Travel Reference Guide

Information represented here is only a summarization of the Sponsored Research Services (SRS) Travel Procedures. Refer to the SRS Travel Reimbursement Procedures for more detail. A travel expense report must be submitted after the completion of a trip with the required receipts, justifications, and approvals.

Only travel expenses related to project business shall be reimbursed. Reimbursement should not be claimed for items provided free of charge, previously reimbursed by another source, or costs which will be paid or reimbursed from any other source in the future. Please note, when specific travel guidelines are included in the terms of a contract or grant, the provisions of that contract or grant will govern the reimbursement.  Projects that follow State travel guidelines will also vary from this summary.

Air Transportation
Must travel economy/coach or other special discount fare.  Airline ticket receipts must be attached to the expense report regardless of method of payment. Traveler must comply with the requirement that U.S. flag air carriers be used by domestic grantees to the maximum extent possible when commercial air transportation is the means of travel between the United States and a foreign country or between foreign countries when the cost is chargeable to a federally funded account, unless the terms of that agreement state otherwise.

Mileage is reimbursed at the current IRS allowable rate per highway mile for all personal vehicles.  Reimbursement cannot exceed the equivalent of tourist airfare, except under circumstances when a personal vehicle is used for transportation of materials or equipment.

Rental Vehicle
Rental cars should be standard size or smaller class when available. Use of a vehicle larger than full size is allowable with a written justification.  If the car is retained for personal leave days, the rental fee as well as rental car gasoline will be reimbursed proportionately to the business days.  Charges for personal accident insurance (PAI) and personal effects insurance (PEI) are not reimbursable and will be deducted from the expense account except when the car is rented in a foreign country.

Taxi, Limo, Shuttle, Bus, Subway
Reasonable and necessary charges for taxi, limousine, shuttle, bus and subway services are reimbursable. Receipts are required for any single fare or expense over $75.   Reimbursable tips are limited to 20% of the fare.

Itemized receipts are required when cost exceeds $75.

Road, Ferry, Bridge and Tunnel Tolls
Itemized receipts are required when cost exceeds $75.

Itemized receipts are required when cost exceeds $75.

Travelers will be reimbursed for communication expenses that are reasonable and necessary for conducting business.  Itemized receipts are required when cost exceeds $75.

Conference Registration
Proof of payment is required with a receipt from the conference sponsor with the full name of the conference, dates of the conference and name of attendee.


The method selected must be used for the entire trip.  Lodging requirements are the same for both methods.  Neither method is a per diem. Please note that meals are limited to ¾ of the GSA applicable rate on the first and last day of travel. Any charges for alcoholic beverages must be deducted before submitting a claim.

Actual Expenses – With lodging and meal receipts, travelers may be reimbursed for the actual costs of reasonable and necessary meals, lodging, and gratuities (limited to 20% of the meal cost).   The maximum amount that may be reimbursed under actual meal expenses with receipts is limited to 300% of the applicable Federal domestic maximum GSA rate for the location. The maximum amount you may be reimbursed under actual lodging expenses is limited to 150% of the applicable Federal domestic maximum GSA rate for the location.

Actual Lodging and Actual Meals, up to Applicable GSA Rates – Travelers may be reimbursed for the actual lodging cost and actual cost of meals up to the applicable GSA rates.  Meal reimbursement includes the actual cost of food, non-alcoholic beverages, gratuities, taxes, and other incidental expenses.  Receipts are required to claim actual lodging expenses, but do not have to be submitted for the meals.  Lodging has the same requirements as Method I.

Domestic GSA rates

Foreign State Department rates

Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories and Possession rates

Allowable Miscellaneous Expenses
Receipts are required when cost exceeds $75.  Examples of allowable miscellaneous expenses, include, but are not limited to, the following:

Miscellaneous supplies (not office supplies)

Fees for traveler’s checks/currency exchange

When a loss is incurred in currency exchange

Porterage, special transportation and tips for handling business equipment and materials

Postage for official mail

Gasoline for rental cars

Baggage fees (one per trip without justification)

Overweight/Oversized Baggage fees with a business justification

Fees for money orders and/or certified checks

Transaction fees for use of ATM machine

Passport and/or visa fees

Costs of photographs for passports and visa

Foreign country exit fees

Laundry/dry cleaning: Allowed when claiming subsistence for trips incurring a minimum of four consecutive nights on official travel

Business Meals – must provide who, what, where, when, and why

Unallowable Expenses
Examples of expenses that will NOT be reimbursed include, but are not limited to, the following:

Entertainment expenses and non-project related social activities such as tours, dances

Parking tickets/fines or speeding tickets/fines

Alcoholic beverages

Gasoline purchases for personal vehicles when claiming mileage

Personal items purchased due to lost/delayed baggage

Office supplies not related to business


Health club fees

Magazines, newspapers and books unrelated to business

Hotel movie rentals and airline headsets

Costs incurred by unreasonable failure to cancel transportation or hotel reservations

Frequent flyer mileage fees

Lost or stolen tickets, cash, or property

Personal credit card delinquency fees or finance charges