Volunteer Abroad Accommodation

Volunteer Abroad Accommodation
Accommodation, where to stay, makes or breaks a good holiday or stay in a foreign place. Travelers who rush into picking a place to stay normally end up regretting because of not choosing carefully. As an international volunteer going abroad s/he should plan on where they will stay. On choosing on where to stay the volunteer should look into the meals, if they are shared or single rooms, price, services like laundry, WIFI connection, and excursions. International volunteers should look carefully at these factors when choosing a place to stay. The various types of accommodation available are homestays, hostels, hotels, group homes, the project location, couchsurfing, and home exchanges. Each of these options have their advantages and their disadvantages. These places offer:

Hotels/ Motels

These are the most comfortable but most expensive places to stay in. Hotels are great as they are a home away from home; the staff makes the volunteer as comfortable as possible. The services offered vary from hotel to hotel. Most hotels are ranked from 2 stars to 5 stars, 5 stars hotels are high end hotel and are very luxurious while 2 stars are not as fancy as 5 star ones. Many hotels have websites that show their rooms and the services they offer to help travelers have a glimpse of what to expect. Budget hotels and motels offer basic services as opposed to luxurious hotels. Hotels are a great option if the volunteers are going to stay for a short period of time, need privacy, new to a country and need a bit of pampering or reminded of home.

Hostels

Hostels are a common option to backpackers, round the world travelers, gap years, international volunteers and students. Typical hostels are made of single, double, and dorm rooms. The dorm rooms have about 6 bunk beds; the beds normally have a heavy blanket with optional sheets. There is a communal shower, while those who choose private rooms have private showers. Some hostels provide laundry services, WIFI, free breakfast and some have a community kitchen. Most hostels are locked during the day so that they can be cleaned. In the evening some hostels offer social settings, with a bar which serves cheap drinks. The hostels are used to travelers and provide needs that suit travelers. Some hostels dont have curfews but some do. They are a great place to meet other travelers and travel with them. Generally hostels are the cheapest form of accommodation travelers can get but they lack privacy as the travel may share the dorm room with 10 other international volunteers. Some hostels are gender specific and they are for girls only or boys only.

Group Homes

These are normally provided by the volunteer service companies. These are homes that are in the host country whereby all the volunteers will be staying. They are normally single and double rooms. They have a caretaker and chef who will help the volunteers for all their needs. Three meals are provided and they are served at a certain time. Volunteer group homes have someone who will do their laundry in some occasion they provide transportation to and fro the project location. Some homes provide orientation classes to help the volunteer to learn about the host country, the language and currency. The price of group homes vary with the volunteer service organization as the price is included with the volunteer program. They are safe, secure and are great for first time travelers.

Renting property

These are made available by the volunteers themselves. The property could be house, apartment, flats and townhouses. With this option the volunteers looks for a place to stay and buys furniture for themselves. The apartments are a great option if the volunteer is going to stay for a long period of time. There are great deals out there where by a volunteer could commit themselves for two to three months to paying rent in that place. Renting rules and regulations depend on the landlord/lady and the city. These are good especially if the volunteers are in a group whereby they can save a lot of money by renting their own homes. Older volunteers, boomers, prefer this kind of setting whereby they are able to be comfortable and some could even buy a car.

Others

Other options are available to international volunteers but are not too common. One way is through couch surfing. Couch surfing is whereby the volunteer stay in a persons home and they buy food for a couple of days. There is a network of homes that offer couchsurfing opportunities. This is one of the cheapest ways of traveling as its free. There are rules that go with couchsurfing; the volunteer should know them. Another option is home exchanges whereby the volunteer goes to live in another persons home while the owners are on holiday or are traveling. The volunteers take care of the house and forward mail to the owners.

Organizing an Office – Tips on Organizing Any Office Clutter

Organizing an Office – Tips on Organizing Any Office Clutter

In a business setting, being organized makes a world of difference. Organization not only helps in common tasks such as meeting deadlines, retrieving information quickly for an appointment, or keeping your desk pile free for your client who is stopping by- it makes you a trusted business professional. Clients, vendors, customers, employees, and others will be able to rely on you to be on time for a meeting, pay bills on time, follow through, keep your word, manage a project well, and store records or papers without losing them. For me, it is crucial to practice what I preach. How can I tell clients to organize all day, if I don’t keep my business and home organized? And, many ask me how I stay organized. However, I don’t stay organized for others; I maintain organization because it saves me a ton of time and prevents wasting money by overbuying. The efficiency and productivity from being organized is priceless.

Typical desks and offices we organized are filled with:

Mounds of paper.
CDs, memory sticks and business cards scattered all over
Overstuffed and outdated files
Post-its and scraps of paper tacked to the wall or bulletin board.
Broken or unused computer /office equipment
A shredder buried under paper
An overflowing garbage can
Junk drawers filled with who knows what
Bookshelves full of outdated computer software and college textbooks

If your office needs some organizing, we’re here to help.

Your office is where you spend most of your time, working to make the most of your salary, to pay for most of the things in your life. An office is for working- getting things done. So don’t we want to be Focused. Efficient. Creative. Productive. Energized . Excited . and Inspired. when working? Look at what office clutter is robbing you of. Why put off making your office the best environment and productivity center ever? Now’s the time to organize. The benefits are numerous and you’ll be glad you did.

Here’s some office organizing tips to get your office back on track.

Organize your space
Designate one file folder, one pad of paper, or one Word document in the computer to keep all passwords and usernames organized. Of course, disguise or hide it, if you need to.

Keep your filing system simple. Only file permanent records and records used for taxes. If you don’t have a lot of time to file, just use twelve folders with the twelve months on them. File papers by the month. That’s truly the simplest method.

Get a large garbage bin and an expensive ( or more) shredder. The cheap ones break, always jam, overheat, or are super slow. It’s worth the investment. Don’t forget to get a second garbage can designated for recycling.

Set an audible computer reminder everyday at the same time. Take 5-10 minutes to listen to it and act on it, by putting things away, throwing paper out, and filing. If you only follow or do one of these tips, this would be the best one, by far!

Every time you pick up a new piece of paper, ask yourself, “What’s the next action step required for this paper?” – is it to do, to call, to fax, to email, to research, to read etc. Take your five most common action steps, label trays or boxes with that action word, and start to place paper in them DAILY

Containerize and label all the small things- CDs, memory sticks, business cards, post its, pads of paper, etc.

Use drawer organizers in every drawer so loose change, paper clips, and erasers don’t get out of hand.

Use plastic-colored envelopes, which you can buy at any office store, to hold different paper groups (i.e., coupons, store cards, extra credit cards, stamps and return address labels, etc.) Loose paper floats around and gets lost on desk tops and in drawers.

In today’s economy, there’s no question getting organized will help your business prioritize and make it through lean profits. When we’re focused with goals and prepared to meet them, no bad economy will bring us down. Here are some tips to help you streamline your office expenses and organize your space:

Streamline your office expenses
Read and dissect your monthly Profit & Loss statements. Make sure you’re aware of how much money you’re spending on different areas of your business. If you don’t understand how to read it, ask your financial adviser to walk you through it.

Cut out what really isn’t necessary or what you can do yourself in tough financial times. Perhaps bring more lunches and less catering and eating out.

Look for talented family or friends that could do the tasks you currently have to outsource and spend money on. Be creative where you could cut corners.

Reduce your cell phone bill by reducing your minutes. Tell your friends and family to call your home phone instead of your cell phone. Every bit adds up.

Power down your electronics in your office at the end of each day. It not only is better of the environment, it saves you electricity dollars when the bill comes.

Hardwood Flooring from Lakeview, Chicago

Hardwood Flooring from Lakeview, Chicago

Those of you with carpeting know how difficult it is to get rid of red wine stains, dirt brought in on shoes from outside, and countless other stains that end up making your carpet look grubby, worn and unhygienic. Vacuuming and shampooing takes up a lot of time and if you have young children crawling around on the floor then imagine all the germs they are picking up! Choose laminate, tiling, or hardwood flooring options for a cleaner, harder-wearing, and safer environment for your family.

A wood floor is a truly beautiful sight in a home and can transform its overall look. There are many strong types of wood familiar to America and Canada, amongst them oak, maple, beech and ash. Cool, sexy and easy to maintain, each has its own unique color, strength, and grain style, so it’s easy to find something to fit in with your existing furniture and d├ęcor.

Different woods are available for every room of your home and colors are varied, from ash white to dark brown and practically black.

They each offer a different look with their color and grain, which can reflect the price you pay.

Oak flooring is the most familiar and provides instant warmth to any sized room; it comes in red or white varieties and a range of different hues, and is one of the most popular types of hardwood floors with homeowners. Depending on the sawing technique used in the cutting process it can have a straight grain, a pattern of rays and flecks, or knots and worm holes dotted across the surface for a country look.

Maple is easily available in the US and Canada with flooring ranging from pale white to light reddish brown, a particularly hard, strong wood it is very difficult to scratch or mark. Its color and pale and fine grain pattern is perfect for lightening up the overall effect of a room and giving it a softer look. Check out flooring Lakeview, Chicago for innovative flooring solutions.

Ash is another popular option for solid wood floors as it has a light texture and consistent grain, whilst Walnut with its deep brown color offers a more formal appearance, or choose a Beech with its mid-brown to pinkish tint and flecked grain.

There are plenty of benefits to choosing hardwood as your flooring option over vinyl, carpet or laminate. For a start, once you lay a hardwood floor it should last you for a lifetime; a one time fee as opposed to paying for a new carpet every 5 years or so is hard to beat.

Hardwood deters dust and other allergens so is perfect for those who suffer from allergies or hayfever. There’s no need to vacuum your carpets every day to maintain their appearance or organize and pay for someone to come in and shampoo them for you, just sweep them once a day and save yourself lots of time, effort and money.

Hardwood is the best value for money when it comes to choosing the best solution for your flooring, not only will it be resistant against marks and scratches, it’s also very easy to keep clean and can be enhanced by a few bright rugs thrown over it. Even if your wooden floor is looking a bit worn and marked just refinish it and it will be looking like new in no time.

A hardwood floor can enhance a room and give it many different looks, get a traditional warm atmosphere by choosing oak, go for the natural look with beech, or choose a contemporary feel with an ash hardwood floor. If you do decide to choose hardwood for your home then it’s advised to get the professionals in to install it for you as they have the expertise and skills required to get the perfect look. Save yourself a lot of time and get a beautiful finished look by hiring people who know what they are doing and can ensure your floor is installed quickly, without a blemish on it.

Check out hardwood flooring Lakeview, Chicago for some unique patterns and colors, attractive designs and enchanting hues.