Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

The Freedom Blueprints

By John Hoffman

Module #5 part A

Transportation Freedom
- How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune -

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

© 2009 by John Hoffman. All rights reserved. Published by http://www.freedomblueprints.org/. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in an ad database or retrieval system without the prior written permission of John Hoffman. The Author and publisher have used their best efforts in preparing this book and the document contained herein. However, the author and publisher make no warranties of any kind, express or implied, wit regard to the informational content, documentation, or files contained in this book or in any accompanying media files such as CDs or DVD, and specifically disclaim, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, with respect to program listings in the book, the techniques described in the book, and/or the use of files. In no event shall the author or publisher be responsible or liable for loss of profit, or any commercial damages, including, but not limited to, special incidental, consequential, or any other damages in connection with or arising out of furnishing, performance, or use of this book, program files, instruction, audio or video connected with this information.

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Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

The year has passed and you look forward to your vacation. You do not know exactly where you should go, because you wouldn’t waste too much money just fooling around. On the other hand, you have worked long and hard for these free days and you need to enjoy yourself as much as possible. The budget is low because other expenses await your return. Before you decide where to go, get your priorities straight. Ask yourself and try to find the answer to which are the things and details that have been fixed by now, and which have not and still can be changed. Is the destination final and unchangeable? What else can you change?

The best thing to do is to put it all on paper, the way you can see it bellow. You can use it: Fixed Flexible Destination Are you just looking for a general vacation or is there somewhere that you need to go because of various reasons: a specific region or the country or part of the World you want to visit? Maybe you have to go somewhere specific in order to be able to practice a certain hobby or activity (e.g. you can only lay on the beach if you go someplace with a sea, or you can only go golfing in a country where they have golf fields)? Such a questions should be asked and answered before starting the journey because the more flexible you are with your destination the more ways of making it cheap and affordable you have at your disposal. When

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

Is there a specific time of the year you need to start your journey? Because when you travel it is all about timing. Maybe your schedule has been set up for several weeks, months or years. You may have planned to go to Transylvania, for instance, all your life. But you need to research and find out what period of the year is the best one in order to start your trip. Research all of this for a month or so and see whether it is best to visit the place during spring, summer, autumn or winter. During the season or outside the season. Most of the places have lower prices when not in the tourist rush-hour. Also, find out if you need to leave on a weekend or can you leave during the week? If you are flexible in terms of when you can and want to travel you will be able to get better deals on everything from tickets to hotels to sightseeing. You need to know that if you plan a trip for a year from now it will be way cheaper compared to the situation when you decide to go on the last moment. Length How long do you plan of making the trip? Sometimes it is not worth spending the time to get to a place. You should think twice if it is worth spending two days to get to a place and stay there one day. Calculate your travel time to and from the destination, not just the time there. You should think about this when calculating the budget. a longer trip may cost you more in hotel and meal bills, but may get you a cheaper airfare. Form of Transportation How can you get there? Can you take a plane to get to your destination or is a bus or train or boat an option? See what your options are in order to get the best price. Tickets are cheaper if got in advance. Style Do you have to travel in style or can you rough it a little bit? Style is not just a question of taste. It is also a question of money. You can rough it a little bit by staying in hostels or even camping the cost of your trip will go down. It also involves more adventuring. Number of People How many people will go on the trip with you? This is more important if you go on outdoor trips. Is it just you and a friend? Your whole family? You need to think of the supplies required. However, if you go in cities you need to know that there are travel agencies or hotels and so on that lower the prices for organized tourist groups. You can share hotel/hostel rooms, meals, and even certain transportation or museum passes. Nevertheless, if you travel with others your cheap traveling style may not be what they had in mind– possibly influencing you to spend more than you had planned. You may not want to pay for a meal, drink as much, go out as much, but you need to do that because… well… everybody else does it. Budget What is the size of your wallet? How much can you stretch it? You need to plan exactly how much you will be able to spend and put some aside for when you come back from the trip – if you go on a long one. Also, remember that utilities and bills still need to be paid when you go back. Set the amount of money that you cannot go above.

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

You need to ask all this questions and probably many others before you go on a trip. But most of the things mentioned above interrelate. That is, one fixed thing may decide the answers to all or at least some of the other questions. If you only have a weekend at your disposal you cannot go to Europe. Well, you can but is it worth it? Do you get to visit all you want? Maybe you feel up to doing this crazy thing, but it is definitely not worth it going on the other side of the world. It’s simply not enough time. Therefore, if you only have Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you go somewhere closer. Another example is low – extremely low – budget. How far would $100 take you? Well, do you get the point? Try to be as flexible as you can. It is best in many situations to be flexible, and tourism is one of them. Flexible also means being able to spend more, stay longer etc. You do not want to spend too little if you enjoy yourself.

I. RESEARCH BEFORE YOU GO There are four main things you need to consider in order to start planning your vacation: a. Destination, b. Transportation, c. Lodging d. Budget You need to research as much as possible about your destination. Lucky you, there are plenty of resources on the web. Here is a list of websites that most people recommend: Lonely Planet Fodors TripAdvisor VirtualTourist About.com Travel Sidestep Travel Guides Rick Steves

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

Rough Guides LetsGo Frommers These sites are good, the best maybe. Nevertheless, there is nothing like the good, old book. The most research about anything you can do by looking through its pages. It is best you borrow a travel guide from the library and not buy one. Most probably, you will not be away for more than two weeks and that is the borrowing limit in most of the libraries.

It is best to take two types of guidebooks when on a trip. The ones with more text have every bit of detail written about your destination and the ones with pictures show you what you can visit and where. You may choose not to visit something because it is not of your taste, but only by consulting a photograph, you can say that without risking any remorse. The book mostly with text is best read before you go on the trip, in order to plan times and read all about what you will be seeing. The visual guide is best “on site”. You will find the objectives better if you have an image of them with you. Bellow, you have a list with some recommended guidebooks. Make sure you do some research before you start your vacation. Details will spice up your sightseeing sessions. You will understand more and even look at the touristic attractions with different eyes. Research will also save you time and money. The recommended “text” guide books are: Michelin Green Guides, Rough Guide, Lonely Planet. (Lonely Planet is a great guide for budget travel) Picture/map guide:

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

Eyewitness Travel Guides (by DK).

II. THE TRAVEL BUDGET

Before you even plan the trip, you should think about the amount of money that you would spend. This is one of the two times in your vacation/travel planning process that you should consider your budget. Roughly, you only have to answer one question: “How much can I (afford to/willing to) spend?” This will give you the big picture about how, where, when you will go. The other time you need to think about money in a more thorough way than any other is after you have done the entire research about the place. It is virtually impossible, if not irresponsible of you to create the vacation budget and schedule before you do any research on the largest expenses. Travel and lodging costs vary greatly depending on the time of year and region. Here are some categories of expenses you need to consider when developing your travel budget: 1. There are several expenses required before you go: new clothes, passport etc. 2. Transportation: you need money to get there and to get back. You need money to spend on transportation from the airport to the hotel. 3. Lodging 4. Food: you need money to spend on drinks and snacks 5. Transportation while you are there. 6. You will spend a substantial part of your budget on tours, museum entrance fees etc. How much is enough?

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

7. Especially if you go abroad there are several miscellaneous expenses such as ATM fees, money-changing fees. 8. You will have to consider the expenses at home while you are gone (house/pet/babysitting etc) 9. You will have to pay tips, phone calls, and internet charges while on vacation.

http://forexarbitrage.eu/images/currency-exchange-rates.jpg Do not get over-excited and be realistic when you are creating your budget. Eating at a restaurant will cost you more than $10 a day if you will go out every night. A lot of money should be spent on visiting sites, museums, ruins, art galleries etc if you plan of not having a crappy vacation. How you should do your budget? Start by taking a piece of paper and a pen. Write down the list above. All of the categories should be listed per day/person. At the top of the budget, you list the number of days/nights you will be gone and the number of people going on the trip. You just fill in the rest of the numbers based on your estimated expenses per day per person. Calculate the cost of the entire trip, the cost of the trip/day, the cost of the trip/person, and the cost of the trip/person/day. You can also do this by using your PC. Doing this entire operation might not be the most exciting thing that you have ever done but it is necessary in order for everything to go out smoothly. The budget is just as important as scheduling your paycheck for daily needs. By doing the math, you may find out that the estimated cost of your trip will be more than you can afford. If this happens, you should come up with some other options. An alternative is to find a different destination; one that is closer to home. You could even cut your expenses on certain categories.

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

On the other hand, there is no point in ruining your vacation by worrying about money, but you should not spend an amount of money that you will then spend several years to cover. Unless it is really worth it!

III. WHAT TO PACK

Packing is the most exciting part of the pre-vacation “experience”. Usually we have our list prepared and updated for several days before and we check and re-check whether there is everything in. Bellow you will be able to consult a list with the must have items in your luggage. Packing these few additional items for your trip can save a lot of money in the end. Do not leave home without your Nalgene water bottle. This recipient does not break, crack, or leak and there have been cases when people drove over them with a car and they still do not break!)Fill it up once you pass through security at the airport and use it throughout the trip to carry water in. You can save a lot of money by simply not buying the water you drink, not to mention the soda etc. There are places where the tap water is not drinkable so just head to a grocery store and buy a few 1-gallon jugs and to fill up your recipient. The “McGuiverish” Swiss Army Knife always turn out to be handy. You always get to use them. Either to cutup meat, cheese, and bread bought at the grocery store for a cheap and easy sandwich. Being able to prepare sandwiches saves a lot of money. Just remember not to pack your Swiss Army Knife in your carry-on because you may have trouble through security. Most of the Swiss Army Knives also have corkscrew/bottle openers, but if yours does not have one bring one with you. Alcohol is much cheaper to purchase from the store than from a restaurant or bar. You can drink in your hotel/hostel room or in a restaurant or park if it is allowed.

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

Be sure that you call your bank before you go on a trip and ask for an ATM card with no fees. Your bank might have some branches in the city or country you will visit. This will mean you will not pay any fees to get moneys from ATM’s. If your bank does not have a branch there, ask what fees you will have to pay to withdraw from the local bank. If they will charge you a fee, ask if they will refund it since they don not have any banks in that location. This item will literally save your money and papers from pickpockets. Take an umbrella with you. If you are a student, do not forget to take your International Student Identity Card with you. This way you will pick up huge savings. There is a Youth card for persons under 26 years old. If you travel in a car, bus, or train, pack a cooler full of drinks and snacks and bring it with you to cut down on dining expenses.

IV. THE TOP 5 PLACES TO VISIT WHILE IN A RECESSION

Foreign travel became outrageously expensive for Americans because of the US dollar in the last decade. But the financial crisis was not as bad for American tourism as you may think. Yes, our country became less accessible for foreigners but other countries became more

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

accessible for us! Investors are swarming to the dollar because they see our country as a safer market, even though the financial crisis started here. What is it all about? Look around! Browse the web a little and you might have a little surprise: world tourism is on sale! It is all just like a financial crisis based promotion. Foreign destinations became 25 to 50 percent cheaper than they were just a few months ago. This is because people would do just about anything in order to have the same amount of tourists based on which they have built their touristic infrastructure upon. Bellow you will be able to read about the top 5 places we advise you to visit while in this financial background situation. 1. ICELAND Starting 2008, the local currency dropped by more than 50 percent. It is the one developed country that has suffered the most because of the credit problem and Iceland’s banking system almost but collapsed. But that’s good news for your pocket! Yes, it sounds evil. But it is the way it is. You actually will help them recover faster if you invest in their country by visiting. Seriously now, the financial crisis is no reason for jokes. But what was once one of the most expensive, if memorable, destinations in Europe has suddenly gone budget. Icelandair flights from New York City start at $500 round-trip. Decent hotels in the hip capital of Reykjavik as low as $60 a night. But choose your visiting period well: because it is very close to the North Pole, if you go there at the end of autumn or during winter you will only have about five hours of sunlight a day. Word goes that Icelanders know how to make those hours count, so move fast. Decide, calculate, go!

http://mitsloanblog.typepad.com/eswar/images/2007/08/14/mit_iceland_2.jpg 2. SOUTH KOREA No, this is not the communist Korea. It is the other one. South of the communist one. And one of the countries that are feeling the financial crisis effects dearly. Their currency dropped

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

more than 30 percent since last year. They started to recover so if you choose South Korea you need to act fast. For this country’s citizens the economic meltdown has a sickening familiarity, for no other reason but the one that about 10 years ago another financial crisis – The Asian Financial Crisis. It struck them hard and the South Korean currency lost 52% of its value against the dollar. Starting with the new financial crisis they did not suffer as much as they did back at the end of the ‘90s. Nevertheless, the Land of Morning Calm – South Korea’s nickname – has unjustly been ignored by tourists. Bewildering Seoul – the country’s Capital, where almost half of the country lives - boasts dramatic mountains, spicy street food and gorgeous royal palaces. South Korea has arty port cities like Busan and cultural centers like Gwangju. If you visit any part of the country you can get “soju”, which is a rice wine, quite potent into making you forget all about the crisis. that will enable you to forget the recession, along with everything else.

3. AUSTRALIA “The land down under” is placed third in our top 5 because its drop in currency value since a year ago of 28%, close to the South Korean problem. Their currency - the Aussies (not very original, huh?) – managed parity with the American dollar before the recession. Ever since 2008 one Australian dollar only is only worth 66 American cents. That means 36% lower prices for Americans visiting the Land of Thunder.

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

The only inconvenient is the travel costs to Australia: a round-trip ticket from The Big Apple to Sydney costs $1,400. But if you ever feel like escaping winter, just know that when it is winter in the US it is summer Down Under and vice versa. 4. GREAT BRITAIN In the UK the pound is 23 percent weaker. Nevertheless, the British currency is a bloody strong one: a pound is worth about 2 dollars. It is why England’s name looks like it does not belong on a budget-travel destination list, but compared with 2007 Britain is considerably, relatively, cheaper. A "champagne flight" to ride the “Eye”, you know, the giant wheel on the banks of the Thames “only” costs $692.

5. CANADA The last but not least is our neighbor country, Canada, whose currency value dropped about 20 percent. Yeah, we all know that their dollar is a traditionally weak currency, but before the crisis, the Canadian dollar was actually worth more than ours. Now, on the other hand you can visit the cosmopolitan charm of Montreal or go skiing up north.

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

V. 10 TIPS TO AFFORD A TRIP TO EUROPE

There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there is the dollar. Alternatively, used to be, before things starting getting worse. American tourists that have visited Europe during the past few years have experienced the unpleasant experience of paying more than they would have before the American dollar plunged down the tube. Visiting the Eiffel tower in Paris, a Double-Decker bus ride in London, gondola rides in Venice, beer in Brussels and pizza near the Coliseum got more expensive for the American tourists.

http://www.euro-pak.eu/Travel-Europe.jpg Along with the euro, the British pound has doubled its value next to the dollar. Although it got more expensive, Europe is still a main destination. It is a “must see” in our lifetime. It is

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

full of history, tradition and it has a certain flavor that no other place in the world provides. Needles to say, there are quite a lot of tips and tricks in order to enjoy yourself and be able to organize a decent trip or holiday / vacation in “Good old Europe”. We will give you a top 10: You do not need to fly with expensive airlines to Europe. There are such companies that sell $199 one-way tickets. Here is a list of low-cost airlines you could use to fly from the US to Europe: Zoom Eurofly, Flyglobespan Major airlines also have introductory fares you can use in order to save money. Air France, for instance, when they started a new flight from NY to Paris in spring 2009, they started at $199 per one-way ticket. They did this to encourage people to travel. In order to have access to such information it is best you sign up for newsletters or fare alerts on the company’s websites or on certain travel web portals (Expedia, Orbitz). This way you know when to call the travel agent and book a ticket. If price matters more than location, you can use Travelzoo.com or Airfarewatchdog.com. These two sites have all the info you need about various deals. For example, Airfarewatchdog.com launched an alert this summer that informed clients and signed up users that they could fly from Newark to Amsterdam and only $593 for a round trip! There also were low fares to Oslo and Stockholm, at little over $620 per round trip. Hotels are overrated. Well, as far as you are concerned for now, anyways. There are quite a lot of other options instead of hotels. You can rent a room or choose a hostel instead. In Italy, for instance, by using Eurocheapo.com you can rent a room in Suore di S. Elisabetta. This is a convent on a hill just south of the Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore. If you haven’t got anything against 11 p.m. curfew or a religious environment it is a plausible option: double rooms at only 64 euro ($90, at $1.41 to the euro).

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

Such options may be hard to find at first, but once you get along and understand the system it will turn out to be child’s play. The site also has a so called “CheapoSearch”, and this search engine gives you access to the available rooms, according to the budget you can spend. You can find hotels in central neighborhoods. Some even found almost 200 hotels in central Paris with quite a lot of rooms for less than $150 a night. People have even rented villas - twobedroom villas - for as little as $1,200 a week in the romantic city of Florence. Such offers are also available for apartments or chalets in the alps or more virgin parts of Europe. Property owners and managers are put in connection with travelers through websites like HomeAway.com and Rentalo.com. Europe has many budget airlines with no-frill carriers that cheaply fly people from one city to another. You could use these to make some savings. One example is Ryanair, which, recently, had a huge sale with, fares as low as 10 Euro from Britain’s Capital, London, to Brussels, Pisa and Dublin. a. Advice 1 – Remember not to take large luggage if you travel with such companies. One reason is that light luggage keeps costs down – you do not need to pay someone to carry them, nor will you pay various taxes, such as over-weight luggage taxes. Also, before you start your vacation, check for the airlines policy regarding luggage limits.

b. Advice 2 - Be aware that small, low-cost or budget airlines often fly out of smaller, somewhat more inconvenient airports. In such situations, large luggage may turn out to be a problem and you should add in the extra travel time to get to them

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

A must: Avoid airport cabs! Especially if you travel to Eastern Europe. A lot of taxi drivers pick up tourists and drive them on wrong routes in order to “fatten” up the bill. If you remember the previous advices and you pack light, you will find it more than manageable to travel from the airport or to the airport when you go back home, and all you have to do is to use trains, buses or subways. They are cheap and relatively fast. Sure, if you are in a hurry, you can always take your chances and grab a cab. For example, from the two Underground stations at Heathrow Airport near London, it takes about an hour to get to central London and it will cost you about $8 (£4, at $2.1 to the pound). A taxi would cost about four times as much ( £15.50) but, indeed, it will take you about 15 minutes for the same distance. Let us take another city, in another country as an example: Paris (France). It takes about 15 minutes to get from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Paris by cab and it will cost you 50 Euro. But the best way is to choose the regional commuter train (RER). It will make several stops in the city center, where it connects to the Metro system and all this costs about 8 Euro.

Oh! In addition, remember that the price for the taxi depends on the traffic. If you get “lucky” and arrive during the rush hour or if you get jammed, you will spend a lot more. Prices vary according to location or country. In Venice, a boat ticket from the Marco Polo Airport, bought at the Alilaguna ticket booth costs about 12 Euro and it will take you to the Piazza San Marco. a. Advice: visit Europeforvisitors.com, in order to have access to some helpful airport transportation tips. Do not spend your money on inner city rides. Do not buy single trip tickets when you might use the bus, train or metro several times. Buy multi-trip cards, which usually are cheaper. Off-peak day travel cards cost about £5.10 in Britain and you can use them for unlimited travel the entire day, starting at 9:30 a.m. With one of those you can travel either by using the Tube or the Dockland Light Railway in central London.

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

Such a ticket or card - a one-day ticket for unlimited travel – costs about 6 Euro on Berlin’s public transportation system (the BVG). Berlin is split in more than one zone, but the 6euro card takes you all through the Zones A and B, where most tourist attractions lie. Taxi fares in Berlin are about 4 Euro per mile, according to the Berlin Tourism Board Web site, www.berlin.de. You may get “lucky” on the other hand and grab a cab by hailing it from the street. However, if you look too much like a tourist (and tourists always look different from the common folk) you may pay up to 6 euro per trip. a. Advice: When you enter a cab, do not speak much, if you are not sure that you can entirely trust the driver. Just say “Kurzstrecke”, which roughly means, “Take the short way”. There is a lot you do not know about Europe’s culture, utilities, and lifestyle. Denmark’s Capital, Copenhagen, has 1,300 free bicycles for getting around between May and December! It is best to rent a bike from a City Bike Parking places in the city center. This costs 20 kroner (about $3.50) and then you go. No other things required. Just pay and pedal away. You need to return the bike to any other rack in town to get your change back. That is nice, huh? Dinners usually cost more than lunch meals do. It is explainable, but you do not need to find reasons why you should spend more, you should search for ways to save money. Therefore, the best piece of advice is to spend more money on lunch and less on dinner. There are restaurants in Paris where you would pay about 140 Euro for one meal, but you pay half the price if you buy a lunch to go at the same place. In London, for instance, there is a place called Soho, a neighborhood that has a Michelin star, and it offers a three-course preheated meal for £17.50 with dishes like plum tomato gazpacho, roast rabbit leg and English strawberries with sorbet. It is different in other countries, though. The gazpacho and the strawberry dessert cost £11.45 à la carte in some places. Going abroad becomes a challenge when it comes to keep in touch with your relatives. Your phone bill could go up through the roof if you do not pay attention. The best way to avoid this is only to use the phone when necessary. But technology brought along alternatives. You have internet – broadband, Wi-Fi. One hour at a net café might cost you as much as one minute if you use the phone. If you have a laptop then it gets even simpler. Most of the central cafés in Europe have wireless hotspots. You can chat using several instant messaging programs, you can e-mail your close ones or you can use Skype or another Internet telephone service, which usually only costs about 2 or 3 cents a minute for international calls. Also, avoid using your own mobile phone SIM card and buy a local one. It is cheaper. It makes local calls inexpensive, and incoming calls are typically free. Many suggest Telestial, which offers a $49 Passport SIM card that includes $10 of airtime. When this time

Module 5 – Transportation Freedom: How To Travel The World Without Spending a Fortune

ends, you will pay up to 49 cents for one minute of talking. Check the network providers available in the country you visit before you go on a trip abroad. Sometimes it is best you have cash instead of plastic. This is because of the bank fees. If the bank you have your account at does not have an office in the country you visit you will have to pay supplementary money in order to withdraw the money you need. The best advice is to check with your bank and credit card issuers, which are the fees they charge if you purchase or withdraw money abroad, at an ATM. Usually the fees are about one to three percent of the purchase, after the required conversion to dollars. There are specialized websites you can visit and find out more. Such a site is Bankrate.com, which posts a list of what some of the major banks and credit cards charge.

Free State museums you can also find in Berlin, but most of them are only free on Thursdays and you can visit them with no charge, during the last four scheduled hours. Since we talk about free visits, in Dublin you can attend a summer-long “Diversion Festival” during which all events are free. You only have to buy some tickets at the beginning. Visit www.templebar.ie for more details. You are not a citizen of the country you visit. You are but a tourist. Therefore, you do not need to pay the taxes that citizens in that country pay. When you buy something of value, a big purchase of some sort, find out whether the shop is member of a tax refund program, because this way you can get the taxes you pay back, at the airport. European value-added taxes can add up to 25 percent to the purchase price.