Travel FAQs

Travel Arrangements FAQs - Concur

Western is in the process of transitioning from TEM to Concur for Employee Travel and Expense Management. Please see our Concur Updates page for more information.

Please remember that before you make any financial commitments for your travel, employees must FIRST have an approved Travel Authorization.

Non-Employees must be pre-approved as well. Please see our pages on Guests, Interviewees, Students, and Contractor/Performer/Speakers.

Travelers are required to choose the most economical and advantageous method of travel for the state. Sustainable transportation methods should be given priority. Exceptions may be granted for health and safety reasons. Please contact Travel Services for more information.

Where can I find travel webforms?

You can find them on our Resources Page here.

What if I purchase supplies for my trip before I leave?

Supplies in excess of $50 should be purchased according to normal purchasing methods. If a non-food supply is $50 or less (per supply, not per receipt) and purchased within two weeks of travel, it may be reimbursed with the other travel expenses.

Before You Travel

When do I need a Travel Authorization (TA)?

Anytime you are traveling non-locally on University related business, even if you are not requesting reimbursement. All travel needing reimbursement, even local travel, requires a Travel Authorization.

For local official business travel that will not result in a reimbursement, divisions and/or departments should implement their own approval requirements that should include, at a minimum, verbal pre-approval of the travel by a traveler’s supervisor. A travel authorization in the Travel System is not required for this.

Travelers who do not obtain prior approval as required may be responsible for any unauthorized expenses and may jeopardize other support provided by the state for travelers in official travel status.


What is a Blanket TA and how can I get one?

A Blanket TA Form may be used for frequent regular travel, such as travel from Bellingham to Everett for frequent meetings. One-time travel incidents, such as a conference, will require a separate Travel Authorization. Multiple reimbursements can be filed against a blanket TA, making this option perfect for travelers who will have frequent, planned or unplanned trips.

  • Blanket TA’s may still cover up to one calendar year of travel
  • The Travel System requires at least one $0 reimbursable expense with funding
  • When reimbursements are generated, the report name, itinerary and expenses will be updated with correct details for each trip.

To create a Blanket TA in The Travel System:

  1. Clearly title the Report Name as “Blanket” Recommended: Include the time period covered in the report name for easier tracking.
  2. Indicate the purpose for the repeated travel in the description. Spell out acronyms
  3. List an itinerary that is the length of time needed. If the travel will be to different locations, enter the most common or Bellingham.
  4. Enter at least one $0 expense with funding.


What expenses can be reimbursed before travel?

You may be reimbursed before your travel for:

  • Registration expenses
  • Airfare expenses that have been purchased on a WWU Corporate Travel Visa

Receipts must reflect payment and airfare must also show on your itinerary.


What if there are no estimated Expenses?

If there is not any estimated expenses, please include a $0 Miscellaneous Expense with funding and note in the system that there are no expected expenses.

This prevents errors in the system.


What if I don't need to be reimbursed after my TA is approved?

If your trip was canceled, expenses were paid out of pocket directly, etc., and you don't need to be reimbursed, simply write a note about what happened on the request. In addition, receipts for anything paid directly (non-reimbursable expenses) or credits, and any additional information may be attached to the request.

While You Travel

What kind of receipts do I need to keep from my trip?

Original receipts are required for reimbursement of lodging/hotel, rental car (including fuel for rental vehicles).

Read more on our Receipts page here.


After You Travel

What if my receipt has someone else's name on it?

Receipts must be in the name of the person seeking reimbursement. If you will be splitting an expense, please try to obtain a receipt for your half of the purchase. If that is not possible, obtain a memo from the person named on the receipt. The memo needs to indicate that you (the payee) covered a specific dollar amount for a specific item/service and that the person named on the receipt (and writing the memo) will not seek reimbursement from WWU for the expense. The memo should be signed by the named person.

Example: Victor Viking paid $125.93 for my lodging on 8/13/2015 and I will not seek reimbursement. Signed ~ Traveler Tom


Can I use personal air miles for my airfare and receive reimbursement?

Western will reimburse you for actual dollars spent on your airfare.

If you use air miles you may not be reimbursed for them.


General System Questions

What do all of the "status" titles in TEM mean?

  • In Process: Started but not submitted. May still be deleted. May still be edited.
  • Pending Review: Sent by a delegate to the traveler but not submitted. May not be deleted. May still be edited.
  • Submitted: Submitted by the traveler. You may see who is approving under “Status History” on the “Workflow Approvals” tab. May not be edited at this status.
  • Returned for Correction: The document is with the traveler to make requested changes. Does not affect original submission date for 60 day taxable window.
  • Approved: Good to Go! This document is completely approved. No edits possible.
  • Denied: Document is ended. Comments will be supplied in the email and are available under “Status History” in TEM.
  • Ready to Pay: Will pay out the next check run date, usually Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • Paid: Document is ended and paid out.
  • Error: Something went wrong! Contact the Travel Desk.


How does the Travel System handle travel that is no cost to WWU?

Regardless of the cost to Western, it is still important to place travelers in travel status from a liability and audit standpoint, so a Travel Authorization (TA) is still necessary.

If you are unsure whether you need a TA for your trip or not, it's always a good idea to check with Travel Services first.


I don't always have all the details of my trip when I'm filling out my TA.How do I update my trip information and expense to show what really happened??

If you don’t have all the specific details of your trip when you fill out your TA, don’t worry. In most instances, certain details of your trip will be unknown or uncertain before you actually travel. For these items, do your best to estimate or approximate them on your TA. It might also be a good idea to identify what aspects of your TA are estimates using a description field or comment box. The estimates entered on a TA are meant to help you and your approvers plan for an upcoming trip and provide a sort of template for any Expense Reports you may fill out for that trip. When you do fill out an Expense Report, that is when you will update your trip information to show actual trip details and expense amounts. TAs show estimates, and TRs show actuals.


Do I need a Travel Justification? Where do I put it in the Travel System if I do?

A brief description of the business purpose for the trip is required. To include more detail, you may add travel justification under the Comments section. A justification could also be saved to a separate document (like a Word or PDF document) and attached to the TA.


Budget approvers need a way to reference the amount authorized to travel when approving a reimbursement to make sure that reimbursement doesn’t exceed the Traveler’s funding allocation. Does TEM provide a way to do this?

Yes, any approver reviewing a reimbursement is able to reference the reimbursable amount originally authorized on the TA connected to that reimbursement. It would stand to reason that a traveler would not be authorized to use funding that would exceed their maximum allocation, however, we are currently developing reports that would allow an approver (or anyone else able to run the report) to see how much funding a given traveler has used in a specified period.


How can I manage the email notifications the TEM System is sending to me?

The easiest way to manage incoming email notifications would be to apply filters to your incoming email. The Quick Sheet Setting up Email Filters for TEM/Workflow Notifications walks you through creating a kind of catch-all filter for TEM-related notifications. You can also contact Travel Services 650-6640 or Sharon Colman 650-3479 for additional assistance setting up email filters.


Why is there a NSF warning on the funding summary page of my travel document? Is this a problem?

Since TEM is a Banner product, it performs automatic NSF (non-sufficient funds) checks against the funding stings you’re using on your Travel Authorization or Travel Reimbursement. This kind of warning is primarily for funding approvers who are authorizing use of the funding stings you have on that document. Seeing this warning does not necessarily mean something is wrong, and both Travelers and Approvers can submit/approve documents where the warning appears with no trouble.