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NWC REU 2010

May 25 - July 30



Travel Tips


You have an overall cap on each travel item. Be sure you know what it is. Most participants have just two trips: to/from Norman for the REU itself, and one trip to a professional conference.

OU places caps on each reimbursable travel item. Be sure you know what those are!

Food and gas receipts are NOT needed. Food costs are covered (for any travel event lasting over 18 hours) as Meals & Incidental Expences (MI&E) at the Federal government per diem ratesfor the city/state applied to that day of travel. Ask me if you're not sure how to determine the relevant city/state for your trip. Go to and click on Per Diem Rates - it's the first one under "Most Requested Links" in the upper left of the page. Gas is covered within the mileage reimbursement, which is $0.50/mi as of Jan 1, 2010.


Going To/From Norman:

If you fly, you will typically be reimbursed for mileage to/from your home airport, any parking/toll receipts, and any normal baggage fees (excessive weight fees... probably not; distribute that weight!).

If you drive, your mileage will be determined by putting your departure (e.g. home) and destination (e.g. Traditions checkin) addresses into Mileage for business trips is usually capped at what it would have cost to fly, but because you are here for 10 weeks you can justify needing a car. Plus your overall trip is capped. Thus, OU has allowed mileage reimbursement (and any other costs) to run up to the cap I've placed on your travel. If you stay in a hotel on your drive here, be sure to find one at or under the federal per diem rate for whatever city/state you are staying overnight in. Hotel can only be reimbursed the night before you arrive (coming here) and the night you depart (going home).

If your flight turns sour, allow the airline to re-route you as they will be doing for your fellow passengers. If your delay is due to weather, and thus any extra expenses like overnight hotel are not covered by the airline, be sure to keep any hotel/taxi/etc. receipts and be sure to get a room at or below the government per diem rate for the city/state you are in. Call me or my assistant and we'll help you as much as we can.

Summary for getting to/from Norman:

  • day/time/address you departed from (e.g. home)
    • why: you are considered to be in official travel status from the time you left home to the time you arrive at your destination
  • note the airport name/city
  • license plate number of the vehicle that took you to the airport
    • why: the person who took you can be reimbursed for mileage
  • receipt for parking (if applicable)
  • receipts for any tolls (if applicable)


Going To/From a Professional Conference:

Conferences are unbelievably expensive, so watch out! Use the spreadsheet I provided to help you plan your travel. If you pay up front for anything that could have been directly billed or done by PO, you may be reimbursed, but only after the travel is complete.

Flying is as above. But conferences have some extra expenses.

Things that can usually be paid by purchase order:

How POs work:
1. you request a unique PO # from me for each item! PO numbers are sort of like check numbers, in that every PO (or check) has a unique number.
2. put that # into the PO payment blank.
3. Important!!! E-mail the receipt/confirmation to me!

Things that can be directly billed:

  • airfare, if I book it for you

We don't get any special deals unless you are originating or destinating in Oklahoma. Look around at flight schedules and prices (keep in mind your conference allowance) and then send me the flight information that is your ideal itinerary. I'll use our travel agent to try to book that flight. I'll send you information of a ticket that is on hold for you to check. IMPORTANT: You'll need to check over the ticket we put on hold - check the spellling of your name and that all the cities/times/dates are correct and get back to me w/in 24 hours or the ticket (price) is lost!

Things that must be paid up front and reimbursed after the trip is complete:

  • hotel at the conference site
    • remember: use an official conference hotel/price or you must stay under the general federal per diem rate for that city/state
    • your hotel receipt must show that (1) YOU stayed in the room - your name is on the top - and that (2) YOU paid all or part of the bill.... the latter is tricky... we don't know your credit card number and receipts don't typically show WHO'S credit card it was... so get the hotel to show this some how... some hotels can do separate bills if they know ahead of time that you need one
    • the receipt must show zero balance / or the payment you made. This might mean revisiting the front desk to check out, even if they nominally have a leave-the-key-in-the-room option... you must turn in a receipt that shows PAID!
  • any driving costs like tolls, parking, etc.
    • remember, gas is wrapped into the mileage rate
    • if you drive to the conference location, your cost will be capped at the cost of what airfare would have been b/c a car was not technically necessary to get you there
    • most of you will just drive to an airport. You may receive 2 round trips if someone drops you off. Or you can receive parking at your home airport - keep the receipt!
  • food costs
    • you'll receive the MI&E rate for the city/state of the conference site
  • any costs for things like printing a conference poster and buying a mailing tube to transport it in
    • it is no problem to carry these poster tubes on the airplane! They fit in overhead bins. Put the poster tube on the x-ray belt along with everything else you're carrying on. If you choose to mail it ahead (call your hotel for info) any cost for that will come out of your conference allowance.


Summary for conference travel:

  • day/time/address you departed from (e.g. your HOME)
    • why: you are considered to be in official travel status from the time you walk out your front door to the time you walk back in your home!
  • note the airport name/city
  • license plate number of the vehicle that took you to the airport
    • why: the person who took you can be reimbursed for mileage
  • receipt for parking (if applicable)
  • receipts for any tolls (if applicable)
  • hotel receipt clearly showing that YOU stayed in that room and what YOU paid and a ZERO balance
    • tip: when you check in, be sure all the names are on the receipt or ask if they can create separate bills upon checkout


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