Important Information for Planning Work-related Travel

The University has guidelines for employees to follow as they plan their travel for business-related purposes. Review the following categories for specific guidelines, and contact Karen Cox in 302 Walker with questions related to planning your travel.

Airfare

Purchasing tickets: Employees are encouraged to purchase plane tickets using the DBAF system or Travel onLion. When a traveler purchases a plane ticket from a nondesignated travel source (such as Orbitz, Travelocity, etc.), the traveler must charge his or her personal credit card and provide time-dated printed documentation from Travel onLion as a comparison to show that the non-designated website purchase was the cheapest available at that time. Comparisons must be made on the same day to ensure a fair comparison. For more information, go to http://www.travel.psu.edu/travelpolicy/overview.shtml.

Flying vs. Driving: When flying is more economical, but one chooses to drive 750 miles or more round-trip, the reimbursement may not exceed the lowest available airfare for the same points of origin and destination.

Local airport vs. major airport: If a traveler chooses to fly to and from a major airport rather than a local airport and incurs more than $50 per person round-trip to travel to the major airport, a timely comparison for the lowest available commercial economy fare for traveling to/from the local airport is required. If a timely comparison is not obtained, reimbursement for travel to the major airport is limited to $50 per person round-trip.

Travel outside the continental United States: If a traveler is traveling outside the contiguous 48 states using federal funds, he or she must fly on a U.S. air carrier in accordance with the guidelines on the Fly American Act.

Combining business and personal travel

When a traveler interrupts travel or deviates from the direct route for personal reasons, a reimbursement may not exceed the cost of the most direct route.

If the traveler extends the duration of the trip for nonbusiness reasons and the alternate rate is lower than the direct rate for the comparable period, the reimbursement shall be for the lower rate. This is acceptable provided the University's cost is not more than the business portion alone.

Taxes owed on personal portion of travel: The personal portion of international travel when combining business and personal is subject to tax if the total period of the trip is longer than one week and at least 25 percent of the trip is personal. The policy can be found online at https://guru.psu.edu/policies/travelpolicyFOREIGN.html#G.

Additional costs for personal travel: The traveler is responsible for documentation to prove that any personal travel did not result in additional costs for the University.

The traveler must provide comparable price quotes from either Travel onLion or from one of the contract travel agencies to document the difference in cost.

The comparable quote must be obtained at the same time that the travel reservation is booked. The documentation must accompany the request for travel settlement.

Hotel Expenses

Hotel reservations within the continental United States: All hotel reservations should be made using a personal credit card. Itemized receipts are required (lodging, meals, phone calls, parking). Requesting reimbursement for the cost of the hotel stay is done at the conclusion of travel via the Employee Reimbursement System (ERS).

Travel within the continental United States may be referred to as CONUS travel.

Hotel reservations outside the continental United States: It is a good practice to check the reimbursement rate estimator on the Travel Services webpage prior to traveling to avoid problems with the actual hotel expense being more than per diem. If the actual cost is more than per diem, contact Karen Cox prior to leaving for permission to claim your actual expenses.

All hotel reservations should be made using a personal credit card. Request for reimbursement is done at the conclusion of travel via the Employee Reimbursement System (ERS).

Travel outside of the continental United States may be referred to as O-CONUS travel.

Car Rental

The University has a sole source contract with Enterprise and National Car Rental.

If Enterprise or National are not available, a printout from Travel onLion or an e-mail from Travel Services must accompany the travel form to verify that either agency was not available.

If a traveler elects not to use Enterprise or National due to cost, another reputable company must be used (example: Alamo, Avis, Budget, etc.). A traveler must elect both the loss damage waiver and liability insurance from the other company. A priced comparison between Enterprise or National and the other agency is required for reimbursement. The lowest cost will be reimbursed.

The University has elected not to purchase "personal property" or Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) coverage, which is an option available to the renter, and for University business the payment of this expense is not reimbursable.

Travel advances

Employees may request from Karen Cox an advance to pay for certain expenses related to their travel.

For those traveling within the continental United States, advances can be issued for meals.

For those traveling outside the continental United States, advances can be issued for meals and lodging.

All requests need to be made at least two weeks before leaving.

Only full-time employees are eligible for advances. However, under unusual circumstances the Financial Officer can approve exceptions for part-time employees, graduate assistants and fellows, if they hold an appointment with the University.

For questions or additional information related to planning work-related travel, contact Karen Cox in 302 Walker or call her at 814-865-7040.