California Health Insurance – Independent Health Life Agent Verses Insurance Company In House Agent

You have just completed an online form requesting a free health insurance quote and moments later you are being inundated with phone calls from insurance agents hoping to get your business. Try not to become overwhelmed or annoyed by these “pesky sales people” because they are really not telemarketers. Most of them are well-trained state licensed professionals who can really help you make a good decision regarding which health plan is best and most affordable for your individual or group coverage needs.

You may be under the misconception that if you buy your health plan directly from the insurance company, and cut out the “middle person”, you will save money. This is absolutely not the case. In fact, insurance companies rely on agents for most of their business and that’s why they pay them commissions for bringing in customers. It does not cost a consumer one penny more to use a licensed California health insurance agent to obtain their insurance coverage.

There are many differences between California health insurance and other states including how it is applied for.

For example, while Blue Cross and Blue Shield are one company in other states, here in California, each is separate and applied to individually as Anthem Blue Cross of California and Blue Shield of California.

California health insurance law AB 1672 is an improvement over the federal HIPAA law that covers all states in that it includes the following with regard to California group coverage:

1. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions may change over to a new group health plan without an exclusionary period.

2. It allows small businesses and professional organizations to have access to health plans providing they have between 2 and 50 full time employees.

3. It keeps insurance rates from climbing after a claim is filed.

4. Employees who have health problems may change jobs or health plans without being rated higher for having pre-existing conditions.

That said, the very best health insurance agent for your individual and business needs is an “Independent Agent.” Why? Because they represent multiple insurance carriers, not just one. An independent agent can help you select the most appropriate cost-effective plan offering the most benefits for your dollar as available from the major carriers, rather than feeding you just one company’s line of health plans which may not suit your particular needs. Many people are too complacent and settle for what their current insurance company has to offer. They could use a good independent agent to sort through the many plans available from multiple insurance carriers to find and provide the best choice of options.

Another misunderstanding you may have is that insurance agents set the premium rates for the health insurance plans they sell. Thinking if you shop around you may get a better price for the same plan. Premium rates are based on your age, zip code or county in which you reside and are controlled completely by the insurance companies. Every agent uses the exact same rate guides set by the insurance companies. The condition of your health may affect your premium, which may be rated up after the insurance company’s underwriting department has reviewed your medical records. Again, the insurance company, not the agent, determines that outcome.

Now, let’s talk about the benefits of having a good insurance agent representing you. Most consumers neither know nor understand the benefits of a health plan being offered and need the expertise of an agent to explain the benefits to them in full. For example, do you know what the difference is between an “out-of-pocket maximum” and an “annual deductible?”

An out of pocket maximum is the most you will have to pay in a given year for deductible and coinsurance for covered benefits before your insurance starts to pay 100% of most expenses until the year ends.

An annual deductible is usually the amount you pay each year before your health plan starts paying anything for covered services. Generally, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. Certain services such as prescription drugs carry separate deductibles. Plans may vary and sometimes benefits will kick in before you have to meet the deductible.

A knowledgeable health insurance agent can be a guide through the maze and help you choose the right plan to meet your needs and budget while obtaining the most benefits for your dollars spent. An agent will also make clear how the benefits for a generic prescription may differ from the benefits for a brand prescription on a particular plan.

After you have a health plan in place, a good, caring agent will remind you to pay your premium on time so the insurance company doesn’t cancel you. Your agent can also be an enormous resource for assistance if you run into a problem with a health insurance claim. Instead of waiting on hold at the insurance company’s 800 number for thirty to forty- five minutes, call your agent and explain your problem and if you have chosen the right agent, you will get help and may save yourself lots of time and frustration, maybe even some money by having an expert in your corner where your best interests come first.

So next time you or someone you know, fills out one of those on-line forms for a health insurance quote and you get several phone calls from health insurance agents wanting your business, be grateful that a professional wants to help you for free to choose the right plan and you’ll have an important friend for life.

Fast and Efficient Ways To Finding An Apartment In New York City

Searching for an apartment in the biggest City in the country is a daunting task; whether you are new to NYC or a 12 year veteran like me, you will need thick skin to navigate this concrete jungle! Let me start with my personal experience.

I am originally from Portland, OR, I moved to the Big Apple back in 1998. My first 5 months living in New York were spent living out of a hotel because I had a hard time finding a place. My original intentions were to stay at my hotel for 2 weeks, but I had to extend my stay since I grossly underestimated the difficulty of finding a decent apartment in New York. Now after 12 years and 7 moves I consider myself an expert in New York City apartment hunting and now I will share the knowledge I have accumulated over the years of searching for apartments by myself or using a broker.

This article is a guide that will help make the process of finding an apartment in this “crazy city” easier, more efficient and less confusing (it might even save you a couple of dollars in the process). It is all laid out in an easy to follow 6-step process.

Step 1: Figure Out What Neighborhood You Want To Live In!

This may seem like the easy part because you obviously want to be in an area that is convenient, trendy and safe, however you will soon figure out nothing is that easy in New York City. You need to determine what neighborhood fits your personality/life style and at the same time determine what kind of space/amenities you will need. For example you may work in the East Village and love the energy there but are you willing to pay the steep price tag for a “shoe box”(and by “shoe box” I mean a tiny apartment) in a run down building that is a 4th floor walk-up. Do you feel comfortable living in an area where it’s a constant party scene every night?

A book that is an amazing source of info for the ins & outs of every neighborhood is the NFT (Not For Tourist) guide of New York City. You can buy this in any Barns & Noble and make sure it is the most up to date version because there is a new version every year. Another great way of getting to know a neighborhood is by Googling it. With an endless source of information in cyber space why not take advantage of it. If you prefer doing it the old fashion way, taking a stroll through the neighborhood, go for it! But make sure you have your trusty NFT guide with you so you can spot the important things.

Step 2: Determine What You Are Willing To Sacrifice

In your apartment search you are going to have to sacrifice something whether it be size, location or amenities. You are going to have to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally because the grim reality is the perfect apartment doesn’t exist (unless you have an unlimited budget) The general rule of thumb in New York is the further uptown you go the bigger and cheaper the apartments will be. The further downtown you go the smaller and more expensive it will be.

You need to determine what is most important to you within your unique budget and find that middle ground. My advice, is if you find an apartment that is 70-80% ideal, take it, because the pickier you are the harder the search will be! I learned this the hard way a longtime ago and you do not want to get stuck chasing around that “magical apartment”. Yes, it is possible you might get lucky and find that perfect apartment but so is hitting the jackpot in the lottery!

Step 3: Determine What You Can Afford And If Your Budget Is Realistic

Once you have an idea of which neighborhoods you prefer to live in, now you have to determine if your a budget is realistic. Determine what is the average price for an apartment for those neighborhoods. How? I recommend going to a website called apartmenthero. This website will provide current market averages for every size apartment rental in every neighborhood in the city. Results are usually pretty accurate but sometimes they can be a little off, about plus or minus $300. When you first enter the site you will be prompted to enter information to compare your current apartment to the current market rate. If you’re a “newbie” and do not have an apartment yet, go to the right column of the website, click on “average rents in Manhattan”. Another great way is to do your own research on nytimes. I find that nytimes rental listings are much more accurate and up to date, as opposed to Craigslist and other sites where there are tons of bait & switch scams.

Next, determine what you can afford, landlord’s make this part easy because to qualify for most apartments in the Big Apple, you need to have a good credit standing (650 or above), earn a yearly household income of 40-50 times your monthly rent and if you don’t, then you need a guarantor. He or she needs to earn 80-100 times the monthly rent. For example the average one bedroom apartment in East Village is about $2,300 -$2,600 per month; you will need annual household income of $92,000 to qualify and a guarantor, would need a yearly income of $184,000 minimum.

Step 4: Timing Is EVERYTHING

I have a good friend whose ex-wife worked as a real estate agent for eight years. When they were still together, I had the unique opportunity of getting some great tips on how to look for an apartment in New York. The most impacting tip she gave me was that timing is everything. New York is unlike any city in the country when it comes to this, in most cities you generally start your apartment search two or sometimes three months before your move out date. In New York the market moves so fast that most landlords want to sign leases immediately after your application is accepted. At the very most, you have a month to search, the best deals generally come out the first week of the month or the third week of the month. Approximately 70% of the listings in the first week of the month are for movers moving on the 15th, 30% are meant for movers moving at the beginning of the next month.

Make sure you secure an apartment at least 1 1/2 week prior to when you want keys! My advice is you only need 5 days (sometimes less) to find an apartment. The first 2 days should be getting to know what’s out there, the 3rd and 4th day should be narrowing down your search and 5th day should be getting your paperwork together & submitting your application. With every rule there are exceptions, if you find an amazing place that is 95% ideal on your 3rd or 2nd day do not hesitate, take it! What is great to you is more then likely great to most apartment hunters. The vacancy rate in Manhattan is usually around 1-2% so there will be always more people looking for apartments then there are availability.

Step 5: Determine What Strategy You Will Use To Find Your “New Home”

This decision can make or break you depending on your situation. There are two ways to go about finding an apartment in New York City, you can do it the easy/expensive way and hire a broker to find you a place or you can do it the hard/affordable way by doing it yourself. I personally have done it both ways and it all depends on what you are looking for and what is your situation. Here are the benefits of both methods:

Benefits of doing it yourself

1) You will save MONEY!!!

-Broker fees are expensive; they range from 1-month rent to 15% of the annual rent. If the broker has an exclusive on the listing, you will likely have to pay 15%

2) You avoid shady money hungry brokers

-Lets face it in every industry there are bad apples and the real estate industry is no exception.

3) You will learn the City

-With all the walking you will be doing you will get to know the city better then you ever have before.

4) You’ll be in better shape when your done

-You will be in better cardiovascular shape because you will be walking a ton! So you better have on some comfortable sneakers.

Benefits of using a Broker

1) Faster and more efficient

-Your apartment search will be less time consuming and more efficient because brokers have access to thousands of listings you will never have access to and can show you a bunch in one shot.

2) Avoid outdated listings

-Websites like Craigslist, Renthop & Apartments.com are flawed and poorly regulated and most of their listings are barely updated. Brokers listings are updated daily because they have direct contact with the landlord

3) Brokers know what a landlord wants

-Each landlord in the city has their own preferences and application requirements. Brokers know what each landlord is looking for in a tenant; this can save you time, heartache and expensive application fees.

4) You will have access to more Apartments

-Approximately 41% of available listings in New York are only accessible through brokers. These types of listings are called “broker protected listings”, the land lord will only take applications represented by a broker.

Step 6: Here Are Some Great Tips

1) Talk to a Doorman

-If you do decide to try doing it yourself talking to doormen is a great way to find an apartment. Doormen not only have info to the building they are working in but to other buildings the landlord may own.

2) More is not always better

-If you do decide to use a broker, more than one broker at a time is not always better. Brokers have almost all the same listings because most listing are open. For example if you call ten brokers and give them your detailed description of what you are looking for there is a distinct possibility you will be shown the same apartments. At the same time you should not limit yourself and work with one broker, you might be missing out, because some brokers have exclusive listings. My advice is, you should only use three brokers and if you find one that you feel is competent and trustworthy, stick with him/her.

3) Use NakedApartments

-This website gives you the ability to not only look for rental listings while discreetly contacting brokers/landlords but you can give them a review if you had a bad or good experience. You can also look at the reviews of other brokers or landlords before you decide to contact them.

4) Don’t be afraid to negotiate a broker fee

-Most brokers would rather negotiate and get the deal done then risk having the next broker showing the apartment and rent it before him/her. Do not get carried away, no broker will take less then a month. Remember if the apartment is an exclusive listing you will have no leverage for negotiations.

Cheap International Travel Insurance – How To Find The Best Plan

When traveling abroad, one must always take in consideration good and cheap international travel insurance. Travel insurances have now become a necessity when traveling. Many travel companies and insurance companies have coincided so as to make sure they provide the customers with the superb service they truly deserve. There have been many packages that come together with the booking of travels. Several cheap travel insurance can be searched online and offline, through a visit to a well respected travel agency or insurance company. This travel insurance makes sure that a trip is well secured with the assurance that the client will not have to worry about sometimes inevitable situations. Several coverage terms are available for different companies. They key to getting a good deal is through rummaging amidst the plethora of the offers available.

Being well informed of the availability of the offers is one good way to start a deal. Overseas travel is an adventurous risk which could lead to several uncertain situations as well. Countries have different cultures and even their medical systems are quite different from each other. A traveler may have a medical plan but having one does not assure that the international medical needs will be covered. Aside from these, basically, the two main reasons why a person must get cheap international travel insurance is the fact that sometimes, a trip is cancelled or it is delayed. When this happens, the travel insurance can take care of the expenses to be incurred. Cheap travel insurance worldwide is required for security. It will also provide the client the peace of mind he or she deserves when on the trip. Worldwide travel insurance is a must have for every traveler. An ideal plan covers the trip cancellation, medical transportation expense, baggage loss, delayed departure, curtailment, legal assistance or even overseas funeral expenses. However, carelessness will not be taken cared of by the company. The insurance can be arranged upon the time of booking the trip.

Most travel agencies offer cheap international insurance on packages. These packages are based on the traveler’s needs and wants. The traveler is therefore always the one in charge. He or she is the one responsible of choosing the perfect plan to suit his travel.

There are also some travel networks sites on the internet which provide information that is always easy to understand and offer rates that are within your budget. Having cheap online travel insurance can make someone smile without all the worries of unexpected expenses. A couple of them also offer a free and instant quote for the traveler to know what type of insurance he or she is most likely to avail.

There are several types of travel insurance. There is this thing called the emergency evacuation covering the medical expenses, group travel, annual multi-trip for those who travel on a regular basis, international insurance benefits for families and many more. Global travel insurance is the best way to ensure that the trip will be hassle-free.

Fashion Styles to Avoid

When you are out buying clothes for yourself not only do you want to know about what kind of clothing is in style, but you also need to find out about what is not in style. Avoiding the clothing that is not in style is easy to do, if you know what to avoid. What you need to remember is that it is not just an article of clothing that needs to be avoided in general, sometimes the piece of clothing can be worn fashionably, but there are certain things you want to avoid wearing it with.

One thing that you need to avoid is wearing high waisted jeans or any kind of high waisted pants. One of the reasons that you want to avoid these types of pants is because of how high up they go, if your belly button is pierced, it can rub against the piercing that can become very uncomfortable. Another problem is if you have any kind of bloating going on this style of pants can make the bloating seem even worse than it is, which is not very flattering at all.

Something else that you need to avoid doing is wearing a white bra with a white shirt. This needs to be avoided because you can clearly see the white bra under the white shirt; in fact, the white bra really stands out under the white shirt because the lines of the bra show directly through the shirt. When wearing a white shirt you will want to wear a nude colored bra so that the bra does not show as easily.

Not only do you need to think about the color bra you are wearing but you also need to think about the type of panties that you are wearing. With jeans you can wear just about any style of panties that you want, but stay away from thongs that stick up from the back of your jeans because it does not look very attractive. If you are wearing white pants you want to avoid wearing dark colored panties or even panties with designs on them because they will show directly through the pants. Your best choice is to wear a nude color rather than white because it will blend in better than the white will.

What you wear on your feet is also important. The worst thing you can do is wear any kind of socks with sandals, and depending on the style of sandal, you might want to avoid nylons. Thong-toed sandals or shoes should be worn without socks or nylons, while open toed and closed toed should be worn with nylons or socks. White socks with black shoes also need to be avoided.

Online Babysitting Services: How Do They Work and How To Choose The Right One For You

So you need someone to watch your children and have decided to look into online babysitting services. However, there are so many to choose from, including Sittercity, Care, Care4Hire.com, GoNannies, AuPairCare and 4Sitters.com, that it is overwhelming. To find the best fit for you and your family, you need to check out an assortment of sites. Each one will vary in everything from their fees and services, to their applicant filtering system and reputation, to the number of caregivers in their database. Some even provide contact information for pet sitters, housekeepers, tutors and eldercare services.

There are two ways in which online babysitting services work. With the first method, parents post a job and then the sitters who are interested and nearby contact them. This may be done via email or telephone. The parents can then respond accordingly. With the other method, parents can look at the profiles of potential babysitters and then contact the best ones. When searching, you get immediate access to babysitters. Simply type in your zip code and a list of local sitters pops up. When you click on a sitter, you may get a brief bit of information or their entire profile.

Some sites will let you preview and look for sitters without registering, so you can see the options. However, if you want to get the contact information, you need to be a member. Subscriptions may be paid for on a monthly or yearly basis. The best sites will give you a free trial period, perhaps for a week, so you can try it out first. If you like it, you often have to pay an initial registration fee, in addition to the subscription costs.

Be aware that not all sites do the same things. Some may simply interview the babysitters to create a profile but do not check references. Others provide the option of doing extensive background checks. However, it may cost extra or require you to increase your membership level. The best sites will have a multi-step screening process. In addition, the online babysitting services should have comments or referrals from people the caregivers have worked for in the past.

Most online babysitting sites also have a search filter that lets the parents narrow down the candidates. For instance, if you have a child with special needs, you can locate a babysitter who has previous experience with this type of child or someone with specific medical certifications. This search filter will help you save time. They can also help you find back-up sitters at the last minute, in case the scheduled sitter gets sick or you get an unexpected dinner invitation. Some sites, like Sittercity, even offer nannycam and video monitoring options.

Fossil Watch – A Perfect Combination of Technology and Durability

Fossil watch is considered exciting in terms of technology as well as fashion and they are available in an array of designs in the market. Fossil watch is dominating the watch market since 1980s and their main objective is to combine old looks with the latest technology. Watches made under this brand are considered durable as they have many years of experience manufacturing watches. They are one of the watches that can withstand the daily jerks and scratches that a watch has to go through. If you are pursuing buying a watch that is a combination of great looks, durability and the latest technology, fossil watch can be the best choice.

There are many watch companies in the market that were not watch companies from the very beginning. They entered into this market because they saw that the demand for designer watches have increased and people prefer varieties to durability. Yet there are a large percentage of people worldwide who want to have a real combo of technology and durability. However, many brands are just fashion symbols and when you are looking for the real choice, consider all pros and cons. It also depends on your budget and usability what you choose.

There is yet another option if you are ready to spend some more dollars and these are jewelry watches. These watches come in different forms. The first one that will come in your mind is watch that has diamonds and precious stones embedded. But actual jewelry watches are those that are made entirely of gold or silver or so on. A gold watch can be considered under the category of jewelry watches and that can be a perfect gift for your beloved on special occasions.

Another thing that cannot be mistaken is that there are no jewelry watches for men. In fact, these days men pay attention to their outfits and fashion accessories a lot and so the designers and manufacturers work on that to bring good and attractive products in this range. Shop around and find quotes and then compare them to end with a great buy.

Obesity and Fast Foods

Before we discuss obesity and fast foods, let us have some definitions first.

o Obesity: A person is termed obese when his or her Body Mass Index exceeds 30
o Body Mass Index (BMI): A unit of measurement used to define the state of a person’s body weight. It is derived by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of his or her height in meters.

Underweight BMI = less than 20
Normal BMI = 20 to 24.9
Overweight BMI = 25 to 30
Obese BMI = greater than 30

o Fast food: there is no standard definition for it, but generally taken to mean foods that are prepared in very large quantities using standard kitchen utensils, following standardized recipes and repetitive preparation procedures and served rapidly in standard designed restaurants known as fast food restaurants. They usually advertise their services through electronic and print media and generally target children and young people. The rapid spread of such restaurants is usually made possible through the franchising system.

The key to good health through eating nutritious foods needs no explanation. As the saying “we are what we eat” goes, our physical well being is largely dependent on the type of foods we take. Cases of diet related diseases are well documented. They include the likes of diabetes, overweight, obesity, hypertension, heart diseases and certain types of cancer.

The link between obesity and fast foods has been well documented. It has been recognized that excessive consumption of fast foods is a leading cause of obesity due to the high content of fat, sugar and salt in fast foods. They are typically low in complex carbohydrates.

Another area of concern is that advertisements of fast foods are generally targeted towards children. Children, particularly the younger ones, are generally unable to discern through food and nutrition information. It is no coincidence that there are increasing incidences of the rise in obesity in the younger people.

Countries around the world are getting more and more alarmed at the rate of increase in obesity particularly in the younger people; they are well aware of the link between obesity and fast foods.

However, it is unfair to put the entire blame squarely on fast foods. Kids nowadays spent more time on computer games and television than their parents’ generation; they are less likely to part take in robust physical games.

Seeing the need to address the danger of the link between obesity and fast food, many countries around the world are taking action to enforce tighter control on television and print media advertisements, because the younger people are usually the targets of fast food companies.

Of particular concern is television advertising, an extremely influential and effect medium of advertisement for children. Among some of the restrictions adopted are:

o Prohibition of TV advertisements of fast foods during the airing of children’s programs
o Prohibition of TV sponsorship by fast food companies for children’s programs
o Prevention of misleading food information which may confuse consumers
o Fast food companies are prohibited from any form of advertisements that encourages excessive consumption
o Fast food companies are prohibited from promoting fast foods as healthy substitutes for a complete or balanced meal

The link between fast foods and obesity has prompted many governments to take affirmative action to prevent excessive consumption particularly by the younger people. It is a step in the right direction to reduce the overall burden of health care costs provided by governments around the world.

Alternative Health Treatment – 5 Questions and Answers

1. Why should I look at alternative health treatment as a realistic remedy for my ailment?

While Western medicine has advanced closely in tandem with knowledge of and experimentation with drugs as a way of treating disease and illness.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that it relies heavily on drugs and medications for treating disease. But drugs and medications are not natural to the human body, and invariably there are side-effects, often harmful.

Alternative health treatment is based wholly on natural cures not involving drugs or manufactured or processed materials. As such, it is invariably accepted by the body without resistance, so no energy is wasted in fighting it. It’s like swimming with the current rather than against it.

Besides, alternative health treatment has an excellent record in curing people of illness and disease, arguably a better record than Western medicine.

2. How does alternative health treatment differ in essentials from orthodox medical treatment?

Orthodox Western medicine depends largely on the administering of drugs and medicines, and unnatural procedures such as chemotherapy for cancer victims. It focuses largely on the symptoms rather than the underlying cause. A typical example is the taking of pain killers to cure a headache.

Alternative medicine acknowledges that the natural state of the body is one of good health, and that the body, mind and spirit are closely connected. It recognizes that all these components of the whole need to be in balance, and treats illness as a sign that they are out of balance. It therefore works to restore the natural balance and, thereby, good health. A headache would be cured by direct action on the area affected, e.g. by acupressure techniques.

3. Why don’t doctors and surgeons give more weight to alternative health treatment, and why hasn’t it made more progress in being accepted by the medical establishment?

The medical establishment consists largely of doctors and surgeons. Put yourself in the position of a doctor or surgeon. You spent seven gruelling and expensive years qualifying and passing difficult exams, and working long hours for at best mediocre pay. You now have an encyclopedic knowledge of medicines and medical drugs and procedures, and are enjoying a financially rewarding career in medicine.

Then you learn there is an alternative system of medicine based on herbs, and practices such as acupuncture that claim to be able to deal with medical conditions better than the medicine you learned at such cost in money and time. What would your feelings be towards these alternative medicines?

4. Isn’t alternative health treatment rooted in the past, and modern Western medicine with all its advanced technology the way ahead?

What matters more than anything else is what treatment will effectively cure your own particular ailment.

Just because skills such as acupuncture, acupressure and yoga have been practiced for thousands, of years in the Far East it doesn’t mean they are any less relevant today. On the contrary, it is evidence of their effectiveness.

Western medicine may have all the modern gleaming technology, but it is still a system developed and administered by humans and subject to all their faults and failings. Yes, it can and does produce some astonishing and greatly beneficial results, such as transplant surgery and artificial limbs, but in the case of common ailments and complaints, sometimes the simple methods are the best.

5. Which alternative health treatment is best – herbal, physical contact type treatment such as acupuncture or chiropractic, or supplements such as oils and enzymes?

It’s horses for courses. Different kinds of treatment best suit different kinds of illness. A general malaise, such as weight loss or gain, can often best be treated through a change in diet and the administration of herbal remedies, plus an exercise regime, whereas constant muscular pain such as back ache is best treated by someone like a chiropractor or osteopath, who can manipulate the bones and muscles so as to remove the root cause of the pain.

Information on Two Type of Taxis in Israel

Taxi services are a common way to travel through Israel. There are many benefits to using a taxi as your main transportation method when you visit the country. Some of these benefits include affordability, comfortable cars, frequent arrivals and departures and easy to locate. There are two different types of taxi service which are currently available in Israel and these two types will be discussed below.

Special Taxi (the private taxi)

When most people think of a taxi they think of the special taxi. Also known as a private taxi, the special taxi in Israel will pick up you and only you (and your friends if you so desire) and then transport you to your destination. The special taxi runs on a meter, as required by law, and has a price scale which makes payment issues much less common. When you get into a special taxi you can rest assured that you will only pay what the meter registers, no more and no less. The special taxi is easy to spot on the road as it is a bright white color with orange numbers which show the taxi registration number. If you need to get a special taxi, simply catch one on the street that drives by or call ahead. Your taxi driver may even provide you with a glimpse into the city but make sure that they are registered with the Ministry of Tourism (ask to see ID/photo badge) if they try to give you a full tour of the city.

Service Taxi (monit sherut)

The service taxi known as a monit sherut is a larger taxi which carries many people at once. These taxis are typically minibuses and can hold around 10 people on average. The monit sherut will drive around town picking up passengers as it goes. Since it is a larger vehicle and money needs to be made along the way, the monit sherut driver will usually wait a while until their bus is full. This may take a ½ hour at times so if you are in a crunch to get somewhere, it may be wise to settle on a special taxi. On the bright side, you are often able to find a monit sherut at all hours of the night which is great for those night owls. Service taxis are prevalent in most of the main cities such as Eilat, Haifa, Netanya, Nahariya and more. If you are hoping to travel on the holiday, keep in mind that service taxis often operate on these days. The monit sherut provides an affordable option and is the less expensive of the two taxi services.

Both the special taxi and service taxi will get you from your location to your main destination. It is just a matter of whether you want the privacy of the special taxi or the affordability of the service taxi. Also keep in mind where you have to go and what time of day you are traveling to your destination as this could make a difference as to which taxi service you choose to use.

Traveling Single Doesn't Mean You Are Alone

If you have never been traveling alone, you may believe that it is boring. Not at all. Here are some of my tips and experiences for traveling alone. First of all though I would want you to consider why someone would be traveling single.

The benefits of traveling alone

I have traveled all over the world from a couple of days to months in a row. I have traveled with others and I have been traveling single. I love both, and don’t mind having a travel companion at all. It’s fun. However, there are several benefits of traveling single:

1. When you are traveling alone you don’t depend on someone else availability. If you go on a vacation for a week you will probably find one of your friends willing to join and being able to take off. But what if you want to trek through Asia or South America for three months, or even a year. How many people do you know that have the money and the time to do that? I don’t and since I don’t want to depend on that I’m traveling single. If friends want to join for part of the trip, they are more than welcome of course.

2. Traveling single is the ultimate self-indulgent. You can go wherever you want and can decide on your own whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it without having to bother about someone else. Sounds selfish? It is, but so be it.

3. You meet more people when you are traveling alone. How is that? Well, it’s easy and very comfortable to just stick to your friend and hang out with him or her. There is no real need to meet other people since you already have your buddy. When you are traveling single you better start talking to other people though. Also, other people that are traveling single are less likely to walk up to pair or groups since they are more closed-off. Don’t believe me? Try it in your local bar.

Isn’t traveling alone boring?

Traveling alone doesn’t mean that you are alone. Read the third benefit above again: You meet more people when you are traveling single. As a matter of fact in all those years that I have been traveling single, I had a travel companion almost all the time. How did that work? Simple: Take my trip from Western Europe to India over land. I started of traveling alone, but in Russia I traveled for a week with some Russian people I met, then in Siberia and Mongolia I traveled for a month with some Swedish guys who I had met on the train. In Tibet I traveled with a Canadian girl and a Dutch guy, in Nepal I traveled with an American girl for two weeks and ran into some people I met in Tibet again.

Is traveling alone boring? Not at all! And the good thing is, even though those people became my friends, I didn’t have to travel with them anymore if I didn’t want to. I could just go left when they turned right: benefit number 2: traveling single is the ultimate self-indulgent.

Tips for traveling alone:

1. Stay in hostels
2. Try couchsurfing
3. Go out to bars/clubs
4. Get off the beaten path to meet locals
5. Most important: be open minded. This applies to traveling single as well as with others of course