Frequently Asked Questions
- Is it acceptable to submit electronic copies of my Travel Approval Form?
- Will weekends and holidays be counted as business days or personal days?
- When an outside entity arranges foreign travel, how does the Fly America Act apply?
- What is the 2:1 rule?
- What is the name of the Travel Agency used by PPPL?
- When should I contact the Travel Agency to book my travel arrangements?
- Do I have to book Basic Economy fares that do not allow seat selections and use of overhead bins?
- Am I allowed to use a car service to/from the airport?
- Who is responsible for booking car service: the Travel Agency or the Traveler?
- What is the name of the PPPL preferred car service company?
- Will I be reimbursed for non-business days added to reduce overall cost?
- Can I be reimbursed for expense incurred prior to travel?
- Can I take an indirect route for a business trip for personal reasons, and if so, how does that impact my reimbursement?
- How soon should a traveler expect to receive reimbursement?
- What happens if I don’t cancel my travel reservations within limits imposed by the hotel, airline, etc. and I incur a no-show fee?
- What happens if my business trip is cancelled and I purchased my own airfare?
Safety & Emergency
- What do I do if I lose my passport while on international travel?
- Where do I turn for help while on foreign travel should an emergency (medical or otherwise) occur?
- What precautions should I take for foreign travel?
- How should I handle Laboratory owned equipment while traveling?
- Does the Laboratory lend hotspots or cell phones when I am on business travel?
It is acceptable to submit electronic copies of my Travel Approval Form?
Yes. Email approvals or electronic signatures from authorized cost center approvers will be accepted.
What happens if I don’t cancel my travel reservations within limits imposed by the hotel, airline, etc. and I incur a no-show fee?
If you do not cancel your travel reservations, you will be personally responsible for any charges or any penalty fees incurred. You should familiarize yourself with the cancellation time frames and terms for the vendors used for your travel arrangements. Remember, when notifying a hotel, car rental or airline of a cancellation, a cancellation number should be obtained along with the name of the person who cancelled the reservation.
What happens if my business trip is cancelled and I purchased my own airfare?
Reimbursement is not guaranteed in this case. It is recommended to use the Travel Agency for making all arrangements to avoid this scenario.
When an outside entity arranges foreign travel, how does the Fly America Act apply?
The Fly America Act applies when PPPL pays for the airfare. If PPPL pays upfront and later seeks reimbursement from the outside entity, then the Act applies. If the outside entity purchases the airfare directly, then their purchasing rules apply.
What per diem rate applies when the return trip crosses midnight?
Travelers should use the per diem rate of the last night they spent in a hotel. When arriving back at home after midnight, that new day counts as the final travel day for M&IE purposes. The final day of the trip is reduced to 75%.
Will weekends and holidays be counted as business days or personal days?
Weekends, holidays and other necessary standby days may be counted as business days only if they fall between business travel days. If non-business days are at the beginning or end of a traveler’s business activity, and the traveler arrives early or remains at the business destination for non-business reasons more than 24 hours before or after the business activity, those days will be counted as personal days.
What is the 2:1 rule?
When taking personal days on foreign travel, a traveler may not exceed a two business day to one personal day ratio (2:1). Travel days are counted as business days.
Example: If a traveler’s business trip is six days, the maximum personal time they can take is three days.
If a traveler’s total trip is an odd number of days, the total number of days should be rounded down when calculating the 2:1 ratio.
Example: If a traveler’s business trip is nine days, a traveler would round the total down to eight, and would be allowed four personal days.
Exceptions to this 2:1 rule require Deputy Director Approval.
Note: The 2:1 rule only applies to foreign travel. Domestic travel does not have to follow this rule.
What is the name of the Travel Agency used by PPPL?
When should I contact the Travel Agency to book my travel arrangements?
Graycar's normal business hours are:
8:00AM-5:30PM ET Monday-Friday
- Travelers may reach out to Graycar in advance for estimates to assist in filling out a TAF. It is not appropriate to actually book travel until the Travel Office sends an authorization email stating to do so.
Do I have to book Basic Economy fares that do not allow seat selections and use of overhead bins?
No, you are not required to choose basic economy fares. These fares are not offered by PPPL 's Travel Agency and do not need to be included in any fare comparison documentation for expense reimbursement.
Am I allowed to use a car service to/from the airport?
Federal regulations require that expenses for transportation result in a reasonable charge to the government. Public transportation, where available, is encouraged. Special circumstances requiring a car service shall be notated on the traveler's Travel Approval Form for review and approval by their cost center approver.
Who is responsible for booking car service: the Travel Agency or the Traveler?
Effective November 1, 2017 the PPPL Travel Office will no longer arrange car service for PPPL travelers. If you wish to use a car service (with appropriate justification and approval), you are responsible for arranging it directly with the car service company using your personal credit card. The cost of the car service should be included on your Travel Voucher for reimbursement. You are also responsible for changing or cancelling a reservation.
PPPL will reimburse the recommended gratuity listed on King Limo's invoice. Therefore no additional gratuity is needed, and any additional gratuity paid directly to the driver will not be reimbursed.
Will I be reimbursed for non-business days added to reduce overall cost?
If there is a compelling business reason to do so (e.g., lower overall costs due to major spikes in airfare), the Laboratory will reimburse expenses for extra days either at the beginning or the end of a business trip. These types of requests require a cost analysis to be performed in advance of approval.
Can I be reimbursed for expense incurred prior to travel?
Yes. Allowable/approved expenses incurred prior to travel may be reimbursed on a travel voucher. Submit a voucher prior to your trip for reimbursement of all expenses incurred. Submit a second voucher upon trip completion deducting the amount that was previously reimbursed.
Can I take an indirect route for a business trip for personal reasons, and if so, how does that impact my reimbursement?
If you take an indirect route or you interrupt a direct route for personal travel reasons when on business travel, the airfare will be reimbursed based on the lesser of the actual amount or the cost that would have been incurred by traveling the direct route. The Travel Agency can provide this cost comparison.
How soon should a traveler expect to receive reimbursement?
Assuming that the travel voucher received by the Accounting office is complete and accurate, it will take approximately two weeks to process and another week for a payment to come through.
What do I do if I lose my passport while on international travel?
Travelers should make themselves aware of the U.S. Embassy locations prior to travel. In the event of any emergency such as losing your passport or otherwise being involved with local government, seek out the nearest embassy immediately.
Where do I turn for help while on foreign travel should an emergency (medical or otherwise) occur?
Travelers are encouraged to register with the International SOS service to aide with emergencies. See the Travel Office for details.
What precautions should I take for foreign travel?
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Click here to access this service.
STEP makes it easier for the nearest U.S. Embassy, family, and friends to contact you in case of an emergency abroad, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. You can receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
If you are uninterested in enrolling your trip in STEP, you can access the U.S. State Department's alerts and warnings here.
If traveling with a laboratory owned laptop, you must log in to the Property Pass Management System and obtain a property pass before you travel.
All other laboratory owned equipment that will be used on your trip must be shipped to your destination. Contact the PPPL Shipping Office (x3572) or login to the Shipping Requisition On-line System to complete a shipping request form. Notification must be received in the Shipping Office at least two weeks before your travel date.
Does the Laboratory lend hotspots or cell phones when I am on business travel?
Yes, contact the email@example.com or X3435 to reserve a hotspot or cell phone.