7 Habits of an Addict About to Relapse

Many addicts in recovery that are nearing a relapse episode exhibit predictable and identifiable habits and behaviors before the actual relapse occurs. Recognition of these habits is critical in order for people in recovery and their loved ones to take decisive and immediate action to prevent the relapse. This is especially important considering the potential consequences of each new relapse episode: prison, violence, bankruptcy, death. Relapse prevention isn’t just about stopping someone from using again; it’s about saving a life.

The following are 7 behaviors that many addicts exhibit prior to and/or during the early stages of a relapse:

1.) Withdrawal/Isolation

A person in recovery who is on the verge of relapse will likely become withdrawn and purposefully isolate other people around them. This is particularly true of people that will not support or condone a return to drug use or drinking. This could be evidenced by spending less time with family members, staying out later at night than normal or not coming home, and by seeming withdrawn and quiet when others are present.

2.) Decline in Hygiene/Productivity

There is often a lack of care and concern when a relapse is imminent. Meaning, less attention is paid to personal hygiene details, exercise programs are abandoned, employment or educational inefficiencies or neglect occurs, and regular household upkeep suffers. These are all common signs of an addict who is beginning to care less and less about trying to maintain a legitimate lifestyle.

3.) Glorification of Substance Abuse

An addict that is unhappy with or neglectful of their recovery will often yearn for the days when they used drugs or drank. They may talk about using and relive their past drug use in the form of stories, anecdotes and comments that make it clear that they miss those times, despite the severe consequences they suffered as a result. (Levels of Relapse Warning Signs, T. Gorski)

4.) Reconnecting

An early warning of relapse is when a person in recovery begins to reconnect with friends or acquaintances they used drugs or drank with. This refers mainly to individuals who are potentially still using drugs or those who do not support recovery/sobriety. These reconnections are especially troubling when the person in question has withdrawn from people that DO support their recovery.

5.) Engaging in Risky Behavior

An addict in recovery that is about to relapse will often exhibit abnormally risky behavior. This could include extreme sports or other athletic activities, promiscuity, excessive speeding and other dangerous activities. Engaging in behaviors such as these fills a certain need for excitement and euphoria, but for most addicts in recovery the only euphoria that will satiate them is a return to their drug of choice.

6.) Secretive

As people in recovery get closer to relapse, they sometimes become secretive; carefully guarding their phone or computer, remaining tight-lipped concerning where they go, who they’re with, etc. Often at this stage the relapse has already begun and secrecy is required in order to conceal it.

7.) Abandoning Treatment

Addicts in recovery usually engage in some type of ongoing treatment as part of a relapse prevention program. This can take many forms, but when people in recovery are nearing a relapse episode, they often abandon these types of treatment with little explanation. When combined with any or all of the behaviors outlined above, it’s likely that for these people, relapse is imminent. (Carole Bennett, M.A. 6 Common Relapse Triggers PsychologyToday.com)

If you recognize these signs in yourself or someone you love who is in recovery, taking swift action is critical. This should begin by addressing the issue directly with the individual, and escalate to involve the person’s support network, treatment specialists and if needed, an interventionist.

How To Properly Remove A Bumper Sticker and Blend the Paint to Match

No matter what your reasons may be you’ve decided its’ time to remove that old faded bumper sticker from your vehicle. Lucky for you in just a few minutes and with a small amount of effort your car can be bumper sticker free. This process can be repeated for just about any type of adhesive stuck to your vehicle. It can be used to remove inspection stickers from windows, or vinyl lettering/vinyl graphics from the vehicle as well. The most important part is to be very patient and not try to rush through any steps. All of the steps below should be completed in a garage, under a carport or during dawn/dusk to provide as much time as possible before the adhesive remover dries on the car.

What You Will Need:

Razor Blade (Single Sided Square Blade Recommended)

Citrus Based Adhesive Solvent (Goo Gone Automotive Cleaner Recommended)

Automotive Paint Safe Bug Brush (Can be purchased at Walmart, or any auto parts store)

Microfiber Towels

Wax

Compound

Applicators

STEP #1: Take your razor blade and carefully slide the edge of the blade under a corner of the sticker. With the edge of the razor blade under the sticker gently tease up the corner of the sticker.

STEP #2: Grab the freed corner of the sticker and slowly pull the sticker in the direction of the remaining sticker. NOTE: If the sticker becomes too difficult to pull without tearing, apply your citrus based adhesive solvent to the adhesive sticker backing during this step. The solvent will loosen the adhesive, making it easier to remove the sticker. It is recommended to wait at least one minute to allow the solvent to penetrate and break down the adhesive.

STEP #3: Once you have removed the entire sticker, there will still be bumper sticker adhesive left behind. Now apply the citrus based adhesive remover to your automotive paint safe bug brush. Using the bug brush, apply some citrus based adhesive remover to the remaining adhesive on the vehicle in a circular motion. NOTE: This step may will most likely have to be repeated in order to remove all the adhesive from the vehicle. To ensure everything is removed, run your hand across the area once dried. Any remaining sticker glue will create a rough/sticky feeling. If there is still some leftover then repeat step #3. If there is no residue or leftover you may proceed to step #4.

STEP #4: Remove the excess adhesive remover with your microfiber towel.

Note: There will be some slight scuff/mar marks as well as a discoloration of the paint depending on how long the bumper sticker was on the car. This will need to be removed by compounding and polishing the area to smooth out any blemishes and blend the clear coat to match the rest of the bumper.

STEP #5: Now that the bumper sticker has been removed and all adhesive cleaned up it is time to make it look like the rest of the bumper. Follow the steps on how to properly compound and polish a car to remove light swirls and scratches.

STEP#6: Inspect the area where the sticker was to ensure it is satisfactory. Remember to apply a couple coats of wax, since it has been a long time since this portion of the bumper saw any.

Removing a bumper sticker can seem like an insurmountable task, and often people will give up because of the difficulty. With a little patience, the right tools and know how anyone can learn how to properly remove a bumper sticker without any blemishes to the paint.

Evils of Addiction

In a recent survey it was found that most cocaine addicts are working with reputed organizations at a fine post. Statistics also reveal that employees working in MNCs are more likely to try drugs like cocaine and heroin some time in their career as compared to students and professionals working in smaller offices. Most MNCs have therefore come up with their own drug and alcohol testing policies as per the OHS system.

Not only does this policy help in identifying drug abusers in the organization but also helps in keeping the employees away from drugs. The mere fear of being caught can cause an employee to steer clear of drugs like heroin and cocaine. 10 panel drug tests in workplaces has also helped a lot of people to get rid of their addiction problem. A workplace drug testing program helps the employers to understand the loopholes in the organization as well. The employee is of course sent to a rehab or a detox center in order to get proper treatment.

The Evils of Drugs

Excessive intake of drugs or frequent drug abuse can lead to addiction and once a person is hooked to a certain drug, he can cause some serious troubles for himself and the people around him. As far as the official point of view is concerned, a drug addict is no asset to the company because of the following reasons:

1. A drug addict is extremely careless with his work and is less likely to do it right
2. An employee hooked to drugs would have trouble taking quick decisions
3. A drug addict experiences severe drops in concentration levels
4. Shift in focus and craving for the drug at work can also lead to poor efficiency
5. If an employee comes to the office stoned, his behavior would not be proper to his colleagues and fellow employees
6. Some one who is addicted to drugs does not go unnoticed and can end up spoiling the name of the organization as a whole
7. An addict can cause people around him to fall into the world of addiction as well

There are a number of health related risks related to drug abuse as well. A drug like cocaine can destroy almost every organ in the human body and an overdose can even lead to death. Psychological problems like nervous breakdowns and extreme depression are common among drug addicts.

The worst part about drug addiction is that even when an addict knows that he is as depressed as he can ever be, he shows no intents of coming out of his addiction. Drugs have a firm grip on addicts and therefore treating a drug addict is a lengthy and tough task.

In MNCs and various other companies, drug and alcohol testing is a monthly affair. Drug and alcohol testing is also important in order for the employers to make sure that they are offering a safe and healthy work environment to the employees. In most offices a 10 panel drug test is conducted in order to make sure that the employees are not on drugs.

Your New Woodwrking Business – Knowing What To Charge

When selling your wood projects, what you charge for your final product is an important aspect of your woodworking business. If your prices are too high, you will lose customers, but if your prices are too low you risk the ability of having a profitable business that will provide you with the necessary income. This is a challenge that faces many woodworkers when starting a new woodworking business.

A good formula for determining a good price point for any specific product is to calculate the costs of materials, shop supplies, shop expenses and any subcontractor fees.

The total of these expenses is multiplied by whatever number that gives you a product price that is equal to your anticipated profit and your costs combined. Although this is pretty basic, it can be a little tricky.

Here’s a simple way to calculate all of the cost factors involved.

First, base your material costs on the price of the wood used and add 15% for waste. Add in any cost of fasteners, hardware and shop supplies like sandpaper, thinners, solvents, etc.

The next step is to come up with an overall hourly rate for your shop. The best way to do this is to combine your shop expenses with what you want to charge for your own time and labor.

Start by calculating all your woodworking business shop expenses like rent or mortgage, utilities, machinery maintenance, advertising and any other shop related costs. The easiest way to come up with an hourly figure for your own time is to determine how much you would be earning if you worked for somebody else.

An average month has 4.33 weeks, and if you plan on a 40 hour week that comes out to about 175 hours a month. Add up all of your shop expenses and divide that total by 175. Now take that number and add it to what you want to charge for personal labor and you now have your shop’s hourly rate.

You now have a basic outline of how to calculate prices for any of your products. Here is a simple example:

Let’s keep the numbers simple and assume that your shop expenses are $875.00 each month. That would come out to $5.00 an hour for a 175 hour month.

Now add you’re your personal labor charge. Let’s use $20.00/hour for this example.

So the shop’s hourly labor rate would be:

$5.00 + $20.00 = $25.00

The materials for this project cost $300.00 and the time spent was 30 hours. Your price for the project should be:

($25.00 x 30) + $300.00 = $1050.00

At this point, you need to determine whether or not you are going to add in any amount for your profit margin. This is important to any woodworking business and should be added. The industry standard is 15%.

For this example the profit margin would be 15% of $1050.00 or $157.50 and you would add this to come up with a final price.

$1050.00 + 157.50 = $1207.50 Final Price

This is a pretty basic approach to calculating product costs based on your overall expenses and it is effective. Of course, if your expenses are very low your prices will also be lower and more affordable. On the other hand, high expenses have the opposite effect. A good reputation is very important to your woodworking business, so be fair and give good quality for the money.

Support Networks in Recovery From Addiction

Support networks must be made a critical component of an addict’s recovery plan in order to prevent relapse and maintain and improve emotional, mental and spiritual health. Recovering addicts that do not have a support network often become depressed, withdraw from social interactions and eventually return to using drugs in order to self-medicate their emotional pain. Consequently, understanding how support networks can benefit a recovery program and what types of networks are available is essential for people who are battling the disease of addiction or alcoholism.

Support Networks: Why They Work

There are 8 primary reasons why support networks are crucial for people in recovery:

1.) Fellowship

The power of fellowship is felt in nearly all groups that gather for a specific purpose; especially groups with powerful missions like those dedicated to the recovery of addicts and alcoholics. Humans are innately social creatures that need to be around other people that share the same goals and interests. And while there might not yet be enough scientific evidence to prove it, for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years mankind has recognized the power of fellowship; it’s a call that all humans respond to and this may be even truer for addicts that need to know they are not alone in their struggle.

2.) Friendly Observation

People in recovery sometimes struggle with issues of honesty regarding their desire to use or their actual drug use despite recovery efforts. Having a strong recovery-based support network serves as a safety net in this regard, as people within the group can recognize issues and signs of relapse or impending relapse among others in the group. In this way people can “keep an eye on each other.”

3.) Environment of Understanding

People in the general public often find it difficult or impossible to understand the true nature of the disease of addiction and fail to recognize how powerful it really is. By creating a recovery support network, an addict or alcoholic can ensure that the people they surround themselves with understand addiction and will therefore be less likely to judge, admonish or “feel sorry” for others that they know have a legitimate, neurological disease that requires a daily effort to overcome.

4.) The Power of Sharing

There is a great deal of power in sharing and we see this in many different ways in society, from the individual talking to a therapist, to those who take part in groups and organizations, to people who open up to their barber or stylist, we clearly see that sharing helps people. Sharing can relieve stress, create stronger relationships and allow people to “let go” of emotional and other pain that they otherwise would allow to fester and grow. And according to Dr. Barton Goldsmith, sharing with others helps give us new perspective;

“There will always be problems in our lives, but sometimes we don’t have the capacity to handle them all by ourselves. Getting a 360-degree view is impossible when all you can see is what’s going wrong. And talking with another person can give you perspective.” (Goldsmith, Barton, Ph.D. Talk About Your Problems, Please Psychology Today March 3, 2011)

5.) Emergencies

When an addict has an “emergency”, it often means they are about to relapse. For some, this could prove fatal, so prompt action is required. Addicts that have good support networks are able to rely on people within them to come to their aid in the event that they feel drug use or a return to drinking is imminent. Additionally, a person in recovery may be empowered and enlightened when another addict asks them for help when they feel like using.

6.) Confidence

The confidence that a strong recovery-oriented support network can provide is significant. Many addicts report that just knowing there are people that they can talk to and others who are like them that they can turn to in the event of trouble makes it much easier to deal with the daily problems that often stress addicts and alcoholics out. When it comes to relapse prevention, confidence is one of the most critical components of recovery stability.

7.) Education and Resources

The more people an addict has in their networks, the more likely it is that new and useful information will be passed among the various members. And the more education and resources an addict has access to, the more likely it is that they will acquire the right combination of knowledge and tools not only to stay clean for life, but to help others do so as well.

8.) Entertainment

Being part of a recovery-oriented network doesn’t mean that there’s no fun or entertainment involved. People in recovery can still do all of the fun things they want to do, provided others in the group want to participate. Fortunately there are many recovery-sensitive groups and organizations that arrange outings, events and so on in order to provide clean entertainment for its members. Remember; it’s as important to share a laugh with your networks as it is to share emotional pain.

Types/Components of Support Networks

Each addict’s complete support network structure is unique. Some addicts consciously build their support groups, while others are unsure of what groups and networks exist, how to join and what the benefits are. The following are 11 different components that in whole or in part make up the support networks of many people in recovery:

1.) 12 Step Programs

Groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) have provided the fellowship and support necessary to help thousands of people maintain their recovery, “one day at a time.” Both groups are founded on the principle of the discussion and sharing of experiences, usually pre-empted by the humbling statement of;

“Hi, my name is so-and-so, and I’m an addict.”

Many rehab centers and drug treatment programs use 12 Step programs as a basis for the continued recovery program of their patients upon graduation. While these groups are not for everyone, they are convenient in that they can be found in virtually every area of the country.

2.) Recovery-Specific Groups

Recovery specific groups are those that gather for a particular purpose or activity in order to have clean fun together. Often there isn’t any structure to the groups in the sense of recovery-oriented dialogue or practices- in most cases these groups are just people trying to live normal lives but who all happen to be in recovery. Examples of recovery-oriented groups include the infamous 5th Chapter motorcycle club and Young People in Recovery.

3.) Connections Made During Treatment

When addicts complete drug or alcohol treatment together, they often form lasting bonds that become a key part of their support system. Of course, these relationships should only be maintained if they are healthy. These can be especially powerful relationships because the parties are essentially on the same “level,” and are likely going through similar experiences related to post acute withdrawal, issues re-integrating with society, etc.

4.) Recovery Forums and Websites

Recovery forums and websites provide an additional opportunity to develop relationships, discuss issues, share experiences, collaborate, meet and take part in activities together and much more. Forums are also an excellent way to gather information and resources and to easily develop a support system that might not be available in certain areas- especially very small cities and towns.

5.) Family & Friends

Family and friends that support the addict’s recovery are possibly the most important part of a strong support system. From old friends that bring understanding, history and loyalty to new friends that have been acquired along the path to recovery, often these individuals can provide more emotional support than others. The same is true of family members, but people in recovery must beware to limit relationships with family members that were enablers or those who do not suppo
rt or take addiction recovery seriously. In many cases relationships with family members are cited as the cause of substance abuse, so it’s important to choose the family and friends that are permitted into a support network carefully and honestly.

6.) Spiritual & Religious Groups

Even if you don’t take part in organized religion, there are often groups within groups among these types of organizations. For instance, AA and NA 12 Step meetings are often held at churches or other spiritual gathering places. In fact, some religious groups sponsor these programs because their ideals are largely aligned.

7.) Rehab Alumni Associations

For addicts that attended and completed a rehab program, there may be an opportunity to join an alumni association for that particular treatment center. This is an excellent way to stay connected to the people who were influential in the early part of a person’s recovery, and to meet new people who are also living a life free from drugs or alcohol, one day at a time.

8.) Community Outreach Programs

Many communities have outreach programs for the disadvantaged, and this can include drug addicts in some cases. Programs can be as simple as the provision of a place to gather and meet, or it can include funding for specialized treatment, groups, therapy and other benefits. In order to find out if your community offers such programs, your town or city hall is an excellent place to start.

9.) Healthcare Professionals

Therapists, doctors, nurses, dieticians, massage therapists, chiropractors and many other types of healthcare professional play a central role in the support network of addicts and alcoholics in recovery. In fact, most people in recovery probably underutilize this source and fail to recognize the benefits. However, this group is likely one of the most important parts of a recovery support system considering that these professionals help to maintain the physical, mental and emotional health of an individual. Consequently it’s vital that people in recovery are open and honest with their healthcare professionals and alert them to any issues that could indicate a relapse is imminent.

10.) School/Educational Resources

If you’re a student, it’s likely that your school or university has special programs available for people who struggle with substance abuse and addiction. These programs could consist of therapy or counseling, the hosting of recovery-related groups, resources to get outside help and possibly funding for treatment. Additionally, other students may become part of a support network, as they are almost certainly experiencing the same stresses and issues related to schooling, social pressures and so on.

11.) Volunteer Organizations

By volunteering for any number of a wide range of organizations, people in recovery can help to give back what was given to them in the way of compassion, understanding, advice, resources, financial assistance, etc. But perhaps even more importantly, the interactions between other volunteers and organizers can blossom into significant meaningful relationships that can one day become a key part of a healthy support system.

If you’re an addict or alcoholic in recovery and you don’t have a support network, it’s imperative that you take action now and get involved. You can start with a simple search in Google for recovery related forums, or you can check the Yellow Pages for the nearest AA or NA meeting. Remember; if you go to the same lengths to stay clean as you once did to use, you’ll very quickly develop a strong network of link-minded, recovery-oriented people that will offer a mutually beneficial way to keep fighting the good fight, one day at a time.

Can An Auto Detailing Company Make Sales On Cyber Monday – Yes Indeed

Just because you operate a mobile auto services business doesn’t mean you can’t make money online. You’d be surprised. Take Cyber Monday for instance, that Monday after Thanksgiving where online sales are always the greatest. People are shopping for gifts, and what a perfect gift an auto detailing coupon or gift certificate might make for someone. Think about that. If you hand out flyers to your customers, why not put a small advertisement on the back of the flyer reminding people that they can order a gift certificate online, and if they order on Cyber Monday you will give them a discount.

Best of all, you get the money today, but you generally won’t have to do the work until after the first of the year. Interestingly enough, often after the first of the year fewer people get auto detailing services because they’ve run out of money, the weather isn’t so hot, and they have to wait until they have some more spendable cash. Other times they’ve overrun their credit card balances, and they can’t afford expensive auto services at that point. May as well keep your detailing business busy in January and February when the business slows down and all those gift certificates and coupon come in.

It might even pay to announce these gift certificates and coupons on your social media websites or social network page. Tell your friends to tell their families and give discounts for customers that buy gift certificates for others. After all, if someone likes your services so much, that they are willing to buy detailing services as a gift for someone else, they are probably inline as one of your top referral clients. There’s nothing like voting with their dollar for who they believe has the best services, do you see that point?

Now then, when someone orders a gift certificate online, you should send it out right away to the person who purchased it. This way they can get it to whoever they want. You should use card stock paper, a nice envelope, but unsealed. This will allow them to see what the gift certificate looks like before they put it into the envelope and send it or give it to the final recipient. I recommend using calligraphy type font, and it might even make sense to go down to one of the office stores and get special paper, or special certificates for this purpose.

I always recommend printing your logo on the certificate, and a phone number at the bottom, along with your website. Sometimes a recipient of a gift certificate will give it to yet a fourth-party. What do you care, you’ve already got the money. This is a good way that an auto detailing company can make money on Cyber Monday. So, please consider all this and think on it.

How To Research Information Products Before You Create Them

If you have ever fancied the thought of creating your own information product and publishing it but thought it was just going to be too expensive, then I have some good news for you. You can write your own information product and distribute it yourself online as a digital product.

All you need to do once you have written your masterpiece is to sell it from a website. Most people have a PayPal account these days and you can very easily create a payment button through their interface to place on your web page.

Before product creation commences you will first need to carry out some research into your chosen topic. You will find it easier to write your information if you have some interest and knowledge in what you are going to write about.

A good way to find out what sort of information people are looking for is to go to Yahoo! Answers and see what questions people are asking. Look especially for questions that occur regularly.

You can also visit forums and communities to gather more information. Use surveys or questionnaires to find out what information people are wanting to find out about.

By just carrying out a little preliminary research you will be able to determine some of the most common questions that crop up. Therefore identifying a need for information, you can then fulfill that need by creating an information product.

Any product you create needs to be of excellent quality that provides a solution to the problems that you identify. You can use the questions to provide you with inspiration for your chapter titles.

You need to ensure that there is a market for the product you propose to create. This is very important because no matter how good your information is, if there is no market, then you simply will have no one to sell to. If there are no other products in your market then you should worry. That could possibly mean there is no market, or at least no buyers in that market.

Look to see if there are already books and magazines that cover the subject you have chosen. If there are, then it is a good indication that there are people who are prepared to pay for that information.

You can also carry out a Google search for your specific subject matter and see if there are paid adverts on the page. If there are none, then it is highly likely that this isn’t a profitable niche and you should choose one that meets all these criteria.

By taking the time to carry out these few simple steps can save a lot of wasted time and effort. Too many people create information products and then look for a market to sell it to. You need to find the market and their needs first, create your information product and then put it in front of these people.

How a Shuttle Works

With the current economic crunch everyone is looking for a way to cut expenses. Shuttle services have therefore become a popular means of traveling to and from the airport, home, office, hotel or any other location. Since a shuttle typically transports more than six passengers, they are able to offer low fares by splitting the overall cost of the ride among the passengers. They are comfortable, reliable and, most of all, less costly than other alternatives such as a cab or limousine.

Making shuttle reservations from home

To schedule a shuttle service to pick you up from your residence all you have to do is visit their homepage or call the company’s office number. The company will dispatch either a van or a bus to come pick you up within a fifteen-minute window and will drop you at a convenient terminal at the airport. Shuttles carefully schedule their departure time so as to guarantee that the passengers reach the airport in time for their flight. For instance, if you schedule to be picked up at 08:00 am the ride will arrive between 08:00 am and 08:15 am, thus it is important that when scheduling a particular pick up time, you should ensure that you will be ready to travel, otherwise you will inconvenience the other clients who are sharing with you.

From the airport

While it is not necessarily a must for you to make a reservation for a shuttle while at the airport most companies would recommend you to do so. Making an advance reservation when arriving from a long distance flight will save you from the agony of waiting for transport and the hassle of making payments at the airport or aboard the shuttle. However, one should also bear in mind that making an advanced reservation does not necessarily mean that a ride will be waiting for you on arrival. Due to safety considerations major airports do not permit buses or vans to wait at the curb. They will be found at a convenient holding location which is walking distance from the airport.

Most shuttle companies have a ticket counter within the airport or some will have representatives waiting at the curbside. Either way the procedure is simple and straight forward.

  • As soon as you have collected all your luggage, let the company’s representative know the particular location you are travelling to and give them your confirmation number.
  • The representative will feed these details into the company’s system so as to inform the dispatchers to group you with other clients from the same or different terminals who are going in your direction.
  • An available shuttle is then released from the holding lot to come pick you up along with the other clients.
  • You will board the shuttle as soon as it arrives. The time you will take to arrive at your destination will depend on the traffic conditions, number of passengers and number of stops. The company representative will be in a good position to give you an accurate estimate.

Researching and Booking Hotels Online

When planning a holiday, it’s always difficult to know where to stay: how do you pick a hotel you’ve never experienced in an area of a city you might never have visited before? Staying in the right place is a key part of your trip; having comfortable surroundings and being in the right location is crucial for both the holidaymaker and the business traveler.

There are so many sites that offer online travel advice, its hard to know where to start! But next time you’re searching for a hotel to stay in, be sure to check out the following:

Wikitravel

Wikitravel is a great starting point for any traveller. The site provides information from a traveler’s perspective and offers useful advice in relation to where to eat and what to do in any given area. Larger cities are split into smaller districts, and on choosing which district you want to stay in, you are offered hotel options to suit your style and budget.

Expedia

Expedia has a directory of over 80,000 places to stay world-wide and can help you narrow down your search and find the right accommodation. It’s worth remembering that choosing a hotel on price alone is never a great idea. Hotels that are further away from attractions and amenities are usually the cheapest, but as location is a very important factor of any holiday it might be worth paying a little more to be located centrally. The handy map feature on expedia allows you to see exactly where the available rooms are located, letting you weigh up price against location.

Venere

Venere lets you filter your search results down to help pinpoint the perfect hotel for you. The filters include budget, type of accommodation and star rating, although generally photos give a better indicator of just how good a hotel is. When looking at photos of rooms, it’s worth cross checking these with recent reviews of the hotel, just to ensure that the photos are not only recent, but also a genuine representation of the room you will receive upon your arrival.

TripAdvisor

One of the best places to find customer reviews online is TripAdvisor, which has over 75 million reviews, tips and opinions from every type of traveller from around the world. TripAdvisor gives travelers the opportunity to rate hotels, share photos and videos and connect socially with other travellers.

Booking.com

Booking.com is the leading online travel agent and attracts over 30 million unique visitors each month. Offering over 253,441 hotels in 178 countries, the site aims to help travelers discover the best places to stay. Targeted at business and leisure travelers alike, the site scores hotels based on user reviews, which are broken down into categories such as comfort, location, value for money etc.. Hotels can also be filtered by the type of person who left the review – such as families with young children, solo travellers or large groups.

When it comes to booking your chosen hotel, you might think that online travel agents offer the best deals, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Booking direct with a hotel presents many advantages:

– You may be able to find exclusive promotions which aren’t offered on travel agent sites

– Some hotels offer frequent guest points and frequent flyers miles

– Hotels provide guest recognition, meaning the hotel will already know your likes and dislikes if you’ve stayed there before

– Having a direct point of contact at a hotel makes it easier to amend or cancel bookings

– Booking verification is instant as there’s no third party to confuse matters.

So next time you’re looking for a hotel, be it for business or pleasure, remember that while online travel agents and travel review sites can act as a valuable source of information, more often than not you’re better off booking via the hotel directly.

Planning A Trip? Choosing The Best Puerto Vallarta Hotels Whether You Want To Pay A Little Or A Lot

If you’re looking for a one of a kind vacation, there’s nothing like relaxing on Puerto Vallarta beaches. However, if you’re planning Puerto Vallarta travel, it’s important to thoroughly research where you’re going to stay! Some people are looking for a luxury hotel that offers every type of amenity while others are simply looking for a clean, safe place to sleep in between Puerto Vallarta tours. Here are some of the different options for Puerto Vallarta hotels that will fit within nearly any budget.

Staying On The Cheap: Inexpensive Puerto Vallarta Hotels

The Sun Suites and Hotel is an extremely budget-friendly option. Rooms can be found as cheaply as $15 a night and can go up to about $45 USD. This is a combination hotel and hostel, so make sure to let the staff know which part you’d rather stay in, especially if you’re planning a vacation for two. The hotel does take both Mexican pesos and U.S. dollars, but does not accept credit cards. The extreme budget nature of this hotel means that there’s no complementary breakfast, but the hotel’s owners do have an agreement with a locally owned restaurant nearby to provide guests with an inexpensive breakfast each morning. The hotel and hostel do have a privately owned pool for guests to use and they’re located close to a taxi stand, restaurants, shops and the beach.

Looking For Luxury

If you’re planning a luxurious vacation, the Dreams Resort and Spa is the place for you. This is an all-inclusive resort that offers something for guests of all ages. Many guests report that they are asked to participate in the resort’s timeshare presentation, but that it’s easy to decline if they’re not interested. The resort has a private beach, a pool with a swim-up bar and multiple restaurants that are all included in the price of the room. However, expect to spend more to take advantage of this luxury — rooms here start around $200 a night. Consider booking a room in the Preferred Tower if you’re looking for an extra special vacation because these rooms offer more amenities.

Finding A Mid Range Hotel

If you can’t quite afford the luxury of the Dreams Resort and Spa, but you want something a little nicer than a hostel, consider staying at the Casa Magna. This is a Marriott property and rooms here start around $100 a night. Many of the rooms have a view of Puerto Vallarta beaches and the property offers amenities such as adult and children’s pools, a swim-up bar, a fitness center with both cardio and weight machines, four restaurants and even a small deli with sandwiches and desserts.

There are many, many other Puerto Vallarta hotels — these are just three that vacationers can choose from. Before you plan your vacations, spend some time on travel websites to make sure you’re finding the best places to stay, things to do and the best prices. Doing this can help ensure a great vacation, no matter where you go.