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Step 2 - Travel

TTS Travel 101
Travel Guide Table of Contents
FAQ
Back to Step 1: Book Travel
Jump to Step 3: Reimbursement

What to consider while traveling

Now for the fun part! Here are a few things to keep in mind when traveling for TTS.

Use your travel card when possible

Use of the GSA travel card is mandatory for all expenses as per the Federal Travel Regulation, except expenses for which it “is impractical (e.g., vendor does not accept credit cards) or imposes unreasonable burdens or costs (e.g., fees are charged for using the card).”

Must I use the travel card for meals and incidental expenses?

Request tax exemption where available

Many jurisdictions exempt federal travelers from paying lodging tax. More information on each state’s policy can be found here. Note that the GSA travel card is considered an “IBA”.

Which receipts must I keep?

Receipts are required for lodging, rental cars, gas purchases when using a rental car, and any other expenses over $75. If no receipt(s) can be provided, an acceptable reason must be given explaining why you are unable to furnish the necessary receipt(s).

Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE)

In addition to receiving round trip tickets to your destination and lodging for the nights that you need to stay there, you also get a flat-rate per diem for Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE). A few things to remember:

Note that if your travel extends past midnight, you get the full meal allowance for the long day of travel plus the 75% of the meal allowance for the following day (even if you arrived just after midnight local time). If you anticipate traveling past midnight, ensure your authorization reflects this in advance, otherwise, you will need to create an amended authorization upon your return.

M&IE and use of the GSA travel card

While use of the GSA travel card is required for all travel expenses when practicable, using the GSA travel card to pay for M&IE requires some additional administrative work when submitting a voucher after returning from your trip. Here’s what you should be aware of when completing your voucher– should you use the GSA travel card for meals and incidental expenses, keeping receipts for your personal use may be helpful. Feel free to book travel office hours for a walkthrough on what to keep in mind when paying for meals while traveling.

Other necessary expenses

Follow the guidance above for keeping receipts, and also be mindful of budget– do not exceed the overall amount budgeted for your travel in your authorization email (SF-182 or Salesforce event request for trainings/conferences) by more than 20%.

Taxis, public transit, and other forms of local transportation

Reasonable local transit costs may be authorized in the following situations:

Baggage fees

Mileage, Parking, and Tolls

For example, it is typically advantageous to use a POV to go to the airport for instance, where reasonable public transit is not available, and the costs of the mileage reimbursement and parking are less than round trip taxi fare from home to the airport.

Parking at the airport is only reimbursable when the conditions in the above example are met. However, when use of a government car, rental car, or privately owned car is authorized, parking charges and tolls as they relate to the mission are reimbursable.

Internet service

Laundry expenses

Don’t forget about vouchers!

Have a good trip, get reimbursement– filling out a voucher– within 5 business days of getting back.

Why the rush? Filling out a voucher correctly allows you to:

  1. Get reimbursed for your M&IE and for any hotels, airplane tickets, or other expenses you paid for personally.

  2. Have the government automatically pay off the balance on your Travel Card. If you do your voucher correctly and on time, you will never have to worry about paying one of those bills yourself.

On the other side, when travel expenses are submitted late, it’s a major drain on resources for the finance and agreements teams, which sometimes have to reopen billing and even modify agreements in order to recover our costs for the trip, which the Economy Act requires us to do. So, future travel may not be approved for anyone with travel expenses that are more than 5 business days outstanding.

Back from your trip? Head on over to get reimbursed!

Got questions? Ask #travel, tts-travel@gsa.gov, or book office hours here