Travel

Travel

Main Content

Man in airport preparing for flightLinks and Resources

Travelers can use the eTravel System to initiate their own travel request in the eTravel System and can email a link to the college's travel arranger when assistance is necessary.

The Ohio State University Travel Resources includes links to the eTravel System, the Online Booking Tool and Agent Assist.

The Ohio State University Travel Policy 

Travel Cost Comparison Tool – updated on 4/21/16

College of Pharmacy eTravel Meeting slides  – from 4/19/16

Guidelines and Procedures

Content

The objective of the Travel Policy is to ensure efficiency and fiscal accountability for university business travel. The University will pay for the lowest reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for authorized business travel.

General Information

  • All travel expenses paid with university funds must comply with the University’s Expenditures, PCard, Internal Controls, Purchasing, and Human Resources policies.
  • Additional sponsor requirements and/or federal regulations may apply to expenditures charged to sponsored projects. Contact the SPO for clarification.
  • Travelers need to familiarize themselves with the travel policy prior to making travel arrangements. More information about policy specifics are available on the College’s Post‐Travel guidelines.
  • Travelers need to work with travel arrangers or CBO to make sure his/her travel plans meet the travel policy requirements.
  • Travel arrangers need to be proactive and ask questions regarding travel plans in advance of departure.
  • Approved Business Leave requests with the estimated cost is required to be attached to the travel request.
  • Policy exceptions are to be occasional and non‐recurring. Multiple infractions may prompt a loss of partial or full reimbursement.

Approvals

Travel Approval Decision Tree – order of preferred approval method

  1. Establish a T# and business leave request prior to trip departure.
  2. Obtain written pre-authorization from College approver with estimated costs/budget to be attached to the travel request. A Business Leave request is still required.
  • All travel requests, including the written pre-authorization (permission to travel or guest’s invitation) must be approved per the delegated signature authority prior to the date of departure.
  • Pre-authorization of guest/staff/student travel on OSP grants requires written approval by the PI to be attached to the travel request.

Personal Travel in Conjunction with Business Travel

  • OSU will only pay/reimburse expenses incurred at locations/times specific to the business purpose.
  • OSU will not prepay any personal expenses unless documentation verifies there is no increase in cost.
  • Cost variances in expenses such as airfare, car rental, and lodging must be clearly documented.

Advance Payments

  • A cash advance may be issued to a traveler when expenses would cause financial hardship.
Content

The objective of the Travel Policy is to ensure efficiency and fiscal accountability for university business travel. The University will pay for the lowest reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for authorized business travel.

Reimbursements

  • Reimbursement of travel expenses must be supported by original, itemized receipts where required. Clear documentation is required for all expenses.
  • Personal funds expensed for business travel will not be reimbursed until after the trip occurs and the travel reimbursement has been entered into the eTravel system and approved by the delegated approval authority.
  • The traveler must submit a request for reimbursement with supporting documentation within 90 days of the return date. Travel Arrangers should work with travelers to ensure they comply with this policy.
  • Reimbursements that exceed the travel estimate by 20% or more must be approved by the designated approval authority.
  • Per Diem may not be reimbursed when other meals are provided. Examples are continental breakfast provided by hotel or conference, lunch provided by host or conference.
  • Conference agendas are required to be attached if attending a conference. When you are an invited speaker not at a conference, the email invite or symposium flyer is required in general.
  • Economy plus, seating upgrades and/or pre‐boarding options cannot be reimbursed.
  • First-class airfare cannot be reimbursed. Business class is allowable only for international flights where one segment is more than 5 consecutive hours.
  • For more information on rental car policies, please see the College’s one‐page rental car guidelines.
  • Miscellaneous expenses considered necessary for business travel (e.g. taxi fares, baggage fees, parking, tolls, internet connectivity, Visas, immunizations, etc.) may be reimbursed without a receipt for each individual expense that is $50 or less. However, a detailed description (e.g. “taxi fare to and from JFK airport”) and associated business purpose for the expense must be documented for auditing purposes.

Cash Advancement Reconciliation

Cash advance expenses must be documented with original, itemized receipts (or equivalent documentation) and must be reconciled within one month of the return date.

  • Any cash in excess of approved reimbursable expenses must be returned to the appropriate departmental account or sponsored project within the same one month period.

Third-Party Payments

All third-party reimbursements/payments must be documented in the reimbursement request. The University will not make advance payments or reimburse travel expenses that have been or will be reimbursed to the traveler by a third party.

Record Retention

All required documentation is to be stored in the eTravel system. Original documentation held by the CBO may be destroyed 60 days after verification that the payment has been made.

**Policy exceptions are to be occasional and non-recurring. Multiple infractions may prompt loss of partial or full reimbursement.

Content

Rental Vehicle Key Points  

  • Use of a rental vehicle as a primary mode of travel transportation is authorized ONLY if renting a vehicle and driving is more economical than any other type of transportation or if the destination is not otherwise accessible.
    • Documentation is required to demonstrate cost comparison when considering vehicle rental and driving over flying (e.g. airfare quote).
  • Travelers must incur the lowest reasonable vehicle rental expenses that meet business needs.
  • Damage Waiver or Collision Damage Waiver or Loss Damage Waiver (DW/CDW/LDW) and liability insurance coverage are required. The university will not reimburse any other type of supplemental insurance.
    • Failure to purchase the required insurance coverage is a policy violation requiring exception approval. If the exception is denied, the traveler may only receive partial or no reimbursement or be required to reimburse the cost to the University in the case where a procurement card was used as a method of purchase.
  • Under no circumstances is PAI (Personal Accident Insurance) or RAP (Roadside Assistance Protection) ever reimbursable.
  • GPS or Navigation System payment/reimbursement is unallowable.
  • Rental vehicles must be procured through the university-contracted rental car agencies with whom the university has a strategic and collaborative sourcing agreement, except under limited circumstances when procurement of rental car services from a noon-contracted agency is justifiably necessary. 
  • Original, itemized receipts must be provided in order to be reimbursed.
  • All visitors should be made aware of these guidelines and they should take advantage of the Ohio State contracts with Enterprise and National.

Contracted Rental Car Agency

OSU negotiated discounted prices and required DW/CDW/LDW is automatically included in the price.

  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental are the contracted agencies. Ohio State’s customer code (XZ38Y09) and PIN (OHI) must be provided to receive discounted rates and included insurance coverage.
    • Toll-Free Numbers for Reservations:
      • Enterprise Rent-A-Car: 1-800-261-7331
      • National Car Rental: 1-877-222-9058

The complete Travel Policy is available at: https://busfin.osu.edu/sites/default/files/travel-expense-form-instructions-5-2-2019.pdf.

Content

Mileage can be reimbursed when a personal vehicle serves as the primary mode of transportation (if the cost does not exceed the least expensive airfare). All reimbursements require a travel request to be approved in the eTravel system prior to departure.

Reimbursements are based on the federal mileage reimbursement rate which is intended to cover all vehicle-related expenses (i.e., gasoline, wear and tear, and personal auto insurance).

Travelers will not be reimbursed for mileage when commuting from their residence to campus. If travel is required to report to a location other than their headquarters during a normal work schedule, the traveler will only be reimbursed for the total distance from their residence to the alternate location less their commute.

Examples

  • Traveler travels from home to an alternate location at 8 a.m. on Monday for a distance of 50 miles. Their normal work schedule is 8 a.m. ‐5 p.m. Their normal daily commute is 10 miles each way. They then return to their home after the meeting. Their mileage reimbursement would be for 80 miles (50+50‐10‐10).
  • Traveler travels from home to alternate location at 6 a.m. on Monday for a distance of 50 miles returning home at 6 p.m. Their normal work schedule is 8 a.m. ‐ 5 p.m. Their normal daily commute is 10 miles each way. They then return to their home after the meeting. Their mileage reimbursement would be for 100 miles (50+50). Their daily commute is not reduced since the alternate work location is not during scheduled work hours.
  • Traveler travels from home to an alternate location on Saturday for a distance of 50 miles returning home. Their normal work schedule is 8am‐5pm Monday‐Friday. Their normal daily commute is 10 miles each way. Their mileage reimbursement would be for 100 miles (50+50). Their daily commute is not reduced since the alternate work location is not during scheduled work hours.
  • Traveler travels from home to headquarters and then to an alternate location for a distance of 50 miles. They then return to headquarters before heading home for the day. Their normal daily commute is 10 miles each way. Their mileage reimbursement would be for 100 miles (50+50).
  • Traveler travels from home to headquarters and then to an alternate location at 8 a.m. on Monday for a distance of 50 miles. Their normal daily commute is 10 miles each way. They then return to their home after the meeting. Their mileage reimbursement would be for 90 miles (50+50‐10).

Additional examples can be view through the Travel Office Best Practice Mileage Guide.

Content
  • Travel requests must be entered and approved in the eTravel system prior to departure – submit at least 48 hours in advance.
  • Approved Business Leave form (PDF from the eLeave system) with estimated cost must be attached to the travel request.
  • Agenda/Programs should be attached at the time of the travel request; must be attached at the time of reimbursement.
  • Airfare
    • Airfare is required to be booked through Concur for Faculty, Staff, and Students
    • Should be purchased at lowest reasonable coach/economy fare that meets business needs.
    • Economy plus or other seating upgrades cannot be paid for.
    • Early boarding charges cannot be paid for.
    • Business class only permissible for international leg of flights in excess of 5 consecutive hours.
    • No first class – EVER!
    • Driving versus flying – any out-of-state travel requires total cost estimates to be compared to lowest reasonable airfare.
  • Mileage
    • An individual’s daily commute to and from residence and headquarters may not be reimbursed (see CoP mileage guidelines)
  • Rental Cars
    • National or Enterprise are required to be used through OSU contract.
    • If unavailable, fully executed rental agreement must be provided and DW/CDW/LDW and Liability Insurance must be purchased.
    • Additional supplemental insurances such as Personal Liability Insurance, Roadside Protection, etc. cannot be reimbursed.
    • GPS or navigation systems will not be reimbursed.
    • Refueling option should not be used except for extenuating circumstances – business need should be clearly documented if this option is used.
  • Lodging
    • Travelers are eligible for payments at the published conference rate or 2x the federal lodging rate for the travel location. However, if the lodging falls within 1.5-2x the lodging rate and is higher than the conference rate, additional justification is required.
  • Per Diem
    • Travelers are not required to provide receipts for regular per diem allowance.
    • However, if reimbursing actual meal cost – itemized receipts ARE required and must meet the per diem limits for the meal. We do not recommend this!
    • Lower per diem can be provided, but a general purpose of what was purchased must be documented. If the hotel provides continental breakfast, plane provides meals, or the conference provides meals; the individual may not be reimbursed per diem for those meals. The University has already paid for this meal (via lodging or conference registration) and cannot pay for the expense twice.
  • Vacation in Conjunction with Business Travel
    • Travel requires additional documentation.
    • Cost comparisons are required.
    • We still may be able to pre-pay airfare if the cost comparison is the same or lower.
    • We will only reimburse up to the business need airfare cost.
    • If alternate locations are required for personal time, we cannot pre-pay airfare.
  • Other Tips
    • We cannot reimburse expenses until after travel has occurred.
    • We cannot pre-pay or reimburse expenses that will later be reimbursed by a third party.
    • US Flag carriers required when using OSP funds.
    • Travel insurance cannot be reimbursed.