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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

7 Ways Students Can Enjoy the Holidays on a Budget

The holidays may be a stressful time for any student with a tight budget. You’ll need to spend money buying gifts for your loved ones, travelling, attending and hosting parties among other things. All these activities are likely to leave your pockets dry. How about looking for ways to spend less and even earn some extra cash during the holidays? The following tips should help you get started.

  • Set A Budget And Stick To It: Know how much you can spend during the holidays even before you set out to shop. Allocate a budget for gifts, travelling, parties and any other expense that is common at this time of the year. When setting your budget, don’t just pick random numbers, go over every aspect to make sure you are setting realistic figures. Compare what you spent last year to this year and make an informed decision. You may even want to cut back on expenses in the long term by looking for cheaper housing for YorkU students.
  • Bake Something Special: Your friends and family are likely to enjoy your amazing homemade treats. Spend one evening preparing some cookies or bites for your visitors. No need to spend money visiting pricey restaurants when you can try out the cool recipe you saw online.
  • Take Advantage Of Holiday Sales: If you really have to shop for Christmas gifts for your relatives or friends, holiday sales can help you save a lot of money. Shop online for discounted items. Make sure you compare the cost of the item offered by different retailers. Some retailers will only put the “sale” sign to lure customers even though the item is not truly discounted. You can also use coupon codes to save more money on your holiday shopping.
  • Make Christmas Crafts And Handmade Gifts:  Perhaps you may want to try making some cool necklaces using different materials that are readily available. The gift recipient will appreciate the fact that you took time to create something special rather than just rushing to the stores to get a present. One cool idea is to give your loved one a deck of cards with 52 reasons why you love or like him/her. The other idea that would work perfectly for couples is 12 letters which represent each month. Each letter can have some fun things to enjoy together within that month.
  • Opt For Indoor Activities: One of the easiest ways to save money during the holidays is to minimize on outings. You can still enjoy bonding with your friends at the student residence near York University by looking for fun things to do. Consider watching a movie, baking together or making Christmas crafts. It’s easy to get into the trap of spending more than you could afford during the holidays. While you are in the Christmas spirit, remember that your wallet is at risk. Know how much you can stretch your budget at this time of the year and focus on having more fun without spending a lot.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

PHL Embassy in Riyadh to issue machine readable visa stickers starting July 8

Starting July 8, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, will start issuing Machine Readable Visa (MRV) stickers to modernize consular processes.

In a post on its website, the embassy said this is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs' efforts to modernize Philippine consular processes.

"The new Philippine visa stickers will mark the departure from a pre-printed label production with varying design layouts to a blank sheet production that complies with International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) standards for a 'machine-readable visa format-B' specification," it said.

New stickers will have a modern background design on a soft color scheme, with several security features, it added.

However, the embassy added those issued Philippine visas in the old format can still enter the Philippines provided their visas remain valid.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

South Korea waives visa fees to attract tourists amid MERS

South Korea on Wednesday said it would waive visa fees for visitors from China and Southeast Asia as it struggles to recover from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) outbreak which has seen tourist numbers plummet.
The announcement came as the country reported no new cases for a fourth consecutive day in the outbreak of Mers which has infected 182 people, killing 33.

The justice ministry said visas which had been already issued would be extended for another three months as South Korea enters its peak tourist season of July and August.

“These measures are aimed to help boost the tourism industry, which has been affected by the Mers outbreak”, it said in a statement.

The outbreak has dealt a serious blow to the tourist industry, with the southern resort island of Jeju suffering a 46 percent fall in Chinese visitors in June compared with last year.

Vice tourism minister Kim Chong has warned the country’s earnings could be slashed by up to $2.3 billion if the number of foreign travelers drops by 50 percent.

South Korea will waive tourist visa fees, worth $15, from July 6 through to September 30 for those travelling in groups.

They include tourists from China, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, the ministry said.

The validity of one-off visas issued between March 1 and June 30 would be automatically extended from three months to six months.

More than a million tourists have been issued these visas.

Chinese tourists travelling in groups with Japanese visas will also be allowed to enter South Korea visa-free for stays of up to 15 days, it said.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

EU lifts ban on other PH airlines aside from PAL and Cebu Pacific

In an unprecedented move, the European Union (EU) lifted on Thursday its ban on Philippine commercial flights and allowed all of the country’s air carriers to fly over Europe’s skies.
Assured of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines’ (CAAP) oversight capability and the Philippine airline companies’ compliance with international air safety regulations, the EU removed all of the country’s carriers from the European Air Safety List.

In a press conference on Thursday organized by the CAAP and the EU, charge d’affaires Lubomir Frebort announced, “All airlines certified in the Philippines have been removed today from the European Air Safety List and are therefore allowed to operate in the European airspace.”

Frebort pointed out that it was the first time for the entire aviation sector of one country to be removed from the air safety list or the list of banned airlines in Europe.

The lifting of the ban will allow Air Asia Inc., Air Asia Zest, Air Philippines Corp., Island Aviation Inc., Magnum Air or Skyjet Inc., Southeast Asian Airlines International Inc., and Tiger Airways to have direct flights to European destinations.

Previously the EU only allowed flag carrier Philippine Airlines and budget airline firm Cebu Pacific in European skies.

The decision of the EU resulted from the positive review of a safety assessment team from the European states which conducted in April an evaluation of the aviation safety measures in the operations of the country’s airlines as well as the oversight function of the Caap.

It was further boosted by an invitation to the CAAP and airline representatives by the EU air safety committee in Brussels early this month. During the hearing, the aviation regulating body and the airline companies presented evidence on their ability to comply with international air safety regulations.

According to Frebort, “The air safety committee, which includes representatives of all 28 EU member-states, made a unanimous positive recommendation on the basis of the evidence it heard. The recommendation was endorsed by the full college of European commissioners that met earlier today (Thursday) in Europe.”

In a later interview Frebort told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the EU committee decided to lift the ban on Philippine air carriers due to the change in the CAAP management, which proved to be a positive development for the regulating body and the country’s aviation industry.

Based on the safety audit of EU assessors, he said, the CAAP has become “well-positioned” to ensure international air safety standards would be met by Philippine airline firms.

CAAP director general William Hotchkiss III said that the development was favorable, not only to airline companies and the aviation industry, but was “Good news for all of the Philippines.”

He pointed out that it was a certification of the CAAP’s capability to act as the country’s aviation regulator.

The challenge for all members of the aviation industry, Hotchkiss said, would be to sustain this capacity to meet international aviation standards.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Worldwide Delay in Issuing US Passports and Visas

There has been a worldwide delay in issuing US passports and visas due to technical problems for some time. It is not specific to any particular country, the US embassy clarified on today, while apologizing for the delay.
"The department of state's bureau of consular affairs is currently experiencing technical problems with our overseas passport and visa systems," the embassy said in a statement here.

Apologizing for the inconvenience caused, the embassy said: "This issue is not specific to any particular country, citizenship document, or visa category." 

"We apologize for the inconvenience and are working urgently to correct the problem and restore full operability. This issue is affecting our operations across the embassy and consulates in India," it added.

Passport applications accepted overseas on or after May 26, 2015 are affected by this delay, it said. 

"If you applied for a US passport overseas during this time frame and have travel plans within the next 10 business days, please consider requesting an emergency passport at the US embassy or consulate at which you originally applied," it said.

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