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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist S230u: Do the twist

Introducing Lenovo’s ThinkPad Twist S230u, an ultrabook cum tablet that may not be for the most tech-savvy, but suffices for the budget conscious tech searchers.

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ThinkPad Twist

When companies were still experimenting with laptops that doubled as tablets, I had the (mis)fortune of owning Lenovo’s IdeaPad s10-3t, a convertible Netbook tablet priced (in 2010, at a staggering $549) to compete with the iPad. Don’t get me wrong, since it somewhat served its purpose – I was, after all, able to do small presentations using its (at times laggy) touchscreen capability; though, in hindsight, that seemed to be the only purpose it served me.  It was, as another tech writer said, “the tablet without the tablet capability” – and (considering I had to even ask a friend to buy it for me all the way from the US) I had to grudgingly agree with him.

While I understand that companies were still experimenting with tablets in those days (no matter that it was only three years ago), the experience still left me somewhat cold when dealing with convertibles.

And so I was, admittedly, apprehensive in considering Lenovo’s ThinkPad Twist S230u.

THE LOOK
This is an ultrabook – and that means “thin”, with a capital “T”. But, as this is also a ThinkPad, (almost) everything needed is, well, there, no matter the size.

I, personally, am not the biggest fan of the matte-black rubberized finish – it reminds me so much of my black HTC One X, which – when held with wet/sweaty hands – emphasizes how wet/sweaty the handler is. Black is NOT always sexy, I tell you… But then again, ThinkPad’s made an image using this finish, so…

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The screen measures 12.5 inches, using edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass – but there’s plastic that seemingly “frames” the screen, which is somewhat bothersome for me, as it reminded me of (of all things!) a digital album. The screen itself is a five-point touchscreen with a resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels (125ppi) – sharp enough depending on the viewing angle, though if you look too closely you’d see the oh-so-unsexy pixilating.

As its name suggests (i.e. Twist), you can twist the screen 180 degrees clockwise (in case someone dumb borrowed your unit and didn’t know which way to twist, a small arrow just under the screen provides the direction for twisting) to face away from the keyboard. As a tablet, though, this is chunky. The unit’s flexibility allows it to also be used in “tent” mode – that is, while on tablet mode, slowly opening the display by several inches, thereby enabling it to stand. Should you need it, an autorotation on and off button is available on the bottom right-hand side of the lid, above the power button.

The Twist’s keyboard is just as you’d expect from a ThinkPad – well-considered, complete with the red TrackPoint between the G,H and B keys (that has its loyal following), though there’s also a large touchpad if you are not into that, as well as a trio of mouse buttons below the keyboard.

You can find a media card reader, a full-size RJ-45 Ethernet port, a Mini-HDMI port, a USB 3.0 port and an audio-out jack on the left-hand side of the unit; while the power input, a Mini-DisplayPort connector, a second USB 3.0 port and the hard drive removal door are on the right-hand side.

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If, like me, you’re still continuing to adjust to Windows 8 (always reaching for that “back” button…), Twist has a physical Windows 8 button on the lid, in the very middle, right under the screen.

And for those Webchats, there’s a 720p webcam above, and two noise-cancelling microphones.

KEY FEATURES
The Twist can be powered by a 1.8GHz Core i3 (3217U), a 1.7-2.6GHz Intel Core i5 (3317U) – our review unit – or a 1.9-3.0GHz Core i7 (3517U) processor, and it uses the HM77 Express chipset. It also comes with Lenovo Solutions for Small Business (or LSSB), a package that allows users (ideally, the admin) to perform everything from backups to restore to software updates to… well, we already said “everything”. Theoretically, this makes life simpler, considering the “one-stop” concept.

Providing wireless connectivity is Intel’s Centrino Wireless-N 2230 module that supports single-band 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

SOUNDSTUFF
The ThinkPad Twist (only) boasts dual 1 W speakers, with the audio emanating from underneath the keyboard.  So, no, don’t expect the DOLBY Sound-like quality you may want. But – to be completely honest – I watched a flick, and it didn’t sound all that bad at all.

THE JUICE
The ThinkPad Twist is powered by an 8-cell Li-ion battery rated at 42.4 watt-hours (Wh). Check Lenovo’s website, and they claim that the battery can last for up to six hours. The battery is non-removable, so there’s no option to fit a second battery.

But let’s be blunt here: the ThinkPad Twist is but a moderate performer. Day-in to day-out meetings are, therefore, out; ditto long-lasting gaming. But if you don’t mind being always plugged in, well… the six hours should be good enough.

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A drawback of being always plugged in? The ThinkPad Twist becomes noticeably warm.

IN THE END…
The ThinkPad Twist is – surprisingly for me – not all that bad (considering my earlier mentioned somewhat so-so, if not actually traumatic, experience with Lenovo’s IdeaPad s10-3t convertible Netbook tablet). But – and let’s be completely honest here – this isn’t the perfect replacement to your superpowered laptop.  It is but a good substitute, somehow – that much can be said.

Yes, its build quality is good (it’s a ThinkPad, after all).
Yes, you end up not only having an ultrabook, but also a (albeit somewhat bulky) tablet.
Yes, there are business-friendly features.

In the end…
If you have the budget, you may as well grab Lenovo’s own IdeaPad Yoga 13 (laptop cum tablet, too).
Otherwise, this should suffice.

Health & Wellness

When caregivers need care

Caregivers provide tremendous benefits for their loved ones, yet they may be at risk for lacking access to needed services which puts their health in jeopardy.

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Photo by Rémi Walle from Unsplash.com

People who regularly care for or assist a family member or friend with a health problem or disability are more likely to neglect their own health, particularly by not having insurance or putting off necessary health services due to cost.

This is according to “Healthcare Coverage and Utilization Among Caregivers in the United States: Findings from the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System” by Jamie L. Tingey, MS, Jeremiah Lum, MS, Whitney Morean, MS, Rebecca Franklin, MS, and Jacob A. Bentley, PhD; and which was published in Rehabilitation Psychology

“Caregivers provide tremendous benefits for their loved ones, yet they may be at risk for lacking access to needed services which puts their health in jeopardy,” said Bentley of Seattle Pacific University, co-author of the study. “We found that caregivers were more likely not to have health care coverage or forgo needed medical appointments and services. They were also at an increased risk for experiencing depression in their lifetime as compared with non-caregivers.”

The study focused solely on people who provided care to family and friends, not professional caregivers.

More than 43 million adults in the US (alone) function as caregivers each year, according to 2015 data from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP cited in the study.

“Informal caregiving provides enormous economic value to our society because if we were to replace informal caregiving with formal, paid caregiving services, it could cost the country upwards of $600 billion in wages for home health aides,” said Bentley. “Despite the economic benefits for society and valuable assistance provided to care recipients, attention must also be given to caregivers’ own financial, physical and emotional challenges.”

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The study used data from more than 24,000 people who participated in the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System annual phone survey conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most participants were white women under 65 earning between $10,000 and $70,000 per year. Half were employed, half were unemployed or retired.

Participants reported that they had provided regular care or assistance to a family member or friend with a health problem or disability within the 30 days prior to the survey. More than half of the participants provided care for up to eight hours a week, typically doing household tasks such as cleaning, managing money or preparing meals. The vast majority indicated that they did not need support services, such as support groups or individual counseling, suggesting a need for additional research into alternative support services that are prioritized by caregivers, according to Bentley.

Participants were also asked if they had health insurance, if there was a time within the 12 months before the survey that they did not see a doctor because of the cost and if they had ever been diagnosed with a depressive disorder by a health care provider.

“Caregivers had a 26% higher risk of not having health care coverage, compared with non-caregivers, and they were at a significantly higher risk, a 59% additional risk, for not going to the doctor or getting a necessary health service due to cost, ” said Bentley.

Further, one-fourth of the caregivers reported that they had been diagnosed with a depressive disorder by a health care provider at some point during their lives, representing a 36% increased risk over non-caregivers, according to the study.

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“Also, nearly 30% reported experiencing at least one limitation to daily activities because of physical, mental or emotional problems,” said Bentley.

Bentley and his colleagues believe that some of these disparities may be due to financial barriers experienced by caregivers. Previous research has indicated that their duties may interfere with their ability to seek employment outside of the home or advance their careers due to the need for flexible schedules to accommodate their caregiving responsibilities, he said.

“While we expected caregivers to be more at risk in these areas, we were concerned to learn of the extent of these risks and barriers to health care access encountered by caregivers,” said Bentley. “Given the scope of difficulties acquiring health care coverage and utilizing needed services in this large national sample, we believe our findings warrant additional research and likely the development of low-cost and accessible services that meet the multifaceted needs of caregivers.”

“At a broader level, these findings can serve as evidence for policymakers focused on public health agendas because they have the power to develop policies aimed at reducing financial burdens and heath care service gaps among caregivers who are vital not only to those in our communities who need care, but also to our overall health care economy,” he said.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Tips for activists: How to prepare for a protest

For a protest like Pride to actually work and for change to happen, it pays to make sure the protest is tightly organized.

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One of the best ways to get the attention of our elected officials is to protest peacefully. Together our voices can be heard and we can help enact legislation to end discrimination.

For a protest like Pride to actually work and for change to happen, it pays to make sure the protest is tightly organized.

That means that everybody has to have their protest plans down pat. How? In this article, we are going to go over how you can prepare for a protest to make sure it is peaceful, you are protected and your message gets heard.

Keep it pithy

You should have your messaging on point. It should be clear to anybody there what it is that you want. 

If you can make a clever play on words, try to keep it short. That way it is easy to remember and even has a chance to go viral to make its mark on the media.

Long winded slogans are less likely to be remembered and may even have the opposite effect of your intentions.

For a protest like Pride to actually work and for change to happen, it pays to make sure the protest is tightly organized.

Put it on a shirt

When you have your slogan on point, get it on a sign and on a shirt. Your sign may get lost or damaged, but as long as you keep your shirt on your message will still get seen.

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It is easy to get your message on any kind of garment these days from a customized apron to hoodies to t-shirts. With direct to garment printing, you can put anything you want on some clothes. 

Order some with your slogan and wear one yourself and then pass some out for others to wear to really spread the message.

Go as a group

Another way to make sure your message doesn’t get drowned out at a protest is to make sure you have a group with you. If you all are wearing the same customized shirt, then it will be harder to miss the message.

Then, it is always safer to have numbers on your side. Having a group means that if something happens to you at the protest, there will be people who know you need help.

Make a plan with your group

If you are able to go with a group, make sure you are all on the same page before you leave.

Have certain times when you check in with each other in case you get separated. Also, have a meeting point where everybody has to be at a certain time when it is time to leave. 

When anybody is later than 30 minutes to get to the spot then you know something happened and you need to find your friend.

Having a group means that if something happens to you at the protest, there will be people who know you need help.

Have an emergency contact number

You may have to make a call if you get detained or if you need to coordinate with your group if you get separated.

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This can be tricky if you lose your phone or have it taken away from you. That’s why you should carry emergency numbers with you if you don’t know the number of your contact by heart.

In fact, a good idea is to write these numbers somewhere on your body. 

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Most common preventable health issues

To prevent any of these illnesses, start working out on a regular basis, reduce your food portions, and eat a healthy diet. You can consult a nutritionist and gym instructor to help you identify a diet that will suit your body and metabolic needs, as well as the best work out for you.

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The United States spends more on health care than any other nation, with over 75% of the health issues revolving around chronic conditions. Research further shows that seven out of ten people die of chronic illnesses, most of which are preventable.

Although people are constantly reminded of the importance of proper diet and workout routines, these common preventable health issues are still an issue. 

1. Obesity and overweight 

Over 70 million adults and 13.7 million kids are obese. Although you can control your weight with a healthy diet and regular work out, only 23% of US adults get the required amount of exercise in a week. Obesity increases your chances of contracting chronic illnesses such as hypertension, stroke, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, break, colon, and prostate cancer, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, among others. To prevent any of these illnesses, start working out on a regular basis, reduce your food portions, and eat a healthy diet. You can consult a nutritionist and gym instructor to help you identify a diet that will suit your body and metabolic needs, as well as the best work out for you. 

2. Tobacco related illnesses 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed that an estimated 34.2 million adults smoke cigarettes, which accounts for 13.7% of the adult population. According to the research, tobacco is responsible for one death in every five. Smoking causes cancer, leukoplakia, increases the chances of early delivery and stillbirth for pregnant mothers, and teeth decay and loss. While a dentist can help with teeth whitening and decay, most people still wonder; is charcoal toothpaste safe, and can it be used to whiten teeth? While charcoal is known to absorb some poison and keep it from spreading in your body, it does have some negative effects that outweigh any positive aspects you might see at first. The best option is to visit a dentist and quit smoking.

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3. Drugs and alcohol abuse 

Without a doubt, there are many illnesses associated with drugs and substance abuse. While they don’t in themselves cause illnesses, they increase infection risks for diseases such as depression and anxiety to sexually transmitted diseases. Besides this increased risk, being addicted to drugs causes problems at home, work, school, changes in behavior, money issues, and physical health issues such as lack of energy and motivation, red-eye, and weight loss or gain. Drug abuse is rampant in both young and old, with alcohol, marijuana, and cannabis being the most abused drugs. Breaking this habit requires that you get professional help and have support from your family and friends. 

We know what we ought to do to prevent these common health issues, but most people still find it challenging to start the journey. Whether it’s the belief that they can’t contract these illnesses, being ignorant, or not having enough time, being strong-willed is vital in starting and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Making a step a day could be all it takes to form healthier habits that will keep these illnesses at bay. Start and keep moving despite the challenges you face.

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In the Scene

Clubs and bars must support women by cracking down on sexual aggression

Women practicing ‘feisty femininity’ overtly resist unwanted encounters and this approach can arguably play a role in ending gendered violence. However, such responses may expose women to risks and place the labour of managing unwanted incidents onto women directly.

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Photo by Nick Fewings from Unsplash.com

Nightclubs and bars must create a supportive environment that cracks down on unwanted sexual attention and allows women to enjoy their nights out, according to a new study.

Increasing numbers of women are prepared to speak back to sexual harassment while enjoying a night out with female friends by confronting the men responsible and telling them clearly and robustly that their behavior is unacceptable.

But researchers say that such a response – which they dub ‘feisty femininity’ – is complex and can result in backlash. It, therefore, needs businesses within the Night Time Economy to take seriously unwanted encounters in order to foster safer venues and help to end gendered violence.

Researchers from the Universities of Birmingham and Liverpool worked with colleagues at Liverpool John Moores University to explore women’s navigation of unwanted sexual attention when in bars and nightclubs. “Unwanted Sexual Attention in the Night-Time Economy: Behaviors, Safety Strategies, and Conceptualizing ‘Feisty Femininity'” by Clare Gunby , Anna Carline, Stuart Taylor and Helena Gosling is published in Feminist Criminology.

They conducted focus groups with young women in Liverpool and discovered two broad forms for unwanted sexual attention when women went out: ‘the pick-up routine’, which men used to start sexual encounters; and ‘showing off for the lads’, where males engaged in undermining and abusive interactions with women for the purpose of impressing their male friends.

Encountering ‘the pick-up routine’ tended to prompt the use of ‘diplomatic’ rejection responses, which were carefully constructed in order to manage a potentially aggressive reaction. In contrast, ‘showing off for the lads’ approaches were more likely to spark a robust ‘feisty’ rebuttal from the targeted woman.

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Article author Dr. Clare Gunby, from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research, commented: “Young people, globally, are starting to demand accountability for sexist structures and norms, partly due to the re-emergence of feminism and activism on University campuses and beyond.

“Women practicing ‘feisty femininity’ overtly resist unwanted encounters and this approach can arguably play a role in ending gendered violence. However, such responses may expose women to risks and place the labour of managing unwanted incidents onto women directly.

“Indeed, our participants felt that staff in nightclubs and bars did not take their concerns around safety seriously. Hence, women’s informal strategies for dealing with unwanted attention become especially important because more formal lines of recourse often remain unavailable.

“Venues must, therefore, play a key role in creating a safe environment that makes it clear that unwanted sexual aggression will not be tolerated. There must be a multipronged approach across the Night Time Economy to addressing sexual violence.”

The study sheds light on women’s navigation of unwanted sexual attention when in bars and nightclubs – about which little is known, especially in the UK context. In addition to ‘feisty femininity’, the researchers found that women had developed three other risk management solutions:

  • ‘Emotion management’ – offering a tactful and diplomatic explanation for their lack of interest (in order to mitigate negative reactions when rejecting men).
  • ‘Men as protector’ – specifically going out with male friends or using a boyfriend (actual and mythical) to reduce the likelihood of an unwanted encounter.
  • ‘From individualism to camaraderie among the girls’ – cutting an evening short, moving to another venue, laughing off unwanted attention or stepping in to stop men from exploiting drunken friends and strangers.
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“There was a shared reticence to report unwanted incidents to venue staff or police as women felt that any report would be shrugged off and that no one would care due to the perceived normality of such practices when out in bars and nightclubs,” Dr. Gunby notes.

“The lack of formal sanction for such behaviors could arguably play a role in their maintenance, prompting women to fill this gap by taking it upon themselves to monitor friends and strangers.”

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Health & Wellness

Guide to dealing with a new mental health diagnosis

It’s important to remember that mental health is a very wide categorization and not all disorders are the same or even similar.

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It’s estimated that around one-third of use will have to deal with a mental health issue at some point in our lives. But although there are still those who don’t understand fully how mental health works the stigma surrounding such diagnosis is thankfully on the decline.

It’s important to know how to deal with a diagnosis of this kind. It can be very upsetting and confusing, you will no doubt have lots of questions but it can also be a very good time because it means you are suddenly on the course to getting the help you need and this will ensure that you can live your life in a better manner. This is the start of a new phase of your life, and here we will look at some of the ways to start dealing with this situation.

Read Up on Your Diagnosis

Although we are as guilty of anyone of doing this it’s important to remember that mental health is a very wide categorization and not all disorders are the same or even similar. If you take depression as a particular example, even this is a very vague diagnosis and can vary wildly in both its symptoms and its severity. Other conditions such as schizophrenia can exhibit symptoms such as hallucinations, both auditory and visual, delusions of grandeur and you can have all or some of these and they can come and go. So whatever you have it’s good to get an idea of what the symptoms are and what the causes of the condition are as well.

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Look for Support

These days it’s important to know that you don’t need to suffer alone and there are plenty of resources and sources of help. First of all, you will have the doctor or Psychologist who diagnosed you and they should always be your first port of call for support. If you stay on top of your condition and regularly stay in touch with your medical professionals then it can prevent relapses and critical issues, even having to end up being admitted to hospital. But if you do end up having to spend some time in a hospital ward then it’s not the big issue it was in the past. You are suffering from an illness and shouldn’t feel bad for seeking medical help, think about it you wouldn’t berate a cancer sufferer for taking chemotherapy, so mental health treatment should be no different.

Permanent or Temporary

It’s also important to remember that not all mental health conditions are permanent, some of them indeed are and you might need to manage them throughout your life. However, you can end up with a reactionary condition that is temporary. This can be a reaction to a stressful life event if this is the case understanding adjustment disorders is very important.

Be Patient

Patience is also a good quality to have. Being diagnosed will a mental health issue can be a long process, and it may have taken a good while to even get to this stage. What you also find is that once you have the diagnosis it can take a lot of trial and error to get the right medication and the correct dose, so bear with it while they take the time to work it out, this is fairly normal.

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Talk to Your Family

Your family is most likely feeling a little apprehensive as well as often in a family setting they are dealing with something like this for the first time. So it leaves your loved ones feeling unable to help and not knowing how they can best be supportive. What can be helpful to them, and to you, is keeping them updated with how things are going, and they will then have more of an idea of what’s going on.

Dealing With Being Misunderstood

Although we mentioned at the start that awareness of mental health issues is much improved from where it has been in the past there is still a great deal of misunderstanding of what certain conditions are all about. If we take schizophrenia as an example, many people still confuse that with split personality syndrome, which in itself is a condition that is disputed as to its existence. Mental health is always a field that is progressing and new conditions and diagnoses are coming around all of the time, if we take gender reassignment, there are still those who wish to try to force individuals into a gender identity they don’t agree with can lead to poor mental health results. 

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Travel

Why a used car could be perfect for a backpacker in Australia

If you are giving the matter some serious thought, let’s look at why a used car makes for an ideal solution for a backpacker in Australia.

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While backpacking around Australia is one of the best ways to see the country, sometimes it can be a bit difficult to sort out transportation. Ridesharing is an option, but it is not always feasible. When you are roughing it and living out of your backpack, you may also not always have the budget for plane flights and more luxurious travel options. 

For these reasons, investing in a used car can make a lot of sense for a backpacker in Australia. If you are a little light on funds, or if you want to use your savings for other purposes during your travels, you can easily find low rates when it comes to financing a used car loan

If you are giving the matter some serious thought, let’s look at why a used car makes for an ideal solution for a backpacker in Australia.

Freedom Of Movement

One of the biggest advantages of having access to a used car as a backpacker in search of adventure is the ability to move freely at your own pace. Used cars will allow you to move around the country where you want and when you want. This makes it ideal for spending more time seeing the things that intrigue you the most and to bypass the areas that are less interesting to you.

Conversely, relying on public transportation or even plane flights places you at the mercy of the schedules set by the companies involved. You are also likely to be more confined to larger urban centres where this type of infrastructure exists. Used cars, on the other hand, will provide you with the ability to venture into areas that are less commonly explored in the country.

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Fits With A Backpacking Budget

The great reason why buying a used car is good for a backpacker is that the price is usually just right for such a travel budget. While a new model may be out of reach for a traveller with a shoestring budget, a used car can be a prudent investment. After ensuring that the used car you are thinking of buying is in good working order and not in need of major repairs, you can be confident that the investment will provide you with affordable transportation for at least the duration of your trip.

Store Your Belongings

While a car is not always the safest place to store valuable possessions, it does represent a reasonable option for keeping your things secure. It can get tiring to constantly have to watch your backpack. Lockers are usually available at hostels and major transportation hubs, but these places are a hassle to travel back and forth to constantly.

When you have a used car at your disposal, you will be able to keep your belongings locked in the vehicle or even hidden from view in the trunk. This provides you with a more flexible means of keeping your possessions close by but does not require you to continually check in on them.

Split The Cost

Travelling with a used car also allows you to fill up the remaining spaces with fellow travellers. Beyond the benefits of meeting new people and making friends along the way, this will also allow you to cut down on the cost of fuel for your trip. By ridesharing with friends or even with trustworthy strangers, your travel budget will be able to take you further down the road.

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Used Car, New Adventures

For the reasons outlined here, consider making the investment in a used car as a backpacker. While it might seem like a bit of an investment, you will be pleasantly surprised at the many benefits that it can bring to your travel experience.

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