Best Way to Plan Travels for Uncertainty?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills.
Post Reply
Topic Author
joeschmo
Posts: 195
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:37 pm

Best Way to Plan Travels for Uncertainty?

Post by joeschmo »

Hello,

For work I travel between the US and London/Paris/Amsterdam a lot to meet clients (self employed). I recently booked 2 weeks of lodging and a nice flight (business class for a change...), only to learn that it probably wasn't worth my while to meet this client at all. The flights weren't changeable so I lost 100% of the airfare and lodging fees. I'll travel there a few weeks later now and have to book a new flight to do that. :x Re lodging I am tempted just to rent a small flat, but I don't think I am in these cities long enough per year. So:

1. Do people have suggestions for how to make travels more flexible? Air travel insurance vs changeable airfares? Cancellable Airbnbs (rare and often the selection isn't great)? Favorite airlines for flexibility? (Virgin Atlantic not only wasn't flexible but required me to CHAT with them online and find replacement flights myself, which took 30 mins just to get any real info.)

2. Has anyone successfully hired a PA for a few hours here and there of travel booking help? I tried this once but I'd routinely find Airbnbs that she missed etc.

Thanks,
Joe
turnturnturn
Posts: 77
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:18 pm

Re: Best Way to Plan Travels for Uncertainty?

Post by turnturnturn »

Hi Joe,

I've no personal experience in this regard, but re: #2 above, you might want to enlist the help of a travel agent / travel consultant who specializes in business travel. That'd probably be more effective than a general-purpose PA. It sounds like you travel enough (and spend enough) that you'd benefit from an ongoing arrangement with a travel agency you trust.
Topic Author
joeschmo
Posts: 195
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:37 pm

Re: Best Way to Plan Travels for Uncertainty?

Post by joeschmo »

Thanks for the idea! I tried a local agency found on Google but they were only able to book rooms from pre-approved hotel inventory. Do you know how to find a business travel agent that won't privilege their "own" inventory and will even log into your Airbnb account for you?
Wannaretireearly
Posts: 3000
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:39 pm

Re: Best Way to Plan Travels for Uncertainty?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

Also interested in this topic. Buying fully flexible fares seems the main idea
Death and taxes. Only one is under your control!
diy60
Posts: 769
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:54 pm

Re: Best Way to Plan Travels for Uncertainty?

Post by diy60 »

This probably isn't the answer your looking for, but over the last 10 yrs or so I've had to cancel trips at the last second due an assortment of causes (family emergency, death of a relative, and so on). Rescheduling didn't always work out and with the reschedule fees at that time, I lost enough money I no longer purchase non-refundable anything. This is for air fare, hotels, and car rentals. This wouldn't work out for pre-paid tours and cruises, but I don't do either so it works out for me, though I pay a little bit more vs non-refundable. Good luck.
afan
Posts: 7257
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:01 pm

Re: Best Way to Plan Travels for Uncertainty?

Post by afan »

I doubt most travel insurance would cover you if you simply decided not to take the trip.
Refundable fares, or something for which you can get at least a partial credit if plans change may be the best solution. Same for hotels.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama
worthit
Posts: 651
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:10 pm

Re: Best Way to Plan Travels for Uncertainty?

Post by worthit »

Wouldn't a concierge travel service help?
User avatar
galawdawg
Posts: 4671
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Best Way to Plan Travels for Uncertainty?

Post by galawdawg »

There is a cost involved when booking fully refundable and/or changeable airline tickets. The same applies to some lodging establishments. Only you can decide whether to pay that cost or save money and assume the risk that your plans may change.

A travel agent can't help you avoid that. There are CAFR (cancel for any reason) trip insurance policies but they are costly and only cover a percentage of the nonrefundable expenses, typically around seventy-five (75%) percent. That option is unlikely to be more favorable than changeable/refundable bookings.
Topic Author
joeschmo
Posts: 195
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:37 pm

Re: Best Way to Plan Travels for Uncertainty?

Post by joeschmo »

Thanks. What about lodging - are there time share options in major cities that might be cheap enough, or do I need to just keep booking changeable week-long airbnbs? I guess flexibility is always hard until you literally own a pied a terre….
User avatar
galawdawg
Posts: 4671
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Best Way to Plan Travels for Uncertainty?

Post by galawdawg »

joeschmo wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 6:24 pm Thanks. What about lodging - are there time share options in major cities that might be cheap enough, or do I need to just keep booking changeable week-long airbnbs? I guess flexibility is always hard until you literally own a pied a terre….
Most major hotel brands (Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt) have liberal cancellation policies and good availability in major cities in Europe.
River in Sight
Posts: 56
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:58 am

Re: Best Way to Plan Travels for Uncertainty?

Post by River in Sight »

joeschmo wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 5:51 pm
1. Do people have suggestions for how to make travels more flexible?
Marriott/Hyatt/etc typically allow cancelation up to 24-72 hours before arrival based on the rate. I never, ever use prepaid rates.

As far as I know, since COVID most major American carriers (eg American, United) offer a lot of flexibility to cancel to a voucher as long as you don’t buy a “Basic” fare which, again, I never do. I’ve canceled many work trips to vouchers that are typically good for a year and just keep track of them in Excel. Just check the carriers’ rules in flexibility before booking.
User avatar
snackdog
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:57 am

Re: Best Way to Plan Travels for Uncertainty?

Post by snackdog »

Many (most?) business class fares are fully or partially refundable because business plans change a lot. So, check the fare when you book and book late, if needed, to be sure your plans are firm.
Post Reply