Memorial Day weekend is almost upon us, so it’s time to start thinking about vacation, if you haven’t already done so. (As an aside, if you are wondering what vacations have to do with practice management, please see prior posts on lawyer wellness and think about how much you really need a break!!)
A few thoughts before turning to apps or sites that may help you have a better vacation:
First, you need to do some planning and preparation in your practice so that you’ll be able to turn off your cell phone (at least most of the time), stop continuously checking your email (maybe check it once a day?), and worrying about your clients, their cases and your practice. Do you need to arrange court coverage? Do you need to request continuances (if possible without harming your client) or deadline extensions? Are you sufficiently organized to the point that you know what will be coming up on your return? Do you have a sufficiently informative “out of office” message on your voicemail and email? Do you have a contingency for emergencies if those are likely in your practice area? Doing some advance planning will undoubtedly help you avoid a crisis or mess when you get home (yes, it may require some additional time, but you’ll be glad you did it).
Now that you’ve attended to your practice and made the appropriate plans, how about making some vacation plans?
One of our favorite (non-legal) technology blogs recently focused on travel/vacation apps. Here are some of the sites they recommend when travel is on the agenda:
- Expedia or Kayak for finding airfare, hotels, and last-minute “cheap” rates
- Momondo’s Trip Finder or Skyscanner to search for lower prices in a variety of destinations – best used if your dates and locations are flexible
- Airbnb (no explanation needed, right?) or BedandBreakfast.com (for reservations in more “traditional” B&B’s)
- Hotels.com or Booking.com
Here are some of our favorites:
- Tripadvisor.com for hotel reviews, ratings and remarkably illuminating photos taken by travelers (the ones of hotel rooms are usually so much more realistic than the promotional photos taken by the hotels). You can also find restaurants, with ratings and comments. We’ve gotten recommendations here that have led to truly amazing meals
- Weather.com – really. Check the weather; you don’t want to pack for sun when you’ll get rain; heat when you’ll get chilled; you get the drift
- iExit is a great app if you are on a road trip because it gives you information about the amenities in coming exits. It’s free in the App Store or Google Play and is worth its weight in gold, particularly if you are travelling with children
- Gasbuddy.com (also has a free app) has gas prices and locations. The only downside is that it is populated by information provided by other drivers, so if no one has been on your particular route in a while, it may not have the most current information. (We also use it to find cheaper gas around home – you’d be surprised at the variation in prices locally!)
- Do we even need to mention Google Maps, or Waze?
And one more, if you are going to the house(s) that Mickey built (aka Disneyland or DisneyWorld) be sure to download the respective apps and be sure to buy the Fastpass/free photo option (we get no kickbacks from them). Nothing like getting on the shorter line, a little advance notice about which rides are closed, how long wait times are, and where all of the amenities are located to make the trip better. And having Disney photographers pose you or your group in front of their most memorable locations will assure that no one’s head is cut off in the photo.