Top 7 Things I Like About the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones

Let me tell you what I like about my Sennheiser HD 280 pro headphones. Firstly before we do that I just want to mention a few things first about these headphones. Some people don’t realise that when you buy the HD 280 pro’s you need to run them in for a while to get the best sound out of the phones. So use them regularly and after a week you will already notice a great improvement and that is when you will be really impressed with the quality.

Anyway with that out of the way, let me continue about what I like most regarding the phones. In no particular order.

1. The Sennheiser HD 280 pro headphones ear pieces fold up which helps plenty when taking them with on your travels. I fly quite a bit and take these with me and sure you wont get them into your jacket pocket like you can with in-ear headphones but this feature does help quite a bit for carting them around as it makes them more compact.

2. I look after my headphones quite carefully. Well as careful as possible but they have been stood upon, sat on (by mistake) etc.. etc.. during my travels and I must say that these are quite durable and solid in design. Don’t let the plastic design fool you into thinking that they won’t last. They are quite tough.

3. Adding to point number 2. They have easily replaceable parts that are easy to source. This alone is a real plus point as you don’t want to have to buy a new pair just because a small part is needed.

4. On my travels in buses or planes etc… they really do block out the surrounding noise quite nicely. I wont bore you with stats but they do reduce external noise by 32db. A pal of mine that does some sound work bought a pair and he get’s plenty of mileage out of them and says that in his environment it helps as well in reducing the exterior noise.

5. The quality of the sound output of the Sennheiser HD 280 pro headphones is really great. I listen to various genres of music and the sound output is crystal clear. As mentioned in the beginning paragraph you do need to run them in for a bit but after this period is over you will have many years of excellent audio output.

6. They fit over the ear. Okay I know some will debate this point and everyone has his or her own preference of what they prefer in-ear or over ear but for me the in-ear option does not work because after an hour or so being in my ear my ear starts to hurt. Maybe I just have not found a decent pair yet but I do prefer the over ear option especially for blocking out the noise.

7. Last but not least they are compatible with my iPod and I believe any mp3 player or audio device that takes the same jack the HD 280 pro’s will work as well.

So to summarise the Sennheiser HD 280 pro headphones have a really robust construction and excellent sound quality. The unique design of these headphones with its swiveling ear cups and ability to fold up makes it very convenient as well as the ability to easily interchange a broken part on the headphones.

Tricks To Help You Save Money On Travel During The Vacation Season

The vacation season is almost upon us. This means that everyone has started packing their bags and is on their way to have the time of your life. However before you start up to go and join them all, learn the tips and tricks that might help you save loads on your travels. And even if you can’t save anything at least you’ll know how to spend your money wisely. So here is the combination of the best tips for you to save your money when you travel abroad in this vacation season. However, before we go ahead the first pro travel tip is get yourself some amazing travel deals using credit card points online.

1. Plan way before the time
This is the first rule of traveling within vacations. Never enter your vacation season without planning everything to the last drop. This will help you save not only loads of your money but you’ll also save up a lot on time and hustle. If you want to go party in the summers then you should start planning about it before spring. That way you will get the best travel deals as well as the cheapest hotels. So it would be like a total win win solution for you.

2. Avoid spending Credit Card Money
Yes that’s right! You don’t know how much you’ll save if you think before spending your credit card money. The reason for that is banks charge a specific amount of fee per every transaction that you do internationally. So it may seem convenient at that time to pay for something using your credit card however you’ll find out later that it is not actually cheap at all and will actually cause a large hole in your pocket.

3. Do loads of research about the places you plan to visit
Use Google to your own advantage. It will tell you about anything and everything you want to know about the places you plan on going to see. You might get some deals where hotels provide you with economical tours of places as well as promotional shopping deals. In the end you might be able to bring back some amazing gifts for your loved ones as well without them knowing that you got those gifts for free.

4. Avoid Renting a Car
No matter where in the world you go for a visit, the public transport will always be cheaper than taxis and rented cars. And most of the times it usually is more convenient to take the local way to get to your required destinations. So the next time you go on a vacation, the only transport you should take is the local transport.

International Travel Checklist: The Non-Essential Essentials

If you’re like most travelers, you’ve experienced that dreaded sensation we all strive to avoid while sitting, back straight-as-a-board with a tray table folded out and nearly touching your sternum onboard a long international flight somewhere.

Did I forget to pack that one thing?

It’s no use now, of course. Your bag is already deep in the belly of the airplane and you’re never going to recall for certain if you remembered to pack that one thing sitting on your desk next to the computer.

With that feeling of panic in mind, I decided to put together a top list of essential items that me or my friends have too often forgotten over the years. The following International Travel checklist contains the items you either leave behind accidentally or never think of in the first place that also happen to be the most advantageous to have while traveling abroad.

The core necessities of what you should bring on a trip overseas are pretty obvious, so I won’t waste your time stating the obvious (except right now) about packing the right clothes for the climate or an entry visa so that you won’t get sent right back where you came from. But please don’t forget either of those two items, either.

I’ve tested this list on countless long and short-term trips abroad to find items that are the most invaluable to have in environments both challenging and pampered in whatever foreign land you find yourself.

So, if you’re getting ready to head abroad for an extended period of time (Basically, longer than would be tolerable to be a tad uncomfortable and disconnected), the following International Travel Checklist is yours to consult for optimal preparation.

Introducing… the International Travel Checklist

1. A No-Fee ATM Card (with a travel alert)

If you’ve ever spent any time changing currency at a money-changer in a foreign country, you might understand why Jesus flipped their tables over at King Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem a few years back. Nothing says exotic vacation quite like hanging around shabby-looking, quasi-legal money-changer stalls.

Any situation that involves you being in an area where lots of money is known to be, standing around as the solitary foreigner looking confused and a little lost… is a situation you shouldn’t be in. Assuming you don’t get pick-pocketed by a passing thief, you’re likely to be equally taken by the changer from not understanding the exchange rate.

I’ve been there. Better to change cold hard cash at our destination that pay outrageous ATM fees designed to gouge foreigners, right?

Not anymore. Now there’s a solution, and a free one at that. The Charles Schwab High-Yield Investor Checking Account debit card will reimburse you for any ATM fees you incur while traveling abroad worldwide (or at home in the U.S., I might add). And no, you don’t have to “invest” any money with Charles Schwab to get an account. There may be others out there, but I’ve found this one hard to beat. As an added bonus, it comes embedded with an internationally-recognized chip. For obvious reasons, this is one of the most versatile items on our International Travel Checklist.

2. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

If you haven’t noticed by now, the world out there isn’t quite as free as we’re lucky enough to be in the West. In the U.S., we enjoy largely unfettered access to the internet, but in many foreign countries there are significant barriers to what you can access on the web. The Great Firewall of China is the most well-known effort to curtail your activities online, (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and numerous apps are unavailable in China), but plenty of other governments block websites that don’t meet their approval in one way or another.

Additionally, many of the live-streaming websites you might enjoy at home like Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, and others are also inaccessible overseas.

Your best solution is to get a reliable Virtual Private Network (VPN) that allows you to pretend you’re still in the free world. They usually cost under $10 a month, but if you want a decent free version, the browser extension known as Hola Better Internet works pretty well.

3. Universal Outlet Adaptor

You arrive at your hotel, hostel, or Air BnB in some faraway land, exhausted and with your phone or laptop battery at a critical low. You grab your charger and attempt to plug it in the wall when you realize the outlets aren’t designed to accommodate your plug.

We like to be connected (most of the time), especially to let everyone know we arrived alive and well at our destination. This is a simple, easy, and cheap fix. Before you go, find a universal travel adaptor with multiple variations depending on whichever country you are in. You might still find one in your destination country, but the quality will likely be inferior and you likely won’t find any bargains.

Of all the items on our International Travel Checklist, I’ve found this one to be the most overlooked yet essential item to have given all the electronics we lug around everywhere these days.

4. International Driver’s License

Despite having some of the lowest standards for handing out driver’s licenses, the U.S. driver’s license is viewed around the world as a positive affirmation of your driving ability. Strange, but I’m going to complain.

Because of that, it’s a relatively simple process for Americans with driver’s licenses to get international permits for driving in most countries. Triple A has somehow become the internationally-recognized dealer of these licenses. Fortunately, there is no requirement whatsoever that I’ve found apart from paying 15USD and providing two passport-sized photos.

Pro tip: If you plan to ride motorcycles or motorbikes at your destination, the police in that country may want to see additional motorcycle certification on your actual American driver’s license.

5. Electronic book reader/tablet device

I’m biased in favor of paper books, but as travelers it’s important to have more convenient (read: lightweight) options. Since you only have so many pounds or kilograms you can haul for free without paying extra baggage fees, cutting deadweight from your hardback copies of Harry Potter is a wise move.

Having good books to read is a huge asset when traveling abroad. You’re likely going to have plenty of downtime and books are a perfect way to plug back into your native environment when culture shock or pure boredom set in.

For under $100, you can get a decent e-reader and a few books to get started. Pack it.

6. A multi-night sized backpack

Bad news for untrained travelers from the West, not every country in the world is wheelchair-accessible and equipped with functioning escalators, elevators, or even level sidewalks. If you’re traveling in a less-than-developed country, you’re going to learn quickly to keep an eye out for a few new things while walking about. Whether it’s mysterious dripping fluids from apartments, shops, or factories overhead, sidewalks with potholes the size of bowling balls, and broken everything.

In summary, your fancy pants suitcases with 360 degree rotating wheels that are so convenient in the West are an unwieldy physical burden in a lot of foreign countries. If you try to wheel them around everywhere, you’re liable to break the wheels clean off or break an arm trying to maneuver it. A backpack might not be stylish or the most business-like, but you’ll be happy you have it when you get off the subway to see a giant six story escalator that isn’t moving.

7. Power of Attorney

Whether you’re a business person or you just like to be prepared should inconvenience or disaster strike at while you’re traveling, a verified power of attorney might be a great asset. With a trusted agent at home, you might save yourself an expensive trip back home or a complicated (and sometimes equally expensive) trip to your nearest embassy.

There isn’t much these days that requires a wet signature but some of the most important legal or business documents still do. Having a trusted member of your family or a close friend with the ability to sign documents on your behalf can save you all kinds of time and trouble. If nothing else, it’s a convenient way to get things done that you’d otherwise put off until getting back.

8. A cheap burner phone

Not because you’re an international spy (Or maybe you are..), but a cheap and reliable SIM-based phone can make your transition to a foreign country a lot easier. In case you weren’t aware, just about every country has a number of different SIM-based wireless carriers, and many of them are subsidized to make than cheaper than what you’re probably accustomed to.

Calling cards are relics of the past and it’s a great advantage to you to be able to give new business or personal contacts a local number where they can reach you. SIM cards are incredibly cheap in most countries (I’ve found them for as little as $5) and you’ll feel a little more adapted with local digits.

Pro tip: Don’t forget your passport when you go to the wireless store as most countries require valid identification for purchasing SIM cards.

9. The fancy supplements we all love

You know the ones. Essential oils, 10,000% daily-value vitamin capsules and mixes, protein powders or any other great product you use to stay healthy or look good are mostly a phenomenon of the West. Even a lot of high-quality toiletries like facial scrubs, lotions, and hair products are difficult to find in many countries. We sometimes take for granted the fact that we have access to the absolute latest and greatest health supplements known to man, and for pretty cheap.

As a basic rule of thumb, assume that any health supplement or beauty product you’ve seen released in the past five years probably isn’t available where you’re headed. While you can find many things in speciality expat shops, you’re going to pay through the nose and may get an inferior export version. Our advice: Pack a few of your favorite supplements and beauty essentials and wait to buy the basic stuff (deodorant, toothpaste) when you arrive. Unless you have particular preferences for those, too, in which case you may want to bring it along. Staying healthy and looking your best is a must for your International Travel Checklist.

10. A Credit Card With a Great Rewards Program

Another card? Yes. Last but most definitely not least, consider getting a no-annual-fee credit card with a great rewards program. If you’re traveling abroad, you’re likely going to be shelling out a few dollars for lodging, plane tickets, and more. Get some of your investment back in the form of cash or travel-based rewards like airline miles.

It’s important to use these responsibly, though. And if you have any trouble paying off bills in full as soon as they come due, this non-essential essential on our International Travel Checklist probably isn’t for you. If you do decide to get one, try to find one that waives foreign transaction fees.

Pro tip: Cash is still king in most countries around the world, but the most common credit cards accepted are Visa and MasterCard which tend to have the lowest merchant fees.

Travel Club Membership VS Timeshare

In the past Timeshare has been a very popular way of investing money in a property and also to earn the right to ownership of that specific property for a specific week of the year (cost usually an average of $16000).

But as you probably know, when you own a property, there is always some maintenance that needs doing, a new layer of paint every ten years or new bathroom tiling or upgrading the kitchen. There are numerous things that can go wrong with a building, perhaps a fire or even maybe a natural disaster. Yearly maintenance or levies can be and are sometimes very costly. Even if you have not used your week for that year, you still have to pay the yearly maintenance fee.

Travel Club Memberships are rapidly becoming more popular by the day, as people are seeing the benefit of having access to numerous properties, rather than just one, with no monthly or yearly fees and no taxes(with one-time fee memberships). As Travel Club Memberships grow in popularity with people, the product has been adapted to give better value for money, and some of the memberships are so flexible, that they can even be transferred to one’s children or spouse if the owner chooses to do so. Very much like a single property that you may own.

The pros and cons of Timeshare:

Pros:
• It is great investment because your Timeshare week should grow in value over time.
• You are guaranteed a week’s vacation at the property you invested in
• It is an asset that you can transfer to your children
Cons:
• You have a set week that you can use at a single property(not flexible)

• If you choose to use another property, you have to pay exchange fees on top of your yearly fees

• You have to be a member of a property exchange agent to be able to exchange weeks. This is an additional annual fee of about $100

• When exchanging weeks, they are not always available at the preferred location or time

• Monthly or yearly maintenance fees need to be paid ($400 – $1600 annually) which will possibly increase every year.

• You have capital tied up in the property.

The pros and cons of a Travel Club Membership:

Pros:
• It is way cheaper than Timeshare($397 – $5000)
• Travel Memberships normally give you unlimited weeks per year at 5000+ resorts(worldwide) to choose from
• No maintenance or levies need paying
• Some Travel Clubs offer Lifetime membership for a one-time fee
• Free your capital up to invest in something else
• If you don’t use your membership, there are no recurring fees(applies to one-time fee memberships only)
• No need to join an exchange agent for exchanging weeks
• Most of the time the actual cost of staying at the resorts/Condos or Villas is equal to an exchange fee, that you would have had to pay in any case if you wanted to vacation at a different resort with Timeshare
• Some memberships offer cruises and discounted flights

Cons:
• Weeks at resorts are not always available at a specific location or peak times
• You need to be flexible regarding bookings

From looking at the pros and the cons, in my opinion it is obvious that the Travel Club Membership is the better option to buy. Wouldn’t you agree?