Travel 101

This post contains an overview of what you need to know about how to book travel, excerpted from the comprehensive TTS Travel Guide.

Leadership

The TTS Travel Team has two members:

  • Leah Gitter (TTS Operations)
  • Ethan Heppner (TTS Operations)

Communication

If you have travel questions, you can ask them in #travel, write to tts-travel@gsa.gov, or simply book time during TTS travel team office hours Monday through Friday from 11:30 to 12:30 PM and again from 3:30 to 4:30 PM (All times Eastern). All questions will be answered within one business day– please avoid asking travel questions via DM :)

The travel team also approves authorizations (request to travel) every afternoon. Please ensure that you have submitted your travel request following the guidance above before 3:30 PM Eastern so that approval may be finalized before the close of the business day. Travel submitted after hours will not be approved until the next business day.

Note: Authorizations will be addressed within a day of being submitted, but vouchers (requests for reimbursement) may take up to 5 business days since they are handled them as the remaining travel approval time on the office hours calendar permits.

Billing

If you’re traveling for a particular project, bill your time to the project. Otherwise, bill to General.

Travel card

You’ll use your travel card to pay for expenses — other than flights and meals (M&IE per diem) — incurred during government travel. You can apply to get one as soon as possible, and it is required in order to travel for 18F unless you get an exemption. Start your application for one here, and once receiving it, be sure to use it for all travel expenses made in your official capacity. Don’t forget to keep a receipt of everything you purchase on it.

Per diem

A per diem is an allowance that you get each day you travel on official government business. There are two ways you can receive your M&IE per diem: You can withdraw it (in cash) from your travel card before or during travel, or you can choose to receive it as reimbursement after you’ve concluded your travel. In the second instance, you’ll be responsible for paying for meals and incidentals. You do not need to save and submit receipts to receive your M&IE per diem.

Concur

Concur, also known as travel.gsa.gov, is the system TTS employees use to book official travel and pay for flights. Before using it, you’ll first need to apply for access. You will complete your profile after your receive your travel card.

Authorizations

The process of requesting travel, including formally clearing dates with your supervisor or client, making your flight and hotel reservations, ensuring that you are billing your trip to the right place, and forwarding onto the 18F travel team for approval.

In order to ensure same-day approval of your travel, please ensure that your authorization has been successfully submitted before 2:30 PM Eastern Time.

Vouchers

Vouchers allow you to receive reimbursement for travel-related expenses. You can create one based on the expenses listed in your authorization, adjust it accordingly and upload corresponding receipts, and again submit to the travel team for approval. Once completed, everything charged to your travel card will be reconciled.

It is important to complete your vouchers on time– within 5 business days of returning from travel. Submitting vouchers late is a major drain on resources for the finance and agreements teams, which sometimes have to reopen billing and even modify agreements in order to recover our costs for the trip, which the Economy Act requires us to do. So, no travel will be approved for anyone with travel expenses that are more than 5 business days outstanding.

Cars for official business

GSA maintains a fleet of cars for official use:

  1. Email gsafleet@gsa.gov and ask for access to a motor pool at your GSA office (ex: “the 1800 F ST NW GSA Motor Pool.”)
  2. Watch out for a registration link to gsa_reserve@gsa.gov. You will then be able to login into https://vehicledispatch.fas.gsa.gov/FMVD/VDHOME/.
  3. Reserve a car! Leave “Organization Code/Cost Center” and “Account Info/LOA” blank.
  4. Call 1-866-472-6711 for motor pool support.

Further Reading

This Travel 101 is just a quick orientation. As mentioned at the start of this page, the Handbook has a whole guide for you: TTS Travel Guide!