I saw on DTS, that they are going to make changes to the Joint Travel Regulation (JTR) which is the bible by which all our travel and payments are based. It was recently highlighted in this newsletter from the Defense Travel Office. Nothing in the JTR changes significantly, according to them, but the volumes (one for military and the other for Govt civilians) are streamlined and better organized. Both will be effective 1 April 17. To keep up with the latest Travel Reg changes and see if they affect you, check out this site.
Here are some of the key changes in my view:
- Encourage more use of restricted airfares. These are the that normal people buy for vacation and involve a change fee if your plans get altered. More importantly, if you get this type of ticket, it requires ticketing within 24 hours, unlike the typical GSA fares. Saves the Govt a lot of money to use these, but beware of the restrictions if you go this route. Here are their suggested tips for using restricted airfare:
- Update and simplify the myriad of allowances that are now part of travel. Personally, I hope that means not having over a dozen different Per Diem for most states. Foreign locations can be even worse in trying to determine which Per Diem applies to your location.
- Gets rid of the term Commercial Travel Office (CTO) in favor of Travel Management Company (TMC). Not understanding the benefit here, but get used to the change.
In addition to the above, the Integrated Lodging Program Pilot (ILPP) has expanded again and covers some new large areas such as San Antonio and Quantico. I am not sure why this is still a “pilot” program as it is covering about half my travel these days. I have found that most of the time it still directs me to use commercial lodging rather than the IHG-run military hotel on post/base. But that can change with even a one day shift in orders as I found on my upcoming trip to Ft. Hood. Just go with the flow here, but as with GSA fares, change the hotel they mandate if you have good reason to. Earning points is NOT a good reason…