Planning for Summer Vacation Part 2

Planning for Summer Vacation Part 2

Where's Wilson, The Newest ICLEF Blog

In the newest Where’s Wilson 2-Part Series, our ICLEF travel expert, John Wilson explains how to plan for vacations.

Planning Your Summer Vacation, Part 2
By John Wilson

To read Part 1, Click Here.

When to Go?:
Some companies will only tour in the prime season, but others go year round. While I check their sites for when they say is the prime time to travel, (higher cost can be, but is not always an indicator), I also Google the weather for the locations and look to travel guides that I usually get from the public library. I also like to look for the “shoulder season,” when trips may be cheaper but weather and other factors are still good. It is a lot less expensive to fly to Europe in late September or October than in summer. But there will be smaller crowds and the weather may be better than summer. Frommer’s is my favorite travel guide based both on quality of information and how it is organized. I also use Fodor’s and Lonely Planet. For now South East Asia is on hold. I wanted to go around May. For Thailand and countries close to there, it turned out to be uncomfortably close to the monsoon season. New Delhi has an average high of one hundred degrees that time of year and Nepal has haze in the mountains. January and February work for all. More to come on South East Asia next year.

Accommodations and Things to Do:
If you decide to travel independently, use the websites and guide books mentioned in Part 1 to help with lodging choices, locations, and sights that you want to see. For lodging, also look at TripAdvisor. Take some of the reviews, particularly the best and worst with a grain of salt, but generally it is possible to find a number of suitable alternatives. Don’t forget to look at the B&B and specialty lodging sections. Unless I find a small hotel I like, I usually get accommodations from the B&B and specialty lodging areas. While on TripAdvisor for your room, check out the “Things to Do” section including the “Attractions.” I like to do things that are a little out of the main stream. This is a great place to find them. TripAdvisor can be more current than guide books. For lodging, you can also look at Airbnb and VRBO. I have used both successfully. I have never stayed at a place that did not have a number of positive reviews by users on these sites. For the more adventurous/economical, look at Hostels.com and Couchsurfing.org. I have used Hostels.com and been satisfied. I feel the user reviews are critical to my being comfortable staying in a “hostel environment.” Once again, give very close scrutiny to the user reviews. In hostels, I have always stayed in private rooms, which most hostels have in addition to multishare rooms. I have not used, but have met people who have and who have enjoyed Couchsurfing.org. Generally you stay for free, sometimes on a couch but other times in better quarters.

All Frommer’s guidebooks have a “The best of ….” section and suggested itineraries. I pick and chose from them. Not all will be right for you. All the guide books and websites ranked the Russian banyans (baths) as a don’t miss. My daughter rated it a definite do miss and we did not make that site.

Tours or Independent Travel?:
I usually look at both ways and may “mix and match” on the same vacation. Factors in favor of independent travel include: a vacation in one location, i.e. beach, London, or Rio de Janeiro; locations where English is spoken, Sydney, the US, South Africa and most of Europe where English may not be the first language, but it is widely spoken; “safer” countries, i.e., US vs. Canada. Just kidding. The least safe thing that could happen to you in Canada would be to be eaten by a polar bear or get caught up in a hockey riot. But some of the Central American countries might be a little iffy in some areas. I am more likely to travel independently if I am traveling with friends and family rather than traveling solo.

No generalization works in all cases. I went to China and Rio solo. Beijing was for the Olympics. My research helped me find a hostel where English was spoken and a friend correctly advised me that taxis were inexpensive and a simple way to get around. I met some Aussies who I hung out with for the entire trip. I went to Rio alone, which in retrospect I would not do again, because English was not widely spoken. While Portuguese is similar to Spanish when written, it is not at all like Spanish when spoken. My Spanish which is sufficient in Spanish speaking countries failed me in Rio and I was not able to enjoy meeting and conversing with local folks.

As we have gotten comfortable with solo travel outside the U.S., we have added an element. If we are planning on traveling about a country or region, we usually get reservations for lodging for the first day or so. After that, we only get accommodations as we go, either a day or so ahead or as we get to the new town. In 2012, we spent over three weeks in South Africa, starting in Cape Town. We had reservations for Cape Town. While we were there, we talked to as many local folks as we could about where they would recommend we go on the Garden Route along the south west coast and where to stay. The result was a much better vacation than I could have planned from home. We did have occasions where we arrived in town with our prospective lodging full. Our standard approach then was to find the local tourist office or, and this is usually more fun, a bar with internet. It was not unusual that before we got online, a bartender or patron had a recommendation. In the town of Prince Albert, SA, we needed a room and were on a sidewalk on Main Street looking for a bar. The owner of a shop where we were standing asked us if we needed help. We never made it to the bar. He called Esme a block down the street to see if she had a room at her B&B, the Bougain-Villa. She did. We rented it. An hour later we were invited to join her and her husband, John, and some friends for dinner on the Braai (grill).

Sometimes traveling solo is a viable option, but taking a tour can be more fun, equally or more economical and more efficient. In Peru, I had a package that included, hiking the Inca Trail, traversing Lake Titicaca (including an Amantani Island home stay) and a stay in the Amazon Basin. The tour included so many minor added sights and events that the company’s marketers couldn’t get them all in the marketing materials. The tour director was great and my fifteen new travel buddies from all over the world were so much fun that we hung together even during our free time. My new friends and travel companions graciously overlooked the fact that I was thirty years older than the next oldest person on our tour.

For the now postponed South East Asia trip, where I may or may not travel alone for all or part of the trip, I was looking at a tour from New Delhi to Kathmandu, Nepal, trekking in Nepal and a tour from Bankok to Hanoi. Organizing independent travel with all the transportation, lodging, and sightseeing would be more complex than I wanted to handle. On the other hand, I couldn’t find a set tour in Nepal that met my needs. I will set up my own lodging and hiking there. I am anticipating that I will get a lot of info from fellow travelers on the way there, and maybe hook up with some of the India tour travelers when in Nepal.

If that does not happen, I have found through research that there are lots of good hiking companies out of Kathmandu that I can hire when I get there. If none of the above works for you, wait for some of my future blogs. I plan to cover Favorite Cities of the World and Favorite Hikes and Adventures next.

P.S. When your friends and family tell you they are going on a great trip, don’t forget to ask them if you can go along.
Thanks; Greg Shelley, -Witches’ Rock Surf Camp; Bruce, – Canada Golf and The Anchor Bar, home of the original Buffalo Wing; John and Karen, -London, Phoenix & the Grand Canyon, Santiago, Chile, Roatan, Honduras (Jeff & Michelle, too), Seabrook Island, and next up, Seattle; Llyod & Wendy -Italy, (try to find Montisi in Tuscany); Martin and Bjorn, – Norway; Mike and Kris,- Mt. LeConte; David and Mary Ann, – Sandbridge, Va.; Mo, – Belfast; David & Walt, – The Masters; Bob and Jan, -Pebble Beach; Bridget, -Barbados; Mike (Captain Mike) and Trish, Nick (of the infamous Columbus Day Regatta) and Libby – the British Virgin Islands; Tara & Sasha, – the British Virgin Islands when your friends forget to show up; Margaret, Dover & the Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon; and the man who started it all, Jack O’Bryan – Freeport, Kamloops, and all of Europe.

P.P.S. Don’t say, “I’ll go next time.”

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This is one of an ongoing series of travel discussions by John Wilson, retired lawyer and trust banker. John was motivated to start this series when he realized that his travel bio was more extensive and interesting than his legal credentials for doing ICLEF talks. He has traveled to forty-five states, over sixty countries and all continents except Antarctica.

If you have travel questions or tips of your own that you would like to suggest please contact ICLEF’s travel expert, John Wilson, by Clicking Here.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

 

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Indiana Trial Court Improperly Modified Custody

Case: In Re Paternity of D.T. (Minor Child) Diamond T. Parks (Mother) v. Deante Rashon Tate (Father) 
by Mike Kohlhaas, Bingham Greenebaum Doll

HELD: Because it lacked subject matter jurisdiction, Indiana trial court improperly modified custody in favor of Father where the trial court had acquired the case pursuant to a Uniform Interstate Family Support Act matter that originated in Mississippi.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
Mother is a resident of Mississippi. In 2011, she filed, in Mississippi state court, a paternity action against Father, in order to enforce child support and obtain Medicaid benefits. Father lived in Anderson, Indiana, so the Mississippi Department of Human Resources sought enforcement assistance from the Madison Circuit Court in Indiana. That court held a hearing, at which Father admitted paternity.

Subsequently, Father filed in the same trial court a petition to modify custody. Due to defective service, Mother was unaware of Father’s petition and did not appear at the subsequent hearing. After the hearing, the trial court awarded custody to Father, from which Mother appealed.

Mother argued on appeal that the custody modification order was improper because the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to issue such an order, and due to lack of personal jurisdiction and defective service of process.

The Court of Appeals agreed with Mother that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Under Indiana’s UIFSA statute, when an Indiana trial court is involved in a foreign UIFSA proceeding, “[n]othing in this chapter shall be construed to confer jurisdiction on the court to determine issues of custody, parenting time, or the surname of the child.” There is a separate provision in the statute that permits the parents to consent to such subject matter jurisdiction, but the Court of Appeals concluded that Mother never gave any such consent.

The trial court’s custody order in favor of Father was reversed as void for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

To view the text of this opinion in its entirety, click here: In Re Paternity of D.T. (Minor Child) Diamond T. Parks (Mother) v. Deante Rashon Tate (Father)

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The Indiana Family Law Update is a free service provided by the Matrimonial Law Group of Bingham Greenebaum Doll, LLP. While significant efforts are made to ensure an accurate summary and reproduction of each opinion, readers are advised to verify all content and analysis with a traditional case law reporter before relying on the content and analysis offered here.
ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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Planning Your Summer Vacation

Planning Your Summer Vacation

Where's Wilson, The Newest ICLEF Blog

In the newest Where’s Wilson 2-Part Series, our ICLEF travel expert, John Wilson explains how to plan for vacations.

Planning Your Summer Vacation, Part 1
By John Wilson

For me, there are three distinct parts to every vacation: planning, the event itself and for lack of a more discreet term, the afterglow. The afterglow is when you consolidate your memories, enjoy your pictures and souvenirs, and take the stories that were interesting and embellish them to amazing. Not many people enjoy planning a trip as much as I do. There are no travel agents who have the time or inclination to work with me in the detail that I enjoy. In this article, I will give you a number of techniques I use working on my own to make a trip more fun, more convenient and less costly. If you incorporate one or two in your planning process, I will consider this writing a success. If you like all of the ideas, we need to have lunch with an atlas….You buy.

How to Decide Where to Go:
Sometimes you decide on the vacation or location and other times it decides for you. I have a piece of paper with about twenty or thirty destinations that I have not been to, but would like to visit. I created it five years ago while sitting in front of a peat fire on a chilly, foggy night in Northern Ireland. My wife and I were visiting our daughter who was in Belfast for a year. I had been traveling a lot to interesting locations and thought I might be running out of places to visit. The exercise proved me wrong. I kept coming up with new places to get excited about in both the U.S. and elsewhere. Since then, I have visited a number of the places on the list, but not as many as I would have expected. Other places keep calling me in addition to those on the list.

On occasion, a family member or I have just wanted some R&R. To us, that usually means a beach vacation. If you need some R&R and beach vacations are the answer for you, take a look at my Where’s Wilson blog article, My Favorite & Least Favorite Beach Vacations.

Don’t have a specific vacation in mind, but want to start the dreaming process? Take a look at these websites which primarily have guided tours. I will discuss the pros and cons of guided tours later. For now look at the trips to see what interests you. These companies are able to offer these tours continuously because they go to some of the most popular destinations world wide. The tours they offer span the gamut from easy, both physically and culturally, to way out there, literally and figuratively. I tend to travel economically both for the obvious reason and because I find the people that travel this way interesting. Sites I look at (and sign up for e-mails on trips and specials) include: G AdventuresGate 1 Travel & Intrepid

Grand Circle Cruise Line and Viking Cruises have some great itineraries for river and other cruises. A little more upscale with mostly Americans over sixty with great itineraries is Overseas Adventure Travel (OATS). These sites consistently discount tour prices if you can travel on short notice. My twenty something daughter and I went on a short notice OATs trip to Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece. The price and itinerary were great. Forty-nine of the fifty people on the tour were over sixty years old. This was not ideal for my daughter who was the fiftieth person. The fact that our tour guide sounded exactly like Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle (and the young international staff of the ship) made up for it. In the category I consider expensive is National Geographic Expeditions. For the purpose of the dreaming exercise, look at all. They all have trips that can stimulate thought.

I was on fire to go to Mongolia. By looking at popular tour company itineraries, I realized that Mongolia would have amazing sights and experiences, but would require much more time riding buses than I wanted. I also wanted to go to Morocco. Looking at organized tours on G Adventure’s website, I was able to determine feasible routes, places to visit, and that it was economically within my range.

South East Asia is on my mind now. Reviewing the sites above, I was able to determine there are more areas of interest and itineraries than I could experience on one or more vacations. India, Nepal for trekking, Thailand, Laos, Viet Nam and Cambodia for culture, and some beach time. Then down to Malaysia and Indonesia, Bali and Java. Borneo? Who knows? Reviewing the cost of the trips on the sites, allowed me to extrapolate that the costs in the area were within my budget, whether I traveled independently, on a tour, or did a mix of both.

Air Travel:
Next I studied airfare to South East Asia and time of travel. It’s a long way. Distance will not put a quietus on a trip for me, but cost will. Even though many tours include airfare (and my have the best price), I check air fare separately and on multiple sites. For international travel, I like Yapta, Skyscanner, and Kayak. I also use Orbitz, Travelocity, and Expedia, more for the US, Caribbean and Central America. Yapta is good because it can track the change of prices for specific flights going forward and alert you to those changes. Southwest Airlines does not show on most sites and should be checked separately.

If you are planning late for a trip and having trouble finding a reasonably priced room and/or flight, look at packaged vacations on Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia. They may have inventory that you cannot get to separately.

Be creative in checking flights. For example, even if you want to start your trip in Hanoi, also check the flight to Bangkok, because it’s a hub. It may be cheaper to fly to Bangkok and get a regional flight to Hanoi. On my recent trip to Sochi, flights on the above sites were all showing around $2500. By breaking up my search to be Indy to Moscow, $950, and Moscow to Sochi, $300, the flight came within my means. (I did also check reviews for the Russian airline I was using, S7, which turned out to be on time, with new planes and flight attendants right out of the 50′s of U.S. air history.) For trips from Indy, I also check flights out of Chicago. Recently, a flight to Quito, Ecuador from Indy was around $1200. From Chicago, it was $750.

I have airports that I like and others that I avoid. I do not fly to Chicago from Indy. In my unproven, but strongly experienced opinion, because Indy is so close to Chicago, when backups occur in Chicago, Indy is one of the first airports from which flights are delayed. The weather can be fine here, you can be on the plane and still not get to Chicago for hours. I do not want to risk missing the only connecting flight to Kathmandu because I can’t get to Chicago. If Chicago flights are too good to pass up, I drive there. I will consider returning through Chicago because the long distance flights into Chicago will not be cancelled. However, flights to Indy, even though there are a bunch of them, can be frustratingly delayed also. If you fly through Newark, I will not respect you in the morning. – And that will be the morning you are still in Newark because your flight-in was delayed and you missed your connection.

My favorite airport is Charlotte which is relatively small, convenient to navigate, and from which you can catch a surprising number of connections to Europe and the Caribbean. For connections, I also like Detroit (you don’t have to go into the city), Minneapolis (in the winter, they know how to handle snow), and Cleveland. Atlanta and Houston are larger airports, hence I plan a little more time between connections, but I have had good luck there. I have had a lot of burgers in the Friday’s at Hartsfield International in Atlanta after coming off a week of great seafood in the islands. Others may disagree, but I will also travel out of Boston and Philly. The New York and Miami airports are not my favorites, but I will fly out of them when other options are not working.

Join us next week for Part 2: Where to Go and Accommodations and Things to Do

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This is one of an ongoing series of travel discussions by John Wilson, retired lawyer and trust banker. John was motivated to start this series when he realized that his travel bio was more extensive and interesting than his legal credentials for doing ICLEF talks. He has traveled to forty-five states, over sixty countries and all continents except Antarctica.

If you have travel questions or tips of your own that you would like to suggest please contact ICLEF’s travel expert, John Wilson, by Clicking Here.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Where's Wilson: Travel Discussions0 Comments

Amateur Life Coach Season 2 Preview

Amateur Life Coach Season 2 Preview

James J. Bell, ICLEF's Amateur Life Coach

Amateur Life Coach Returns for Season 2 on April 29th

The Amateur Life Coach (also known as attorney James J. Bell of Bingham Greenebaum Doll) will once again provide you insights to both law and life in his own, unique way starting April 29th..

As we get ready to roll out another season of the Life Coach, take a sneak peek at what and who he has in store for you:

Now, you can also “like” the Amateur Life Coach at Facebook!  Visit his facebook account today and catch up on his day-to-day activities.

Questions for the Amateur Life Coach?  Email them to scottking@iclef.org or iclef@iclef.org

Written and performed by James J. Bell. Produced by the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum.
This video is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional advice.

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James focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense; attorney discipline defense and health care law. As a Marion County Public Defender, he represented clients in numerous jury and bench trials. James also represents clients in juvenile delinquency, appeals and post-conviction proceedings. James is a frequent ICLEF speaker on ethics, trial practice and criminal procedure. James just completed his first semester as an adjunct professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law where he teaches a course on professional responsibility. To date, no student has yet stood on their desk and shouted “Oh captain, my captain!” Follow James on Twitter @jamesjbell

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Amateur Life Coach, Sale/Featured Items0 Comments