I work for a US-based software company. I'm a software developer, technical lead and scrum master for a team of 10 members. 70% of the team is with a contracting company in India. I have been working with them for couple of years and have a good relationship with them - we have daily scrum calls. The project has ended this month and the team size has shrunk down to minimal. The same team members will be working on a different product under same manager starting next month with me.
I am visiting India on a personal trip for 5 weeks with work from home for few days. All of contracting company team members really want to me and so do I. My manager initially agreed for my visit to the location but backed out when I told the budget would $600-700 (max) for a couple of day trip. His reason was that he did not get approval from his boss and suggested I plan for it later during my next visit. Not sure but maybe the reason is we may not work with them in future project and so Manager doesn't care in investing on relationship. Or I don't know if he is concerned about $700 travel spending on a $90mn project - he is generally miser on project funds.
After all this, one of my colleagues is also visiting India on a personal trip and is planning to meet the team unofficially without informing my manager since he is working with them for 5 years. He did not bother to inform or ask my manager as this is going to be on personal expenses.
I would also like to meet the team on my personal expenses but looks like the possible day would be a week day and I'm not sure if it is appropriate to meet contractor's location with out manager's approval. I would think there should not be a problem with meeting on a weekend but skeptical if I will complicate things visiting their location on a week day without informing my manager.
I appreciate any suggestions on this. It will be nice to meet a team I'm closely working with for 2 years - just for a day lunch out or something. Its not going to cost me more than $200 for a day trip.
Update 1: I sent the following message in an email to my Manager yesterday before the start of his work day. It is now past the end of the day and feels like he chose to ignore responding to the email.
I understood that it was too short notice to organise something official but after considering it I'd still like to meet up with the team in X just for a day and maybe go out for lunch, all at my own personal expense. Do you think that would work?