Welcome to that Catholic University Travel Page! Here you will find information to help you plan your travel and then request reimbursements for your expense. The full travel policy can be found here.
For details on how to request a Travel Reimbursement click here.
Before you Travel
Authorization: Domestic and international travel with a University business purpose must be authorized in advance by the Vice President, Dean, Department Chairperson, Director, Principal Investigator or the appropriate designee responsible for the travel budget to be used. International Travel with a University business requires that travelers register their travel via the University Travel Registry and obtain the University’s International Health and Emergency Evacuation Insurance Coverage. International Travel may require advanced planning and approvals. Accordingly, travelers should review the International Travel Policy and contact the Center for Global Education (202) 319-4698 or firstname.lastname@example.org) well in advance of the planned travel.
While Traveling: The University requires the integrity of the traveler in following its policies in planning and conducting official University business. Ordinary, necessary, and reasonable expenses incurred in connection with any required travel assignment are permissible if appropriate approvals are obtained first. The University will not pay for or reimburse the traveler for any direct costs incurred for personal travel that become sequential or incidental to business travel. The University will not reimburse the traveler for any estimated or actual amounts incurred if an alternative method of travel is taken to a destination for a business purpose in which the method of travel was chosen to complement personal travel and is not considered economically reasonable and in line with this policy.
Paying for Travel
Procurement Card - All travelers are strongly encouraged to use a University Procurement Card for travel-related expenses. The full Procurement Card policy can be found here.
Personal Funds - Travelers may use personal funds while on travel and seek reimbursement from the University for reasonable business expenses in line with this travel policy. Requests for reimbursements must be submitted timely with the appropriate documentation as outlined below.
Travel Advance - If the traveler would like to request a travel advance, the request must be made at least thirty (30) business days before the first day of travel.
No matter what payment you choose, when travel is completed, all Travel Expense Reports for purchases made with and without a University Credit Card are required to be substantiated, signed and approved by a supervisor. These reports must be submitted to Accounts Payable, along with any travel approval forms, as soon as possible but no later than twenty (20) business days after the last day of travel.
It is the responsibility of the traveler to keep clear and complete records of expenses. To maintain efficient business processes, travel documentation that is incomplete, inaccurate or not well-organized will be returned to the traveler and will delay reimbursement processing.
Changes, Cancellations and Credits: Change fees must have a legitimate, documented business reason.
If a trip is cancelled for reasons beyond the traveler’s control (e.g. conference cancellation, or weather or emergency closings), the University will reimburse the costs expended to date which are not returned to the traveler in the form of a credit. The traveler must disclose any credits or concessions provided by lodging or transportation vendors as result of any such cancellations. The traveler is responsible for the cancellation of reservations for lodging and transportation and for requesting a refund or application of the unused ticket or accommodation to the next business trip. Any penalty for failure to cancel reservations will be the personal responsibility of the traveler unless for reasons beyond the traveler's control. Unused tickets or accommodations that were purchased for official University business cannot be used for the traveler’s personal benefit. The individual school or department is responsible for seeing that the value of all unused tickets is refunded to the University.
Travel advances for cancelled travel must be returned to the University within three (3) business days after the cancellation.
Air TravelFares/Ticket Types/Class of Service - Travelers must purchase the lowest available economy/coach class airfare that meets the business needs of the travel. If an air itinerary has any flight segment that exceeds eight (8) hours, the entire trip (defined as no more than all segments booked together for a single day's travel) may be upgraded to the next cabin class of services (i.e. Business Class or, if no such class of service on the aircraft, First Class) with documented approval of the cognizant vice president.
Travelers are strongly encouraged to make reservations at least 14 days in advance to obtain the most convenient and cost effective fares.
For more details, please see the travel policy.
Fees - Transaction fees associated with business travel reservations and baggage fees for baggage that is not personal in nature (e.g. golf clubs for a business trip) or unreasonable and inappropriate for the purpose and length of the trip are permissible.
All other fees (such as those pertaining to club/lounge membership, early check-in and class upgrades, boarding priority, seat selection, itinerary changes, etc.) are not permissible except for University Trustees traveling on University business, who may be reimbursed for such fees.
Private Carriers - The use of non-commercial (private/corporate/state-owned/rented/borrowed) aircraft for University business travel is prohibited. Exceptions require written approval in advance of committing to the travel by the University’s risk manager.
Rental Cars and Personal Auto
Rental Cars - Rental cars should be used when they are less expensive than alternative means of transportation (e.g., taxi, Uber, car service, or train) or where there are safety or other issues that justify the additional cost.
Vehicles must be economy or compact models. For trips that require direct travel for eight (8) hours or longer or will include more than four (4) University employees on authorized travel, travelers may reserve the lowest available vehicle at the next higher class of models (i.e. intermediate or standard). The costs of other upgrades or accessories, such as a satellite radio and GPS, are not permissible.
Travelers must rent vehicles with the approved traveler as the named driver. Under no circumstances may the authorized traveler allow another person to operate their rental vehicle.
Passenger Vans - If renting a passenger van the capacity cannot exceed 14 passengers. If a passenger van is needed, please contact Procurement.
Fuel – Employees must refuel the rental car prior to returning to the rental agency and to decline the pre-paid fuel options. The cost of fuel is a permissible expense.
Tolls and Parking – All business-related tolls and parking charges that are not part of an employee’s regular commute are permissible expenses. Tickets or fines associated with parking or travel violations, and charges for vehicle lockouts are not permissible expenses.
Insurance – University insurance will cover vehicles rented domestically for collision and liability only if the operator is an official University Authorized Driver in good standing. Insurance offered by the rental agency must be obtained if the operator is not an Authorized Driver. When renting a car in a foreign country, local, in-country collision and liability insurance must be purchased from the rental agency.
Personal Automobile – Use of a personal automobile for business purposes is permitted when it is less expensive than alternative means of transportation or when there are safety or other issues that justify the additional cost.
Transportation expenses between the commuter’s residence and their regular place of business or post of duty are personal commuting expenses and are not reimbursable.
Mileage Reimbursement – When a personal automobile is used for Business Purposes, the traveler will be reimbursed up to the current Internal Revenue Service Standard Mileage Rate effective on the date of travel for miles incurred. The mileage reimbursement covers all operating costs of the vehicle, including but not limited to fuel, repairs, maintenance, depreciation and insurance. Tolls and reasonable parking charges will be reimbursed in addition to the mileage allowance. Fines for moving or parking traffic violations, costs of repairs, and towing are not reimbursable.
Insurance – Personal automobiles used for Business Purposes are not covered by University insurance but must be insured by the owner for the minimum insurance required. Damage to a privately-owned vehicle used for University Business Purposes will be covered by the individual's private insurance. The University does not assume responsibility for deductibles or other costs associated with being under-insured or uninsured.
Other Forms of Ground TransportationCommercial Bus or Rail - Travel by bus or rail is allowed when it is less expensive than alternative means of transportation or when there are safety or other issues that justify the additional cost.
Business class travel is permissible for regular Amtrak service as well as for Acela Express. First class travel is not permissible.
Taxi, Uber, Car Sharing, and Other Car Services - taxis and car services such as Uber can be used for local transportation and in-city destinations whenever possible, unless a rental car or other means of transport is more cost effective or where there are safety or other issues that justify the additional cost. Local transportation includes travel to and from airports and railroad stations, between appointments, and between hotels and meeting locations during the working day or specifically related to a work function.
It is reasonable to provide a tip for taxi service of 15% - 20%.
Limousine & Shuttle Service – Limousine and shuttle services may be used when they are less expensive than alternative means of transportation (e.g., train, taxi, Uber, or personal auto) or when there are safety or other issues that justify the additional cost. When traveling with others, it is may be economical to coordinate travel times and share a limousine or shuttle service.
Lodging is limited to a standard or equivalent room only, unless accommodations are shared by more than one authorized traveler, in which case separate receipts must be obtained or only one person is allowed to claim the expense. Only the actual expense of lodging is permissible. Private rentals (e.g. Airbnb or VRBO) are prohibited for business travel except when it is less expensive than alternative means of lodging for long term travel or travel greater than thirty (30) days only as defined in Section IX.
Travelers may accept only complimentary upgrades. Costs associated with upgrades are not permissible. Any room upgrades using rewards/miles/credits are considered a personal expense and are not reimbursable.
Personal expenses and services (in-room movies, health club fees, etc.) are the responsibility of the traveler. Personal laundry expenses are permissible when travel exceeds five (5) days. The charge must be incurred while on Official Travel (and not after the trip is complete).
Lodging within a 50-mile radius of the traveler's home is not permissible unless fully justified as to the compelling business purpose or extraordinary circumstances. Such circumstances should be inquired and discussed with the Office of Accounts Payable in advance of committing to the travel.
Lodging in Private Residence - Travelers who stay in a private residence at no cost to the traveler will be reimbursed for a reasonable token of appreciation (not to exceed $100 per trip) for the courtesy of staying with the host. Proper documentation must be provided with the expense report.
For information regarding incidental expenses related to lodging, please see the travel policy.
Meals, Entertainment, and Miscellaneous Travel Expenses
Individual Meals - Employee and student travelers may purchase or be reimbursed for reasonable meal expenses using one of two methods: per diem or actual expense.
The employee traveler may only use one payment/reimbursement method per trip except as noted in the Group Meals and Entertainment section below. If a traveler uses a University Credit Card for his or her meals, he or she cannot request a per diem reimbursement. By using a University Credit Card, the University is already paying the actual amount spent. Since reimbursement methods cannot be combined on one trip, the traveler must decide before travelling whether he or she wants to use the University Credit Card to pay actual meal expenses or receive a per diem reimbursement for meals. Actual expenses in excess of the per diem daily rate will not be reimbursed.
Per Diem Reimbursement Guidelines - Domestic per diem reimbursement will be based on the U.S. General Services Administration Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) Rates, which are listed by location and month. Foreign per diem reimbursement will be based on the Department of State Office of Allowances Federal M&IE Rates, which are noted by area of travel and updated monthly. The traveler must use the correct rates for the month of travel from these websites as a maximum limit. The traveler can only claim 75% of the day's rate for days of transit or actual travel. Per diem rates must be reduced for any meals paid for by another party (e.g. a conference). For situations where a reduced per diem is required, the following guidelines must be used:
Departments can internally set lower limits or restrictions for budgetary purposes, but Finance will not monitor the use of any rates other than the official rates.
Group Meals and Entertainment - In situations where an individual is conducting business with one or more guests, reasonable meals and entertainment expenses are permissible. Business meals and entertainment must be directly related to University business and must meet the required documentation standards for payment or reimbursement (refer to Documentation).
If the traveler has elected per diem reimbursement for their trip but there is an occasion on the trip where he/she is paying for someone else's meal, the traveler cannot claim per diem reimbursement for that group meal but must submit actual expenses. If the trip consists of multiple business entertainment meals, the traveler may want to use actual reimbursement for the whole trip for ease of recordkeeping.
Tips - It is reasonable to provide a tip of 15% - 20% for meals.
For information please see the travel policy.
Travel by Non-University Employees
Travel expenses for non-University employees such as consultants, speakers, lecturers, official visitors, job applicants etc. are generally permissible in accordance with contracts for services or vendor payment procedures which must be in accordance with University policy.
Foreign Nationals - Travel expenses for visiting foreign nationals must be approved in advance in writing by the Vice President, Dean, Department Chairperson, Director, Principal Investigator or the appropriate designee responsible for the travel budget to be used; and b) the Division of Finance so that the proper tax treatment can be determined. Copies of the written approval must be submitted along with travel reimbursement request. Payment to visiting foreign nationals may be made only if the visitor holds an appropriate visa. In addition to the documentation required for all travel reimbursement, resident aliens must also submit the currently required visa documentation. Please refer to Non-Resident Alien Payments Policy for more information.
Spousal Travel - Please see the Travel Policy for guidelines.