Travel

What is an International Credit Card?

When you have an international credit card, you can use it both in your home country and abroad. It’s not uncommon to come across businesses abroad that only accept native currency. That’s when an international credit card comes in handy. If you want to avoid the hassles of carrying cash or traveler’s checks everywhere you go, these types of credit cards are the perfect solution.

Several established hotels, restaurants and retail outlets you encounter during your travels will accept your international credit card. That card offers many of the same features as a standard version and can also be used at ATM machines. Thus, no matter where you are, you can get cash from your bank account. You can also check your account balance from an ATM, so you can keep track of your spending and make sure you’re sticking to your budget.

Credit Card Foreign Transaction Fees

A foreign credit card transaction fee is charged when you make a payment in a different country with your card. The sale also includes a fee because you’re paying in a foreign currency. Typically, foreign transaction fees are equal to 3% of the total cost of the transaction. They are also set in U.S. currency. If you purchase an item or souvenir in another nation’s currency and the total bill comes to $100, with 3% in foreign transaction fees tacked on, you pay a total of $103.

Foreign transaction fees can be charged on different types of transactions, including withdrawing money from ATM machines, reserving hotel rooms, or even booking your flights. The terms and conditions that apply to foreign transaction fees are usually included in the fine print of your international credit card’s cardholder agreement. So, make sure you review this information and are fully aware of the terms before using your card for purchases.

The International Chip and PIN

The international chip and PIN are part of a system being integrated into a number of credit cards. Many foreign merchants no longer accept standard magnetic strip credit cards, claiming they’re unsafe and outdated. The point of an international chip and pin is so that you won’t end up at an unattended kiosk unable to use the card because it requires a PIN to complete your transaction. This specifically applies to retailers in Europe.

Top 4 Brands of International Credit Cards

There are many different international credit cards, but four in particular offer better benefits and interest rates than others.

1. Capital One Venture Rewards Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Card is another credit card you probably want to consider. The Capital One Rewards card also gives you a solid introductory rate and travel rewards points. It also provides you with a sign-on bonus of up to 50,000 miles or $500 in travel when you spend $3,000 in your first three months from account opening. The only downside is that this card comes with a  an annual fee after the first year.

2. Capital One Venture One Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture One Rewards Credit Card

If you enjoy the Capital One brand but prefer to avoid the annual fee, consider the Capital One Venture One Rewards Credit Card. The card gives you all the advantages of Capital One without an annual fee. This card also gives you major perks—you’ll get 20,000 miles if you $1,000 in the first three months.

3. Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now

on Chase’s secure website

Card Details
Intro Apr:
N/A


Ongoing Apr:
15.99% – 22.99% Variable


Balance Transfer:
15.99% – 22.99% Variable


Annual Fee:
$95


Credit Needed:
Excellent-Good

Snapshot of Card Features
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.

Card Details +

Lastly, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card has low introductory rates for purchases and balance transfers, though its rewards offerings are somewhat weaker by comparison. This is another card that gives you a major bang for your buck—you can earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Do Your Due Diligence Before Traveling Abroad with Your New Cards

Even with an international means of payment, your credit card may not be accepted at all locations. Recently, a Credit.com staffer who traveled to Amsterdam tried to use his World Elite Mastercard at some locations and found that local merchants didn’t always accept a Mastercard branded card.

Before going on your trip, check either with stores or the credit card network (Mastercard, Visa, Discover or American Express)  to see if any conditions exist that might prevent your card from being accepted by foreign merchants. Alternatively, you can take a few different brands with your or have some cash or traveler’s checks on hand.

Check Your Credit

Before applying for an international credit card, it’s important to check your credit score to see what you qualify for. A low score or no score at all could get in the way of your goals of traveling with an international credit card in hand. Be sure to check your score before you apply. Most credit card companies that offer cash-back or miles require a good or even excellent score.

Checking your credit is easy and free depending on the site you use, and checking doesn’t hurt your score. You can get your free Experian credit score by visiting Credit.com. Instead of a hard inquiry, Credit.com does a soft inquiry without harming your credit score.

Using Credit.com for Your Travels

Traveling overseas with a credit card is convenient, but it can also be tricky. If you’re planning a trip abroad, it’s important to research which international credit cards will serve you best. Having a credit card that can be used anywhere in the world is a great tool to have in your pocket. But the terms and conditions of each card vary depending on several factors including your credit history, your spending habits and the places you visit.

Credit.com offers travelers just like you the opportunity to check their credit scores and apply for cards that will benefit them on their international journeys. If you’re interested in learning more about credit cards, check Credit.com

Editorial disclosure: Reviews are as determined solely by Credit.com staff. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the reviewers and aren’t reviewed or approved by any advertiser. Information presented is accurate as of the date of the review, including information on card rates, rewards and fees. Check the issuer’s website for the most current information on each card listed.

Some offers mentioned here may have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our credit card marketplace. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned here.

The post What is an International Credit Card? appeared first on Credit.com.

Source: credit.com

Best credit cards for Airbnb

Many of us are avoiding travel during the pandemic.

But if you have to shelter in place under quarantine once you get to your destination, wouldn’t you rather do it in an environment that at least seems more within your control?

If the choice is between a hotel where you must trust your experience to a faceless corporation or a local host you can talk to through homestay sites like Airbnb and Vrbo, the latter may be the better option for these times (provided you don’t violate their party guidelines).

Whatever option you choose, credit card issuers now reward homestays with points and cash back in the same way they’ve long doled out rewards for hotels and other travel expenses.

These are the best cards on the market for homestays like Airbnb.

See related: Strategies for planning 2021 travel

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card: Best no-annual-fee, high rewards option

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best introductory bonus
  • Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card: Best for bonus rewards
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best flat-rate miles card
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card: Best for online shopping
  • Discover it® Miles: Best no-fee option
  • Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card: Best no-annual-fee, high rewards option

    The Wells Fargo Propel American Express card includes arguably one of the highest rates of return on points for some of the most popular redemption categories out there, including homestays like Airbnb and Vrbo.

    The greatest advantages of this card – besides earning 3 points per dollar spent on some popular spending categories – are that there’s no point limit or expiration, no annual fee and no rotating categories that you constantly have to remind yourself to activate. You get three times the points in the relevant categories all the time without restriction, with travel – including all homestays – and transit being one of those prominent categories.

    The card also charges no foreign currency conversion fee, so buying things abroad is less expensive. If that weren’t enough, here’s what you also get:

    • 3 points per dollar spent on travel and transit purchases
    • 3 points per dollar spent on eating out and ordering in
    • 3 points per dollar spent on gas and rideshares
    • 3 points per dollar spent on select streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, Sirius XM and Spotify Premium
    • 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else
    • No annual fee
    • No points limit or expiration
    • Premium access to presale tickets, offers and protections from American Express
    • 20,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months

    ProudMoney.

    Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best introductory bonus

    Before the Wells Fargo Propel card debuted, Chase Sapphire Reserve was the go-to credit card option for Airbnb fans. It offers a 50,000-point introductory bonus when you spend $4,000 in your first three months of membership. Those points are worth up to $750 when you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

    Though equipped with fewer spending categories offering 3X points and carrying a large annual fee of $550, the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card are more specifically geared toward frequent travelers.

    At the same time, that large annual fee is offset by a $300 annual credit that will reimburse any travel expense – including Airbnb. And from June 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, gas station and grocery store purchases count toward the travel credit.

    Add to that a $100 credit covering the application to Global Entry/TSA Precheck every four years and the annual fee is almost completely offset in the first year.

    Meanwhile, there are even more travel benefits:

    • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months (worth up to $750 in travel)
    • 3 points per dollar spent on travel (excluding purchases covered by the $300 travel credit)
    • 3 points per dollar spent on dining (including delivery and takeout) and travel; $1,000 in grocery purchases, including eligible pick-up and delivery services, from Nov. 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021
    • Complimentary airport lounge access through Priority Pass Select Membership
    • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
    • Primary car rental insurance
    • Lost luggage reimbursement

    Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card: Best for bonus rewards

    While the points per dollar offered by Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card on travel and Airbnb are fewer than the credit cards above, the sign-up bonus and up to $200 in annual statement credits make it a decent option, even with less flexibility on what qualifies as a credit than the credit cards above.

    This card should absolutely move to the top of your list if you are already a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client. That designation automatically increases your return even higher than what the other credit cards above offer on travel and dining – you can get a rewards bonus of up to 75%.

    Combine that with a generous sign-up bonus and the Bank of America Premium Rewards is one of the most potent rewards cards for Preferred Rewards clients.

    The card includes:

    • Introductory bonus: 50,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days (worth up to $500 in free travel)
    • 2 points per dollar spent on dining and travel purchases, including Airbnb and Vrbo
    • 1.5 points per dollar spent on everything else
    • Get up to $200 in travel statement credit rewards, including $100 for incidental spending per year and $100 toward a TSA Precheck/Global Entry application every four years
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients earn up to 3.5 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases and up to 2.62 points per dollar on all other purchases
    • $95 annual fee

    Travel loyalty programs offer extended perks in pandemic

    Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best flat-rate miles option

    The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is remarkably similar to Bank of America’s Premium Rewards card, right down to the $95 annual fee, but without the additional benefits afforded to Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients.

    However, Capital One Venture Rewards offers 2 points per dollar spent on every purchase, not just travel and dining.

    • Earn 60,000 travel miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first three months – equaling $600 in travel credit
    • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase, every day
    • Points can be redeemed for statement credit on travel purchases, including Airbnb
    • $95 annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fees

    Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card: Best for online shopping

    You may be wondering why the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card is on a list highlighting the best credit cards for AirBnb, Vrbo and other homestays.

    Shouldn’t this card be limited to the “best credit cards for online shopping” list? Not when Amazon offers Airbnb gift cards and the Amazon Prime Rewards card gives you 5% cash back on Amazon.com purchases as long as you have a Prime membership, which essentially acts as the annual fee ($119).

    Just purchase an AirBnb gift card from Amazon with the card, and it’s as if you are getting 5% cash back for your AirBnb stay when you apply the gift card towards it. It’s the highest rate on this list, Amazon or not.

    You’ll receive the following additional benefits:

    • 5% cash back on Whole Foods and Amazon purchases (with Prime membership)
    • 2% cash back on purchases at drugstores, gas stations and restaurants
    • 1% cash back on all other purchases
    • A $100 Amazon gift card upon credit card application approval
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • $500,000 travel accident insurance
    • $3,000 per passenger lost luggage reimbursement
    • Baggage delay insurance of up to $100 a day for three days
    • Extended warranty coverage for an additional year

    See related: How to pay off Amazon purchases over time

    Discover it® Miles: Best no-fee option

    Though the points per dollar on this card are lower than any other credit card on the list, Discover it Miles gives you much more freedom in how you can manage your points and account.

    You can redeem miles in any amount, your miles don’t expire even if you close your account and 1% of your miles can be converted directly into cash for your bank account.

    Discover it Miles offers:

    • 1.5 miles for every dollar spent on every purchase (matched at the end of the first year)
    • Points can be redeemed for statement credit on travel expenses, including Airbnb, gas stations and restaurants.
    • Miles can be converted into cash at rate of 1 cent per mile and transferred directly into your bank account
    • Redeem miles in any amount
    • Miles never expire and you don’t lose them even when you close your account
    • No late payment fee or penalty APR on your first late payment, up to $40 thereafter
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • No annual fee
    • 0% APR on purchases for 14 months (11.99% to 22.99% variable APR after that)

    creditcards.com

    What It’s Like Living In An RV

    Living in an RV is a lot of fun. We sold our house last year and haven't regretted it one bit. Are you thinking about living in an RV?For the past year, me and my husband, as well as our two dogs, have been living in an RV.

    Some people think we’re crazy (okay, most people think that), others are extremely interested and want to do it as well, but the most common question we receive from anyone is “What is it like living in an RV?”

    Makes sense, as living in an RV isn’t the “normal” American dream.

    Just over a year ago, I never thought I’d live in an RV either. It was never a dream of mine or anything like that. I never gave it a second thought.

    However, one step into an RV and I knew it was for me. Living in our RV full-time has been the best thing ever, and we truly love living in an RV.

    In case you’re new here, below is a picture of our home:

    Living in an RV is a lot of fun. We sold our house last year and haven't regretted it one bit. Are you thinking about living in an RV?

    In the past year, we’ve traveled around 15,000 miles in the RV, with even more miles put on our Jeep.

    We’ve already traveled to many awesome places in our RV, such as:

    • The Pacific Northwest (Wes cycled 1,000 miles from Port Angeles, Washington to San Francisco, California, while I drove myself and our two dogs in the RV). We went to Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, Kalaloch and Ruby Beach, Hoh National Rainforest, La Push Beach, and many other beautiful places. This was the trip of a lifetime!
    • Utah (many times) – Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, and many other places.
    • Colorado (many times) – Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado National Monument, Dinosaur National Monument, and many other places.
    • “Home” in Missouri
    • Mississippi
    • Arizona – Saguaro National Park, Tucson, Sedona, and many other places.
    • California – This was a part of the Pacific Northwest trip, but we continued on and hopped along beaches all the way to Los Angeles.
    • Wyoming – Yellowstone National Park and Grand Tetons National Park
    • Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    And much, much more.

    If you’re interested in RVing, check out these other blog posts on Making Sense of Cents:

    • The Ultimate Guide To Getting Started RVing
    • Becoming an RV Family – How We Travel Full-Time With 4 Kids and 2 Dogs
    • How To Make Money While RVing
    • How Much Does It Cost To RV?
    • Common RV Questions – Yes, I Even Talk About What We Do With #2
    • Beginner RV Tips – Dreaming Of A Life On The Road?

    Here is what it’s like living in an RV.

     

    You can park your home wherever you want to.

    This is probably one of the best things about living in an RV. Going on vacations is nice, but I love being able to bring my entire home with me. This way I’m not forgetting anything, and because my home is always with me, I still get to live comfortably.

    We get to park our home wherever we want. This means that we can follow great weather, visit family and friends whenever it’s convenient for everyone, move to awesome new places whenever we want, and so on.

    Following the weather is something that we truly love. We really only have clothes for one season, so we avoid places that are cold.

    I pretty much wear flip flops, shorts, and tank tops year round, which is really nice.

     

    It’s exciting living in new places all the time.

    You cannot beat the kind of views we’ve had out of our RV window.

    And, there have been a lot of them.

    We’ve seen beautiful national parks right outside our window, amazing mountain ranges, all different kinds of landscapes, and more.

    This means that there are always plenty of things to do. Boredom is a thing of the past, and I really cannot remember the last time I said I was bored. We can go on hikes all the time, paddle board, try a new restaurant, go Jeeping, biking, and more.

     

    Not seeing friends and family all the time is different.

    I’m not going to lie, when we first started RVing, I was a little sad.

    Not seeing friends and family as much as we were used to was hard, especially knowing that we’re missing out on big life events and all of the little things in between. We still try to go home as often as we can.

    However, this feeling has passed a little bit. I no longer get that FOMO (fear of missing out) feeling as much as I did in the beginning.

    Now, we really just try to enjoy the times when we do go back, even if they are brief.

     

    Working while living in an RV is a great thing.

    Living in an RV has taught me to better manage a comfortable work-life balance, work ahead, as well as seek ways to increase my passive income.

    Due to all of this, my business income has significantly increased, and I now manage everything much better.

    Working while living in an RV is super nice, as you can probably tell!

    Plus, having great views while you work is very motivating. It’s really refreshing to sit in the passenger seat up front, and just work while glancing at the scenery right outside our front window.

    Also, I’ve had a lot of you ask what I’m using for internet. I am using a Verizon MiFi Jetpack. I also have AT&T for our cell phones so that we are always covered. This may sound crazy, but every RVer we’ve met has the same set up.

    Note: Read more about how I earn a living on the road.

     

    Watching scary movies in an RV makes them even scarier.

    If you’re a fan of scary movies or TV shows involving zombies (like The Walking Dead), everything becomes even more enjoyable (i.e. scarier) when you’re watching it in an RV.

    Note: Good luck letting the dogs out at night after doing this.

     

    Driving an RV can be fun, but also stressful.

    Wes always drives our RV, and I’m always sitting up front with him so that we can have a second set of eyes watching the road at all times.

    Driving an RV isn’t necessarily hard, but there are a lot of bad drivers out there who are especially bad around RVers. Plus, you have to watch for construction areas, big dips in the road, and so on.

    Due to this, we limit our driving to 250 miles a day on travel days. However, because we travel fairly slowly, travel days don’t come around too often.

     

    Making friends when living in an RV is interesting.

    Whenever we make new RV friends, it’s like we’re long lost best friends. There’s always an instant connection, lots of laughs after just a few moments of meeting each other, and going our separate ways (a normal thing in RV life) is always a little sad.

    One time we had a young couple knock on our RV door and ask us if we wanted to hang out with them for drinks that night. We had never met them before, but they said they saw us roll into the campground and that they wanted to hang out.

    This is a completely normal thing when living in an RV, haha!

     

    Downsizing is liberating.

    Living in an RV means that you’ll have to downsize. While some people dread this, getting rid of nearly all of your stuff is extremely liberating.

    When we sold our house and moved into an RV, we donated and got rid of a lot of our belongings. At first it was difficult to get rid of so much, but it became easier as time went on.

    These days, all we have is what we have with us. We have a small amount of everything, and we like it best this way.

    We are much more mindful of what we buy, we waste hardly anything, and this is allowing us to save money as well.

    Plus, when you’re RVing, you no longer have a need to buy as much stuff because the outdoors take up all of your time. Whereas before we would waste time by going to the mall, Target, and other stores- we hardly ever do that now. Now, we spend a lot of our time exploring new places.

    Read more at Downsizing Your Home? Here’s How I Went From A 2,000 Square Foot House To An RV.

     

    We still get along in close quarters.

    One of the top questions I hear is “Do you guys get along even though you’re in such a tight space?”

    Yes, we do. If we didn’t, RVing would be near impossible. We’ve been near RVers who’ve gotten into heated fights, and let me tell you- fighting in an RV isn’t fun, haha.

    Everyone can hear you, and there’s really nowhere to escape to.

     

    Yes, RVers take showers.

    For some reason, some people believe that RVers don’t take showers or use the bathroom. We have both a shower and a bathroom in our RV, so you don’t have to worry about that any more 🙂

    Showering in an RV isn’t as nice as showering at home. We have to watch the amount of hot water we use, but we haven’t really had any problems with that so I don’t have any complaints.

     

    Food tastes better when living in an RV.

    Me and Wes always talk about this, but it’s true – meals in an RV always taste better. I think it has to do with always having great views.

    Are you interested in living in an RV? Why or why not?

     

    The post What It’s Like Living In An RV appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

    Source: makingsenseofcents.com

    Compliments to the Chef

    As more Americans turn to home cooking and entertaining, the functionality of a kitchen is more important than ever when choosing a home.

    Over the past half-century, kitchens have become somewhat fetishized; a place to display high-tech appliances and high design cookware, a social hub for friends and family, and a continuation of home style that showcases elegance and considered design choices. Pare it back to basics, though, and today’s kitchen is still essentially what it always has been: a place to prepare food. And homeowners, spurred recently by stay-at-home orders, but also inspired by home-cooking television shows, health concerns and the rising expense of dining out, are increasingly relying on their kitchens in times when eating out is not an option, as well as using their kitchens as additional entertainment space; somewhere to try their hand at cooking for their friends and family. For house hunters who relish the opportunity to regularly entertain and prepare food for guests, it pays to know what to look for when assessing kitchen space during your house search—and the best person to ask is an expert.

    Edouard Massih is a private chef and caterer in New York City. He hosts intimate dinners in his own home, giving local diners the experience of enjoying his food in a less formal, more personal way. Massih, who was born in Lebanon, found his love for cooking in his grandmother’s kitchen. Sharing food and creating community has always been the driving force behind Massih’s cooking, and he has discovered a way to do that in his own backyard—literally.

    “I wanted to invite people into my backyard, because I had a very unique space in Brooklyn, and not a lot of people [in New York] get to have dinners in a backyard,” Massih says. To bring to life his vision of cooking for the community, Massih extensively renovated his Greenpoint backyard, creating a lush urban escape where guests can enjoy the exquisite food that he prepares in his own kitchen—each dish enhanced by a dash of his grandfather’s olive oil, all the way from Lebanon.

    Having worked on his kitchen to ensure that it had everything that he needed to support his at-home dining experiences, Massih has the knowledge of both a professional chef and a home cook. We asked him for some tips to help aspiring culinary hosts to choose the right kitchen space, starting with the five kitchen elements that he finds to be indispensable. First, Massih says, is “the right fridge, or the right fridge space.” Part of taking the pressure off yourself when entertaining, he says, is making sure that you’re prepared in advance. “Entertaining is all about making it simple for yourself when people are there— being able to prep ahead and batching the drinks; having the pitchers of water ready in the fridge; and having everything ready to go. Maybe serve more cold stuff than hot. You can do a pasta salad and an orzo salad, and make it two hours in advance.”

    Preparing food in advance, chilling drinks and ensuring that all of your produce is fresh all comes down to having the right fridge. And while interactive fridges with weather forecasts and recipe databases can be useful, the main thing is space—and plenty of it. If you want to get fancy, you could go for a hot-water dispenser and temperature-adjustable drawers, both of which assist in various cooking processes; just make sure that you have enough shelf space to hold all of the food and beverages that you’ve prepped for your guests.

    Compliments to the Chef image 1

    Because you can’t make a lot of food without creating a lot of mess, Massih insists that having two sinks is vital: one dedicated to food prep, and one to cleanup. You can keep your prep equipment near your prep sink (think bowls, colanders, appliances), and dishes near the cleanup sink (which should ideally be close to the dishwasher). In addition, having two sinks creates more flexibility for multiple cooks, and streamlines the flow while you’re cooking.

    The third must-have for Massih is “a lot of prep area—lots of counter space.” You need space for laying out, preparing and organizing ingredients, which most people consider when thinking about counter space; but if you’re planning on entertaining groups of diners, you also need enough counter space to plate all of the meals at once. Nobody wants to be balancing plates on top of kitchen stools because there’s not enough room for everything on the countertop.

    Fourth for Massih is storage, in terms of both kitchen cabinets and a decent pantry. You want plenty of space, and also space that complements your cooking flow. Pots and pans should be as close to your stove as possible—either on a rack above or in a cabinet below—and serving utensils like spoons and tongs should be close to where you do your plating, to minimize the number of steps you have to take to collect your cooking tools, which helps with efficiency when you’re cooking for a group of people. A walk-in pantry is ideal, with various shelf sizes and storage options for appliances that are not in regular use. For chefs, there’s nothing worse than a cluttered cooktop.

    Lastly, Massih emphasizes the importance of, as he calls it, “legit trash.” “You want a trash can that’s near the sink or accessible around [where you’re working], and not one of those little tiny trash barrels that fits nothing,” he says. “Otherwise, every two minutes, you’ll have to take the trash out when you’re prepping.” Massih also spends a lot of time cooking in other people’s kitchens as part of his catering and private-chef business, and the one feature that he is always delighted to see is a back kitchen.

    “What is really nice about some of [the private homes that I cook in] is they have a back kitchen, like the ‘help’ kitchen,” he says. “That really does help a lot. If I [had the resources], and I was looking for a house to entertain in a lot or to do a lot of dinners in, then that’s definitely something that I would look for. “A lot of these kitchens nowadays are very open-plan, because the idea of it is that it’s really fun. But it gets annoying when you’re [hosting] a formal dinner, and you can’t do dishes [or hide them away] while your guests are eating. Having a small back kitchen really helps, because then you can hide all of the stuff that you don’t want people to see.”

    There’s nothing wrong with a kitchen as a style statement, and most people whose interests lie in kitchens will admit to some fetish-like reverence. Just keep practical concerns in mind, particularly when you have culinary aspirations; remember, you can have a waterfall countertop AND legit trash. That’s what we call the best of both worlds.

    For more information on Edouard Massih and his home-style cooking, visit www.edouardmassih.com.

    The post Compliments to the Chef first appeared on Century 21®.

    Source: century21.com

    This Dream Getaway Home is Part of a $220 Million Aspen Ranch

    If you’re a fan of the mountain farmhouse aesthetic, you’re in for a treat. Nestled into a hillside just minutes away from Aspen core sits the Mount Daly House, one of the eight modern ranch retreats at the 800-acre Aspen Valley Ranch.

    The massive Colorado ranch — owned by oil and gas executive Charif Souki — was initially listed back in May 2020 for $220 million, which propelled it to the top of the list of most expensive residential properties for sale in the U.S.

    Since then, marketing efforts for the property, led by Souki’s son, Chris Souki, along with Carrie Wells (both with Coldwell Banker) have shifted, with the massive ranch being divided into more manageable assets. One of which is the biggest home on the ranch, Mount Daly, which has been listed alongside a future homesite (so far simply titled Lot 9), which has a 13,000-square-foot proposed floorplan that would outshine all the other existing homesteads on the property.

    Inside Mount Daly, a luxury ranch home in Aspen, Colorado.
    Inside Mount Daly, a luxury ranch home in Aspen, Colorado. Image credit: Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate

    The asking price for the two properties — Mount Daly and Lot 9, the future homesite of a 6-bed, 9-bath dream ranch home with a generous 13,000-square-foot floorplan — is a whopping $30 million, but that’s not above the mark for properties in the area, especially considering that the lots total 82 acres (in what’s undoubtedly a phenomenal location).

    Mount Daly house has 5,373 square feet and comes with 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, and a barn. Designed by Michael Fuller, the residence beams with mountain farmhouse aesthetic, with its interiors paying homage to western culture and history, boasting reclaimed beams, barn wood, stone features, and other traditional ranch-style elements.

    kitchen-luxury-mountain-retreat-in-aspen
    Inside Mount Daly, a luxury ranch home in Aspen, Colorado. Image credit: Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate
    wooden bedroom of a luxury home in aspen
    Inside Mount Daly, a luxury ranch home in Aspen, Colorado. Image credit: Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate
    bathroom of a luxury ranch in aspen, colorado
    Inside Mount Daly, a luxury ranch home in Aspen, Colorado. Image credit: Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate

    Best of all, the home rests on the valley floor at the confluence of two mountains, offering some of the best Elk Mountain range views. The massive windows carefully placed throughout the home make the most of these views, and invite calm and relaxation.

    picture perfect views of the mountains from inside the aspen ranch
    Inside Mount Daly, a luxury ranch home in Aspen, Colorado. Image credit: Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate
    outdoor entertaining area of a luxury aspen ranch in colorado
    Outdoor entertaining area at Mount Daly, a luxury ranch home in Aspen, Colorado. Image credit: Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate

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    The post This Dream Getaway Home is Part of a $220 Million Aspen Ranch appeared first on Fancy Pants Homes.

    Source: fancypantshomes.com