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Using a Computer Simulation to Predict a Vacation Catastrophe

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After spending all of Spring 2020 sitting in our homes, eagerly awaiting the return to normal life and our usual activities, the country is finally starting to reopen a bit! Many local and state governments are easing travel restrictions and revising some guidelines to give us back some of the privileges we used to take for granted in the days before the COVID-19 pandemic.

For those of us with severe cases of cabin fever, the combination of warm weather, summer vacation for the kids, and a bit more freedom to travel safely and within recommended guidelines is getting us into serious vacation anticipation mode! However, we’re not quite out of the woods yet, and it may still be in our best interests to hold off on that big, fun trip we’ve been dreaming about for at least another couple of months or so. In the meantime, one thing we can all do right now to help ease the boredom of too much time at home is plan fun future trips that keep us looking forward to all the great adventures we’ll have when we’re able to resume our normal travel activities. 

Planning a much-needed vacation to a thrilling and exotic destination (which, at this point, means “anywhere but our living room couch!”) can be a real mood-booster as start taking baby steps to getting our summer back on track. However, no matter how prepared you try to be, there’s always a chance that something unexpected will occur to derail your good time on vacation. 

Plan all you want, but there’s always a possibility that inclement weather, a vehicle breakdown, losing your luggage, or some other travel catastrophe will ruin what was supposed to be a relaxing getaway, regardless of how much travel prep time you put in. Wouldn’t it be amazing if some sort of algorithm existed that could predict the odds of various travel catastrophe? A tool like that could help you tighten your plans until they are almost disaster-proof! Good news- in the not-too-distant future, safeguarding against all foreseeable (and unforeseen) calamities before packing for a trip may become a reality!

Predictive analytics tools are already in use by a number of consumer platforms, health care providers, insurance companies, and more. These algorithms work to predict people’s future behaviors, preferences, and needs based on past choices. Predictive analytics can help companies determine everything from what kind of automotive part needs to be replaced next on your car to which pair of pants you’re more likely to buy online. By including predictive algorithms on a website or mobile app, companies can also gather important data about their consumers to help them streamline their practices to better serve their target audiences’ needs.

Since predictive simulations are already pretty widely used, it’s not that much of a stretch to imagine that such a simulation could be developed to help a person plan the perfect vacation free from any fun-ruining hiccups or bumps in the road. Imagine being able to pinpoint any trouble spots of a vacation by running through a simulation. You’d be able to make important corrections that may help you avoid any issues when it’s time to take the trip in real life! For instance…

Avoid Airline Anguish

Let’s say you’re taking a trip that involves getting on a plane and flying to your travel destination. Think of all the things this entails. First, you need to be sure you’re going to get to the airport on time, which, according to TSA recommendations, is at least two hours prior to your scheduled departure time. In order to do that successfully, you’ll need to know what traffic is like so you can plan accordingly. This hypothetical algorithm would need to provide an accurate look at traffic patterns and any road construction hazards or accidents that could prevent you from arriving on time. 

Hooray! You’ve made it to the airport with at least two hours to spare! But wait- is your flight still scheduled to arrive on time? No worries- thanks to your vacation simulator, you’ve examined the likelihood of getting bumped or rescheduled based on ATC data, weather patterns, and other predictive data, and used that information to book your flight at a time where delays and cancellations are least likely to occur. Looks like smooth sailing ahead! (Now, if you get stuck in an airline seat next to that guy who wants to tell you his life story, we’re sorry but we can’t help you out there!)

Rectify Road Trip Ruin

Hitting the open road with a couple of your best buddies? Fun!…At least, there’s the potential for fun as long as something wrecks your road trip vacation. We’d hate to sound like Debbie Downer here, but there are a few things that could go really wrong on a driving trip. However, a computer simulation designed to mitigate the chances of roadside disaster, you’d have a little extra insurance that your trip would be awesome from start to finish! A road trip algorithm could help you simulate your journey, taking note of important checkpoints like gas stations or restaurants along your route so that nobody gets “hangry” or runs out of gas.

 Predictive modeling could also help you to determine the likelihood of experiencing a breakdown, based on the age of your car, how many miles you’ve put on it, and how long it’s been since your last routine service check. You’d even be able to decide which of your friends to choose as your alternate drivers (as well as which ones to politely ask not to drive) based on data from their insurance and driving records. The future looks bright for road trips once we get simulations like this in place- until then, just choose your road trip mates wisely and invest in an extended car warranty or mechanical breakdown coverage.

Fight Freak Accidents and Phenomena

For most travelers, if your plane lands without a hitch, you find your baggage at the carousel on the first try, and you’re able to easily find your way to your hotel, you’re off to a great start! But there are those nervous vacationers out there who tend to worry about the probability of some seriously freakish occurrences robbing them of a good time. To these folks, we say take heart! Technology will someday make it possible for you to run a trip simulation that can help you answer some of your burning questions, such as, “What are the odds of a shark attack? How can I prevent being mugged? What are the chances of being attacked by a shark while I’m being mugged?” 

Those of you who are worried about contracting food poisoning while staying at your five-star hotel will be able to rest a little easier once you can compute the probability of that happening on your vacation. (On the other hand, those of you who ask the same question about the gas station sushi you just wolfed down on your road trip probably won’t like what you see.) 

We already live in a world where companies build and use complex computer simulations to pull in all kinds of data from huge warehouses. If that’s the case, there’s no stopping us from building one that details every possible mishap that can statistically occur on a vacation to help us ensure a virtually foolproof travel experience in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, the best we can do is plan ahead, take necessary safety precautions, and be prepared for any circumstances we can think of that could potentially prevent us from having the vacation of a lifetime!

The post Using a Computer Simulation to Predict a Vacation Catastrophe appeared first on Travel Experta – Family Travel Blog.


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Vacation

Canopy Tent Frame Buying Guide

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There are very few accessories you can invest in that help you protect your plans involving the great outdoors more than a canopy tent. Whether you use it when you go on holiday and want to extend the available floor space you have in your RV or take it with you to the beach or another place for the day and then the bad weather sets in, you can use a canopy tent to avoid having to pack up and head home or head inside your RV.

There are a variety of canopy tents out there, though, and the choice may seem a little overwhelming. To help you, therefore, we have put together this buying guide.

4 Things to Consider When Buying a Canopy Tent Frame

Choice of Canopy Types and Variations

Before you even start looking canopy reviews with the intent of buying, you need to think first about the type of canopy tent that would be best for your applications and needs. You can do this by thinking about the different uses you will get out of it and finding the model that best matches up with those uses.

Portability

One consideration you need to make following on from the above is whether you should get a portable model or not. There are many situations, for instance, in which you won’t want to spend too much time messing around with transportation and the erection of a canopy. For those situations, a portable option is very desirable. They are also much easier to put up, even if you do not have someone to help you.

Heavy Duty and Robust

Although for most of the time you will probably prefer to invest in a canopy tent frame that is lightweight and easy to manage, there will be other times when having something more substantial and robust at your disposal is necessary. What if, for instance, while you are out in the great outdoors on an RV holiday and sitting under the canopy when their strong winds forecast. If your canopy is not particularly robust, your shelter would be at risk of being damaged or even blown completely away.

Therefore, when choosing the best canopy tent, you need to think about the weather conditions of the places you will be using it and whether it will be beneficial to buy a tougher model.

Another reason why you should consider a heavy-duty is if you intend to use your canopy over a long period, rather than just setting it up for a day or even just an afternoon. For it to last through the constant use, the canopy tent you choose needs to be very sturdy and resistant to wear and tear.

Cost

We would never suggest that you use cost as the driving focus of your buying decision. That being said, we all have a budget, and it would be ridiculous to not take that budget into consideration at all. Besides, at either end of the canopy price range, you will find that the two extremes of the cheapest and the most expensive don’t always mean you are going to get a good value product.

For example, take the cheapest canopy tent you can buy. It may seem like you are going to save a decent amount of money on it and that is enough to make anyone happy, especially when times are tough as they are now for lots of us. However, does the quality and standard of build really hold up given its price tag? Products aren’t given an ultra-cheap price tag for nothing.

Likewise, the most expensive may not present good value for money either. Imagine spending a lot of money on a canopy you hardly use.

The post Canopy Tent Frame Buying Guide appeared first on Travel Experta – Family Travel Blog.

By: Marina Villatoro
Title: Canopy Tent Frame Buying Guide
Sourced From: feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheTravelExperta/~3/OHSl5MEs9CQ/canopy-tent-frame-buying-guide.html
Published Date: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 16:50:32 +0000

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How to Prepare a Campervan Trip in New Zealand

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Are you considering traveling around New Zealand in a campervan? Or do you want to list your campervan for sale? We’re here to tell you that you shouldn’t take so long debating about it. Traveling to New Zealand is one of the best trips anyone can ever have in their lifetime. And the best way to see the country is through traveling in a campervan.

Yes, preparing for your campervan trip can feel a little overwhelming, and you may be anxious about all the things you need to get in order. But, a little research might help you calm down the nerves and get your thoughts in line with your travels.

Our guide for preparing for a campervan trip to New Zealand has all the essential information that you need to know about making your trip a success. Take a look.

8 Tips to Prepare a Campervan Trip in New Zealand

  1. Book Your Campervan Early

Campervans are a smart way to get around New Zealand. Therefore, they can get booked out very fast, especially if you’re traveling during the peak season. The trick is to know your seasons and book your campervan early.

For instance, NZ’s busiest tourist season is during the summer months that run from December to February. Also, there are different sizes of campervans available, so you should choose one depending on the number of people in your troupe. Ensure the campervan you rent comes with everything you need including cookware and towels.

  1. Get An Offline Map

For convenience, ensure that your campervan has WiFi. However, there are certain areas in NZ where connectivity may be an issue. Even though NZ has some very well-sign-posted routes, it doesn’t hurt getting some offline maps ready just in case you encounter any problems.

Hence, download your map fast via Google and pull it out any time you get to places such as Milford Sound or Southland, where connectivity is problematic. The map is also useful if you need to reach a particular spot for your trip.

  1. Download Campermate

Make sure that you download this app to your phone before you start your travels through New Zealand. The app helps provide you with any information you may need while you explore NZ.

For instance, it will help you get information about grocery stores near you, the best camping spots, freedom camping spots, and even fuel stations and water pumps. The app will also help you plan your trip and routes early, and it can work while you’re offline. It’s a free app, so you don’t have to worry about making extra purchases.

  1. Consider Some Costs

While traveling to New Zealand, you should be aware of the costs that you might incur. Here are some of them:

  • Van Insurance:When it comes to van insurance, you want to go for the highest plan because it will give you peace of mind if you encounter any accidents on the road.
  • Camping Site Costs: Even though you may have access to amenities such as freedom camping, you may need to plug in your campervan to access electricity. You will pay for this maybe every 3-4 days, depending on your usage, so ensure you plan for these costs early enough.
  1. Plan Your Itinerary

If you’re planning to travel around New Zealand, you should have a plan for it. Ensure you have a good idea of where you’re going. This will allow you to save a lot of time on the road and enjoy the scenic views without rushing.

Remember, you might want to stop and take pictures along the way or sample some local cuisine. Having an itinerary will ensure that you do all these things with no rush.

  1. Check What’s in Your Van

Your van should come with most of the extras that you need for your trip. These include camping chairs, bed linen, an outdoor table, towels, and cooking pots. Besides, if you’d like to sell your campervan, ensuring that it has all these extras onboard will fetch you a quick customer.

  1. Consider These Driving Tips

Here are a few things to remember while driving a campervan in New Zealand:

– Lock your fridge and cupboard door. If you don’t, your pots, pans, and cutlery may fly off as you maneuver through twists and turns.

– Ensure you aren’t plugged into a power source before you drive away.

– Get enough petrol for your trip. If you’re on your way to discover secluded areas, make sure you have a full tank because there may not be petrol stations anywhere near for a while.

  1. Have Emergency Cash

Always have an emergency fund ready. Your emergency cash should have enough change so you can pay for stuff quickly when needed. For instance, some camp sites will require you to pay a certain amount in cash at designated spots. You don’t want to risk the fine for not paying up.

Conclusion

Traveling on a campervan to New Zealand is an exciting way of sightseeing around the country. You can enjoy the freedom that comes with camping and lingering in destinations to ensure that you enjoy your trip. However, excellent preparation is necessary if you want to avoid surprises and make the most of your trip.

The post How to Prepare a Campervan Trip in New Zealand appeared first on Travel Experta – Family Travel Blog.

By: Marina Villatoro
Title: How to Prepare a Campervan Trip in New Zealand
Sourced From: feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheTravelExperta/~3/pTicMntisSc/prepare-campervan-trip-new-zealand.html
Published Date: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 14:44:20 +0000

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House Hunting in Chile: A Bright, Modern Villa in the Andes for $1.3 Million

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This modern six-bedroom house is on a residential street in Lo Barnechea, an upscale commune on the outskirts of the Santiago metropolitan region, in central Chile.

The 3,445-square-foot concrete house was built in 2005 on a terraced quarter-acre lot, with floor-to-ceiling windows designed to maximize views of the Andes mountain range from many of the rooms, as well as from the spacious patio and two-level garden.

The front entry hall leads to a door that opens to the patio and garden. An office with access to the garden is on the right, and the living room, dining room and kitchen are on the left. The living room, with Brazilian hardwood floors, is separated from the adjoining dining room by a few steps and a low stone wall with a fireplace. Both rooms look out to the garden, the L-shaped pool and the mountains beyond through floor-to-ceiling windows, as does the office. A half bath for guests is near the entrance.

The spacious kitchen — which opens onto a courtyard leading to the home’s three parking spaces, as well as to the entrance hall and a bright, airy passage to the dining room — has marble counters, a center island and an adjacent room for laundry and storage. Beyond the laundry room are two staff bedrooms and a staff bathroom.

An open wood staircase near the entrance ascends to the second floor, which has four bedrooms, each with mountain views. The main bedroom suite has a walk-in closet and doors to a terrace overlooking the garden. The other three bedrooms share two bathrooms.

The house has a security system and radiant heating. Stepping down from the covered rear patio, the landscaped garden has a flat lawn, and the pool occupies the property’s third and lowest tier.

Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city, with about 6.7 million residents, sits in a valley surrounded by the Andes and the Chilean Coast Range. The Lo Barnechea commune, in the northeast corner of the city, sits at the feet of the Andes and offers skiing, horseback riding, and hiking at Cerro del Medio Park. Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport is about 25 miles west.

Chile’s residential real estate market has seen years of steady growth stall recently, first with a wave of protests over inequality that turned violent in late 2019, then with the coronavirus pandemic.

Yuval Ben Haym, the regional director of RE/MAX Chile, said Chile is now in the midst of a buyer’s market. Citing RE/MAX data, he estimated that prices across Santiago have fallen about of 3 to 4 percent since early 2019, though he noted that a government stimulus allowing buyers to tap pensions for real estate purchases has helped stabilize the market.

Developers of new homes are lowering prices to compete for buyers as a result of the pandemic, which halted construction for months, he said: “Developers need speed of sales to be profitable as they have high-interest loans.”

A recent report by the research division of Yapo.cl, an online marketplace, found that in the second quarter of 2020, there were 46 percent fewer houses and 35 percent fewer apartments for sale across Chile (where the market is heavily weighted by the greater Santiago area), compared with the same period in 2019. Demand also dropped from the first quarter of the year: 29 percent for houses and 35 percent for apartments, compared to the first quarter of this year.

Another report on the second quarter of 2020 by Portalinmobiliario, a Chilean real estate portal, found similar reductions in supply across Santiago, but also showed a slight uptick in prices, with apartments up over 4 percent and houses up around 3 percent. The average price for two-bedroom apartments across the region in the second quarter were highest in the commune of Vitacura (a neighbor to Lo Barnechea), at 10,762 UF ($393,800), and lowest in Puente Alto, in Santiago’s southeast corner, at 1,270 UF ($46,500).

(Chile uses the Chilean peso, but the real estate market uses the UF, “an indexed type of noncirculating currency which adjusts daily and automatically for inflation so that value remains constant,” said Macarena Laso Aguirre, a partner at the Santiago law firm Morales & Besa, in an email.)

Mr. Ben Haym said the pandemic has shaken up the market, though he expects an imminent course correction. “If they can, people are waiting to see how things turn out before they buy, with this level of demand reduced the prices reduced too,” he said. “I’m sure the next couple of months are going to be compensating for the reduction that we saw in the last couple of months because of the coronavirus.”

(As of Sept. 29, Chile had reported 461,300 cases of Covid-19 — a much higher rate per capita than neighboring Bolivia and Argentina, and higher even than Brazil’s — and 12,725 deaths, according to The New York Times’s coronavirus map.)

Santiago’s high-end market has been stable for decades, said Luis Novoa, the CEO of Chile Sotheby’s International Realty. He estimated the average asking price among properties with his agency is about $800,000, or $330 a square foot.

The social unrest that erupted last fall initially led to an increase in supply of high-end properties, as affluent homeowners decided to sell vacation homes, but that trend has slowed, Mr. Novoa said. Now buyers are awaiting the results of a coming national referendum in October. Investors, though, have started to jump on properties with price cuts, and some are buying sight unseen. These conditions are also emboldening high-end buyers to offer well below asking price.

Across Chile, luxury prices range between $750,000 for a family villa in Santiago to $20 million for select properties in Patagonia, said Martin Rivera Saez, the director of Alto Andes, a luxury agency based in Santiago. But there has been a shift in what is deemed to be luxury, he added. In the past, buyers wanted “large mansions with luxurious finishes, located in areas with privileged views.” A few years ago, the “concept began to change,” and buyers began to seek “less ostentatious” apartments that are easier to maintain.

Because land for new developments is scarce, “we have seen a vertical densification,” with large single-family properties being replaced by high-end condominiums with seven to 10 dwellings, Mr. Novoa said. Meanwhile, areas “with large spaces and better quality of life” are increasingly in demand with the upper middle class.

For example, Mr. Rivera said the pandemic has accelerated interest in the country’s southern region, with his firm seeing a 40 percent spike in transactions there between March and September, compared to the same period last year.

About 95 percent of buyers in Santiago, as in Chile in general, are Chilean, Mr. Rivera said. Foreigners who move to Santiago are typically relocating with jobs in the mining, forestry, agriculture or fishing sectors, and they tend to come from China, Spain, Italy, the U.S., Australia and Britain.

Mr. Novoa said that the exchange rate makes it a good time for foreigners paying in dollars to buy in Chile. “However," he said, “we have not seen changes in the flow of foreign buyers.”

Buyers in the south include Chinese investors and Chilean entrepreneurs or start-up employees who are buying primary residences, Mr. Rivera said, many searching for good schools and “a better quality of life.” The growth of e-commerce and remote work has also fueled this movement away from Santiago.

Most foreigners can purchase real estate in Chile without restriction, although citizens of neighboring countries are prohibited from buying in areas near international borders, said Ms. Laso, the partner at Morales & Besa. Transactions are handled by notaries. Attorneys’ fees vary based on the transaction’s complexity. For a straightforward title review and purchase deed draft, the fee should not exceed 1 to 3 percent of the purchase price.

Prices and loans are set in UF but paid in pesos according to the UF rate on the date of payment. “This means that, effectively, the inflation risk is passed to the buyer/debtor of a property,” Ms. Laso wrote.

  • Visiting Chile: chile.travel/en

  • Santiago tourism: chile.travel/en

  • Chile government: gob.cl/en

Spanish; Chilean peso (1 CLP = $0.0013)

Closing costs when a home is bought with a mortgage are between 0.7 and 1.2 percent of the purchase price, not including the commission and attorney fees, Ms. Laso said. Costs are lower if a purchase is paid in cash.

Commission, split between the buyer and seller, is typically 4 percent of the purchase price, and there is a 19 percent value-added tax levied on that commission.

“If no realtor is involved, which is fairly common, no commission is paid,” Ms. Laso wrote.

María Angélica Errázuriz Gubbins, Chile Sotheby’s International Realty, 011-56-2-3224-4491; sothebysrealty.com

For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.

By: Roxana Popescu
Title: House Hunting in Chile: A Bright, Modern Villa in the Andes for $1.3 Million
Sourced From: www.nytimes.com/2020/09/30/realestate/santiago-chile-house-hunting.html
Published Date: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 13:30:24 +0000

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