Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I really need to get better about how I handle travel.

Well, organization in general. Retirement planning, coordinating my days off with other stuff going on, etc. But I think I'm particularly bad about travel, and it's particularly relevant right now, of course.

For one thing, I want to stop booking flights with layovers. To get from DC to my parent's place in Vermont, flights with one stop tend to be about $100-$200 cheaper than direct flights or even more. When everything goes right, booking the flight with a stop seems like a no-brainer. My day is already shot by the whole process of packing and getting to the airport and stuff, so what's an hour or two in an intermediate airport if I'll save that much money?

First of all, though, "when everything goes right" is such a huge assumption that now that I write it down I feel like an idiot. I've never had my luggage lost personally, but I've seen it happen. And then there was one time when my luggage wasn't lost, I knew where it was all along, but I went on ahead of it by train because my connecting flight was grounded by the snow. In hindsight I wound up being impressed by how quickly they got it to me considering all the problems the airlines were dealing with at that time, but it was still several days before I got my stuff. But anyways, that's another thing - every flight increases the odds of a delay due to weather or whatever by 100 percent. Probably by even more than that, in fact, because the later in the day it is the harsher the weather gets, generally.

And aside from all the practical difficulties of connecting flights, there are purely psychological problems. I was in Vermont just two weeks ago now, and I had taken a connecting flight, and 15 minutes before my flight from Burlington to La Guardia or whatever it was, there was a flight from Burlington to Washington National. Factor in the wait and the fact that National is much closer and more accessible than BWI, and I could have been home four hours earlier. I had to remind myself that that flight was at least $100 more expensive than what I found, but I still regretted it.

But then, no matter what I do, flying to and from Vermont is risky in the winter. The weather forecast for tonight is snow up there. I should also have traveled earlier in the day to avoid that, since the chances of bad weather are fairly high throughout this time of year.

Another part of the problem is that I'm frugal with my time off. T. suggests a nine-day vacation and I talk her down to seven, if I have a flight in the late afternoon then I'll come to work and work a half-day, that kind of thing.

If I were smart I'd fly direct flights, try to take off around noon, and not sweat the rest. My co-worker H. told me as much today, and as annoying as it was to hear in exhaustive detail about how I should totally do what I've already decided I should do and am already worried about plenty, she wasn't wrong.

Despite all the rest of it I still feel justified in being a bit frugal with my time off, though, because my girlfriend T. likes to travel. Before we were dating maybe I'd take the standard four-or-five-day weekends for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and a week-long vacation in the summer or maybe just two four-day weekends, and that was it. Last year we took one trip to France and another trip to California. Each was longer than a week. Technically I have enough time off for this, but it's kind of close, especially considered whatever else might come up, and then there's the fact that I only have one pool of days off for sick days and vacations...

Well, by this point overthinking it is making my day worse than the weather is likely to. I'll try to check in within 24 hours. I'm sure things will be fine.

Knock on wood.

No comments: