Travel FAQ

  • Traveling on University Business Refresher Training- November 2021- Slide Deck

    Traveling on University Business Refresher Training – November 2021 – Video


  • Effective April 1, 2011, do I have to state in contracts, MOUs and agreements, any travel reimbursements that the university has agreed upon for non-employee travel?

    YES, all travel agreements have to be in writing. In order for an independent contractor to be reimbursed, the approved contracts, MOUs or agreements must be in place and a Travel Expense Claim (TEC) submitted. Attach to the TEC the invoice if travel is included and submit for approval. The Travel Desk will only pay the travel portion of the invoice. You must separate out travel from the other costs on the invoice. The invoice (less travel) goes to Accounts Payable to pay.

  • How are candidates refunded for travel?

    The University may reimburse the actual travel expenses related to interviewing prospective employees, when such expenses are necessary to acquire key personnel for employment at the University. Authorization shall be obtained from approving authority before any commitment to reimburse travel expenses is made to the prospective employee by the recruiter and Human Resources. You need to have a written agreement with the candidate on what will be reimbursed and how much will be reimbursed prior to commencement of travel.

    The candidate also needs to fill out a Vendor Data Record (STD.204).

  • Who can I contact with University travel related questions?

    Please send an email to . The

    University Travel Desk will respond within 48 hours.

    Where do I go to make travel arrangements?

    The TravelStore is authorized to provide booking services for University Travel. Resources are available

    How do I register as a traveler to access Concur in the TravelStore?

    What is the difference between the use of the TravelStore versus Concur Travel? Are they the same or not?

    TravelStore is the travel agency the State of California has contracted with to provide travel-related services. It is the state’s only authorized travel agency. Concur Travel is the online self-booking tool provided by TravelStore to the State of California. Concur Travel is used by travelers to book their own travel online.

  • What constitutes as travel (on-travel status)?

    Travel has to be at least 25 miles from headquarters (work) or residence (home) and has to be considered being on official University business in order to claim on a Travel Expense Claim (TEC) and be reimbursed.

    What are the official university business requirements?

    In order to be considered official University business travel, at least one (1) of the following criteria must apply:

    • A trip is certified by the President or designees to be essential to University operations
    • The trip relates directly to University programs
    • The trip is for a meeting of a professional association or society to deliver a paper, to serve as moderator or group leader, to serve on a panel, or to fulfill obligations as an association or society officer; or
    • The trip’s primary purpose is recruitment of faculty or administrative personnel.

    Expenses not directly related to official University business are not reimbursable. Business related expenses must be ordinary, reasonable, not extravagant, and necessary for the purpose of the trip.

  • What are my payment options for travel?

    The payment options available to employees, besides prepayments on airline tickets via our central travel account (CTA) and rental car via our car rental central travel account (CRCTA), are travel advances (cash up to 75% of total approved amount on the RAT, minimum is $200 with the exception of student travel), direct billing (i.e. registration and hotel), purchase orders if the vendor will accept, using the Citibank Individual Liability Card (used for travel only), or a combination of using PO’s, personal credit cards or cash.

    What is the advantage of having a Citibank Individual Liability Card?

    The Citibank Individual Liability Card is used by state travelers for charging expenses while traveling on state business. The government card identifies the traveler as a state employee. The travelers are invoiced electronically and are responsible for their own charges and payments.

    Who can receive travel advances?

    Travel advances, minimum of $200 and no more than 75% of the cost of the trip, can be issued to travelers who are employees of CSUMB or consultants who are on the special consultant list. For student travel there is no minimum. Procedures for meal allowances must be followed by both special consultants and CSUMB employees.

    How long does it take to get a travel advance?

    It depends on workload, approximately 10 working days after the University Travel Desk receives the Request for Approval of Travel (RAT).

    Can we pay the hotel through the procurement card (ProCard)?

    NO, travel related expenses cannot be charged to the ProCard. The exception is registration payments.

  • RATs – are they required by all travelers?

    RATs are to be completed by CSUMB employee, student worker and volunteer travelers. Do not submit a RAT for non-employee travelers (except for candidates).

    If travel is sponsored, does a RAT need to be submitted?

    YES, because you will need permission to be away from the work place, and to travel on University time, although someone else is paying for the trip. Also the RAT insures that there is adequate insurance coverage while traveling. When a University employee travels under the sponsorship of a non-University entity, travel expenses, including advances, prepayments, or billings, shall not be charged to a University account or billed to the University. Airline tickets must be obtained from the sponsor.

    Is it necessary to submit a Request for Approval of Travel (RAT) if the only expense is mileage?

    YES, submit a RAT if mileage is related to travel (travel 25 miles or more from primary work place or home) even if the only expense is mileage. Mileage for $10 and under can be paid by Petty Cash, via the Personal Reimbursement/Petty Cash Form.

    A Blanket RAT may be submitted if trips are to the same site or region for similar University business activity or to a standing meeting of the same nature.

    Does a Request for Approval of Travel (RAT) need to be prepared for airfare only?

    YES, a RAT should be prepared and approved prior to all travel due to liability issues even if all expenses are prepaid.

  • My trip was cancelled, what do I do?

    If your trip is cancelled it is the responsibility of the traveler to:

    • Cancel or change any travel reservations
    • Justify if any additional fees are incurred
    • Refund deposits to the university promptly
    • Lost refunds due to failure to act will not be reimbursed.

    If at year-end the travel was accrued, notify the Travel Desk to have the accrual reversed.

  • What documentation do I need to compare and justify driving versus flying?

    The Cost Comparison Form should be completed and attached with the TEC. It compares multiple factors such as use of a private vehicle, public transportation, airfare, etc. It can be found at CSUMB Accounting or a written justification provided.

    If I use a contracted supplier, do I need to do a cost comparison analysis and submit it with the Request for Approval of Travel (RAT) to be pre-approved and with the Travel Expense Claim (TEC)?

    NO. If you use the State contracted supplier, you do not have to provide a cost comparison analysis to justify the cost of the trip.

  • Can I combine business related travel with a couple of days of personal travel?

    Yes, but it must be pre-approved. Any resulting additional expenses resulting from an indirect route or interrupted travel for other than University business shall be borne by the traveler. The traveler shall be responsible for accurate reporting of such leave time.

  • Should I purchase refundable tickets or non-refundable tickets?

    The University recommends that travelers book the lowest usable airfare whenever possible considering the following types of fares in order to maximize savings:

    o Non-refundable fares if the trip dates/times are fixed and there is a low probability of a change in plans;

    o Refundable fares if plans are likely to change;

    o Contracted fares such as YCAL or Capacity Controlled Fares;

    o Southwest internet fares;

    o Promotional fares offered on Concur Traveltool

    Do I choose to buy a ticket with a layover (or several) versus direct flight ticket if cheaper?

    Considertaking flights that include stops so long as these layovers don’t significantlyimpact business or delay travel times.

  • Is there a limit (cap) on hotel costs?

    The maximum rate of in-state and out-of-state travel, including Alaska, Hawaii and US Possessions, is $333 per night, excluding taxes & other related charges. 

    Exceeding the Minimum Limit:

    Employees must include a justification detailing the reason for exceeding the limit, along with supporting documentation, such as: receipt, invoice and/or other relevant proof of expenditure.

    Exception Procedure:

    $275-$299: with proper justification, delegation of authority, Accounting Director may approve.

    $300+: with proper justification, delegation of authority and appropriate Cabinet Member approval, the AVP of Finance may approve.

    Can we pay the hotel through the procurement card (ProCard)?

    NO, travel related expenses cannot be charged to the ProCard. The exception is registration prepayments.

  • What is the incidental allowance rate within the Continental U.S. and for less than 30 days?

    Refer to the travel policy for definition of incidental.

    actual expenses up to $7.00 per calendar day of travel

    Can I incorporate expenses such as supply purchases and home phone usage in my travel claim? NO, travel expense claims are only for travel related expenses. Other expenses such as those noted, which are not travel related, may be reimbursed through Petty Cash or Personal Reimbursement Form

  • Can I claim lunch for a one-day trip?

    Under no circumstances will expenses for lunch be reimbursed for travel of less than 24 hours.

    When can breakfast be claimed for travel?

    The traveler (employee) may be reimbursed up to $55 per calendar day for travel with an overnight stay. If the employee is inconvenience by being required to depart 2 or more hours before the start of their normal work day or return home 2 or more hours after the end of their normal work day, they may be reimbursed for their actual expenses incurred for breakfast, dinner or both (up to the daily limit of $55). Reimbursement of meals for travel less than 24 hours is reported to the IRS as taxable income

    If travel is less than 24 hours and the meal is a hospitality luncheon, is it “reportable”?

    Hospitality meals are reimbursable and not reportable but there are strict guidelines that need to be followed in order to qualify as a hospitality meal. See CSU Policy 1301.00 – Hospitality, Payment or Reimbursement of Expense. Reportable is a term used to describe whether or not the reimbursement must be reported to the IRS as income. Certain meal reimbursements can be considered a fringe benefit depending on the situation and how much is reimbursed. If the meal reimbursement is identified as a reportable fringe benefit it will appear on your W-2 and applicable employment taxes will be withheld.

    What are the meal allowance rates for travel within the contiguous U.S. and for less than 30 days?

    Actual meal expenses up to $55.00 per calendar day. All other receipts for meals, not submitted to the Travel Desk, should be retained in case requested in an audit.

    If a conference offers optional purchase of meals as part of the registration payment, does this meal count towards the $55/24 hrs meal allowance for travel?

    If the registration form offers optional meals to purchase and the cost of the meal is clearly stated and you opt for the meal, then the cost of that meal will apply towards the $55/calendar day meal allowance.

    If a conference is held out-of-state, and the traveler takes business associates to dinner, do you need to claim each individual’s meal on a separate Travel Expense Claim (TEC)?

    This could be reimbursed as a group meal. The group leader who pays for all or part of the group’s expenses for meals may be reimbursed by submitting a TEC for the actual expenses incurred. The claim must be accompanied by an itemized invoice/receipt showing payment in full with other pertinent supporting documentation, such as a list of names that group leader is requesting reimbursement for, etc. The other employees whose meals are being paid by the group leader, will need to submit a TEC for the travel but will not be claiming the meal unless only portion was paid by the group leader. For non-employees whose meals are being paid by the group leader, the meal will need to be justified, since it has to be for official university business. See the ‘ Meal Reimbursement Procedure Manual’ on reimbursing non-employee meals.

    Are we going to submit Travel Expense Claim electronically soon?

    Submitting TECs electronically most likely will not be very soon, but it is in the planning stages.

    How much should I tip?

    Reasonable and customary gratuities (generally up to 20% of the total amount of the meal including tax) may be reimbursed. Tips over 20% of the amount of the meal provided will need to be justified.

    Are there limits on travel meals for consultants (independent contractors – non-employee)?

    The limits are driven by what is written in the contractual agreement prior to the consultant traveling. All travel has to be pre-approved in writing. Accounts Payable will reimburse for actual travel expenses not to exceed the contracted amounts. It is important that the contract states clearly what will be covered for travel and for how much. The consultant will have to submit a TEC and attach all the original itemized receipts in order to be reimbursed. The approving authority will need to review the TEC to verify the amounts being submitted for reimbursement are as the contract states.

  • Do I need to be registered in the Driving on University Business program in order to drive while travelling?

    Yes. Please see the Driving on University Business program web page.

    When claiming mileage for travel (on-travel status), do I measure from headquarters or home?

    Mileage shall ordinarily be computed between the traveler’s normal work location and the common carrier or destination. Mileage may be claimed from home if the

    University business travel occurs during the traveler’s non-working hours or during a regularly scheduled day off.

    I am being dropped off and picked up at the airport by someone. Can I claim mileage for the two round trips?

    Yes, two round trips, including short-term parking expenses, may be claimed when an employee is driven to a common carrier.

    What is the mileage reimbursement rate?

    The standard business reimbursement rate per mile is published annually by the Internal Revenue Service.

  • Are ‘itemized’ receipts different from ‘regular’ receipts, which only display a total?

    YES, an itemized receipt shows what was purchased, how many, for how much and how it was paid, i.e. cash, check or credit card.

    Do we need to submit receipts?

    YES, you need to submit itemized receipts for all expenses in excess of $75 to the Travel Desk with your TEC.

    Do you have to turn in receipts for incidental tips?

    NO. Although receipts are not required for incidental expenses, you should only be claiming on the TEC actual cost incurred.

    I cannot find my original receipt, what do I do?

    If you have exhausted all measures to obtain a duplicate receipt but cannot, you need to submit a statement why the receipt is not being submitted with the Travel Expense Claim (TEC). The statement must certify the amount shown is the amount actually paid, and that you have not and will not seek reimbursement from any other source. State that the expense was for University business, describe what was purchased, where and when, and state that ‘no alcohol purchase is being claimed.’

  • If I pay a registration fee with my department procurement card (ProCard), should I include the registration amount in my travel expense claim?

    Yes. Treat it as any other amount Not to be Reimbursed on the Travel Expense Claim (TEC). Also attach a copy of your ProCard report to your TEC.

  • Can any car rental agency be used?

    The preferred method is using the State contracted vendor, otherwise justification is required. The State contracted vendor is Enterprise Rent-A-Car & National.

    Please see the Rent A Car web page (part of the Driving on University Business web site) for more information.

  • If travel is 25 miles and less, do I complete a Travel Expense Claim?

    NO. Use the Personal Reimbursement and Petty Cash form and attach a Miscellaneous Mileage Expense Reimbursement Form with the recorded mileage. In order to be considered travel, you have to travel over 25 miles (one-way) from the normal work location or residence (home), whichever is closer.

    How long does it take to get a Travel Expense Claim (TEC) reimbursement?

    Depending on the workload, approximately 15 to 20 working days after the TEC is received at the University Travel Desk if approved, accurate and complete.

  • What are the travel related year-end procedures?

    Submit travel accruals to the Accounting Dept. for travel that occurred or will occur by June 30 (year-end) that will not be reimbursed until the new fiscal year because the Travel Expense Claim (TEC) wasnot completed and submitted by the year-end deadline dates. For travel with a Travel Advance, the Travel desk will automatically accrue for the Departments. If the trip straddles two fiscal years, then need to place on two (2) separate RATs and TECs. Place registration, rental car and airline ticket all on the prior year and split the rest of the travel between the two fiscal years as expended.