Travelers who choose to drive instead of fly will be reimbursed for the lower cost: actual driving costs or projected flying costs. The intent is to avoid subsidizing travel that is partly vacation-related.

  • Driving costs include round-trip mileage, tolls, parking, and extra meals and hotel charges en route.
  • Projected flying costs may include an airline ticket quote from a contracted travel agency, a $25 service fee from the contracted travel agency, round trip mileage to the Des Moines airport, estimated parking at the Des Moines airport, and shuttle transportation or car rental.
    • Airline ticket quotes should be obtained in writing from a contracted travel agency at least two weeks before departure to be assured of the lowest fare. Quotes will not be available after the trip. Travelers with questions should contact the Accounting Office before departure to avoid misunderstandings regarding reimbursement.

Exceptions, listed below, must be adequately explained on the travel reimbursement.

  • The traveler was on an extended trip (e.g., > 30 days) that made it more economical to have a personal car than a rental car.
  • Multiple people were traveling in the car, thereby making it more economical than purchasing multiple air tickets.
  • Specialized equipment must be hauled in the vehicle, which would have been impractical to take on the plane.
  • The destination was within a 400 mile radius (e.g., Chicago).

Sample Scenario

In the driving/flying comparison below, the actual driving costs exceed the projected flying costs. The reimbursement is limited to the lower amount of $566.02.

Actual Driving Costs

$474.86    Ames to Columbus, Ohio, round-trip mileage (1450 x $.3275)
$12    Tolls
$35    Parking in Columbus
$130    Hotel in Indianapolis (en route to Columbus)
$130    Hotel in Indianapolis (en route from Columbus)
$80    Two days of itemized meals en route (Not necessary if flying)
$861.86    Total, Actual Driving Costs

Projected Flying Costs

$348    Airfare for Des Moines to Columbus, Ohio (round trip)
$25    Airfare service fee
$60    Baggage fees (2 x $30)
$55.02    Round-trip mileage, DSM Airport - Ames (84 x $.655)
$28    Parking DSM Airport (4 days @ $7)
$50    Estimated shuttle, cab, or rental car (if necessary)
$566.02    Total, Projected Flying Costs