Five of the best online experiences to try this summer

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It’s officially summer 2020, at least in the northern hemisphere. And with it being summer, it’s also traditionally the time when we start thinking about taking our annual vacation trips, planning all those far-flung destinations we could visit, and the brand new things we could see and experience. 

It’s true that travel broadens the mind, but as we become more and more aware of the environmental harm inflicted by our ever-increasing carbon footprint, taking those long-haul flights to a destination on the other side of the world becomes a lot harder to justify. Choosing to vacation in your own country or city is a sustainable choice, and thanks to some digital wizardry you can make it even better. Right now there are all sorts of virtual experiences you can enjoy online, from taking a tour of a famous museum to even walking the corridors of The White House. 

So, if you’re choosing to spend your vacation time in a destination closer to home this summer, or if you’re just looking for something exciting to do while you’re bored at home, here are five of the best online experiences you can enjoy: 

Vist the world’s most haunted house

Built by the mysterious Sarah Winchester, the Winchester Mansion has a notorious reputation for being one of the world’s most haunted places. Luckily, taking a virtual tour here means you won’t run the risk of bumping into any ghosts or ghouls. After all, spirits can’t possess a laptop. Or can they? 

If you’re brave enough to find out, the virtual tour will take you through this impressive mansion’s 200 rooms. See how many of the 10,000 windows you can spot along the way, as well as those quirky spy holes and trap doors. 

Compete in a gaming tournament

As all Millennials know, gaming is a big deal. We live in an era where professional computer gaming is a thing, and millions of players from all across the globe come together virtually to compete for world titles and eye-watering cash prizes. There are even some players out there who are on a par with elite athletes and sports players when it comes to the lifestyles that they are able to lead, but you don’t have to be a pro gamer to get involved with a gaming tournament.

Not long ago, Facebook launched Facebook Gaming for amateur eSports players who want to connect with other international players in games like FIFA and Call of Duty: Warzone. For “hardcore” gamers who are hoping to break into the world of pro gaming, there’s also the Battlefy Amateur Esports League (AEL), which hosts regular tournaments for games like PUBG and Call of Duty. 

If eSports tournaments aren’t your bag, then maybe a virtual poker tournament will be more up your street. Platforms like PokerStars offer play money tournaments in a range of different formats that are ideal for beginners, while sit & go’s and fast-fold competitions are available for more experienced players

Find your Zen in Hiroshima

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You can check out of your daily life anytime you like and immerse yourself in the blissful surroundings of the historic Shukkeien Garden in Hiroshima. This four hundred year old cherry blossom garden is always a favorite with tourists, and now you can wander this intricately and exquisitely designed masterpiece without having to leave the house. Meander down the winding paths, stop for a moment on the famous Koko-kyo Bridge, and take some time to meditate next to the gently bubbling koi ponds and picturesque bonsai trees. You can even visit the Seifukan Tea House and enjoy its spectacular floor to ceiling views. 

Get lost in the Paris Catacombs

Paris’ infamous catacombs have been the inspiration for plenty of horror fiction and movies over the decades, and it doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to see why. And see why is exactly what you can do with its brand new virtual tour. It’s not for the faint-hearted, much like an in-person trip wouldn’t be, but with the magic of the Internet, you can explore these atmospheric subterranean tunnels at your own pace. Dating back to the 18th century, the catacombs are reportedly the final resting place of over 6 million Parisians… Bone chilling! 

Check out some world famous art Right now, some of the world’s most iconic museums have opened the virtual doors to their exclusive collections. Take your pick from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the museum of Vatican City, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, Musée d’Orsay, and even the Louvre. 

Benefits of Getting a Life Insurance Policy

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If you are a primary breadwinner of your family, then your focus would obviously be on safeguarding your family’s future. Investing in a life insurance policy will secure the finances of your family even while you are not around. Choosing a policy smartly will ensure financial cover not just for you but also for your loved ones. 

  • Loans over policies are exempted from tax payments
  • Are flexible in terms of adjustment of policyholders need
  • Cash values grow tax-free during the insured lifetime
  • Some policies have a cash value that accrues over time and can be utilized for paying premiums later
  • Low monthly premiums to be paid over a policy
  • These policies offer major tax benefits in comparison to any other investment options
  • Ensures fund flow while dealing with adverse financial situations
  • It can be bundled with other kinds of insurance covers such as disability ones  

Different kinds of life insurance policies

Life insurance can be categorized into three main types.

  • Term Insurance

This plan offers life cover for offering protection to loved ones at the most affordable rates possible. This is one of the simplest policies available. It promises financial security to your loved ones in your absence.    

  • ULIP

Unit linked insurance plans combine financial investment with life insurance. These offer a wide range of portfolio strategies and fund options. It also permits you to withdraw the money on a periodic basis from your policy.

  • Endowment Plan

These are traditional savings plans and are not linked to any stock market. Hence, these carry a lower risk. These plans offer bonuses such as terminal bonuses and a reversionary bonus.

  • Savings Plan

These plans combine investment with a life insurance cover. You can also create a corpus for meeting the financial goals of your life at different stages. Most of the savings plans offer a fixed amount as maturity once the policy terminates. Moreover, there are specific plans that help you devise a regular stream of income throughout the duration of the policy. 

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Advantages of choosing a Life Insurance cover

Life insurance covers the financial gaps that exist in the lives of individuals. It can take care of your financial needs at various stages of life. You just need to choose a plan as per your requirements to start reaping the benefits offered by a cover. Click to understand how these plans work.  There are numerous benefits of investing in a life insurance cover.

  • Financial security

Insuring yourself offers complete peace of mind to an individual. This cover proffers financial security to the loved ones of the policy owner even after their death. An adequate cover can ensure that your loved ones would be taken care of in case of your death. You can keep policies for up to the age of 120 as long as you are paying the premiums. You don’t lose the coverage under the permanent life insurance term. 

  • Wealth creation

Some insurance plans provide an opportunity for generating wealth. These policies invest your premium into different classes of investment for delivering superior returns. You are promised tax-deferred growth by investing in life insurance. This implies that you don’t have to pay any tax on capital gains, dividends, and interest on the cash value component of your policy until you withdraw the proceeds.     

  • Significant tax savings

These smart plans promise dual tax benefits. The premiums offer tax deductions based on the prevalent laws. Follow this link to learn why entrepreneurs need to invest in a life insurance policy: https://bit.ly/386biLV. Instead of neglecting an insurance plan, individuals can benefit tremendously by not just creating wealth but also in the form of tax savings.

  • Borrowings against the cash value

If you are looking for money to pay for college or to buy a home, you can choose to borrow against the cash value of a permanent life insurance policy. Also, if you put money in a retirement plan, you can take it out for other purposes other than retirement. However, you may have to pay penalties depending upon the policy terms. Some retirement plans are not flexible and do not allow you to take money out. 

  • Accelerated benefits if you fall ill

You will be offered anywhere between 25-100 percent of the benefit of your cover if you develop any conditions such as cancer, stroke, heart attack, or renal failure. The terms are again dependent on the kind of policy that you choose. These benefits will help you pay your medical bills and enjoy a better quality of life.

The only drawback of claiming money for your treatment is that your beneficiaries would not be able to receive sufficient coverage after your death. 

  • Cheap enough to fit into any budget

Based on the coverage you choose, you may be paying a nominal amount per month as a premium towards your policy. If you don’t have any dependents, then you would not have to save a lot of money for your beneficiaries. You can invest in a cheap life insurance plan to secure your family’s future. Doing so also translates into lower premiums.

A term life insurance would cover most of your expenses such as business partnership, expenses of children, and mortgage payments. If you invest in a policy early enough, then you can save a lot of money than you would do by buying this coverage later in life. In short, you simply pay for whatever the need of your family is. 

In summary

A life insurance policy can be immensely beneficial if you know when to invest and what kind of policy you need to invest in. You can go through the different options available to decide which one would be the best fit for your requirements. Various tools are offered by several policy providers so that individuals can make an investment based on what they are looking for. 

5 Eco-Friendly Camping Tips For A Greener Trip

Camping in the great outdoors is one of life’s great joys. However, if campers aren’t conscientious and considerate about how they use the space available to them, camping can be terrible for the environment. Here are five ways of making your camping trip much greener.

Come Prepared For Litter

No matter how conscientious you are, and any camping trip is going to generate a certain amount of litter. If you are looking to reduce your impact on the local environment, ensuring that you are prepared to take all your rubbish home with you is essential. In fact, if at all possible, you should separate out your recyclable materials from the rest of your rubbish, so you can recycle them at the earliest opportunity.

Bring Your Own Water Filters

Instead of buying single-use disposable plastic bottles of water, it is much better to bring your own filters with you so you can utilize local water sources without having to worry about contaminants. Drinking water that you collect from the wild might not sound very appealing, but with a proper filtration system on your side, you can remove any harmful contaminants from the water.

Without camping water treatments, you are left with no option but to buy water off-the-shelf, or refill a reusable bottle. Neither option is ideal from a health or environmental perspective. Using a water filter will keep you safe and reduce your environmental footprint.

Think About Your Travel Arrangements

If you are serious about minimizing your environmental impact when going on a camping trip, you can begin before you have even set off. The method of transport that you choose to get you to your destination will affect your final footprint. If you are going to be camping as part of a larger group, try to organize some form of shared transport. It might not be possible to load up all your campers and their gear into a single car, but you can always turn to public transport if necessary or rent a vehicle.

Avoid Disposable Items

We all need to be moving away from disposable and single-use products wherever possible. Single-use products are terrible for the environment, they are contributing to an ongoing build-up of materials that are not biodegradable and which are causing serious problems for our planet. Wherever there are reusable and sustainable alternatives to disposable products, you should always lean towards the more sustainable option.

Look For Non-Toxic Sunscreen

This is something that people regularly overlook when they are looking for ways of reducing the carbon footprint of their camping trip. In terms of damage to the environment, you might not think that the sunscreen you choose to put on your skin would make much difference, but any chemicals that you are spraying around the area where you are camping can ultimately make their way into the local ecosystem.

There are now plenty of non-toxic and organic alternatives to common artificial products. You can find plenty of sunscreens that are made from all-natural ingredients and eschew anything harmful or artificial.

Got any more great tips?

Top Kitchen Gadgets and Small Appliances worth Purchasing

The kitchen is easily one of the most used rooms in the entire house. It is where people prepare food, cook, and eat together as well as socialize, and catch up on their day. Kids may do their homework around the table and it’s perfect for entertaining. With that said, it’s a room where splurges on gadgets and small appliances can be well worth it.

If you’re looking to boost the functionality of your kitchen and just create a more inviting and productive space, these items are a must-buy.

Espresso Machine

Coffee is a big part of many peoples’ days, especially in the morning when it can give you that jolt you need to wake up and start your day afresh. But what about being able to create your own coffee bar at home where you can enjoy fresh-brewed espresso on-demand? That’s exactly what an espresso machine can offer. Choose from simple and cost-effective models, or go ahead and splurge and get one with all the bells and whistles.

Under-Sink Water Filtration System

Another gadget well worth the investment, especially for families, is an under-sink water filtration system. With this type of system, you’ll be able to drink water straight from the faucet and know it’s pure and free of any contaminants.

You won’t need to worry about buying plastic water bottles, which as many know are horrible for the environment. There is no such thing as running out of clean, fresh water and everyone in the family can make use of it. You can fill up your environmentally-friendly re-fillable water bottles straight from the faucet. Of course, as the Discount Filter Store stresses to its clients, the key with these systems is to ensure you’re changing the filter on the recommended schedule. This will ensure it’s doing its job effectively.

Wine Fridge

For those who enjoy wine, there is no better way to store it and preserve its integrity than with a wine fridge. Look for one that allows for different temperature zones so that you can store red, white, and rose at its specified optimal temperature. With today’s models, you’ll find everything from small counter-top wine fridges to larger ones that you can install under the counter or another place in the kitchen.

Counter-Top Oven

If you find yourself preparing small meals meant for one or two people, and really hate to turn on the big oven each time you want to cook then it could be worth it to invest in a small counter-top toaster oven. Today, you can even find counter-top convection ovens that offer all the same functionality of a full-sized oven. They use less energy, cook quickly, and are perfect for those times when you aren’t preparing huge meals. Even baking can be done in some of the models.

Deck-Out Your Kitchen

No matter which of these gadgets/appliances you pick up, you’ll be able to amp up the functionality and style of your kitchen. The only question left is how can you pick just one of these items on the list?

Earning Money as a Freelance Researcher

Access to the internet makes everyone seem capable of learning what they need to know on their own. However, the sheer volume of information available online—not to mention the knowledge which remains exclusively offline—means there’s a premium placed on finding exactly what you need to know and making sure that information is accurate.

This is where becoming a paid researcher becomes a potential opportunity to earn income. By knowing how to cut through the irrelevant noise, isolate reliable sources, and search for the truth, graduate students can make some decent money and gain valuable experience in the process.

Let’s take a look at the important things to know and know about before getting started:

Tools

While much of what you do as a freelance researcher will be done online, there’s a good chance you’ll also find yourself visiting traditional libraries and archives. This is especially true if conducting historical research on behalf of a client, particularly if it involves finding information about a local community, building, or individual from the past. With this in mind, it’s important to have a few tools available. The first is a document scanner you can use on your smartphone. This enables researchers to digitize book pages, newspaper articles, maps, and other pieces of information they find in hard copy format. Another useful tool for freelance researchers is a compact laptop for quick data entry and on-the-go digital detective work.

Resources

The first stop for most research – both paid and unpaid – is Google. The right recipe of words can lead you down the right path. But since the internet is full of unreliable sources full of conjecture and – sometimes – outright lies, those earning money via research need to be more selective about where they get their information. While by no means impervious to error, academic databases and journals are where key sources of reliable, peer-reviewed information can be found. The content produced by reputable news agencies is another valuable source of accurate accounts and trustworthy information.

Tips

Most subjects, no matter how esoteric, have articles and books devoted to digging into the details. Accessing these condensed sources of information can save researchers a lot of time and trouble, but those being paid to get to the truth about a topic need to avoid relying on a single source of information. Always make an effort to get to the primary sources on which the information found in articles and books is based. Personal accounts, contemporary journalism, scientific data, and legal documents are just some of the primary resources worth uncovering.

Finding Clients

Learning how to be an expert researcher is one thing, but finding people willing to pay for that service is another. Graduate students can start by putting fliers and posters up on campus. Billboards found in most university buildings are seen by hundreds of people every day, many of whom are going to consider the benefits of paying someone else to do research for them. Word-of-mouth generated from this base group of clients can lead to other opportunities as well. Affordable online advertising is another avenue to consider.

Getting Paid

Most people don’t carry cash anymore and checks can potentially bounce. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with a service like Paypal or Venmo. Create an account and have clients make their payments that way. Send invoices once you’ve collected the information they want, and wait until the money is safely in your account before handing your findings over to them. Money in an online account can be transferred to your personal bank, making them ideal for doing research on behalf of anyone anywhere.

Gaining Experience

Doing professional-grade research on behalf of clients can give grad students an incredible amount of relevant experience. You’ll most certainly need to do similar research of your own in pursuit of your master’s or doctoral thesis. Years of conducting paid research on a wide variety of subjects will introduce you to the tools, techniques, and resources which will be used to get your advanced degree.

It might seem like everybody is capable of learning anything thanks to the internet, but doing so requires a specialized ability to weed through the irrelevant and unreliable. This is a skill that can be used to earn income, so why not give it a shot?

4 Pressing Health Questions Answered

How hard is it to get a straight answer these days? One would think with the vast array of information available online, anyone would be able to find reliable sources on health issues quickly. Yet, in reality, it’s never been more difficult to tell medical facts from fiction. If you’ve got a pressing health concern, but don’t know where to go for help, then this blog is for you. Here, we’ll tackle four common health and healthcare issues and explain them in plain English:

Is Diet or Exercise More Important?

There’s a reason why diet and exercise are linked so closely. It’s because both play a major role in weight loss and overall health and wellness. Unsurprisingly, though, sticking to a diet while also exercising regularly is hard. It’s much easier to do one or the other. So which one is more important? The bad news is that they’re both vital to long-term health and fitness. While it’s true that you can’t outwork a poor diet, dieting without exercising can lead to its own set of problems.

Can You Trust Online Diagnoses?

In short, no, you can’t trust online platforms that purport to give diagnoses based on a person’s description of a problem. At the end of the day, professionals can only determine so much about a health issue based on a cursory review. For instance, knee pain could result from a myriad of issues ranging from a pulled muscle to cartilage damage to multiple sclerosis. Self-diagnosis is dangerous because it can lead people to think they have –– or don’t have –– a condition when the opposite is the case.

How Often Should You See a Doctor?

Any time you experience pain or notice any sort of physical abnormality, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor. However, even if you “feel” healthy, you should still make it a point to visit your doctor at least once a year. There are a number of serious conditions that don’t always manifest in obvious ways. Thankfully, doctors have access to sophisticated lab equipment like 10ml serological pipettes that will allow them to identify potential issues and provide you with cogent health advice!

Do You Really Need Health Insurance?

Yes –– everyone absolutely needs health insurance! Of course, health insurance isn’t cheap, but it’s vital to have all the same. Without it, individuals may have to pay thousands out-of-pocket for vital medical care. So just because you’re young and relatively healthy, it doesn’t mean you can forego this vital service. (Consider, for instance, that the average hospital stay costs over $10,000.) It’s not fun to think about, but insurance can help you get through a health struggle with minimal stress and cost.

Help the Planet and Your Pockets! Eco-Friendly and Creative Ways to Save Money

If we asked you what are some of the major issues of our society nowadays, what would you say?

We’re almost 100% certain you’d mention the economy and the environment, and you’d be right to say so. These are two well-known issues that affect most of us, but what some of us might not know is how to start fighting them. Thankfully, we have some answers for you!

Many people think that switching to organic living would be expensive. If you try to make optimal or smart use of the available resources, you may not only be able to conserve them for a longer time but also save money in the process. 

Keep reading and learn six creative ways to save money as well as our planet.

1. Eat Fewer Animal Products

Many people believe that being a vegetarian or a vegan is way too expensive and, for that reason, they continue to buy animal products on a regular basis.

Our challenge for you is that next time you go grocery shopping, you compare the prices of the vegetables and fruits with the price of meat. Quite different, aren’t they?

You don’t need to go fully vegan but eating less meat will help save the planet and your money.

2. Take Shorter Showers

Yes, we know how relaxing it feels to take a long, hot shower. But do you really need it? Even cutting your shower time by two or three minutes every day makes a difference – in the end, it all adds up!

And since we’re on the topic of showering, think about this: do you ever use the hot water tap without also using the cold one? If not, turning down your water heater is also a good idea. 

3. Grow Your Food

Your ability to follow this tip depends on how much space you have available at your place. If you have a small backyard, why not start planting vegetables that grow well in the weather conditions you live in?

If you live in a small apartment, don’t worry, you can still grow something you probably use on a daily basis: herbs! 

Not just vegetables, there are many other things that you can make at home to save money rather than to go out and purchase. Who knows growing your food or making your own beer to save some dough could turn into a fun hobby for you and your family. 

4. Shop at Second Hand-Stores

Fast fashion is one of the biggest producers of waste there is, with 85% of textiles ending up in landfills every year. Furthermore, this industry uses colossal amounts of water (it takes 2700 liters of water to produce one single cotton shirt) and emits 5% of global CO2 emissions.

The good news?

There’s a rising number of clothing stores where you can buy second-hand pieces that are both unique and affordable! 

5. Start Using Your Bike Again

The effects of global warming have become increasingly evident all over the world over the past years and one of the biggest contributors to this major issue is car pollution.

Considering the amount of gas that our cars emit, this isn’t hard to understand.

Yet how many times have you used your car when you could have perfectly ridden or even walked there?

Using your bike (or your feet) will help you reduce your eco-footprint, save money on gas and stay active. What else could you ask for?

6. Buy a Reusable Water Bottle

Single-use plastic is completely 2000 and late and we all know that by now.

So if you still buy plastic bottles, it’s time to change that! By purchasing a reusable bottle, you’ll help reduce the demand for single-use plastic and you’ll be saving money by drinking tap water instead of the often overly-priced bottled water.

Do You Know More Creative Ways to Save Money and the Planet?

The tips we mentioned above are some of the most popular ways of helping the environment while also saving some bucks. But the truth is that there are plenty more creative ways to save money and the Earth!

Do you know of any? If so, let us know in the comments below.

And while you’re here, why not join our group and learn more about living a sustainable life?