18928726 – pretty young female passenger at the airport (shallow dof; color toned image)

I’ll never fly Cheapo Airlines again. I must not’ve read the fine print on my printed reservation to Miami Beach which clearly states:

Basic Economy is the most economical fare class.  This is a great way to save money if your travel plans aren’t going to change, you don’t mind where you sit on the plane, and you only bring a carry-on bag that will fit under the seat in front of you.

I knew that my plans weren’t going to change. I was committed to going to the Women on Fire retreat in Miami, unless a hurricane prevented it, and I don’t much care where they put me on the plane. It was the carry-on bag fitting under the seat in front of you that I mis-read. What they don’t say is that if you’re traveling with an additional bag that you’d hoped to put in an overhead compartment, fuggedaboutit! There was a $25 charge for me to not only bring it on the flight, but that I that also MUST check it–each way–adding $50 and plenty of aggravation to my round-trip.

Anyone who’s flown more than a couple of times knows that waiting at baggage claim can add 20-30 minutes to your travel time each way. Since my flight was arriving in Florida after 11pm, I desperately wanted to expedite that end of the journey.

Also, that extra $50, had I known about it, would have gotten me a seat, assigned, on a normal flight and my small wheelie with me at all times.

Which brings me to the question, where and how do you manage your finances around travel? My accountability partner, Sandy, wisely asked me before my trip, “How do you want to feel when you arrive?”

At that moment, I was debating three options for getting to Newark airport from leading a group in Westport, Connecticut that ended at 4pm. I could take the train back to Grand Central and get a bus from midtown to Newark for a total of $25. Or, I could get off at Harlem 125th, cab home at rush hour to my apartment in the city and hire a limo from there for under $50. Finally, I could arrange a limo to pick me up in Connecticut and not navigate going into the city at all–for close to $200.

There are many times where I’ll trade money for time and effort, and Sandy’s question reminded me that this was one of those particular occasions which I grabbed. No regrets.

You’ve heard of the three E’s – ease, elegance and economy. The rule of thumb is, you can have any two. I got all three, but divided between two forms of transportation: my flights offered only economy, but my ride to the airport gave me ease and elegance.


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