Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

18 Sivan 5766 - June 14, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Another Vacation, Another List of Vacation Tips
by Shoshana

It's ironic that some of us who couldn't wait to make aliyah and realize our dream of living in Israel, dream, once summer rolls around, of going anywhere else to escape the heat, congestion and throng of tourists who themselves have dreamed of leaving wherever they live and coming to Israel. (Others are quite happy where they are. - Ed.)

It's quite likely that some of us would want to go traveling on vacation even if we were still living in the Garden of Eden. Wherever we are, and wherever we want to be, we are daunted in our vacation plans by unlimited choices and a limited budget. And so, a few tips to wade through the lagoons of vacationland.

1. The most economical way to travel is on business, i.e. they pay you to go where you want to go anyway. I recently managed to procure an almost free week in London by having a friend arrange for me to lecture while I'm there and then offer to accommodate me. I'll be "working" four hours of my time there and the rest of the time having a spot of vacation. Any number of businesses lend themselves to this kind of arrangement, among them: computer consulting, working as a doctor, taking care of others' children (while they go on vacation), fundraising, being a camp counselor, teaching summer school, buying for a company, covering a news story or guest lecturing. You'd be surprised what they'll pay you for if you just ask.

2. If working vacations don't appeal to you, you can always go the house swap, car swap, headache swap route. Find someone who is ready to exchange neighborhoods with you for the duration. You're still left with the cost of travel but everything else is on the house — theirs. If you do this, you can also avail yourself of local facilities by also swamping any memberships to health clubs, museums, pools or the like. You don't have to go abroad to take advantage of the old switcheroo, even another city provides a change of scenery or you could exchange a country cabin for a city apartment.

3. Always shop around for the best prices. A big family may constitute a group and you can get a group rate or team up with the neighbors who also don't want to be stuck in the city.

4. Many cities at home and abroad offer freebies — attractions that are free at certain times, on certain days, sometimes all summer. Check with the local travel or tourist agencies or the municipalities to get a list or ask friends and neighbors.

5. One doesn't have to travel far to feel like one is on vacation. Ask your family members what they would like to do during the summer. There are many places and activities you don't get to all year right in your hometown. Going to the local beach or children's museum is just as much fun at home as away, if the kids don't see it all year long. The best way to make sure that you do what's on your list is to pencil it in. Make sure nothing interrupts your family time. Make yourself as unreachable as if you were really out of town. Word to the wise, don't try answering a cell phone while riding a camel.

6. Enroll yourself or your children in a course. If the course is intensive, you spend several hours a day immersed in another world.

7. There are many volunteer organizations that can be checked into (very carefully, of course).

8. Invite some guests for the summer. There's nothing to make you feel like you're on vacation as when you're playing tour guide. It's sort of vacationing vicariously, by osmosis, and seeing the good in your hometown through someone else's eyes. And again, you're practicing hachnassas orchim.

9. Visit another dimension in time. Time travel is very popular; that's why history tends to repeat itself. Since your children learn about the great men and women of Jewish history during the year, make one day a week a living history lesson and recreate the world of the Vilna Gaon, the Maharal from Prague, Don Yossef Abarbanel, etc.

10. A good suggestion (for next year) is to plan summer vacations a year in advance. Put away a few shekels a day (faithfully) in a special pushke; gather accessories and props you need and make a folder of ideas and information that you might find useful on any real or imagined trips. Then come next June, you're all set for a great summer!

And when all is said, done and returned to status quo for the fall, remember, there's no place like home.


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