Changes in Travel Plans

I’d like to get a sense of the level of flexibility a cleared individual may have in making modifications to a travel plan once it has been approved. I was told you have to follow the plan exactly as submitted and that you cannot deviate from it. I find this hard to believe for several reasons. The most obvious one is that you are asked to provide flight and hotel information on the request form. But it sounds unreasonable to be forced to purchase flight and hotel reservations before the travel gets approved. Flight tickets are never refunded unless you purchase the most expensive fare. Hotel terms and conditions vary on a case by case basis. There are two situations I am particularly concerned with:

  1. Providing flight and hotel information but making the purchase after the travel has been approved. It can happen that the specific flights you provided are sold out or the price has gone up beyond what you can reasonably afford. Therefore, you might need to adjust your dates and reservations. I’ve heard that plans can be amended. If that is the case, does the amendment need to be submitted before or after returning? If it needs to be done before, does it need to be approved before departure? If yes, what if there is not enough time to get it approved before departing?

  2. Making reasonable and slight modifications while on vacation. Say I am visiting multiple destinations, all of which were documented in the approved request form. There could be destinations I like a lot and would like to stay 1 or 2 days more. Other destinations may turn out to be not that good so you may want to move on sooner than you expected. You might also learn of additional must-visit places while the trip is already taking place. Your best judgement tells you this must-visit place is within the same region and country and has the same risk characteristics as other approved destinations.

Please only answer if you have experience regarding some or all of the points I touched on. I rather not get speculative answers.


There is always some flexibility for the exact reasons you have listed. In some cases, you may need to file a follow-up when you get back.

Here’s a reasonable deviation: We were in Germany and had a chance to go into France to visit the wine country. We drove over and spent the day there, decided to spend the night and came back the next day.

Here’s one that will raise some eyebrows: We were in Germany and saw a great deal on airline tickets to Tehran…


Yet you’re asking a non-official forum for accurate answers…

Sounds like your FSO said no to the changes and you’re trying to find a way around it.


My last paragraph was exactly meant to keep people like you from opining.
And no, (sorry to disappoint you), I haven’t had any travel changes denied. I’m in the process of obtaining clearance and just want to know what to expect with respect to travel changes.

Be as precise as you can when putting your travel request in.
During your post-travel debrief, document all deviations as requested in the form.
If between your request and your travel date, you have more information, i’d recommend updating your travel request, even if it was approved…