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NWC REU 2017

May 22 - July 28



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.

There are one or more 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 Travel, Plan & Book, in the upper left of the page. Gas is covered within the mileage reimbursement, which is $0.47/mi in 2017.


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 (up to two bags! be sure to distribute the weight among your bags to avoid excess weight charges).

If you drive, your mileage will be determined by putting your departure address (e.g. home) and destination address (e.g. Traditions checkin) into some neutral site like Mileage for business trips is usually capped at what it would have cost to fly, but because you are here for 10 weeks and your overall costs are capped, you can justify needing a car. OU has allowed mileage reimbursement (and any other costs), but only up to the cap I've placed on your travel. If you stay in a hotel on your drive here, be sure to find a hotel 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 (find Per Diem information on for the city/state you are in. Call me or my assistant and we'll help you as much as we can.

Summary of what we need to file a travel claim 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 (if applicable)
  • license plate number of the vehicle that took you to the airport or drove you to Norman
    • why: to reimburse 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 will provide to help you plan your travel. If you pay for anything up front 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 sometimes be paid by purchase order:

  • abstract/paper fee
  • conference registration

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. e-mail the receipt/confirmation to me! Important!!!

Things that can be directly billed:

  • airfare, if I book it for you

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 and within your budget for your allowance. Be sure to alert me to any errors within 24 hours of the ticket being issued! After that we would have to cancel the flight, start over, and pay a fee.

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 somehow... most hotels will 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 usually means revisiting the front desk to check out, even if they have a leave-the-key-in-the-room option, because you must turn in a receipt that shows that you actually PAID! ("WILL be charged" is not good enough; it must be WAS charged)
  • 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 because a car was not 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 - get a receipt and submit it to me!
  • food costs
    • you'll receive the MI&E rate for the city/state of the conference site
    • MI&E starts when you leave your home and ends when you return home, with the following caveats:
      • it is assumed you won't be in travel status more then 24 hours before or after your business ends
      • if you don't just go straight to the airport or straight home afterward (e.g., you stop to eat), give the times as if you did go w/o stopping
  • 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 of information needed for conference travel claim:

  • day/time/address you departed from (most likely meaning your residence)
    • why: 1) 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, and 2) used to calculate mileage from your home to the airport (if you got there by car)
    • if you don't go straight to/from the airport, report these times as if you did
  • remind me the airport name and city/state (if you are claiming mileage or parking)
  • receipts for airline baggage fees (if you paid them)
  • license plate number of the vehicle that took you to the airport and!! whether that was two round-trips (someone drop you off/pick you up or did you park?)
    • why: you can be reimbursed for the mileage for the person who took you there
  • receipt for parking (if applicable)
  • receipts for taxi or shuttle to/from airports (if applicable)
  • receipts for any tolls (if applicable)
  • receipt for hotel clearly showing that YOU stayed in that room, HOW MUCH you paid, and .... THAT you paid (a ZERO balance)
    • tip: tell them when you check in who will be paying and that each person paying will need a receipt
    • with their name on it.
    • sometimes a hotel will give each of you a separate, clean bill! Nice! Doesn't always happen, tho.
  • list of all the meals that were provided to you (e.g., conference banquets/lunches, or other events you attend that provide a meal)
    • hotel continental breakfasts are not included in this rule; if you are somehow lucky to receive a custom hot breakfast for free that *is* included and tell me about that (rare! and do tell, because the travel office actually looks at hotel web sites to find this information. For realz!)


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