Travel Procedures

Valdosta State University adheres to the State Accounting Office Statewide Accounting Policy and the University System of Georgia Board of Regents Travel Business Procedures.  Below is a brief summary of the steps needed for travel reimbursement.  For more details or items not covered below, please refer to the two policies listed above.

5 Steps for Travel Reimbursement:

1.  Travel Authorization

  • Complete and submit a Travel Authorization Form unless traveling on a Standing Authorization to Travel.
  • The Budget Approver(s) will forward to travel@valdosta.edu upon approval.
  • It is the employee’s responsibility to ensure that the Travel Authorization form is approved prior to travel.

2.  Select Method of Transportation

  • Travel via Car:
    • Personal Vehicle – Mileage Reimbursement Only:  Mileage Reimbursement rates for travel in a personal vehicle will be based on the tier rates below.  
      • Tier 1 Rate – (currently .535 cents/miles) 
        Car Cost Comparison indicates that a personal vehicle is the most cost effective method of travel. 

      • Tier 2 Rate –(currently .17 cents/mile) 
        Car Cost Comparison is not completed or when the Car Cost Comparison indicates a rental car is the most cost effective method of travel but the personal vehicle is used for travel.

    • Normal commuting miles must be deducted when calculating the business miles if the employee departs and/or returns to their residence and travel is not occurring on a weekend or holiday.
    • Rental Car:
      • VSU will reimburse employees for rental car expense and any gasoline expense associated with the rental car.  Travel via rental car does not require a car cost comparison.
      • VSU has a direct billing account set up with Enterprise to eliminate employee out of pocket expenses associated with car rentals. Please contact Financial Services-travel to get VSU's corporate ID# for your reservation.
      • Do not purchase insurance for state contracts ( Enterprise and Hertz) as it will not be reimbursed and employees are covered as long as the travel is business related. However, if renting a car from a company not on state contract, or travel is international, the employee must ensure to purchase the collision damage waiver for the rental as the State does not provide collision coverage for these vehicles.
  • Travel via Flight
    • Flight Cost Comparison:  Employees should obtain the lowest available airfare and include documentation justifying the lowest cost. Visit sites such as: Orbitz, Expedia, Cheap Tickets, or Travelocity, etc and print a copy of your flight search for your flight cost documentation.
    • Only coach travel fares will be reimbursed.
    • Baggage charges for one bag can be claimed for departure flight and returning flight.
    • Airfare expenses can be reimbursed prior to the travel dates.

 3.  Lodging:  Employees should inquire about government rate availability or conference lodging rate and select the most cost efficient option.

  • Tax Exemptions:  A copy of the State of Georgia Certificate of Exemption of Local Hotel/Motel Excise Tax  should be provided to the hotel upon check-in when traveling and lodging in the State of Georgia on official State business.  This tax cannot be reimbursed to employees, if charged.
    • This does not exempt the employee from State Tax.  
    • If a hotel refuses to accept the tax exempt form, employees are requested to obtain a written statement from the hotel manager, pay the tax at that time and claim it on the travel expense statement. 
    • For travel outside of Georgia, travelers will be reimbursed for all taxed charged for lodging.
  • Private Residence:  State Travel Policy section 3.1 prohibits the use of private residence, therefore online private rental services such as Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway are not allowed. 
  • Parking:  Travelers should always choose the self-parking option. If valet parking was utilized, travelers can only be reimbursed the self-parking rate, if self-parking is available.
  • Miscellaneous Charges:  If miscellaneous charges are included on lodging receipt, and the employee is seeking reimbursement, an explanation of the business use for the charges should be included. (EX: Internet usage charges)

 4.  Meal Reimbursements

  • State of Georgia- Meal Pier Diems

 

Non-High Cost Areas 

High Cost Areas 

Breakfast  

$6.00

$7.00

Lunch

$7.00

$9.00

Dinner

$15.00

$20.00

High-Cost Areas in Georgia include:

    • Metropolitan Atlanta (Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton & Gwinnett Counties)
    • Augusta (Richmond County)
    • Brunswick (Glynn County)
    • Savannah (Chatham County)

  • Travel outside of Georgia:  Refer to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) website for the current per diem rates.
  • Single Day of Travel:
    • More than fifty (50) miles away and more than twelve (12) hours, employee may receive per diem for the noon meal. 
    • Departure prior to 6:30 am employee is entitled to per diem for breakfast
    • Return later than 7:30 pm employee is entitled to per diem for dinner.

  • First & Last Day of Travel: Travelers are eligible for only 75% of the total day's per diem on the first and last day of travel.
  • Meals provided by Conference/Meeting: The per diem or meal allowance must be adjusted for any meals provided to the traveler.  Conference or meeting agendas should be submitted to verify all meal reimbursements requested.

 5.  Completing an Expense Report

After returning from a trip, complete and submit the expense report using PeopleSoft Employee Self-Service for Expense Reimbursements. All expenses should be itemized by type of expense and date of expense.

  • Print a hardcopy of the expense report, attach all required receipts and documentation, sign it and submit it to the budget manager for approval and signature.
  • Expense reports should be submitted for reimbursement within sixty (60) days of the completion of travel or they will be reimbursed via Payroll and subject to tax withholding.
  • Expense reports are usually processed within 5 business days of receiving both the approved expense report (online and printed copy) and all required receipts and documentation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Accounts Payable office at 229-333-5708, or email travel@valdosta.edu.  

Travel Helpful Links

Forms and Links Needed for Travel

Per Diem Rates

Travel Regulations