Posted by: unlikelygrad | June 4, 2012

travel gripes

I don’t know if this post is titled correctly. I don’t have many gripes about travel (other than that I’m doing way too much of it lately). It’s the aftermath of travel that I hate.

See, although I love my program and many other things about MyU, I absolutely hate the bureaucracy. HATE. And one of the worst things about bureaucracy is how long it takes to get reimbursed for travel. It’s been almost two months since I submitted the paperwork following my last research cruise and I have yet to receive my reimbursement check. The travel office will give cash advances up to a certain limit, but not until a week before I leave.

To see how this affects me in real life, let’s look at a not-so-hypothetical visit to my normal Port City:

late May: buy plane ticket for Port City, $1100 (and yes, this is the best we could do)
mid-June: credit card statement with plane ticket arrives
early July: get cash advance just in time to pay credit card statement for Port City; 2 nights lodging in port city, $200; cab or rental car, $100; gas, meals, incidentals, $200
late July: return from cruise. 1 night lodging in port city, $100, meals etc. $100. I submit travel paperwork as soon as I get home
early August: credit card statement for first half of July payable ($500 out of pocket)
early September: credit card statement for last half of July payable ($200 out of pocket)
late October: reimbursement check arrives

So basically I have to float $1800 minus cash advance (max allowed considerably less than $1800) out of my own funds for several months, which is annoying.

What is even more annoying is that I’ve been doing this multiple times a year: this year, for example, I have traveled/am traveling on the “school’s” dime in March, April, May, and July. I have yet to receive any reimbursement.

I am a grad student, people. I am poor. It hurts to pay all of this money out of pocket and not get it paid until months later. It sucks. I am currently owed $800-ish and I recently bought my next ticket to PortCity and…ouch. That’s all I can say.

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