Planning Business Travel

Guidance for those traveling on University business. 

Getting Started 

The University Travel Policy provides additional information related to requirements, payments and reimbursements of approved business travel.  The following requirements must be met in order for business travel to be reimbursable: 

  • Travel must be consistent with the university mission 
  • Travel must be performed in the most economical manner (i.e., expenses must be necessary and reasonable). 
  • All expenses must be incurred while in travel status. 
  • Actual expenses must be reported (except for meal and miscellaneous/incidental expense per diem) 

Pre-Travel Checklist 

Prior authorization is required for travel on University business.  Pre-authorization is submitted as a Create Spend Authorization in Workday. 

The following items should be considered when planning a business trip.  

  • The business reason for travel (i.e., attending a conference) 
  • Dates of travel  
  • Destination(s) 
  • Transportation methods (i.e., airline, train, rental car) 
  • Lodging requirements including per night cost, tax and surcharges (Must be with per diem) 
  • Registration fee(s) for event 
  • Meals and no-cost meals provided at the event 
  • For meals and incidental expenses, only one payment/reimbursement method per trip.  Since reimbursement methods cannot be combined on one trip, the traveler must decide before travelling whether to use the P-Card to pay actual meal expenses or receive a per diem reimbursement for meals 
  • Other anticipated requirements and expenses (i.e., mileage, baggage fees, etc.) 
  • All travel costs must be estimated before the proposed trip is made. These estimates should include expenses to be billed directly to Marymount on a P-Card (such as airfare and registration fees) and expenses to be reimbursed to the traveler. 

Allowable Expenses 

  • Transportation (including airfare, rail tickets, rental car, taxi, shuttle, etc.) 
  • Lodging (within per diem rate for location when an overnight stay is required unless hotel is at conference site) 
  • Meals (based on overnight lodging location per diem rates) 
  • *Business telephone calls 
  • *Internet charges (when required for business) 
  • Visa expenses, vaccination fees, airport fees 
  • Registration fees 
  • For more information refer to the University Travel Policy 

 *Business phone calls, facsimiles, and data transmission charges must be supported by documentation that includes the date, points and parties involved, the business purpose of the call, and the charges incurred. Travelers are permitted to incur charges for use of the internet at hotels, airports or other locations provided that internet access is necessary for business activity.  

Internet Charges to Sponsored Funds.  Internet charges to sponsored funds are allowable only when directly related to the specific grant or contract. As such, checking email could only be charged to a grant if email activity was limited to, and directly related to, a specific project. Internet-based research directly related to a sponsored project is allowable. 

Unallowable Expenses 

Personal expenses are generally not reimbursable. Examples of common expenses that are not reimbursable are listed below. This list is not all-inclusive. 

  • Passport fees 
  • Lost or stolen articles 
  • Alcoholic beverages 
  • Excessive meal and lodging charges 
  • Personal telephone calls* 
  • Personal laundry expenses* 
  • Damage to personal vehicles, clothing or other items 
  • Expenses related to personal negligence of the traveler, such as fines 
  • Services to gain entry to locked vehicles 
  • Towing charges 
  • Insurance associated with rental cars in the United States 
  • Luxury vehicle rentals 
  • Excessive parking and gasoline charges 
  • University parking fees 
  • Movies charged to hotel/motel bills 
  • Expenses for children, spouses and other non-business companions 
  • Service fees and tips (e.g., to baggage handlers)*  
  • Travel insurance (personal injury or loss, trip interruption/cancellation, etc.) Note: Travel accident and emergency insurance coverage is available for employees (covered cost). Additional information is available from the Office of Risk Management.  

 *These expenses are covered by the incidental portion of the per diem payment. 

Receipts and Required Documentation 

Each traveler should keep a log of daily travel expenses, and receipts must be obtained and carefully retained for all expenditures for which they are normally available. The traveler must submit their travel expenses through Workday with itemized/detailed dated receipts from the vendor and proof of payment. The traveler is required to keep original receipts for 18 months for auditing purposes. Credit card receipts without details are not acceptable. Accounts Payable will not reimburse individual transactions without receipts. Charges incurred using a University P-Card follow the documentation requirements of the University P-Card Policy.  

The University is a tax-exempt organization. The University will not reimburse individuals for the sales tax on purchase reimbursement requests from DC, MD and VA and other qualified states. 

The following chart provides general documentation requirements for travel expenses that must be submitted to substantiate travel expenses incurred: 

Expense Type

Documentation Requirements

Transportation  General  Receipts required for all items 
Air  Electronic airline tickets 
Rental Car  Refer to Ground Transportation  
Personal Automobile  Mileage log that reflects daily record of trips and miles traveled 

Copy of mileage calculation from GPS or desktop web mapping service such as MapQuest or Google Maps 

Bus/Train (Public)  Receipts are not required for public transportation 

An itemized log is required, with date, destination, business purpose and cost. 

Bus/Train (Commercial)  Electronic tickets 

Boarding pass 

Taxi, Uber or other car service  Refer to Ground Transportation  
Limo & Shuttle Services  Refer to Ground Transportation 
Conference Fees  Receipts required 
Hotel/Lodging  General  Itemized, dated hotel bill marked as paid 
Private Rentals (i.e. AirBnB, VRBO, etc.)  Electronic receipt which itemized amounts paid including daily rate, cleaning fees, service charges and other fees 
Private/Personal Residence  Proof of payment to host of private residence 

Travel Charging Sponsored Project Funding 

The dollar limitations on lodging, meals and incidental expenses in conjunction with an overnight trip, and transportation also apply to travel conducted in support of grants and contracts sponsored by outside agencies unless the underlying grant or contract specifically provides different reimbursement policies or rates. 

Review the award document for any restrictions related to travel, as some sponsors may not allow foreign travel or any travel not approved in the budget. In some cases, prior approval may be needed and this request would need to go through the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). Any air travel charged to a federally funded, sponsored project must be taken on U.S. flag air carriers, unless an exception applies as noted in the Federal Travel Regulation. 

Placemakr Marymount Ballston 

For any local lodging using university funds, travelers or guests must be booked at Placemakr Marymount Ballston.  

International Travel Security Guidelines