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openSUSE:Travel Support Program

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openSUSE Travel Support Program

The openSUSE Travel Support Program aims to support contributors representing openSUSE at events, conferences and hack-fests with their travel and hotel costs. The program pays up to 80% of the travel and/or hotel costs for contributors who could not afford going to these events otherwise. In turn the contributors make a worthy contribution at the event and report back to the openSUSE community about what they did.

The Travel Committee is responsible for gathering all the requests and ideas from the community and working with them to decide what the most valuable conferences and events are and deciding on who to support and how much.

The Travel Committee also decides on travel support for openSUSE events like openSUSE Conference and openSUSE Summit.

Current Committee:

* Efstathios Iosifidis (advocate event planning)

* Izabel Valverde (finance & planning)

* Marcel Kühlhorn (advocate event planning)


Travel Policy

The openSUSE Travel support Program supports community members by reimbursing travel costs for attending events with the goal of promoting openSUSE and building of local communities.

Any openSUSE Advocate or Member requiring travel assistance to attend an event to represent openSUSE can request travel sponsorship.

The program covers up to 80% of travel costs (plane ticket, train ticket, bus ticket) and/or lodging costs (hotel, hostel). There is no provision to cover the cost of food, taxes, extra charges for credit cards, visas, etc. Therefore, the traveler is responsible for covering the additional costs.

The program works on a pre-approval principal, with the procedure to gain approval for a given event outlined below. As the requester you are responsible to find the most economical mode of transportation to the event you are planning to attend for the promotion of openSUSE. The committee may verify your proposed travel plan to verify the price for travel and/or lodging. Any funding provided to a community member is provided to the applying traveler only and is not intended to cover costs of any other person. As a sponsored attendee you may be asked to help with other event related activities, such as setting up a booth or table.

After your request has been approved you are expected to attend the event in accordance with the approved plan. Should there be a change in travel or accommodation you must inform the committee as soon as possible. The proposed changes need to be reviewed and approved prior to travel. If you do not travel according to the pre-approved plan you risk that the program may not be able to cover your expenses.

Combinig event participation, for example multiple events in close proximity at the same time, or combining funding from multiple programs is encouraged. Information about any such combination must be provided in your application.

The program cannot reimburse small expenses if not agreed upon in advance. If approval has been given for $ 100 US or more and the expenses are less than $30 US, reimbursement can not take place.

The committee will only consider applications for travel support from active openSUSE contributors. Contributions to the community and project may take many forms and range from participation in the forums and mailing lists to code contributions in openSUSE git-hub based projects or contributions to the distribution. As a recipient of travel support funds you are expected to remain active within the community. Generally the same person is not sponsored more than once in per quarter. Exceptions to the "once per quarter" guideline are evaluated on a case by case bases, especially for openSUSE events (openSUSE Conference, Summit, and Hackathons). Community members who are also employees of organisations which sponsor the Travel Support Programme may apply for reimbursement, but priority will be given to community members who are not affiliated with sponsoring organisations.

You must submit your receipts within 2 weeks after the event is completed. If the receipts are not received within 2 weeks reimbursement is not possible. Receipts must match the pre-approved travel and/or lodging plan. The receipts will be reviewed and then will be processed for reimbursement.

The Travel Committee may choose to sponsor more than one person to attend an event. This will depend on the planned activities, the size of the event and other factors. Priority will be given to speakers presenting openSUSE topics, and community members staffing and organizing exhibits or other openSUSE promoting activities. Anyone sponsored to attend openSUSE events is expected to volunteer at the openSUSE event.

If you receive sponsorship you have to...

  • Write a report about the conference. The talks that you attended, activities you participated, people that you met, etcetera. Preferably publish this as a blog.
  • Be available to educate or mentor other people who want to get involved with openSUSE, help with any openSUSE activities, e.g. booth duty.
  • If you have problems and can't attend the event inform the Travel Committee soon as possible. Remember you won't have your expenses reimbursed.

Exceptions

The Travel Committee may occasionally sponsor people who are not active openSUSE contributors. For example, Google Summer of Code or locals needing to cover openSUSE attendance in major conferences or needed events.


How to apply for Travel sponsorship

The process...

* First, make sure the conference or event is relevant for openSUSE

* Requests must be submitted 6 weeks prior to the event.

If a number of people goes to an event, please coordinate - let one of you send in the overview for the full conference. That way, if we can't fund all of you, you can discuss among yourselves who should go instead of letting us decide that. Be sure to communicate with us with everyone on CC so you all know what is going on!

* Send the request through https://connect.opensuse.org/travel-support/

* Wait patiently to get questions or suggestions about your request

* Any extra information can be required, please provide it asap

* Expect a confirmation of your approval, or if it's taking too long, feel free to ping any member of the committee

* The answer about sponsorship will be sent on reply from the request. Information in the reply will outline the maximum amount that will be approved. The actual reimbursement amount will be based upon the submitted receipts and will not exceed the approved reimbursement amount.

* Receipts submitted for reimbursement must contain the itemized expenses

* After got a positive confirmation buy your tickets and/or make your reservation

* After the event, you have 2 weeks to send the appropriate receipts for tickets and lodging. if they are not in English or the receipt has a lot of information, please clearly mark the total and the purpose. Receipts sent after this date will not be reimbursed.

* Allow us some time for the reimbursement, sending money around the world can take some time. We strive to reimburse everybody within 40 days after receiving the receipts. Reimbursement methods (check, bank or wire transfer) may vary from country to country.

* If you don't get a positive answer, this may be due to one or several reasons, for example no money left, not enough information given, relevance of the event to openSUSE, other openSUSE people planning to attend the same event/conference, ...


Important to know...

  • Be patient
  • If it's taking too long and you see prices go up a lot - or something similar - please ping a member of the committee.
  • DO NOT BUY ANYTHING UNTIL YOU GET A VERY CLEAR CONFIRMATION, applying does not mean you are approved, and silence does not mean approval.
  • Try to get the best fares for tickets and lodging, look at various airlines and routes. Remember you still have to pay at least 20% yourself and the committee might verify the amount requested looking for the best offers on public website (E.g. KAYAK, Decolar, Expedia, e-Dreams,...)
  • Please find a roommate to save on lodging costs where possible.
  • Ask for only what you need. If you can afford to pay for some of your ticket or lodging, we would really appreciate it as that means we can help more people.
  • Be responsible, the money you save is the money we will use to fund someone else or even yourself again.
  • We do not book tickets or hotel for you, you have to take care of that yourself. If that is really a very big issue you can contact us, it is sometimes possible to make an exception.

* This is not a full-service - we help with travel and accommodation costs but will not cover other expense like food, insurances, visa.

Remember!

  • If your ticket or travel gets more expensive after an amount has been confirmed, the excess will not be reimbursed
  • If you do not go to the event, no reimbursement will take place
  • If you can not present receipts, no reimbursement can take place
  • In case travel and/or hotel has been pre-paid by the committee and you don’t show up, you will receive an invoice!
  • We expect you to behave and dress properly, both in accordance to the Guiding Principles of openSUSE as well as local law and regulations.
  • If problems arise, due to your (in)actions or due to external circumstances, the responsibility is yours. We do not guarantee, cover or insure anything!
  • If you don’t write a public report shortly after the event, no reimbursement can take place
  • If you don't keep contributing to openSUSE after be sponsored no other sponsorship will be appoved in the future.


Notice: As said before, in exceptional cases instead of reimbursement, we can pay your travel or hotel in advance or directly. If this is the case, the Travel Committee will make this very clear. Note that this puts the same responsibility on you as if you would pay it yourself: You are responsible for the attendance, showing up and checking-in on time etc. For example problems related to missed flights, hotel room damage are entirely the responsibility of the sponsored person.

Any extra costs related to bad behaviour or broken rules by the reimbursed person is his/her own responsibility. These extra costs, incl. no show costs, will be charged to you.


Quick Checklist Travel Sponsorship

Before the event...


After the event...

  • Send in your reimbursements directly (at most 2 weeks after the event)
  • Write a public report about the event
  • Depending on your country, your local banking system and the method of payment better for both parts, we will try to get you the reimbursement money as soon as possible. Usually this takes from few days to few weeks.


Note

“Those rules can be changed by the Travel committee at any time if needed”