Travel Handbook

Travel Handbook

Per Diem


Travel Money

Misc Expenses

SAAM (OFM) Travel Guidelines

Travel for Convenience

Travel Procedure Guidelines




Glossary of Terms




Per diem expenses are those costs covering both lodging expenses and subsistence or meal costs while in travel status.  See the References page to find maximum allowable lodging and subsistence rates for non high cost and high cost locations within the continental United States and international travel.  More specific details are provided under sections on Subsistence and Lodging Reimbursement.



Subsistence is the daily allowance for meal costs when you are in travel status at least three hours beyond your normal work day.  You may be reimbursed for breakfast if you are in travel status before 6:00 AM, for lunch if you are in travel status before 11:00 AM, and for dinner if you begin travel status before 5:00 PM.  Please note that you may not be eligible for meal costs away from your official work station for one-day meetings unless the 3-Hour Rule applies. Exceptions to the 3-Hour Rule require prior written approval by OFM before being in travel status. Contact Shoreline's Travel Liaison for more details. According to IRS's fringe benefits rules, meals reimbursed that do not include overnight stays are subject to federal with holdings and will be reported to payroll.


Subsistence payments are not to be reduced or eliminated due to meals served on airlines.  However, do not claim meals included in the registration fee for reimbursement on the Travel Expense Voucher.



Commercial lodging may be needed while you are in travel status. If you choose to extend your stay for personal reasons, you may be charged a higher rate than the one negotiated for your official stay.  Whether you use one of Shoreline's state-approved travel agencies, or handle your lodging reservations yourself, please ask for a government rate.  The government rate is always lower than the commercial rate and is offered by most lodging facilities.  It is also suggested that you request written confirmation of your reservations or a confirmation number.


In the event a block of rooms has been arranged for the participants of the conference or seminar you will be attending, you will need to make those reservations yourself.  You may be required to provide a credit card to reserve the room or guarantee for late arrival. Whether you personally make lodging reservations or have a travel agency make them for you, you are responsible for canceling any confirmed reservations should your plans change.


Lodging reservations for a group of individuals attending the same meeting or conference may be prepaid by the College with the use of the approved Travel Requisition form.



The Office of Financial Management has published Schedule A, Lodging, Subsistence and Private Vehicle Mileage Reimbursement Rates for the Continental USA, and Schedule B, High Cost Locations for the Continental USA.  These two schedules are to be used in computing the amount of reimbursement you will receive while in travel status.


As noted in Schedule A, the maximum daily lodging rate for non-high cost locations in the continental United States is $50.00 including all taxes. However, the maximum allowance for lodging expenses in high cost locations may vary from area to area.  Information on high cost locations is contained in Schedule B on the reference website.


The allowable lodging amount may be insufficient for a particular travel assignment.  In the situations listed below an approved Exception to the Maximum Allowable Lodging Amounts may be approved:

  • When an employee is assigned to accompany an elected official, a foreign dignitary, or others as authorized by law, and is required to stay in the same lodging facility.
  • When costs in an area have escalated for a brief period of time either during special events or disasters.
  • When lodging accommodations in the area of the temporary duty station are not available at or below the maximum lodging amount, and the savings achieved from occupying less expensive lodging at a more distant site are consumed by an increase in transportation and other costs.
  • The employee attends a meeting, conference, convention, or training session where the traveler is expected to have business interaction with other participants in addition to scheduled events, and it is anticipated that maximum benefit will be achieved by authorizing the traveler to stay at the lodging facility where the meeting, conference, convention, or training session is held.
  • To comply with provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Subsection, or when the health and safety of the traveler is at risk  (Subsection
  • When meeting room facilities are necessary and it is more economical for the employee to acquire special lodging accommodations such as a suite rather than to acquire a meeting room and a room for lodging.

Reimbursement for lodging expenses when the lodging facility is located within fifty (50) miles of the closer of either the employee's official residence or official station will be denied,  except under one of the following three conditions:

  1. An overnight stay is based on economics.  Complete justification should be referenced or attached to the traveler’s Travel Expense Voucher.
  2. When the health and safety of travelers (Subsection is considered advantageous to the state and can be used to justify an overnight stay.  Approval and documentation requirements are contained in Subsection
  3. Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is considered advantageous to the state and can be used to justify an overnight stay (Subsection  The Travel Expense Voucher should be annotated that the extra costs were incurred to comply with the ADA.


- Email Stuart Trippel at


Modified on 05/21/2012