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I'm being sent by my employer to a conference in another state. Having barely traveled of my own accord, I know nothing about how travel works, especially when (partially?) paid for by someone else. What questions should I ask my manager before I go? At this point, I don't know what I don't know.

Things that may seem common place that I've never had to manage before

  1. Flying
  2. Hotel Bookings
  3. Public Transport (There is no public transport infrastructure to speak of in my small city)
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    Do you have an office manager/secretary type person? Every company I've worked for has had someone like this who knows all the details about how this should work (it's often their job). – enderland Mar 22 '17 at 16:41
  • As Joe said, ask. You learn more about YOUR company policies by asking them. You asked just as easily here, so you're not adverse to asking. ^)^ – SliderBlackrose Mar 22 '17 at 17:16
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You're going to have expenses, and it's best to understand who's going to cover these before you go. If your work is sending you, they should be covering the full cost of the conference and airfare. Some jobs might have you sign a contract before you go stating you're staying with the company for 1 more year or you'll need to reimburse them (this is quite standard I've found).

Some companies have travel policies (see below) and have specific amounts for each of the below categories.

Some items you will want to consider, and consider who's paying for them:

  • Travel to and from the airport. Are you taking a taxi or parking?
  • If you are driving, do you get reimbursed for mileage?
  • Meals - you need to eat 3 times a day.
  • Wage - are you getting paid while you're at the conference? Do they expect you to work as well? Is your boss expecting any documentation, writeups, reviews etc. to be produced from your conference? ***On this one, I'd recommend actually hosting a meeting with people who would be impacted from this talk, about what you learned, strategies going forward, any new best practices etc. Share the knowledge you learned even if they don't ask you to. Be proactive.
  • Travel / Health insurance - do you need it?
  • Who is booking the flight / hotel? Some companies have a Corporate Travel agency.
  • Are you using your Credit Card and getting Reimbursed? Do you have a high enough credit limit? If you're paying for everything yourself then submitting expense forms, you might want to consider getting $$ before leaving to at least cover the cost of the airfare and hotel so you're not carrying a balance on your credit card.

All in all, conferences are draining for many a software developer (In my experience). Take notes, listen, meet people, and enjoy yourself. Take what you learn while you're there, and apply it to your career. Don't try to implement everything as you'll burn out. Take the best points you've learned, find out how to employ them in your career and with your team, and just do it.

Have fun.

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    I would add - find out what documentation of expenses you need before you go. Its hard to get those receipts if you didn't get them at the time of the expense. – HLGEM Mar 22 '17 at 21:50
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Does your company have a travel policy?

Typically these things are well documented by your accounting folks, and will include a list of acceptable expenses. They usually contain either a flat per diem or a per meal expense guideline too.

If they do not have a travel policy ask the following:

  1. What is the guideline for airfare?
  2. What is the guideline for rental car or taxi?
  3. What is the guideline for hotel accommodations?
  4. What is the guideline for meals? ( this is either done as a flat daily rate, or its broken out into breakfast, lunch and dinner )
  5. What is the guideline for entertainment (if any)?
  6. How do I file an expense report and how quickly will I be reimbursed?

In the above questions I use the term guidelines. By guidelines I mean how much will the company reimburse you for in each category of expense listed in items one through five above.

Note: Keep all your travel receipts receipts too as you will most likely need them for your expense report.

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