Travel Manual

1. Introduction    

2. Overview    

3. Types of Travel    

          3.1. Local Travel    

          3.2. Domestic Travel   

          3.3. Foreign Travel    

          3.4. Group Travel    

          3.5. Long Term Travel    

          3.6. Relocation Travel    

          3.7. Non-PPPL Employee Travel    

          3.8. Travel Supported by Non-PPPL Organizations    

4. Authorization to Travel    

          4.1. Travel Request   

          4.2. Open Travel    

5. Conferences    

6. Travel Arrangements  

          6.1. Transportation

                    6.1.1. Air Travel

                              6.1.1.1. Obtaining Lowest Available Airfare (Coach Class)

                              6.1.1.2. Airline Ticket Credits 

                              6.1.1.3. Fly America Act  

                                        6.1.1.3.1. Code Share Agreement 

                                        6.1.1.3.2. Open Skies Agreements 

                              6.1.1.4. Re-ticketing/Schedule Changes 

                              6.1.1.5. Denied Boarding - Compensation 

                    6.1.2. Ground Transportation

                              6.1.2.1. Car Service 

                              6.1.2.2. Car Rental 

                                        6.1.2.2.1. Rental Car Insurance Coverage

                              6.1.2.3. Government Vehicles

                              6.1.2.4. Privately Owned Vehicle (POV)

                                        6.1.2.4.1. Insurance Coverage

                              6.1.2.5. Train or Bus

                                        6.1.2.5.1. Domestic Train Travel

                                        6.1.2.5.2. Foreign Train Travel

                    6.1.3. Rest Stops

          6.2. Hotels and Lodging

                    6.2.1. Lodging Accommodations

          6.3. Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE)

          6.4. Direct Billing Process

7. Miscellaneous Business Expenses

          7.1. Allowable Miscellaneous Costs

          7.2. U.S. Sales, Occupancy, and Other Taxes

          7.3. Travel Cancellation and Emergency Travel While on Business

          7.4. Getting Ill While on Travel

8. Other

          8.1. Safety Tips

          8.2. Travel Insurance Coverage

          8.3. Personal Travel Combined with PPPL Business Travel/Travel Companions

          8.4. Travel Rewards/Membership Clubs

9. Post-Trip Requirements/Reimbursement of Travel Expenses

          9.1. Expense Report

          9.2.  Tax Considerations

10. Examples of Unallowable Costs

11. Definitions/Acronyms


1. Introduction

This document outlines requirements and guidelines for all individuals who travel on behalf of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), regardless of the funding source, including that of guests (e.g. invited guests, guest researchers, visitors, interviewees, students, Princeton University professors on a Research Ordering Agreement, and subcontractors traveling at PPPL’s request and for PPPL business).  The word “you” in this document refers to you, the traveler.

PPPL is part of Princeton University and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy; therefore, accounting for the Laboratory’s travel expenses needs to adhere to the respective PPPL and Princeton University policies, DOE requirements as required by the FAR 31.205-46 (Travel Costs), elements of the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR), DOE Official Foreign Travel Order 551.1D, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations, and the Federal Financial Accounting Standards covering domestic travel expenses and reimbursement.  The DOE program office or a non-DOE organization funding a trip may have additional requirements which you are responsible for meeting. 

Responsibilities related to travel include the following individuals and groups:

Travelers are responsible for:

  1. Complying with PPPL travel policies and procedures;
  2. Obtaining travel authorization from the appropriate level of management; and
  3. Submitting a Travel Expense Report in a timely manner.

The Travel Compliance Group (hereinafter referred to as the “Travel Office”) is responsible for:

  1. Reviewing all Travel Requests to verify compliance with PPPL policies and procedures;
  2. Providing guidance to travelers so they understand their responsibilities for compliance with the appropriate PPPL, Princeton University and U.S. Government policies and directives on travel; and
  3. Identifying and communicating to travelers any new or changed travel policies or procedures.

Management and Travel Request/Expense Approvers are responsible for:

  1. Verifying that funds are available for travel, that the estimated travel costs are reasonable, and that the travel is necessary to support PPPL mission;
  2. Authorizing travel and exceptions, in accordance with the current approved requirements; and 
  3. Supporting and assisting travelers in completing authorizations and expense reports. 

You are responsible for becoming familiar with the rules and guidelines, and complying with all policy requirements outlined in this document.  All managers, supervisors, and employees are expected to follow the guidelines set forth in this document. 

2. Overview

  1. All official PPPL business travel must be:
    1. recorded in Concur, the official PPPL Travel Management System;
    2. approved by the cognizant cost center authorizer; and
    3. reviewed by the Travel Office for compliance prior to the beginning of the trip.
  2. You must support cost-effective measures by evaluating the need to travel and the potential of using less-expensive alternatives such as e-mail or audio/net (web/video) conferencing.
  3. You are expected to travel by the most efficient and economical modes of transportation possible within mission requirements.
  4. You are expected to book all your travel arrangements through PPPL Concur or the PPPL contracted Travel Agency to the maximum extent possible.
  5. An official PPPL business travel begins when you leave your residence or primary work location, whichever occurs last, and ends when you return to your residence or primary work location, whichever occurs first.  
  6. You are expected to maintain careful expense records and required receipts for your travel.  Only travel expenses that are necessary to accomplish the official business purpose of the trip are eligible for reimbursement.  Any increase in expenses for non-business reasons is your responsibility. Personal travel is not to be charged to, or temporarily funded by, the Laboratory. 
  7. You must report travel expenses in a timely, responsible, and ethical manner and are expected to complete a Travel Expense Report within 30 calendar days after completion of the trip.  
  8. If aspects of the submitted expense reports do not comply with this policy, your reimbursement will be partially paid only for the portion in compliance.  
  9. You are responsible for canceling your own travel reservations. 
  10. You are responsible for obtaining your supervisor’s approval to travel.

3. Types of Travel

3.1. Local Travel

  1. Local travel is that which is conducted within 50 miles of PPPL, or primary work location, is completed in one calendar day, and does not include lodging, meals or incidental expenses (M&IE). 
  2. Local travel costs include expenses for mileage, tolls, and public transportation.

3.2. Domestic Travel

  1. Domestic travel is that which is: 
    1. within the United States and its possessions;
    2. travel from a foreign country to the United States; or
    3. within a foreign country, originating in that same foreign country. 
  2. Domestic travel costs include transportation costs (air, train, etc.), lodging, M&IE and other appropriate travel costs, the details of which are outlined elsewhere in this policy.

3.3. Foreign Travel

  1. Official foreign travel is that which is:
    1. travel from the United States (including Alaska, Hawaii, and the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands, and the territories and possessions of the United States) to a foreign country (including Canada and Mexico) and return; or
    2. travel between foreign countries.
  2. Official foreign travel is approved travel by persons, including foreign nationals, whose salaries or travel expenses or both will ultimately be funded in whole or in part by DOE from its appropriations.
  3. Official foreign travel also includes travel funded by non-DOE sources for which the traveler represents the DOE or conducts business on behalf of the U. S. Government. 
  4. The DOE and the Department of State requires that country clearances be obtained for official travel to a foreign country, and travelers must request and receive a country clearance from the U.S. Embassy in the country to be visited prior to the commencement of the trip.
  5. Foreign travel costs include transportation costs (air, train, etc.), lodging, M&IE and other appropriate travel costs, the details of which are outlined elsewhere in this policy.
  6. For specific guidelines, including information about foreign travel reporting requirements, sensitive countries, DOE approvals, Counterintelligence responsibilities, and required training refer to Foreign Travel Procedure ACT-003.

3.4. Group Travel

  1. PPPL prefers that groups from individual departments travel in separate planes, trains, or automobiles, principally to avoid the situation where accidental injury to the group would seriously impair the operation of the department.
    1. Approval from the Laboratory Director is needed whenever three or more Laboratory Leadership Council members or key project personnel will be traveling together.
    2. It is the responsibility of the Department Head to enforce this restriction.

3.5. Long Term Travel

  1. Long term travel is official business travel that exceeds 30 consecutive days for domestic, and 90 consecutive days for foreign.
  2. For specific guidelines and requirements on long term travel, refer to the following PPPL Human Resources policies:
    1. Extended Domestic Assignment Policy
    2. Foreign Temporary Relocation Policy (for trips of 3 months to 1 year)
    3. Extended Foreign Assignment Policy (for trips of 1 year to 3 years)

3.6. Relocation Travel

  1. Applies on a case by case basis to new hires or existing transferring employees who relocate a distance of 50 miles or more from their present home.
  2. The Hiring Department is responsible for completing a Travel Request and obtaining all necessary approvals, making all necessary travel arrangements, and assisting a new employee with their Travel Expense Report.
  3. For specific guidelines and requirements on relocation travel, refer to the PPPL Human Resources Moving Allowance Policy. 

3.7. Non-PPPL Employee Travel

  1. Non-employees traveling at PPPL’s request may be reimbursed for their travel expenses.  In addition to complying with these Travel Guidelines, the following special guidelines apply:
    1. Visitors/Retirees/Interviewees
      1. The host is responsible for completing a Travel Request and obtaining appropriate cost center approval, making all necessary travel arrangements, and completing and submitting an Expense Report.
      2. Travel expenses incurred for employment interviews are authorized, when necessary, to recruit key personnel for work positions at PPPL.
      3. Visitor travel is conducted in accordance with PPPL Visitors Expense Reimbursement Policy.
      4. Interviewees and visitors must respond to Princeton University's Supplier Management System email request in order to be onboarded into the system to receive payment.
    2. Subcontractors must follow the travel guidelines in their subcontract agreement with PPPL.
      1. Subcontractors being reimbursed for PPPL business travel that is not through their contractual agreement must follow these Travel Guidelines.
      2. The Princeton Technical Representative (PTR) is responsible for completing a Travel Request and obtaining appropriate cost center approval, making all necessary travel arrangements, and completing and submitting an Expense Report.

3.8. Travel Supported by Non-PPPL Organizations

  1. When going on travel paid in full or in part by an external organization, submit a Travel Request as normal even if PPPL will not make the travel arrangements.
    1. Include a Letter of Invite, Memorandum Purchase Order (MPO), email, or a letter of agreement with the host.
    2. Indicate which expenses will be prepaid by the organization in advance, reimbursed by the organization afterward, or paid for by PPPL.
    3. Provide a cost center to cover any expenses for which PPPL may be liable, including unforeseen expenses that the external organization does not reimburse.
  2. Submit an Expense Report as you would for a normal trip, with the following additions, as applicable:
    1. Provide an invoice mailing address for the organization, including contact name, email address, and telephone number.
    2. Indicate which expenses are paid for by an external organization.
      1. Subtract prepaid amounts as normal.
      2. Deduct M&IE based on meals as normal.
      3. Use the accounts receivable cost center for the amounts that the organization will reimburse.
    3. Provide documentation for any reimbursement received from the external organization, including a brief explanation if payment was made prior to returning home.

4. Authorization to Travel

4.1. Travel Request

  1. An approved Travel Request is evidence that the trip is necessary and reasonable, has a valid business purpose, and assures that the funding exists for the cost centers being charged. Prior to incurring any travel expenses, a Travel Request must be entered and approved in Concur.  
  2. Under no circumstances can you approve your own Travel Request, even if you have a signatory for the cost center being charged.  Request for approval will be routed to an individual that is the next level up in the signature authority table.
  3. You are to account for the entire duration of the trip, including any personal time (e.g. non-PPPL business, vacation) taken.
  4. A description of all your travel needs (e.g., car rental, air, hotel) must be included in the Travel Request. Support documentation (e.g., meeting agendas, invitations, registration forms, FTMS, or visa requests) should be attached, as applicable.
  5. Upon submission of a Travel Request, a notification documenting the request submittal will be sent to your supervisor.  The Travel Request will be routed for review and approval to an authorized cost center approver, and then to the Travel Office. Once compliance is assured, you will receive an approval notification. 
  6. Any deviation request from the travel guidelines requires written justification with Department Head approval.  
    1. Requests and Department Head approval should be submitted to the Travel Office prior to incurring expenses.
    2. The Travel Office will evaluate each deviation request for compliance (cost allowability, reasonability, and cost impact).  
      1. DOE Funds cannot be used for non-compliant costs.  
      2. Requests for non-contract funds to support non-compliance exceeding Department allowances requires senior management (i.e. Director’s Office) determination.

4.2. Open Travel

  1. Restricted to individuals on the Laboratory Leadership Council and any other individuals that are specifically identified by the Laboratory Director.  The list of individuals with open travel is reviewed and approved by the Director annually. This process allows those travelers approved for open travel to plan travel without requiring each trip to be approved by a cognizant cost center authorizer.
    1. Prior to each trip, you must submit a Travel Request in Concur that includes the necessary information pertaining to your trip. The Travel Request will be reviewed by the Travel Office to ensure compliance.
    2. Expense Reports are required to be completed for each individual trip within 30 calendar days of trip completion, and approved by a cognizant cost center authorizer.
      1. Expense Reports for the Laboratory Director will be reviewed and approved by the CFO.

5. Conferences

  1. All planned attendance to a conference must be coordinated with the Travel Office. For specific conference attendance guidelines, refer to the Conference Attendance Procedure ACT-011.
    1. The Travel Office is responsible for reviewing each travel request to determine if the trip is a conference or a non-conference event.
    2. Requests for DOE/Contractor-sponsored conference attendance are submitted to DOE by the Travel & Conference Compliance Team for approval through DOE’s Conference Management Tool (CMT).
      1. No commitments for conference travel may be made until Travel & Conference Compliance Team receives approval from the DOE.
  2. Conference Registration
    1. Early registration - Any request for registration after the early registration fee deadline must be approved by your Department Head with justification prior to submitting the Travel Request or Expense Report for reimbursement.
    2. Registration fees may be paid directly by PPPL Accounting (when indicated on the Travel Request) to the sponsoring organization. A completed conference registration form should be attached to the Travel Request.
      1. If you elect to pay your own registration fee, PPPL will reimburse the fees when receipts are submitted with the Expense Report.

6. Travel Arrangements

Upon receipt of your Travel Request Approval notification via Concur, you may proceed with making your travel arrangements.  Travel arrangements should be based on the approved Travel Request.

  1. Any changes (i.e., changes to travel dates, modes of transportation, destination, etc.) to an approved request must be resubmitted in Concur for reapproval.

You are expected to make your travel arrangements through PPPL Concur or the PPPL contracted Travel Agency to the maximum extent possible.  Using PPPL Concur or the PPPL Travel Agency will provide you with the following services:

  1. Direct Billing of airline tickets to PPPL (no out of pocket to you)
  2. Discounted fares through PU/PPPL negotiated airfare programs
  3. Fly America Act guidance and compliance 

Travel reimbursement is limited to the actual expense for business travel only.  See Section 8.3 Personal Travel Combined with PPPL Business Travel/Travel Companions when combining personal with business travel. 

6.1. Transportation 

6.1.1. Air Travel

6.1.1.1. Obtaining Lowest Available Airfare (Coach Class)

  1. Reservations should be made as early as possible to take advantage of the lowest coach fare available.
  2. You are expected to travel by the lowest available airfare in coach class, on the most direct route, and consistent with the business purpose of the trip by utilizing negotiated or discounted airfares, requesting departure and arrival within a two-hour window, and considering alternate airports.
  3. You may upgrade to premium airfare when use of other than coach class is necessary to accommodate a medical disability or other special need.
    1. This exception requires a medical disability advance approval by the Occupational Medical Office (OMO).
    2. The OMO will notify the Travel Office with an approval of the request and the related time period for the approval.

6.1.1.2. Airline Ticket Credits

  1. Tickets purchased through Concur or PPPL’s contracted Travel Agency are the property of PPPL.
    1. All such tickets, including those that are unused (full or partial), must be reported on your Expense Report.
    2. If the ticket is cancelled for any reason, the airline credit/ticket remains the property of PPPL.
  2. Airline ticket credits resulting from trip cancellations may be applied for future use.  Ticket credits typically expire one year from the date of issue, but this varies by airline.
  3. The contracted Travel Agency will handle accounting for and applying ticket credits for airfare they directly book.

6.1.1.3. Fly America Act

  1. The Fly America Act is a federal regulation that states that any foreign air travel financed by federal funds must be booked through U.S. Flag Air Carriers, regardless of cost or convenience.  Any air tickets not in compliance with the Fly America Act are considered unallowable expenses.
  2. U.S. Flag Air Carrier or U.S. code share must be used for all commercial air travel between the United States and a foreign country and between foreign countries. This applies to the following:
    1. Travel reimbursed from any federal funding source.
    2. International charter flights.
    3. Travel to/from Canada or Mexico.
    4. Flights to/from personal destinations in conjunction with official travel.
  3. Foreign Flag Air Carriers can be used only under the following circumstances:
    1. Non-Stop (no-aircraft change) - The use of a U.S. Flag Air Carrier extends travel time, including delay at origin, by 24 hours or more.
    2. Connecting Flights - A U.S. Flag Air Carrier must be used on every portion of the route where it provides service, unless, when compared to using a foreign carrier, such use would:
      1. Increase the number of aircraft changes outside the United States by two or more.
      2. Extend travel time by six hours or more.
      3. Require a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas interchange point.
6.1.1.3.1. Code Share Agreement

U.S. Code Share is an agreement that allows certain U.S. Flag Air Carriers to directly sell a flight operated by a Foreign Flag Air Carrier.

The payment for the airfare must be made to the U.S. Flag Air Carrier.  If a non-U.S. Flag Air Carrier is the ticketing agent, the flight is considered a non-U.S. Flag Air Carrier flight and is in violation of the Fly America Act.

6.1.1.3.2. Open Skies Agreements 
  1. Open Skies Agreements provide that travelers, whose travel is supported by federal funds (other than the Department of State), may travel on airlines from the European Union, Australia, Switzerland and Japan under certain circumstances as an exception to the Fly America Act. 
  2. Travel being reimbursed using Department of State (including all of the Department of Defense) funding is not eligible for the Open Skies Agreements exception.

6.1.1.4. Re-ticketing/Schedule Changes

  1. Charges for re-ticketing, schedule changes, etc., maybe reimbursed for a valid business reason, as verified by the Department Head.  The business reason for the change must be provided on your Expense Report.

6.1.1.5. Denied Boarding - Compensation

  1. Voluntary – you may voluntarily vacate reserved airline seats and retain the payment received from the airline under all of the following conditions:
    1. You paid for any resulting additional expenses.
    2. Relinquishing a reserved seat does not diminish performance of official duties.
    3. Vacation is charged to the extent that travel is delayed during normal work hours.
  2. Involuntary denied boarding occurs when the airline removes you from a plane due to overbooking, weather, or other reasons, and you are unable to decline.
    1. If the added delay results in additional costs to PPPL (e.g., lodging and M&IE for staying an extra day), then any monetary compensation made to you by the airline becomes the property of PPPL and must be returned with the Expense Report to be credited to the cost of the trip.
    2. If the added delay does not result in additional costs to PPPL (e.g., the delay is only a few hours), then you may retain any compensation made to you by the airline.

6.1.2. Ground Transportation

6.1.2.1. Car Service

  1. Point-to-point car service should only be used when:
    1. It is less expensive than alternative means of transportation (e.g., train, shuttle services, taxi, or personal auto); or
    2. There are inconveniences or safety issues that justify the additional cost.
  2. Justification for the use of point-to-point car service must be included in the Travel Request. 

6.1.2.2. Car Rental

  1. You are expected to use the Laboratory’s preferred rental car vendor(s):
    1. Avis
    2. Budget
    3. Enterprise 
    4. National
    5. Hertz
  2. Reservations should be made through Concur or PPPL contracted Travel Agency to ensure that you receive the negotiated rate, insurance and other negotiated benefits.
  3. You will be reimbursed up to the cost of a midsize/intermediate sedan vehicle for one or two people sharing the vehicle. 
    1. Full-size vehicles, minivans, or sport utility vehicles (SUV) may be used when the vehicle is shared by three or more travelers, the traveler is transporting PPPL equipment that justifies the need for additional carrying space, or for safety reasons in adverse weather. Free upgrades may be accepted by the traveler.
    2. Justification for the use of larger class than midsize/intermediate sedan vehicle must be included in the Travel Request.
  4. If a vehicle rented for business purposes is also used for personal reasons, the rental costs should be prorated accordingly.  You are responsible for all additional costs incurred as a result of personal use, such as gas, tolls, and parking.
  5. You are expected to refuel the rental car prior to returning to the rental agency and to decline the pre-paid fuel options.
    1. Any portion of the gasoline used for personal errands or sightseeing is your responsibility and is not to be claimed for reimbursement.
  6. Satellite radios are an unallowable expense for vehicle rentals.
    1. It is your responsibility to ensure the rental car does not have the satellite radio activated for your rental.
  7. Global Positioning System (GPS) units provided by rental companies are an unallowable expense except when approved by the Head of Accounting.
6.1.2.2.1. Rental Car Insurance Coverage
  1. The Princeton University website for insurance guidelines can be found at:  Princeton University Travel-Related Insurance.
  2. You should use rental agencies with which Princeton University or PPPL has negotiated contracts that include insurance coverage.
    1. This coverage applies to PU/PPPL employees and PU students only.
    2. You must verify that the rental agreement includes PU/PPPL rental codes.
  3. Charges for optional insurance, including  Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) on rental cars in the continental United States, will not be reimbursed, provided that a PU/PPPL contracted car rental agency is used.
    1. If unable to rent a car from a PU/PPPL contracted car rental agency, purchase only the minimum coverage of insurance required by the rental agency. 
  4. Minimum collision auto liability insurance should be purchased for all international car rentals and is reimbursable.
  5. When renting a car for a combination of business and personal use,  your personal automobile insurance coverage or any additional insurance you purchase, will cover your personal use of the rental car.
  6. Students are prohibited from renting vehicles in international locations.
  7. Individuals traveling on behalf of PPPL who are not PU/PPPL employees or PU students (e.g., visitors, consultants, etc.) are not covered by the University’s auto insurance policy and should purchase the liability and collision/comprehensive damage insurance coverage from the rental car company.  These costs will be reimbursed by PPPL.
  8. Only PU/PPPL employees or students in a rental vehicle rented by a PU/PPPL employee or student are permitted to drive the vehicle.

6.1.2.3. Government Vehicles

  1. Government vehicles should be used whenever possible. 
  2. All drivers must show a valid, current driver’s license and take a one-time training for the make/model vehicle they will be using.
    1. Contact Fleet Operations within Material Services at x2716 to check for availability and schedule training.
  3. A PPPL GSA credit card included with the vehicle can be used for purchasing gas for the vehicle.  In the event that the EZ Pass transponder or PPPL GSA credit card is not accepted, reimbursement for itemized tolls and other costs may be claimed.
  4. When a government vehicle is used, it should be noted in the comments section of the Expense Report.

6.1.2.4. Privately Owned Vehicle (POV)

  1. The use of a POV for business purposes is allowed when it is less expensive than alternative means of transportation or when there are convenience or safety issues that justify the additional cost.  
  2. You will be reimbursed at the current rate per mile as stipulated by the General Services Administration (GSA) for miles incurred (e.g., odometer readings) in excess of your normal commute. 
    1. “Privately Owned Vehicle” Mileage Reimbursement Rates, as per the GSA, can be found on the GSA website
    2. The POV mileage reimbursement covers all costs related to the operation of the vehicle, including service, maintenance, insurance, depreciation and gas.
    3. Reimbursement for use of a personal vehicle will not be for more than traveled, as determined by standard highway mileage guides without adequate explanation.
    4. Business mileage does not include your normal commute to and from work. When business travel originates from your home, subtract your "normal round-trip" commuting miles from the total miles associated with the trip.
      1. If you start or end your business travel on a weekend or holiday then you do not need to deduct commute miles.
      2. When you are driven to and from the airport then you do not need to deduct commute miles.
  3. Equivalent Airfare
    1. You may choose to use a POV for personal reasons even if air travel is the appropriate mode of transportation.  
    2. Equivalent Airfare is determined as the combined equivalent cost of coach class airfare, ground transportation to/from the airport and the business destination, and luggage fees.
    3. Reimbursement for use of the POV may not exceed the Equivalent Airfare amount.
    4. The cost of meals, lodging, tolls, ferries, and parking while in transit may be reimbursed if the total amount does not exceed the Equivalent Airfare amount.
  4. Individuals attending seminars or meetings in the Princeton area (10 mile radius from PPPL)  during a regularly scheduled workday are not eligible to be reimbursed for mileage from their home to the meeting location.
  5. The University provides a comprehensive free shuttle service for intercampus travel, including Forrestal and PPPL.   Reimbursement for use of a POV for intercampus travel is not an allowable expense unless there is a documented medical need.
6.1.2.4.1. Insurance Coverage    
  1. When a POV is used for PPPL/University business, your personal vehicle insurance is always the primary coverage, and it will provide coverage for damages incurred if there is an accident involving the vehicle.
  2. When using a POV for PPPL/University business, compliance with all state regulations is required.  This includes maintaining the minimal amount of insurance coverage.
    1. In the event of an accident, Princeton University’s insurance can only cover expenses in excess of the limits of the personal vehicle coverage.
    2. If the personal vehicle is not insured for comprehensive fire, theft, or collision, no such reimbursement will be made.
  3. If a personal vehicle is damaged while being used for PPPL/University business, the University will reimburse the deductible up to a maximum of $1,000 for physical damage to the personal vehicle only.
    1. The University’s automobile liability policy may cover third party liability damages in excess of the coverage available under the personal vehicle policy.
  4. If an accident should occur while using a personal vehicle on official University business, the accident should be reported to the insurer of the vehicle, the Travel Office, and the PU Office of Risk Management at 609-258-3349 or 609-258-3078.

6.1.2.5. Train or Bus

  1. If rail or bus travel is to be used instead of air travel for personal convenience, it should be documented on the Travel Request and reimbursement of expenses including the fare, M&IE, lodging, tolls, ferries, and parking shall not exceed the equivalent airfare amount.
    1. Actual lodging expenses and M&IE while en route may be reimbursed.
    2. Reimbursement for the cost of a sleeping car accommodation is allowed in lieu of lodging expense for each night that these accommodations are used.
  2. When traveling by train, coach class accommodations should be used to the maximum extent possible.
    1. The lowest first class sleeping accommodation available will be allowed when night travel is involved.
    2. A trip is considered “night travel” when the scheduled departure time is 6PM or later.
  3. Transportation by bus is not limited to any specific class of service.
6.1.2.5.1. Domestic Train Travel
  1. You are expected to purchase the lowest available fare that offers reserved seating. For regular Amtrak service that would be reserved Coach Class. For Acela Express Trains that class of service would be Business Class.
  2. First class service may be authorized/approved only as defined in the GSA policy and must be approved by the Department Head prior to making arrangements for travel.
6.1.2.5.2. Foreign Train Travel
  1. For most international rail travel, reserved seating is only available in first class.
  2. The cost of reserved seating, seat selection, and overnight accommodations is an allowable expense.

6.1.3. Rest Stops

  1. A rest stop at either an intermediate point or the destination is allowed when ALL of the following conditions apply:
    1. The class of service used for air travel is less than business or first class (unless OMO approval is applicable).
    2. The total travel time measured from approved place of departure to approved destination exceeds 14 hours.
    3. Travel is taken by direct or usually traveled route.
    4. Reimbursement is based on the per diem rate for the rest stop location.  A maximum of three days are reimbursable before the date of actual official business (one day en route, the arrival day, and one rest stop within a 24-hour period).
  2. In lieu of a rest stop, one of the following can be requested:
    1. Seat upgrades for extra leg room; or,
    2. Business class when total scheduled flight time on a direct or usually traveled route exceeds 14 hours. 

6.2. Hotels and Lodging

  1. Lodging reimbursement is limited to actual cost or per diem, whichever is lower, based on the location where you are staying. Per diem allowances are set in accordance with the rates established by the following federal agencies:  
    Type of  Travel Agency Establishing Per Diem Rates
    Within the Continental U.S. (CONUS) General Services Administration (GSA)
    Outside the Continental U.S. (OCONUS) - Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. Possessions Department of Defense (DOD)
    Outside the Continental U.S. (OCONUS) - Foreign U.S. Department of State
     
    1. CONUS lodging per diem rates do not include taxes or fees, and they can be reimbursed as a separate expense. 
    2. OCONUS and Foreign per diem rates include any mandatory service charges and taxes. 
  2. There are exceptions when actual lodging expenses in excess of the per diem rates may be reimbursed.
    1. Examples where lodging will be approved in excess of the per diem are:
      1. Lodging at a prearranged place, such as a hotel where a conference, meeting, or training session is held;
      2. Lodging costs are temporarily escalated due to special events (e.g., sporting events, conventions, natural or man-made disasters);
      3. Lodging expenses within the prescribed allowances cannot be obtained nearby; and costs to commute to/from the nearby location consume most or all of the savings achieved from occupying less expensive lodging;
      4. Business must be conducted in a certain location on certain days and no lodging is available at the per diem rate; or
      5. Other unplanned circumstances such as:
        1. Per diem rate room booked is not available upon arrival at the hotel; or
        2. Flight cancellation requires stay at an airport hotel and the cost is not compensated by the airline.
    2. Exceeding Per Diem Rates - Authorization 
      1. Lodging expenses that exceed the per diem rate require written justification and cost center approval.  
        1. The justification will be reviewed and approved by the Travel Office for reasonableness.
        2. Lodging expenses in excess of 150% of the per diem rate requires approval of the Head of Accounting.
        3. Lodging expenses in excess of 300% of the federal per diem rate cannot be charged to the DOE under any circumstances.

6.2.1. Lodging Accommodations

  1. When making your hotel reservation, you should book a standard room only.
  2. It is expected that you know the hotel’s cancellation policy.  
    1. It is your responsibility to notify the hotel (and the Travel Office) as quickly as possible of any cancellations and late arrivals to avoid no-show charges.
    2. You will be responsible for any penalties that are a result of your negligence.
  3. If you choose to stay at the home of a family member or friend, you will only be reimbursed for M&IE and not for lodging costs.
  4. Lodging for conferences and meetings (e.g., APS conference) may have an internal cap placed on them by PPPL Leadership or Management to reduce costs.
    1. If you  make your own reservations for which the hotel rate is in excess of the cap, you will be responsible for the cost difference.
  5. For non-conventional lodging (e.g., Bed and Breakfasts, University Housing, Hostels), the reimbursement rules are the same as for conventional lodging.
  6. It is your responsibility to pay for the lodging bill when checking out.  If direct billing has been set up for lodging, you are responsible to obtain a detailed receipt.
  7. If reimbursement is requested for hotels within 50 miles of a traveler’s home, justification must be submitted and approval obtained from your Department Head and a compliance determination is required by the Head of the Accounting prior to the travel.
  8. Princeton University Funded Travel - Rate Guidelines (Non-Contract Funds Only)
    1. See Section 6. Hotels, iii. Rate Guidelines by Location for U.S. and International Rates.

6.3. Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE)

  1. M&IE reimbursement is limited to the published per diem rates based on the type of travel and location in which the traveler is staying.
  2. Per diem allowances are set in accordance with the rates established by the following federal agencies:  
    Type of  Travel Agency Establishing Per Diem Rates
    Within the Continental U.S. (CONUS) General Services Administration (GSA)
    Outside the Continental U.S. (OCONUS) - Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. Possessions Department of Defense (DOD)
    Outside the Continental U.S. (OCONUS) - Foreign U.S. Department of State
  3. When a trip includes more than one PPPL business destination and the destinations involved have different per diem rates, the per diem rate for each calendar day (beginning at 12:01 AM) is determined by the location where the lodging is obtained for that night.
  4. If you are away from your authorized point of departure for more than 12 hours, you may receive an M&IE reimbursement.
  5. For a trip duration of 12 hours or less, no reimbursement for M&IE will be given. 
  6. Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) - the following table reflects M&IE allowance guidelines:
     
    Travel Time (Hours) M&IE Allowance
    12 or less None
    More than 12, but less than 24 75% of applicable rate
    24 or more

    Day of departure

    75% of applicable rate

    Last day of travel

    75% of applicable rate

    Full day of travel

    100% of applicable rate

     

  7. You must exclude the cost of meals provided by others from the per diem rate, such as meals that are part of a registration, meals provided by the business site, or meals paid directly by PPPL. Complimentary meals provided by a hotel/motel do not impact your per diem. 

  8. Non-Business Standby Days - Weekends, holidays, and other necessary standby days may be counted as business days only if they fall between business travel days.
  9. Incidental expenses include fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, (and laundry and dry cleaning for foreign trips only).  

6.4. Direct Billing Process 

  1. Direct billing is typically done in limited circumstances or for a large group of people (e.g., hotels/shuttles for major physics conferences), as determined by the Travel Office, if there is a cost savings, or for airfare (if reservation is booked through the Laboratory’s contracted Travel Agency).
  2. If your trip (or any portion of your trip) was pre-paid (i.e., direct billed) by PPPL, it is the traveler’s responsibility to request all receipts for services used and submit them to the Travel Office.
  3. You must review the bill (e.g., hotel, registration, car rental) to ensure billing charges reflect the accurate allowable charges and the right payment type.

7. Miscellaneous Business Expenses

7.1. Allowable Miscellaneous Costs

  1. Telephone, Fax, and Computer Connections - Actual costs of necessary and reasonable business telephone calls, international coverage plans, faxes, and computer connections (i.e., Internet access from hotspot devices, on planes, trains, at hotels, etc.) are allowable.  
    1. Single telephone calls or other expenses costing more than $50.00 must be itemized by business purpose with the name of the person called.
  2. Laundry/Dry Cleaning - Reimbursable for domestic travel when travel is four or more nights. Charge must be incurred while traveling.  Foreign travel includes laundry costs in the per diem rate as per the Department of State, and so is unallowable.
  3. Personal expenses not directly related to and required for official PPPL business travel are not reimbursable.

7.2. U.S. Sales, Occupancy, and Other Taxes

  1. The University is a non-profit 501(c)(3) institution, and as such is exempt from tax on most domestic purchases.  However, tax exemptions vary by state and by type of good or service purchased. You must make every reasonable effort to ensure that tax is not paid.
  2. Refer to Princeton University’s Sales Tax Policy for more detailed information on the steps you should follow to avoid paying sales tax. 

7.3. Travel Cancellation and Emergency Travel While on Business

  1. If your business trip or the business portion of a combined personal/business trip is rescheduled or cancelled for PPPL business reasons, the associated business costs of the travel, including cancellation fees, are reimbursable by submitting an Expense Report.
  2. Emergency travel results from:
    1. You becoming incapacitated by illness or injury not due to your own misconduct; 
    2. The death or serious illness of a member of your family; or
    3. A catastrophic occurrence or impending disaster, such as fire, flood, or act of God, which directly affects your home.

7.4. Getting Ill While on Travel

  1. Illness or injury requiring hospitalization while on official PPPL business travel must be reported promptly to the Occupational Medical Office at (609) 243-3200 or (609) 243-3372.  
  2. PPPL employees are eligible for  workers’ compensation coverage for work-related injury or illness that occurs during a PPPL approved/funded business trip.

8. Other

8.1. Safety Tips

Please see http://travel.pppl.gov/safety-tips for more information.

8.2. Travel Insurance Coverage

  1. While traveling on PPPL/University business, PPPL business travel accident insurance provides benefits to you and your survivors in the event of an accident. Details about business travel accident insurance can be found on: Princeton University Travel-Related Insurance
  2. You may contact PPPL Human Resources or the PU Risk Management Office for questions regarding this coverage.

8.3. Personal Travel Combined with PPPL Business Travel/Travel Companions

  1. You are allowed to combine personal time (e.g., vacation, non-PPPL business) with business travel as long as approval is obtained from your supervisor.  
    1. Use of personal time while on business travel must be clearly indicated on the Travel Request and Expense Report. 
    2. All foreign travel requests that include personal time must comply with the 2:1 ratio. You are permitted to take one personal day for every two days of official business conducted. The first and last day of travel are considered one business day each. Round down when there is an odd number of business days (e.g., 9 business days would allow only 4 personal days). Personal leave in conjunction with official foreign travel that exceeds 2:1 ratio may be granted when approved by the respective Deputy Director (Operations or Research). 
  2. If your personal vacation is interrupted for business reasons, travel costs will be reimbursed from the vacation point to the official business point and back to the vacation point, plus any change or penalty fees that may apply.
    1. All other expenses you may incur as a result of your vacation being interrupted will be considered for reimbursement with Department Head approval.
  3. If non-business days are at the beginning or end of a traveler’s business event, and the traveler arrives early or remains at the business destination for non-business reasons more than 24 hours before or after the business event, those days will be counted as personal days. 
  4. If non-business days are at the beginning or end of a traveler’s business event at a different location, reimbursement for lodging and M&IE will begin the day prior to the business event, or end on the last business day.  In this case, travel days to and from the business location will be considered business days.
  5. Airport parking fees, rental car charges, and other applicable expenses should be prorated based on the ratio of business to personal days. 
  6. Travel expenses of a non-PPPL traveler who accompanies the approved business traveler, are not reimbursable by PPPL.

8.4. Travel Rewards/Membership Clubs

  1. You may keep all rewards related to your travel (e.g., Sky Miles, Marriott Rewards, etc.).
  2. Enrollment fees for these programs are a personal expense and are not reimbursable.
  3. Reward numbers may be added to your profile in Concur, or provided to the contracted Travel Agency to be used when making travel arrangements.

9. Post-Trip Requirements/Reimbursement of Travel Expenses

9.1. Expense Report

  1. Expense Reports must be submitted within 30 calendar days after returning from the trip.  
    1. Failure to submit a complete Expense Report within 30 days will result in a notice to management. 
    2. Failure to submit a complete Expense Report within 60 calendar days of your return may result in loss of PPPL travel privileges until the outstanding Expense Report is satisfied.
      1. Reimbursement requests submitted beyond the 60-day limit may not be reimbursed, or may be subject to be reported to the IRS as taxable income  (See Tax Considerations).
  2. To avoid delay in travel reimbursement and to ensure the Expense Report will be able to sustain future audit scrutiny, all unusual expenses or situations should be explained on the Expense Report or in an accompanying memo.  
    1. Changes to the itinerary made while traveling require an explanation and the approval of the Department Head.
  3. Each Expense Report must state the purpose of the trip or its benefit to the mission of the Laboratory.  The times/dates of each trip must be clearly and accurately reported.  
  4. Any portion of the trip that was personal must be noted as such by referencing the dates of both business and personal travel.  
  5. Receipts are required for individual expenses greater than or equal to $50.00. 
    1. Receipts are not required for M&IE expenses as reimbursement is based on GSA per diem rates.
    2. An itemized receipt for lodging, airfare, car rental must be submitted regardless of the amount.
    3. In the event that a receipt is missing, another proof of payment, such as a credit card statement indicating that the item was charged, must be submitted.  
    4. If a required receipt has been lost, a missing receipt affidavit must be submitted and approved by the cognizant cost center approver.
  6. Your submission of the Expense Report attests to the fact that the report is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, that the expenses claimed were incurred to accomplish official PPPL Business and there are no personal or unallowable expenses, and that a payment or credit has not been received by you from other sources.

9.2.  Tax Considerations

  1. As required, PPPL follows the IRS standards for establishing reasonable time limitations for determining the tax treatment of reimbursements, as follows:
    1. If substantiation for reimbursement is submitted within 60 calendar days  upon returning from travel, and if all other requirements of PPPL’s Unallowable Cost Guidelines are met, the reimbursement will be treated as a non-taxable reimbursement of a PPPL business expense.
    2. If substantiation occurs more than 60 calendar days after the expenses were incurred, the expense reimbursement request must include an explanation for the delay.  
      1. Reimbursement requests beyond the 60-day limit may not be reimbursed.
      2. If reimbursed, it will be reported to the IRS as taxable income paid to the individual and appropriate taxes will be withheld from the reimbursement.

10. Examples of Unallowable Costs

  • Entertainment and alcohol expenses
  • Annual fees for personal credit cards
  • Babysitting
  • Barbers/hairdressers
  • Car service for normal commute
  • Car washes
  • Chartered or private aircraft
  • Clothing
  • Delinquency fees
  • Hotel or car rental “no-show” charges
  • House sitting
  • Lodging with Friends or relatives
  • Lodging costs for stays at a facility that you either own or lease
  • Luggage and briefcases
  • Membership reward fees
  • Meals for social occasions
  • Non-business membership fees
  • Non-business periodicals
  • Non-business postage
  • Optional baggage insurance
  • Parking and/or speeding tickets
  • Personal accident insurance
  • Personal entertainment (e.g. sporting events)
  • Personal property insurance
  • Personal toiletries
  • Pet care or pet sitting
  • Prescription refills
  • Shoeshine
  • Souvenirs and personal gifts
  • Travel Membership Clubs
  • Unused employee purchased airline ticket
  • Vacation and personal expenses when on business trips

11. Definitions/Acronyms

  • Allowable Expense - A necessary, reasonable, and appropriate expense incurred for the primary benefit of PPPL business and therefore permitted to be reimbursed or directly charged based on PPPL and Princeton University policies, DOE requirements, and the Prime Contract.
  • Business Class - A premium class of accommodation offered by the airlines or train that is higher than coach and lower than first class, in both cost and amenities.
  • Coach Class - The basic class of accommodations offered to travelers regardless of fare paid.
  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) - Covers damage to or loss of a rental car.
  • Continental United States (CONUS) - The territory of the United States that is within North America, between Canada and Mexico, and the adjacent territorial waters.
  • Cost Center - The highest tier of a project’s complete charge number to which expenses are charged.
  • Employee - An individual who receives a paycheck from the Laboratory.
  • Excess Baggage - Baggage in excess of the carrier's size and weight limit.
  • First Class - Generally, the highest class of accommodation offered by the airlines and trains in terms of both cost and amenities and termed "first-class" by the airlines and any reservation system.
  • General Services Administration (GSA) - An independent agency of the U.S. Government that establishes the CONUS federal per diem rates. 
  • Itemized Receipt - Detail of specific expenses charged to the traveler (e.g., a lodging receipt reflecting the room rate, taxes, telephone charges, etc.).
  • Lodging - Expenses for overnight sleeping facilities.  Does not include accommodations on airplanes, trains, buses, or ships, which are included in the cost of transportation.
  • Non-Employee - An individual who is not a PPPL employee (i.e., does not receive a paycheck from the PPPL).  Includes, but not limited to, interviewees, visitors, consultants, and subcontractors.
  • OCONUS - Travel outside the continental United States (i.e., including Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. possessions).
  • Official PPPL Business Travel - Travel necessary to accomplish official business on behalf of PPPL.  Official travel is properly authorized, processed, conducted, reported and reimbursed in accordance with these guidelines.
  • Per Diem - Combined daily expenses for lodging and meals & incidental expenses (M&IE).  
  • Primary Work Location - The place where the major portion of the traveler's work time is spent or the place to which the traveler returns during working hours upon completion of special assignments.
  • Reasonable Expense - An expense that is ordinary and reflects a prudent decision to incur the expense on behalf of PPPL business.  Not extreme or excessive.
  • Signature Authority Table - A list of all individuals authorized to approve expenditures for a Cost Center.
  • U.S. Flag Air Carrier - An air carrier that holds a certificate under the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 authorizing operations between the United States and/or its territories, and one or more foreign countries.  Each U.S. airline has a two-letter alpha code designating it as a U.S. Flag Air Carrier (e.g., UA for United Airlines).