General Travel - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is a Travel Authorization required for all travel?

Only travel that requires the expenditure of funds appropriated to or controlled by the University must be authorized before departure. A Travel Authorization (TA) form, which is available on SAPPHIRE, or a department specific form is required to be completed and retained in the department. When travel involves no expenditure of University funds but will result in the absence of a University employee during a working period, no Travel Authorization (TA) form is required. However, the employee must still obtain permission for the absence from the department head prior to departure. Such requests should consist of a memorandum that documents the absence and nature of the travel and/or a "UNL Request for Leave" form if appropriate.

What if I combine a personal vacation with my business travel?

It is OK, with your supervisor's approval, to add additional time at your business destination and/or to add an additional side trip to your business trip. However, the University will only fund the business portion of your trip approved by your Travel Approver. If you add an additional destination to your trip, you are responsible for any differences in airfare.

What insurance do I need when I rent a car?

Rules have recently changed on what insurance you should purchase. Click here for more information on rental car insurance.

What's the best way to purchase airline tickets?

The University has contracted with Travel & Transport and for airline tickets for University travel. Both allow the expense to be charged to your department directly and include travel accident insurance and lost luggage insurance. If you choose to purchase a ticket from another source, you will have to charge it on a personal credit card and submit for reimbursement with all your other trip expenses after your trip is complete.

What if I choose to drive instead of fly?

On out-of-state trips when commercial air service could have been used advantageously, mileage will be reimbursed at the price of an airline (coach) ticket or at the prescribed mileage rate, whichever is less. No meals or lodging will be reimbursed while en route.

What is the current reimbursement rate for mileage?

Click here for the current mileage rate.

Can I claim gasoline when using my personal vehicle and claiming mileage?

Gasoline and oil for a personal vehicle are not reimbursable. Their cost is covered by the mileage reimbursement rate.

Can I be reimbursed for two round trips to the Omaha or Lincoln airport if a family member drove me?

For extended trips you can justify the second round trip if it meant saving an equivalent amount on parking at the airport. However, there are several options for getting to Eppley in Omaha. Click here for more information. If having a family member drive you is the most economical, please include this explanation on your Employee Reimbursement along with the mileage for the airport trips.

What meals are reimbursed during travel?

Click here for more information on meals.

What is the Standard Meal Allowance?

The Standard Meal Allowance, which is maintained by the US General Services Administration and covers domestic travel, is the anticipated cost of meals and incidental expenses for a given state and locality. The standard rate is $39/day unless a higher figure is listed in the M&IE rate for the location where you are traveling. If you exceed this rate, you will be required to provide detailed receipts for meals when you file for reimbursement.

What is the Standard Meal Allowance for foreign travel?

Foreign per diem rates, which are maintained by the State Department, differ by country, city and date traveled. The M&IE rate is used to determine when detailed receipts should be submitted with your expense reimbursements. Click here to access the per diem rates, making sure to chose the file for the month in which you traveled.

Can I claim a "per diem" rate for meals?

No. Under state statues, only ACTUAL expenses for meals can be reimbursed.

Can I be reimbursed for non-travel related meals and receptions?

Meals for guests being recruited for a position at the University or for fund-raising can be reimbursed. An actual detailed restaurant receipt (which lists meal items, beverages, etc.) and a list of attendees is required for reimbursement. An employee's meal is reimbursable.

A claim for reimbursement of a business/official function meal, including a meal purchased for any individual other than the claimant, must be accompanied by an original itemized meal receipt, a list of attendees and a meeting agenda and/or conference flyer or other documentation to substantiate the business purpose of the meeting.
Click here for more information on non-travel related meals and receptions.

I do not have an itemized hotel receipt. How can I get reimbursed for lodging?

In most cases, the hotel will gladly fax you an itemized copy of your hotel receipt if you forgot to get one before you left. You may attach the fax copy with a brief explanation as to why you do not have the original.

Sometimes when staying at a bed and breakfast or a very small hotel they may give a handwritten receipt that is not itemized. In this case, simply write a brief note on the receipt that the only charges included were for room and room taxes. The intent of requiring the itemized hotel receipt is to avoid reimbursing for items such as movies, valet service, or meals claimed elsewhere on the voucher.

My hotel receipt shows two adults stayed in the room. How can I get reimbursed for the correct amount?

No reimbursement will be made for unauthorized lodgers who occupy the quarters of an authorized traveler. The authorized traveler must note and claim only the single rate. For example, if a spouse accompanies an authorized traveler, the amount of the single occupancy rate should be noted on the receipt and the claim for reimbursement should be made for only that portion of the rental charge.

When lodging is shared by two or more authorized University travelers, each traveler should claim and be reimbursed for his/her share of the lodging. The names of all authorized travelers should be noted on the receipt or Employee Expense Voucher. If one traveler pays the entire lodging, then both travelers' employee expense vouchers must be submitted together, as the State requires these to be cross-referenced.

Why are original receipts required?

Original receipts are required to reduce the chance of duplicate reimbursement.

What expenses require itemized receipts when employee is in travel status?

Click here for detail on which expenses require receipts.

What receipts are acceptable as proof of payment?

  • An original itemized receipt
  • A cancelled check may be used in combination with an itemized receipt.
  • A credit card receipt may be used when it includes a detailed itemization of the purchase.
  • A faxed copy of a receipt may be used in lieu of a lost original receipt if accompanied by a signed written explanation for the missing original (e.g. "original lost, use copy as original".)

Remember, on international travel receipts, all claims for reimbursement must be converted to US currency. Click here for a currency converter.

I do not have a registration receipt. How can I be reimbursed?

Registration receipts are required. However, some conference sponsors neglect to provide them. A secondary proof of payment, such as a photocopy of either a cancelled check or credit card statement, will suffice when accompanied by a brief note of explanation. This problem can be avoided for future conferences by prepaying the registration on the Purchasing Card (if available.)

How will I receive my reimbursement?

Your travel reimbursement will be automatically deposited in the same bank account that your payroll check is deposited into, unless you have set up a Travel Bank in the Automated Travel module in SAP. You will receive an email notification when the deposit has been made. If you do not have payroll direct deposit, a paper check will be mailed directly from the State of Nebraska.

How long will it take to receive my reimbursement?

You will receive your reimbursement within 5-7 days after your Employee Expense Voucher is received in Accounts Payable.

Will my reimbursement be held until the next time I receive a paycheck?

No. You will receive your reimbursement within 5-7 days after your Employee Expense Voucher is received in Accounts Payable.

How do I set up a Travel Bank?

You can use Employee Self Service to set up a Travel Bank.

What do I do if my bank information has changed?

You can use Employee Self Service to change your bank information or contact your campus.