Learned a new lesson today about the state department. You have to know what to ask for and ask for it specifically.
If you are a spouse waiting behind to get the kids through school ( an April or May hire) you have to ask for your own separate travel orders. Make sure the travel tech knows you will be travelling separately or you will not get travel orders at all. I have been made to feel like a complete idiot by my husband's HR tech simply because I was not informed. Apparently if you do not travel to DC with your spouse, as in the same car or airplane, for training, you are not entitled to travel to DC after the fact. You are then supposed to go directly to your first post directly from your home. This would be helpful to know up front.
However, exceptions can be and almost always are made. Unless you are unlucky enough to get an HR tech who is a bully. Then you really have to advocate for yourself. If you know the rules and are given misinformation, ask someone else to help you. I don't know why it has to be this way but that's the way it is. Nice right ?
I will say that we have encountered mostly incredibly helpful and kind people along the way. My husband's CDO is amazing and cheerful, Mimi Cuff in transportation is super sweet and helpful. I'm sure I have exhausted her with my neediness. Sorry Mimi. And some random man named Damien did his best to steer me in the right direction though he did not have a dog in this fight and was probably wondering why on earth I was contacting him. But my hero of the day is Dave Anders who is a travel guru and my new Knight in shining armor.
Thanks Dave, you saved my sanity today.