Articles from: February 2017

Whether Its The Algarve Or Madeira, Beaches Or Golf Courses, A Holiday To Portugal Will Not Disappoint.

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With long sandy beaches and hot sunny weather, Portugal is a great choice of destination for a summer holiday. The warm dry climate is perfect for Golf and the Algarve area is renown for its selection of challenging courses for holidaymakers that want to play a few rounds.

Portugal has a wide array of interesting resorts to visit like Lisbon and The Algarve. Lisbon is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and is close to the coastal resorts of Estoril and Cascais, which boast unspoilt beaches and beautiful town buildings.
The more southern region of the Algarve has incredible long sandy beaches and high quality hotels for you to enjoy. This area also has a range of clubs and bars across the region and has terrific nightlife.

In northwestern Portugal, the Costa Verde/Oporto area is filled with vineyards, rivers and beaches. This area is famous for producing the fortified wine, Port. There are many different Port producers in this area and guided tours and Port tasting trips are available to visitors.

Madeira is a Portuguese island off the coast of Africa. It is great for luxury breaks and has many nice shops and even a casino to visit. The island is noted for its unusual plants and flowers and is a fantastic place to explore.

Travellers interested in surfing in Portugal should head for Enceira, the large waves are particularly good for surfers here although the Atlantic is generally good for waves and surfing. Many coastal places in Portugal offer a variety of other water sports including fishing boat excursions, water skiing, wind surfing, jet skis and more.

Food in Portugal is diverse and there is a range of places to eat whether you want to
eat traditional Portuguese fare or try the food in one of the many other kinds of restaurants available. Seafood is common in most resorts and Portugal has a reputation for good local wine, brandy and of course Port.

Overall Portugal is a great place to spend your summer holiday with dry hot weather and access to fantastic beaches, great golf courses and hotels. There are a lot of different hotels to choose from, allowing you to find a suitable hotel in an ideal location and at a good price.

Renting Out a Vacation Home

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Tax rules on rental income from a vacation home can be complicated, particularly if you rent the home out for several months of the year, but also use the home yourself.

There is however, one provision that is not complicated. Homeowners who rent out their property for 14 or fewer days a year can pocket the rental income, tax-free.

Known as the “Master’s exemption”, because it is used by homeowners, near the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA who rent out their homes during the Master’s Tournament (for as much as $20,000!). It is also used by homeowners who rent out their homes for movie productions or those whose residences are located near Super Bowl sites or national political conventions.

For instance, if you live close to a vacation destination such as the beach or mountains, you may be able to make some extra cash by renting out your home (principal residence) when you go on vacation–as long as it’s two weeks or less. And, although you can’t take depreciation or deduct for maintenance, you can deduct mortgage interest and property taxes on Schedule A.

In general, income from rental of a vacation home for 15 days or longer must be reported on your tax return on Schedule E, Supplemental Income and Loss. You should also keep in mind that the definition of a “vacation home” is not limited to a house. Apartments, condominiums, mobile homes, and boats are also considered vacation homes in the eyes of the IRS.

Further, the IRS states that a vacation home is considered a residence if personal use exceeds 14 days or more than 10% of the total days it is rented to others (if that figure is greater). When you use a vacation home as your residence and also rent it to others, you must divide the expenses between rental use and personal use, and you may not deduct the rental portion of the expenses in excess of the rental income.

For example, let’s say you own a house in the mountains and rent it out during ski season, typically between mid-December and mid-April. You and your family also vacation at the house for one week in October and two weeks in August. The rest of the time the house is unused.

The family uses the house for 21 days and it is rented out to others for 121 days for a total of 142 days of use during the year. In this scenario 85% of expenses such as mortgage interest, property taxes, maintenance, utilities, and depreciation can be written off against the rental income on Schedule E. As for the remaining 15% of expenses, only the owner’s mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible on Schedule A.

Questions about vacation home rental income? Give us a call. We’ll help you figure it out.

Will The Payroll Tax Holiday Stimulate Your Economic System

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If you earn a payroll check the payroll tax holiday within the Bush tax cut package could give you a two percent pay hike. Lawmakers view the payroll tax holiday being a financial stimulus on the assumption that individuals will spend that additional money. But some economists say that customers will probably conserve more of that money than the politicians hope. If all will go as prepared, folks really should never need to obtain a personal cash loan. Resource for this article – Inside the payroll tax holiday and how to have a happy one by MoneyBlogNewz.
Payroll tax holiday: economic stimulus?
The payroll tax holiday proposal rolls back the employees’ share of the payroll tax from 6.2 percent to 4.2 % on income up to $106,000. Firms like Deutche Bank revised the predictions for 2011 from 3.3 % to 4.1 percent with economic growth after the tax deal had been announced. Here’s the math behind that reasoning:
Wages and salaries in the U.S. in 2010 total $6.44 trillion. That figure grew nearly 5 percent in the second and third quarter. If that rate continues, wages and salaries will total about $6.75 trillion a year from now. Deutche Bank estimates about 85 percent of total wages and salaries are dinged by the payroll tax. A 2 % reduction in that tax puts $115 billion back in workers’ wallets. Based on the current personal savings rate of 5.8 %, $108 billion — 0.7 percent of estimated 2011 GDP — would be spent. Therefore, 3.3 + 0.7 = 4.1 percent.
There is the Permanent Income Hypothesis to consider
Most are saying that there is too much optimism. This would be from Deutche Bank. Since informed consumers will realize the 2 % raise will only last just a little when, suggests John Carney at CNBC, the payroll tax holiday won’t increase spending that much. There is a name for this made up by economists. Permanent Income Hypothesis is that name. Future earnings are what people spend based off of. Current take-home pay doesn’t do that. The financial crisis changed people. Before it, people spent more than they earned and wouldn’t save at all. After that, the financial crisis came. Now people spend less and conserve more because expectations for the future are diminished.
What you are able to do with your payroll tax holiday
What should you do with that payroll tax holiday raise? Spending it isn’t the suggestion SmartMoney gives. Putting it in a Roth IRA, a traditional IRA or a 401(k) is the suggestion. The money will then be worth something. It will still be worth something after 2012 when the payroll tax holiday ends. You might end up just paying for the health care costs that are expected to rise next year. Buying new appliances is a new option. You could save hundreds of dollars in a few years with more energy efficient home appliances.
Citations
SmartMoney
smartmoney.com/personal-finance/taxes/what-to-do-with-a-payroll-tax-cut/#ixzz17WrUvmtU
CNBC
cnbc.com/id/40553481
Business Insider
businessinsider.com/deutsche-bank-explains-why-the-payroll-tax-holiday-is-a-game-changer-and-could-push-gdp-to-41-2010-12

Avoid Ski Vacation Disasters

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If you’ve previously had some disappointing ski trip experiences, then now is a great time to start thinking about avoiding repeats of those experiences. The truth is that ist’s perfectly possible to have a fantastic ski vacation, as so many people find out each year.

What are the main reasons why ski vacations can sometimes be more disappointing than they should be? It seems to me that we can almost put the issues into a series of categories. Let’s begin with a focus on the nature of ski resorts.

If you select the wrong resort then you can find that you’ll have a truly woeful time. The problem is that some resorts are really lacking in terms of facilities, while it’s clear that others may not be suited to your own needs. You probably have requirements that apply specifically to your family.

How can you avoid running into such problems? You’ll certainly need to spend time doing some research and checking that a resort has everything that you need. In a sense, it can certainly be said that we are all relatively fortunate. With Internet access and the ability to read numerous, objective reviews, there’s certainly no lack of information.

What this means is that there’s really little excuse when it comes to finding the right resort. But what about the snow conditions? We all know that a lack of snow can really destroy any trip and that it may also appear to be something that we can do very little about.

This is actually another area where it can be seen that research is particularly useful. You can look at historic snowfall data and also check out the height of particular ski runs. If a deal looks too good to be true, then it may also be the case that the timing could be better.

The choice of resort and the availability of snow will be critical to the success of your trip, but there are plenty more issues to consider. What type of accommodation should you opt for? My own view is that this is one area where it never really makes sense to cut corners.

If you opt for a cheap, budget hotel then you really need to be extremely realistic about the type of standards that you will find there. It’s clearly unlikely to help you to have the ultimate luxury ski vacation. You may wish to look at the alternatives.

It’s easy to see how ski trips can go badly wrong. In order to ensure that you don’t fall into the same traps, it’s worth preparing properly.

Siesta Key Beach – Sarasota’s Siesta Key Tops Best Beaches List!

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Siesta Key Beach Ranks #1 Sarasota Attractions

“Siesta Key is the best beach in the whole entire world,” says 54-year-old world traveler John Martin of Australia.

“Every year,” Martin adds, “my wife and I visit Sarasota for this amazing beach. We’ve experienced beaches throughout the world. By far, Siesta Key offers the most beautiful white soft sand; it’s always cool & very clean. The blue-green almost is so glassy, warm and clear.”

Siesta Key appeals to all age groups:

*Kids love the water – roughly 3′ deep and mostly calm as far as 100′ from shore.
*Kids also enjoy digging in the sand.
*Older kids hang out near the sand volleyball courts or throw footballs and frisbees in expansive areas between Pavillion and water.
*Adults set up tents and beach chairs near the water, watching kids play and passersby stroll, jog & bike along the water’s edge.

Winner of the “world’s finest, whitest sand,” Siesta Key (Public) Beach extends along a half-mile of the most pristine white sands in the world. There is no sand comparable to Siesta Key’s. Even under the burning subtropical sun, it remains cool to the touch. Siesta Key has received many honors for its powdery white-sandy beaches including recognition as one of Americas Best Beaches,” Third Best Walking Beach in the USA by USA Today International Edition, and The Best of the Best Sand by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine.

There is endless room to walk, plenty of room to find a spot to hang out for an entire day, over 800 public parking spots that fill quickly, and nearby Siesta Village with shops and restaurants.

Lifeguards positioned at several towers on the beach keep a watchful eye, protecting tourists from wondering out too far into boating territory. Picnic pavilions are available for groups at a nominal fee. Water sports of every kind add color and excitement to the Siesta Beach scene.

Siesta Key Public Beach amenities include:
. public restrooms, snackbar & gift shop
. showers and handicap ramps
. picnic areas with & without roofs
. picnic shelters & tables (8 – family size shelters)
. gazebo (holds uo to 60 people)
. large shelter (holds uo to 120 people)
. free lighted public tennis courts
. sand volleyball courts (on the beach)
. fitness trail
. playground equipment
. lifeguards on duty year round
. handicap beach chairs/wheel chairs available
. first aid

At the southern end of Siesta Key is Turtle Beach. The sand at Turtle Beach is a bit coarser than at Siesta Key. However, Turtle Beach is quieter. No lifeguards or food concessions, though you will find picnic tables, pavilions with grills, parking, and playground equipment.

Siesta Key Beach highlights a Sarasota, Florida, vacation or local lifestyle. Among all Sarasota attractions, visitors and locals alike treasure Sarasotas world-class beach experience. For people who call Sarasota home – whether part time or full time – Sarasota’s beaches and the tranquil Gulf of Mexico offer relaxing (and free) Sarasota lifestyle.

Holiday Package To Goa, Kerala And Ooty

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Holiday package to Goa, Holiday packages for Ooty and Holiday package for Kerala
Goa is the smallest state of India. Goa is ranked as best state for its infrastructure by Eleventh Finance commission and for its life quality by National Commission. It is famous for its beaches, worship places and heritage architecture. Large number of foreigners and domestic tourists visit Goa each year. Visit Holiday package to Goa for an easier trip. It is also famous for its rich flora and fauna.

The two world heritage sites are: The Bom Jesus Basilica and Churches of Old Goa. The Basilica has the remains of St. Francis Xavier. There is a bleeding Jesus at Santa Monica Convent which is in Velha Goa. There are many churches like Baroque styled in Panjim, Gothic style in Saligao and each church has its own style and heritage. There are many temples like Shanta Durga temple, Mangueshi temple and Mahalasa temple, although most of them were demolished and reconstructed in Indian style.

Other places to visit in Goa are Goa state Museum, Naval Aviation Museum, Goa Science Center in Miramar( Panjim) and National Institute of Oceanography in Dona Paula. The large numbers of tourists are attracted for Goa Carnival and New Year Celebration. It is also a various tourist destination for newly married couples to enjoy their honeymoon.

Kerala is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Kerala is popular for its beaches, mountain ranges, backwater and wildlife sanctuaries. Other attractions include beaches in Cherai, kovalam and Varkala; backwater and lake resorts Kumarakom, Vembanad Lake and Alapuzha; Munnar, Nelliampathi, Wayanad, Ponmudi and Vagamon hill stations and resorts; and Wildlife and National parks at Eravikulam National Park and Periyar. Kerala is one of the most romantic places for Couples to enjoy their vacation. For holiday packages visit Holiday Package for Kerala.

Udhagamandalam which is better known as Ooty, is a hill station in Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Ooty attracts large number of tourists every year. Lofty mountains, Sprawling grasslands, Great lakes, Miles of tea gardens, dense forests and eucalyptus trees attracts the visitors from different part of the country. For best holiday packages visit holiday packages for Ooty.

Some of the places to visit are government rose garden, Ooty Botanical Garden, Ooty Lake, Stone House, Toda Huts, Ooty Mountain Railway, St. Stephens Church, Wax World, Tribal Museum, Deer Park, Doddabetta Peak, Pykara, Pine forest, Wenlock Downs, Kamaraj Sagar Dam, Mudumalai National Park, Mukurthi national park, Needle hill viewpoint, Frog hill viewpoint, Parsons Valley Reservoir, Avalanche Lake, Emerald Lake, Porthimund Lake and Upper Bhavani.

Kerala Houseboat Tour An Experience Of A Lifetime

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Kerala tourism has flourished so well in the past few years because of the exciting Kerala houseboat tours. If you are planning vacations in Kerala with your partner, family or friends- a trip to the luxurious houseboats should not be missed. Houseboats in Kerala are specially designed to let the tourists explore the virgin lands and divine natural beauty. This medium also offers wonderful opportunity to stay close to the mother nature.

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Have you ever wished to explore the rustic village life in Kerala while staying on waters? Have you ever dreamed of watching skiff-fishermen launching their cockleshell boats? Have you ever wanted to spot the large flocks of domesticated ducks waddling down to the water from thatched houses on the banks? – If yes, then Houseboats in Kerala serve as the best possible medium for all your desires.

Kettuvalloms (huge traditional boats in Kerala) were earlier used to carry tonnes of rice, spices and other such materials. In the past few years, these have been reformed as ‘Luxurious Houseboats’ to provide the tourists with the true joy of spending their vacations on enchanting backwaters. Houseboats provide the wonderful opportunity to discover the enchanting backwaters and lively villages of Kerala.

Features of Houseboats

Kettuvalloms are converted into houseboats with using only natural products like bamboo mats, sticks, wood of the aracanut and coconut trees, coir mats, wooden planks etc. Even the arrangement for lighting is done with solar panels.

Modern Houseboats are equipped with all the comforts and amenities of a star rated hotel including furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. Each houseboat is also provided with a sun deck, spacious living/dining area, spacious passage, fire extinguishers, safe fuel storage facilities, good quality linen blankets and towels, and professional cooks.

The Vembanad Lake in Kerala is known as the largest backwater stretch of the entire state. It takes you to Alappuzha, Kottayam, Kochi and several other places. These eco-friendly houseboats take you to a journey of the untouched and inaccessible rural Kerala.

The most attractive feature of your Kerala tour is undoubtedly the luxurious Kerala houseboat. These houseboats not only provide the luxurious facilities and comforts of a star rated hotel, but also provide the excellent opportunity to explore the divine green beauty while living on waters. Plan a Kerala houseboat tour while on a Kerala trip and stay as close to the mother nature as possible.

Marriott Hotel Deal – An Easy Way to Avail Discounts on Vacation

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These Marriott hotels are an excellent and greatest place to spend vacation. The reason behind this one is that they are extremely convenient because there are many of them across the worldwide. The next is that they are known for being very nice and pristine places to stay. This is why they are considered as luxury hotels. One thing we need to remember that these Marriott hotels are higher prices, but they are affordable.

Due to the recession and sluggish economy, most of the people are looking for Marriott hotel deal packages, when planning a vacation trip. These Marriott hotel deals are not the only way to save money, though. Those who stay at the Marriott hotel will be able to save money by taking advantage of the activities and amenities available on the hotel ground.

The Marriott hotel is a place where you can expect excellent service as well as much hospitality. Although it is considered one of the finer hotels there is, you can still use a card where you can redeem points and discounts. The Marriott hotel was founded by one man who had a vision of beginning a small hotel business. It is now one of the most successful hotels franchises.

Endless shoes have an excellent selection of top of the line brands and designer shoes for men, women and children. There are various ranges of all styles and categories available in these Endless shoes. Especially for kids, there are 15,000 choices of different styles for kids. It could not be easier to shop here with the wide selection of top designer brands, great range of sizes and overnight free shipping. The best part is the different angles that you can view of your product. It is as if you are actually holding the pair of shoes in your hand.

When you are trying to book something on Expedia, you will see that field where you can enter a coupon code that will hopefully lower your price. This is called Expedia deals. Then people go searching in another browser window trying to find one, but they never do. You will find that many sites which list Expedia deals will only have links to deals, but they will either be for some other kind of ticket, or expired or both. Finally, there are some well reputed and high skilled websites on the internet are offering these promotion coupons to their clients. For more information and details, please do not hesitate to visit their valuable websites.

Season’s Favorite Holiday Cookies

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I have two childhood memories that center around Christmas cookies. My Mom’s no-bake cookies and my Aunt’s sugar cookies. I can still see my Mom stirring the cocoa for the no-bakes and can still smell their savory, sweet, aroma. I remember being just barely tall enough to peek up at the waxed paper-lined kitchen counter to sneak me a cookie while they were still warm.

My Aunt made the best sugar cookies that I can remember. The shapes that I remember the most were the Christmas trees, the candy canes, and the wreaths. I like soft doughy cookies and my Aunt’s were the best. She lived just three blocks down from our house and I still remember walking to her house with my parents…visiting, and eating those cookies. Those were the good old days.

What are the cookies that you remember as a child? Which ones were your favorites?

If you’re like most people…you will come up with the following four

*Sugar Cookies

*Chocolate Chip Cookies

*Peanut Butter Cookies

*Gingerbread Cookies

These four kinds of cookies are America’s top pick when it comes to holiday cookies. There are many variations of each kind. But my favorite…other than the cookies I mentioned at the beginning of this article, is chocolate chip cookies. Every Christmas, my Sister-In-Law brings everyone in the family a big bag of them. It’s a tradition with her. She enjoys baking chocolate chip cookies for us all.

Below is my Sister-In-Law’s recipe

(It’s actually the same recipe that is in the Betty Crocker cookbook)

bettycrocker.com

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened

1/3 cup shortening

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 package (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

(The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup chopped nuts, my Sister-In-Law doesn’t include nuts)

Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix sugars, margarine, shortening, egg and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until light brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

I look forward to these every year. I too, have made them many times and they don’t last long around our house. My Husband loves them.

Do you bake cookies for the holidays? Everyone has their personal favorites.

If you’re baking cookies this Christmas, don’t forget to leave Santa a special plate full of them.

Happy Holidays to all!

Motorhomes for a Better Travel Experience

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While travelling to places on a holiday break there are many things in the itinerary. It includes two most important things. One is the mode of transport and the other is the place of stay during the holiday period.

MotorHome Hire is the perfect solution as it solves both problems. You can drive it to whichever place you want as it becomes your private vehicle. And you can also park up and take rest in the plush living space inside.

You can cut down on your travel expenses if you hire a motorhome. Normally while travelling people incur lot of expenses on hiring a vehicle from one place to another. One needs to keep on changing the mode of transport. You are required to stay in hotels for spending the night which is another major cost added to the travel package.

Motorhomes are available for rent. You just need to pay rent for the number of days the van is used. The campervan hire company will provide you the vehicle after considering the number of people in the travel group or the number of members in the family.

Campervans have state of the art and comfortable interiors and have all the amenities like bedrooms, kitchens and bathroom and good lighting throughout. You have the convenience of planning your travel according to your own choices because you don’t need to depend on anyone.

One person can drive the vehicle and the rest of the family can sit back and relax at the back enjoying the ride. Someone looking for motorHome hire in UK can find service providers who rent campervans. A person living in Australia can book a campervan in the UK.

Touring in such vehicles gives the option of taking a break whenever needed. So, you can stop to eat or rest on your own choice. All you need is to park the vehicle as per your convenience and take the required break from driving.

A motorhome hire company gives the option of choosing from a fleet of vans as per the budget of the traveller. The price on these vehicles will depend on the level of luxury you require and the amount of berths. So, one can book a vehicle that will suit your budget.

There are campgrounds available in many parts of UK which can be used for parking the vans or spending a whole night. Such vans can be deemed as a home away from home or a mobile home. This is a convenient travel partner which takes you places and offers all the amenities in the vehicle itself.

You can get in touch with companies providing motorhomes for rent for that wonderful travel experience with your family.

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