Five tips to avoid online identity theft

The majority of the fraud occurs due to disclosing of customer information from the customer end. The fraud making person find different ways to get the customer information and access the account online. The identity thief can access your account without your knowledge and finally you are become a victim. There are some tips, which can help you to protect from the possible fraud:

1. The first steps to prevent from the possible frauds are protecting your social security number. It means do not reveal social security number in any types of medium right from phone, e-mail or website. It is advisable that do not hold your Social Security Card with you. If you lost your social security card possibility of misuse of SSN is more. You must immediately inform concern government department.

2. The second most important is you do not share your personal financial information with anybody. Major banks for example, td online banking is vigilant against this practice and wil protect their users from this – but you have to play your part.It is protected against Financial Privacy Act from the respective state.

3. Please do not give any personal or bank account information to unknown e-mail, which request you to bear out your account information. You bank or Credit Card Company does not send any such types of mail.

4. If you are using home PC for online banking or shopping. You must protect your username as well as password. Please make your password in combination with alphabet, numbers and any extra letters. It is also important that you must keep your password, which you can easily reveal. If you are using shopping information you must read the privacy policy first which reveals the security. Once you confirm that your information is encrypted or protected from the hackers than you proceed ahead for enter your credit card information.

5. Protect your PC from the Firewall, antivirus software, spyware and adware. Please do not forget to remove cookies. Please set the browser security at medium level and always block the POP. When using personal online banking be vigilant to the websites you visit.

The ideal way to protect your information is you must be knowledgeable about the online operations and monitor your credit history or banking online account.

Hotel Interior Design

Hotels mostly have a generalization of the layout they provide to their guests. This makes it difficult to elicit the warm and homely feeling that would be more beneficial to the hotel and its visitors. If you are a hotel owner it would be wise to invest in an interior design that will make your guests feel as close to home as possible. A good interior designer can make your establishment very attractive to travelers of many varieties. You should aim to create the mind state of satisfaction. This is what consumer experts would categorize as a good hotel interior design. You want your guest to feel comfortable, safe, and as close to the ‘at home’ aura a possible, all factors to consider when hiring an interior designer. This has been known to make them more grateful of the hotel and its service. Also, this type of design makes customers want to come back which in turn creates more profit for the owner. Believe it or not, creating this type of interior design is not as difficult as you might imagine. The key is merely to design the hotel room the way you would have your own bedroom designed. If you can recreate the comforts and luxuries of a home your on the right track. Functionality, safety and economics are all components you should reserve special focus for when attempting to produce a homely environment. On a business note, you want to decide upon a design that will stand the test of time. You don’t want something that will constantly need renovations and maintenance. You have to remember that part because even though you want to provide the best experience possible for your visitors, you also have to turn a profit. You want to be sure not to dish out too many dollars decorating. You can create a nice interior design aspect without spending a fortune. Shop around and be patient. It would be wise to consider hiring an Interior Designer if the link above is not applicable to help you. They will save tons of time and money by designing your space the way you want it with respect to the budget established. Request a quote of how much money it will take to transform your hotel rooms into comfortable and homelike areas. After that, inquire about at least two other design schemes you may use. The reason you ask for two alternatives is that you don’t know how much the primary design will cost, and if it falls outside of your budget it will come in handy. Lots of times you will have to stretch the budget and maybe extend it a little. The reason I say that is because the last thing you want to do is sacrifice the general appearance of the rooms. A good interior designer can help with the marriage of your budget to the atmosphere you’re aiming to create.   written By Inson Wood article source :

How To Prepare For Your South African Trip

I would like to share some information with you, which i hope will make your South African experience a bit more comfortable and a lot more enjoyable.

**Take your time to read this important advice as it may assist you tremendously on your trip…..It may seem like a lot of information at first but if you apply it you soon get into good habits of thorough preparation**

The most important thing to bring along is the right attitude… 

The main thing you need to be afraid of is…..missing out

South Africa is an EXPERIENCE. This article is written with the adventurer and explorer in mind. This is definitely not for the person looking for a “back home” experience in Africa.

I take approximately 2500 people on tour, through South Africa, every year. I am amazed how unprepared most people are, despite being briefed, for their African Adventure….their tour of a lifetime.

So, I’ve decided to address some of the areas where people need to be better prepared.

Africa has been romanticized in novels and movies and the image that most people have of the continent is of People in loin clothes providing Western comforts under the African sun. The African sunset has etched itself into the imaginations of many who dream to spend an endless vacation on it’s wide open plains.

South Africa is a WORLD CLASS DESTINATION and therefore worth a visit, but come prepared. It’s like no other places you’ve been to before.It is a country of unsurpassed beauty, adventure opportunities and diversity.

It is also the country with the highest disparities between rich and poor and it is just recovering from a political system which left thousands homeless and dispossessed of their land and thousands more with little or no education. 80% of South Africans are black, only 10% are White and about 9.8% Coloured.

The second largest Indian community outside of India exists here in Durban, South Africa.

Now then, let’s get started………


  • If you’re on a Group Tour then remember to obey the time limit set for each of the activities. Stick with the group and don’t wander off on your own. Never hold up the group. If you have serious medical conditions then let the group leader know. If you need to have your meals on time, for medical reasons, then you MUST inform your group leader. Read your pre-trip material carefully and be sure of what is expected of you etc.
  • If you’re traveling by hired car, be sure that you know exactly where you’re going and how long it will take to get there. Always have a back-up plan. Remember that you are trying to enjoy the scenery/experience and trying to concentrate on finding your way around a strange environment.
  • If you would like to hire a tourist guide to drive you around in a vehicle you will need to…
  1. have made contact with that guide prior to your coming here
  2. make the necessary insurance arrangements with the car hire company.
  • If you wish to book excursions with a local tour operator, and you know which ones you’d like to do, it is advised to do so before you arrive here. This is easily done via email. You contact that provider when you arrive here and you may be able to pay on the day you take the excursion.You will have the option of doing a scheduled tour or a private tour in an air-conditioned vehicle and a knowledgeable local tourist guide. The Local DAY TOURS are very enjoyable and offer great value for money.
  • SPECIAL INTEREST and ADVENTURE TOURS are well catered for and you would need to scout around for suitable operators. Some of these tours would include….
  1. Exploring the underground drainage system in Cape Town
  2. Cycling the City
  3. Skydiving
  4. Hot Air Ballooning
  5. Walking with the Indigenous Bushman..!Khwa Ttu
  6. Shark Cage Diving
  7. Ocean Safari
  8. Big Game Fishing
  9. Kloofing and Hiking…nature walks
  10. West Coast Flowers Tours….seasonal
  11. Bungee jumping…worlds’ highest commercial jump
  12. Tree Top Canopy Tours
  13. Mine Shaft Tours.… you need to book way in advance as this is a working mine
  • IMPORTANT ADVICE…the cheapest options are not always the best. In my opinion….DO NOT waste your precious time and money on excursions that do not have a HUMAN BEING, but a recording, talking to you. If there is a regular guide you can at least ask questions and interact etc….otherwise you may as well stay home and watch a documentary on TV.
  1. Always ask to see more than one brochure when booking a tour
  2. The more stops offered in a tour, the less you see because the day becomes rushed in order to complete the itinerary
  3. Smaller tour companies almost always offer a better experience since they are always very keen to make a great impression
  • Using public transport….this is a great option if you have the adventurous spirit. The transport system in some of our major cities are always being upgraded. It is becoming much easier and safer to get around. It is a good idea to carry all your daily requirements in a backpack. This allows you to have both hands free as you make your way around the concrete jungle. This is probably the best way to get that “local” experience.


  • Camera….You would need a decent camera for taking pictures. Digital camera’s are small and easy to carry but they are lousy for taking pictures of objects that are far away. If you can afford to do so get yourself a descent suitable camera to capture those once in a lifetime moments. Carry more than one memory card and replace with a new one every 3 to 4 days. If you lose the camera at least you have most of the pictures
  • Binoculars…It is important to have a good pare of these. You need one with good magnification, durable, waterproof, good quality lenses and will allow you to see and distinguish clearly between colors. Once again, get good advice.You need to do the comparison between Porro and Roof Prism designs. This is a very important decision.
  • Batteries… ensure that you have back up batteries for you equipment.
  • Power adapters… Ensure that you bring along the correct wall plug adapters. Please note that the adapters sold for Africa is not necessarily the one for South Africa. Hotels may not always be able to assist you.
  • Flashlights…Ensure that you have a good flashlight. There is fantastic new technology in the new flashlights which enable them to operate for very long periods of time. Get one which is small but effective… don’t need a “spotlight”
  • Walking Aid…Bring one along if you usually use one for hiking
  • bottled water… you need to carry a good supply. Many of the smaller towns have problems with supplying good potable water or water that is suitable for you to drink.
  • Washcloth… These are not normally supplied at hotels etc. You need to bring your own.
  • Cell. phone…always a good idea to have one handy
  • Insect repellent… This is essential as you may encounter more bugs around you that you’re used to. Citronella Oil is a great alternative to DEAT.
  • Maps… These are difficult to come by in Johannesburg. In Cape Town you are very likely to find all sorts of maps that cover the entire country. Please ensure that you get the latest edition maps if you buy one in a store. Older maps do not reflect the newly named cities and towns.
  • So generally you are going to need a decent amount of outdoor equipment and gear ideas.
  • A copy of your passport, kept separately from the original
  • The contact details… of the places where you’re staying, just in case you get separated from your group or run into difficulties. Always notify your hosts of your planned activities


There are really great restaurants around South Africa. Amongst the best restaurants are found in and around Cape Town. The Victorian and Alfred Waterfront area offer some of the best dining experiences. Franschoek, in the Cape Winelands district offers some of the countries best restaurants.

You don’t always have to eat at expensive restaurants…… Major chain stores such as Woolworths, Pick&Pay and SuperSPAR have excellent delicatessens. There are also fast-food places like Kentucky fried chicken, Nando’s, Ocean Basket, MacDonalds and Wimpy.

For the adventurer…..there are companies that offer home hosted dinners. This means that they take you to homes on the Cape Flats area where the majority of the Coloured People live. Remember that the majority of the population in the Western Province are Coloured. Most are the descendants of the original indigenous people of South Africa.


  • You must bring along your medication, especially chronic medication, and make sure you pack them according to aviation requirements.
  • Where possible, your chronic medication MUST be carried on as hand luggage during flights
  • Bring along prescriptions of chronic medication and ensure that you will be able to find it locally and where.
  • If you’re dependent on spectacles, bring along a copy of your prescription. Your local optometrist is obliged to let you have it.
  • Certain parts of South Africa are Malaria zones and therefor you have to ensure that you have the correct medication and that you take it on time.


It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the climate patterns of the area you are visiting. The Southern Part of South Africa has a Mediterranean Climate while the Northern part is Tropical.

Rainfall generally occurs during summer (Nov. – March), although around Cape Town it occurs in the winter (Jun. – Aug.) Temperatures are influenced by altitude, terrain, ocean currents and latitude.

There is very little difference in average temp. from north to south. it’s, in part, because the inland plateau rises in the North East of the country. Eg. the average temp. in Cape Town is 17deg.C and 17.5 in Pretoria. The distance in latitude between the two is almost 10 deg. Maximum temp. in summer can reach 38deg. in summer. The highest recorded temp. is 48deg. recorded in both the N. Cape and Mpumalanga.

Frost occurs in high altitudes during the winter months. Climate conditions also vary between east and west largely due to the effects of ocean currents.


This is always a big problem. If you’re traveling in a large coach then there will most likely be a toilet on board. If you will need the toilet often then check up ahead with your travel agent. Most large coaches have toilets inside, for emergencies. There are public toilets in all major Malls.


If you’re going to use it familiarize yourself with the internal flight weight regulations


Inform your bank of your journey.

Arrive with enough local currency to last at least 2 days. ..R1000.00 should be sufficient

It is expensive to change money at the hotel. In South Africa we use Rands but in neighboring countries such as Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana and Zambia you may use dollars and/or Rands.

There are thousands of ATM machines throughout South Africa.Be aware that if you have more than 3 unsuccessful tries the ATM machine will retain your card. If you are in any way distracted while making a transaction, press CANCEL immediately, take your card and walk away.

The banks are open from around 09h00 until 15h00 on weekdays and Saturdays they close at 11h00

Most shops and restaurants accept credit cards as a method of payment. Never let your credit card out of your sight or allow a stranger to handle it. Most places have the portable hand held units which they can bring to you.

In the hotel you should always keep your money locked up in the room safe.


  • If you don’t need your passport then don’t carry it around with you.
  • Always carry a duplicate of your passport and drivers license separate from the originals. If you lose those you have the details to apply for the new one at the local consulate.


In our major cities we have amongst the best quality of water in the world, flowing from our taps. In some of the smaller towns the water may not be of a very high quality and in that case you are better off drinking bottled water.

You are responsible for carrying your own bottled water. Drink lots of water…especially when you’re doing lots of outdoor activities.


You are spoilt for choices. It is understandable that you are nervous about just booking with anyone. You can safe-guard yourself by checking that the provider is affiliated to an accreditation body. Ask for the details and check it out.

If you are booking a Holiday Accommodation venues then ask for the same information. They may not have as they are not required to have. Ask for the address and type it into “GOOGLE MAPS” to see at least the surrounding area.

So, some of your options for accommodation are..

  • Guesthouse
  • Bed and Breakfast
  • Resort
  • Private Home stay
  • Hotel
  • Camp sites
  • Backpackers Lodge


“What to wear” is always a tricky one to answer. In my experience this new quick dry material is fantastic.

The trousers where the leg sections zip off are very handy. It also means the you can wash your clothes and they will dry overnight. The other advantage is that essentially you need less clothing and the ones you have do not take lots of space.

Otherwise, bring along clothes to wear which you want to give away at the end of the trip and that way you free up a lot of space in your suitcase when you go home.

Old Clothes…If you’re going to visit Zimbabwe, as well, as many people do then bring along your old clothes. The traders will swop them for curios.


You will encounter many curio stalls or “BEND DOWN BOUTIQUES” throughout South Africa, and they all seem to be the same. Believe it or not….these stone and wood carvings are all hand made. If you see something you like, BUY IT. Don’t walk away from something you like. You may find something similar later on but it will not be the same, leaving you with regrets. Don’t compare what you paid for something with that of someone else. Your purchase is unique to you taste and has special meaning to you. You may bargain at these roadside stalls.

If you buy from a shop you will be charged 14%VAT. You will get back 12.5% VAT on leaving the country PROVIDED you hold onto you till slips. These slips should indicate the purchase price and the VAT price separately.


It is customary to tip in South Africa…..

10% on Restaurant bills and in taxi cabs

$3.00 pp per day in the hotel room

$7.00 – $10 .00 p.p per day for any Tourist Guide services

$1 per bag for porterage

You can tip in dollars but make sure the bills are in good condition and unmarked, otherwise they cannot be exchanged into Rands at the Banks. It is considered bad manners not to tip. Some people rely solely on tips as a source of income.

General comments

Find out, beforehand, what level of fitness is required for the tour. I have had people arriving on an adventure tour in a wheelchair and hooked up to an oxygen bottle (no kidding); people on crutches; recent knee replacements etc.

Normal home improvement services like plumbing companies pe are readily available online which is great.

When it’s hot in Africa, you cook. Be prepared. Come with the right attitude and you’ll enjoy it.

Yes, we have ticks, bugs and spiders. Lots of them ……mainly on Safaris.

We have snakes. Venomous ones. I have not seen one for many years….and i travel in the bush a lot.

Most importantly……..

when you travel through South Africa, it’s not a tour……….It’s an EXPERIENCE

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What Are The 5 Differences Between 2 Star Hotels And 5 Star Hotels?

Every hotel will typically have a star rating assigned to it. How these stars are determined varies from one country to another. The star rating is meant to rate each hotel in reference to quality. Although many travelers base their decision on the star rating a hotel has there is really no standard system for rating used in the world. For example in Europe they use a four star system whereas in the United States they use five. One star is the lowest and the highest number is the best.

Who Rates The Hotels

In Europe the star ratings are normally provided by independent organizations or local government agencies. These rating can vary from city to city and country to country. What this simply means is that there is no organized measure that is used universally or even in the same town. Several organizations, travel websites and National consumer travel groups assign stars to hotels. The problem is they all use different criteria to arrive upon their rating. Therefore one hotel may have different ratings from different groups that define their stars differently. Each group will normally explain how they determine their ratings. If you are really concerned about the rating it is best that you find out who gave the rating and what their criteria was. A hotel is typically rated in accordance with the comfort and amenities it has to offer the consumer. Lets examine 5 fairly standard differences between a 2 star and 5 star hotels.

1. Service – A five star hotel will typically offer valet parking, a bellboy to carry your luggage, room service and a massage therapist for outstanding customer service. A two star hotel will typically offer none of the above. Your service will be limited to a friendly smile and a maid straightening up your room every morning.

2. Luxury – A five star hotel will be defined by luxurious settings, a distinct style and elegance beyond compare. Rooms will have only the highest quality linens. A two star hotel will typically be chain oriented and offer steadfast quality and a few amenities. Rooms will offer your basic comforts.

3. Cuisine – Most five star hotels have a chef under their employment and offer gourmet menus and room service is normally available around the clock. If you are lucky a two star hotel may have an adjoining café to dine in during normal hours.

4. Amenities – Both types of hotels will offer television and a phone. The difference will be in the quality and elegance of each. Five star hotels will typically also offer tennis courts, golf courses, basketball courts, large swimming pools, Jacuzzi tubs and a stocked refrigerator. A two star hotel may have a small pool but typically the amenities will be quite limited.

5. The Experience – It is all about the experience. A five star hotel will typically offer you an experience of a lifetime. You will be pampered and serviced in ways that are above and beyond the norm. A five star hotel should tantalize all of your senses. A two star hotel is not designed for the total experience. It is designed to offer you the basic in comfort for a descent nights rest.

As stated earlier there really is no consistent standard rating system that is universally accepted or utilized. The above differences are based upon generalities found in most rating systems. Most any hotel will offer you the basics that will provide you with a restful nights sleep. When you plan for a stay at a five star hotel you are treating yourself extra special. You are taking comfort and quality to its highest level. A two star hotel is a place to stop and rest for the night.


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The Five Most Unusual Hotels

Unusual hotels

The next time you are ready to book a vacation, consider something a little different this year. There are hotels that have that something special, a wow factor.

Some of these are constructed of ice, a remodeled prison and even one underwater. Take a look through and see if one is just what you’ve been looking for.

Entrepreneurs have seen a desire of travelers to do something out of the ordinary and have created various hotels that offer just that.

1. An Ice Hotel

If you are planning a winter get-away, why not consider staying in an ice hotel. The hotel is construct with ice and as such is temporary. It is rebuilt each year, as the temperatures rise, the walls fall so to speak.

The first ice hotel was is Sweden but now ice hotels can be found in In Canada, Norway, Romania and Finland.

Imagine sleeping on an ice bed or drinking from an ice glass.

Although this may appeal to some, for me , I don’t like the cold and I somehow don’t think I could bring a portable heater. If this is something you want to experience, then remember to take your mittens.

2. Aircraft carrier becomes a hotel

In China you can stay on an aircraft carrier. This decommissioned Russian aircraft carrier was bought by the Chinese in 1996 and used as an amusement park.

If you have always wanted to stay on an aircraft carrier but without enlisting in the Navy, now your opportunity exists. The interior is perhaps a little too tacky and lacks true style but it is what the Chinese feel western tastes are. Still, it is an experience.

3. An airplane hotel

That’s right, if you’ve got an old Boeing 747 lying around, why not convert it into a hotel. That is just the idea that Oscar Diös had when he heard there was an unused Boeing available at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport up for grabs.

Dogged determination got him the necessary permission from the airport and planning consent from the Swedish government to convert the plane into a hostel close to the airport.

So isn’t it a bit cramped you might ask? It is classified as a hostel and as such the rooms aren’t overly spacious but it is an novel idea. They offer a conference center as well as a bar.

Business guests

Several of the hotels offer conference areas and attract business clients who want something unique and inspiring to woo their guests and clients. Still others are ideal for team building scenarios and brainstorming sessions without the normal distractions so often found in larger hotels.

4. Cave hotels

If you want to see what it feels like to sleep in a cave, now you can. There are many cultures that have and still do use caves as homes . Dwelling in a cave is not only cool it can be very comfortable.

In Turkey, you can stay in a 1,000 year old Byzantine monastery which was converted to a hotel and opened in 1999.

 One of the best places to stay in the middle east” according to Forbes Magazine.

This also won a ‘best service’ award by Travelers Choice 2012.

5.Hotels in the trees

Did you have a tree-house when you were young? Perhaps it has always been your desire to get away from it all and stay in a tree-house. This exists in more than one location. In Africa you can find accommodation on stilts positioned in the trees. This offers the traveler majestic views across the savannas, perfect for watching the passing wildlife in its natural environment.

Another option is much further north, in Sweden, where you can stay in a futuristic luxury tree hotel. The luxury rooms and conference center offers the traveler tranquility and an unforgettable experience.

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Best way to choose a foreign hotel


Many people while talking about the best parts of his life recalls overseas voyages. In recent years, travel has become a common pastime and available. If the stereotypical “average Joe” well manages your finances, it can secure at least one foreign trip every year.

Once it comes to planning highly anticipated summer tour, which is to bring relaxation and help recuperation for the next year, they start to pile up difficulties. What destination best to choose and what place accommodate up to spend time pleasantly and comfortably?

Hotels abroad have a very wide range of objects is countless, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. So how do you choose a place to stay (which should be perfect because he spends there vacation time)?

On the websites of the hotels, direct information is not so much adulterated, which does not reveal the whole truth. On the part of the object, rather we find out that some of the apartments have a view of the busy street, breakfast included in the room are not entirely fresh, and the service has its good and bad days, which unfortunately translates into is not always exemplary customer service.

So how do you know the whole truth about the place that has the potential to be perfect for your vacation? How to avoid disappointment on arrival?

With the help of online comparison come that from A to Z describe hotels abroad. Hotel Reviews is one of the most useful things, which is helpful when choosing accommodation for vacation time.

Such opinions are not sponsored, write them people who have visited the hotel and want to share your comments, objections, and positive aspects. Such opinions have this, there are always subjective, so you need to remember to “filter” them for their preferences.

For example, the reviewer went to the resort with family and strongly up disappointed, as the hotel is situated close to the cradle of local events and activities. This is according to him, a factor that makes not selected a second time.

However, high school graduates who choose a group of friends on their first vacation, consider this factor as favorable.

A critical issue is the price of hotels abroad. When analyzing this question, you need to consider two issues. The first and most obvious is the class of the hotel, where we are going. The second problem is the online booking center.

It often happens that the same hotel on different pages can be booked at various prices. It is worth paying attention to this issue to not unnecessarily overpay.