Travel

Travel costs are generally allowable on sponsored awards provided that they are directly related to the intent of the award. Travelers are expected to travel by the method most conducive to achieving the objectives of the trip, while keeping in mind the reasonableness of costs.

This guide serves simply as a general reference for travel. Travel regulations are complex. Some sponsors may have additional travel conditions or restrictions. Therefore, it is always best to consult with Award Management Services staff in advance for additional guidance and clarification.

ALERT -Travel Notice

I. General Travel Introduction

II. Completing a Travel Advance or Travel Reimbursement

III. Transportation Expenses

IV. Lodging and Meals

V. International (Foreign) Travel

VI. Other Travel Related Expenses

VII. Forms

I. General Travel Introduction

• Requests for travel advances or reimbursements should be done using the RF Travel Payment Request Form.
• All travel requests require original receipts as well as a conference announcement, agenda or a brief description of the purpose of the travel
• As a tax-exempt entity, the Research Foundation cannot pay for or reimburse New York State Sales tax; a tax exempt form can be provided upon request
• All travel funded by a sponsored award, including non-project personnel travel expenses, should conform to the same regulations and policies

II. Completing a Travel Advance or Travel Reimbursement

Travel Advances

Travel advances are available for employees if needed. The advance can cover 100% of common carrier transportation costs, and 80% of other transportation costs, conference registration fees, lodging and meal per diems. Requests should be submitted using the Travel Payment Request form (utilizing the top portion of the form) and appropriate supporting documentation. Travel advances should be requested at least two weeks prior to the start of the trip.

Travel advances must be reconciled within two weeks of return. No subsequent advances will be issued until a prior advance has been reconciled.

Post Travel Reimbursement

Reimbursement should be submitted within two weeks upon returning from travel. Requests should be submitted with appropriate documentation and the Travel Payment Request form.

If the traveler is also the PI on the award, the Travel Payment Request form would need his or her supervisor’s signature on the form. The supervisor is only signing off on the fact that the trip was taken and related to the traveler’s work or grants.

III. Transportation Expenses

Airline or Rail

Travelers are expected to use the lowest-priced available coach-class airfare. Nonrefundable airline tickets should not be charged to a sponsored award if the trip is cancelled. Requests for reimbursement of common carrier transportation expenses must be supported by original passenger coupons.

All travel charged to a federally funded sponsored award must be in compliance with the Fly America Act. The Fly America Act (FAA) is a federal expenditure rule designed to assure that federal funds are being expended to the benefit of American flagged carriers. It is applicable to all federal grantees and contractors.

Sponsored Programs Administration has a preferred vendor agreement with Stovroff & Taylor Travel, LTD as our corporate travel management vendor. They have been in business since 1988 and are a NYS Certified Women Business Enterprise. As part of this service, a traveler profile must be completed prior to booking travel. Please contact your Grant Administrator for more information. Stovroff & Taylor will work on our behalf to ensure the most economical fares for airline tickets, hotel, and car reservations are obtained. Direct billing for airfare and rail are available as is booking through the State contract with Enterprise for rental cars. Please note, for hotel reservations Stovroff can assist with making reservations, but the hotel charges will not be direct billed to the RF. The traveler should provide a credit card for the hotel charges and then submit for reimbursement using the RF Travel Payment Request Form after the trip.      

                                                    Stovroff Travel Agency
Contact Information: Agent Assist Reservations:
Website: www.stovrofftaylortravel.com

Phone: 1-800-543-8616.
Press 1 for first available corporate agent

Email:onlinehelp@stovrofftaylortravel.com Email:reservations@stovrofftaylortravel.com
Online Booking available 24/7. Online Booking Tech Support Monday-Friday 9am-5pm EST.
Emergency Service for travel assistance on a current trip or departure within 48 hours: 1-888-215-8655.
For international travel, please ask the agent before departure for the appropriate after-hours emergency number(s) for the countries visited.

Stovroff Travel Agency - Service Fees 

 Phone Booking Fee   Online Booking Fee  
 Airline Booking Fee (per booking)  $20.00 $10.00 
 Lodging Booking Fee (per room)  $5.00  $5.00
 Train Booking Fee (per booking)  $20.00  $10.00

Travelers can also continue to contact  Advantage Travel to have airfare or rail expenses direct billed to their Research Foundation account.

*Please make sure to provide an RF award number to the travel agency if booking RF travel. Since the RF and State Accounting are two different entities, the accounts are separate so the RF is unable to charge or transfer expenses to State Accounts and vice versa. It is the responsibility of the traveler to make sure the correct award number is being provided to the agency.

Personal Car Mileage

Personally owned automobiles may be used when other transportation is not available or appropriate. Mileage in excess of an individual's typical commute to or from their official work station is reimbursable at the allowable business mileage rate established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Requests for mileage reimbursement should be substantiated with appropriate documentation.

IRS business mileage rate is as follows:

Applicable Period

Rate (cents per mile)

 1/1/17-Present

              53.5
1/1/16 – 12/31/16

54

1/1/15 – 12/31/15

57.5

1/1/14 – 12/31/14

56 

Rental Car

Rental vehicles may be appropriate when the utilization of such is in the best interest of the project. For example, renting a vehicle is considered appropriate when:

  • renting is the least costly alternative
  • renting is the only method of transportation
  • renting will eliminate substantial delays

With the RF Travel Payment Request Form, please attach a justification for utilizing a rental car.

Reimbursable costs include tolls, parking fees, gas, and the cost of renting the vehicle. GPS rental may be reimbursable with proper justification.

Non-reimbursable costs include the costs of personal accident insurance or personal effects insurance, citations, violations, and vehicle upgrades such as satellite radio. If rental is in New York, please note that as a tax-exempt entity, the Research Foundation cannot pay for or reimburse New York State Sales tax; a tax exempt form can be provided upon request

Rental Car through Enterprise Rent-A-Car

It’s recommended that rentals be booked through the RF’s direct billing arrangement with Enterprise Rent-a-Car using the RF billing number either through the online reservation system (customized link) or by calling 1-800-RENT-A-CAR (see rates here). Vehicles should be rented in the name of the Research Foundation to ensure that both the RF and the traveler are properly covered by insurance and that no tax is charged for rentals in NY. Speak with your department's Grant Administrator for details.

To authorize payment to Enterprise, complete the Enterprise Requisition for Payment form.

Miscellaneous Transportation Costs

Transportation costs such as taxi, subway, tolls, or parking expenses are typically reimbursable. Original receipts are requested. Travelers are expected to use the most economical means available.

IV. Lodging and Meals

In order to be eligible for lodging and meal reimbursement, a traveler must be in official travel status; ie: greater than 35 miles from both their place of residence and their official work station.

If lodging is in New York, please note that as a tax-exempt entity, the Research Foundation cannot pay for or reimburse New York State Sales tax; a tax exempt form can be provided upon request.

Meal Eligibility

Allowances and rates are determined by the travel destination. Meal allowances should be adjusted based upon travel departure and return times and account for meals which were provided at no expense to the traveler (ie: breakfast provided at a conference).

On the day of departure, the traveler is eligible for: if travel begins before:

breakfast

7 am

dinner

6 pm

On the day of return, the traveler is eligible for: if travel ends after:

breakfast

8 am

dinner

7 pm

No reimbursement is given for lunch.

Meal receipts are not required for meal reimbursement under either Method I or Method II. Therefore, meals should typically be reimbursed using appropriate un-receipted rates. If receipts will be used, they MUST be itemized, showing all items purchased, not simply the total paid. This is done to ensure compliance with all policies concerning the purchase of alcohol.

Non-Overnight Meal Reimbursement

Reimbursement for meal allowances for non-overnight travel should be done using the RF Non Overnight Taxable Meal Form. This reimbursement is taxable, and will be processed through payroll. As this is processed through payroll, the non-overnight taxable meal request can processed for RF or State employees only. There is an additional form required for a traveler who is a State Employee, detailed below.

If the traveler is a State Employee: Payment requests for non-overnight per diems for a State Employee traveling for Research Foundation business must also be accompanied by a signed State Accounting Travel voucher. The reimbursement will be processed through the state system so that the payment may be correctly captured as reportable compensation.

Non-Overnight Meal Rates below:

Location

Breakfast

Dinner

All locations

$5

$12

Methods of Reimbursement for Overnight Meals and Lodging

There are two methods to reimburse travelers for overnight lodging and meal costs, Method I or Method II.

Method I: An approved flat rate reimbursement to cover lodging, meals, and incidentals without the use of lodging receipts. For example, if traveler stayed with family or friends.

Under this method, travelers are still expected to substantiate the request with documentation to support that the traveler made the trip.

Unreceipted per diem rates for domestic travel are as follows:

Location

Rate

New York City and surrounding counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, and Westchester $50.00
Cities of Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and their surrounding metropolitan areas (any city, town, or village within 15 miles of these cities) $40.00
All other locations within New York State $35.00
All other locations within the continental US $50.00

Method I Meal Allowance Rates

Below are the rates for breakfast or dinner adjustments to Method I reimbursements based on times of travel or exclusions for meals provided at no cost to the traveler are allowable as follows:

Location

Breakfast

Dinner

All locations

$5

$12

Method II: Allows for the reimbursement of actual (receipted) lodging costs up to the established Government Service Administration (GSA) per diem rates. Meal receipts are not required to reimburse meal and incidental expenses under this method.

Lodging Allowance Rates: Receipts which exceed Government per diem rates will require justification.

Method II Meal Allowance Rates

Method II meal allowances are adjusted based on times of travel or exclusions for meals provided at no cost to the traveler at the following rates:

Effective October 1, 2015:

GSA Full Meal Per Diem Rate 

Breakfast Allowance  Dinner Allowance 

$74

$15

$59 

$69

$14 

$55 

$64

$13 

$51

$59

$12

$47

$54

$11

$43

$51

$10

$41

Effective October 1, 2009:

GSA Full Meal Per Diem Rate

Breakfast Allowance Dinner Allowance

$71

$14

$57

$66

$13

$53

$61

$12

$49

$56

$11

$45

$51

$10

$41

$46

$9

$37

The RF follows a full meal per diem breakdown of 20% for breakfast and 80% for dinner.

Direct Billing for lodging: In efforts to reduce the expenses incurred by the individual traveler, it may be feasible to arrange for local lodging expenses to be billed directly to the Research Foundation for visitors to UAlbany. Direct billings also help ensure that government rates are offered and New York State Sales tax is not charged. Please contact your Grant Administrator for additional information concerning direct billing arrangements for lodging expenses.

V. International (Foreign) Travel

Additional policies exist surrounding international travel, which are pertinent to all non-domestic travel, including Canada. There may be restrictions based on Sponsor or Federal guidelines, Export Controls, as well as US Department of State travel warnings. Any travel to a country on the US Department of State Travel Warning list requires additional campus approvals prior to making travel arrangements. Please contact your Grant Administrator for assistance.

International travel policy indicates specific requirements for use of a rental vehicle as well the method of reimbursement. Compliance with the Fly America Act is of particular importance for international travel on federal awards which requires that any air transportation to, from, between or with in a country other than the US is provided by a US Flag carrier when such is available.

Reimbursement for travel outside the continental United States is based on Federal Foreign per diem rates, also found on the GSA website. Please note that these rates may be updated as frequently as monthly.

Export Controls are laws regulating the shipment, transmission or transfer of items, information, technical data/software to foreign countries, persons and entities. Export Control issues pertinent to foreign travel typically include the destination, the parties involved, and the items being transported, either shipped or hand carried. The items do not necessarily have to be physical as the Export Control laws apply to the transfer of knowledge.

Export licenses may be required for foreign travel which involves travel to sanctioned or embargoed countries, contact with restricted people or entities, or transportation of restricted items such as laptops, encryption software, or data. Exclusions to license requirements do exist. However, regulations require the exemption to be documented in advance of the travel. For additional information surrounding Export Controls, please contact the Office for Sponsored Programs.

The Research Foundation can provide blanket international travel assistance coverage, as well as emergency health insurance benefits, for persons traveling overseas on official Research Foundation business.

Reimbursement for international travel not conforming to all applicable regulations may not be feasible from a sponsored award. For additional travel related information, or clarification on any of the above policies, please contact your Grant Administrator prior to making travel arrangements.

VI. Other Travel Related Expenses

The Research Foundation can pay conference registration fees directly to the conference or event organizer. Reimbursement for conference registration fees paid by the traveler should be accompanied by proof of payment. See the Conference Registration Fees section on the Other Expenses page for more information. The RF will not reimburse or pay for donations or contributions.

Incidentals such as communication expenses are reimbursable when documented and receipted.

For reimbursing hotel internet access/connectivity expenses, justification must be properly documented as to why the charge was necessary and how the expense is directly related to the award being charged.

VII. Forms