Travel Policy

ITRC Travel Policy and Reimbursement Guidelines
October 2023

This travel policy supersedes all previous versions and applies to all eligible travel reimbursed by ITRC for trips that will occur after December 31, 2023.

General Policy

ITRC provides reimbursement to eligible members for their travel expenses to ITRC sponsored events including ITRC team meetings, conferences, and training, and to non-ITRC events to support ITRC outreach and partnership initiatives.  Members from the following membership areas are eligible for reimbursement:

  • State and local government employees,
  • Tribal government representatives,
  • Public and emeritus stakeholders, and 
  • Academia members. 
All eligible members must receive pre-approval from ITRC and receive agency or supervisor approval to travel to an event before making travel arrangements.

ITRC will not reimburse you for your travel expenses if you fail to follow ITRC’s Travel Policy and Reimbursement Guidelines.

Pre-approvals for ITRC Sponsored Events  

ITRC members must request and receive approval from ITRC Program Advisors in coordination with ITRC staff to be eligible for travel reimbursement and before they begin making travel arrangements to ITRC sponsored events.  Instructions for requesting and receiving approval may differ for each event and will be provided by the team’s Program Advisor prior to the event.

Pre-approvals for non-ITRC Events

ITRC members must request and receive approval from the ITRC Director or other assigned ITRC staff to be eligible for travel reimbursement and before they begin making travel arrangements to non-ITRC events. Members should review ITRC’s Outreach Guidance and must complete our Outreach Request Form to request approval for travel and reimbursement.

TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT GUIDELINES & INSTRUCTIONS

Members pre-approved for travel reimbursement must request and receive additional approval from ITRC staff in three specific travel situations identified below. ITRC has instructions for receiving travel approval from ITRC staff for each situation.  ITRC staff approval must be received prior to making travel arrangements. Please submit formal requests, forms, and the required documentation to Carolyn Sistare (csistare@ecos.org).
  
  1. Airfare greater than $600 roundtrip.  If your quoted non-refundable, roundtrip airfare is more than $600, email a copy of the airfare quote to Carolyn Sistare (csistare@ecos.org) for approval.
  2. Extended Stays or Stopover Travel. ITRC members who travel before or after approved travel dates, and/or stopover at other locations prior to or after the event for non-ITRC business or personal travel must request and receive approval from ITRC staff.
  3. Private Vehicle Travel in Excess of 800 Miles Roundtrip. ITRC members using a personal vehicle must request and receive approval from ITRC staff.

    ITRC will not reimburse your travel expenses if you fail to receive approval for airfare greater than $600 roundtrip, extended or stopover travel, and automobile travel over 800 miles roundtrip. 

    Please contact Carolyn Sistare (csistare@ecos.org), ITRC, if you have any questions about these requirements or for help completing these forms.  
    After receiving the required approvals from ITRC Program Advisors and staff, and agency and supervisor approval to travel,  ITRC members can begin making travel arrangements.  ITRC’s travel guidelines generally follow the General Services Administration’s (GSA’s) federal guidance with some exceptions.  Information about eligible and ineligible reimbursement expenses, required receipts, and submitting reimbursement claims is detailed below.  Contact Carolyn Sistare (csistare@ecos.org) if you have any questions.

    Important Notes:

    • No more than 3 travelers from any one state or local government agency will be reimbursed for a single event unless approved by ITRC staff.
    • Original receipts are required for the following expenses and must be submitted with your reimbursement claim form:
      • Airfare and train transportation to and from home/work location and the event location.
      • Hotel room reservations.
      • Airport, hotel, and event site parking fees
      • Any other single expense of $35 or greater except for meals & incidental expenses.  

    Non-Reimbursable Expenses:

    • Rental Cars unless specifically provided as an eligible transportation option in the event’s logistics and approved by the ITRC Director prior to the event.
    • Airfare upgrade amenities include refundable and first-class seating, priority seat selections, extra legroom, exit row, priority boarding, and more than one checked bag.
    • Airfare if miles were used to pay for the flight.
    • Valet parking if a self-parking option is available. This will be noted in event logistics provided by ITRC.
    • Incidental expenses for personal or entertainment purposes (ex., taxis to dinner, valet tips). These are considered incidental and reimbursed by ITRC as part of your daily meals and incidental expenses per diem.
    • Fuel costs if using a personal vehicle.
    • Travel Insurance
    • Travel agency fees
    • Personal items, alcoholic beverages, ATM fees, entertainment, and all other expenses not specifically listed as Reimbursable Expenses in the next section.

    Reimbursable Expenses

    Airfare: Non-refundable, roundtrip coach airfare tickets and up to one checked bag each way.

    • Pre-approval from ITRC staff is required for any airfare above $600 roundtrip and for any extended stays or stopover travel.
    • Airfare reservations must be made no later than two weeks prior to the event.
    • Airfare receipts are required for all reimbursement claims. These may include email confirmation receipts, the customer's copy of the ticket, or a paid airline invoice and must include the traveler's name, the dates, and destinations of travel, non-refundable ticket type, and the total costs paid.

    Personal Vehicle Expenses:

    • Pre-approval from ITRC staff must be requested for car mileage claims more than 800 miles roundtrip and for any extended stays or stopover travel.
    • Mileage at the federal GSA rate on a per-mile basis.
    • Tolls with receipts and supporting documentation.
    • Travelers are required to provide documentation in reimbursement claims showing the distance between your home/work and the event location if claiming vehicle mileage.

    State/Agency Provided Vehicle:

    • Tolls, parking, and fuel costs only if not provided by the state/agency.
    • Local travel (members located near the event location)
    • Ground transportation expenses (including tips) to and from your home/work and the event location.   Ground transportation includes taxis, ridesharing, and trains.
    • Personal vehicle travel mileage up to 100 miles per day to and from your home/work and the event location.
    • Event site self-parking fees. If self-parking is not available, ITRC will reimburse the full cost of valet parking. Approval for valet parking reimbursement will be noted in event logistics provided by ITRC.
    • Travelers are required to provide documentation in reimbursement claims showing the distance between your home/work and the event location for claiming vehicle mileage.

    Parking (Airport, Train Station, & Hotel): 

    • Airport/Train Station:  Economy parking lots or standard weekly or long-term airport or rail station parking costs. 
    • Hotel: Full expenses for self-parking. If self-parking is not available, ITRC will reimburse the full cost of valet parking. Approval for valet parking reimbursement will be noted in event logistics provided by ITRC.
        • Tips for valet parking are non-reimbursable and are part of your daily meals and incidental expenses per diem.   

    Lodging:

    • Hotel arrangements will be at the best available government, convention, or corporate rate provided by hotels and must be supported by a complete hotel receipt that itemizes the daily rate, taxes, and room-night usage claimed by the traveler. Credit cards and other receipts that do not reflect this itemized information are not acceptable substitutes.
      • In cases where ITRC has established a special hotel/lodging room block and room rate at or near the event location, those facilities must be used, and their contracted rate will be the maximum amount of lodging costs reimbursable to an individual. ITRC will limit reimbursement to either the government rate or contract rate in any case where the traveler pays a higher rate for his/her hotel room.
      • Travelers will only be reimbursed for the number of travel days/hotel nights indicated in the ITRC announcement of the sponsored event. Should the traveler have an individual requirement for additional days/nights based on travel distance, inadequate flight schedules, etc., it is their responsibility to contact the ITRC staff and resolve the matter prior to travel.

    Meals & Incidental Expenses (M&IE):

    • ITRC reimburses M&IE expenses for travelers up to federal per diem rates for the event’s location. The GSA establishes M&IE per diem rates for locations, which can be reviewed at https://www.gsa.gov/travel/plan-book/per-diem-rates. M&IE reimbursement is provided for all travel and event days and includes but is not limited to breakfast, lunch, and dinner; room service; dry cleaning and laundry services; and fees, taxes, and tips for services. 
      • ITRC reimburses 75% of the total M&IE rate on the first and last day of travel.
      • M&IE reimbursement will not be provided for individual meals provided by ITRC or the sponsored event and will be subtracted from the traveler’s daily M&IE per diem when provided.

    Cancellation of Trip and Associated Fees:

    • A traveler may request reimbursement for cancellation fees if unable to travel due to an unusual or unforeseen event after airline tickets and lodging reservations have been purchased. The traveler is responsible for canceling all reservations and informing ITRC staff as soon as possible. Unusual or unforeseen events include but are not limited to personal or family medical or dependent care emergencies, flight cancellations, natural disasters or other public health/environmental emergencies. Failure to receive agency or supervisor approval to travel is generally not considered an unusual or unforeseen event as this is required prior to making travel arrangements.  
    Each situation will be handled on a case-by-case basis and will be reviewed by the ITRC Director.
     

    Disabilities/special needs:

    • Reasonable upgraded accommodations for any point of travel (i.e., on a plane or in a hotel) may be used due to a medical disability or special need. Reasonable accommodations can be accounted for only when there are no free, alternative means to accommodate the traveler's needs. In order to qualify for reimbursement, the disability or special need must be certified by a medical authority (i.e., a licensed medical practitioner) and approved by the ITRC Director before the accommodation/upgrade is purchased.