Reader Question: Can You Recover Lost Money From a Failed Trip Someone Else Planned?

A reader of The Gate — who shall remain anonymous — imparted a story to me pertaining to a recent trip on which he was going to travel but was impacted by inclement weather; and he wanted to know if the money he paid was lost for good.

Reader Question: Can You Recover Lost Money From a Failed Trip Someone Else Planned?

A group of people were scheduled to go away to a conference for the weekend; and one person was handling all of the finances and planning for that trip. The coordinator of the conference collected all of the money from the other participants for lodging costs, meals and other incidentals which were related to the trip…

Snow Atlanta December 8 2017

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

…but a major winter storm was forecast to cover the area with a significant amount of snow; and ice was predicted as well — all of which contributed to conditions which were potentially too dangerous to drive. Due to a scheduling conflict, the anonymous reader was to travel to the hotel property in his own vehicle instead of traveling with the other participants.

Rather than cancel the entire trip, some of the other participants decided to travel to the hotel property and stay only one night instead of the entire weekend — essentially spending only what amounted to be a few hours to do whatever they wanted to do other than sleep. This meant that the hotel stay — which was not refundable anyway — was at least partially consumed.

Upon learning of the weather forecast, he opted not to travel at all because he would have been traveling longer than actually participating in the reduced conference — and he was not the only attendee who decided not to travel that weekend.

The coordinator of the trip did not purchase travel insurance.

Because he did not do any of the planning, he did not purchase travel insurance either. He attempted to get his money back; but the person who planned the trip informed him that that was not possible. Although the trip cost him less than $500.00, he was now out that money without any benefit or use out of it.

The other attendees who opted not to go supposedly did not receive a refund either.


I never leave my travel plans up to someone else. For me, that is a recipe for potential disaster — unless that entity is paying for my trip or unless I have the option to purchase insurance for it in case anything goes awry.

I prefer to secure my own travel plans whenever possible when traveling with a group — even if that may mean paying a modest premium over a group discount.

In the meantime — with no travel insurance and no guarantees — what recourse does he have other than a small claims lawsuit? Is his money gone for good? Should he have traveled anyway with the possibility of being stranded at the hotel property due to the forecast of a significant accumulation of snow?

What would you have done if you were this reader of The Gate?

All photographs ©2016 and ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

5 thoughts on “Reader Question: Can You Recover Lost Money From a Failed Trip Someone Else Planned?”

  1. Robbo says:

    I wouldn’t have contacted you about such drivel and if I were you I would not have bothered writing about such drivel

  2. ColoradoTraveller says:

    So, when this person turned their money over to the coordinator and asked. “this is refundable, correct?”, What was the answer?

    Take some responsibility!

  3. A says:

    Looks like your reader learned an important lesson about travel insurance. His credit card might-might-cover it. Small claims court seems a waste of time and the destruction of a relationship. I was caught in a storm tree recently and missed a night at a hotel. The hotel was nice enough to refund me the points, though they didn’t have to-but I did call the night of. That’s another tactic they should have tried.

  4. Frank in LA says:

    Actually, he is extremely fortunate in that he is getting very valuable lessons for only $500:
    1) This is life…stuff like this happens.
    2) Take responsibility and make your own arrangements and not depend on someone else to do it.
    3) He just got scammed by the Coordinator….while the hotel might have been not refundable…what about the meals and other incidentals? Don’t trust the person with any money in the future.
    4) During winter, don’t book anything anywhere it might snow…unless you are booking a ski trip. Snow will mess up all your travel plans. Places that never have snow also never have these problems.

  5. Fred says:

    you can blame on GOD or beat up the person who took the money from you.

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