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Happy Days star's warning to tourists after costly mistake

<p><em>Happy Days </em>star Henry Winkler has issued a warning to fans about rickshaw rides in London, after he was charged £134 (AU$250) for a short trip.  </p> <p>The star revealed on X, formerly Twitter, that he was left with the huge bill after taking a ride on the pedicab, and attached a picture from the back of the rickshaw. </p> <p>“TRAVEL TIP: Do not take one of these bicycle taxis without absolutely negotiating the price first. This person in London rode us around in circles then finally to our destination seven blocks away … for $170 US!" he wrote. </p> <p>“My fault, I paid, but passenger beware!</p> <p>A few hours later, he reiterated his point and added:  "Can NOT say this enough."</p> <p>Fans were quick to back the veteran actor, with one saying: “How can the guy do The Fonz like that?”</p> <p>Others urged him to take the tube or a cab instead, with one writing: "I would've taken you for free." </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">TRAVEL TIP: DO NOT take one of these bicycle taxis without absolutely negotiating the price first. This person in London rode us around in circles then finally to our destination 7 blocks away...for $170 US! My fault, I paid, but passenger beware! <a href="https://t.co/l9yxNUkOuM">pic.twitter.com/l9yxNUkOuM</a></p> <p>— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) <a href="https://twitter.com/hwinkler4real/status/1808556199824273671?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 3, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>Another former cab driver added: "London cabbies are known for being honest, knowledgeable, and decent-It takes a full year for someone to gain all the Knowledge necessary to become a cab driver. I believe they drive black cars. Anyway, this is a former cabbie telling you to grab a real cab."</p> <p>To which Winkler replied: "I did all the time. For that moment I LOST my mind."</p> <p>According to the U.K's Local Government Association, pedicabs have been able to charge extortionate prices because they are "exempt from the regulations which cover taxis and private hire vehicles.</p> <p>"They do not need a [license] to operate, are able to set their own prices and are not subject to checks on the safety and ability of their drivers, or the road worthiness of their vehicles."</p> <p>However, Transport for London is stepping in to license rickshaw riders and regulate their fares to bring it into line with other forms of transport in the city. </p> <p><em>Image: Mark Doyle/ Shutterstock Editorial</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Costly mistakes to avoid when travelling

<p dir="ltr">While travelling the world is an exciting and joyous way to spend your time, getting caught up in devious scams can sour even the best holiday.</p> <p dir="ltr">Whenever you hit the road, there are a few measures you can take to avoid being hit by hackers and sneaky scammers, and enjoy your holiday to the fullest. </p> <p dir="ltr">When it comes to online scams, some countries are more vulnerable than others, as NAB Executive, Group Investigations Chris Sheehan says.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Just like you'd plan visas and check the weather at your destination, it's also vital to be aware of common scams in the countries you're visiting so you can recognise the red flags and protect yourself," he said. </p> <p dir="ltr">When travelling in a new country, it’s important to be wary of accommodation or booking website impersonation scams, ticket scams for major events, as well as overcharging or wrong charge scams.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The pressure to act now is a red flag in ticket and accommodation scams, while overcharging or wrong charging scams play on distraction and a lack of detail," Chris says.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Letting your bank know where and when you're travelling can help with more accurately monitoring your transactions for suspicious activity while you're away."</p> <p dir="ltr">Another thing to be wary of when on holiday is to avoid posting your real-time location on social media, or inadvertently sharing sensitive travel documents can expose you to serious risks.</p> <p dir="ltr">Broadcasting your whereabouts can make you vulnerable to various risks, including burglary, stalking, and other personal safety threats, while criminals can take advantage of the information you share to target you or your unoccupied home.</p> <p dir="ltr">Travel expert Trevor Cooke from <a href="https://earthweb.com/">EarthWeb</a> says its best to wait until you’ve moved on until you share your location online. </p> <p dir="ltr">"If you really want to share the location of where you travelled to, wait until you're already at the next location or back home," he says.</p> <p dir="ltr">"By delaying your posts, you can still share your experiences without compromising your safety."</p> <p dir="ltr">Another thing to keep in mind when you’re next hitting the road is to be wary about unknowingly posting personal information online, such as your boarding pass. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Many people don't realise how much personal information is on your boarding pass and other temporary travel documents," says security expert Trevor.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Boarding passes, for instance, contain sensitive data such as your full name, frequent flyer number, and a barcode that can be scanned to reveal even more information. This data can be used by criminals for identity theft, unauthorised access to your accounts, and other malicious activities."</p> <p dir="ltr">"To protect yourself, always double-check that any picture you upload does not include your boarding pass, travel itinerary, hotel receipts, or any other sensitive information," Trevor adds.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Travel Tips

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COVID vaccines saved millions of lives – linking them to excess deaths is a mistake

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/paul-hunter-991309">Paul Hunter</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-east-anglia-1268">University of East Anglia</a></em></p> <p>A recent <a href="https://bmjpublichealth.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000282">study</a> has sparked another <a href="https://nypost.com/2024/06/06/us-news/covid-vaccines-may-have-helped-fuel-rise-in-excess-deaths-since-pandemic-study/">round of</a> <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2024/06/04/covid-vaccines-may-have-helped-fuel-rise-in-excess-deaths/">headlines</a> <a href="https://www.gbnews.com/health/covid-vaccine-side-effects-deaths">claiming</a> that COVID vaccines caused excess deaths. This was accompanied by a predictable outpouring of <a href="https://x.com/DrAseemMalhotra/status/1797922073798717524">I-told-you-sos</a> on social media.</p> <p>Excess deaths are a measure of how many more deaths are being recorded in a country over what would have been expected based on historical trends. In the UK, and in many other countries, death rates have been higher during the years 2020 to 2023 than would have been expected based on historic trends from before the pandemic. But that has been known for some time. A couple of years ago I wrote an article for <a href="https://theconversation.com/summer-2022-saw-thousands-of-excess-deaths-in-england-and-wales-heres-why-that-might-be-189351">The Conversation</a> pointing this out and suggesting some reasons. But has anything changed?</p> <p>The authors of the new study, published in BMJ Public Health, used publicly available data from <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/COVID-vaccinations">Our World in Data</a> to determine which countries had “statistically significant” excess deaths – in other words, excess deaths that couldn’t be explained by mere random variation.</p> <p>They studied the years 2020 to 2022 and found that many, but not all, countries did indeed report excess deaths. The authors did not try to explain why these excess deaths occurred, but the suggestion that COVID vaccines could have played a role is clear from their text – and indeed widely interpreted as such by certain newspapers.</p> <p>There is no doubt that a few deaths were associated with <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/25166026211053485">the COVID vaccines</a>, but could the vaccination programme explain the large number of excess deaths – 3 million in 47 countries – that have been reported?</p> <p>Based on <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/excessdeathsinenglandandwales/march2020todecember2021">death certificates</a>, during 2020 and 2021 there were more deaths from COVID than estimated excess deaths in the UK. So during the year 2021 when most vaccine doses were administered, there were actually fewer non-COVID deaths than would have been expected. It was only in 2022 that excess deaths <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/deathregistrationsummarystatisticsenglandandwales/2022">exceeded COVID deaths</a>.</p> <p>If the vaccination campaign was contributing to the excess deaths that we have seen in recent years, then we should expect to see more deaths in people who have been vaccinated than in those who have not. The most reliable analysis in this regard was done by the UK’s <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/excessdeathsinenglandandwales/march2020todecember2021">Office for National Statistics (ONS)</a>. In this analysis, the ONS matched death registrations with the vaccine histories of each death recorded. They then calculated “age-standardised death rates” to account for age differences between those vaccinated and those not.</p> <p>What the ONS found was that in all months from April 2021 to May 2023, the death rate <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/redir/eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJpbmRleCI6MSwicGFnZVNpemUiOjEwLCJwYWdlIjoxLCJ1cmkiOiIvcGVvcGxlcG9wdWxhdGlvbmFuZGNvbW11bml0eS9iaXJ0aHNkZWF0aHNhbmRtYXJyaWFnZXMvZGVhdGhzL2RhdGFzZXRzL2V4Y2Vzc2RlYXRoc2luZW5nbGFuZGFuZHdhbGVzIiwibGlzdFR5cGUiOiJyZWxhdGVkZGF0YSJ9.Cot-XDe8Rr07paGllBNnVVz1nTqnXfVafn2woA3tk0c">from all causes was higher</a> in the unvaccinated than in people who had been vaccinated at least once.</p> <p>That deaths from all causes were lower in the vaccinated than the unvaccinated should come as no surprise given that COVID was a major cause of death in 2021 and 2022. And there is ample evidence of the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10492612/">protective effect of vaccines</a> against severe COVID and death. But what is even more convincing is that, even when known COVID deaths were excluded in the ONS report, the death rate in the unvaccinated was still higher, albeit not by very much in more recent months.</p> <p>Some COVID deaths would certainly not have been recognised as such. But, on the other hand, people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, were a high priority for vaccination. And these people would have been at increased risk of death even before the pandemic.</p> <h2>Possible causes</h2> <p>If the vaccine is not the cause of the excess deaths, what was?</p> <p>The major cause of the excess deaths reported in the first two years of the BMJ Public Health study was deaths from COVID. But by 2022, excess deaths exceeded COVID deaths in many countries.</p> <p>Possible <a href="https://theconversation.com/summer-2022-saw-thousands-of-excess-deaths-in-england-and-wales-heres-why-that-might-be-189351">explanations</a> for these excess deaths include longer-term effects of earlier COVID infections, the return of infections such as influenza that had been suppressed during the COVID control measures, adverse effects of lockdowns on physical and mental health, and delays in the diagnosis of life-threatening infections as health services struggled to cope with the pandemic and its aftermath.</p> <p>We do need to look very carefully at how the pandemic was managed. There is still considerable debate about the effectiveness of different behavioural control measures, such as self-isolation and lockdowns. Even when such interventions were effective at reducing transmission of COVID, what were the harms and were the gains worth the harms? Nevertheless, we can be confident that the excess deaths seen in recent years were not a consequence of the vaccination campaign.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/231776/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/paul-hunter-991309">Paul Hunter</a>, Professor of Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-east-anglia-1268">University of East Anglia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/covid-vaccines-saved-millions-of-lives-linking-them-to-excess-deaths-is-a-mistake-231776">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Body

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4 anti-ageing mistakes most women make

<p>While there’s no denying it, wrinkles are just part of the natural ageing process, there are some mistakes we all make that will speed up the ageing process. So if you want to keep your youthful glow for longer, be sure to avoid these beauty blunders. </p> <p><strong>Skipping sunscreen</strong></p> <p>READ CAREFULLY: Sunscreen IS THE ultimate anti-ageing tool. Even when it’s not beach-worthy weather outside, but the sun’s UV rays can still damage your skin. This is namely photoageing, the wrinkling, spotting and loss of elasticity caused by exposure to sun. So as part of your daily routine, make sure you slip, slap, slop. </p> <p><strong>Rubbing tired eyes</strong></p> <p>While we’re all guilty of this seemingly harmful action, did you know that simply rubbing your eyes will stretch delicate skin and may cause it to slacken? The skin around our eyes and on our eyelids is the most sensitive and least elastic on our face and the most vulnerable... so keep your fingers away.</p> <p><strong>Skimping on sunglasses</strong></p> <p>As well as being a fashionable accessory, sunglasses also do wonders to minimize lines around your eyes. Shading your eyes from the sun’s glare prevents squinting and crow's feet wrinkles, of course, but it also shields delicate skin from the destructive onslaught of UV rays. Make sure you opt for a pair with UV protection.</p> <p><strong>Neglecting your neck, chest and hands</strong></p> <p>The delicate skin of these areas lack the oil glands of other areas of skin, which results in dryness and accelerated aging. Plus, these areas are often fraught with sunscreen neglect. As well as remembering to apply sunscreen to these areas you should also pay attention to them by applying an anti-ageing serum. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Common mistakes pet owners make

<p>While most pet owners have the best of intentions, sometimes not everyone is aware of the mistakes they are making or the things they could be doing better. Here’s a list of common mistakes pet owners make. How many are you guilty of?</p> <p><strong>Lack of exercise</strong><br />While each breed and species is different in reference to their specific exercise needs, one thing stays the same: every animal requires daily exercise. When working out what is the correct amount for your animal, you need to look at their age, species and breed.</p> <p>And before you go thinking of daily exercise at a chore, remember this: exercise should be fun! It can include play time, walks, jogs, runs, agility training and more. Always consult with your local vet if you want to know the specific exercise guidelines for your pet.</p> <p><strong>No behavioural training</strong><br />When bringing a new animal into your home and family, adequate training is so important. Does your animal know how to take commands? It’s important to be able to teach your pet things and that they respect you.</p> <p>Remember the saying: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Well, that’s right. Investing the time to go through behavioural training from the start will help save you time and frustration in the long run.</p> <p><strong>Your pet is bored often</strong><br />Just like humans, pets too get bored. Playing games with your furry friend – such as teaching them tricks or providing them with the toys and space to do interesting things – will do wonders in ensuring their mind is constantly developed.</p> <p>If your pet is stimulated, it should stop them from destroying the house, and your things, when you’re out.</p> <p><strong>Poorly looked after teeth</strong><br />A common mistake a lot of pet owners make, is not brushing often enough – or at all – their pet’s teeth. After all, dental hygiene is one of the most important health issues animals face. The good news is this is avoidable by regularly brushing your pet’s teeth and checking on their oral hygiene.</p> <p>Anything out of the ordinary may be an indication of infection, but when caught early, can be more easily treated. So ensure you book in regular visits at the vet to check your furry friend’s mouth too.</p> <p><strong>Not enough trips to the vet</strong><br />Just as it is important for humans to go to the dentist and doctor for check-ups and shots regularly, visiting the vet and keeping up with a vaccination schedule is equally as important.</p> <p>If not more so, as pets cannot tell you when something is wrong. Booking into to see the vet every so often will ensure your pet is healthy and blossoming for years to come. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Family & Pets

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8 mistakes that make your hair thin

<p>Despite how many products you put load it up with, hair thins with age and there is scarcely anything that you can do to completely fight nature. What you can do is go into prevention mode as early as possible. There are many simple things that we do to our hair daily that is actually causing it a lot of stress and in many cases causing it to thin.</p> <p>So rather than a trip to the hairdresser every other week or falling for flashy and expensive products on cheap advertisements, follow these 8 simple tips to avoid damaging your hair and losing what you have.</p> <p><strong>1. Hot showers</strong></p> <p>We all know that hot water can dehydrate our skin, but did you know the same rule applies to your hair? Ryan Welter, MD, a Boston-based hair transplant surgeon explains; “Not only are you washing your hair’s protecting oils down the drain, but the heat throws your scalps pores into overdrive to keep up with oil production, which can damage the root and lead to additional shedding.”</p> <p><strong>2. Using too many heat tools</strong></p> <p>Ironic, isn’t it? All that that drying and curling we do to make our hair look fabulous is actually doing it the most damage. Not everyone is a wash-and-wear kind of person, though, so if you really can’t part with your heated tools, make sure you prep your strands with a heat protection spray. Also, they may be more expensive but ceramic plated tools are ten times better for your hair. The ceramic plate has a uniform heating system that makes it impossible for it to overheat and cause damage to the hair from burning. Additionally, you’ll get a better aesthetic result.</p> <p><strong>3. Crash dieting</strong></p> <p>Your diet affects everything, so it’s no surprise it effects your hair. Under eating forces, the body to direct the little energy it has to perform essential functions –like helping your heart pump blood-so generating new hair falls by the wayside. The good news is that you can eat certain foods for positive hair health. Lean protein like fish, chicken, lentil and beans all promote growth. Hair is primarily made of protein so it will make or break your hair. You should aim for about 46 grams per day.</p> <p><strong>4. Styling when wet</strong></p> <p>Our strands are never more fragile, and prone to breakage, than when they’re saturated with H20 – this is because the protective cuticle is slightly raised. Brushing or combing locks in the shower, then following with aggressive towel-drying and prompt styling is a recipe for swift breakages. To avoid this, let your hair dry as naturally as possible when you get out of the shower and wait patiently before styling.</p> <p><strong>5. Let’s talk about the colour</strong></p> <p>If your hair is dyed, and especially if it’s bleached, you will be more prone to breakage. However, there are many ways to avoid this. If you can’t be bothered fussing with various different treatments, simply leave your conditioner on for a few minutes rather than washing straight out. This will act like a hair treatment or mask without the hefty price tag. Alternatively, Moroccan oil is naturally high in fatty acids and vitamin E, making it a good treatment for damaged hair. Use sparingly on the ends, it only takes a few minutes to apply.</p> <p><strong>6. Opting for tight hairstyles</strong></p> <p>If you wear your hair back in a tight hairstyle, like a ponytail or bun, chances are it’s contributing to your thinning hair. Pulling on the hair follicles too tightly puts tension on them, damaging them and creating scars that destroy them permanently. This can lead to alopecia, a condition that permanently weakens the follicle and makes it impossible for hair to grow again.  </p> <p><strong>7. Over-shampooing</strong></p> <p>The purpose of shampooing your hair is to cleanse the hair and scalp of oil and product build up. However, there is actually such thing as over-shampooing. This can wash away your hairs natural moisture that helps your hair look healthy and dries it out. This is especially true if you’re using a shampoo that’s more tropical scented foam than nutrition for your hair. So how much should you wash it? Unfortunately, there’s no specific algorithm. See what works best for you, stick to it, and always be gentle.</p> <p><strong>8. Using the wrong brush</strong></p> <p>Something as simple as using the wrong hairbrush could be doing you a world of damage. Unfortunately, the thinner your hair, the more damage brushing in general will do. Stick to coming and wide bristle brushes as to not aggravate delicate hair cells. For slick, slightly damp hair, natural-bristle brushes are best and for those who can get away with it, stick to a comb and nothing but the comb. Just be sure to check the teeth for seams or roughness.</p> <p>Finally, always go by the golden rule; if something is going to harm your skin, it’s going to harm your hair. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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"A Duck-Filled Platypus?!": Wheel of Fortune contestant's $10k mistake

<p>A Wheel of Fortune contestant has made a hilarious mistake that cost her  US$7250 ($10,900) with viewers blasting her on social media for not knowing the painfully obvious answer. </p> <p>During an episode of the American game show this week, Floridian contestant Kimberly Wright failed to complete the puzzle when she picked the wrong letter, according to <em>Fox News</em>. </p> <p>The puzzle board read “D U _ _ – _ _ L L E D PLATYPUS,” and Wright chose to spin the wheel which landed on the Express wedge. </p> <p>“I’m going to call an F,” she said, which elicited groans from audiences in the studio. </p> <p>Wright believed that the answer was “duck-filled platypus”, when it was “duck-billed platypus" an animal native to Australia, and many fans were in disbelief over her "painful" mistake. </p> <p>“I have never been more enraged watching wheel of fortune,” one fan wrote in response to a clip of the viral moment. </p> <p>“Oh my, that was painful. F?? She thought the platypus was filled? with what exactly?” another tweeted. </p> <p>“F***** brutal,” a third agreed. </p> <p>“Where did this lady think an F was going to go in this puzzle?" a fourth asked, while another wrote: “wheel of fortune puzzle was clearly duck-billed platypus and the lady asked for an F she’s like reverse autocorrect.”</p> <p>“A Duck-Filled Platypus!?” another chimed in. </p> <p>“Oh, I hope Red isn’t on social media. She gonna get blasted for missing that puzzle,” wrote another viewer. </p> <p><em>Image: News.com.au/ Wheel of Fortune</em></p>

TV

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6 kitchen mistakes you don’t know you're making

<p>The kitchen is the heart of the home, but it can also be an area where we make the most mistakes in the way we use it. Check out our top tips to help keep your kitchen ship-shape.</p> <p><strong>Clean the inside of the dishwasher</strong></p> <p>You may not realise that the appliance that keeps everything clean can in fact be quite dirty. The inside of the dishwasher can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Run a hot cycle with nothing but a cup of white vinegar in the top and bottom shelves. Then simply wipe clean the sides and seams of the dishwasher.</p> <p><strong>Don’t wash your chicken</strong></p> <p>You may think this is necessary, but in fact washing your chicken can spread bacteria across your work surface, towels, cloths, and your hands. You can avoid it altogether as cooking will get rid of anything harmful on your meat.</p> <p><strong>Change your kitchen towel</strong></p> <p>The towel can be harbouring many kinds of bacteria, so it’s best to change them daily. Don’t rely on the sniff test to see if it needs a wash. A dirty towel used to dry your clean dishes can quickly spread germs that can make you sick.</p> <p><strong>Avoid putting wooden items in the dishwasher</strong></p> <p>The heat from the appliance can cause wooden items to warp and crack. That means wooden chopping boards, salad servers, or pots and pans with wooden handles need to be hand washed.</p> <p><strong>Never wipe up floor spills with the dishcloth or tea towel</strong></p> <p>If you wipe up some spilled milk off the floor and then use that same cloth to wipe your bench, germs can quickly spread. Same goes with a tea towel. Always use paper towel for cleaning mess from the floor.</p> <p><strong>Fix leaking taps</strong></p> <p>It’s too easy to ignore the drip drip of a leaky tap. But did you know a leaking tap could use over 6,000L of water in a month? Save the Earth (and reduce your water bill) by staying on top of any leaks around the home.</p> <p><strong>Have a separate chopping board for meat</strong></p> <p>Cross contamination can occur if you chop raw meat on a chopping board and then use it later (even after cleaning) for chopping fruit or vegetables. It’s best to have a board designated just for meat – it’s great if it’s a different colour to your everyday boards. Wash in hot soapy water after each use.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Home & Garden

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Tourist slapped with $225k bill after simple mistake

<p>An American tourist has revealed the moment he was charged with a $US143k (AU$225k) bill after a short holiday to Switzerland. </p> <p>Rene Remund and his wife Linda went on the trip last September.</p> <p>Prior to their travels, Remund made sure to inform his mobile phone provider, T-Mobile, that he was going overseas and as a customer of 30 years, he was told he was “covered”.</p> <p>So, with no worries at all, the tourist shared photos of his moments in the Swiss countryside with friends and family via photo messages. </p> <p>Imagine his surprise when he came home to a six-figure bill, after he racked up thousands and thousands of dollars in daily roaming costs. </p> <p>“I get this T-Mobile bill and it doesn’t bother me very much because I was reading $143,” he explained, adding it wasn’t until he went to pay the bill that he realised a few more zeros were involved.</p> <p>“I look at the bill and I say, ‘excuse me’,” he said.</p> <p>“$143,000 … are you guys crazy?”</p> <p>According to the bill, Remund had racked up 9.5 gigabytes of data while in Europe, which cost him thousands of dollars each day. While it wasn't a huge amount of data, not being covered by roaming fees will cause a user to run up a huge bill very quickly. </p> <p>“I called [T-Mobile] and the girl put me on hold for a while,” he explained.</p> <p>“She said let me check this out and I’ll get back to you. She gets back and says, yeah this is a good bill.</p> <p>“I said, ‘what do you mean it’s a good bill?’ And she says ‘well, this is what you owe’.</p> <p>“I said ‘you’re kidding me … you’re crazy’.”</p> <p>After confirming that his bill was in fact  AU$225,000, Remund hired a lawyer to argue the fact that he was covered for international roaming. </p> <p>His lawyer issued a letter to the president of T-Mobile, and they only received a reply a few days ago. </p> <p>The letter from T-Mobile allegedly said that the service provider was “sorry” for the charges, and that Remund would receive a “credit” to eliminate the entire bill. </p> <p>In an email shared to local media <em>Scripps News Tampa</em>, the mobile phone provider said that customers should always “check the travel features of their plan, such as international data roaming, before departing”.</p> <p>“If a customer is on an older plan that doesn’t include international roaming for data and calling, they’ll need to make sure they’re using aeroplane mode and wi-fi when using data to be certain the device doesn’t connect to an international network.”</p> <p><em style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;">Images: ABC Action News</em></p> <p> </p>

Travel Trouble

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Mistake in email causes Virgin Australia passenger to miss flight

<p>A Virgin Australia passenger was left $800 out of pocket after he arrived at a closed check-in desk despite arriving well before the departure time, and he now believes that it's because of a mistake in the email he received from the airline. </p> <p>Max Cameron, 64, flies several times a week between Launceston airport in Tasmania and Melbourne for work, and received an email from the airline saying his flight was delayed back in January. </p> <p>"I got a text and an email from Virgin saying, very sorry to let you know your plane has been delayed by 45 minutes,"  he told <em>Yahoo News Australia</em>. </p> <p>The email also read "Check-in will now close 30 minutes prior to this time."</p> <p>"I thought, well done Virgin. You've come through… you've let me know when I have to be there. And as a result, I got out to the airport at 9:25pm for a 9:45pm closure of check-in," Cameron said. </p> <p>However when he arrived there was "literally not one person in the Virgin terminal,"  so he eventually had to leave, with no choice but to buy another flight ticket which cost him $800 including extra accommodation and transport costs. </p> <p>"I put my tail between the legs, went back and bought another ticket. I was very annoyed about that but I had no choice... check-in closed early," he said.</p> <p>After submitting an enquiry to the customer service team, they told him he had to arrive 30 minutes before the <em>original</em> departure time - a different instruction to what he received in the email, with the revised departure time. </p> <p>At the time, the enquiry was closed and the team said he would not receive any compensation. </p> <p>Cameron, who was unsatisfied with the response, then spoke to a supervisor at the airport, who told him: "Oh my God, it looks like they sent you the wrong email".</p> <p>According to Yahoo News Australia, Cameron reportedly did receive incorrect information which led him to miss his flight. </p> <p>Cameron has since been in touch with the airline and hopes to be reimbursed, but remains "unhappy" after what he had to go through. </p> <p>"It's not the money but the lack of accountability... there is no service mentality anymore," he said.</p> <p>"What Virgin has done to me is just so wrong".</p> <p><em style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;">Images: Yahoo News / Getty</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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How baby boomers are benefiting from Australia's "worst financial mistake"

<p>A financial expert has explained how baby boomers have remained largely unscathed by the ongoing housing crisis in Australia. </p> <p>ABC finance guru Alan Kohler described the crisis as Australia's "worst financial mistake", as Adelaide has now become the country's second least affordable city. </p> <p>The South Australian capital, which has long been known as one of the more affordable places in the country to live, has skyrocketed in price, as the median price for houses and units in Adelaide was $721,376 in January, which is 7.9 times higher than the state's average full-time salary of $91,026.</p> <p>"There are a couple of things that might surprise you: Adelaide became the second, least affordable Australian city last year," Mr Kohler explained.</p> <p>"Adelaide has just taken over from Hobart in second place."</p> <p>"What's going on: put simply, incomes in Adelaide, Hobart and Brisbane are not keeping up with house prices, which are being pushed up by fast-rising population and by first-home buyers."</p> <p>Mr Kohler, a baby boomer, noted that when he and his wife bought their first home in Melbourne for $40,000 in 1980, he was earning $11,500 as a journalist, meaning his home cost just 3.5 times his income before a mortgage deposit.</p> <p>"When my wife and I bought our first house in 1980, the average house price was 3.5 times average income," he said. "Now, it's 7.5 times and rising."</p> <p>"That didn't have to happen: it's Australia's worst, economic mistake."</p> <p>Mr Kohler said parents were increasingly propping up the mortgage deposits of first-home buyers, as first-home buyer subsidies from the federal government only pushed up property prices.</p> <p>"Despite rising prices and crushing interest rates, first-home buyers were the fastest-growing type of borrower," he said.</p> <p>"The Bank of Mum and Dad coughing up early inheritances and politicians showering them with grants and concessions, desperate to appear to be doing something about affordability while actually making it worse."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock / ABC</em></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="font-size: 16px; margin: 0px 0px 16px; padding: 0px; min-height: 0px; letter-spacing: -0.16px; font-family: graphik, Arial, sans-serif;"> </p>

Money & Banking

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"Suck it up": Tourist's parking mistake divides Aussies

<p>A puzzled tourist's question about a $116 parking fine he received at a beach in Noosa, Queensland has divided Aussies, with many telling him to cough up the cash. </p> <p>The motorist shared a photo of his white SUV sitting between two other parked cars under a tree, but what he missed was the faint yellow line behind the nature strip. </p> <p>Confused, he took to a local Facebook group to ask why he was slapped with a fine for “stopping in a no stopping zone”  in late October as he believed that he “parked off the road in one of the car parks they offer for free”. </p> <p>“Can I still be charged if I’m parked not impeding traffic or even on the road?” the driver asked. </p> <p>“Is there any way I can go back to them and contest this? I don’t remember seeing any signs that said no stopping near the island.”</p> <p>Residents  of the popular tourist town were quick to criticise the driver. </p> <p>“Really. There are yellow lines and parked in a garden bed. It’s not a car park,” one wrote. </p> <p>“You’re lucky you only got non stopping zone ticket. Just because you park in car park doesn’t mean you can park anywhere in there," another added. </p> <p>“You are in a garden … suck it up,” a third commented. </p> <p>While many pointed out that  where he had parked “is not a car space," one commenter explained that “yellow line means no parking all over Australia” and the council is “well within their rights”. </p> <p>The driver didn't take the criticism to heart, and quipped :“So due to the faint yellow line that means you can’t park there? Gotta love Noosa, good to know that the $116 will go towards repainting the line — not.</p> <p>"So is there anything I can do or just pay it?”</p> <p>While many criticised his poor judgement, a few others sympathised with the tourist, saying that they also copped a fine in the same spot. </p> <p>“I've gotten the same fine for parking a scooter there too. Not much you can do. There are signs and a yellow line…” one wrote. </p> <p>“It’s a s**t rule but they’ve been getting people like this for years,” another added. </p> <p>A third added that he could contest the fine “as the yellow line is not very well maintained”. </p> <p>While a few others commented that in general there aren't enough car parks to accommodate the number of visitors. </p> <p>"It’s not even full school holidays for all schools yet and yesterday was shocking to find a car park.”</p> <p>According to the local council, it is illegal for a driver to park their car on a nature strip, footpath or in a parkland anywhere in the shire.</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Legal

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The 4 biggest gift-giving mistakes, according to a consumer psychologist

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/julian-givi-1395671">Julian Givi</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/west-virginia-university-1375">West Virginia University</a></em></p> <p>A good gift can elicit a surge of happiness and gratitude in the recipient. It also feels great to give, <a href="https://theconversation.com/whats-the-point-of-holiday-gifts-173306">with psychologists finding</a> that the joy of giving a gift is more pronounced than the pleasure of receiving one.</p> <p>Unfortunately, there are times when you receive a gift and you have to force a smile and fake your gratitude.</p> <p>I’m a consumer psychologist <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=wjAq_TcAAAAJ&amp;hl=en">who specializes in gift-giving research</a> – in particular, gift-giving mistakes.</p> <p>Here are four of the most common ones.</p> <h2>1. Prioritizing the big reveal</h2> <p>One way givers can err is by focusing too much on <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721416656937">the moment the recipient will open the gift</a>.</p> <p>Givers want their gift to be <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/675737">desirable</a>. They hope <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2011.03.015">to surprise</a> the recipient and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2733341">put a smile</a> on their face.</p> <p>A chocolate fondue fountain might meet these criteria – it’s quirky and sure to elicit curiosity and smiles from onlookers.</p> <p>However, when people receive a gift, they care less about the moment the bow comes off, and instead think about the weeks and months ahead.</p> <p>People want gifts that are <a href="https://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/1023703/volumes/v45/NA-45">useful</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/675737">reliable</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2011.03.015">meet their needs</a>.</p> <p>How often would a chocolate fondue fountain realistically be used?</p> <p>Compare that to a new coffee maker, which could see action every day. Sure, it isn’t a novelty – and probably won’t elicit “oohs” and “ahhs” on Christmas Day – but the recipient will be quite happy to have it on hand when their alarm rings each morning.</p> <h2>2. Unique and new are overrated</h2> <p>Another factor that can lead givers to go wrong involves unwritten rules for what constitutes good gift-giving practices.</p> <p>Givers often focus on these rules more than they should. For example, they may <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.05.023">avoid giving the same gift</a> to someone in back-to-back years because this goes against the norm of giving a unique gift each year. Givers also often <a href="https://doi.org/10.1348/014466604x23428">refrain from giving used products</a> as gifts because this violates the unspoken rule that a gift should be brand new.</p> <p>In contrast, recipients are quite open to gifts that violate these norms.</p> <p>If someone loves a certain type of wine, they’re <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.05.023">more than happy to receive it</a> in subsequent years. And if one digital camera is lightly used but possesses several innovative features, while another is new but has fewer features, people <a href="https://doi.org/10.1348/014466604x23428">are happy to receive the used one</a>.</p> <h2>3. Being risk-averse</h2> <p>Givers can make missteps when they avoid gifts that they see as too risky.</p> <p>Consider sentimental gifts, like a scrapbook or a nostalgic memento.</p> <p>Studies have shown that recipients <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcps.2017.06.002">love these gifts</a>; they <a href="https://doi.org/10.1037/pspa0000036">elicit happiness for extended periods of time</a>.</p> <p>Givers, however, tend to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcps.2017.06.002">shy away from sentimental gifts</a> because they see them risky – sure, they could be a home run, but they could also whiff. Doubts can creep into shoppers’ heads as they consider sentimental gifts: What if it comes across as sappy? What if the recipient thinks I’m being cheap?</p> <p>And so people tend to opt for <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S105774081730044X">safer, superficial gifts</a> that they assume will be at least somewhat well-liked. Or, to continue with the baseball analogy, givers are happy to take the sure single.</p> <p>As another example, consider material goods versus experiences.</p> <p>When giving gifts, people often opt for <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucy010">tangible objects over experiences</a> because material goods are on the safer side – almost everyone could use a new appliance or a new shirt. Experiences are trickier; they require a bit more of an understanding of who the recipient truly is – not everyone loves going to see the symphony.</p> <p>Yet recipients tend to be <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/jcpy.1281">more open to experiences than givers anticipate</a> – and these gifts <a href="https://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/1017575/volumes/v42/NA-42">are actually more likely to make people happier</a> than material goods.</p> <h2>4. Does the thought really count?</h2> <p>Givers can also err by wanting their gift to appear especially thoughtful.</p> <p>Of course, recipients appreciate thoughtfulness – but not when it comes at the expense of receiving something that’s actually useful.</p> <p>This plays out when givers are shopping for multiple people. They’ll often <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/674199">choose unique gifts for each recipient</a>, rather than give the same gift to everyone, because a distinct gift for each person will make them feel as though they put more time and effort into gift selection. People do this even if they realize that some recipients will be receiving less desirable gifts.</p> <p>You’ll also see this happen with <a href="https://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/1020146/volumes/v43/NA-43">gift cards</a>. Givers often choose specific gift cards – to a particular clothing store or restaurant, for example – that reflect the interests or tastes of the recipient.</p> <p>But recipients are more open to gift cards that give them more flexibility and freedom – think an Amazon or Visa gift card. That way, they can decide whether to splurge on a new sweater, dine out at their favorite restaurant – or do both.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/195169/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/julian-givi-1395671">Julian Givi</a>, Assistant Professor of Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/west-virginia-university-1375">West Virginia University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-4-biggest-gift-giving-mistakes-according-to-a-consumer-psychologist-195169">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Traveller's $3,000 mistake at airport security

<p>A grandmother from New Zealand has copped a whopping $3,000 fine after failing to declare an airport sandwich to border control officers. </p> <p>June Armstrong, 77, was travelling from her native Christchurch to Brisbane to housesit for a friend, and treated herself to a muffin and a sandwich ahead of her 4am flight. </p> <p>Ms Armstrong ate her muffin before boarding the plane, and stashed the sandwich in her carry-on luggage to eat later on the flight. </p> <p>However, the grandmother fell asleep on the plane and the sandwich was left uneaten. </p> <p>When she woke up from her nap, she filled out the declaration form to enter Australia, as she had prescription medication, but completely forgot about the sandwich.</p> <p>When she arrived at the security gates at Brisbane Airport and her bags were checked, she was met with an unfortunate welcome to Australia as she was slapped with the fine. </p> <p>“I was just sobbing and said “$NZ3300 for a little sandwich?” Ms Armstrong told the <a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/canterbury-grandmother-fined-3300-for-chicken-sandwich-by-australian-border-officials/3KJUEZBB2JHVLHBNSXFY3XPKLE/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>NZ Herald</em>.</a></p> <p>She said asked the official who found the sandwich if they could throw it away for her, but after they walked away and came back, they allegedly just said, “Twelve points, $3300”.</p> <p>Ms Armstrong first thought they were joking, but when she realised they were serious, she broke down in tears as staffers "strongly advised" her to appeal the fine within 28 days. </p> <p>She went through with the appeal to avoid forking out the four-figure sum, but to no avail and eventually ended up coughing up the hefty fine. </p> <p>“My husband kept saying, 'Just pay it'. I said, 'It’s our pension, we can’t afford this’,” Ms Armstrong said, adding that they had about $30,000 in savings as well as their pensions.</p> <p>Ms Armstrong sent an email asking why she was fined, considering it was her first infringement, and why the cost was so high, especially considering the sandwich was untouched and sealed. </p> <p>She also outlined the impact the fine was having on her mental health, but she allegedly never received a response.</p> <p>Six months on from sandwich-gate, she has accepted she won’t be getting her money back and has since spoken out to warn fellow passengers not to make the same mistake. </p> <p>“Everybody I show the fine to is dumbfounded, they just can’t believe it,” Ms Armstrong told the <em>NZ Herald</em>.</p> <p>Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said Ms Armstrong needed an import permit to bring the chicken sandwich into the county, adding it could have been a much higher penalty, as fines can be as much as $6260. </p> <p>“Meat has strict import conditions which can change quickly based on disease outbreaks,” a departmental spokesperson told <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/warnings/grandmother-who-forgot-to-declare-chicken-sandwich-cops-3000-fine-at-brisbane-airport/news-story/2bc94ac2e7e4f59cd16e5798fc7f9f7b" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a>. </p> <p>“Uncanned meats, including vacuum-sealed items, are not allowed into Australia unless accompanied by an import permit."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Unlocking Japan: Insider tips and mistakes to avoid for first-time travellers

<p>Traveling to a new country for the first time can be both exciting and a little overwhelming. With so much information online, it can be tough to keep track of what to do and what to avoid.</p> <p>While it is important to consider the rules of <a href="https://www.klook.com/en-AU/blog/do-and-donts-japan-guide/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">etiquette</a> in Japan, there are a few uncommon things that you might miss if you're a first-time traveller. </p> <p>Here are a few of our do's and don'ts: </p> <h5>DO use a luggage transfer service to travel "hands-free"</h5> <p>Japan is all about efficiency, and one of the things you can do to make sure you can travel more freely is to use a luggage transfer service.</p> <p>We recommend <a href="https://www.kuronekoyamato.co.jp/en/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Yamato Transport </a> a luggage transfer service that delivers all of your bags from the airport to your hotel and from hotel to hotel. </p> <p>Prices depend on the weight and size of your bags, but for same-day delivery, it was around $40-50 AUD for two 30kg bags. </p> <p>Depending on where you are staying, your hotel may or may not provide the Yamato services directly, but if they don't, you can always check with the nearest Family Mart as some convenience stores will do it for you.</p> <p>Alternatively, you can search for the nearest Yamato on Google maps. </p> <p>It is important to note that there may be delivery delays depending on road and traffic conditions, and in some cases they don't do same-day delivery to the airport, so it's good to double check. </p> <h5>DON'T listen to the influencers </h5> <p>With the rise of influencer culture, a lot more restaurants and tourists spots have become even more popular. </p> <p>Avoid queuing in line for over an hour for the hottest restaurant that's always "so good" and pull out Google or Apple maps, as you can find more hidden gems that the locals visit and are actually worth your time.</p> <h5>DO bring cash </h5> <p>Although most places accept card, places like Kyoto - the ancient capital - still mostly take cash. </p> <p>A lot of tourist spots like Kiyomizudera, some markets, and buses in Kyoto only take cash.</p> <p>On another note, if you have an <a href="https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2359_003.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">IC card</a> like the Suica or Icoca, you can also use these as a form of payment at certain vending machines, shops and restaurants. (It's kind of like using your Opal card to pay for things).</p> <h5>DON'T lose or damage your JR Pass </h5> <p>Most travel blogs recommend that you get the <a href="https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">JR pass</a> ,which is a rail pass that offers unlimited rides on the JR trains for one, two or three weeks, and allow you to travel nation-wide. </p> <p>What they don't tell you is that they only hand out physical passes that you cannot lose or damage, as they will not re-issue another card until your current one expires.</p> <p>With the cost of the JR passes increasing in October, it might also be worth booking one-way travel tickets instead, as they might be cheaper depending on which region you're travelling to. </p> <h5><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">DO bring good socks and wear your comfiest shoes</span></h5> <p>There is a lot of walking involved, and sometimes lifts can be hard to find – especially at certain stations – so make sure you wear shoes with a lot of padding (or whatever's best for you).</p> <p>You will have to take off your shoes more often than you think, especially in changing rooms and certain traditional accommodation. So leave your hole-y socks at home or wear slippers wherever you go! </p> <h5><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">DON'T book that morning flight </span></h5> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Check-in for a lot of places is usually at 3pm and you want to avoid the morning rush, especially if you're catching public transportation.</span></p> <p>These are a few of our tips, are there any we've missed? </p> <p><em>Images: Getty/ Supplied</em></p>

International Travel

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These are the top mistakes first-time cruise travellers should avoid, according to a cruise ship veteran

<p><strong>Cruise tips for the perfect trip</strong></p> <p>For more than a decade, I have worked on some of the best cruise lines, and for the last six years, I’ve been a cruise director. It’s a dream job: I am the face and voice of a 3,600-person-capacity ship, organising entertainment around the clock for guests, creating the master schedules, coordinating excursions, hosting special events and so much more. I’ve been on hundreds of cruises and live on a ship for most of the year, so it’s safe to say that I know a few cruise tips you’ll find useful.</p> <p>I also know a thing or two about the mistakes people make when it comes to cruises, whether they’re first-time cruisers or regulars. From creating a smart cruise packing list to finding the best deals at sea, these insider cruise tips will ensure that you have the best trip possible.</p> <p><strong>Booking too late </strong></p> <p>It is true that if you’re very flexible with your travel plans and/or you live near a popular port-of-call, you can get some great bargains on cruises by booking at the last minute. But those opportunities are harder to come by these days, thanks to sophisticated computer algorithms that do a great job of adjusting prices to fill bookings earlier.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> If you’re sure you want to book a particular cruise or your travel plans aren’t flexible, book as early as possible – as in, the date bookings open. Prices will be at their lowest then, but if for some reason they do drop, you can ask customer service to match the new lower price. Just be aware that price adjustments need to be made before the “final booking window,” when all rates are locked in, usually one to three months before departure.</p> <p><strong>Not asking for an upgrade</strong></p> <p>Post-pandemic, a lot of ships are sailing at low capacity, so there are often plenty of open rooms. People are often nervous to ask for an upgrade, but those rooms will just be left empty if they’re not filled by departure time. We love making guests happy, and as long as you’re polite and phrase it as a question, not a demand, we’ll do our best!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> When you arrive, talk to any of the employees greeting guests about rooms available for upgrades. Different cruise lines have different policies, and the employees will know how to help you. And in case you were wondering, you can ask for an upgrade regardless of how you purchased your tickets. If you’re there for a special event, like a milestone anniversary or a honeymoon, definitely mention it – even if you can’t get an upgrade, they will find other ways to make your cruise special.</p> <p>Some cruises also allow you to “bid” for an upgrade, meaning that you can offer an extra amount of money for that nicer cabin. This is still a good deal, since even with the extra fee, it’s still cheaper than if you had paid the original rate for that room.</p> <p><strong>Not packing a carry-on bag</strong></p> <p>This is one of those cruise tips you’ll really be glad you know before your next trip. Many people overpack their main luggage and don’t give enough thought to what they’re toting in their carry-ons. Remember: It takes several hours minimum to get your luggage to you. Luggage times can range from a couple of hours to half a day, depending on staffing levels and your cabin location. This is why it’s essential to have a day pack with anything you’ll need right away – and don’t forget the fun stuff!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Pack a roomy carry-on with medication, contact solution, a change of clothing, a swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses, sandals or other items you’ll want to have immediate access to.</p> <p><strong>Being rude or cold to the crew</strong></p> <p>We’re here to help you, but we’re not slaves. I’ve seen passengers have full meltdowns over everything from not being able to get prescription medication from the first-aid station, to the buffet not having a dish they ate on a different cruise line, to their towels being folded instead of shaped, like they saw on Instagram. Regardless of your demeanour with us, we’ll always do our best to help you, but we won’t be motivated to go above and beyond for you. Keep in mind that some events, such as dinner with the captain, are by invitation only or are not advertised, and having a crew member to help you get your name on the golden ticket could make your cruise experience something out of this world.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Be polite and kind to the crew. To be clear: You’re allowed to complain, and we definitely want to know if something isn’t right or if it could be better, but just remember that we’re people too – often operating on very little sleep.</p> <p><strong>Not taking advantage of flash deals </strong></p> <p>During booking or before boarding, many cruises offer limited amounts of “flash deals” for things like entertainment shows or drink packages. Many people wait, thinking they can just decide once they’re on board, but you won’t find those same deals on the ship. And these deals are worth it: Purchasing a flash deal ahead of time could get you half-off discounts for food and alcoholic beverages, a VIP excursion or priority seating at shows. Talk about an easy way to get perks and save some serious money!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> If they’re offering something you know you’ll use, it’s almost always cheaper to purchase it through a flash deal. Flash deals are publicised through a cruise’s site and via email, but the fastest way to be alerted is by installing the app for your cruise line and registering your trip. And be sure to purchase quickly, since many deals are available only for a short time and/or in limited quantities.</p> <p><strong>Using the internet a lot</strong></p> <p>Internet on cruise ships can be overpriced and unreliable. This is because ocean-going ships have to use satellite systems for internet, and they are slower and tend to lose service more easily. And expect to pay for the privilege of slower service – older ships still sell internet by the minute (50 to 75 cents), while state-of-the-art ships offer day passes. Day passes average about $US25 per device, per day. This can add up faster than you realise. So while it’s technologically possible to stream a Netflix movie to your cabin, it may not be the best use of your time or money.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> See it as a gift! My advice would be to switch off completely while at sea and save your money. Cruise ships are equipped for maximum entertainment, and you should take advantage of all the fun we have on board. (Plus, in a cruise tip that doubles as a life tip, it’s good for you to do a mini digital detox and take a break from social media every once in a while.) If you do need to use the internet – say, to check your work emails or contact family – it will be cheapest and fastest to wait until you’re at port and find a Wi-Fi hot spot. Otherwise, just plan to use the ship’s internet strategically; have a plan before logging on rather than just surfing.</p> <p><strong>Not signing up for the free loyalty program </strong></p> <p>All major cruise lines have loyalty programs that offer real perks, including discounts on tickets, free meals, free internet, priority embarkation and disembarkation, and even free cruises. If you don’t sign up, you’re missing out. While the perks will depend on what “tier” of the loyalty program you sign up for, top-tier loyalty programs are the best deal for serious cruisers. That’s where you’ll be treated like royalty, with upgrades, special events, free or heavily discounted tickets, priority booking and lots of other extras.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> The base programs are free to sign up, and you’ll want to register for them as soon as possible because you can start earning points immediately. Higher-tier programs are fee-based, but they can be a great deal depending on what amenities you want and how often you plan to cruise. You will be offered the chance to sign up or upgrade during the booking process, but if you miss it, you can sign up at check-in or at any point during the cruise – even when disembarking.</p> <p>Depending on the package and loyalty tier, some of your points will be available immediately for use on your current cruise. Some major cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, have partnerships with major credit cards that allow you to use your card to rack up loyalty points throughout the year.</p> <p><strong>Sticking to the buffets </strong></p> <p>Yes, buffets are fantastic because they offer a wide variety of popular foods, and it’s all-you-can-eat around the clock. But if you’re only eating at the buffets, you’re missing some of the best food on the cruise! The restaurants are designed to give you a full dining experience and offer regional or specialty cuisines that can’t be found on the buffet. Plus, you can order according to your taste and special-order dishes if you have particular dietary concerns. Many restaurants offer extras like dining with the chef, watching the food be prepared or special entertainment events.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Ask your host about special dining events, like the chef’s table, or to help you get reservations for a specialty meal – for instance, a Brazilian steakhouse meal or a five-course tasting with wine pairings. These dining experiences usually cost extra, but they’re totally worth it. Try to book two or three if you can.</p> <p><strong>Not using room service enough </strong></p> <p>When you’re staying at a hotel, you might forgo room service because it can get pricey – or because you can’t order whatever you want, whenever you want it. That’s not necessarily the case on a cruise. Post-pandemic, you can order anything off the menu through room service, 24/7… But not all the food is free. You may have to pay extra for that cheeseburger at 3am.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> While what’s included in room service varies from cruise line to cruise line, as well as what package you’ve booked, breakfast will likely be free – no matter what. Make the most of this cruise ship secret, and you never have to leave your room for breakfast again if you don’t want to! One etiquette-based cruise tip, though: While tipping isn’t necessary, if you do order room service in the middle of the night, consider tipping the staff a few dollars when they bring it.</p> <p><strong>Not reading the ship's insurance policy </strong></p> <p>If you enjoy doing adventurous activities like ziplining and surfing, make sure you know the risks and what you are covered for in case of an emergency. The ship’s insurance policy covers only the very basic things – those that are directly the cruise line’s responsibility, like cancelled cruises or lost luggage. But anything related to your health or other travel issues won’t be covered, so you’ll need to rely on personal policies.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Make sure to read through the insurance policy and ask your cruise host or travel agent if you have questions. Check with your personal insurance provider to see exactly what they cover for cruises and/or out-of-country trips. And it’s never a bad idea to purchase separate travel insurance.</p> <p><strong>Going to Medical for seasickness</strong></p> <p>Cruises are required to have a certified doctor on the ship, but it costs money to get medical care onboard. Doctors bill an hourly rate – often around $US100 per hour – plus fees for any services or extra supplies. Cruise-ship medical bills can range from $US50 to thousands of dollars if you end up needing to be helicoptered out. However, many medical items are available for free through the customer concierge, so save those medical trips for illnesses or injuries that really require a doctor’s attention.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Seasickness pills and other over-the-counter meds, such as ibuprofen and Tylenol, are free through guest services, as well as things like adhesive bandages, heating pads and wraps. Stop by the host station, ask any staff member or call directly from your cabin. Pro tip: If you’re prone to seasickness, ask for a cabin on a low deck and mid-ship, since they pitch the least in relation to the rest of the ship.</p> <p><strong>Taking sketchy DIY excursions </strong></p> <p>This really depends on the location, but in lesser-known areas, it is generally wise to stick to the ship-sponsored excursions as opposed to relying on sales pitches from locals, taking internet advice or just winging it. After all, you want to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of, you’re safe and the ship doesn’t leave without you if the excursion runs late!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Stick to reputable excursions. Your cruise director will have a list of ship-sponsored excursions and will also be able to advise you on local companies that the cruise line has worked with. It also never hurts to do research before setting sail, looking up your particular ports-of-call and seeing what excursions you might want to ask about.</p> <p><strong>Going too far from the ship</strong></p> <p>It’s fine to go ashore independently and find your own adventures, but I’ve seen too many guests end up losing track of time or distance, and then end up waving the ship goodbye from shore. If this happens, you’ll have to find your own travel to the cruise ship’s next port of call.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Instead of driving yourself, find a local taxi driver who knows the area well. Just be sure to negotiate the price and time before hopping in. If you do decide to go it alone, stay fairly close to port, watch the clock and build in extra time for things like traffic jams. Make sure to get back to the boat at least 30 minutes before boarding time.</p> <p><strong>Underestimating how windy it gets at sea</strong></p> <p>Anytime you’re outside on the ship, make sure to secure all your belongings. Hold on tightly if you’re walking around, and if you’re putting your items down, place them in a zippered bag attached to a chair or table, or tether larger items (like blankets) to furniture. It doesn’t take much wind to launch your mobile phone, hat or glasses into the ocean. This happens far more often than you might think!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> I recommend that guests always bring towel clips for securing towels, clothing, thongs and other flighty items. Your ship may come equipped with some anti-wind protections like special shelters by the pool, lockers or wind breaks.</p> <p><strong>Not honouring cruise traditions </strong></p> <p>Ships, cruise lines and even cruising culture in general have their own traditions. The most popular one on all cruise lines is the “Cruising Duck.” Never heard of it? Guests bring a rubber duck and hide it around the ship to be discovered by others. But there are many more traditions based on individual cruise lines, travel routes or themes (say, a Disney cruise), and part of the fun is getting to discover them. You can read up about them on online forums or just wait to be surprised.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Participating in these little traditions will make it more fun for you on your trip, and it’s a great way to integrate yourself into the cruising community. It’s especially fun if you’re doing a themed cruise.</p> <p><strong>Not following current health protocols</strong></p> <p>Health protocols change often, especially post-pandemic. For instance, most cruise ships now require proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Some are still doing rapid tests before boarding. Most prefer (but don’t require) you to wear a mask if you develop any symptoms of illness while aboard. If you test positive for an infectious illness, you’ll be quarantined. And remember, it’s not just COVID they’re concerned about: Outbreaks of norovirus and influenza are common in the close quarters of cruise ships.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Stay up to date on the current rules, and do your best to follow them. This information should be given to you the week before your cruise, via email or your online portal. You can also check the website, call customer service or talk to a host during the boarding process. But please don’t argue with us – we don’t make the rules. If you need clarification or an exception, speak to the ship’s doctor.</p> <p><strong>Not booking your next cruise while you're still on the ship</strong></p> <p>This may sound crazy, but it’s one of the smartest cruise tips. Booking your next cruise while on your current cruise is a terrific way to make the most of free onboard credit and loyalty points. Once you leave the ship, the deals they’re offering will be gone.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Ask your host about what deals they are offering before you disembark. This is the best time to get a great deal on your favourite cruises – and ones that won’t be available at a later date. Cruise lines really want you to book your next cruise while you’re still there and excited, so they may offer you a cheaper upgrade to a higher tier of the loyalty program and/or nicer perks on your next cruise. If you can book at this time, you definitely should.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/cruising/ive-worked-on-cruise-ships-for-10-years-these-are-the-mistakes-every-traveller-should-avoid?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

Cruising

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7 travel mistakes everyone should make at least once

<p><strong>Lose your daily itinerary plan</strong></p> <p>For once, send the planner in you on vacation, too, and ditch your carefully planned itinerary. Don’t have your map? Lost your list of the top locations you wanted to see? Perfect. Wandering around aimlessly can be a great way to explore a city and see a little of everything.</p> <p>Don’t waste your time trying to locate your lost list or panicking about it. Instead, walk around, find a local pub, meet some friendly faces and experience the city as a resident might – not a tourist. Aside from the sheer adventure of it, you might end up seeing the city in a whole different way.</p> <p><strong>Embarrass yourself </strong></p> <p>Whether you’re trying to ask for directions in broken Spanish and end up saying something totally insane, or you accidentally walk into the wrong washroom, don’t worry too much about an embarrassing moment. Not only can something like that pull you straight out of your comfort zone and teach you not to sweat the small stuff, but you’ll never have to see most of these people again.</p> <p>And while your embarrassing blunder may not seem funny at the time, it will be when you recount the story for years to come.</p> <p><strong>Get lost</strong></p> <p>Though you should probably try this one out in a safe destination, along with a few companions, getting lost may not be the nightmare you think it is. If you’re looking for an authentic place to eat at a reasonable price, travel suggestions from your hotel map may not have the answer.</p> <p>Instead, look for a place on your own. Walk around and you just may fall into a quaint little place you would never have otherwise discovered. You can even strike up a conversation with a friendly local and get their take on the best restaurants in town. You may even get to know the roads better if you have to find your way back on your own.</p> <p><strong>Visit a country where you're not fluent in the language </strong></p> <p>Why you not challenge yourself by visiting a country where service in English isn’t guaranteed? You’ll want to pack a dictionary (or at the very least a phone loaded with the relevant apps) to help you with key phrases, but don’t fret if you can’t understand the menu word for word.</p> <p>This is a great way to force anyone stuck in a comfort zone rut to try new things, pick up (or even master) a new language, explore new places, and meet new people. You may be surprised by the friendships (and even romances) that can exist between two people who speak different languages. You may also find it to be a rather humbling experience.</p> <p><strong>Lose your tour group</strong> </p> <p>Oops! You lost the group and your guide is nowhere in sight. Before you decide to head back to your hotel and give up for the day, try to venture off on your own and discover things a tour group wouldn’t ever see, like a very small, hidden away restaurant with the best pasta in town, or a quiet little park that, although isn’t a special landmark, is beautiful in its own right.</p> <p><strong>Lose your luggage </strong></p> <p>While this one is a little more dependent on the airline than it is on you, the key thing to remember is not to panic if your luggage is lost because it can actually be a good thing. You most likely overpacked anyway, and ditching your heavy suitcase can be a liberating experience.</p> <p>You now have nothing to carry around or keep track of, the opportunity to buy new clothing, and a funny story to tell. Just be sure to keep your passport and money on you so if your luggage is lost, it’s not a complete disaster.</p> <p><strong>Let people know you're a tourist</strong></p> <p>You might want to convince the cab driver you’re a local to avoid getting ripped off, but let’s face it: you’re not fooling anyone. Instead, embrace the tourist title and let people know you’re from out of town.</p> <p>You may be pleasantly surprised with how many locals will try to go out of their way to make your stay in their city an enjoyable one. Friendly locals may even offer you some insider tips on the best places to visit, shop or eat.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/flightstravel-hints-tips/7-travel-mistakes-everyone-should-make-at-least-once" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Travel Tips

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5 things we all do wrong in the shower

<p>While showering every day keeps us smelling fresh, it actually disturbs the natural bacteria on our skin and strips it of the oils that keep it supple. In fact, many shower habits can actually be very unhygienic. Experts reveal what we’re doing wrong, and what to do instead.</p> <p><strong>1.  Showering everyday </strong></p> <p>The University of California found that too much washing can actually be bad for you, because it strips away beneficial bugs that the body uses to help ward off infections. Apparently, if we simply wash our hands and below the belt regularly we can skip a full shower every day.</p> <p><strong>2.  Showering for too long </strong></p> <p>Water is an irritant, so the longer you’re in there, the more irritated and dry your skin will become. Oil from the sebaceous glands hydrate the skin, so showering for too long strips it of moisture.</p> <p><strong>3. Rubbing soap on your whole body</strong></p> <p>Soap dislodges dirt and oil from the body, allowing water to wash it away. But the skin on the arms and legs doesn't contain a lot of oil, so cleaning them with soap just makes them dry.  Instead, simply focus on the armpits, buttocks, groin and feet</p> <p><strong>4.  Letting the shower water blast over your face </strong></p> <p>A hot shower can cause and exacerbate fragile capillary networks in the cheeks, leading to unattractive, visible capillary networks and worsened impaired skin conditions, experts warn.</p> <p><strong>5.  Using a pouf </strong></p> <p>Poufs and loofahs are a haven for bacteria — the dead skin cells they scrub so well from our body get caught up in the nooks where bacteria can feed on them. Also, because poufs take time to dry and may well retain dead skin cells, it’s a potential source of infection. To keep it clean, wet your pouf and put it on a medium heat in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds.</p> <p>How would you feel about skipping your daily shower, like one of these tips suggests? Let us now in the comments below.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><strong>Related links:</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="../health/body/2016/03/ways-to-stay-active-in-winter/"><em>4 ways to stay active in winter</em></a></strong></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="../health/body/2016/04/ways-weather-influences-your-health-and-behaviour/"><em>5 ways weather influences your health and behaviour</em></a></strong></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="../%20http:/www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/home-garden/2016/04/how-to-get-the-best-lawn-for-winter/"><em>How to get the best lawn for winter</em></a></strong></span></p>

Beauty & Style

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Common credit card mistakes to avoid

<p>If you regularly use your credit card, you’ll know how easy it is to plonk down the plastic for your shopping and other purchases. It’s also easy to forget those pesky card payments that follow. </p> <p>Along with the convenience of credit cards comes the danger that your bills can quickly snowball into a major debt that can linger for years if not managed properly. </p> <p>It pays to be aware of the pitfalls of credit cards and ensure you’ve got good habits in place to avoid them as much as possible. The following are a few suggestions:</p> <p><strong>Shop around for the best card deals</strong></p> <p>Don't make the mistake of signing up for the first credit card offer that arrives in your mailbox. Go online and look for the best possible card terms and features to suit you. Credit card rates can vary significantly, depending on the card and type of promotion offered.</p> <p><strong>Rewards programs</strong></p> <p>Following on from the point above, make sure the card you choose provides features you genuinely need and will actively use. Credit card rewards are promoted to make consumers think they’re getting something for free. But when you add up what it costs to earn rewards, a rewards program may not be much of a perk. For instance, credit cards that offer rewards often have much higher interest rates than cards with no rewards.</p> <p><strong>Keep track of your spending</strong></p> <p>While using a credit card sometimes feels like you’re not really spending money, not keeping track of your spending can wreak havoc on your finances. Carry a small notebook or if you’re more tech savvy, use one of the many apps available on your phone to record your purchases so you won't get a nasty shock when you receive your monthly statement. Make sure you check your statements regularly too.</p> <p><strong>Late and minimum payments</strong></p> <p>Credit card payments that aren’t paid on time result in late fees and higher interest rates. Read through your credit card statement carefully so you know when the payment is due. Consider auto-payment facilities or put a recurring note in your calendar each month a few days in advance of your payment due date to ensure you don’t miss it. Most card statements list the date that payments must be received by to avoid penalty interest fees. Ideally, it’s best to pay the full amount every month. Only paying the minimum amount will make the situation worse over time by attracting cumulative interest payment penalties.</p> <p><strong>Using cash advances</strong></p> <p>While they’re a tempting option, cash advances attract higher interest rates and should be used with care.</p> <p><strong>Handle with care!</strong></p> <p>Credit cards can be useful financial tools when used responsibly. Getting into good habits can ensure you take full advantage of the benefits while avoiding the traps.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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