To Non-Rev or Stay Home? When the Gamble isn’t Worth It.

It can be smart, on occasion, to consider if the trip you are considering is a good idea or not. Sometimes, plans can unravel with an unforeseen circumstance. It is tempting to venture off whenever blessed with free time, but there are occasions when you are better off staying home.

1. Stay Home Because of Weather

lightning over body of water, stay home
Photo by Raychel Sanner on

Always check the weather before going on a non-rev trip. Is it going to be thunder-storming at your airport? How about your destination airport? Check any connecting airports as well. A thunderstorm has the potential to cause a ground stop, meaning ground crews cannot work to get planes out. This disruption can cause a domino effect and impact your ability to reach your destination or get home. In the summer, leave early in the morning to avoid afternoon thunderstorms. Often, if a hub is affected, this has the potential to alter the numbers on flights nationwide. Paying customers will be rebooked onto other routes, leaving you stuck. Also, follow updates on any hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, floods, and blizzards. All of these are a great way to get stranded. Even paying customers get stuck under these conditions. As non-rev travelers, we have the flexibility to adjust accordingly. 

2. Date

photo of fireworks
Photo by Anna-Louise on

Consider the date you are traveling. Are you going on a holiday weekend? Are you traveling in the summer? If you are traveling at a popular vacation time, other factors of your trip must be flexible. Don’t expect to get to Cancun over spring break, for example. If it’s a place that paid passengers are flocking to in large numbers, your odds of either not getting to your destination or getting stuck exponentially increase. There are non-rev pocket seasons in which you can be more picky with your destination choice. Labor Day, spring break, Christmas and other times most workers are off work are not the time to be choosy. You could take a risk if the flight numbers look surprisingly good. However, anticipate last-minute changes and leave ample buffer time to get home. (see #5)

3. Events at Destination 

group of people watching concert
Photo by mikky k on

Are you trying to do an overnight in a city for a quick weekend getaway? Check for the events happening where you are going. Is there a concert, a conference, a sporting event, a political demonstration, or other high-profile event? In these scenarios, hotels can get booked fast. If you have read my post on bookings, you know it is wise to book at the last minute. This demand gives you a disadvantage, as most travelers pre-arrange their lodging. You do not want to be without a place to sleep because the rooms are filled up. In this case, you might want to risk the money and book in advance. I prefer to avoid taking risks with my money, so I would not go on a trip where there is a high-profile event.

4. Cost of Hotels

bedroom interior setup
Photo by Pixabay on

Consider your budget for your trip. Some places have more expensive lodging than others. Additionally, rates can adjust based on demand. I’ve also noticed they tend to increase when booking a hotel last minute (unfortunately for our situation). If you’re already pushing your budget, the last-minute raise in price can really affect you. It’s always worth doing a quick search before you embark to ensure the lodging costs are within your means for your expectations.

5. Stay Home if You Don’t Have Buffer Time

Do you have buffer time allowing for unknown circumstances that can arise while traveling? Leaving a buffer day or two on your return journey, or even your outbound journey if you have pre-booked something, can really save you some stress. It’s unpleasant to inform your boss that you won’t be able to come to work because you’re stuck on a trip. It’s also unpleasant to lose money on adventures that you have pre-booked. Mitigate this risk by adding some buffer time at the ends of your trip. You’ll enjoy your trip more without worrying so much about getting stuck. We have never been stranded for more than a night, but we have heard of some situations where people are for a week. For us, a night is sufficient. If flight loads look impossible, we could use credit card points and our employee discount to get home.

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