Superyacht Moored in Auckland

A New Banking Solution for Seafarers and Expats

Moving to a new country and starting a new job can be one of the most nerve-racking times in your life.

Between finding accommodation, getting familiar with your surroundings and the culture, dealing with potential language barriers, and settling into your new job, you must ensure continuous and reliable access to your money.

Or, what if you are working on a superyacht, sailing the seven seas for months or even year at a time without a fixed address?

You will have to consider all the different continents you will be visiting and the different currencies you will need to use.

And the last thing you want to worry about is opening a bank account, which is never easy for someone outside their own country.

Why is it so difficult to open a bank account as a seafarer or expat?

  • Sure, your employer or management company may set you up with the bank they do business with, but, that bank might not have everything you want and expect from a bank.
  • You may only be able to open an account in the local currency, which may be different than the currency that you need.
  • How are you going to send money back home without paying ridiculous fees and getting the bad end of the exchange rate? No worries, you can make up for those losses by investing in the market! Right? Maybe not.
  • You may discover that the bank doesn’t offer a brokerage account. Or, the brokerage account they do offer may not have all the instruments and markets you were looking for, limiting your strategy and gains.

So, what can you do? Use your existing, domestic bank?

Possibly, but the odds are that most banks at home aren’t designed for depositors who have a ‘borderless’ lifestyle, especially when it comes to transferring and withdrawing funds around the world.

Luckily, there isanother option—one that many expats are now taking advantage of.

Open an International Bank Account

Okay, I know what you are thinking. Aren’t those accounts only for the super-wealthy, requiring large deposits and minimum balances upwards of hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars?

And, aren’t the maintenance fees astronomical?

Yes, it’s true that many ‘offshore banks’, as they are commonly referred to, are designed for the super wealthy and elite, not the average expat or small business owner.

But that’s not the type of bank we are talking about here. There is a new type of bank that is disrupting the traditional banking industry and its gatekeepers.

We call them “International Banks”.

Why are they becoming more popular?

  • Today, we see some serious lag in the traditional banking system—outdated infrastructure, legacy management, and narrow product offerings.
  • The rise of the internet and smart devices has offered consumers and businesses an alternative to ‘traditional’ banking solutions.
  • More and more banking transactions are being completed electronically on smartphones or computers, not in-branch.
  • This has raised some questions about the relevance of traditional, ‘brick and mortar’ institutions like domestic banks, whose technical, regulatory, and customer service limitations have become the norm.

Pair these changes with globalization and the fact that many of us are doing business more internationally than ever, whether working abroad or running our own businesses, transferring funds to/from clients and vendors all over the world.

Now, these new International Banks have the same functions – often more – than your domestic bank.

International Banks offer low fees, low minimum balance requirements, multiple currency accounts, and competitive conversion rates.

Metal Case Full of Dollars

What exactly is an International Bank?

A bank in the country that you live and work, is known as a Domestic Bank. In contrast, when your bank is in a country outside the country you live and work, that’s an International Bank.

  • Unlike Domestic Banks, International Banks are not mandated by their regulators to invest and lend depositors’ funds into the local economy that they are regulated in.
  • Most importantly, International Banks are not mandated to service the local market and are therefore free to accept clients from most countries in the world.
  • This allows you, the depositor, to go where you’re treated best.

Now, you may be thinking, “International Banks do not have deposit insurance. Does that make them risky?”

Counter-intuitively, banks that have deposit insurance are morelikely to take risks with depositor funds due to the ‘moral hazard’.

Therefore, if you can find an International Bank that does not lend, then the need for insurance is mostly mitigated.

Enter Euro Pacific Bank, an International Bank licensed in Puerto Rico

Euro Pacific Bank (EPB) is a fully digital bank that operates on a ‘full-reserve’ policy, meaning they do not issue loans or engage in proprietary trading of bank capital.

Instead, EPB derives 100% of its margins from fees and commissions.

They are banking on:

  • 100% liquidity
  • 100% capitalization
  • zero loans

And lucky for you, they specialize in seafarers, expats, and other types of “borderless” banking clients.

Is it difficult to open an international bank account at Euro Pacific Bank?

Not at all.

  • You can open your account online, never need to step foot in the bank, or even leave the comfort of your home.
  • And with dedicated customer support, you can easily reach us by phone or secure message, with service in several different languages.
  • Open an account with several different currencies and a bank card, which allows you to access your funds all over the world.
  • Send funds back home and to family, as well as pay bills, fees, and memberships, all from one account.
  • In addition, you can even buy and store precious metals, trade on an international brokerage platform, and invest into unique managed investment portfolios.

Your life doesn’t have borders. Why should your bank?

Seek a sound banking solution that travels with you.


3 Professional Women in Meeting

How to Stop Wasting Time as a Leader

As a leader, you may find yourself strapped for a little something called time.

Especially when you a juggling clients, team members and the constant flow of work that comes in any leadership position.

Learning to manage your time more efficiently, then, is a very valuable lesson for you to learn as a leader (especially if you are relatively new to the position).

With that in mind, here are the very best way that you as a business leader can work to stop wasting time in your everyday working life.

Take note and speed things up – the glass ceiling (amongst other things) is there to be broken! Including wasting your own time.

Have Less Meetings

This is a big one and something which many business leaders struggle with.

Meet people less and when you do have meetings, make sure they are as efficient as possible.

Have a structure, know what is going on and work to ensure your mutual goal is met.

That way you will start to dread meetings less and less!

Meetings are the bane of most workers lives, so reducing them as much as possible is the only way forward.

Reduce the meetings, make them more productive and you may be surprised by how much more both you and your staff get done!

If they waste time then why have five separate meetings per day.

Ask yourself this and cut back today to save time tomorrow!

Remember you can be a super inclusive leader.

But, if you’re not actually there half the time your employees won’t feel very supported. So you need to learn to strike that very delicate balance.

Streamline Tasks, But Not at the Expense of Quality

Have you ever spent a long time doing something which you know isn’t worth that much effort?

Well, have you ever considered how you can work to reduce that effort?

But, remember this important factor: streamlining is great until it means you are losing quality.

Only quicken the steps which are taking too long but won’t risk any loss to quality.

Get a Plan in Place

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Being a capable planner is not only a good idea, but it’s practically impossible to not have in place when you are any kind of leader in a business.

The better the plan, the better a time you will have as a leader.

And if you have a plan which you can reference and regularly too, then you will appear as a much more competent and reliable leader on top of this.

It’s a common turn of phrase, but one which is extremely relevant to consider when it comes to the modern workplace.

Make sure that you have a day, week and even monthly plan which you base your working life around.

Good planning can save you a lot of time as a leader and help to give you more room to deal with the little emergencies that appear every day.

Try to Keep Your Priorities Balanced

Prioritising is one of the hardest parts of any job.

Especially as everyone thinks the tasks you’re doing related to them is the most important thing for you to be doing.

Learning to balance and manage these tasks, then to prioritise them, then, can be quite difficult.

But, if you want to be seen as a good leader then this is a vital balancing act.

You need to make sure you address all of the important issues, but don’t overlook what your subordinates are asking of you.

It may seem relatively small in the grand scheme of things, less important than x, y or z on your list.

Yet, sometimes prioritising the little things can make you a better leader.

At the very least, it helps you to communicate to those you lead that you care.

Because, let’s face it, every mole hill can feel like a mountain during a bad day at work – whether you’re a PT, officer of the law or corporate solicitor.

And you need to help your team to the top of either one.

Stop Being ‘Busy’

Busy work is a real issue when it comes to leadership and you may find yourself doing way too much of it.

Much like anything else, being busy is great until it gets to a point where it is actually detrimental to your working life.

Busyness is something which a lot of business leaders get too preoccupied with.

And when employees or anyone underneath them notice this, it is all too easy for them to become resentful of this fact.

They see themselves as doing the ‘real’ work.

So, stop being ‘busy’ and start being productive.

You will be surprised by how much more you start getting done!

Final Thoughts

Leadership doesn’t have a secret formula.

You can’t become an amazing leader by reading a self-help book, though that would be nice.

It’s trial and error, learning to communicate and being open to change.


Viewing Visitor Stats on Laptop

10 SEO Statistics to Prove the Value of Organic Search

SEO continues to play a key role in how businesses connect with their audience.

While social media marketing has grown in popularity and notoriety, organic search still reigns supreme in 2019 and beyond.

For those in doubt, there are many facts and figures available that prove the value of organic search.

Here are 10 SEO statistics to help you understand why organic search matters in the big picture.

1.  There’s Over 40,000 Google Searches Per Second

According to Internet Live Stats, there are nearly 40,000 Google searches executed per second or about 6.4 billion searches per day.

When someone can’t decide who that actor is in that show they’re watching, they Google it.

If two friends are arguing over the answer to something, they Google it.

It’s become such a staple in consumers’ daily lives that the name “Google” has become genericized like Kleenex and Saran Wrap.

2. Google’s Penguin Algorithm Impacted 1% of Search Queries

Google has said it themselves: high-quality content will be rewarded and spammy content will be penalised.

This became very apparent with the launch of the Panda, which affected 12% of all queries worldwide.

Penguin’s launch impacted another 1% of queries, narrowing down the efforts by looking at keyword littering and anchor text usage.

Having the right distribution of keywords and anchor text plays a significant role in organic search. See more in this step-by-step guide.

3. Optimising Older Content Can Increase Traffic by 111%

According to research conducted by Backlinko improving the content you have in place and optimizing it for SEO can increase traffic by 111%.

That’s 111% more potential leads knocking on your door through organic search.

Using Google Analytics on Laptop

4. 30% of Mobile Searches Relate to Location

Having organic search traffic isn’t just about reaching a global market; it’s about reaching your local market.

If you’re in a city of restaurants, you want to be one of the first ones that show up when a traveler asks Siri or Alexa where they should eat.

5. Five Minutes of Google Downtime Caused a 40% Drop in Internet Use

In 2013, Google went down for five minutes. As a result, global internet traffic dropped 40%.

That means nearly half of the online world was engaged in activities pertaining to Google.

In 2013, there were 144.5 million smartphone users in the USA. As of 2019, there’s an estimated 248 million.

6. Voice Queries Increased 3,400%  from 2008 – 2017

According to research from Hubspot, voice search queries have increased 3,400% over the past decade.

7. Organic SEO is Around 5.7 Times More Effective than Paid Search

Another Hubspot statistic indicates that organic SEO drives more traffic than paid search ads.

At one time, paying for ad space was the be-all-end-all of online marketing.

8. 51% of All Website Traffic Comes via Organic Search

More than half of all website traffic is organic, according to BrightEdge’s Channel Performance Report.

The rest is a combination of paid ads, social media, and others.

Pointing at Pie Chart on Screen

9. 40% of Revenue Comes from Organic Traffic

The same report from BrightEdge indicated that over 40% of revenue is a result of organic traffic, making it the most powerful point of entry for lead conversion.

10. 91.5% of Traffic Stems from Google’s First Page

Does a first-page ranking matter?

Absolutely. 91.5% of traffic goes through first page results.

Many people never scroll to the second page after a search.

So, do you still think organic search doesn’t matter?


Focus on Social Media Icons

Why Social Media Monitoring Tools Are Important for Growing Business Markets

Giant social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter started life as a completely non-business oriented platforms.

For instance, Facebook was launched with the intention of having some entertainment at University by Mark Zuckerberg.

And so goes forth, the story of every other social media platform, we have more or less interacted or worked with in the past.

However, not long ago did the corporate world realized that there is a lot more potential to Facebook and Twitter professionally, than meets the eye.

And in the wake of such success, marketing departments at organizations started investing larger budgets in running business campaigns on platform like Facebook.

The Result?! It generated business beyond their wildest imagination.

Today, every other organisation interested in increasing sales margins would easily be found investing a sizeable budget on Facebook.

But, in a highly competitive environment such as today, to stand out above the competition you need modern day analysis tools.

The age of data is here.

Firms which are collecting and analyzing information are the ones reaching pioneering success.

And such realization has introduced various intelligent tools to help them progress.

One such tool in today’s connected world is the social media monitoring tools.

But here’s the big question…

Are firms actually using these tools to their fullest potential? Let’s discuss.

Are Social Media Tools Being Used to Their Fullest Potential?

As per recent statistical data, 7 out of every 10 individuals are using social media on a consistent basis.

They connect with each other to socialize, share information, and keep themselves entertained.

As a growing business, even if you feel no immediate wish to start using social media, in reality you are left with no other choice but to.

To help your business flourish, you need to work on your social media strategies in order to reach your audience.

Social media monitoring tools allow you to create and work with social media campaigns.

You will first have to focus on the branding aspect of your social media campaign.

Make sure that you have included the right images, content and found the right audience.

Once you are done with campaign building, it is now time to monitor your results of your campaign.

It will help you understand what is working for your business and what is not.

When it comes to social media monitoring, there are a few things which are highly important to be aware of.

And unless, you are not addressing these factors, you are not doing your job correctly.

These are the things that will allow you to use social media monitoring to its fullest potential.

Find Out How Your Customers Are Influencing Others

There is no clear explanation on how the average customer feels when interacting with your products or services.

However, one thing is for sure is customers can be very opinionated and biased.

Hence, it’s highly important that you learn about your audience and determine which of them are simply a humble customers, and which of them could potentially influence others.

After all, the purpose of running a social media campaign is to get your message out to as many people as possible.

According to a digital marketing agency, to find social media influencers ask the following questions:

  • How many followers does your customer have on their social media account?
  • How much engagement are they creating on their social media account?

You can get the best answer to these questions by using a modern day social media monitoring tool.

Distinguish Positive from Negative Sentiments

Many modern day social media monitoring tools have the capability to differentiate in between positive and negative sentiments.

The best example so far is the software package HootSuite Insights.

It offers a unique monitoring feature to track sentiments based on keyword search terms.

With HootSuite, you can set up your Twitter mentions to positive sentiments such as “amazing service” or “thank you.”

In fact, you can also set the sentiment analysis to search for positive emoji’s such as a thumbs up.

By monitoring high volume positive posts mentioning your brand, you can engage with those mentions personally and strengthen your relationship with the customers who are positive about your brand.

Record Volume on Specific Keywords

Speaking of keywords, many modern day monitoring tools are capable of recording volume based on keywords.

In terms of social media, volume is the amount of buzz your social media post or advertisement creates.

Analysing volume helps businesses understand the need of the users better and to fine-tune their business advertisements to attract similar people.

Hence, when using a monitoring tool, understand that spikes are a great way to learn about audience.

The Most Effective Social Media Monitoring Tools Used in the Market

Whilst knowing how to use the best social media monitoring tool for your online business is one thing, knowing which of these tools is the best is another.

Here are some of the trendy social media monitoring tools to help you monitor your social media campaigns and fine-tune them to success.

Twazzup

Twazzup is a social media monitoring tool specifically designed for Twitter.

It organizes everything related to social campaign on a single page.

Users can make the best use of Twazzup to study influencers and sentiments of their target audience.

HootSuite

With HootSuite, not only can you manage your Twitter feed but every other social media account.

It started off as a social media account management tool but later transformed into a complete suite of services.

Hootsuite now offers the powerful functionality of monitoring buzz.

Addict-0-Matic

Last but not least, Addict-o-Matic is a free to use social media tool which organizes everything about your social media on a single page.

It organizes all the volume in one place.

Finally…

Don’t forget that social media monitoring tools are highly effective for your online business.

If you are using platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to send the word out on your brand, social media monitoring tools allow you to study and monitor interactions and truly understand the needs and opinions if your target market.


iPhone with 3D Rendered VR City

How Mobile App Development Will Drive the VR Market

The development of Virtual Reality technology has increased dramatically in recent years in correlation with the necessity for technology to adapt and evolve, in order to keep up with consumer demands.

The rise of modern technology has meant that the world is going in an entirely new online digital direction which cannot be ignored or avoided.

This means concepts like virtual reality (VR) are becoming more and more popular and will soon become the future.

The proliferation of Virtual Reality has been contributed mostly by the increase in demand for VR applications.

How Mobile App Development Sculpts the Future of VR

The VR trend has been recognized by mobile app developers who have seized this opportunity and are now incorporating virtual reality when building mobile apps.

Many app developers have created several VR devices that have made the technology readily available for public use.

Such devices have made mobile phones function as virtual reality gadgets which has helped in expanding the VR market even further.

Mobility is perhaps the primary factor that has contributed to the success of mobile apps and so VR apps have taken the experience up a notch.

They have fundamentally allowed users to enjoy mobility to an extent that was not possible before.

You can now use virtual reality apps to explore many opportunities while you are in one place.

For instance, you can use VR apps to experience travel to somewhere you may never have been, even when you are in different geographical zones.

Most businesses have embraced virtual reality app development trends such as the likes of Sony, Facebook and Samsung which have already produced their VR enabled devices, one being the VR play station.

These apps now allow users to view places and services as reality and such results are driving the VR market, solidifying its future.

Young Woman Wearing VR Headset

Improved User Engagement and Brand Loyalty

User interface is a crucial aspect in app development that enhances user engagement, thus increasing brand loyalty.

App developers understand the imperatives of user engagement and have created VR apps which have an improved user interface.

The VR apps provide users with real life-like experiences which ensure users are fully immersed in the app while using it.

As a result of this, they are able to engage in the app more which has improved user engagement and has led to an increase in customer satisfaction and loyalty

Mobile App Sectors That Are Leveraging VR Potential

Virtual reality mobile apps have improved how business operations are carried out, giving services a sense of seamlessness and ease.

Such transformation has led to improved business efficiency.

Retail Sector

The retail sector has experienced huge growth thanks to the intervention of virtual reality.

With VR, retail showrooms can showcase everything from their store without physically keeping the product on-site.

Whether it is showing furniture models or an array of fabric shades, retailers are able to show it to the customers and gain useful feedback about various products and insights on what works best for the consumer.

VR Applications Within the Travel Sector

The use of VR technology within the travel industry is still in its infancy, although a growing number of companies are beginning to experiment with VR headsets and finding great uses of them.

With the help of VR technology, getting guided tours across the world has become easy.

One of the best examples of virtual reality in action within the travel industry is the use of the technology for providing virtual tours of hotels and villas.

The key benefit of this is that it allows potential customers to experience aesthetics, without having to visit, offering more transparency than standard 2D images – something of which is a USP for businesses.

Some companies aim to take the use of VR application a step further, offering an entire booking system and user interface that can be experienced through a virtual reality headset.

Architecture

This is one of the main sectors that has seen a surge in the use of VR application in order to enhance businesses.

Virtual reality has benefited the architecture sector on an enormous scale and will continue to do so.

With the potential to bring transformation in the way engineers work on designs, it gives them several options to experiment with different aspects of a building such as material, lighting and layout as well as being able to bring ideas to life.

VR apps within the architecture sector also enable customers to go on a virtual tour of their potential project so they can get an accurate look and feel.

In addition to this, when it comes to editing the architectural designs, doing it prior to construction will save a significant amount of money as well as preventing miscommunication and complicated (costly) re-works.

To Wrap Things Up

VR technology has hit the ground running and is taking over the app market by storm.

Despite that, very few apps are able to support virtual realty just yet.

It is essential that the creation of innovative development apps with VR technology happens in order to tap into this vast potential and support the future of VR market.


Professional Women at Desk Looking at Office View

Ways to Break the Glass Ceiling and Become a Leader in the Workplace

Both men and women can experience trials and tribulations in their aim to make their way to the top of the workplace hierarchy.

However, women in particular are subject to oppression and discrimination in the workplace.

Such obstacles can make it difficult for them to reach leader status ahead of their equally qualified male counterparts.

Once they do attain highly respected roles, this is referred to as breaking the glass ceiling.

Two Guys Working on Laptops

Other people who may experience discrimination include older employees, those from poorer backgrounds and ethnic minorities.

Though equality has dramatically improved over the past few decades, there is still much progress to be made.

The hierarchy within a workplace is still very male-dominated when it comes to the top positions.

So, are there any ways that women and other minorities can increase their chances of breaking the glass ceiling?

While elevating such employees into higher earning roles is a change needed in society, below are some useful strategies that will help you become a strong leader at work in the meantime:

Recognise that the Glass Ceiling Exists

To break through the glass ceiling, you must first acknowledge that it’s there.

There are some tell-tale signs that one may exist within your organisation, such as:

  • Little diversity among the top-level managers
  • Sexist, racist or other prejudice language being common across the organisation
  • Resistance to change and innovation
  • Pay gaps between male and female employees

Be Tough in Negotiations

Nothing worth having comes easy.

Experts suggest that women shouldn’t be afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to requesting work perks, benefits and bonuses.

It’s a well-known fact that women perform better academically.

They graduate higher educational institutions at higher percentages than men.

So, why are they making less money in lower level positions?

Well, males tend to be more assertive in the work environment, making them more likely to get promoted than women.

Though it may be difficult to implement this mentality in the workplace, it is still crucial to be more assertive and self-confident whenever it’s needed.

Never Underestimate Your Capabilities

If you have all the right qualifications, then you are no less worthy to be in the business than your other colleagues.

It may be that your hard work and dedication is taken for granted.

Start drawing attention to your personal strengths and skills, ensuring that management know when you are responsible for the successful completion of tasks and deals.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make Decisions

Not every decision a great leader makes is the best decision.

What demonstrates great leadership is the fact that they stepped up and made the decision in the first place.

People that tend to procrastinate and let other make the decisions that they should have made are showing signs that they don’t have what it takes to be a leader.

Stand Up for Yourself

There are some cases where you’ll be required to stand up for yourself against opposition.

For example, employers may often be reluctant to hire women because of pregnancies in the future.

They may also unfairly dismiss them for the same reason.

This is outright discrimination and can be dealt by consultation with dispute resolution lawyers.

Standing up for your rights as an employee will let your company know that you’re not a push over, and that you’re willing to fight for what you deserve.

Learn New Skills

You may wish to learn more about strategic planning, analytics and performance metrics.

Any instance where you can acquire new skills will begin to make you invaluable to the company.

Learning a new skill can also help you feel more confident and professional, equipping you with the knowledge you need to complete tasks that others may not be able to.

Build A Network You Can Learn From

Studies show that individuals with large open networks succeed at a much higher rate than those with smaller, more closed networks.

Understandably, a busy work schedule means it can be difficult to find the time to attend networking events, however, there is no doubt that these opportunities are worth pencilling in.

Practice Giving & Taking Constructive Feedback

Giving and receiving tough feedback can be a real hurdle to growth, both as manager and as an individual contributor.

However, the sooner you master digesting constructive feedback and giving it out to your colleagues, the quicker you’ll grow personally and professionally.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

Human error is unavoidable.

Unfortunately, certain failures by women or other minorities can be magnified and blown out of proportion.

Men are often less afraid with the prospect of dealing with possible consequences of incorrect decisions due to their position within the company.

However, if you want to break the glass ceiling you must realise that you’re not expected to be infallible.

Therefore, you need to move beyond the fear of failure. By doing so, you’ll also become more confident in your approach to certain situations.


Reading Map Whilst Driving

How to Plan for a Road Trip Around Europe

Road trips are one of the best ways to explore multiple destinations whilst getting a true feel for different cultures.

While it’s undeniably easy to get around much of Europe thanks to its extensive public transport systems, driving offers another level of freedom and flexibility that allows you to go where you want, whenever you want, as well as making the off-beaten tracks much more accessible.

Find the Right Car

The first step toward a European road trip is finding the right vehicle.

When renting a car, keep in mind that most Europeans drive manual.

If this comes as a discomfort to you then be prepared to pay more for an automatic.

Bear in mind that if you are dropping your car off at a different destination from pick-up, there will likely to be additional fees.

Preparing Your Car

Before you start driving in Europe, it is important that not only you are prepared, but that the car is too.

Carry out a thorough check of your vehicle before you embark on your trip.

There are several maintenance check you can do yourself, such as checking the oil and coolant levels of the car and testing the tread depth of your tyres.

Make sure the car’s MOT is valid throughout the course of your road trip. For extra peace of mind, you could book the car in for a service before you travel.

You car should also carry the essentials when travelling on a long journey; spare wheel, jump leads, screen was and oil.

Prior to Setting Off

Driving in the dark can lead to reduced concentration levels and fatigue so it is important that you put safety and stop for regular breaks.

Conduct some thorough research into the town and cities you will be driving through.

If you are road tripping through or around Europe, it is important to understand the diversity of each country, particularly when it comes to driving regulations and road rules.

The beauty of Europe is that you can be driving for a few hours and find yourself in a whole new region, country and culture so having the correct travel documents is essential.

If you are unsure which documents you will require, visiting an immigration solicitors or visa team prior to your road trip is a great idea.

Once you have chosen your destinations, it is a good idea to invest in a good quality road map.

Although most people use the GPS functions on their phone, you should always have a map handy just in case the battery dies.

Packing

Unlike air travel, packing for a road trip shouldn’t feel like a task of restraint.

Pack as if you are packing an overnight bag for a short stay – and then a couple extra.

Ensure everyone in the car has a spare change of clothes and clean underwear.

Toiletries can be shared and purchased so, if you forget a shampoo, don’t panic.

Pack a separate back for just the electronics and make sure everything is fully charged the night before you embark on your journey.

If you plan to go away for a prolonged period, then consider keeping valuables and precious artefacts in secure storage back home.

Many homes that are left vacant for lengthy periods are far more prone to robbery and theft.

Finding affordable and flexible secure storage is fairly cost effective and a sensible choice.

Most removal companies offer short term and long term storage options, so there should be a provider near to your home you can use before you pack up and head off abroad.

The Best Drives in Europe

If you are looking for inspiration, then here are some of the best drives in Europe.

Italy – The Amalfi Coast

This drive is along the spectacular coastline and is suitable for those that are experienced and confident when driving.

The traditional starting point if Sorrento, then following the narrow zig-zag road to Salerno.

The winding roads mean it is not for the faint-hearted, but it will make for an unforgettable experience with breath-taking views.

Germany – Route 500

This is a panoramic stretch that runs through the Black Forrest, between the towns of Freudenstadt to Baden.

It is a popular holiday route and can get busy in peak season.

Spain – San Jose to Cabo de Gata

This amazing drive showcases the very best of Spain.

It runs though one of the truly unspoilt areas of Spain in all its natural beauty in the Mediterranean.

With stunning beaches and charming towns, this is the perfect place to rest and refuel.

France – Route Napoleon

This road follows the route once taken by the legendary general as he marched from Elba to Grenoble in 1815.

The route starts in the French Riviera and runs along the bottom of the Alps.


Spanish Flag

Top 10 Things to Consider Before Moving to Spain

For millions of people, the thought of moving to Spain is a dream and a goal because of the natural beauty, the amazing beaches, and the endless sunshine.

There are certain things you must know before moving to Spain and this article outlines the top 10 tips to make the transition run smoother while eliminating any potential issues and explains the differences in culture.

1. Have all Paperwork Ready

When you begin the process of moving to Spain be sure to have all the paperwork that you will need.

It is suggested that you bring every form of paperwork you may need.

Be sure to double check your documents and check to ensure that you have not missed anything.

A good idea is to even photocopy important documents and scan them to ensure correct account numbers, dates, names and other necessities are correct before accepting them, or using them.

2. Tip Local Help

The people who help you throughout your day sometimes known as the butanero should be tipped when they offer you service.

This may include taxi cab drivers, people who carry your goods up flights of stairs to your home, help you with language barriers or any other form of service.

3. Birthday Parties

Unlike most places in the world, when it is your birthday you are expected to treat friends, family members and colleagues with gifts and celebration.

In Spain, if it is your birthday you are expected to throw a celebration for those you are close with.

If you have children, it is courtesy to send your child to school with a large bag of candies to share with their schoolmates.

Girls Laying on the Beach

4. The Busy Season

In August, it seems like most Spaniards head to the beaches with their families in large droves.

It is suggested to avoid spending time in August at the beach to avoid large crowds and issues with finding needed things like restaurants or beach area hotels.

5. Morning Delays

Another interesting fact about Spanish culture is that white collar and blue collar type businesses and organisations are generally understaffed between 9:30 am and 11 am.

In Spain, these hours are reserved for a Segundo Desayuno known as a second breakfast.

Take this time to relax and enjoy some coffee or food and wait until after this time to get tasks accomplished.

6. Children are a Top Priority in Society

Inside Spain, it is common that children rule the attention and admiration of everyone.

Children are treated like royalty and are known to stay up as late as their parents in the summertime and are given privileged social status in this country.

Be aware that children are treated incredibly well and to treat them accordingly.

Spanish Waiter Serving Customers

7. How to Get Attention

If you are inside a busy lounge or social club, you may be used to being polite and raising a finger to get attention for your needs to be addressed.

In Spain however, you have to let go of social politeness and be ready to yell, ¡Oiga! which means, (listen, person whom I do not know).

Or if you really need assistance and are more assertive you can yell, ¡Oye! which translates as, (Listen, person who I do not know, but will talk to as if I do).

Remember to smile, be polite and you will fit in.

8. Time is Different

In Spain, there are three main times of day.

La mañana is until 2 pm and the afternoon follows which is known as La tarde and it lasts until night.

The early hours of the day have the unique name la madrugada.

It is interesting that there is no word or name for night time in this country.

9. The August Shut Down

As stated earlier inside this article, in August most of the country seems to go on holiday.

Having tasks completed during this month can be frustrating and challenging as many people head to the beaches, slowing down life and being able to get things done.

If you are able to try to delay needed tasks or other required duties to either September or accomplish them during any other time of the year.

10. Understand the Varied Languages

In Spain, there are three dialects that are spoken in different areas.

They are known as Catalan, Valenciano, as well as Gallego.

They are their own specific languages and are official languages of the country under the official Castellano language grouping.

Be aware that they are different from each other.


ST Engineering Exhibition Stand

10 Marketing Strategies That Will Make Your Exhibition a Success

Marketing is the lifeline of any business. Without proper advertising and promotion a business can neither enhance its image, let alone have people know of its existence.

Just imagine opening up a shop, be it a physical or an online one, and never bothering to promote it in any way.

Chances are you are never going to sell anything, or else sales are going to be sparse and just by chance. No business can survive in that manner.

There are many marketing methods one can use, but the main goal is always to draw as much attention as possible, and ensure that the target audience is as big as can be.

This increases a business’s chances of increasing customers and sales. And what better way to reach out to a really broad audience than to take part in a trade show or exhibition.

There are various trade shows organized from time to time where one may set up the stand or booth, and show off the products being sold or the services being offered by the business.

With all the people visiting the tradeshow you are going to have a very good exposure, and if you go about it really well, you are going to stand a very good chance of getting many new customers as well as sales.

What are some of the most important and effective marketing strategies one should use at a trade show?

At such exhibitions it is common to notice certain booths being literally packed with people checking out what is being sold or offered, and other stands being almost empty except from a couple of passers-by glancing at them but not bothering to stop for a closer look.

Sales Person Talking to Exhibition Attendee

What makes some stands so popular, and others so practically useless?

It is all about the type of marketing strategies being utilized.

One wants to generate maximum interest and create a certain buzz so as to get really positive results. Here are some ways that can lead to this:

1. Set Goals

Simply signing up to take part in a tradeshow and going there with barely any idea how to go about it is a big no no.

One needs to really plan carefully and well in advance, as well as set certain goals to be reached.

Most trade shows come only once a year, so one needs to make the most out of them. One should plan what to focus on, whether it is just a limited range of products, or a broader range.

Setting a promotional campaign such as discounts or freebies is highly recommended.

Remember: Being aware of what you would like to reach is important as this improves your chances of actually reaching it, because you will have worked on the HOW to reach it.

So set reasonable but quantifiable and specific goals.

2. Find the Most Suitable Trade Show

There are going to be a myriad of trade shows in which to take part, but not each and every one of them offers the same kind of opportunities.

It depends on your field of business, as well as the type of visitors who are most likely to attend at that trade show.

If chances are that a good percentage of the visitors are going to be drawn by other kinds of products or services rather than what you are selling, then it is better to devote your time, attention and funds to other more suitable trade shows.

3. Spread the Word in Advance

It is important to ensure that your customers are informed that you are going to take part in an upcoming trade show.

Send out emails, or advertise this on your social media accounts to spread the word in advance.

Try to entice them and encourage them to attend because you will be offering something unique, such as special discounts, freebies and so on, or even maybe launching a new product or service.

While doing so you will also be reaching out to prospective customers who may make a mental note to visit the tradeshow so as to check out your offers.

4. Design A Killer Exhibition Booth

Impressions matter a great deal. Devoting time and money on the design and set up of a really impressive exhibition booth is extremely important.

It is a good idea to hire a trade show stand designer to see to this. Your ideas may be helpful, but a trade show stand designer will have knowledge and experience to make those ideas look better and be more effective.

After all this is what people will be seeing first as they pass by, and it is through this that you need to convince them to stop for a closer look rather than keep walking to the next stands.

Being creative and original is important as you need to stand out among all the other stands.

Colours used matter, and so does the layout of the stand and how the products are exhibited. Slogans or promotional messages need to be clear and captivating too.

5. Fully Prep Your Sales Team

The people who will be dealing with customers at your stand need to be courteous and friendly, but not too pushy.

You need to ensure that they are properly trained and knowledgeable. They need to look smart and helpful to encourage people to approach them too.

6. Utilise Social Media

Social media platforms are very effective and popular nowadays, and you need to grasp their power in your favour.

Make sure to utilize them heavily but adequately to reach out to many people while promoting your business.

The tradeshow itself will have its own social media presence where your business will be exposed and presented to prospective visitors too.

7. Be a Speaker, Not a Statue

A tradeshow booth is not intended to be a static, unlively statue in the middle of all the hubbub.

You need to draw people’s attention with what you are offering, and there are a number of ways to do this.

The visual impact of your stand matters, but you also need to draw people’s attention through what they see and hear.

8. Engage & Interact

Most people will be more willing to buy if they are allowed to interact rather than simply hear what your sales representative has to say.

So think about setting up interactive activities such as touchscreens with information, sign-ups with rewards, giveaways and even games and competitions so as to help people at the tradeshow feel more inclined to generate interest.

Create an enticing experience at your booth to have people feel more in touch with your brand.

9. Have Great Giveaways

Giveaways always attract people’s attention. Many people simply visit tradeshows to get as many freebies as possible.

So think about interesting or useful items you could offer as giveaways, and you can be sure that your trade show presence will be a huge success.

10. Always Follow Up

Keep track of how you are doing during the tradeshow.

Factors such as location, level of interest generated, number of sign-ups, and booth traffic, need to be carefully examined.

Since there are going to be a number of days, you will be able to measure your performance on different days, as well as pinpoint what seems to be working out best with visitors.

Measure your return and follow up on how you did so as to do even better in other trade shows in the future.

Conclusion

Bearing these tips and implementing these marketing strategies can greatly improve your performance at tradeshows.

Remember – this is a great opportunity to interact with people, acquire new customers, generate sales, as well as improve your brand image and exposure. So make the most out of it every time!


Yacht Sailing at Sunset

How Seafarers Earnings Deduction Can Save Yacht Crew Paying Tax

There are a lot of questions that surround the Seafarers Earnings Deduction from those who are employed on ships and work offshore as yacht crew.

There is also a lot of misinformation and we aim to enlighten you with this specialized report on what exactly the Seafarers Earnings Deduction is and who exactly is entitled to it.

Why the HMRC’s SED programme is a seafarers dream!

To begin with, you need to be a UK resident under the new Statutory Residence Test Rules which makes you taxable under your earnings under the United Kingdom tax laws.

Now, this may be different if you qualify for the Seafarers Earnings deduction which is a specialized tax discount that applies to UK residents who are employed as seafarers as long as they meet certain criteria.

This specialized tax deduction was created by the UK government to make employment more beneficial for a UK resident among the competition that lurks within the worldwide seafaring markets.

We will give you an overview of how the Seafarers Earnings Deduction works and will help you understand whether or not you may qualify and how to apply below.

Of course, always speak to your yacht crew tax specialist to fully understand your current tax position. This article should only be treated as a general opinion and not be used in any official capacity.

How do I qualify as a seafarer?

Under UK law a seafarer is a person who is employed and works all of his or her hours on a ship or does most of their work on the ship and any other specific tasks that are related to the main duties performed on the ship.

Unfortunately members of the military do not get to apply or claim the seafarers earnings deduction.

There are specific rules on the definition of what exactly constitutes a ship. There is no actual definition of what a ship is but there is a list of examples of what is not a ship and not applicable to the SED.

If you are employed on any of the following in an offshore location then you do not qualify: If you work on a fixed, or floating production platform, floating storage units or floating production storage or offloading vessels as well as mobile offshore drilling units, flotels and drillships, semi-submersible drilling units and jack up units.

Yacht crew are considered fully qualified under SED rules. Image credit: Yachting Pages

In order to be able to claim the Seafarers Earnings Deduction, you have to meet the following requirements.

First of all in a working year you have to have spent time either beginning your employed voyage from a foreign port or ending your trip from a foreign port.

If you are employed in the oil or gas drilling offshore rigs then you can be covered for your voyage to and from an offshore rigging platform as long as it is outside of the UK and not in the UK designated areas of the waterways.

To meet the valid claim period you have to spend at least 365 consecutive days outside of the United Kingdom voyaging from and to foreign destinations.

Once you have passed the 365 days you are then eligible for the Seafarers Earnings Deduction.

The only way you can possibly interrupt this process and lose your access to the SED is if you incur a failure.

A failure is regarded as either spending over 183 days abroad or if an employee breaks the half-day rule which is applied when a seafarer enters the UK.

All days that have begun since the start of the claim are added up and divided in 2. Then all days that are in the UK are added to the above amount.

If the second amount exceeds the first number, it will cause a failure.

A claim period ends on the return date of your voyage and a new claim period only begins at an early date since departing the United Kingdom for employment.

Ship Captains are very often tax exempt under SED rules. Image credit: Time & Date

In order to take advantage of the Seafarers Earnings Deduction if it applies to you as a seafarer, then you will have to keep track of your records and be ready to supply them for tax purposes.

Do not throw anything away and keep a hold of them as they are incredibly important. We will show you what you need.

This begins with such things as your employment records, the freeboard logs of the ships you were employed on, your passports and visas, hotel bills and restaurant receipts, airline ticket receipts, travel vouchers, boarding passes and your seafarer’s discharge book.

The SED is an incredibly helpful tax deduction and makes working in the seafaring industry more beneficial for the UK citizen making it more competitive.

As long as you work on a ship for over 365 days a year and do not go through any failures and ship from or too foreign ports, not in the UK or UK designated waters then this special deduction will apply to you.

Article Credits

The author acknowledges the following external website for use of text, images and other reference material: