Travel Policies and Procedures

Download Travel Procedures PDF


Travel Policies

All travel on behalf of the Center for Space Research must be in accordance with University policy which requires prior approval by the Director of the Center and the Principal Investigator of the account to be charged.

Approval is obtained through use of the Staff Travel Request (“STR”) Form. Appropriate approvals of these forms authorize the absence from the Center and expenditure of specified funds for the indicated travel. The traveler should make every effort to achieve economical travel and an accurate estimate. A travel authorization must be completed and approved for each trip, even if there are no charges for travel to a University account.

Travel Procedures

Prior approval for all business travel is required for absences of faculty/employees/students from the campus for periods of half a day or more during the normal working period, whether or not there is a cost to the University. This includes conferences, driving to a local field site or another entity within the Austin area.

BASIC STEPS FOR UNIVERSITY TRAVEL

First, familiarize yourself with UT’s travel’s rules and regulations: https://financials.utexas.edu/hbp/part-11-travel

Before you travel:

1. Submit a Request for Travel Authorization (RTA). The travel request submitted online will route to the Travel Coordinator. Please make sure it encompasses the entirety of your trip, including any vacation or non-work days that may fall within the date range of your trip. RTA submissions can be filled out here: https://www.csr.utexas.edu/archive/info/travel/str.html

2. Approval must be received from both your Immediate Supervisor and the Principal Investigator of the account to complete the RTA process. These can be two different people, and if so an approval is required from both. The Travel Coordinator will accept approvals via email.

**If prior authorization to travel was not requested the traveler must request an exception from Travel Management and forward that with the reimbursement.

3. Once your request is processed, you will receive an RTA approval email with a Document ID (ex: 60VE5123456).

4. Now you can reserve your flight, hotel, and rental car. Save all your receipts!

After you travel:

1. To submit a travel reimbursement:

If you are unsure which type of reimbursement to seek, please ask your Travel Coordinator.

2. Submit clear scanned copies of your receipts with the online form or the originals as soon as possible upon completion of travel. Reimbursements turned in after 60 days of return date will require an explanation for their lateness and are subject to IRS withholdings.

3. Failure to follow the rules and policies for travel can result in a denied reimbursement request. The University does not have to reimburse you for any completed travel. Please follow the rules and guidelines outlined not only by the University but by your sponsoring agent to ensure reimbursement.

TRAVEL INFORMATION: https://travel.utexas.edu/travelplanning/contact-travel-agency

Air Travel

The choices for UT travel:

1. You may use the University’s online tool, Concur.  https://travel.utexas.edu/travelplanning/concur-booking-tool

2. You may direct bill through one of the University’s two approved travel agencies:

Provide them with your RTA number and Document ID. Send a copy of your approved itinerary to the Travel Coordinator.

3. You may purchase your own airfare through a domestic carrier. You must find the lowest available rate. If using an online reservation tool other than Concur, the purchase receipt and form submitted for reimbursement must include the traveler’s statement: “Online selection is best value as consistent with institutional priorities.

Ground Transportation

Keep all taxi, bus, and other ground transportation receipts for reimbursement, including Uber and Lyft. You are allowed taxi/shuttle costs to and from the airport, both in Austin and at your destination. Tips are not allowed on state accounts.

Car Rental

All rental car reservations are required to be made using one of the University’s five contracted car vendors. Rental car contract rates apply to Domestic/US rentals only. Please provide them with the UT Discount Number when making the reservation.

Rental Car Vendor UT Discount Number Phone Number
Avis S828003 800-331-2212
Budget R524103 800-527-0700
Enterprise UTS005 512-912-5500
Hertz 1989415 800-654-3131
National UTS005 512-912-5500

Personal Vehicle

If you travel using your own personal vehicle, you are authorized to request reimbursement for either mileage or gas – not both. If you request a mileage reimbursement, you must submit a map (Google or MapQuest) showing the route and the starting/ending addresses. UT accepts both types of maps, but state accounts will only accept MapQuest. Please make sure you’re following the account’s guidelines.

Meals and Lodging

Meals and lodging rates are based on the account you’ll be traveling on. If you are unsure of your per diem rates, please check with your Contract Administrator or Travel Coordinator.

Meals

Save your itemized receipts. You must stay within your daily rate, generally $51 per day, but certain accounts have stricter rules and rates. No alcoholic beverages may be on your itemized receipts. If your meals exceed $51/day, then all receipts must be provided for that day along with an explanation for reimbursement justification. The PI will have to approve the cost increase. Only one person per receipt. Tips are not allowed on state accounts.

Lodging

Reservations can be made either through UT travel agencies or the hotel directly. Original hotel bills are required showing itemized room rates, taxes, the last four digits of your credit card, and a zero balance. Third party booking receipts are not allowed. Certain accounts have very strict parameters on the daily lodging rate. Please double-check that your hotel’s rate is within this limitation prior to booking. All hotel/lodging expenses must be submitted including direct billed hotel rooms. If you are sharing a hotel with someone else, be sure to get the hotel to split the invoice per traveler. Only one person per receipt.

A UT employee must provide a Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificate at Texas lodging establishments in order to be exempt from state lodging taxes. You cannot be reimbursed for State of Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax. Please take a copy of this form with you if you are traveling in Texas. The form can be found here: https://www.csr.utexas.edu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/TXHotel-Occupancy-Tax-Exemption-Form.pdf

Miscellaneous Travel Expenses

Parking, wireless, business telephone charges, out-of-state tax, mandatory baggage fees are examples of allowable expenses. A complete list of allowable miscellaneous expenses can be found here: https://financials.utexas.edu/hbp/part-11/5-3-other-expenses

Tips of any kind are not an allowed. You cannot be reimbursed for them. Keep your receipts!

Registration/Abstract Fees

All abstract and registration fees must be paid through the center’s procard. Please contact the Purchasing Agent for procard information. These are the only travel expenses that may go on the procard.

Account Rules

State Rules Accounts Local Rates Accounts

Overnight travel in Texas:

  • Actual lodging and meal expenses not to exceed current US General Services Administration rates *

Overnight travel in continental US is based on limits set for each locality

  • Not to exceed GSA rates by location *

NOTE: Gratuity on food services is NOT allowed. State rules accounts will require itemized meal receipts.

Overnight travel in Texas:

  • $260/day in-state travel, of which no more than $51/day may be for meals

Overnight travel in continental US:

  • $375/day for travel outside of TX but in the continental US, of which no more than $51/day may be for meals

Overnight travel outside of US (foreign travel):

  • $425/day, of which no more than $51/day may be for meals

*GSA rates can be found here: https://www.gsa.gov/travel/plan-book/per-diem-rates/per-diem-rates-lookup
*Textravel rates can be found here: https://www.gsa.gov/travel/plan-book/per-diem-rates

Foreign Travel

Some foreign destinations are considered restricted regions and travel must be approved by the International Oversight Committee. For information on this policy and its procedures, go to the following link: https://world.utexas.edu/risk/policies/restricted-regions

All expenses during international travel must be converted to US dollars. Please use the following website to convert all expenses: https://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/
You must print out the page you’re using for your reimbursement and submit it along with your receipts. Conversion rate must match the first day of travel.


CSR POINTS OF CONTACT

Ileene Pickett
Travel Coordinator
Office 2.6050
(512) 471-7932
pickett@csr.utexas.edu

Jason Peck
Purchasing Agent and Travel Coordinator (Backup)
Reception Area and 2.6060
(512) 471-5573 and (512) 471-7579
jason@csr.utexas.edu

Shauna Pendleton
Contract Administrator
Office 2.6072
(512) 471-6891
pendleton@csr.utexas.edu

Yvonne Murray
Contract Administrator (Backup)
Office 2.6056
(512) 471-7389
yvonne@csr.utexas.edu