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Travel Guide (PDF; 11 KB) Updated 5/28/2010
In order to eliminate travel voucher errors and facilitate payment, following
are general information and guidelines for temporary duty travel:
Employees should use form OK-FNM-1 Meeting Attendance Request to request
approval to attend conferences and meetings. All state travel (including
in-state meetings) and any national meetings or conferences must be approved by
the State Conservationist. Approval to attend or hold a meeting does not
constitute authority for attendees to travel. If travel authorization is
necessary, attach a Travel Information Sheet to the OK-FNM-1 sent to your
supervisor. If compensatory travel time is being requested, a request for
Overtime/Compensatory Time should also be attached. It remains the employee’s
responsibility to ensure a travel authorization is in place prior to travel.
A government issued travel credit card is required to book all airline tickets
and lodging, and should be used for other travel related expenses such as
lodging and meals. Please refer to section on Travel Cards for further
Per FTR 301-10.8, if when mixing leisure travel with official travel, a traveler
chooses to travel by an indirect route or interrupt travel by a direct route for
personal convenience, reimbursement will be limited to the cost of travel by a
direct route or on an interrupted basis. The government contract fare or, if
unavailable, the airfare most advantageous to the Government is applicable only
to the official travel portions. The traveler is ineligible for any per diem for
personal days taken in conjunction with official travel. In most cases, a
reconstructed travel voucher will need to be submitted. For more information on
reconstructed travel please contact FNM.
The meeting attendance form, a travel information sheet, instruction sheets for
completing travel vouchers for domestic travel, and SCS-FNM-72 Meeting Approval
Request can be accessed on the internet at http://www.ok.nrcs.usda.gov/intranet/fnm/forms.html
Travelers are to travel the most prudent (cost effective) and efficient for the
government, not necessarily for the traveler’s convenience.
LODGING AND PER DIEM
Employees are responsible for ascertaining applicable per diem rates for
travel locations prior to traveling. Per diem consists of lodging costs plus a
fixed rate for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) such as tips. GSA sets the
per diem rate. The maximum lodging rate is the basic lodging charge before
taxes. Zone Clerks, section secretaries, or financial management should be able
to provide information on per diem rates or rates may be found at the following
web site: www.gsa.gov click on Travel
Resources, then under Travel Resources, click on Domestic Per Diem Rates. GSA
may change rates at any time; therefore, all travelers are advised to always
check rates prior to traveling.
When the Government furnishes meals at nominal or no cost, or meals are
included in registration fees or lodging cost; the appropriate amount should be
deducted from M&IE. Complimentary meals offered by hotels and airlines do not
have to be deducted. These rates may be found at the following web site:
www.gsa.gov click on Travel Resources, then
under Travel Resources, click on Meals & Incidental Expenses Breakdown.
The Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) state that per diem will not be paid
within the corporate limits of an employee’s official duty station. Departmental
Regulations and State policy further states: “Per diem may not be paid for
travel of more than one calendar day when travel is performed within a 35 mile
radius of either the employee’s official duty station location or residence.”
For example, if an employee whose duty station is in Pawnee is working on a EWP
project 28 miles away in Stillwater, and stays overnight at the hotel in
Stillwater, the employee is not eligible for per diem.
Another example, if an employee whose duty station is Pauls Valley and residence
is Purcell, is working on a EWP project in Norman, the employee cannot claim per
diem for an overnight stay in Norman. Even though the distance from the
employee’s duty station in Pauls Valley to Norman is 40 miles, the distance from
the employee’s residence in Purcell to Norman is only 22 miles. The employee can
request temporary approval to park a GOV at his or her residence, or at the
nearest field office, by submitting form AD-728 through supervisory channels for
approval by the State Conservationist.
The Chief of NRCS must pre-approve any requests for a waiver to allow per diem
for travel of more than one day within a 35 mile radius of an employee’s duty
station. Please send any requests for waivers through appropriate channels to
the State Administrative Officer to be forwarded to NHQ.
A special travel authorization is required to authorize the higher lodging rates
exceeding the CONUS rate. The authority to authorize the higher rate is not
delegated below the state budget officer. Approval must be obtained in advance
and will be on a case-by-case basis. Please submit written requests,
justification, and documentation that the traveler has tried at least three
other hotels, with a statement of overwhelming need to stay at that particular
hotel to your office assistant or state office secretary for forwarding to
financial management. Just because a block of rooms has been reserved for a
conference or meeting, the traveler is not obligated to stay at that hotel
especially if the lodging is not within the allowable CONUS rate. The need for
networking does not constitute an overwhelming need; however, a management
conference that has been arranged where lodging must be procured at a
prearranged place and ALL participants are REQUIRED to stay there does. Your
travel arranger can assist you in obtaining a list of hotels for your travel
Employees are also reminded that when a federal employee rents a lodging room
directly from the proprietor, he or she becomes liable for the amount of the
room rental, including tax. There is no valid Federal tax exempt certificate for
this purpose. Several states, cities, and local municipalities (as the taxing
jurisdiction) do offer their own tax-exempt lodging to Federal employees while
in travel status. For example, Texas offers this type of tax exemption. Oklahoma
City offers a tax exemption for hotel tax only. This form must be presented at
check-in and can be accessed under www.gsa.gov
It remains the hotel’s option whether or not to honor this tax exemption.
Lodging taxes should be vouchered separately from lodging costs. Actual costs
for lodging taxes are to be claimed as a miscellaneous expense in the "Supplies"
line on the back of the voucher. If the employee elects to stay at a hotel that
exceeds the maximum lodging costs authorized, the taxes are to be prorated to
the maximum lodging rate. An itemized receipt showing lodging expenses is to be
included with the travel voucher.
Employees accompanied by family members sharing the same hotel room are limited
to reimbursement for a single room.
Employees are required to use our travel management center, GovTrip for
booking common carrier transportation, out of state hotel/motel accommodations
and rental cars except in the following situations:
- Any travel for which advance reservations are impractical, e.g., when a
traveler is on the road and does not know where lodging will be available
(most in-state travel will fall under this exception).
- For travel situations where only a rental car is needed, travelers may
deal directly with the appropriate company.
- Hotel accommodations for a conference, seminar, etc., where the
sponsoring organization has arranged for special rate and ensured that the
facility complies with the Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act's (HMFSA)
Employees are not to book their own travel through GovTrip, they are to
contact their travel arranger to book their travel through GovTrip.
GSA negotiates a contract with airlines for travel on frequently used flights
between certain cities. These are called contract city-pairs. Government
travelers are required to use a contract city-pair fare if available. City pairs
can be access at www.gsa.gov under Travel
Use of non-refundable airline tickets must be pre-approved by Financial
Management. Approval will be considered on a case by case basis only. Please
contact Financial Management for approval procedures prior to booking
non-refundable airfare. Promotional items, including frequent flyer miles earned
on official travel may be retained for personal use if such items are obtained
under the same conditions offered to the general public at no additional cost to
the government. Each traveler is responsible for handling personal frequent
flyer mileage accounts. Travelers may not select airlines or other travel
services based upon frequent flyer programs or other promotional items.
Travelers are still expected to select the method and the time of travel most
advantageous to the government. For example, travelers should travel within
their tour of duty as much as possible. When flying, GovTrip should be queried
to ascertain the most cost effective travel.
For example, since Stillwater is centrally located between OKC and Tulsa, the
cost of traveling from either airport is determined. The traveler should be
prudent and fly on the most cost advantage flight. If the traveler chooses the
more expensive flight, then the traveler should not be reimbursed for the
difference in cost.
Travelers are required to submit travel voucher
AD 616 within 5 days of completion of trip, or every 30 days if employee is in
continuous travel status. All travel vouchers must be typed or prepared LEGIBLY
in ink (pencil is not acceptable). Travelers and approving officials must make
sure to include the date that they signed the travel voucher. Signatures must be
original and in ink. There can be only one purpose code and one travel
authorization number per voucher.
Approving officials should review expenses claimed on employee travel
vouchers to ensure agency guidelines are followed by employees.
Employees should review vouchers. When the employee signs the voucher, they
are certifying that all expenses are legitimate and meet agency
regulations and guidelines.
Laundry, cleaning and pressing of clothing may be charged as a reimbursable
miscellaneous expense. A minimum of four consecutive nights lodging is required
to qualify for reimbursement.
POV mileage rates are 0.50 cents per mile government advantage rate and 28.5
cents per mile personal preference.
Itemized receipts are required for lodging and for any expenses costing over
$75. Credit card receipts are not sufficient for vouchering.
Skycap charges (checking in baggage at sidewalk) are covered in per diem
incidentals, therefore not reimbursable.
Travelers can be reimbursed for tip to courtesy transportation of $1 each
Travelers may not be reimbursed for taxi service where there is suitable
government or transportation service or courtesy shuttle.
Tipping is reimbursable when a taxi ride is necessary to perform Government
Business only, considered maximum of 15%.
DR 2300-3 established policy on authorized telephone calls of a personal
nature while in travel status. Reimbursement for telephone calls of a personal
nature is authorized when an employee travels for more than one night, i.e., two
or more nights on government business, to the employee's residence to speak to
members of the immediate family. The total amount that may be approved for each
travel period cannot exceed an amount equal to $5.00 multiplied by the number of
lodging nights. Reimbursement should be claimed ONLY
if calls are made as outlined in DR2300-3. The $5 phone call is not an automatic
entitlement for employees on travel status. Travelers are to be prudent with
For the purpose of authorized telephone calls of a personal nature, immediate
family includes spouse, minor children, and anyone sharing the same residence
with the employee. The total amount that may be approved for each travel period
cannot exceed an amount equal to $5 multiplied by the number of lodging nights.
For those without immediate family at the official duty station, a maximum of
one telephone call per week is permitted to a non-family member within the
employee’s local duty station’s immediate commuting area not to exceed $5. The
local duty station’s immediate commuting area is defined as the area for which
an employee regularly commutes.
If dependent minor children or dependent family members who are physically
unable to stay alone are moved to a location away from the official duty
station’s immediate commuting area, authorized telephone calls of a personal
nature may be made to this alternate location. The total amount cannot exceed an
amount equal to $5 multiplied by the number of lodging nights.
Travelers can use a commercially leased vehicle at government expense only if
the agency determines that use of the rental vehicle is advantageous to the
government. The use of a rental vehicle must be requested on the Travel
Information Sheet attached to the employee’s OK-FNM-1 Meeting Attendance Request
and must be accompanied by a written justification of need for a rental vehicle.
Use of a rental vehicle must be specifically pre-authorized by the appropriate
State Leadership Team member. Please see section on “Vehicle Use” for further
information. Travelers should return cars with a full tank to the rental
company. A prudent traveler would not expect the government to pay to fill the
tank at $6 a gallon by the car rental company.
Government Sponsored Meetings, Trainings, or Conferences
NRCS policy and procedures for sponsoring meetings, training, or conferences
is contained in the General Manual, Title 250 Financial Management, Part 406.
The following two paragraphs are from Part 406.0 Policy.
“All conferences, meetings and seminars called by NRCS will be held at the
most cost effective location (considering such factors as meals, lodging,
transportation, and rental of conference rooms), all within the allotted Per
Diem rate, unless programmatic considerations dictate otherwise.”
“If a meeting of seven or more employees requires the payment of
transportation expenses, a cost-benefit analysis must be conducted and kept on
file. At a minimum, this analysis shall contain the name and duty location of
each employee, the estimated total travel costs for each employee, other
expected expenses (meeting room rental, etc.), and a justification for choosing
the meeting site over at least three other reasonable sites.”
Only the State Conservationist may approve conferences, meetings and seminars
costing $7,500 or less. Oklahoma employees responsible for planning a meeting of
seven or more employees requiring the payment of transportation and travel
expenses costing $7,500 or less must submit a completed SCS-FNM-72 Meeting
Approval Request through the appropriate SLT member to the State Conservationist
for approval. Copies of approved requests will be returned to the originating
office and the SLT member. The original approval and supporting documentation
will be maintained by Financial Management.
Meetings, training, or conferences costing more than $7,500 must be sent to
the State Conservationist for concurrence and submission to NHQ. All requests
for meetings, training, or conferences costing more than $7,500 should be
submitted to the State Conservationist at least 6 months in advance. Please
contact Financial Management for assistance if estimated meeting costs exceed
All forms referenced can be accessed on the internet at
Email: Cassandra Sites