American Express Credit Cards: Getting the Most Out of International Travel

Have you ever eaten at an expensive restaurant in a foreign country and watched as the waiter sneered at your Visa or MasterCard? Believe it or not, this is a common experience for international travelers, especially those who finance the trip with their business credit card. Founded in 1850, American Express has grown into the preferred financial center overseas, and provides a variety of options for international travelers.

Hotels, Retailers & Restaurants

When traveling internationally, it is always preferable to have your American Express card handy for purchases at hotels, retailers and restaurants. Business owners and their employees have come to trust the American Express name, and while some accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover, many establishments frown on the use of these credit cards. Since there are thousands of financial centers in nearly every country, business owners feel comfortable accepting American Express, which gives you an advantage when shopping, eating and sleeping in foreign countries.

Cashing Checks

If you have an American Express Credit Card, your overseas banking will be made much easier. Most American Express financial centers will cash personal checks of up to $1,000 for regular card holders, and up to $5,000 for gold card members. They can also provide simple, fast currency exchanges and money transfers.

While it is always a good idea to have your bank information with you wherever you travel, having an American Express credit card acts like an extension of your personal bank. Running out of cash in a foreign country is terrifying, and something to avoid wherever possible. If you have your American Express credit card, you can receive cash advances and money transfers at financial centers.

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Flights & Rental Cars

Business travel is one of the most stressful aspects of a professional’s career, and if travel is a large part of your career, then an American Express credit card can cut anxiety to a minimum. If you use the same card for your flights and rental cars as with other purchases in foreign countries, you have much less paperwork to sort through when it comes time to file expense reports. Using American Express can also make delayed and canceled flights less of a problem. When your flight is canceled, the airline can simply refund your money directly to the card, rather than forcing you to wait weeks or even months for a check to come in the mail.

American Express also offers airline reward cards, such as the Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card. International travel earns the maximum number of bonus miles for future flights, and unlike other airline reward cards, your SkyMiles never expire. When you book a flight using the SkyMiles card, you never have to worry about blackout dates, which can be a wonderful bonus for frequent international travelers.

Business Credit Cards

American Express offers a variety of business credit cards, ranging from those fit for small businesses to cards that benefit large corporations. Foreign countries are just as respectful of business cards as with personal cards, and in many cases, the benefits are even better. If your business or the company that employs you requires consistent travel, there may be more rewards available than when each employee uses his or her own credit card.

Having a business credit card from American Express can also make employees much more comfortable with International travel. Rather than charging expenses to their own account and filing an expense report later, the company is billed directly, allowing employees to feel safe. American Express is not the only credit card company to offer travel and cash rewards, but it is the only one that is accepted by almost every overseas vendor. While international travelers will find that some businesses require cash, there is always a place to retrieve money when funds run low, and travelers can feel comfortable knowing that their finances are secure.

What Is a VPN Service And What Does It Do?

The most common way of hiding your personal information, as well as your location and Internet Protocol address (IP Address) – the identifier all your online activity is linked to – is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service.

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On a basic level, a VPN is a subscription-based service that encapsulates and encrypts a user’s Internet data transmissions, moving their web activity through a protected tunnel in order to create a secure environment for the user. This means that copyright trolling organizations, as well as copyright holders monitoring Torrent and other file-sharing usage, will not be able to find a specific users IP address since multiple subscribers are assigned to the same IP address when connected to a VPN. You get a special address from your Internet service provider that is specific to you – called an IP address. If your IP address doesn’t match the country the services or network are available in, you are locked out and left in the cold. In other words, BBC and the other’s won’t let you log in unless you have an Internet connection from the UK (America for the other sites).

Here’s where a good VPN service provider comes in, where it allows you to reroute your IP address through another country of choosing, giving you the key to unlock the complete selection of Netfilx (instead of a limited local selection), FOX, NBC, BBC, Pandora and other’s. The speed is great too, not choppy at all and awesome video quality independent if I’m connected to the USA or UK.

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Hostgator Web Hosting – Reliable And Fast

If you are looking for shared hosting or reseller hosting, you might want to trek over to Hostgator. Hostgator specializes in web hosting facilities, and as far as I can see, they are doing a good job. They have recently picked up the Editors’ Choice Award by Findmyhost.com. I think they deserved it.

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Hostgator is both reliable and fast — essential qualities for any web business. They work on Dual Xeon servers with 4GB memory and IDE hard drives. Moreover, with their claim of 99.9 percent uptime, they provide great hosting packages. At the same time, they are quite affordable.

The basic shared hosting package is offered at a monthly rate of $5.56 (or use the coupon code above to get your 1st month hosting for just 1 cent). Yearly rates for the more advanced packages start from bit higher rates. You might be thinking that this is slightly higher than the rates offered by other web hosting providers. In my opinion, it is well worth the money. Moreover, each of the packages comes with a thirty day money back guarantee. So just wait and see for a while before you pronounce your final verdict. My guess is that you will want to stay with Hostgator for some time.


There are several other plusses to using Hostgator. For one, you get instant backups for your website. Moreover, you can host unlimited domains, sub-domains and FTP accounts. The most basic shared hosting package comes with limits though. It allows one domain and twenty sub-domains. Of course, you could always shift to a better package once you start expanding your website. And with as many as fifty-two scripts, this is a great web host.

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In general, most users are satisfied with the Control Panel offered by Hostgator. In fact, their CPanel is pegged as being one of the best in the web hosting world. It adds to the convenience of managing your domains and sub-domains. The Control Panel demo helps new users get used to the various facilities offered by Hostgator.

In my opinion, one of Hostgator’s greatest virtues is that it offers great customer service. Most of the packages offer instant set up at no extra charge. There is twenty-four hour customer support. You can decide whether you want to interact with their customer care representatives over live chat or the phone. You could also make use of the email ticket system. I have found that their customer care execs are often more than ready to go out of their way to help you out. Yes, there are the occasional goof-ups. On the whole, however, Hostgator seems to be satisfying its customers.

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10 Easy Steps For Getting Video On Your Business Website

I’m often asked, “I have no video training but I want to put video on my website to help promote my products and services what can I do?” Well the answer is simple. If you can shoot a home movie you can put a video clip on your website. Now the first thing is to not be scared of the camera.

A good sales person needs to be able to speak clearly and present their product in a manner that everyone can understand and enjoy. So with that in mind turn on your camera, cell phone, or whatever video capturing tool you have and begin shooting. But here are a few tips for making your shoot successful and getting it up on your website.

1. Speak clearly, and so that everyone watching can understand what your saying and what your product is about.

2. Make sure you have enough light so that you and your product can be seen. But be aware that you can also have to much light. So the best thing to do is to test your video and the area your going to be shot in. Make sure you look natural.

3. A microphone is important and you need to be heard. If your using a mini-dv camera you can easily get a microphone that can attach from the camera to your clothing. Use make sure you can’t see the wire that connects the mic and the camera during your video.

4. Have FUN! No one wants to see a sour face on camera. So make sure you are having fun and that you SMILE. The better you come across on camera the more people would want to buy your product or services.

5. Don’t use big words in your video presentation. Keep it short sweet and simple.

6. Once you’ve finished your recording, watch it. Make sure it’s what you want and something that you’ll feel proud to have on your website.

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7. Now get the clip to your computer. Your camera will have instructions on how to upload the footage. Now you can get fancy and use one of the high end video editing products. But those take a long time to learn. So if your on a PC use Windows MovieMaker and if your on a Mac use IMove and edit your clip to your licking. Don’t use to make crazy effects keep it about you and your product.

8. Now once your clip is edited you need to output it to a web file. If your on a PC then output the file to a WMV. And if your on a MAC then output your clip to a .MOV file.

9. Upload it! If you don’t have server space then use http://Video.Google.com or http://Youtube.com. You can easily upload your video to these services. Not only will you have the code to embed the file to your website but you will also allow others to see your video and your product who haven’t been to your site yet. It will be as easy as CUT and PASTE to an HTML page.

10. Promote your video clip. Include links to your clip in your weekly newsletters. Send your clip to your friends, family, and business associates. Let them see the work you’ve done and ask them to pass it on to other friends. Son you’ll notice that you have a ton of visitors watching your video and more traffic to your website.

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Coconut Oil – A Healthy Solution For Hair And Skin Care

Coconut as a whole plays a very important part in our lives. From leafs to the oil everything has become very useful to us. Coconut oil is widely used for your hair and many may have seen the results it has provided. With the growth in the market we have been exposed to n number of creams, which have proved to be worthless. In this stiff competition coconut oil has risen as a thorough winner.

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The oil seems to do wonders for your skin. It softens the skin as well as cures it from any damages providing you with a radiant and young look. It helps the skin to avoid liver spots and blemishes caused due to aging and sunlight. By regular use of the oil a soft and supple skin is developed keeping it wrinkle free. The damage to the skin by sun rays is restricted with the use of coconut oil. It brings back the shine and lost charm of the skin.

The presence of antiseptic fatty acids prevents any fungal and bacterial infection. Some of the infections it keeps fighting on regular basis are the acne, ringworm, herpes, boils, athlete’s foot and warts. Coconut oil or coconut butter has been widely used as a moisturizer. It provides a shield on your skin to protect the natural moisture.

For Skin Care

-Apply grinded betel leaf with coconut oil on black spots, to lighten it
-Paste of mehendi (henna) with little oil should be applied on your face to lighten black spots
-Apply the mixture of coconut water and thick pineapple juice for a glowing skin
-For soft skin make a paste of red sandal powder with coconut milk. Apply it on your face. Rinse it later.
-To remove pimples. Use thick curd; add turmeric and drops of oil. Put it on your face.
-Coconut oil mixed with crushed garlic when applied at night helps to cure plantar warts and athlete’s foot
-Coconut butter can be used as lip balm
-Massage your face with coconut oil before going to bed this would help in premature ageing

For Hair Care

-Add a teaspoon of camphor to 1/2 a liter can of coconut oil. Store it. Massage this oil on your scalp before going to bed. This would help you get rid of dandruff
-A mixture of castor, mustard and coconut oil massaged on your scalp can help you with dandruff problems
-One part lemon juice with two parts coconut oil to be massaged to the roots of your hair to ward of dandruff problem
-Hair loss problem can be solved by massaging coconut or almond oil for 10 to 15 minutes

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautions while following instructions on the recipes from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.

Turning Woodworking From Hobby to Business

Woodworking is an art/craft, depending on how you look at it, that can see you earn quite substantial amounts. There are people who love woodworking, but just do it as a hobby. The good news is that if you have interest in the subject than transforming it from a hobby to business is quite easy and this article is just going to show you how.

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Have tools that you will use for your woodworking. The kind of tools that you will need for your projects will depend on the vastness of your business. If you want to start small, then having simple hand tools will prove to be adequate. You need to buy high quality tools like a hand drill, a timber saw, measurement tools and more. On the other hand, if you want to have large scale production then you will need heavy machinery like a power saw and more. Make sure that the space that you plan to use is adequate.

You need to have clearly marked out your niche. Woodworking is a broad subject that can see you produce anything from a simple birdhouse all the way to production of office and home furniture. You need to copyright your products to avoid cases where people can steal your ideas for their own benefit.

Make sure you advertise. Know that you are no longer doing your woodworking for the fun of it. There are many ways that you can advertise your products. You can use the internet. Using the internet will need you to put up a website. You can have a variety of sample pictures on the website. You also need to know all the ways of putting up a good website if you want to get enough traffic. You need to use the internet to not only advertise, but also to sell. With the website you will be able to tap into potential market that cuts across country boundaries.

Still on the above, you can also make use of word of mouth. Inform your friends and neighbors of your business this is a very inexpensive way of getting your word out there. Use the internet to get new ideas for your woodworking. There are many plans that are available on the internet. You need to use the plans that are available here to improve on your skills. You can always get to learn new ideas using the available plans.

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Computer Slow? Optimize It With The Right Tools

Why does it seem like every time you get a new computer it operates at lightning fast speeds for only a few months before becoming slow and laborious over its tasks? Is this just something that we have to live with or can we do something to keep our computers running at optimum speeds?

The truth is that computers do not get slower as they age, a slow computer is a sign that something is literally holding your PC back and affecting its performance. And the good news is that you can do something about it.

There are many things that can affect your computer’s performance, from low memory to a fragmented hard drive and everything in between. The things that can affect your computer’s performance are usually of your own doing. You see, each time we download a program or delete a program, we affect the way our computer operates. This change in operation can leave holes in our PCs operating procedures or may even leave behind programs that can affect our computer’s performance.

Here are just a few things that could be making your computer slow:

· Running Background Programs – These programs are software applications that are running behind the scenes even when they are not in use. You may not even know that they are running, but they can zap precious memory and slow down your other tasks considerably. To see if you have programs running in the background, press Ctrl + Alt + Delete at the same time. The box that pops up will show you all applications that are running.

· Full Hard Drive – If your hard drive is too full of data, it will not have enough space to perform chores. Your hard drive should have at lease 2MB to 3MB in free space.

· Fragmented Hard Drive – When you download and delete programs, you create holes in your hard drive. These holes mean that your PC has to search for the files it needs over greater distance and not necessarily in the order that it needs them.

· Left Over Parts – When you install and uninstall Windows programs, they leave behind parts or applications that can slow down your computer. You may even unknowingly delete a file needed for other software applications. (Note: Spyware and viruses can also slow down your PC’s performance, but for the purpose of this article we are assuming that the problem lies in application errors.)

Make Your PC Run Like New

While it’s not rocket science, making your computer lightning fast once again will take a little work from you. Sometimes, this is as easy as running your Windows System Tools program. You can find these programs by clicking “start,” “all programs,” “accessories,” and “system tools.” Here you will find several system optimizers to help you free up your disk space, defragment your PC, and detect and repair disk errors.

In addition to tools already installed on your PC, you can opt to download additional programs to optimize your computer’s performance. These optimizers can be purchased as a set with other software programs that can help you get the best out of your computer. Here are just a few of the extra optimization programs that you may want for your PC:

· Memory Optimizer – When you are using your computer, it takes several programs and application to handle everything that you are doing. Each of these programs uses memory. When memory is short, computer response time is slow. Memory Optimizer helps to make the allotment of memory to each program more efficient. This can help you eliminate slow PC execution time, Windows hang up or crashing, loss of data and unwanted shutdowns.

· Registry Deffrager and Optimizer – As mentioned before, a registry with holes results in slow response times as your PC searches for the data it needs. This program improves the system response time and saves memory by creating a smaller registry.

· Windows Optimizer – We all use our computers differently. Some use their computer as a media and entertainment centerpiece while others use their PC for data storage and business purposes. Windows Optimizer allows you to tweak program settings so that they will perform in line with your needs.

Granted, a slow computer is a nuisance and it may leave you wanting to go out and purchase a new model. But before you give up on your current model, make sure that you have optimized it first. You may be surprised by how much life is still in your PC.

Let Energy Savings Pay For Home Improvements Like Replacement Windows

In this day and age of ever-rising fuel costs, not having your home properly insulated is like throwing money out the window. Literally, in fact, as old, leaky windows are a prime source of residential heat loss. Replacement windows alone can make a dramatic difference, with energy savings of up to 40% in monthly fuel bills.

In this article I’ll explain why dual pane replacement windows and other energy-saving home improvements are like money in the bank. Contractors like to point out an almost 100% return on investment when installing more energy-efficient windows, and they are right.

The problem with windows is that glass has poor heat insulation properties. Old single pane windows are hardy better than no windows at all when it comes to heat loss. And even older dual pane windows develop leaky seals that lead to condensation and reduced thermal protection. Replacing that old glass with new Energy Star compliant windows reduces utility bills, provides better sealing to ward off pollen and other pollutants, insulates better against noise, and also drastically reduces the load on your heating and cooling system.

In addition, the replacement windows can be ordered with tempered and shatterproof glass for extra protection, tinted glass for privacy and additional insulation, and even color options for special effects. Further, the extra ultra violet protection provided by specially coated and reflective glass can keep your furniture and floors from fading. Sometimes existing frames can accommodate more efficient replacement windows. If the frames need to be replaced, you can select from high-quality vinyl that never cracks or peels, or sturdy, elegant aluminum. While you’re at it, you may consider replacing flat standard windows with bay or decorative windows or add other architectural touches and enhancements.

Windows, of course, are not the only way to save energy. Up to 40% of a home’s exterior is roofing, and properly installed roofs can reduce heating and cooling bills in a number of ways. Shingles may reflect heat instead of absorbing it. Proper ventilation removes heat in the summer and quickly cools down your home. And whole-house fans efficiently remove the heat accumulating in attics.

Siding is important as well. Exterior painting not only improves the appearance of a home, but it also seals cracks through which heat can escape. Materials like Hardi Plank fiber-reinforced concrete siding are more durable and weather-resistant than wood or vinyl, again contributing to good insulation.

Properly built sunrooms can provide warmth in the winter and, through venting at night, cooling in the summer. Covered patios can provide shade, again reducing the load on the air conditioning system. The same goes for certain types of pergolas that are both decorative and provide shade. Decks and terraces, too, can shield windows from the sun, perhaps with the addition of plants, while adding quality living space to a structure.

So, the next time you think of home improvement projects, don’t stop at replacement windows. Take it as an opportunity to make your home a more environmentally friendly place with lower heating and cooling bills. Improving the value of your home and saving money at the same time…who could argue with that?