The company will cover all work-related travel expenses. This includes lodging and meals during the part of the trip that is work-related. Depending on the distance of your travel, it can also include one day before and one day after the work related business. For example, if you are attending a 3 day conference in a jetlag-inducing location, the company will cover your lodging and meals those 3 days as well as one day before and one day after.
The company can accommodate custom requests. It is OK to stay longer on your trip. However, the extra days will not be covered by the company.
Understand that the guidelines of Spending Company Money, especially the part about spending it like it is your own money, still apply for all expenses.
Always bring a credit card with you when traveling for company business if you have one.
Hotels will generally expect you to have a physical credit card to present upon check-in. This credit card will be kept on file for the duration of your stay. Even if your lodging was pre-paid by the company or by using a company credit card, the Hotel may still require a card to be on file for "incidentals".
If you incur any work-travel related expenses (on your personal card or a GitLab company card), please make sure to save the original receipt.
When your trip is complete, please file an expense report via Expensify or include the receipts on your next monthly invoice.
Arranging a visa for travel
In some cases when traveling to a conference or summit you might need to arrange a visa to enter that specific country.
Always check the website of the Embassy of the Country you want to visit located in your home country. They will have the most updated information on whether or not you need a visa and what is needed for your application. In some instances you can travel under a visa waiver program (e.g. ESTA) in other cases you might need to arrange a tourist or business visa. Read their website carefully and ask People Ops if you need any help with acquiring the needed documents for your application.
We gladly organize and pay for local legal assistance, especially if you are at high risk of having a long process.
If you need a visa to travel to the United States, please fill out this form. Here is an example of the how the form will looked when completed. People Ops will verify accuracy and send you an email with the signed letter.
Tips & Tricks for visa arrangements
Make sure to start on time with your arrangements for a visa. It can take up to 3-4 months to acquire a US visa, as an example. Consider this recent example that several team members faced when they were arranging their visa to come to the summit in Austin in May of 2016. First, there was a delay of weeks to a month between the time they called to make an appointment at a US embassy and the date of the actual appointment. In some cases, the application then moved through the process with no issues and the visa was ready within two weeks. In other cases, the visa application was marked for "administrative processing" which can take up to 60 days, and is pretty much a black hole in terms of information and process.
Check if your passport is still valid long enough
Give priority to arranging your visa, it can take time to get an appointment to apply at the Embassy.
Double check if you have all needed document and information. Ask People Ops to help you check this if you like.
Think of the answers you will give during your visa interview; it can influence your visa approval/denial.
Once the dates for a conference or summit are set start asap with your application if you have needed a special visa in previous situations, just to give yourself enough time and room for errors if they arise.
Timeline guide for visa applications
6 months beforehand: make appointment at embassy, and start gathering all necessary paperwork, forms, certificates, pictures, etc.
Sometimes you might call the embassy, and be told that you do not need to schedule an interview so far ahead of your trip. Don't take their word for it, since that advice is typically made with the "typical, best case" process in mind and for example in the case of the USA does not account for the possibility of a black hole "administrative processing" period. In other words, make sure you get an appointment as early as possible.
If the country where the embassy/consulate is located where you are going for your application is listed as anything other than "High Income" by the World Bank's "Little Data Book" then it is likely that the embassy/consulate there has a high tendency to say "no" to visa applications. We recommend to engage the services of a local lawyer who is familiar with the embassy process to help check that your paperwork is in order, and to practice interview questions. You're also welcome to ask for support when you are in a "High Income" country. People Ops can help you with this.
4 months beforehand (or earlier): go to embassy for interview.
2 months beforehand: if you have not received your visa by now, contact your local lawyer again, and/or People Ops, to see if anything can be done to expedite the process.
Self Stay Reimbursement Policy
If you decide to stay with friends or family instead of a hotel / Airbnb for a business trip, the company will pay you 50% of what would have been the cost of a reasonable hotel. This is in keeping with our values of frugality and freedom, and intended to reward you for saving company money on accommodation expenses. Please take a screenshot of the hotel search in Egencia and submit this along with your expense report or invoice.
Booking travel and lodging with Egencia
Setting up your Egencia account
Below is some more information to help you get set up with your Egencia account.
You will receive an email from Egencia with your username. (Contact People Ops if you do not receive anything).
With the link, from step one in this email, you can set a new secure password.
Once you are in your dashboard, setup your info in your profile (see link at top right corner of page).
Make sure to add your phone number in all three "phone number" fields (it can be the same number).
Add your passport information to your profile (only passport information is accepted in Egencia at this time), this will populate your info directly when booking a flight.
Now let's start booking!
Booking travel through Egencia
If you book through Egencia, the costs will be added to the GitLab invoice and no credit card is needed.
Please note that some budget airlines might not show in Egencia, so make sure to check those to be sure there is no better option out there. (SouthWest, JetBlue, etc.).
Login to your account. If you've not yet set up your account, do this first.
The dashboard gives you the option to start a booking directly. The options are to book flights, train tickets, hotels, or rental cars.
Input info for the flight you want to book.
Select your favorite option for the outbound flight. Please note that our policy is that you can book up to $250 over the cheapest flight option. Booking more than $250 over that amount will flag "out of policy" and requires approval.
Select your return (inbound) flight.
Read & check the box "I have read and accept the rules and restrictions". Now you have the possibility to "continue to checkout" or "add more items to this trip" such as another flight, a hotel reservation or booking a car.
Select "continue to checkout" if you just want to book the flight.
Note: Once a flight is booked, re-routing is at person’s own cost unless requested by the company or force majeure (in the latter case often the airline will cover the difference).
Checkout flight only
Enter your passport information in the "Secure flight" window. This will be pre-populated if you have previously setup your profile correctly. At this point, you do have the option of using your US drivers license for domestic flights within the US.
Enter home, work, and mobile phone number (they can be the same number). This will be pre-populated if you already set up your profile before.
Enter your seat preferences and frequent flyer program info if wanted.
Enter your reason for booking, this is required for every booking.
Continue adding a hotel or car
Under "add more items to this trip" you can select what you want to add.
The platform auto populates your info based on your flight.
To add a hotel:
You will get a window including a map with all hotel options.
On the top right you can filter based upon preferences
Click on a hotel to get more information
To go back to the overview of hotels click on X in the top right corner
To choose the hotel room click on the price
When choosing the hotel you will go to an overview of the costs and hotel info
To add a car:
You will get a window with your car options
On the top of the window you can sort on price
To select a car click "select"
When choosing the car you will go to an overview of the costs and rules/restrictions info Now you once again have the possibility to "continue to checkout" or "add more items to this trip" such as another flight
Checkout flight and hotel and/or a car
You will get a total overview of what is booked. You can see that the hotel and/or car are awaiting confirmation of the third party that will be booked once you checkout.
Options in Egencia
Instead of choosing "checkout" you can select "save trip and view itinerary". Here you will get an overview of everything that was selected and you can change items, such as your flight.
In the menu on the top left you have some options like "invite others", "print itinerary", send, or delete.
You can also download the app "Egencia TripNavigator" to keep your itinerary close and even do bookings on the go if needed.
Please send a message to People Ops if you need help in booking your travel.
Booking shows Out of Policy
Sometimes there is no way around booking a flight or hotel that is out of policy.
This means that the option selected is more expensive than the cheapest option + our buffer.
When you try to book this, an email will be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for approval.
Please provide extensive reasoning to make approval easier and faster.
After 24 hours without any manual action (approved/denied) the booking will automatically be accepted.
Booking accommodations through Airbnb
If you need an Airbnb for your stay on a business related trip, you can either book it yourself, or send a request to People Ops.
For People Ops, please include a link to which Airbnb you would like to stay in, the corresponding dates, and the purpose of your travel.
If you are booking the trip yourself, you may be reimbursed for the portion of your stay that was business related by submitting in Expensify or on your monthly invoice.