Monthly Archives: October 2018

31Oct 2018

IPO Market Rewards Early-Stage Biotechs – Wall Street Journal

Allogene Therapeutics executives rang the Nasdaq opening bell on Oct. 12.


Libby Greene/Nasdaq

Biotech IPOs are on track for a near-record year, with a crop of offerings that are younger, more highly valued—and some say riskier—than any in recent memory.

Driven by swift advances in medical science, and an accommodative Food and Drug Administration that is increasingly willing to accelerate approval of innovative drugs, biotechs are tapping the public markets at very early stages of development—some even before they have a drug in a clinical trial.

Allogene Therapeutics

ALLO 1.39%

founded last year, has no product revenue and is years away from getting a drug approved. Yet it raised $373 million earlier this month in one of the largest-ever initial public offerings of a biotechnology company.


  • Tech Startups Stoke Market For IPOs
  • IPO Market Has Never Been This Forgiving to Money-Losing Firms
  • Biotech Boom Built Wall Street’s $3 Million Analyst
  • China’s Investors Pour Into Western Biotech Startups

Rubius Therapeutics

RUBY 2.26%

based in Cambridge, Mass., raised about $277 million in its July IPO, the second most of any biotech this year according to Dealogic, despite having not yet tested a drug in humans.

Homology Medicines

FIXX 5.00%

whose lead gene-therapy product won’t start clinical trials until next year, raised $166 million in its March IPO—three years after its founding—and now has a market value of more than $700 million.

Overall, through mid-October, some 52 drug developers have raised $5.75 billion in gross proceeds from U.S.-listed IPOs this year, third most after the $8.19 billion raised in all of 2014 and the $7.06 billion raised in all of 2000, according to inflation-adjusted data from Dealogic.

The FDA issued 20 new drug approvals last year under its accelerated approval program, up from an average of about seven annually in the previous 10 years, according to a Journal analysis of FDA data.

The FDA issued 20 new drug approvals last year under its accelerated approval program, up from an average of about seven annually in the previous 10 years, according to a Journal analysis of FDA data.


Getty Images/iStockphoto

Another database that some analysts point to shows that 55 biotechs have raised $5.56 billion so far this year, trailing the $8.34 billion, adjusted for inflation, raised in 2000, $5.97 billion in 2014 and $5.74 billion in 2015. The database is maintained by Stelios Papadopoulos, chairman of Biogen Inc.

The trend punctuates one of the strongest IPO markets of the past decade. Some 209 companies have gone public on U.S. exchanges so far this year, raising a total of $56.6 billion, second most since 2008 on a year-to-date basis after the $88.92 billion, adjusted for inflation, raised by 249 companies in 2014, according to Dealogic.

At least eight more biotechs are on deck to go public before the year is out, including NGM Biopharmaceuticals Inc., whose lead drug is in midstage studies to treat a type of fatty liver disease.

Early-stage biotechs—with products not yet tested in human clinical trials or tested only in early Phase 1 studies—represented 37% of biotech IPOs through the third quarter of this year and had an average market value of $535 million, according to Ravi Mehrotra, partner at investment bank MTS Health Partners. That is up from 35% of companies with an average market value of $471 million in 2015.

Phase 1 studies typically look only at safety, while midstage Phase 2 trials look at efficacy. Much larger and longer Phase 3 trials are traditionally necessary for FDA approval, but the agency has been speeding some approvals. The FDA issued 20 new drug approvals last year, including first-time approvals and approvals for new disease indications, under its accelerated approval program, up from an average of about seven annually over the previous 10 years, according to a Journal analysis of FDA data. The accelerated approval program allows drugs to come on the market before they have been definitively proven to provide a clinical benefit to patients and often before late-stage studies are completed.

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Traditional drugs in later-stage development can actually take longer to gain FDA approval than some early-stage medicines, said Alexis Borisy, partner at Third Rock Ventures, a venture-capital firm based in Boston. “The notion that a company that is preclinical is inferior is not correct,” he says.

Still, investors typically have sought more evidence that a drug was likely to work. And the added security of more clinical research is still valued.


of South San Francisco had completed a late-stage study at the time of its IPO, which raised $256 million in June. Chief Executive Officer Gerrit Klaerner discovered the company’s only drug, a treatment for a metabolic condition linked to kidney disease. Tricida aims to file for approval next year.

At investor meetings before Tricida’s IPO, “the reception we got was, ’Oh my God, there aren’t many companies out there with Phase 3 data,” Dr. Klaerner said. Since going public at $19 per share, Tricida shares are up 42.7%.

Some industry observers caution that the quality of very early-stage entrants can be hard to judge. “You better have your eyes wide open, as this industry is as risky as it’s ever been,” said Geoff Porges, a Leerink Partners LLC analyst.

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Biotech Bucks

Biotech companies have raised $5.56 billion in initial public offerings so far this year, placing 2018 on track to be one of the industry's best-ever for IPOs.

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Total amount raised

$8 billion

Nominal Dollars


Inflation Adjusted


















Number of companies





Note: 2018 data as of October 14, 2018

Source: Stelios Papadopoulos, Ph.D.

Indeed, many of this year’s newly public biotechs have struggled to sustain momentum past their IPOs. About 60% of the year’s new issues are trading below their offer prices, according to Dealogic and FactSet data. Of the top 20 biotechs by gross IPO proceeds this year, seven were in the red through Monday and down 31% on median from their deal price; shares in the other 13 companies were up 43% on median.

Rubius Therapeutics, which plans to begin clinical trials next year for its genetically engineered red blood cell treatments, was down 27.3% Monday since going public at $23 a share.

CEO Pablo Cagnoni said advances in science enable companies to use technologies that can tackle multiple diseases over a short span, which is attracting investors to the most promising companies regardless of their development stage.

“Is the risk a little higher [in preclinical companies]? Perhaps,” Mr. Cagnoni said. “But some of those companies are going to be great success stories.”

Allogene is up 27.8% from its $18-a-share offer price. Co-founders Arie Belldegrun and David Chang previously ran Kite Pharma Inc., whose genetically engineered cell therapies had been tested only in small clinical trials when the company went public in 2014. Kite was acquired by

Gilead Sciences

for $11.9 billion in October 2017.

Six months later, the former Kite executives raised $300 million to start Allogene and develop a different type of cell therapy that, if successful, could be easier to manufacture and administer to patients than the treatments they developed at Kite.

Allogene’s lead product candidate has been tested only in early-stage clinical trials so far, but Allogene could start the studies needed for FDA approval as soon as the second half of next year, the company said.

Deals like Allogene’s are “a bet on management, reputation and the board [of directors],” said Mr. Porges, the analyst. “It’s not a validation of the product or technology—that’s going to take many quarters, if not years.”

Write to Joseph Walker at

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31Oct 2018

Why some millennials think travel is more important than sex – Vox

According to a new study by Contiki, a travel booking platform that caters to millennials, travelers between ages 18 and 35 value vacations over pretty much everything else. The study, which surveyed 1,500 people, reported that 80 percent of millennials say they would give up Netflix, 73 percent say they would give up alcohol, and 57 percent say they would even give up sex for travel.

Of course, it is in Contiki’s best interest to produce a study that portrays millennials’ desire to vacation as strong, but there is no doubt a deep correlation between millennials and valuing travel. According to Expedia Media Solutions, millennials travel the most of any other generation, jet-setting 35 days out of the year, followed by Gen Z at 29 days and baby boomers at 27 days. And according to a 2018 AARP study, millennials will spend more on travel than both Gen X and baby boomers.

The compulsion to spend money and time on trips has a lot to do with the role travel plays in the average millennial’s life. Travel is not just a way to relax but a catalyst to becoming a better person — a phenomenon known as “transformative travel.”

According to a poll by Skift, 54 percent of respondents said transformation was an important aspect of vacationing. In Skift’s 2018 report “The Rise of Transformative Travel,” Beth McGroarty, director of research and public relations at the Global Wellness Institute, noted that travel is now seen as a “shortcut” to a different you.

The global travel economy is shifting from a focus on “esteem” to “self-actualization,” and travelers are buying services that they perceive as being able to induce quick and complete change.

Using travel to become better is appealing not only because it seems like a truncated route to wellness, but also because it makes us more attractive to others. Just a quick scroll through a dating app solidifies how an interest in travel is used communicate you are an appealing mate. A person who takes lots of trips seems adventurous, rich, and interested in their own self-development, and someone who doesn’t prioritize travel may be viewed as small-minded and uninterested in external and internal exploration.

The average millennial life is also plagued with financial obligation, which leaves less room for transformative experiences during the day-to-day. Founder of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching Lisa Marie Bobby says most people don’t actually think of their everyday lives as a true reflection of themselves. “People feel locked into a job and a routine that they just show up and do and it isn’t really meaningful,” she says. “When they are able to be their real selves is when they’re outside of that day-to-day system.”

Whether it’s historical brewery tours or adventure trekking, many millennials use travel to convey that they’re interested in personal growth. It’s not indulging in Netflix or alcohol or sex that leads to transformation, the thinking goes: it’s road tripping up the California coast or soaking in an Icelandic hot spring.

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31Oct 2018

The best credit card for grocery shopping – CNBC

If you spend a lot of money at the grocery store, the right credit card could save you hundreds of dollars per year. But finding the right card can be a challenge. Some offer better rewards than others, and many require an annual fee.

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CNBC Make It looked at 50 popular credit cards in the U.S. to determine which one offers the best deal for grocery shoppers overall. Using a sample budget based on spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we estimated how much money each card would save a typical consumer after five years.

We also evaluated the ease of use of each card and its potential downsides, including interest rates and reward limits.

Based on the data, here is our No. 1 choice, an alternative that may best suit some brand-loyal shoppers and a third option for people who cook less often.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred offers a whopping 6 percent cash back on groceries year-round. Users earn up to $6,000 in purchases at that rate and save 1 percent on groceries thereafter. That means, if you reach the limit, which is especially doable if you’re shopping for a family, you’ll earn at least $360 in cash back per year.

The card offers 3 percent at gas stations and select department stores — including Nordstrom and Macy’s — and 1 percent on all other purchases.

Its main drawback is the $95 annual fee, but the Preferred can still save you a lot of money, especially if you qualify for its $200 sign-up bonus, one of the biggest bonuses offered among cash back cards. The variable annual percentage rate (APR) is 14.99 to 25.99, after an introductory offer of no interest on purchases and balance transfers for a year.

At a glance:

  • Rewards: 6 percent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases a year; 3 percent at U.S. gas stations and department stores; 1 percent on all other purchases
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Bonus: $200 if you spend $1,000 within the first three months
  • Estimated return after five years: $2,040
  • Variable APR: 14.99 to 25.99 percent based on your creditworthiness after 0 percent on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months
  • Notable perks: Exclusive ticket presales, travel insurance offers, purchase protection

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature, issued through Chase, offers some enticing rewards: 5 percent back on purchases you make on Amazon and at Whole Foods, as well as 2 percent back at restaurants, gas stations and qualifying drug stores, plus 1 percent on all other purchases. When you sign up, Amazon also throws in a $70 gift card bonus.

Users receive benefits from the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection and some travel coverage, including a damage waiver on auto rentals. There’s no foreign transaction fee, so you’re free to use it outside the U.S. without paying extra.

Be wary of carrying a balance, though, since its APR is relatively high. And although the card technically doesn’t have an annual fee, it is exclusive to those who pay for Prime membership, which costs $119 per year.

If you decide Prime membership isn’t worth the fee, you can still qualify for the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card. This card has a structure similar to the Prime Rewards card, except it only offers 3 percent back at and Whole Foods, not 5 percent, and a $50 gift card bonus rather than a $70 bonus.

The Prime Rewards card is the better option if you’re spending more than $5,950 per year on Amazon and at Whole Foods. At that level of spending, the extra 2 percent back exceeds the Prime membership fee. Prime offers a number of other perks, though, including free two-day shipping on Amazon goods, Prime streaming benefits and free Whole Foods delivery in select cities, and many Amazon shoppers decide membership is worth the cost, with or without the credit card.

At a glance:

  • Rewards: 5 percent back on Amazon and at Whole Foods; 2 percent back at restaurants, gas stations and qualifying drug stores; 1 percent on all other purchases
  • Annual fee: $119 Amazon Prime membership
  • Bonus: $70 Amazon gift card
  • Estimated return after five years: $1,890
  • Variable APR: 15.74 to 23.74 percent based on your creditworthiness
  • Notable perks: Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection; travel coverage; no foreign transaction fee

Blue Cash Everyday from American Express

Unlike the Blue Cash Preferred, the Blue Cash Everyday has no annual fee, but there’s a trade-off: The card offers a downgraded version of the Preferred’s rewards structure. Cardholders get 3 percent cash back on groceries, 2 percent at gas stations and department stores, and 1 percent on all other purchases.

If you’re wondering which card is right for you, the Everyday or the Preferred, take a look at your spending. Apps like Mint, Clarity Money or Empower can sort your purchases over the last several months. If you’re spending less than $3,167 on groceries per year, the Everyday is probably the better choice.

You may decide the Preferred is worth it if you spend a lot on gas and at department stores, since it also rewards an extra 1 percent back in those categories.

The Everyday offers a $150 sign-up bonus and the same perks as the Preferred, including ticket pre-sale access and purchase protection.

Its APR is 14.99 to 25.99 percent after a long no-interest introductory period of 15 months.

At a glance:

  • Cash back: 3 percent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases a year; 2 percent at U.S. gas stations and department stores; 1 percent on all other purchases
  • Annual fee: None
  • Bonus: $150 if you spend $1,000 within the first three months
  • Estimated return after five years: $1,740
  • Variable APR: 14.99 to 25.99 percent based on your creditworthiness after 0 percent on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • Notable perks: Exclusive ticket presales, travel insurance offers, purchase protection

To determine which cards offer the best return on grocery shopping, CNBC Make It vetted highly rated cards based on their reward offers, introductory and eventual APRs, annual fees, bonuses, recommended credit scores, late fees, balance transfer fees, foreign transaction fees, redemption options and customer reviews. The rate of return on grocery purchases was the most heavily weighted consideration.

We then estimated how much money each card would save the typical American after one year, two years and five years. Our assessment heavily weighs the five-year return to avoid a large sign-up bonus skewing the results. We also assume that most people want a great card that they can stick with for years, since bouncing from card to card can be bad for your credit score.

To estimate the return, we used 2017 expenditure data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to make a sample budget broken down by average annual spending in categories like gas ($1,968), groceries ($4,363), dining out ($3,365) and general purchases ($13,876). The general spending category includes shopping, entertainment, public transit, vehicle expenses other than gas, some household costs and travel expenses.

The estimates incorporate bonuses and assume you have a high credit limit and that you use your card for 90 percent of the purchases you make in these categories, accounting for instances where you have to use cash or shop somewhere that doesn’t accept your card. They also assume you don’t carry a balance. For the Amazon Prime Rewards card, the estimate does not account for the cost of Prime membership, and it assumes you do 50 percent of your grocery shopping at Whole Foods.

It’s worth noting that the estimates are derived from this single sample budget but, if you use a card strategically and take advantage of its rewards, your five-year return could be higher.

Don’t miss:

The best travel credit cards

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30Oct 2018

Even Financial acquires Birch Finance, a credit card rewards startup – TechCrunch

On the heels of a funding round to the tune of $18.8 million, Even Financial has acquired Birch Finance for an undisclosed sum.

Even offers products like a pre-approval API, real-time pricing, machine learning optimization, a product comparison and recommendation engine for consumers and more. Birch Finance, a TC Startup Battlefield alum that raised $1 million earlier this year, aims to help people make the most of the credit cards in their wallets by telling them which cards will earn them the most points. It works by analyzing your transaction history to identify missed rewards opportunities. Even’s plan with this acquisition is for Even to expand its offerings within the credit card space.

“The credit card market continues to expand with millions of consumers opening up hundreds of different types of credit cards every year for countless reasons,” Phillip Rosen said in a statement. “Birch already has one of the largest credit card databases and their technology perfectly complements our existing platform as we expand our offering to the credit card space. This acquisition will allow our partners to optimize the process of getting the right cards to the right consumers.”

Even’s slate of partners includes, a personal loans marketplace, The Penny Hoarder and Transunion. With the Birch team on board, Even will enable its partners to save on consumer acquisition while also scaling its credit card recommendation platform. At Even, Birch co-founder Alex Cohen will serve as senior director of the credit card marketplace.

In a statement, Cohen said, “We saw a clear synergy with Even’s business strategy and growth plans, and I’m thrilled to join Even’s team as we expand and scale our offerings into new areas.”

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30Oct 2018

Travel blogger who warned against dangerous selfies dies 'taking cliff edge photo' – The Independent

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The Independent

Travel blogger who warned against dangerous selfies dies 'taking cliff edge photo'
The Independent
A travel blogger who fell to her death alongside her husband while apparently taking selfies on a cliff edge had previously warned tourists against attempting to capture dangerous photographs. Rangers at Yosemite National Park in California found the …
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Yosemite National Park Deaths: Travel Bloggers Killed in Fall From Taft Point OverlookNewsweek
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HuffPost -WLS -National Park Service
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30Oct 2018

Taking charge of credit-card swipe fees – Restaurant Business Online

With razor-thin profit margins, every dollar counts in the restaurant business. That’s why operators are often focused on mitigating costs, whether that means streamlining schedules, working with vendors and suppliers to make sure they’re getting the best food prices or implementing technology to simplify processes and services.

But one line item operators might not know they can optimize is credit-card fees. Merchant service fees from major credit card vendors—though they seem small at 2 to 4%—can add up to thousands of dollars a month. And many restaurant owners aren’t aware that they can alleviate the amount of money they spend on them.

By implementing technology that passes on the merchant service fees to the consumer, restaurant operators can save up to 90% of their service fee costs every month, depending on how much of their business is processed with credit cards (versus other payment methods).


It’s all thanks to a 2013 class action lawsuit. That settlement, says David Leppek, founder of Transaction Services and executive payment consultant, involved “a rule change that would allow a merchant to surcharge the cardholder to help cover the costs of accepting credit cards.” Prior to the lawsuit, operators were prohibited from that practice, but now, merchants can surcharge up to 4% on credit card transactions.

The surcharges are simple to pass on to consumers, and best of all, they don’t have to affect diners’ opinion or experience with a restaurant. If they don’t want to pay the surcharge, they have the option to pay with a debit card—as there is no surcharge tacked on with debit cards—or they can pay with cash.

Savings for operators

When using technology that passes credit card fees onto diners, restaurant operators will need to be transparent about that practice to ensure customer satisfaction. However, because diners still have other payment options, it’s not likely to cause issue, which is welcome news for operators who may be worried about how their restaurant will be perceived if this option is used.

As for the benefits for the restaurant and operators, it’s clear—the higher the check average, the bigger the savings. In other words, operators save an average of 50% of their merchant fees, assuming a business is split evenly between debit/cash and credit cards.

“It’s great for the merchant,” Leppek says. One client he referred to that implemented this technology processed $200,000 in sales per month and was paying about $4,000 per month in fees. In the first month they used this surcharging technology, however, their fees were down to just $400.

For restaurant operators looking to trim costs, taking another look at credit card fees can be a great way to do so and can provide cost savings averaging about 50%, every month. Can you afford not to explore this technology?

For more information, contact the experts at Retech Payment Systems today.

This post is sponsored by Retech Payment Systems

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30Oct 2018

US employers tweak total rewards strategies in tune with flexibility, well-being trends – HR Dive

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30Oct 2018

Travel Nursing: How I Take Months Off Work To Live In Central America – (blog)

Julia Kuhn, MS CCC-SLP

Traveling Healthcare Professional Blogger at The Traveling Traveler 

Imagine waking up in Costa Rica, immersed in a new culture with a homestay family. You could hike volcanoes and eat fresh mangos daily! Sound impossible? Not with travel nursing. Travel nursing has many different benefits and opportunities for nurses. Some travelers want to make high amounts of money. While others travel to work in some of the top-ranking hospitals in the country. For me, I travel for the flexibility to work a portion of the year and then be able to take extended amounts of time off to travel for pleasure.

Being a traveler has allowed me to visit and spend a considerable amount of time in many countries. I have been able to travel slowly and truly experience the culture and people of a location.

One of my favorite trips was when I spent two months in Central America and lived with a homestay family. On this trip, I explored Costa Rica and Panama. I embraced the Central American culture while learning Spanish at a language immersion school. Living with a homestay family in Costa Rica and attending Spanish school is something that I would have never been able to do with a traditional job. Travel nursing has allowed me to have these experiences and freedom, which are so valuable.

If you are considering travel nursing and also want to take extended time off to travel abroad, here are my tips and considerations for you:

1. Save Money

There is a considerable amount of planning involved in taking months off of work. When selecting contracts to work, your focus should be on making and saving money. While it may be fun to take that Hawaii job, remember that you won’t save a lot of money there. If you are serious about saving money to take time off, then you want to specifically look for high paying contracts in areas with lower costs of living. I’ve done well in the Central Valley and deserts of California. My traveler friends report that South Dakota and Wisconsin are also great places to go to bank money on assignment.

While on assignment, consider working overtime to make more money. Also, sharing living accommodations, instead of getting your own apartment, can help to cut costs. You can put money away in a special account to save specifically for travel.

To determine how much money you need to save, first, do some research into the location that you are traveling to. There is countless information available on the internet and guidebooks about the daily cost of travel in different countries. I recommend that you work out a sample budget for living, transportation, and meal expenses. Then, add another 20% on top of that for entertainment and fun expenses (e.g. snorkeling, paid excursions, etc.). Obviously, the more money that you save, the more flexibility and freedom that you have while traveling.

You also need to have money saved to pay your bills at home and get you to your next assignment. Anticipate saving money for the cost of a down payment on your next temporary rental and transportation costs to get to your assignment. Plus, living expenses until you get your first paycheck.

2. Insurance

While you are traveling, you can buy travel insurance from companies like Allianz and World Nomads. The insurance through these companies can cover a variety of emergencies abroad, such as stolen luggage, flight cancellations, and medical coverage. Definitely read the fine print on the policies before you buy a plan, to make sure that it covers your needs.

You can also maintain health insurance in the US while you are traveling if needed. Note: the ACA penalty for not having health insurance has been removed for 2019. You can maintain a private plan (if you carry your own insurance), or you can buy COBRA when your assignment ends. COBRA is the same plan that your agency offers to you, but you pay full price for the coverage. You have 90 days retroactively, after your assignment ends, to determine if you want to buy the COBRA. You can keep COBRA coverage for up to 18 months after your coverage ends.

3. Where To Go?

People travel for different reasons. You probably have places on your bucket list that you would love to go to. Personally, I have picked places to travel long-term that were budget friendly and have a culture that I wanted to learn more about. Living in Central America helped me to learn Spanish and connect with my patient’s from Latino culture better.

My top recommendations for places to spend long-term time abroad for beginners are Costa Rica, Thailand, and Bali. These locations are all very traveler friendly, budget-friendly, easy to connect with Wi-Fi, and are home to friendly, welcoming people with beautiful cultures.

4. Special Considerations For Travel Nurses

Towards the end of your trip, you may want to consider looking for your next assignment while you are still abroad. Because of this, I always travel with an unlocked phone and a laptop. For my phone, I buy a SIM card abroad and make calls from my phone to speak to recruiters and have phone interviews. You could also use Wi-Fi calls over apps; although I experienced hospitals who have refused to use Wi-Fi calls with me. I also travel with my laptop, in order to sign contracts, and complete compliance forms. Being connected abroad has helped me to come home and transition back into a travel assignment without a big gap.

5. Will I Have Trouble Getting An Assignment?

Having a multiple month gap in your resume with no work may throw up some red flags to hiring managers. Although, it has never been an issue for me. When asked why I took time off, I explain the benefits of travel and the helpful impact that it has on me as a healthcare professional. Learning new languages and understanding diverse cultures are all points that I use to justify benefits of international travel. In interviews, I use my travel experience to make myself a better, more well-rounded candidate for the position.

6. Returning Home

Returning home from long-term travel and going back to your normal grind can be a positive or negative experience. Sometimes, it may feel great to get back into a routine, earn money, and work. Other times, there can be a sense of loss and longing to have the freedom of traveling abroad again. Remember, travel nursing gives you this AMAZING flexibility to work and travel. If it’s hard to return to work, know that you can start saving money now to travel again as soon as possible. Your next trip may only be a couple of months away!

Are you thinking about traveling abroad or living in another country when your assignment ends? If yes, hopefully, these tips have helped and inspired you to travel better and longer in between assignments!

Find out how to become a travel nurse.

Next Up: Why Everybody Is Packing Up And Becoming A Travel Nurse

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30Oct 2018

What It Means to Pre-Qualify for a Credit Card – Motley Fool

You get a letter in the mail saying you’ve been pre-approved for a credit card. You read through the details and it all sounds good, so you decide to apply. Then, word comes back that your application has been denied. What happened?

While it may have seemed like a sure thing, getting pre-approved for a credit card (or “pre-qualifying,” which is slightly different — we’ll get to that shortly) isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be approved. Here’s a look at what these terms really mean.

Image source: Getty Images.

Pre-qualification vs. pre-approval

Some people think that “pre-qualified” and “pre-approved” can be used interchangeably, but this is not the case. Pre-qualifications are initiated by you. If you go to a credit card issuer’s website and check to see which cards you might qualify for, it’ll do a quick scan of your credit report with a soft inquiry, so your credit score will not be affected. Then, the website will provide you with some recommendations based on your creditworthiness. The card issuer might also hold on to this information and use it to send you credit card offers in the mail months or even years later.

Pre-qualifications are quick, and they indicate which cards you might qualify for, but the issuer is not offering you any guarantees. If you choose to apply for the card, the issuer will do a hard inquiry, which will take a closer look at your credit report and can lower your credit score by a couple of points. The card company will also request information about your income level. In this in-depth evaluation, the issuer might spot something it hadn’t seen in its pre-qualification that bars you from being approved.

Pre-approval, on the other hand, is closer to a guarantee. This is where the card issuer reaches out to you, even if you’ve never expressed any interest in its credit cards, and offers you a card based on your credit history and income level. Pre-approvals also use soft inquiries, so they won’t hurt your credit. If you choose to apply for this card, the chances are very good that you’ll be approved. The only reason this wouldn’t happen is if your credit takes a dive between when you’re pre-approved and when you apply.

Should you apply for a pre-qualified credit card?

It’s up to you whether you should act on a pre-qualified or pre-approved credit card offer. Before you do, though, you should read the cardholder agreement carefully so you understand exactly what you’re getting. Look at the card’s fees and interest rates and compare these with the other cards in your wallet to see how they stack up. Evaluate the rewards, too, and make sure they line up with your spending habits. If you like the card, follow the instructions included in the pre-qualified offer to apply.

If you don’t like the credit card, don’t just throw the offer in the trash. It’s best to shred the document. That way, an identity thief can’t get hold of it. The offer contains a special code that is linked to you, and if a thief were to get hold of this and other personal information, like your Social Security number, they may be able to open a fraudulent account in your name.

And if you dislike getting the credit card offers altogether, you can opt out of them for five years, or permanently, by going to You can also choose to opt back in at any time if you decide you’d like to receive credit card offers again.

Finding the right credit card can be pretty overwhelming, and pre-qualification offers can help you to narrow your focus. But it’s important to understand what pre-qualification is and is not. You also need to evaluate the offers thoroughly to ensure that you know what you’re getting.

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29Oct 2018

Millennials Value Travel Over Sex, Carbs, And Coffee – Forbes

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Millennials have been a hot topic of discussion over the pass few years within the travel industry. Also know as Gen Y, this particular subset of the population has been heavily exposed to various forms of digital technology, consuming information differently and valuing different attributes than their predecessors both in their professional and personal lives. When it comes to travel, the general consensus is that this particular generation prefers the more experiential side of things—unique adventures, hotels with personality and a sense of place, a focus on what’s local, and value for money. But just how much do millennials value travel?

According to a recent survey of over 1,500 individuals ranging from 18 to 35 years old by Contiki—a travel company that is specifically catering to this particular age group—83 percent are traveling one to five times a year, 48 percent one to two times a year, and 35 percent three to five times a year. But when it comes to what they’re willing to relinquish in order to travel, the results are surprising. Majority of the millennials said that they would give up Netflix (80 percent), coffee (77 percent), alcohol (73 percent), carbs (60 percent), and even sex (57 percent) to travel. Meanwhile, 41 percent of those surveyed said that they would relinquish their cell phone, even though 49 percent of them admitted to spending eight to ten hours per day on their device.

Other travel outfitters have also found that the younger globetrotter places an emphasis on sustainable tourism. Virutoso, a network of luxury advisors all around the world, have identified that factors like reducing plastic waste, animal welfare, protecting wildlife, supporting local farmers, giving back to communities, safeguarding historic sites, and conserving coral reefs appeal to their clients. As more hotels, and even destinations, continue to announce that they are either reducing or eliminating plastic consumption for the betterment of climate change (and to appeal to the conscious traveler), it seems like the industry is finally catching up and improving their practices.

To entice the youthful traveler, some hotel chains are launching new brands that are more in line with millennials’ needs and desires in hopes of appealing to them. The latest to do so is Hilton, which recently announced that the company will be launching Motto by Hilton, a new affordable lifestyle brand that promises prime locations, locality, flexibility, and competitive rates. After extensively researching the hostel model globally, the company found that those who stay in these shared-room concepts prefer to book with friends and family rather than staying with a stranger. As a result, Motto hopes to combine comfort with accessibility by offering rooms with a variety of bedding options (queen, bunk, Murphy) that can be linked together and will offer modern conveniences like split payments at time of booking, a mobile app to control room features, and curated sleep experiences. Openings are slated for 2020, with one of the firsts in Marylebone, London.

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