Cheap Overseas Airfare: Tips for Making Travel Affordable

People make a lot of excuses why they don’t travel internationally, but no excuse seems to carry more psychological weight or is as just plain wrong as the notion that flying overseas is incredibly expensive. But that notion is simply false. With the right mindset and a handful of tips you can grab flights to foreign countries, even flights to foreign countries located far, far away at huge savings.

Tip 1: Stop Reading About Budget Travel

With a few notable exceptions (including this article) most of the inked spilled on budget travel revolves around ways you can fly to Paris for two days or how you can get half-off cruises to Costa Rica and overly regimented 7-day tours through mainland China. In other words, most of the writing out there dealing with budget travelling focuses on how to take binge trips. Yet, binge trips are not the sort of travel experiences you should aim for.

Also, beware that too much information, even too much good information, can confuse you and that encourages inaction. Using a few tips that work really well will deliver much greater rewards, including greater psychological rewards, than trying to perfect the process with endless study.

Tip 2: Money Isn’t Everything

Which represents the bigger win: 1) Taking 30 minutes to find a $600 round trip flight from JFK to Heathrow, or, 2) Spending 30 hours to find an equivalent overseas ticket? If you responded with the 30-minute ticket you understand an important element in overseas travel- the value of your airfare is more important than the raw dollars and cents you pay for it.

Money is an element of value, but it’s only one brick in a much larger wall. You need to consider the time, the mental exertion, and the emotional expense that goes into the process. This means paying a little more and saving yourself 29.5 hours is a much better deal than getting the absolute lowest price possible.

Tip 3: Pay Extra for Convenience and Reliability

As a quick upshot to the topic of value, it’s important you don’t search for the cheapest ticket you can find, but search for the best combination of convenience and cost. Trust me- it’s worth plunking down a little extra cash for a one-way ticket to London than saving some scratch and tackling four layovers and 10 hours to your trip.

Reliability, knowing you’re going to be able to make it out of the country when you want to, is also crucial to successful world travel. Can you sometimes grab an ultra-cheap last minute ticket to Brazil by simply making calls to airlines the day you want to leave? Sure you can. But you might also end up paying way more than you would if you bought a discount ticket a few weeks in advance. If the deal you find today is “good enough” then purchase it and stop dreaming about the White Whales of discount travel.

Tip 4: Accumulating Travel-Related Awards Points Requires Commitment

Reward points are awesome and can really help make your goal of circumnavigating the globe affordable. But accumulating enough rewards points to grab a trip out of the country requires a level of commitment most would-be world travellers don’t think about when they sign up for a new Amex card.

In one program I used a round-trip ticket to Japan that costs about 60,000 points. For most of us, putting $60,000 on a credit card doesn’t represent a fast or low-cost way to finally explore the future-shock of Tokyo.

The rules of gaming the rewards points market to transform world travel into a guilt-free after-thought are complex and deserve their own article. For now just know rewards points do NOT represent an effort-free pass to grid skipping.

Tip 5: Nothing Will Save You More Money Than a Flexible Schedule

Airlines are constantly selling ultra-low priced tickets to exotic destination, they just don’t heavily advertise these steals.

When searching through travel price comparison websites it’s extremely common to find a ticket for $500 sandwiched between two nearly identical tickets going for $1,500. The difference between a $500 ticket and a $1,500 ticket is usually the difference between leaving on a Tuesday instead of leaving on a Monday or leaving at the end of one month instead of departing at the beginning of the next.

There are certain generally true rules you can keep in mind when picking your arrival and departure dates, but the rule which seems to express itself with the most iron-clad regularity is the fact it’s cheaper to fly out on a Tuesday, a Wednesday or a Thursday than it is to travel from Friday to Monday.

The more flexible your travel schedule the greater the chance you can snag a great deal, but if you have to set down solid travel dates plunk them down in the middle of the week, and as a general rule always try to start looking for tickets at least a few weeks before your proposed departure date.

Tip 6: Use Kayak and Orbitz

Using Kayak and Orbitz offers the most reliable method for finding inexpensive international airfare. In case you don’t know, these two websites search through hundreds of airline and airfare websites to find the cheapest tickets currently on sale for your dates and destinations. There are quite a few fare comparison websites around these days but you only really need to look through Orbitz and Kayak to consistently grab the best deals. I start out with Kayak and only use Orbitz to double check my results, but Orbitz used to be my favorite fare comparison website.

Why do I now favor Kayak? Is it because Kayak launched a huge and entertaining marketing initiative last year? Am I just easily swayed by advertising? Not at all. I prefer Kayak these days because Kayak’s “Flexible Dates” option lets you search for the cheapest airfare within a massive 30-day period. That’s right, on Kayak you can tell the site you want to fly from LaGuardia to Morocco sometime between May 5th and June 5th and the site will give you a breakdown of the cheapest flights available on every single one of those days, all put into a convenient little calendar. Orbitz, by contrast, only lets you search within a 3-day fare window.

Tip 7: Pick an International Hub First

As a final note it’s almost always cheaper to fly to a highly-trafficked international city first and then to fly to your final destination from there. It’s cheaper to fly to Bangkok first then take a regional flight to Laos or Cambodia. It costs a whole lot less to purchase a ticket to Heathrow and then take EasyJet flight to Paris than it costs to fly directly to Paris. If you book far enough in advance (usually just a few weeks, sometimes a month or two) you can get these sorts of short flights on regional airlines for minuscule amounts.

Finding international hubs isn’t difficult. Often to find the right international hub you just need to use common sense and assume London is a higher-traffic hub than Glasgow, that Hong Kong sees more daily flights than Bali.

Take a little time to explore your options as obvious international hub doesn’t always offer the cheapest option (ie: flying from New York City to Berlin can be cheaper than New York City to London). So, do a little research you will come up with a good value fairly quickly.

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A Visit to Fife’s East Neuk – Anstruther Scottish Fisheries Museum

It was an early November Saturday morning when I drove to Anstruther under blue skies touched with occasional light cloud. I found a parking space beside the Anstruther Fish Bar on the Shore Road not 30 metres from the museum and made straight for the museum. After a coffee and cake at the museum cafe, I paid the entrance fee to the elderly lady volunteer at the entrance desk who advised me that I couldn’t use my camera inside and handed me an A4 guide to the layout of the museum.

The entrance to the exhibits is through a courtyard littered with random anchors, rope, netting, and in the top right hand side, a large shallow pond made of black plastic measuring maybe 5 by 5 metres. There was no clue as to the function of this pool, however, a brief conversation with the lady at the entrance desk revealed that the local model boat club sail their boats on it. Above the yard is a wooden balcony. The entrance to the first exhibition space is straight through the courtyard through “The brown door that is open so you can’t see it is brown.” said the lady at the desk.

The doorway opens onto a reconstruction of a log boat (circa 500 AD) modelled on a boat found in 1823 made in 1991 by some volunteers with an axe and later, large blisters. It was floated out in the harbour and handled well it seems. It now has developed a large split in the bow but I suspect it would still float.

I walked up the ramp (the exhibits seem to be accessible by wheelchair) past a “Welcome” notice and some framed artwork and poetry. Further up the slope are images and information on early methods of catching fish such as trapping (exhibits of fish traps), spearing (examples of multi-pronged fish spears) and gathering (shellfish, crustaceans and fish) at low tide. The exhibit makes clear that the gathering of shellfish is very ancient.

A hands-on exhibit of a reconstruction of an ancient midden indicates how archaeologists have discovered this. It is a box of sand with random bits of marine shells that you can sift through and then identify the shell fragments. Beware! Some of the shell fragments are sharp. More information boards show the caves in red sandstone cliffs at East Wemyss and the ancient (500 – 900 AD) carvings of a ship and a fish found inside. Further up the slope were pictures of early boats and hull building styles, a full size (6 metre long) clinker built boat and creels for lobster and crab.

Onwards and upwards to the next level to a tableau of a man and woman in late Victorian dress working with long lines. The information boards explained the two different types of of long line and why long lines might be better than nets for catching fish although very labour intensive. The baiting with mussel and lug-worm was women’s work and the setting out and hauling in of the lines was men’s. Women would bait up to 5000 hooks as well as attending to their other daily duties. Women would also carry their men to the boats to keep them dry. I reflected on this and came to the conclusion that if a man got wet before he set out, he would stay wet and get cold. This is not a good survival strategy and a sick man could not work and look after his family. A woman could dry off later on. No place for delicate ladies here.The centre of the room was taken up by glass cases containing models of fishing vessels.

Around the walls hung paintings and old photographs of life around a fishing port. Towards the top of the room was an example of how a net was made which you could try if you followed the instructions, and also a cabinet of china and porcelain items linked to the theme of fishing. As I moved around the room the reason for the model boats became apparent. They demonstrated the relative strengths and weaknesses of hull shapes depending on how they were to be used. In addition, there was a case of navigational equipment as might be used by the 19th century mariner such as sextant, chart, compass, telescope. The brass sextant was a very beautiful and complex instrument and my father who was in the navy had to use one when he served during WW2. But what do you do when you cannot get a clear sun or star sighting? Ready reckoning? I think I prefer the ease and accuracy of a GPS device!

The focus changed as I walked out of the room up the slope to the next set of exhibits. On the wall was a precis of fishing legislation over the centuries. There seems to have been laws on fishing in this country almost as long as there have been written records. To the left was a tableau of a sail-maker in his loft with all the associated manilla and hemp rope, cord and sailcloth. Also on this level was a display of knots and wooden rigging blocks. As a one time boy scout I was familiar with some of the knots, but was intrigued by some I had never seen before.

A little further up the slope and I entered a roomful of exhibits relating to the merchandising of fish. To the right was a clerk at a desk and a list of harbour dues and bound ledgers at his side. To the left was a much larger set of exhibits, the first of fish lassies (fish queans in Aberdeen dialect pronounced ‘coins’) gutting and packing the herring. Working in teams of 3 (2 to gut and 1 to pack into the barrels) a lassie could gut 60 fish a minute. To meet the Crown Standards (set in 1815), the fish had to be gutted and packed in brine within 24 hours of catching so they sometimes worked until 1am in the morning if the catch had been big, very occasionally until 6am; which didn’t stop them from going out to the dancing on Saturday nights. They were known for their hard work and sense of humour. Working 6 days a week, 6000 fish lassies followed the fleet around the UK from the North of Scotland down to the fishing ports of Eastern England staying in bothies beside the sea. A lassie could earn between £17 and £20 in a season. Beside this scene was a cooper making barrels surrounded by the tools of his trade, a trade vital to the fishing industry in the days before refrigeration. After a 4 year apprenticeship, a skilled cooper could make 70 barrels a week.

On leaving the room I followed the sloped ramps down into an ante-room whose theme was whaling. A small rowing boat with a figure throwing a harpoon was tucked into the left hand corner and the implements used to slaughter and cut up whales lined the walls. A history of whaling was contained on information boards and photographs. Much of the story seemed to be about the gradual extinction of the animal across the oceans over several hundred years in the search for whales so that their fat could be rendered down for fine oil for lamps and their bones for all kinds of domestic uses, most notably for corsets. Despite a moratorium on whaling, some nations still believe that their best interests are served by continuing this activity.

The tour takes you past a small chapel on the left. The walls are covered in hundreds of brass plates with the names of men and boats lost at sea. I found the chapel a quiet and moving reminder of the dangers of this industry which continues to take men year after year (e.g. The Gaul 1974) despite all the modern devices on boats. In previous centuries, a bad storm could wipe out the men of whole communities. Today many boats are worked by a single family, and the loss of a single boat (e.g. Solway Harvester 2000) can devastate a family. An additional reminder of the dangers of the sea came later when I found that the local lifeboat had been called out nearly 50 times from January 2009 up to mid October 2009.

The next room’s theme was steam versus sail. Surprisingly, steam was not such an advantage since the engines and coal took up room that might otherwise be used for the catch; they were more expensive to run and buy; sail was faster (true!). However, the steam boat could run against the wind and was more effective for trawling which needs a steady pull in one direction. However, sailing boats did use steam winches so that they could haul heavier, larger nets. Just past the display cabinets holding steam artefacts (shovels, brass whistle, lamps) in a corner of the room are some chairs for watching a video by John Grierson about the North Sea herring fleet made in 1929.

It’s 40 minutes long so I didn’t watch it this time around, but I think you can buy this as a DVD in the shop. Further round the room is a reconstruction of a very cramped cabin with bunks. You can lie down in the lower one, but the headroom is tiny and you will crack your head if you get up suddenly. When I was scuba diving I spent a few nights at sea in just such a bunk. It takes a bit of getting used to but it’s very snug. There is also information on how the boats were used during wartimes and the high calorie diet working seamen ate. Additionally, there are cases of model boats showing the evolution of the Zulu hull from the Fifie and the Scaffie hulls.

I left this room to go down the slope to the wheelhouse display. This is a metal wheel house cut in one piece from the fishing boat “The Brighter Hope III”, then half sectioned to allow a view of the wheelhouse complete with all its navigational equipment: echo sounder, radar, compass, radio. Behind the wheelhouse is a small cabin. Beyond the wheelhouse is a large display of model fishing boats showing how the shapes evolved from 1930 to the present. Also shown are fishing artefacts in modern materials: plastic fish boxes, polypropylene nets, nylon ropes etc.

Through a doorway I came upon a temporary exhibition detailing the life and work of a 19th century naturalist, Frank Buckland. There are many items pertaining to his work and life spread around the walls and in cases. The exhibition is changed 3 or 4 times a year.

I passed down the sloped corridor lined with old internal combustion engines to the engine room. There are many examples of marine diesel engines from early types right up to recent times. I confess that I don’t find these modern compact power plants terribly exciting to look at. In the corner of the room is a full size model fishmonger’s shop complete with model fishmonger and fish on a slab.

I walked back up the slope to find out where the music/drumbeat I kept hearing was coming from. This turned out to be the short video at the entrance to the Zulu gallery. The theme is further explored down-slope in to an exhibition area dedicated to the Zulu hull. This hull shape was arrived at by combining the most functional elements of 2 other hull types, the Scaffie and the Fifie, to give the Zulu great manoeuvrability, deck space and stability in rough weather. The hull shape was named by the Scots in honour of the greatly admired Zulus who were fighting the British army in the late 1870′s.

The boats were up to 80 feet long, but could be much smaller. Many were converted during the change from sail to power. The room leads into a huge space where the impressive hull of the old Zulu fishing boat, the Research, is housed. The Research now has no deck, and I was struck by the exposed massively strong ribs and hull timbers. Around the walls are the stories of the men who sailed in her. I could not work out how the boat had been installed in the building since there are no large doors anywhere. I later discovered from photographs that the building was erected around the boat!

I re-entered the courtyard and negotiated my way past the big plastic pond to climb some stone steps in a corner of the courtyard. These lead up to a recreation of a fisherman’s cottage and loft of the late 19th century. It consists of 2 small rooms in which the entire family, maybe 3 generations, lived. It looks very cramped but cosy with the range for warming the room, heating water and cooking the food at the far wall. There is another room just to the right containing a small organ. Above these rooms is the loft where every conceivable bit of gear related to fishing boats was stacked or hung up on the rafters. I was most impressed by the long leather sea boots that need a special tool to remove. Nailed soles would give good grip on a wet deck, but later I thought that if you went overboard, they would fill with water and take you down.

After over 2 1/2 hours, I was ready for some lunch so I returned to the cafe. They did a nice cheese roll and coffee and the girls at the counter were really pleasant and helpful. The main room has windows to the back with a view of the courtyard, and to front with a view of the harbour. The food and coffee are plain, good, and cheap. The chocolate cake I had earlier was delicious and there were plenty of locals who had just come in for lunch, or just coffee and cake which I took to be a good sign. The recently refurbished cafe is decorated with pictures of ships but what really caught my eye was the tea towel with local fishermen’s superstitions.

  • A minister is not allowed on a boat (he is a sky pilot)
  • Never wear green
  • Never set sail on a Sunday
  • Never put shoes on a table (my wife is horrified if anyone does this in our house) No whistling (you might call up a storm)

There are a raft load of others regarding diet and subjects of conversation which must be observed lest you bring bad luck to the boat.

I have not by any means covered all that the museum has to offer nor is there space here to fully document all the exhibits I saw. However, the museum has an excellent web site which you might consult which briefly details other aspects of the museum that I have not touched upon. There is a also a shop where you can buy souvenirs of your visit. While I was there, I asked if there was a book on the museum and its artefacts but sadly this is not the case. I also wonder if it might be a good idea to create a personal audio guide to the museum to add breadth and depth to the well labelled exhibits. This is an increasingly common practice nowadays in museums and art galleries which I find helpful.

My visit to the lifeboat station across the road didn’t go so well as the both boats had been launched a few hours before for training. I was invited to take a look around the gallery displaying pictures of previous crews and a brief history of the station and its boats. I shall have to go back to have another look when the boats are in.

On a personal note, my ancestors were boat builders and farmers in the Orkney Isles and almost certainly fishermen as well. A cousin showed me an old photograph of some of my ancestors gathered around a big boat that they were building taken from the wall of an Orkney pub. Also from hints my father dropped, I think he served on fishing boats at the end of WW2 removing mines and destroying them with 303 rifle fire. He did say that it was a good idea to be a long way from them when they went up.

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Experience Guatemala

A tour of upland Guatemala will immerse the traveler in the archeology of the last aboriginal Maya of 900-1524, with unparallel experiences in how archaeological knowledge about society, culture and astronomy is read in the ruins of the richest civilization of the Americas. The adventure travelers are guided by an archaeologist, who is author of many volumes. Our archaeologist tour director also deciphers the principal Mayan sites of the always climatically temperate highlands. The many Maya who live in the region today also provide keys in their lifeways to reconstructing the rich past. This incomparable experience of learning by doing archeology and anthropology is coupled observations of the incredibly rich flora and fauna under the guidance of an expert ornithologist.

Mayan Green Tours is offering a ten day expedition combining archeology, cultural anthropology and birding – to Guatemala during June 11-22, 2007. The four thousand-year-old Mayan culture still flourishes in highland Guatemala among millions of Mayan speakers today. While a glimpse of the aboriginal Maya is viewed in this year's film Apocalypto our tour situates our members while still living Mayan communities with their colorful costumes, religious rituals and dance ballads, and more generally lifeways of the millennia. The discerning traveler that experiences the ancient Maya in their archaeological cities located on mountaintop as well as the living Maya at the foot of these mountain sites in their indigenous communities of today. This is the most authentic adventure and educational learning setting of the premier indigenous civilization of the Americas. In the achievements of writing, city building and the architecture of kings and high practices in palaces and temples, the Maya rank among the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans and Chinese. If one is to fully understand the Americas, understanding its civilization is a must.

The observation of the wildlife in its natural habitat is the second of our twin goals. The Mayan landscape is also a biotic treasure trove where wildlife abounds around every tree. The setting of highland Guatemala is also unparallel in its natural beauty-lofty volcanoes ring highland lakes, a rich diversity in flora and fauna are set in a year round spring-like climate of temperate days and cool evenings. The different altitudes make excursion rich in an ever-changing biotic diversity each and every mile. Ecotourism thus multiplies the Maya experience in their natural settings.

We travel by van across the verdant highland valleys and mountains to see the Mayan cities in their natural settings as they were on the eve of the arrival of the Europeans immediately following Columbus. Our first stop outside of Central America's metropolis of Guatemala City is to Iximche, the location of the first Guatemala City (called then "Cuauthemala") where the Spanish Conquistadores garrisoned in 1524. At 7,000 feet elevation, the citadel of Iximche was capital to the Cakchiquel Maya with what the Spanish conquistadors allied in their strategy to "divide and conquer" the major Mayan kingdoms. This strategy was an improbable one of succeeding – for the native population was in the millions and the Spanish military force was merely in the hundreds. But in the final analysis the plan defied the odds in victory. Yet the Maya have deal with conquerors before and have endured to rise again. And they have, for they represent the only indigenous American civilization still intact in so many of its original practices

The magnificent palaces, temples, ancient ballcourts, and murals at Iximche have been brought to light by meticulous archaeological excavation so that the site is the best preserved in the highlands. The city is intact and all there for understanding of meanings ascribed by the Maya. At this highest site in altitude and all sites that the tour visits a variety of birds inhabit the ruins.

Day two will find the group on Lake Atitlan, which is incomparable for its pristine beauty, for birding within the Reserva Natural Atitlan where hundreds of species of birds have been sighted and recorded. Next, we boat 10 miles across the lake and tour the destroyed Tzutuhil capital of Chuitinamit in one of the most picturesque spots in the world. The more avian minded adventurers may climb on the forest engulfed Volcano of San Pedro with rich vistas of the tropical birds and of the Pacific coastal plain below.

In cosmology, Lake Atitlan was the southernmost edge of the Mayan world and was conceived as the place of the famous creation of humanity dramatized in the Mayan book of the Popol Vuh. (This book is the single largest native American epic, and has been translated into every European language plus many more around the world). After an evening of birding in San Lucas Toliman, the group may participate in the continued mapping of the only known Mayan zodiac. The archaeological remains of the zodiac, with each of the constellations of the night sky carved on huge boulders, is where the assembled Mayan tribes would ignite the flame of the solar calendar during the last week of January each year. The Mayan chronicles detail the actual ceremony and dance; Vestiges of the ancient ceremony were enabled until about 50 years ago and are still remembered.

While the zodiac was simply the ritual south point for a highland Maya, the political and cosmic center was Utatlan (K'umarcaaj). This city was seen as center of the Mayan ritual and political cosmos. The astronomical principles dictating the arrangement of temples, caves and palaces of this most revered of the highland Mayan ies to coincide with the equinoxes, solstices and the rising and setting of particular constellations, will be decoded on site by Dr. Fox, based on his three decades of research.

When the conquistadors burned Utatlan as bastion of Mayan resistance in 1524, its population was forcibly removed to nearby Chichicastenango. Members of the tour will have the opportunity to bargain with Mayan vendors for their handicrafts of textiles, dance masks, pottery and much more in the biweekly market of today in the central plaza of Chichicastenango in much the same way it was when held in the central Plaza of Utatlan before.

The tour culminates in a flight to Tikal in the lowlands to see two hundred foot high temples loom above the jungle canopy and relish in the experiences of some of the richest birding locales in the world. Birding enthusiasts will probably note this as a highlight of the trip as do most visitors to Tikal. Tikal is testament to the grandeur and mettle of the Classic Maya. It is an enduring legacy in which the people of Guatemala take great pride.

The traveler will return with remembrances to fill a lifetime; The Maya will be known first hand in person and in their mighty archaeological achievements which have come to represent the indigenous civilization of the Americas. Flora and fauna will be observed and probably photographed in their native habitats in both the highlands highlands and lowlands -together observing almost unparallel species diversity.

Dr. John Fox together with Roy Smallwood formed Mayan Green Tours, Inc. To introduce tours to the rich archaeological and cultural labyrinth and ecosphere of Guatemala. Dr. Fox is a leading authority on the Maya and has published extensively having spent 30 years researching the highland Guatemala. Roy Smallwood joins the tour assisting in the identification of the avifauna of Guatemala.

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The Importance of a Database Management System to Businesses

Database management systems (DBMS) reinforce the use of papers in recording business transactions. Before, it was necessary to take note of every purchase and customer data. Employees had to go through a pile of documents to search for and update company or client information. Now, with DBMS software, you do not need to spend time browsing forms in the office. You can just encode, look up, change, and manage important business details with a computer and a server.

Data management has come a long way before software rose to popularity. Manual typewriters and filing cabinets were useful, but they lost their spots in the modern workplace. Almost all businesses replaced them with computers and internal servers to make work easier and faster. Read on to know how this technology changes companies.

What is a database management system?

A DBMS is a pool of information. Here is where you can store data for your perusal. You can also trace reports from previous years, provided the system covers the duration. This keeps the details organized and reduces errors in your business. DBMS have different features, which can range from adding entries to retrieving them when the network fails.

A DBMS can help in many ways. If your company focuses on commerce, you can manage a deal and provide for your clients faster. Whether it is for orders or payments, you can complete a transaction with the help of a DMBS and an SQL server support. Your staff can also save time from looking through old documents and be more productive in the office.

How DBMS software works

Modern DBMS comes in the form of software. You only need to install these programs in your computers at work. For you to share information, however, a Structured Query Language server is necessary. This SQL server manages the database and lets you work in a network. Other computers can access and request data that the SQL server covers.

Who can use DBMS software?

More industries are discovering the potential of DBMS software. Libraries and bookstore find it easier to catalogue books according to authors, titles, and subjects. Customers can just consult the system to look for the documents they need.

Airline companies and hotels also use DBMS for their reservation and payments. This allows clients to check-in faster and make the most of their travel or accommodation. Some health and academic institutions are starting to install DBMS to record medical and educational information.

Where you can get DBMS software?

Database administrators (DBA) can arrange your server and keep your data safe. These specialists are well versed in computer languages and database issues. With their help, you can store, recover, and secure information. They provide support services to make sure that the system works well in any situation.

Before you work with an SQL team, check if they are Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professionals (MCITP). Microsoft, as one of the top SQL brands, grants certification among IT specialists who went through trainings for their software.

Your business can do better with a Database Management System. Increase work productivity and consult companies offering SQL server support for reliable solutions.

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Hawaii (The big Island) – A City Guide


There’s no place on earth quite like this handful of sun-drenched,

mid-Pacific islands. The Hawaii of South Seas literature and Hollywood

films really does exist. Here one will find palm-fringed blue lagoons,

lush rainforests, hidden gardens, cascading waterfalls, wild rivers

running through rugged canyons, and soaring volcanoes. And those

beaches — gold, red, black, and even green sands caressed by endless

surf – a perfect place for spending holidays.


After a series of battles that ended in 1795 and peaceful cession of

the island of Kauai in 1810, the Hawaiian Islands were united for the

first time under a single ruler who would become known as King

Kamehameha the Great. He established the House of Kamehameha, a dynasty

that ruled over the kingdom until 1872. One of the most important

events during those years was the suppression of the Hawaii Catholic

Church. The Newlands Resolution was passed on July 7, 1898, formally

annexing Hawaii as a United States territory. In 1900, it was granted

self-governance and retained Iolani Palace as the territorial capitol

building. In March 1959, both houses of Congress passed the Admission

Act and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law. On June

27 of that year, a plebiscite was held asking residents of Hawaii to

vote on accepting the statehood bill. After statehood, Hawaii quickly

became a modern state with a construction boom and rapidly growing


Place of Interest

It will not be a small list if anyone tries to make a list of all

tourist attractions. The partial list should be look like this:

  • Akaka Falls,
  • Captain Dan McSweeney’s Year-Round Whale-Watching Adventures
  • Captain Zodiac,
  • Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center,
  • Fair Wind Snorkeling and Diving Adventures,
  • Hapuna Golf Course,
  • Mauna Lani Frances I’i Brown Championship Courses,
  • Pololu Valley Lookout,
  • Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park,
  • World Botanical Garden.
  • Museums & Art Galleries

    Some of the major museums are

  • East Hawaii Cultural Center
  • Hulihee Palace Museum
  • Jaggar Museum
  • Kamuela Museum
  • Kona Historical Society
  • Lyman House Memorial Museum
  • Mokupapapa: Discovery Center For Hawaii’s Remote Coral Reefs
  • Pacific Tsunami Museum
  • Parker Ranch Museum
  • are some of the museums in Big Island.Hawaii’s Big Island has a number of art gallery and cultural

    centers. Among them:

  • Hawaiian Art Network
  • Dreams Of Paradise
  • Gallery Of Great Things
  • Holualoa Gallery
  • Spirit Art Studio
  • Volcano Garden Arts
  • are some to mention about.


    Hawaii Big Island hosts open market places with hundreds of merchants

    selling their hand crafted items under the open sky. These market

    places are one of the main tourist attractions here. Alii Gardens

    Marketplace, Long Ears Coffee Company, Kuaiwi Farm, Mountain Thunder

    Coffee Plantation, Akatsuka Orchid Gardens, Anthuriums Of Hawaii,

    Hawaii Greenhouse Inc., Panaewa Hawaiian Homelands Farmers Market,

    Volcano Farmers Market are some of the famous marketplaces.

    Besides these market places shopping malls and individual shops are

    there in Hawaii Big Island. Hilo Hattie – The Store of Hawaii, Hilo

    Shopping Center, Keauhou Shopping Center, King’s Shops, Kona Coast

    Shopping Center, Lanihau Center are some shopping centers in Hawaii Big


    Food & Drink

    So many restaurants, so little time for a traveler when it comes the

    time to wine and dine in Big Island. The Big Island’s delicious dilemma

    is its daunting size and abundant offerings of its own cuisine. Shaka

    Restaurant, Anthony’s Bistro & Bar, Charley’s Bar & Grill,

    Grand Palace, Ting Hao, Bamboo Restaurant, Hualalai Grille By Alan

    Wong, Merriman’s, Aloha Angel Café, Big Island Grill are some of

    the great places for wine and dine. Except these restaurants and bars,

    Hawaii Big Island has a lot to offer to satisfy everyone’s taste bud.


    Big Island hosts

  • More than 37 Public schools,
  • More than 15 Private schools,
  • University of Hawaii at Hilo
  • Hawaii Community College – part of the University of Hawaii

  • Students choosing private education attend Brigham Young


    Hawaii, Chaminade University of Honolulu, Hawaii Pacific University

    and University of the Nations.
  • Sports

    Hawaii Big Island has lots to offer for the tourists to attend and

    participate in different sports like Scuba diving, Horse back riding,

    fishing, Golf, Cycling and hiking.

    Hotels & Accommodation

    Some budget hotels in Hawai are mentioned bellow.

  • Aaah the Views Bed & Breakfast
  • Affordable Hawaii at Pomaikai (Lucky) Farm Bed & Breakfast
  • Cook’s Discoveries Waimea Suite
  • Kona Tiki Hotel
  • Volcano Bed & Breakfast
  • The Bay House
  • Manago Hotel
  • Beside these budget hotels some mid range to hi-end hotels are there:

  • Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu
  • Kona Village Resort
  • The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii
  • Hilton Waikoloa Village
  • Horizon Guest House
  • Kanaloa at Kona
  • Tours

    and Sightseeing


    tours are available in Hawaii

    Big Island. Beside the beaches these tours cover all the Hawaii Big

    Island places and activities. Tours’ nature is guided or self guided.

    The tours are rich in contents. It may be walking

    or hiking tours through Thurston Lava Tube at Hawaii

    Volcanoes National Park, or snorkeling

    in Kahaluu Beach Park or it may be a submarine

    tour into the Underwater

    World. Different

    tours are there in offer. The Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center,

    Watching the Volcano is also in the content of the tour.


    Flying is the most common way to get to Hawaii’s Big Island. Air

    travelers are serviced by Kona International Airport (KOA) on the west

    side of the island, and Hilo International Airport (ITO) on the east.

    National and international carriers offer both direct and non-stop

    flights to KOA and ITO.

    An alternate method of getting to Hawaii’s Big Island is aboard a

    cruise ship. Several ships make weekly stops in Hilo Harbor on the East

    side, and also generally visit Kailua Bay on the West side.

    Different car rental is available for transportation. These car rentals

    can be done by the on request to the hotels. The Big Island’s public

    transportation system, called Hele-On, consists of a main route between

    Hilo and Kailua-Kona that operates once a day in each direction, plus

    several feeder routes to Volcano, Pahoa and Waikoloa that run two or

    three times a day.

    About the Author

    Name: Nivedita Balamurugan

    Occupation: Traveler

    Website: []

    Biography: Nivedita is with The Reservation Center – providers of

    discounted tours to make your vacations and sightseeing trips in

    various cities across the world as comfortable and enjoyable as


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    Facts About Cornhole

    Cornhole is a game that has been played for a very long time now. Though its popularity may have decreased in the last years, it still remains to be one of the simplest yet very fun games of all time. This game is played by many people in different countries. Many people loved it since it could be played by anyone and can be played in many different places with enough space. The materials used for the game is not that hard to find and can even be made by the players themselves if they want to. It is ideal for different occasions such as birthday parties, team events, and even a regular gathering of friends and family members. Even if you have not heard or tried this game, you can easily learn it. Rules are relatively simple much like other corn toss games and games like horseshoe and washer toss. Children will definitely have a great time playing it as well as adults.

    The game is played by 2 opposing players or teams. A special platform is made for this game which is has an angle of inclination of about 45 degrees and has a hole. 2 platforms are placed on opposite sides and a string may or may not connect them together. The distance between the 2 platforms would depend on the players' preference but they are usually around 15 to 20 feet apart. Each team would have 4 all weather bean bags each which are filled with corn kernels. Players take turn in throwing all their bags. If the bag goes inside the hole, the player who thread it will be given 3 points. If the bag does not go inside the hole but remains at the top of the platform, it is considered as 1 point. If the bag settles at the edge of the platform, the platform is lifted to determine whether the bag stays on top or falls off of it. No point is given if the bag falls off the platform.

    In order to win the game, a team must score 21 points. A round is over when each team throws one bag each. In a round, the total score that is given to a team is the difference of the points gained by each team. For example in round 1 team A scored 3 points and team B scored 1 point, 2 points will be awarded to team A for that particular round. This game is typically played in a lawn but it could also be played in other venues which have sufficient space. It is great for team building activities and parties as well. It would also be ideal if you want to pass time with your friends.

    Cornhole is a type of game that will be loved by future generations. Although it is old and simple, it is very fun to play. It is a great alternative to video games and it is also a way to have quality time with people who are special to you.

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    Tips To Create Signs for a Profitable Business

    A successful physical retail business needs to get noticed to attract customers and improve sales. In this tech centric world, marketing online and over mobile have become the latest trend in advertising. However, an old fashioned business sign is the perfect way to grab the attention of people. A sign is your silent but highest selling salesman. More than 50% of small retailers consider signage and graphics effective in attaining profit to their business.

    Few tricks to attract the customers to your business is discussed here,

    - Be specific while designing a sign. A customized sign provides the right message in the perfect place. Do not fail to include relevant product information and details that is location specific.

    - In-store signs have equal important just as the attention grabbing outdoor signs. It makes shopping easier for the customers as they could navigate inside the store without needing the help of the staffs. It is essential to set standards for the signs and the color, visibility, messaging, and quality of the signs should be considered thoroughly.

    - Hire a reputed sign company who create signs in an easy and effective way to urge foot traffic and to communicate with the customer.

    - Try to deliver a simple message clearly because too much information is often ignored. Adopt the five second rule which states that the main themes of the sign should be conveyed within the duration of five seconds. If you cannot achieve that, shorten your message or make a series of signs.

    - The choice of the color plays a major role in a design. Studies have shown that about 80 percent of the recognition of a brand is due to its color. It is best to select everlasting colors rather than using trendy colors that could be an eyesore the next year.

    Another important factor to consider is the contrast in signs for readability. It is critical for the viewer’s retention of the content.

    - The size of the letters really matters. The larger the letter, the easier it is to read. This is specifically important in creating signs for roadside or for the signs that will be displayed at a significant distance from the customers.

    - If you are launching a new product make it to project out on the floor using unique signs and visual graphics to catch the attention of the shoppers.

    If you manage to practice these tips, you will be way ahead in leveraging signage to your retail advantage and you could profit drastically.

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    Gift Basket Business Earnings and Profits – Can You Make a ‘Six Figure’ Salary?

    The profit potential of the gift basket business is kind of blurry to some before they get started and they could be forgiven for wondering if a full-time income is possible. In this article we look at the profit potential of the gift basket business, how much earning and profit are possible, and lastly we look at the factors that separate the ‘six figure’ operators from the small timers.

    Typical Gift Basket Business Earnings

    For gift basket business owners operating out of their homes it is not unreasonable to expect to turnover between $15,000 to $25,000 in the first year of business if they work hard allowing for a profit of around $6,000 to $10,000. Once a business in this industry gets better established owners can expect a typical annual salary of around $20,000 to $25,000 part time or $30,000 to $80,000 full-time.

    To break into the ‘six figure’ level companies usually have to expand out of the home business model and move into commercial space. Many gift basket businesses allow their owners to take home an income of over $100,000 a year and for some players in this business much more has been possible.

    What does it take to Earn ‘Six Figures’?

    1) While some business owners in this industry do very well from home, only with commercial premises can you really get the space and facilities to take your gift basket business to the next level. A store front will also increase your market exposure and give your business a much more professional appearance.

    2) The successful players in this business control the Internet and make it a key part of their marketing strategy. This involves refining their websites until they offer customers the perfect shopping experience and the easiest ordering process. Understanding how to drive large numbers of targeted visitors to a website is also important.

    3) Referrals and repeat orders are one way to acquire new customers for no advertising spend. By showing clients a high standard of service and making their experience with your company truly unique you can benefit immensely from word of mouth marketing.

    Mistakes in this business can be unforgivable and cause you to lose clients. Put systems in place to ensure that you have fool-proof ordering and delivery systems.

    4) The winners in this business all have extremely well thought through sales and marketing plans. They understand the market well, develop the right products and use the appropriate methods to market their products. Some high earners have devised sales processes that bring in corporate clients and they thrive in this area.

    5) The top performers have a core product range of baskets that they know sell well but they also continue to innovate and try new things.

    6) Branding is also important for building business value over the long term. A recognizable brand makes sales and marketing a lot easier than it is for a newly established brand. Brand development takes time but is well worth the effort.

    7) Lastly, knowing how to hire and manage employees is a skill that can also help push your business over the ‘six figure’ barrier. To scale up your productivity to fulfill the volume of orders that you need to be highly profitable you need to have a team in place and know how to communicate with them to get things done.

    As with most industries though, marketing is the key to success and the most difficult part of running a gift basket business is making sales. If you look at the best players in this business you will see that they have had their success by either mastering online sales, corporate sales or retailing.

    Making a decent annual income is not impossible in the gift basket business if you focus on these success factors that typically separate the successful business from the amateurs.

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    Increase the Size of Your Manhood by 4" and Get a Beach Bulge For the Summer! Natural Enlargement

    There are lots of men out there who would like to get themselves a bigger penis, and this is even more true when it comes around to that time of year again – summer. All of those beach holidays to look forward to and all of that sun, sea and sand to enjoy. Except, if you have a small manhood, stripping down to your underpants is the last thing you want to do. Year after year, I suffered the embarrassment of a tiny member while all of my mates enjoyed the sun – but everything has changed this summer and it’s all thanks to natural enlargement…

    What is natural enlargement and how big can you grow?

    It’s a completely new way to create REAL growth in your penis and will allow you to finally add those extra inches you’ve always wanted! I am 4 inches bigger this year and I did it by following a natural enhancement scheme – you could achieve the same results this way too.

    So how does it work?

    To finally get that beach body, you will need to realise that the only way to create growth is by listening to what your body actually needs. The truth is that your manhood wants to grow, it just doesn’t have the correct biochemicals to do that at this moment in time. Your task is to make sure that you give your body all of the biochemicals it needs – and this is where the natural enhancement scheme will be used. Biochemicals are the key ingredients for growth and they are absolutely VITAL to your success.

    Why did the body grow during puberty? Was that down to biochemicals?

    Yes it was, that’s exactly what happened. During puberty, your body was able to produce these biochemicals all by itself, but it lost this ability as soon as you became an adult. By putting back these missing biochemicals, you are fooling the body into thinking it is going through puberty again – and this is what causes such a dramatic change in size!

    My penis is now a HUGE 8 inches big and I am ready for the summer! Are you ready yet?

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    What Happens to a Person Who Is Dying From Glioblastoma Multiform

    If you’ve recently found out that you, a family member, or a friend has been diagnosed with a glioblastoma mediforme (gbm), you’re most likely wondering, “What is going to happen?” Of course, this is only one of many thoughts that will race through your mind. How do I know this? Because I was with my brother when he was diagnosed.

    He did not survive, but he was able to get treatment that allowed him 6 years with his family before succumbing to gbm.

    We discovered the tumor after he suffered a grand mal seizure in 1994. He was home alone with his three children – 6, 2½, and 1 – when it happened. His 6-year-old ran to a neighbor and told them something was wrong with her father. Testing at the hospital revealed that he had a tumor – that’s all we understood. The doctor said we needed to have a “hatch” put into my brother’s skull so that they could excise the tumor – but be able to repeat the procedure often. Why would they repeat the procedure? Because excising a tumor means taking out small portion of the tumor at a time; then as it returns, the doctors would invade my brother’s brain again and take a little more of the tumor.

    Not Satisfied with That!

    Doing what I do best, I researched everything I could find out – I reached out to medical contacts to find the names of the best doctors near us. My brother and I traveled to NYC to consult with a Neurologist on Park Avenue. He was, apparently, well renowned for his understanding of brain tumors. At the end of the visit, he recommended that my brother get his affairs in order, because he only had a matter of months to survive. He told us that the tumor was cancerous and surgery would not solve the problem.

    A friend of my mother had a nephew who was a neurologist in Boston. We sent my brother’s MRIs, x-rays, and test results to him. He immediately called and said that the Neurosurgeon in Boston could help my brother. We made an appointment and met the doctor. What a difference!

    This doctor explained everything so clearly. He offered hope, but no promise of a perfect life.

    So What Happened Next?

    Kim, my brother, was scheduled for surgery; but first he had to go through a series of MRIs (fast MRIs) that provided information for the doctor to create a 3D image of my brother’s brain so that he could prepare for surgery. During surgery, Kim had to stay awake so that the doctor could ask questions. Kim had to identify pictures and words and answer questions throughout the surgery so that the doctor could determine if he was resecting (removing) tissue too close to functional areas of his brain.

    He ended up shaving his whole head, because the little amount of hair remaining just looked out of place. The rest of his head had scars that his 2½-year-old daughter described as looking like a baseball. (I’m sure she was referring to the stitching on the ball – Kim’s skull had similar stitching.) The risks of this operation included:

    • Infection: The patient could get an infection in the wound or a deeper infection from exposure in the hospital
    • Bleeding: This could be superficial bruising or a deeper collection of blood
    • Loss of smell or cerebrospinal fluid leaking through the nose if the doctor uses a frontal approach to remove the tumor
    • Damage to the cranial nerves resulting in facial numbness, loss of vision, or double vision
    • The need for a blood transfusion during or after the procedure
    • Weakness, numbness, speech disturbance or paralysis (stroke like symptoms)
    • Epilepsy, which may require medication (this happened to my brother)
    • The surgery may not cure this condition and further treatment may be needed
    • Coma or death

    This was just the beginning – but that surgery allowed Kim another six years with his children. In the meantime, he underwent aggressive radiation twice a week and chemotherapy through a combination of IV and pills. He was incredibly sick from the treatment (vomiting, nausea, exhaustion), but he continued to work. It wasn’t easy work either; he was a floor sander, lifting 300-pound machines up several flights of stairs. It was during one of these climbs approximately three years after the resection that he got an incredible headache – the worst he’d ever experienced.

    The local emergency room disclosed that he’d suffered a brain aneurysm – this is when a weak area in an artery that supplies blood to the brain bulges. However, when one of these aneurysms ruptures, it causes a hemorrhage that leads to further brain damage or even death. The doctor explained that the only reason my brother didn’t die from this hemorrhage was because the tumor resection had left a cavity or hole in his brain that allowed the blood to pool. He further explained that a possible reason the artery was weakened was from the radiation.

    It took him several months to heal from this. But when he healed, he went right back to work and raising his three children alone. This is when things began to really go downhill for him. The doctors had him on high doses of steroids to reduce swelling and on Depakote to prevent epileptic seizures.

    These were some of the side effects he endured:

    • Insomnia
    • Increased appetite and the potential for weight gain
    • Personality changes (ranging from moodiness to psychosis)
    • Muscle loss (particularly in the thighs, which bear the patient’s weight when rising, sitting, and walking)
    • Bloated appearance (distended abdomen, cushingoid swelling of the face, and sometimes a hump in the neck)
    • Pooling of fluid in the extremities
    • Potential for steroid-induced diabetes

    Unfortunately my brother did develop diabetes and received insulin shots and blood sugar testing several times a day – that was one of my jobs. He had been an extremely athletic and active person (for example, he would get up at 4:00 am to pull lobster pots (200 pots) as a hobby before work; then he sanded and refinished floors all day; after work he would ride either his touring or mountain bike for 20 to 30 miles; and finally, he would clean the house and care for his three children). He really struggled at becoming sedentary and gaining almost 100 pounds.

    He functioned okay – but he was slower, less coordinated, and his speech was garbled. He had MRIs every three months for two years and then every six months for the next four years. In the Fall of 2000, just a few months after a regularly scheduled MRI that was clear, Kim’s speech got worse and he started getting headaches again. We went to the hospital and what they told us broke us.

    The tumor was not only back, but it was the worst kind of tumor – the fastest growing and inoperable. The tumor had suddenly grown like fingers dispersed throughout his brain.

    Kim rapidly lost his ability to walk, talk, feed himself, or use the bathroom. He lost all dignity at this point. He had to be fed, wear diapers, and was bed-ridden. He survived like this for about six months. He did not want to give up his independence and he would try to walk, but fall on the floor. He had been 6’2″ and 160 pounds before the cancer; after all the medication, treatment, and sedentary lifestyle, he was still 6’2″, but he was 260 pounds. Trying to pick him up was difficult – in fact, impossible. My parents were in their 70s and they would try to pick him up – it took the three of us to get him back into bed many nights. It was exhausting, but absolutely heartbreaking.

    Kim stayed in my home until he died. I’ll never forget the volunteers who came to my home just to sit with my brother – read, talk, or tell stories – anything to allow the family to have a small break from the constant care. Their willingness to serve kept us from feeling alone and allowed us opportunities to go to the store without worrying.

    Hospice came in toward the end and monitored him. He had difficulty communicating. His breathing was so labored, he was rarely lucid, and he was in pain. The Hospice workers gave him morphine to relieve the pain and he stopped fighting to live just a day later, March 16, 2001. He was 49 years old.

    I hope this information helps even one person to understand what families dealing with a gbm diagnosis may be experiencing.

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