and fun! To further make this experience worthwhile, give Dad the gift that keeps giving – an electronic device protection plan.

 


 

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The Rising Cost of Identity Theft

id theft

It has become common to hear about identity theft practically every day. In the last decade, cases of identity theft have been all over the news. With such wide spread media coverage and new technologies that aid in id theft protection, you would think that this type of crime should be less prevalent. But the truth is, cases of identity theft are still on the rise.

 

Identity Theft Statistics

 

The latest statistics from Javelin Strategy & Research’s 2014 Identity Fraud Study reported that a new identity fraud victim was hit every two seconds in America in 2013, with the number of victims climbing to 13.1 million over the year. This is an uptick of more than 500,000 victims since 2012. Javelin’s report was conducted for the past 11 years and drew on responses from 5,634 consumers to identify the impacts of fraud nationwide.

 

Javelin-identity-theft-victims

While the number of victims increased year over year, the amount of defrauded money decreased by $3 billion to $18 billion compared to 2012. “In 2012, we had a big spike in new fraud with a high average fraud amount,” said Al Pascual of Javelin Strategy & Research, “but in 2013, that was pushed down with criminals shifting into existing card fraud.” He also gave credit to the progression in the financial industry, because of the improvements of detecting new instances of fraud there was a noticeable drop in compromised funds as criminals have had a harder time creating new fraudulent accounts.

 2014_Identity_fraud_research_javelin

Identity Theft Growing and Becoming More Costly to Victims

 

According to recent figures from the U.S. Department of Justice, credit card data theft skyrocketed and increased 50% from 2005 to 2010. An estimated 16.6 million people, representing 7 percent of all persons age 16 or older in the United States, experienced at least one incident of identity theft in 2012. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released an eye-opening report finding identity theft cost Americans $10 billion more last year than all other property crimes measured by the National Crime Victimization Survey. Losses for household motor vehicle theft, burglary, and property theft totaled $14 billion whereas identity theft cost Americans a staggering $24.7 billion in 2012.

 

identity-theft-BJS

The BJS’s also reports the most common way victims discovered the identity theft in 2012 was when a financial institution contacted them about suspicious activity on an account. About 2 out of 3 victims did not know how the offender obtained their information, and 9 out of 10 did not know anything about the identity of the offender. People whose names were used to open new accounts were more likely to experience financial hardship, emotional distress, and even problems with their relationships, than people whose existing accounts were manipulated.  In addition, Americans who were in households making $75,000 or more were more likely to experience identity theft than lower-income households.

 

 

Penalties for ID Theft Conviction

 

The Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act has been in place for more than 7 years. This law passed in July 2006 increases existing penalties for the crime of identity theft, establishing “aggravated identity theft” as a criminal offense, defined as using stolen identity to commit a crime. This adds two to five years of prison time to the penalties depending if aid and assistance was given to terrorists or terrorism groups.

 

identity-theft-credit-card

In the last 10 years, transactions over the internet continued to be one of the top cases of identity theft. College students have become particularly vulnerable due to the use of unsecured wireless networks. ID theft isn’t limited to the internet however. A large number of cases come from people responding to fraudulent phone solicitations and mail fraud. Theft of personal information from company databases and POS devices have also lead to an increase in identity theft fraud, such as the ones from Target and Neiman Marcus.

 

The best option to shield yourself from identity theft is to use a specialized identity theft protection solution with comprehensive coverage and monitoring.

 


 

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How To Get Cheaper Rental Car Rates

 

rental car lotMany travelers often have the misconception that car rental rates are pretty much the same across all companies. The truth is rates can vary quite a bit between car rental companies and destinations. Car rental deals can be hard to find, especially if you’re only searching in a few places. Here are 4 tips on how you can get cheaper car rental rates:

 

1. Book Early

 

Booking early is a good practice, particularly if you need a car during peak travel seasons. It’s no secret that during the holidays, prices for rental cars can get unpredictably high. It is always a good idea to book early or play around on you rental dates. Like airfare, the further in advance you book, the more money you can end up saving. If seasonality is not an issue, just plan a trip to Detroit.  Their car rental prices are always near rock bottom!

 

happy family rental car

This family saved $5 by booking 3 years in advance

2. Know Your Providers

 

Not all car rental companies are the same. It’s important to understand how each company differs from the other and how they can serve you best. Some of the things to consider when shopping for a company include available car types, locations, and service fees. You need to first consider which of these factors are important to you. For example, if you’re after price, it would mean that you may have to sacrifice luxury. Also, you might be able to score a good deal by going to a rental car place located in the sketchy part of town. If the local title loan stores have wrought iron bars covering their windows, then you know you are in the right area to get a deal!

 

run down rental car parking lot

If the rental car lot doesn't look like this, keep driving

3. Online Rental Deals

 

Search through online travel sites such as Orbitz, Expedia, Travelauto, Kayak, and others. These major online agencies often negotiate with various car rental companies to offer competitive rates. To get better pricing, try using flexible dates which allows you to compare the car rental rates of different companies. When appropriate, search for “Flight and Car” together or better yet “Flight, Hotel, and Car,” you’d be surprised with the number of vacation package and bundled discounts that come up on the searches. These can be both compelling and competitively priced. If you are unsatisfied with the quotes given, just give their customer support a call and express your disappointment with pathetic, desperate sobbing and they will surely give you a discount.

 

william shatner priceline

I would fight Priceline's William Shatner for a 5% discount

4. Discount Programs, Codes, and Coupons

 

Discount programs are often available through reward programs from various credit card services. Most of them either have miles, points, or discounts that you can earn. Because these companies compete for your business and loyalty, they always have new offers and rewards save you money. You can also find discount codes and coupons online from sites like Retail Me Not. Remember to always check if your coupon is still valid before you attempt to use it, you might be surprised at how quickly a coupon’s expiry date arrives by the time you plan to make your booking. It can be very discouraging to have your coupon code denied, but you should be able to find one if you keep looking hard enough.  If you still can’t find one after 2 hours of searching, just give their customer support a call and receive a discount by expressing your disdain with inconsolable, faint weeping.

 

crying for a discount

The coupon codes have expired

 

So get out there and rent a car! It’ll be fun even if you have nowhere to go. If you’re a reckless driver like myself, I would suggest getting rental car insurance.

 


 

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5 Mother’s Day Gifts for the Cool Mom

cool mom

Looking for a cool Mother’s Day gift instead of a boring cookie-cutter that looks like it fell off the back of a UPS truck? There’s nothing wrong with the typical bouquet of flowers but it definitely won’t win any points for originality. It’s time to give Mom something she will really love this Mother’s Day. Finding that ideal gift can be a challenge so we did some research and found 5 unique gifts that will appeal to a variety of sweet moms.

 

1. Samsung Gear Fit

 

For a high-tech savvy mom who yearns for something more than just a regular smartwatch or a fitness tracker, check out the Samsung Gear Fit. The advanced curved Super AMOLED touchscreen display and interchangeable bands would make any mom look cool even during the most vigorous activities. Without having to pull the smartphone out of the bag, the Samsung Gear Fit has an array of features such as fitness data, time, call notifications, text messages, and email. The Samsung Gear Fit works well for active mothers who want to live in the future.

 

samsung gear fit

Gear Fit conveniently gives you the time on demand

 

2. Brookstone Wireless Key Finder

 

Has your mom lost her keys one too many times? Hopefully it’s not because of dementia. The Brookstone Wireless Key Finder could be the ideal gift for her this Mother’s day. It essentially acts as a homing device for lost keys. The wireless key finder locates lost keys with just the press of a button. It can find keys up to 60 feet away through floors, walls, even sofa cushions. Simply press one of the color-coded pager buttons on the compact wireless transmitter, and the matching key fob will answer with a loud, clear alarm from anywhere in your home. The design of this transmitter is sleek and compact that it fits easily and inconspicuously on the countertop, desk, or dresser. Just make sure you don’t lose the wireless key finder because there is no wireless key finder finder.

 

brookstone wireless key finder

It's like Life Alert for your keys

 

3. Graphic Image Python iPad Case

 

Is your Mom constantly without her iPad? The handcrafted, Python-embossed iPad case from Graphic Image lets your mom transport or store her iPad (all generations) with exotic flair. So chic! It comes in vibrant colors, mint, yellow, and coral. The calfskin cover is soft to the touch and to add to its versatility, it has two positions for typing or movie viewing. It can even be personalized with Mom’s initials so it’s uniquely hers. It’s a great gift for the environment-friendly mother who wants to do her part in helping eradicate the invasive python species in Florida.

 

python ipad case

How many moms do you know own a python case?

 

4. Asus Taichi™ Ultrabook™ Convertible

 

The Asus Taichi is ideal for the busy mother, who juggles both family and work responsibilities.  It converts from laptop to tablet mode to provide the conveniences of a traditional laptop but with the entertainment aspects of a tablet. This unique device has two touch screens that can be used simultaneously or operate independently. Mom can easily manage personal and professional business on one screen while allowing the kids to play with Windows® 8 entertainment apps on the second outward-facing screen. The sleek Asus Taichi is one of many Intel-inspired Ultrabook convertibles, which boasts of premium computing power, performance, and responsiveness.

 

Asus Taichi

So sleek & cool that Mom will audition for the next Grease

 

5. Pure Sensia 200D Connect

 

A fully featured, portable music streaming radio system, Sensia 200D Connect uses its large color touchscreen to add another dimension to your mom’s music collection, radio, and more. Sensia 200D connects to the internet using Wi-Fi, giving Mom access to thousands of internet radio stations, millions of music tracks via the Pure Music subscription service, on-demand radio programs, ambient sounds, and podcasts. It even plays music streamed from a PC or Mac. To further help your mom personalize and enjoy her music experience, Pure Sensia 200D Connect also offers a variety of colored grill accessories and an optional battery pack for the ultimate portability.

 

pure sensia 200d radio

Now Mom can listen to 2Chainz while she gardens

Show the neighbors how cool Mom is by pampering her with some hi-tech electronics this Mother’s Day. The house a couple blocks down with the purple drapes will be totally envious. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

 


 

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Rental Car Horror Stories

rental car horror storiesBad lodging, getting personal valuables stolen, being sick, or having car troubles – these are all things no tourist wants to deal with while being on vacation.

 

Rental car horror stories commonly involve issues like dubious damage claims, people getting ripped off with insurance, and cars not being ready when you try to collect them. Read on to discover some truly unfortunate rental car horror stories.

 

Comprehensive Insurance Lies

 

Every time you rent a car, you’re faced with the same dilemma: do I get rental car insurance and admit I may wreck this car and that I am a horrible driver, or is this insurance a total rip off that I, don’t need? David Mayes shares his story:

 

During the process of hiring a rental vehicle, I never anticipated I would practically end up paying for the cost of an entire new car! I was offered a complete insurance protection package by a major car rental company, which in the end I decided to take. I chose the option that reduced my excess to a total of $330 simply by paying a bit extra.

 

During my car hire I was involved in a collision that was my fault, even though I was not drunk, drugged or speeding. Thereafter I informed the police, returned the vehicle to the rental depot and paid the excess of $330, believing the rental company would cover me for the rest.

 

Two weeks later I received a letter in the mail, demanding that I pay $10,000 to them and $5000 to the owner of the other vehicle involved in the collision. After further investigation I discovered that the company insurance did not provide me with comprehensive coverage. Although the company personally informed me that I would only have to pay the excess in the event of an accident, I am now indebted to the company for $15,000; not such a cheap rental after all!

 

Source: discovery-carhire.com.au

 

Warrant of Arrest

 

Renting a car shouldn’t be a disastrous experience. It doesn’t often involve two rental cars in a row breaking down. It should definitely not involve one of those cars getting towed by surprise or ending a vacation by nearly getting served with a warrant of arrest. The rental car user ‘autojim’ shares his experience.

 

Car #1 – Back in the days when I was designing/testing cooling systems for a living, I rented a 2000 Taurus from Hertz in Phoenix to use as a support vehicle for a 3-week test trip. Drove it for 3 days, and then it developed a heinous misfire and a CEL, so I swapped it out for another 2000 Taurus the day before we were leaving the confines of the then-Chrysler proving grounds for the road portion of the trip.

 

hertz-car-rental

This is the face of man who likes to see you struggle.

Car #2 made it 5 days without a hitch. Then, while we were driving from San Diego on I-8, bound for Laughlin, Nevada, with 4 people & luggage aboard, it started losing power. Full throttle was good for about 25 mph on uphill, 35 on downhill. It is acting like the catalytic converter is completely clogged up. Coasted in to the thriving metropolis of Pine Valley, California, population: not many. No cell coverage. Find a place with a pay phone, call Hertz toll-free number. Nearest office is in El Cajon, toll-free operator can’t patch me through. Get a mess of quarters, call them, ask them to call pay phone back. They do. After some discussion (full credit here to the Hertz guys in El Cajon, who were polite as could be), they agree to come get us (me: “Make sure whatever you bring has room for 4 adults + luggage, as I’m not leaving anyone or anything behind.” Them: “[long pause] Oh. I’ll have to get a minivan, then.” “Thank you.”). Hour and a half later, they arrive, pick us up, note location of car at the Frosty Burger, and drive us the hour back to El Cajon. Much paperwork later, we have Car #3 and we’re on our way.

 

Easy, right? Well, no, not really. Because when the Hertz tow truck went back to Pine Valley to get the car, it wasn’t at the Frosty Burger. Which resulted in it being reported stolen. While it was theoretically still in my custody. Frantic phone messages waiting for me once I got into cell phone coverage again 2 days later (Las Vegas). They’re looking to hang the cost of the car on me, plus Car #3 isn’t shown on my account and *it* is on the verge of being reported stolen as well. Got *THAT* sorted out in a hurry. I suggested they talk to the owner/manager of the Frosty Burger in Pine Valley. Calls were made, and, indeed the “abandoned car” was towed to a local gas station/impound yard. Across the street from the Frosty Burger. Visible from where it was parked. Owned by the brother of the Frosty Burger’s owner. Pine Valley isn’t really that big of a town.

 

I was told the good news was that I’d called back before they’d issued a warrant for my arrest. Yeah, no kidding.

 

Source: jalopnik.com

 

Never Got the Rental

 

There are some rental car companies that tend to be a bit shady when it comes to telling you how much everything will cost. $20 a day for a week can quickly become $200. In this case, the rental car company slowly but surely bumped up the price of this couple’s rental. With little money in the bank, user ‘RandomArt’ explains how he and his wife never got the car they needed:

 

My horror story involves never actually ending up with the rental. My wife and I were going through a bit of financial hardship due to lack of work a while back. When the clutch went out in our car, we had to get a rental so my wife can get back and forth to work as she works out of public transit range. The combination of ordering the clutch and having to pay rent and some bills right away had gutted both of our accounts so my father in law had offered to pay for the rental.

 

Of course, it’s never easy to get a straight answer from the rental agency as to how much you need to have in the account to pay for the deposit since neither of us have credit cards. The guy on the phone I talked to from Budget said that we only had to have enough to cover the cost of the car for however long we were going to rent it for, in our case about $160. So, with the money secured and a cheap car reserved, we set out into the summer heat (around 93 degrees plus stifling humidity) for our 3 mile trek to the closest Budget rental location. Keep in mind that my wife has a pretty low tolerance for heat, and we ended up having to stop rather often to rest because of it.

 

budget  car rental

It is said that only 2% of Budget car rental transactions end with a smile.

When we finally got to our destination, the guy (a different guy than who I talked to on the phone) tried to run our card without telling us how much it was being run for, only to have it decline. After it was declined he then told us that the deposit was $250. So, my wife and I left to go transfer some cash into her account so it would clear, which involved walking another half mile to the closest bank. We ended up pooling all of our money into her account to make it over $250 before heading back to Budget.

 

When we got back into the counter at budget, the same guy ran our card again and still declined it. When we asked him why, he said that we needed $255 and refused to run the card again. This set off an argument with me asserting that he had told us that we needed $250 earlier.

 

I ended up storming out a few minutes later with my wife in tears. The temperature had risen a bit for the long trudge home. The whole ordeal ended up making me 2 hours late for my shift at work, because it generally took me about an hour and a half to get to work on public transit.

 

It was my first and last experience with Budget.

 

Source: jalopnik.com

 

Hiring a rental car should be a simple and pleasant experience. It is not a usual occurrence for something to go wrong but when it does go wrong, it can go horribly wrong! Make sure to read over all policies and conditions from car rental companies to ensure you don’t get stuck in an unforgiving predicament.

 


 

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5 Best Easter Apps

pat the bunny - easterEaster is upon us again and there are a lot of ways to enjoy this spring holiday with Easter apps for your iPhone or iPad. Decorate 3D eggs, make digital cards for loved ones, or play one of your favorite games that have added a little extra Easter flair. Here are the 5 best Easter-themed apps that are sure to get you into the Easter spirit.

 

Paint easter egg hdPaint Easter Egg HD

The first thing that many people think of during Easter is dyeing eggs. Paint Easter Egg HD is a unique iPad app that lets you enjoy the fun of dyeing eggs without the mess! Pick from 20 colors and 3 different kinds of brushes to paint your virtual eggs with, or choose from premade patterns and stickers. Easily create real artworks on a smooth 3D egg surface. Painted eggs can be shared on Facebook or sent by email. Your Eggs can also be saved to your Photos app and used as Wallpapers. Enjoy the painting and get creative!

 

Pat the Bunny

This award-winning interactive app that is perfect for little fingers and big imaginations. The app is designed especially for toddlers and preschoolers. Pat the Bunny provides 14 interactive scenes for kids to tap, swipe, and explore. This app allows kids to play hide and seek games with Bunny and transfer into paint mode for a colorable activity. Every page can be used as a coloring book. What’s funnier is that kids can “look in the mirror” using the device’s front facing camera to see him or herself in the book. In addition, it allows children to record their voice when they are playing each scene.

 

easter bunny dress up & card makerEaster Bunny Dress Up and Card Maker

This app is a festive game for the whole family. Join the Easter bunny in this hilarious dress up and card maker game. There are over 200 interactive items to dress up the Easter bunny and his egg, you can make countless combinations. With 4 holiday backgrounds to choose from, the whole family can create the perfect outfit. Make the prettiest card with interactive Easter bunny and egg stickers and add your own design with the painting feature. Easter Bunny Dress Up is the perfect way to take on the holiday spirit!

 

Hidden Egg Hunt

The Hidden Egg Hunt app provides a dose of colorful fun for the whole family. This universal app is a hidden object game that gives you the feeling of searching for eggs in your yard. The challenge is to collect as many colored Easter eggs before time runs out. There is a one minute time limit on your egg hunt, so be quick! With music, six new levels, and eleven backgrounds, this will keep children of all ages engaged. There is more to this egg hunt game than just finding brightly colored Easter eggs. You will also need to hunt and find the rare gold eggs and collect tokens to unlock additional game boards. This app is a great Easter Holiday game that adds an arcade feel to the standard look and find game.

 

egg dyeing 101 with martha stewartEgg Dyeing 101 from Martha Stewart Living

If you are interested in learning creative ways to dye your real life eggs for Easter, then this app is for you. Go beyond the familiar standard egg and create extraordinary eggs of art. It features 101 beautifully designed eggs, each with detailed step-by-step instructions on how to create your very own at home. The easy-to-follow photos and videos guide you through the whole process. Sophisticated or cute, surprising or classic, all these eggs are easy to make and impressive to display. You can also e-mail your favorite eggs to friends to say Happy Spring!

 

If you’re looking for something to keep you and your family occupied while trying not to gorge yourself on chocolate eggs, check out these Easter-themed apps.

 


 

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Spring Cleaning Tips: 3 Simple Ways to Freshen Up Your Home

cleaning friends

Cleaning is fun when you have yellow rubber gloves on!

With spring finally here, it’s time to bust out that duster and vacuum. The warming season emits gratuitous sunshine, pouring through your windows and making the streaks and grime on the glass much more noticeable. As you take a closer look around, you see that the rest of your home is living proof that your family has been trapped inside a dust box during the cold winter season.

 

Start fresh this spring. Begin with a deep-down cleaning, focus on a few prime exterior projects, throw in a little organization, and your home will feel like new. Here are 3 tips as you dive in to your spring cleaning this year.

 

Removing Stains & Odors

spilled wine

Carpet is an alcoholic's canvas for stains.

When removing stains and odors, speed is your ally as you should blot up a mess as soon as you can before it begins to soak into fabric. When blotting up upholstery, put a plastic liner or a garbage bag between the cushion and the fabric so you don’t get any contaminants into the cushion. Wash with cold water as best you can. Blot and wash repeatedly. Note that cold water doesn’t set stains as compared to hot water. You should also use a portable spot cleaner or wet/dry vacuum. If there’s still a residual odor, use a half-vinegar, half-water solution and rinse again. There’s always the option to use an all-purpose stain remover like Oxiclean, which is good for fighting dried set stains.

 

Disinfect & Sanitize the Sink

Did you know that a dirty kitchen sink has more bacteria than a toilet seat? To disinfect & sanitize, use a product labeled as an EPA-registered disinfectant or make your own. Clean your sink with soap and water first, then spray a mist of vinegar followed by a mist of hydrogen peroxide, and finally let it air-dry. Don’t mix the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide together—spray one after the other. If you have a stainless steel sink, you can make it sparkle by adding a few drops of mineral oil on a soft cloth before buffing it. This prevents water buildup, which deters mold and keeps the sink looking clean longer.

 

cord container

A container that makes cords portable. The future is now.

Don’t Neglect Your Electronics

Let’s not forget those electronic devices that sustained us through the cold, unbearable months.  They deserve a little spring cleaning too. Clean the dust and dirt off your electronics with a microfiber cloth, which is especially effective on display screens. To manage the clutter of wires behind your computer desk, TV set, and gaming consoles, consider using a cord control product like cord straps from Cordotz. They keep the cords packed together and labeled with a variety of colors. Also consider buying an HDMI receiver, which acts as a single box you can plug all of your devices into with just one cord connecting it to your TV. When disposing of old electronic, contemplate donating to Goodwill or passing it down to a younger generation. You can also recycle electronics at one of the many e-recycling facilities across the country.

 

child cleaning

Children can clean hard to reach areas like under a sofa.

You won’t get all your spring cleaning completed in one go and having help with make it easier. If you have kids around, be sure to utilize their nimble hands for hard to reach areas.  Although it’s tempting to put it off, the sooner you start your spring cleaning project, the sooner you will get to sit back and enjoy the benefits of a sparkling clean home.

 

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