Monday, April 25, 2011

Getting Started with Time Off The Bench

Since getting our kids out of college, Mary Ann and I have taken up the fun of both national and international travel. We have always enjoyed travel, but travel has now become a real passion. The greatest challenge is that Mary Ann wants to go first class and I want to go cheap.

I certainly am not a travel expert, but I thought I could share some of the fun things we have done and maybe pass on a few suggestions and ideas. Judicial service has always limited travel time because it is hard to be away for too long. This problem is not unique to the bench, as the time for vacations for all Americans is getting shorter and shorter. The travel industry has figured this out, and there are all sorts of inexpensive (even cheap!) week long air and land packages to interesting and exotic destinations with the opportunity for independent exploration.

Over the years we have experienced all sorts of travel, to include group tours, completely self developed travel, fly and drive deals, fly and city trips, cruises, and lots of business travel with exploration extensions. I have used travel agents, but mostly during the last few years I have made my own arrangements by phone or the internet. Even when using a travel agent I usually have a good idea of what I want, and then let them work out the details. Probably, the most fun I have is developing the trip, and then spending lots of “time off the bench” studying the applicable guide book.

About five years ago I lucked into finding a magazine that really fits my travel nature (cheap!). It is Arthur Frommers BudgetTravel. The magazine comes out monthly and is inexpensive ($12.00 per year). The beauty of the magazine is that it teaches you how to travel inexpensively, while staying at great facilities, and gives you hundreds of available possible travel opportunities. As an example each issue gives you the best 40 bargain vacations for the next three months divided into the categories of USA & Canada, Caribbean & Mexico, Central and South America, Trans-Atlantic, and Trans-Pacific. I suggest you go to or You can subscribe to the magazine from the website (or call 800-829-9121), or you can review many of their articles from the magazine. You can also receive their free e-mail daily newsletter which lists new bargain vacations. This newsletter will start your day with a smile thinking about great vacation possibilities.

In my next article we will start traveling! I can’t wait to tell you about the trip to Vienna last year.

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