A big trip to plan, but a new job on the horizon. What to do?

Is it acceptable to push back the purchase of an expensive plane ticket if you may be getting a new job before the new jobtrip? Reader M asks….

I travel domestically a couple of times a month for my current job. In about six weeks I’ll be heading out for my first international trip—two weeks in different parts of Asia. I’m really excited for the opportunity to get out of the country and see different offices of my company, finishing a project I’ve spent several months on.  In order to get the best price for my plane ticket I would ideally purchase in the next week or so.

The catch is that I’ve been interviewing for a new job at a different company. I have had several interviews and I’m pretty sure I’m a finalist for the job, but the new company moves really slowly with hiring and no one can give me a definitive timeline. In an ideal world I would get an offer in three or more weeks, and be able to take the international trip to wrap up the project I’ve been working on for my current job.  But I’m concerned that I’ll get an offer in a couple of weeks, and my current company will be out thousands of dollars for a plane ticket I can’t use. Should I wait to buy the ticket but risk the price going up substantially? Or should I buy the ticket soon to get the best price, and hope that if I get the new job the offer comes later? Thanks for your help!

Wow. That is a lot to think about! On the one hand, I appreciate that you want to treat your current company respectfully and not waste a bunch of money. On the other hand, international ticket prices are pretty high in the summer months, and those prices aren’t likely to go any direction but up!

The truth is, in my experience you can’t count on a job until you have the offer letter in hand. It may seem like your interviews are going really well, but you won’t know for sure until they actually offer you the position. My recommendation would be to continue to do your job like you’re going to keep it: go ahead and buy the ticket, maybe waiting until the end of the week (since you said ideally you need to buy this week). At least that way your company will be out the smallest amount of money possible, should you get this other job. And if the new company moves as slowly as you indicate, you may not get an offer for several more weeks, making this a non-issue.

However, I’ve never been in this exact situation so I’m very interested to hear from those who have!

Readers, what would you do in this situation? Do you think Reader M should buy the ticket as early as possible or wait until there is more information about the new job?

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Comments

  1. I’ve been and am currently in the same situation but for domestic flights. I wait until 22 days out and then book. I figure if I got an offer the next day I would make a case to stay until the trip was complete. I do my best not to waste anyone’s money. International seems tougher but I’d wait as long as I could but book as soon as possible if that makes any sense.

  2. I have been in a similar situation. I suggest moving forward with your international plans and your project wrap-up. If they move as slowly as you indicate, your new job likely will not interfere with your travel. If a job offer comes in sooner than expected, you may be able to negotiate your start date. Two weeks’ notice is common and will buy you extra time. Additionally, your new employer should (we hope!) admire the loyalty and work ethic demonstrated by your desire to see this project through. They will reap the benefits of these character traits.

  3. Agree with the other comments. Don’t count that job offer until you have a letter in hand. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes. I have been on both sides of it, and have had delays and “fall-throughs” for various reasons. And start dates are almost always negotiable too. Do your current job, plan for your trip, and good luck!

  4. I agree with all the previous comments, which cover most of the angles. Job offers can take time to materialize, and anything could happen, so go ahead and take the trip.

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