Travel Information

Departments have the discretion to refuse to reimburse expenses submitted more than 60 days after the expense was incurred. As a complement to the list below, please review the Summary of Unallowable Travel Expenses. Please contact Matt Devick at 515-294-0457 if you have questions.

 

Expense Type

 

Reimbursement Policies

Receipt Required for Reimbursmeent?

See Receipt Requirements
Receipt Required for T&H Card?

See Receipt Requirements
Abstracts, Conference Proceedings Actual expense for copies of conference materials or related abstracts and papers. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Airfare Actual cost of the least expensive class available. Business class and first class are not reimbursable unless there is a specific documented medical exemption. If combining business and personal travel, it is the responsibility of the traveler to provide a comparable airfare quote. No reimbursement will be given without a comparative quote. Charges associated with personal travel on the T&H Card will be charged back. For more information on medical exemptions and personal travel, please see FAQ - Air Travel.


"Consolidator" tickets for foreign destinations may be paid by supplier invoice, even if not purchased from ISU's contracted travel agency. These cannot be claimed in the expense report as a reimbursement.


Travelers can charge tickets to their personal credit cards or American Express Corporate cards in emergencies or other unusual situations.


Travelers can charge tickets to their personal credit cards or American Express Corporate cards if using an Internet site to realize significant savings. The T&H Card can ONLY be used with the contracted ISU vendors--Corporate Travel Planners or Key Travel; or directly with the airlines.


Please review the Travelers' Responsibilities, Summary of Unallowable Expenses, and Internet Travel Sites sections before purchasing tickets from a source other than ISU's contracted travel agency.

Acceptable documentation for a travel reimbursement includes the entire airline itinerary showing names, fare class, dates of travel, all legs of the trip, and the amount paid.


Please see FAQ - Air Travel and the Package Deals for Airfare and Lodging heading below for additional information.

Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
ATM Fees International travelers sometimes need to obtain cash at an ATM. This is reimbursable if documentation (e.g., a copy of the credit card statement or bank statement) is provided. Yes, if $75 or more. ATM fees are not allowed on the T&H Card.
Baggage Fees Actual expense for luggage necessary for business travel. Additional charges to accommodate vacation travel, or for personal items such as golf clubs, are not reimbursable. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Bike Rentals Actual expense for business travel. Additional charges to accommodate vacation days are not reimbursable. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Car Rental Actual expense. Charges must be prorated if part of the trip was not business-related.

Use Procurement Services' links for Enterprise and National to get information on utilizing contracts that include coverages for Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) and liability for no additional cost.

Please see Risk Management's website for information on renting cars from agencies other than Enterprise or National, including these guidelines:
  1. If no liability coverage is provided, the University recommends the University employee buy the minimum amount of liability coverage available. Examples of allowable liability coverages include:
    Additional Liability Insurance (ALI)
    Liability Insurance Supplement (LIS)
    Liability Supplemental Insurance (LSI)
    Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI)
    Supplemental Liability Protection (SLP)
  2. Purchase the optional CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) LDW (Loss Damage Waiver) on rental vehicles, per Risk Management. However, when using the university's contracts through Enterprise and National, the CDW and LDW coverages are included at no additional cost. (Collision Damage Waiver insurance sometimes is referred to as Damage Waiver insurance.)
  3. Rent the vehicle "to Iowa State University, by ....(your name)."

When using rental agencies other than Enterprise or National, CDW and LDW will be reimbursed.

Other types of insurance that are not reimbursable include (but are not limited to):
Auto Tow Protection (ATP)
Emergency Sickness Protection (ESP)
Extended Liability Insurance (ELI)
Extended Liability Protection (ELP)
Peace of Mind Insurance (POM)
Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)
Personal Damage Waiver (PDW)
Personal Effects Coverage (PEC)
Personal Effects Insurance (PEI)
Personal Effects Protection (PEP)
Rental Liability Insurance (RLI)
Super Personal Accident Insurance (SPAI)
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection (UMP)

Roadside Assistance Protection is reimbursable.

For additional information see the Policy Library or Risk Management's website.

Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Currency Conversion Fees Actual amount necessary for university travel. Yes, if $75 or more. No. The T&H Card will calculate rates.
Exit Fees Actual expense may be claimed when not already included in the cost of the ticket. Sometimes charged at foreign airports. Receipts often are not provided. No Yes
Expenses Paid on Behalf of Another Traveler This practice is strongly discouraged, as it makes duplicate reimbursement more likely. Nearly all travelers have credit cards, and it is preferable to have each individual pay for and claim his/her own expenses separately.

When this is not possible, the paying traveler's own expenses should be claimed in the specific fields (e.g., Lodging) on the Enter Expenses screens, and the non-paying traveler's expenses should be claimed in the Other field, with an explanation in the Other Comments text box. If the text box does not provide sufficient room, attach a document explaining the expenditures as part of the PDF file of receipts. The explanation should include the traveler's name, relationship to ISU, and a breakdown of expenses (lodging, meals, etc.) per day.

Paying for another traveler's meal is considered a Group Meal (see below).

Paying for a taxi or cab shared with other passengers does not require additional documentation or explanation, as the fare does not vary significantly for the addition of other passengers. Please see Taxis, Cabs, Buses, Shuttles, Subways below. However, when there is a separate fare for each person, as with buses, airport shuttles, or subways, individuals should each claim their own expenses.
Yes, regardless of the amount. Yes
Faxes Actual expense necessary for university business.
(See Telephone below.)
Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Film Developing / Photo Processing Actual cost of business-related film developing or photo processing. The business purpose should be explained on the reimbursement. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Foreign Exchange Fees Credit card issuers often charge an additional fee when the expense was incurred in a foreign currency. This is reimbursable if documentation (e.g., a copy of the credit card statement) is provided. (Also see ATM Fees above.) Yes, if $75 or more. No. The T&H Card will calculate rates.
Gasoline Actual expense. May not be claimed in addition to a mileage claim. Usually only claimed for rental vehicles. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Gifts (Representation Allowances) Actual expense of a gift when it is considered customary to present a gift to a host, especially in international travel. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Global Online Enrollment System The U.S. Customs and Border Protection allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the U.S. Please see their website for more details. Federal funds cannot be used for this expenditure. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Gratuities (Tips) Actual amounts paid for cabs, skycaps, bellmen, etc. will be reimbursed. Meal gratuities (tips to waiters) cannot be claimed separately as a means of exceeding meal maximums.

When claiming a meals (and incidental expenses) per diem for foreign travel, tips are one of the listed incidental expenses, and therefore cannot be claimed separately.

Tips of $100.00 or more require a signature, printed name, address, and Social Security Number for tax reporting. This is consistent with our treatment of other taxable cash disbursements of $100.00 or above. (Exceptions to the Social Security Number requirement can be granted for international travel, as the receipients are unlikely to be subject to U.S. taxation.)

Excessive generosity when tipping is a personal expense and therefore is not reimbursable.
Yes, if $75 or more. Yes. Gratuities may not exceed the maximum daily meal limit.
Group Meals Actual expense of the meal, which may include a gratuity.

Please attach both the itemized receipt and the customer copy. A customer copy of the credit card slip showing only the meal total and tip is not sufficient. The itemized receipt is required to provide the detail of what was purchased, and the customer copy is required to document the amount paid for the tip. If an itemized receipt is no longer available, the payee must complete a Certificate of Missing Receipt form. The names of the other attendees and the business purpose of the meal must be stated.

Alcohol must be deducted, unless charged to unrestricted funds. When alcohol must be deducted, you also should deduct a pro-rated amount for the sales tax and tip associated with the alcohol. You may use this attachment as a model for the deduction. If alcohol is charged on a T&H Card, the amount must be itemized to a personal charge expense item for chargeback.

Meal expenses for an employee's spouse (or significant other) usually are not allowable. Some possible exceptions include:
  1. When the interviewee's spouse (or significant other) also is attending the interview meal.
  2. When the employee is being recognized at a staff recognition function, attendance of a spouse (or significant other) is generally permitted.
  3. When meeting with a donor couple, the ISU employee may bring a spouse (or significant other).
  4. When attending a fundraising event, sometimes it is expected that employees' spouses (or significant others) attend.
These exceptions are not allowed for sponsored programs funding and do not extend to other family members. It is generally not allowable to either reimburse or pay for meals of parents, children, or other relatives.

In any situation involving spouses (or significant others) an explanation is required to justify the business purpose.
Group meal receipts are required for all travel and non-travel reimbursements, regardless of the amount, as they are considered a hospitality expense. Group meal receipts are required for all travel and non-travel reimbursements, regardless of the amount, as they are considered a hospitality expense.
Laundry, Dry Cleaning Actual expenses. Usually allowed only for extended trips (i.e., seven or more travel days). Not allowed when claiming a meals (and incidental expenses) per diem for foreign travel. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Lodging – Domestic Reimbursement must be for the single rate. An itemized hotel receipt is required. Charges for staying with friends or relatives are not reimbursable. In-room movies, room service, and other personal amenities are not reimbursable. Charges for parking and business-related long-distance calls and charges for Internet service must be listed as Miscellaneous Expenses.

Please see FAQ - Lodging and the Package Deals for Airfare and Lodging heading below for additional information.

Airbnb and other similar online lodging marketplaces can be used for ISU business lodging. Because of liabilities however, these cannot be charged to the T&H Card. If a traveler wishes to use an online lodging marketplace they must pay personally and be reimbursed.

Always, regardless of the amount.

Always, regardless of the amount.
Lodging – Foreign After July 1, 2019 reimbursement of foreign lodging expenses will be for actual cost only.

Always, regardless of amount. Always, regardless of amount.
Meals – In-State Actual expenses are allowed, subject to the limits set by the Board of Regents (B = $6, L = $9, D = $16). For domestic travel there is no "per diem" or entitlement to the maximum allowable amounts. If the traveler did not spend the maximum, the traveler should not claim the maximum.

Gratuities may be included if they do not result in exceeding the allowable amounts listed above. Alcohol must be excluded, unless charged to an unrestricted account.

Must be in travel status from 7:30 a.m. through 8:00 a.m. to claim breakfast, noon through 1:00 p.m. to claim lunch, and 5:30 p.m. through 6:30 p.m. to claim dinner.

See FAQ - Meals for possible exceptions to the allowable meal limits. Meals not requiring overnight travel must be reported as taxable, unless the primary purpose of the meal was to discuss business. The old Employee Reimbursement System automatically recorded non-overnight meals as taxable. The Expense Module requires an indication for taxable meals. It is a duty of the Procurement and Expense Specialist to verify taxability of meals with no overnight stay. If the primary purpose of the meal was to discuss business, it is not considered taxable.

Also see the Group Meals heading above.

No Yes
Meals – Out-of-State Actual expenses are allowed, subject to the limits set by the Board of Regents (B = $8, L = $12, D = $20). For domestic travel there is no "per diem" or entitlement to the maximum allowable amounts. If the traveler did not spend the maximum, the traveler should not claim the maximum.

Gratuities may be included if they do not result in exceeding the allowable amounts listed above. Alcohol must be excluded, unless charged to an unrestricted fund. If alcohol is charged on a T&H Card, the amount must be itemized to a personal charge expense item for chargeback.

Must be in travel status from 7:30 a.m. through 8:00 a.m. to claim breakfast, noon through 1:00 p.m. to claim lunch, and 5:30 p.m. through 6:30 p.m. to claim dinner. Charges to the T&H Card in excess of the daily limit will need to be itemized and charged back to the Ubill using a "personal charge," expense item.

See FAQ - Meals for possible exceptions to the allowable meal limits.

Also see the Group Meals heading above.

No Yes
Meals – Foreign Actual expenses or U.S. State Dept. per diems. (Per diem rates are available at http://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem.asp)

Gratuities may be included, but not in addition to the per diem amount if the per diem method is being used. Alcohol must be excluded, unless charged to an unrestricted account. An unrestricted account can only be used for alcohol if non-ISU employees also are in attendance.

The incidental expenses portion of the meal and incidental expenses per diem rate includes "fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, hotel staff and staff on ships," as well as "laundry and dry cleaning." Therefore, these expenses may not be claimed separately.

Charges to the T&H Card in excess of the daily limit will need to be itemized and charged back to the Ubill using a "personal charge," expense item.


Please see FAQ - Meals for additional information.

Yes, if $75 or more for Actual Expenses (not for Per Diem). Yes
Mileage – Personal Vehicle

The maximum mileage rate is linked to the maximum allowed by the Internal Revenue Service and to the General Services Administration when a government-owned vehicle is not available. The default mileage rate is linked to the amount allowed by the General Services Administration when a government-owned vehicle is available.


For travel taking place on or after January 1, 2019:

the default mileage rate was increased from $.2725 to $.29.

the higher mileage rate increased from $.545 to $.58 per mile. The traveler can qualify for the rate higher than the default rate of $.29 if: 1.) the round-trip is less than 100 miles #, 2.) the traveler is permanently based off-campus ##, 3.) the traveler was unable to reserve a vehicle from Transportation Services, 4.) if the traveler is not an ISU employee or student, or 5.) the trip is to or from a designated airport (Omaha, Kansas City, or Minneapolis) 100 or more miles away from Ames for the purpose of obtaining a lower-cost flight.

For travel taking place on or after January 1, 2018:

the default mileage rate was increased from $.2675 to $.2725.

the higher mileage rate increased from $.535 to $.545 per mile. The traveler can qualify for the rate higher than the default rate of $.2725 if: 1.) the round-trip is less than 100 miles #, 2.) the traveler is permanently based off-campus ##, 3.) the traveler was unable to reserve a vehicle from Transportation Services, 4.) if the traveler is not an ISU employee or student, or 5.) the trip is to or from a designated airport (Omaha, Kansas City, or Minneapolis) 100 or more miles away from Ames for the purpose of obtaining a lower-cost flight.
# "Round-trip" includes the entire trip departing from and returning to Ames (or the official station of the employee, if based outside of Ames). For example, if an employee working in Ames drives to Cedar Rapids for a meeting, then continues on a separate trip to Mt. Vernon for a different meeting, the Cedar Rapids to Mt. Vernon portion of the trip does not qualify for the higher rate, even though this portion of the trip was less than 100 miles.

## In this context, "off-campus" means outside the city of Ames, and therefore unable to conveniently use vehicles from Transportation Services. For example, the ISU Research Park is off the main campus, but within the city of Ames, and able to conveniently use Transportation Services. Therefore, employees located at the ISU Research Park, or other locations within the city of Ames, would not automatically qualify for the higher rate.

If you did not record an odometer reading, you can refer to the Mileage Guide - Iowa or the Mileage Guide - Out-of-State. An online source or road atlas also may be consulted for the reasonableness of mileage claims to out-of-state destinations. The official station (starting point) will be the location of the traveler's permanent office or home, whichever is less. Whenever an employee travels other than by the shortest route, an explanation must be indicated on the Reimbursement.

Tolls may be claimed separately. Gasoline usually is reimbursed only for rental cars, as it is less than the allowable mileage rate. Also see the Summary of Unallowable Travel Expenses for other non-reimbursable charges.

Please see FAQ - Mileage for additional information.

No Mileage cannot be claimed on a T&H Card.
Newspapers Actual expense. Business purpose of newspapers should be stated on the reimbursement. No Yes
Package Deals for Airfare and Hotel When the airfare and hotel are lumped together as one price as part of a package deal through Travelocity, Orbitz, etc., enter the full amount under Miscellaneous Expenses - Other. Include an explanation in the Other Comments field that the package deal included both airfare and hotel, and state the hotel nights covered by the package.

When the package deal splits the amounts between airfare and hotel, list the airfare amount in the Airfare Paid by Traveler field and pro-rate the hotel charge in the Lodging field for each of the nights covered.

Using a package deal usually means the hotel will not provide an itemized receipt.
Always, regardless of the amount. Not allowed. To use the T&H Card, travelers will need to book through either Key Travel, Corporate Travel Partners, or direct with the airline.
Parking Actual expense. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Passports, Visas Actual expense, if necessary for university travel. If a photo is taken as part of the passport application process, it can be reimbursed. Since passport applications now require a birth certificate with a raised seal, we can reimburse for a copy of the birth certificate as well. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Photocopying Actual expense, if necessary for university business while in travel status.

When not in travel status, on-campus sources must be utilized, and intramural billing should be used instead of a personal reimbursement.
Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Preferred Seating / Seat Selection Fees Some airlines charge extra for choosing a seat on the plane, which is allowable. Documentation usually is part of the itinerary detailing the other charges. Federal funds cannot be used for this expenditure. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Premium Economy Fares Some airlines offer additional leg room and seat width for an economy fare. The name varies by airline (e.g., American Airlines Main Cabin Extra, Delta Airlines Comfort+, United Airlines Economy Plus). Documentation usually is part of the itinerary detailing the other charges. Federal funds cannot be used for the incremental increase over the regular economy fare. https://www.seatguru.com/charts/premium_economy.php and http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/travelers-ed/is-premium-economy-worth-the-extra-cost provide comparisons of what different airlines offer. Always, regardless of the amount. Yes
Private Airplane Miles Private airplane miles can be reimbursed at the rate provided by the General Services Administration. Airplane nautical miles (NMs) should be converted into statute miles (SMs) or regular miles when submitting a reimbursement using the formula (1 NM equals 1.15077945 SMs).

No No. Not allowed on the T&H Card.
Registration Actual expense, excluding extra costs for spousal attendance or events that are purely for entertainment purposes. Prepayment of registration by an ISU Purchasing Card or Disbursement Voucher is encouraged. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes. Can also be charged to the P-Card.
Safe Deposit Boxes Actual cost of rental of a hotel safe deposit box required for business use. Storage of personal items is not reimbursable. If the safe deposit box was not an optional charge, please explain and it will be reimbursed. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Shipping Actual expenses for materials that must be shipped while in travel status. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Snacks/Non-alcoholic drinks Should be claimed in the "Meals" column and should not be used as a means of exceeding the meal maximums. No Yes
Taxis, Cabs, Buses, Airport Shuttles, Subways Actual expense including tip. Using a taxi to travel to the Des Moines airport or solely for going to dinner is discouraged. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Telephone Charges Actual expense of business-related calls. If not detailed on the hotel receipt, a copy of the traveler’s phone bill must be attached. (As of July 1, 2009, the Communication Technology Allowance policy limits reimbursement to roaming charges, minutes above the monthly contract, or international calls, or temporary access to services while on assignment.) Phone cards used for international travel also are reimbursable. Yes, even if less than $75. Yes
Tolls Actual expense. Receipts often are not given. No No
Tours, Cruises Actual expense of business-related tour or mandatory conference events is reimbursable. Optional or pleasure tours are not reimbursable. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Traveler’s Checks Fee Actual expense if required for university travel. No No. Not allowed on the T&H Card.
TSA Pre-Check Program In December 2013, the Transportation Security Administration began a program that allows low-risk travelers to experience faster, more efficient screening at participating U.S. airports, for both domestic and international travel. (The Des Moines International Airport is one of the participating airports.) Participants in the program also will not have to remove belts, shoes, jackets, or laptops. Please see their website for more information on the program. The $85.00 application fee is non-refundable, even if the application is denied. Federal funds cannot be used for this expenditure. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Trip Insurance Please review Risk Management's website regarding CISI international trip insurance before purchasing coverage on your own. Unlike Flight Insurance (see the Summary of Unallowable Travel Expenses), Trip Insurance has a potential benefit to ISU (e.g., the refund of the air ticket price) if the trip is cancelled. This can be reimbursed at the discretion of the department after reviewing what is covered by the fee. If it is primarily for a personal coverage, such as lost luggage, it benefits the employee and is not reimbursable. Also see Flight Insurance, which is unallowable. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes
Vaccinations, Malaria Pills, etc. Actual expense, if necessary for university travel. Must claim only the amount not covered by insurance. Yes, if $75 or more. Yes

This page was last updated on July 11, 2019.