Learning patterns/Arranging travel

A learning pattern forevent
Arranging travel
problemHow can we arrange travel in a cost-effective way?
solutionThoughtful planning with several considerations in mind
creatorBgibbs (WMF)
created on03:47, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
status:in progress

What problem does this solve?


When there is a plan to have an in-person meetup that will require travel, how will organizers arrange for attendees to travel to the meeting in a safe, effective, and economical way?

Note that this is distinct from accommodations for travelers, which are discussed in Grants:Learning patterns/Accommodations at meetups.

What is the solution?


Things to consider

Taxis in Kabul, Afghanistan
A water taxi in Bydgoszcz, Poland

Duty of care


If you are arranging or paying for travel for someone else, such as employees or volunteers, you may have a duty of care for their safety, health and security. You should research your responsibilities and liabilities when planning travel. You may want to consult a professional travel adviser or legal adviser. Ask a professional adviser what your responsibility is when planning travel.

Safety tips


Some safety tips for travel are available in these locations:

From what location(s) and distance(s) will travelers come to the event?


Some participants may come from within an hour's distance by bus, while others may need to travel across oceans.

How safe, reliable, economical, and convenient are different transportation methods?


A train ticket might cost less than half of an airplane ticket, but the train journey might require quadruple the time of an airplane journey. It may be possible for participants to travel between locations on foot, but that mode of transportation may be significantly less safe than traveling by taxi or bus.

Will the transportation methods that you offer allow all of the desired people to attend the event?


If the organizers offer to reimburse travelers for bus fare but you decline to reimburse them for taxi fares, then the organizers may accidentally exclude some participants who need to travel by taxi because they have medical needs that prevent them from walking long distances to a bus stop.

Travel insurance


Should this be taken out trip-by-trip or should an annual whole-of-organization policy be used? Check if volunteers are covered by whole-of-organization policies. Some individuals may have personal annual policies and may not need separate travel insurance. If travel insurance is not taken out (or events occur not covered by the policy, e.g. replacing a stolen laptop, emergency hospital treatment), does the organization intend to cover those expenses, or is the person expected to attend at their own risk?

People who plan to attend an event should verify their personal situations regarding their insurance coverage for accidents, illnesses, stolen property, airplane flight cancellations, etc.

Wikivoyage has extensive information about travel insurance.

Expenses, payment methods, and discounts


If you are transporting a large number of people by train, airplane, or bus it may be possible to get a group discount.

There may also be discounts for students, for members of associations like the American Automobile Association (AAA), and for members of frequent flier programs.

Some credit cards provide rewards to their users in the form of airline "miles" that can be redeemed for travel.

The Wikimedia Foundation provides some travel funding through its Rapid Grants program.

Some events like Wikimania may provide scholarships to a limited number of attendees that include payment of travel costs.

Organizational travel policies may specify who is allowed to authorize travel and what expenses are covered. This can make it easier for your organization to book travel and can help prevent unnecessary disputes. For examples, see the Wikimedia Foundation Travel Policy and the Wikimedia DC Travel Policy.

Some organizations like the Wikimedia Foundation have staff that specialize in travel management. Also, there are contractors and consultants who work with organizations to optimize travel practices, or to manage travel on an ongoing basis. These services may be relevant for Wikimedia thematic organizations to research if they spend significant resources on travel costs.

Any person or organization who wants to be reimbursed for travel expenses, or has had travel expenses paid in advance by another party, may want to keep careful records of their expenses. Alternatively, some individuals may be offered per diem payments to reduce the paperwork burden of expense reports. Reimbursements and per diems may be governed by organizational travel policies or expense policies. The United States Government provides the following per diem information for Federal Government employees. For per diems for travel inside of the United States, see http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104877. For per diems for travel outside of the United States, see http://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem.asp

More detailed on advice on certain kinds of travel

  • See "Related patterns" below.



See also


Elsewhere on Meta