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I have been invited for on-site interviews by two companies, A and B, in different but not too distant countries. I don't really know how to take care of the travel expenses. Should I explain to both that I will be visiting two companies and only request one way ticket from both? Another possibility is asking A to pay for a a return ticket from B's country which feels wrong in some sense.

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Get round trip tickets from both, do not discuss your interview with the other company at all, and schedule them so that you have time to do both. The reason is that you never know what will actually happen when the day gets here. If necessary schedule them so you have a few days to recover from travel from the first before departing for the second.

One company could decide that they no longer want to interview you and decide not to send you a ticket. This could leave you in the uncomfortable spot of having to go back to the other company to now purchase a round trip ticket on short notice, or purchasing a leg on your own(on short notice). Requesting the change is not going to make points with either company especially since it will cost them more money. Paying for the ticket yourself is probably not something you are interested in either.

Another reason is a company may be less willing to fly you out for an interview if they know you are interviewing with a different company in another country. You could end up with no interviews as a result.

  • That would be pretty a jerk move for a company to withdraw from an agreement like that, but still a great reason to consider getting tickets from both. – Justin Helgerson Aug 14 '14 at 22:03
  • @JustinHelgerson - Sure would but happens – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 15 '14 at 3:46
  • Thanks, it feels wrong but I guess I'll get round trips for both and will burn some tickets. Such a waste though. – fusha Aug 15 '14 at 11:28
  • @Fusha - If you are more comfortable with the risk that you could end up footing the bill for the trip one way, then you can go with Nix or Leigh's good answers. For me I am not comfortable with risks like that so this is how I would do it. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 15 '14 at 13:17
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    Also, there is no guarantee they wont change the date of the interview on you. – Keltari Aug 16 '14 at 21:32
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One thing you could do, is to order the tickets yourself, and have them reimburse them later. You could pay extra for open or flexible tickets, in case you need to make sudden changes.

In the event that they should ask about your weird itinerary, simply explain that you had personal arrangement in that nearby country anyway, so it made much sense to do it that way, in order to save you some time and them some money (since presumable a round-trip is more expensive). You don't have to tell them you were at a job interview.

You could then make company A pay for the trip out, and company B for the trip home. The trip between the two could go to whoever you like the least. :)

If you want to, you could even mention this when you schedule the interview. "Oh, the 15th? I'm actually visiting my buddy "Raccoon Ramblin' Randy" in {nearby country} on the 10th. That means I will have to change my return flights ..."

Another thing you could do, is to ask for a one-way ticket, and pay for the ticket between the countries out of your own pocket. Explain that you would like to take this opportunity to take a personal vacation, and learn more about their wonderful country! Immediate plus points with the interviewer!

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The countries aren't too distant, but there will still be travel between them, correct? And do you know that there won't be an overnight stay involved?

I would propose that the first-interview company pay for your ticket to their country, and that the second-interview company pay for your ticket home. And if there are any on-the-ground expenses in country (hotel, coach or train between the two countries), that the companies split that cost between them.

If they have another suggestion, or policy, let them suggest what they'll do. Your suggested solution is more fair, but if a particular company's internal policies are that much of a bugbear, they may just find it easier for one company to pay for your round-trip airfare from your home country to, say, Company A's country; while Company B picks up travel between the two countries and any other expenses.

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When I have had on site interviews for which the company is reimbursing me for expenses, they have required submissions which mirror employee expense reports. I needed to itemize expenses and scan and attach receipts. As long as the costs are within general expectations they don't question you.

For example, I am in Chicago. I had an interview in Los Angeles. At the time my daughter lived in L.A. I stayed at her apartment and used her car. I could have rented a car at the company's expense. Nonetheless they only reimbursed me for local mileage for my "personal" car because that is the expense I could document.

If you submit a one way ticket for reimbursement, the company need not know if you were splitting the cost to visit your family or if the other part of the ticket was being reimbursed by a different company. Just don't "double dip".

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