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 Katie Wiegand at 515-294-1940 if you have questions.

 

Expense Type

 

Reimbursement Policies

Receipt Required?

See Receipt Requirements
Abstracts, Conference Proceedings Actual expense for copies of conference materials or related abstracts and papers. Yes, if $75 or more.
Airfare Actual cost of the least expensive class available. Business class and first class are not reimbursable.

Air tickets must be purchased with an Air Ticket Requisition form through a contracted university travel agency, unless meeting one of the three exceptions below.

  1. "Consolidator" tickets for foreign destinations may be paid by voucher, even if not purchased from ISU's contracted travel agency.

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

  3. Travelers can charge tickets to their personal credit cards or American Express Corporate cards if using an Internet site to realize significant savings.
    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.
Only the second and third items can be claimed on a travel reimbursement.

Acceptable documentation for a travel reimbursement includes the Passenger Receipt coupon or a copy of the E-ticket confirmation showing the amount paid, the traveler's name, and itinerary.

Fees for membership lounges, such as United's Red Carpet Club, are not a reimbursable expense.

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

Yes, if $75 or more.
Airport Tax 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
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.
Car Rental Actual expense. Charges must be prorated if part of the trip was not business-related.

Use Purchasing's 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.
Currency Conversion Fees Actual amount necessary for university travel. Yes, if $75 or more.
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
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.
Faxes Actual expense necessary for university business.
(See Telephone below.)
Yes, if $75 or more.
Film Developing Actual cost of business-related film developing. Business purpose should be explained on the reimbursement. Yes, if $75 or more.
Flight Insurance Not reimbursable, as this is a life insurance coverage that benefits the employee rather than ISU. Coverage of $350,000 already is provided by American Express when tickets are purchased by means of an Air Ticket Requisition form. Additional coverage is provided by our travel agencies, although the amount varies by agency. (Also see Trip Insurance below.) N/A
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. Yes, if $75 or more.
Gasoline Actual expense. May not be claimed in addition to a mileage claim. Usually only claimed for rental vehicles. Yes, if $75 or more.
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.
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.

Excessive generosity when tipping is a personal expense and therefore is not reimbursable.
Yes, if $75 or more.
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 a 206 or unrestricted 497 fund. 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.

Meal expenses for an employee's spouse (or significant other) usually are not reimbursable. 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 funding.

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.
Laundry, Dry Cleaning Actual expenses. Usually allowed only for extended trips. Not allowed when claiming a meals (and incidental expenses) per diem for foreign travel. Yes, if $75 or more.
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 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.

Always, regardless of the amount.

Lodging – Foreign Reimbursement must be for the single rate single rate or the U.S. State Department per diem. ( Per diem rates are available at http://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem.asp)

A receipt is required even if the per diem rate is claimed. Charges for staying with friends or relatives are not reimbursable.

Please see FAQ - Lodging for additional information.

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 a 206 or unrestricted 497 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 Employee Reimbursement System automatically records non-overnight meals as taxable. If the primary purpose of the meal was to discuss business, you can override the default setting by changing the taxable meals indicator for that meal to No, and stating the reason for the overriding the default setting in the Additional Comments box at the bottom of the screen.

Also see the Group Meals heading above.

No
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 a 206 or unrestricted 497 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.

Also see the Group Meals heading above.

No
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 a 206 or unrestricted 497 account.

The incidental expenses portion of the meal per diem rate includes "fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses and others on ships, and hotel servants in foreign countries; transportation between places of lodging or business and places where meals are taken," laundry and dry cleaning expenses. Therefore, these expenses may not be claimed separately.

Please see FAQ - Meals for additional information.

Yes, if $75 or more for Actual Expenses (not for Per Diem).
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, 2015:

the default mileage rate was increased from $.28 to $.2875.

the higher mileage rate increased from $.56 to $.575 per mile. The traveler can qualify for the rate higher than the default rate of $.2875 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 between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014:

the default mileage rate was decreased from $.2825 to $.28.

the higher mileage rate decreased from $.565 to $.56 per mile. The traveler can qualify for the rate higher than the default rate of $.28 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 between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013:

the default mileage rate was increased from $.2775 to $.2825.

the higher mileage rate increased from $.555 to $.565 per mile. The traveler can qualify for the rate higher than the default rate of $.2825 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 may be reimbursed only for rental cars. Also see the Summary of Unallowable Travel Expenses for other non-reimbursable charges.

Please see FAQ - Mileage for additional information.

No
Newspapers Actual expense. Business purpose of newspapers should be stated on the reimbursement. No
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.
Parking Actual expense. Yes, if $75 or more.
Passports, Visas Actual expense, if necessary for university travel. 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Shipping Actual expenses for materials that must be shipped while in travel status. Yes, if $75 or more.
Snacks Should be claimed in the "Meals" column and should not be used as a means of exceeding the meal maximums. No
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.
Telephone 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.) Yes, even if less than $75.
Tolls Actual expense. Receipts often are not given. 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.
Traveler’s Checks Fee Actual expense if required for university travel. No
Trip Insurance Unlike Flight Insurance (see above), 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. Yes, if $75 or more.
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 http://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/what-tsa-precheck 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.
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.

This page was last updated on December 18, 2014.