Some Thoughts On Flash Travel

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

As travelers, we are given the opportunity to see and experience the grandness that this world has to offer and a variety of options. Sometimes, we are so used to options that we leave things to last minute in order to get the best deal. However, as trips go, planning and not planning can have its road blocks, whether they are boulders or fences in the road. Still, we learn to divert our path and consider different directions. We become navigators.

As a kid, I was never afraid of thunderstorms. Even though lightening would strike close to home, the brilliance in the darkened sky was always a thing of beauty. The impulse of a quick bolt, counting the seconds until the thunder boomed, calculating how far the light had landed.

“Excuse me? I don’t understand. What do you meeeaaaan the ticket has been cancelled?” said frustrated traveler in need of return ticket home.

“Well, Miss, the travel times intersect and therefore, the air line has decided to cancel the ticket due to conflict. However, we do have another option . . .” said polite and patient customer service representative.

I could not be mad or frustrated with him. He was just doing his job and the customer is not always right. Still, I wondered why this process was necessary and tried to process why there was a $10 service fee for cancelling the flight. The reality was, I needed to get home.

A one-way ticket when you have intentions of returning home can be a challenge, although the free flow of having no set plans has its perks of adrenaline. The other week, I was on a budget search for a plane ticket from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Toronto, Canada. I could philosophize about whether my return was meant to be, but I knew I had to make it home as I had made a promise to a friend to return for her wedding and funds were running out.

So, I started looking for flights and a couple of weeks ago, I found one. I booked it. I wiped my hands of any stress. Until, that is, the e-mail came a week ago saying that it had been cancelled. Trying to “get home” became an enduring task mixed in with a little stress.

One night while reading an article on USA Today about so-called “flash” sales got me thinking about one’s intention of travel and my recommendations based on personal experience. Flash sales are created and, as the article states: “Whatever the set-up, their goals are the same: to convince bargain-conscious travelers that if they want a deal, they’ll have to act quickly while the clock is still ticking.”

A little adrenaline rush in life is kind of nice because lessons are learned through different kinds of travel experiences. Right now, times are tight and some people are trying to find the best experience for the dime. As a reaction, we feel like we need to trust our impulses and have our fingers crossed that a better deal doesn’t come along afterward. When it comes to hotels, the article notes, “because most flash-sale deals require advance payment and can’t be changed or canceled, buyers risk losing out on a better (or less restrictive) rate from a different site or the hotel itself.” It becomes an equation of cost and benefit for budgeting and planning.

My recommendation is to assess whether one has a final destination. If you need to get home, I would recommend always getting a return ticket. If you plan on having no plan, jumping from country to country, I would recommend having at least a little bit “in case of emergency.” Whatever the case, knowing that you have a ticket home or the possibility of returning home allows for one to enjoy his or her time to it’s fullest, whether you get to eat steak everyday or stay in to save a few pennies. Either way, it usually works out in some sort of fantastical adventure. Sometimes, the adventure is the lessons we learn and what we discover about our own limits of comfort.

By Brit Weaver


About the Author

Toronto born and based, Brit is an avid leisure cyclist, coffee drinker and under-a-tree park-ist. She often finds herself meandering foreign cities looking for street eats to nibble, trees to climb, a patch of grass to sit on, or a small bookstore to sift through. You can find her musing life on her personal blog,

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