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We are now just mere days away from the release of the 16 reg plate in the UK. On March 1st, a huge number of brand-new vehicles will be launched at dealerships throughout the country.

It’s one of the most important dates in the car calendar because it sees thousands of drivers paying a visit to their local dealer, as they look to get their hands on an eye-catching vehicle that is fresh off the production line.

Don’t just take our word for it though. According to statistics released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), there were 462,517 cars registered in the UK during September 2015 — the same month that the 65 reg plate was released. To put this in perspective, 2,096,886 cars had been registered in the country in 2015 up until the end of September. This means that more than a fifth of that number was achieved in September alone.

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If you are in the market for your next car, is it wise to purchase your vehicle new? Or should you opt for a used vehicle instead?

Such a decision shouldn’t be made without careful consideration — a car is one of you most prized possessions, after all, and something that you will likely keep for a number of years. To help you make the correct choice, Motorparks is on hand to assist.

Their latest visual delves into whether drivers are best buying their next set of wheels new or used. View the entire graphic below and you will receive the answers to many questions that usually cross your mind when shopping for a car. These include:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of buying a new car?
  • Likewise, what are the pros and cons of purchasing a second-hand vehicle?
  • Why should you be wary of issues like clocking, cloning and cut-and-shut repairs when buying a used car?
  • How can you spot if a vehicle has been subjected to clocking, cloning and cut-and-shut repairs?
  • How can you reduce your expenditure by saving on fuel when driving your new set of wheels?
  • What do all of those letters and numbers mean on a UK registration plate (they haven’t all just been selected randomly by a manufacturer, you may be surprised to hear)?

With the countdown to the 16 reg plate’s release nearing its completion, take a look at Motorparks’ handy visual guide now…

Motorparks - Buying your first car (full)

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There’s nothing better than a good road trip. When the sun is in the sky and your wheels are on the tarmac with miles and miles of open road to explore, driving can be a truly amazing experience. However, without the right travel soundtrack you may end up bored and uninterested. Plug in your Bluetooth streaming software or ramp up the CD player and get these songs queued up. We’re looking back at the 70’s and some of the best songs ever recorded – it’s road trip time!

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Take It Easy – The Eagles (1972)

The Eagles are a band that encapsulate 20th century Americana. While Hotel California might be their most famous track, Take it Easy is the perfect driving song. The song itself is about driving and how escaping frustrations. While you might not be trying to get 7 women off your mind like The Eagle’s frontman Glenn Frey, you’ll feel just as cool as you listen to the catchy, upbeat song and imagine you’re cruising through the Arizona desert.

AC/DC – Highway to Hell (1979)

No stops signs, speed limit/Nobody’s gonna slow me down. Thus starts AC/DC’s punchy, pacey driving song that’ll get you excited whether you’re driving to a day In the office or taking the family on a cross-country road trip. The powerful fusion of instrumental rock combined with Bon Scott’s energetic vocals make this one a must-have. Especially useful to perk you up during the mid-point of the trip.

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ABBA – Dancing Queen (1976)

TheMen and women alike love the cheesy pop stylings of ABBA. This song came third in British breakdown company AA’s best driving songs survey. A song that brings a smile to your face…whether it’s a guilty grin or not.

Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing (1978)

This is the best song on our list for driving at night. With your headlights illuminating the road and Sultans of Swing playing, you’ll feel cool and relaxed. In 2012, it was voted the number one driving song in the UK car website Autotrader’s top 10 driving songs. Lead singer Mark Knopfler’s voice is a smooth accompaniment to the swinging beat. The perfect late-night cruising track.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen (1975)

Is this just real life? Or is this a Wayne’s world moment with you and your passengers singing along? Freddie Mercury and Queen recorded something special when they released Bohemian Rhapsody with their album Night at the Opera in 1975. The song is one of the most popular of all time and as well as being featured in Wayne’s World in 1982 has sold around 7 million copies. One of the greatest songs ever made and a fantastic way to close out your driving trip.

That concludes our list. These are songs you can’t miss out on – truly iconic tracks that sound amazing when you’re in your car. Just make sure you have a great stereo system so that you can enjoy them properly! Check out these Blaupunkt car stereos, load up these songs and get out on the road.

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Have you considered being an expat? Are you an expat? Or are you just interested in what expats are up to? There’s a lot of of different reasons one might choose to be an expat, for love, for their career, for money, for their experience, to be able to travel more. Whatever the reason you’re curious, there can be a lot of benefits to being an expat including getting to enjoy a different culture, learning a lot about yourself and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

There are a lot of expats around the world and it can be quite interested to read about other people’s motivations for becoming an expat. I know some friends who have become expats in order to land high paying teaching jobs in Asian countries such as South Korea, while others have moved to Australia to chase the mining jobs when the recession began. I saw this great infographic which deals with the places UK expats go, why they go and how long for. If you’re considering the move yourself, or already an expat and considering the move home, why not check it out? You might learn something about what motivates expats.

Being an expat can be a lot of fun once you get past all the issues in the beginning, such as moving your furniture and clothes overseas, figuring out how to send money abroad and making a routine for staying in touch with friends and family back home. The hassles are worth all that you’ll gain from your international move.

Where Are Our Expats 03.07.14 - V2 (1)

 

 

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Long haul flights can really take its toll on the body and it can take days to feel normal again. You arrive at your holiday destination sleep deprived, dehydrated, and suffering from severe jet lag. This is no way to start a holiday. So to ensure you bounce back on your feet in no time use these techniques to get some relaxation in and recover from your long journey.

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Visit a spa

Having a spa treatment can get you into deep relaxation post flight. A nice long massage can relieve from aches and pains from being cramped up for hours on end. Or a nice facial and body treatment will help restore all the moisture you lost during the flight. Anything you pick will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed in no time. There are plenty of spas in Toronto but please do your research to find an excellent, high quality spa. In my experience, Elmwood spa offers great service, facilities and a fantastic price point.

Take a hot bath

A hot bath can melt away all aches and pains. If you can find them, then add in some Epsom salts too. Epsom salts help with allowing the muscles to relax as well as draw out any toxins stored in the body. This is great to do just before you need to sleep, so you are in a total state of relaxation before hitting the sack.

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Get a good night sleep

To get the best out of recovering from a long flight you need to get a good sleep. This can be hard sometimes when you have crossed time zones and your body clock is all out of whack. Using a sleep mask to drown out light, ear plugs for sounds and a natural sleep remedy can help with giving you a good nights rest. I’ll generally use melatonin or valerian root, which you can buy over the counter at any pharmacy.

Hydrate your body internally and externally

Taking a long haul flight is so dehydrating on the body internally and externally. In order to relax when you arrive and recover properly it’s so important to get yourself hydrated. I like to travel with hydrating salts and not only do I take these during the flight but also after. Flying also dries out your skin, so get moisturising. I use a nice coconut oil when I arrive at my destination and give myself an all over body massage. This is not only hydrating for the skin but also deeply relaxing for the body. It’s also something nice to do, just before you jump in that hot bath, and before bed.

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When you think of Bali you often think of parties, beaches, surfing, and lots of Bintangs. Well at least that’s what I used to think until I visited Ubud. It was here I discovered, there is a completely different side to Bali that is booming in health and wellness tourism. So after a few too many nights on the Bintangs I decided to give this opposite side to Bali a try. I booked a week in Ubud and embarked on my own little health and wellness retreat and was pleasantly surprised at just how much I enjoyed my time there. So here it is, my ultimate health and wellness guide for Ubud: A guys version. Before you book flights, don’t forget to grab some Travel Insurance from Southern Cross to keep you covered, no matter what crops up along the way.

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Yoga, yoga and some more yoga

You can’t stay in Ubud and not try out some yoga classes. I can’t say this was something I would have ever thought I would do back home but as they say “when in Rome”. Ubud as I’m told is a yogi’s mecca (yes I just said yogi), with numerous studios scattered throughout town. One only needs to look at how many yoga shops and people there are in yoga tights to know that yoga is a big part of the tourism there. I decided to try out the Radiantly Alive studio to pop my yoga cherry. All the staff and teachers were great and made a first timer like me feel very comfortable. My first class was tough and I was very obviously the new student in the room. I was rudely shocked to discover my thoughts of yoga just being relaxed stretching was completely wrong too, as I managed to create puddles of sweat on my mat. However I stuck with it everyday and soon realised yoga is an awesome workout. Not only did I enjoy the workout side but I definitely noticed the calming effect it has on you. Hmmmm perhaps there is something to this yoga business after all.

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Eat at organic, gluten free, raw, vegan restaurants

I would have normally winced and grimaced had someone told me I was going to eat at some health food cafe that made vegan, gluten free, raw, organic food. In fact I don’t think I would have even considered that food. However in my attempt to open my mind and try something new I decided to try the many different health food cafes on offer in Ubud and wow was I proven wrong. I felt my take on healthy eating was turned upside down as I ate probably some of the most tastiest meals I have ever had. My list of must try cafes include: Dayu’s Warung, Seeds of Life, Clear Cafe, Soma, Alchemy and Kafe. That is just listing a few too of many great places you can eat.

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Try out one of the many different holistic therapies

Okay so I didn’t try all of these out, as quite frankly I didn’t have time and there were just some I wasn’t willing to go there on, for example colon cleansing. But if you have any health problems there will be a therapy in Ubud for you. There is everything from balinese healing massages to acupuncture, cleansing breath workshops (I’m still not too sure what they do), naturopathy, bodywork, sound healing and detoxes. That’s just what I can remember off the top of my head too. I decided to stick to some of the more conventional therapies like healing massage and acupuncture. Most of the yoga centres offer these therapies in house, and you will find flyers everywhere in town promoting the vast range of therapies available.

All in all my week in Ubud was eye opening for sure and I left feeling recharged and healthier than ever. I’m not going a full vegan, raw eating yogi just yet but I’ve definitely managed to make some healthier changes in my daily life.

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For someone who loves travel, such as myself, there’s nothing worse than being home. I think there’s a real illness called the ‘travel comedown’ where you mourn the loss of your adventures and the routine of every day life. For most of us, traveling forever is impossible, but there are some ways to keep the adventure alive, long after the trip is over. I have a few suggestions as to how, so read on for more information:

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1) Printing Out Your Photos

Are you missing the cobblestone streets of Barcelona or perhaps the views of Angkor Wat? Why not print out some of your photos to decorate your home so you can be gently reminded of your holiday whenever you walk around your home. If you’re really keen you can print out some large copies and then have them framed with frames from WholesalePosterFrames.com. This is a wonderful way to brighten up your home and keep the wanderlust at bay.

2) Buy Little Nicknacks On Your Travels

Fall in love with a painting Indonesia or France? Why not buy it! Sure it might push you slightly out of your budget, but how long will you treasure it? Perhaps you really like something small from another country, such as a little statute from India, buy it! Little nicknacks serve as a perfect reminder of a trip and are a lovely way to decorate your home.

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3) Get Skype

Often it is the people we miss as just as much as the places. Installing Skype will ensure that you can keep in touch for free, which is good for the travel fund. If you use computer to computer or phone to phone calling you wont be charged any fees and you can use Skype to make cheaper international calls to cell phones or home phones.

4) Buy Postcards

I like to use postcards in the same ways as photos.. I buy them along my travels and place them around my home, either on my fridge or the walls of my room to remind myself of the places I’ve been. It’s a very simple way to decorate and actually very cheap too.

Sometimes it’s important to go home to spend time with family, to recharge or to recharge your bank account. When the time comes, use these simple tips to keep the travel dream alive no matter where in the world you are.

Traveling alone, or backpacking, for the first time can be pretty daunting. There are lots of things you can do to maximise your chances of meeting people. Most people find when the travel, they rarely spend time alone. There’s too many other people out there exploring who want to meet people too! Traveling with someone is a lot of fun, but if you can’t find anyone who wants to go exactly where you want to go or for as long as you do, you should go by yourself! Here are our top 4 tips for meeting people while on the road.

1) Stay at a backpackers
There are lots of benefits to staying in a hotel, but that comes with a pretty expensive price tag and also hotel stays tend to be a lot less social than hostels. Hostels often organise great social events during the week and weekend to encourage people to socialise. If you stay in dorm rooms you’ll obviously be sharing a room with others, so that’s a great way to meet people too. If you want to be social but aren’t ready to share your room with strangers yet, consider staying in a private room at a hostel – it’s the best of both words.

2) Volunteer Somewhere
Volunteering while you’re overseas can be a great way to enrich the lives of locals, it’s also a great way to make new friends, both foreigners and locals alike. Many people say that volunteering overseas is often one of the most life changing experiences they do.

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3) Use Couchsurfing
So, you can use Couchsurfing to actually surf people’s couches, or you can use it for the numerous social events that are organised through it. The best thing about Couchsurfing is that there are events almost everywhere around the world, so it doesn’t matter where you’re heading, you can find cool people to hang out with!

4) Approach People
One of the hardest things to get used to when traveling, is approaching people out of the blue. The truth is, most people are looking to meet new people and share new experiences together, and most people would be flattered if you approach them. It takes a bit of getting used to and a little bit of social lubrication (in the form of a few beers) can go a long way to making it easier. Who knows, that person sitting alone at a table in the same restaurant, might become your best friend, your partner or just a buddy for a few days. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

Meeting people is one of the best things about exploring new places. Be open, friendly and approachable and you’ll be surprised by how many new friends you’ll make.
Photo: Fil & Sonia and Abigail Frances used under Creative Commons License

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Travelling solo is one of the most gloriously liberating, eye-opening, memoir-worthy experiences you can have. Yet many people find the idea paralyzing, letting their anxieties get in the way of packing that bag and buying a one-way ticket for one. Here’s five reasons you should take a deep breath and take yourself travelling.

1. You’ll make amazing new friends.

When you’re alone you’re more approachable. People are more likely to strike up a conversation when you’re not already engrossed in private jokes with your travel buddy. Chances are, without the comfort of a friend to lean on, you’re more likely to approach new people too. Travelling alone, especially if you stay in hostels, you’re almost guaranteed to make friends along the way- some of which will stay in your heart for a lifetime.

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2. You’ll be free as a bird

When wandering on your own, you can leave with the vaguest of plans and return with stories gathered on a completely different itinerary. Maybe your next destination was Berlin- until you met a group of awesome Australians going to Prague. Maybe you were only going to stay in Florence for five days, fell in love with it and stayed for eleven. Maybe you fell in love with someone you met IN Florence… The possibilities are endless.

3. You’ll get an education- in you

Solo travel is like taking Self-Discovery 101. Crossing national borders solo often means crossing the borders of your comfort zone. Funnily enough, it’s when we’re the most uncomfortable that we grow. Discovering how you react to everything travel throws at you brings you face-to-face with you who are in sometimes startling, usually wonderful ways. We don’t take the time for self-discovery in everyday life. Solo world exploration forces us into self-exploration. It also teaches us to trust ourselves. After all, you’re a stranger in a strange land and the only person responsible for you is you. When you not only manage but thrive, it will become clear just how competent you really are.

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4. You’ll start believing that it really will all be okay

Trust in yourself, and trust in the universe. There will be times when travelling solo is a little scary. Not having your usual support system can be terrifying, especially at the times when you’re not sure how things are going to work out. Spoiler: They always do. Whether your day is saved by friendly locals or the sudden appearance of another train, everything is going to be okay. You just have to be patient. Travelling alone is a great way to develop that patience, and your ability to trust that if it’s not okay, it isn’t over.

5. You’ll get your priorities in order

Travelling solo will change your life. When you meet new people and see new places, you discover just how many options there are out there, things you had never considered. You have the freedom to make decisions purely based on what is going to make you happy (and leave situations that make you unhappy) at the same time that you’re looking inwards to see what exactly it is that gives you bliss. When you’re heading home with a sense of what makes you happy and realization that you have permission to pursue it, the results are often nothing short of revolutionary.

 

Photos: LordcolusMo Riza and jayneandd used under Creative Commons License