Travel Procedures

Valdosta State University adheres to the State Accounting Office Statewide Travel Policy and the University System of Georgia Board of Regents Travel Business Procedures.  Below is a brief summary of the steps needed for travel reimbursement.  For more details or items not covered below, please refer to the two policies listed above.

5 STEPS FOR TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT

1.  Travel Authorization
Complete and submit a Travel Authorization Form unless traveling on a Standing Authorization to Travel.  The Budget Approver(s) will forward to travel@valdosta.edu upon approval.  It is the employee’s responsibility to ensure that the Travel Authorization form is approved prior to travel.

2.  Select Method of Transportation

Travel via Car:

  • Fleet Vehicle:  Employees should reserve a university fleet vehicle when available using the VSU Fleet Vehicle Reservation Form.  Gasoline expense reimbursement will be handled via the Fuel Card.
  • Personal Vehicle – Mileage Reimbursement Only:  Mileage Reimbursement rates for travel in a personal vehicle will be based on the tier rates below.  
Tier 1 Rate – (currently .625 cents/miles) 
Car Cost Comparison indicates that a personal vehicle is the most cost effective method of travel. * Note- Be advised that the link provided in the car cost comparison will result in out-of-pocket payment.  See Rental Car procedures below for link to reserve vehicle. 

Tier 2 Rate –(currently .18 cents/mile) 
Car Cost Comparison is not completed or when the Car Cost Comparison indicates a rental car is the most cost effective method of travel but the personal vehicle is used for travel.

Normal commuting miles must be deducted when calculating the business miles if the employee departs and/or returns to their residence and travel is not occurring on a weekend or holiday.
Mileage Calculation

  • Rental Car:

Travel via rental car does not require a car-cost comparison.

VSU will reimburse employees for rental car expense and any reasonable gasoline expense associated with the rental car. The traveler should decline optional fuel offerings offered by the car rental vendor. The rental car should be returned with the same fuel level that it had when it was picked up.

Approved car rental sizes are Compact, Intermediate, or Full Size. Other vehicle sizes require a business-related justification.

The state has a mandatory statewide contract with Enterprise and Hertz for in-state rental. Employees should only rent vehicles from one of these vendors when the use of a rental car is the desired form of travel.

VSU has a direct-bill option with Enterprise to eliminate employee out-of-pocket expenses. If choosing Enterprise, please contact Financial Services for the account number and billing number to elect for direct-bill. Please use the following link to reserve your vehicle: https://www.enterprise.com/en/car-rental/locations/us/ga/valdosta-n-ashley-rd-5546.html

Travelers traveling on state business inside the Continental U.S. in any rented motor vehicle are covered by the State’s liability insurance policy; therefore, *liability coverage should be declined when renting a motor vehicle.

**Damage/collision waiver is provided for in-state travel only per the Statewide Car Rental Vendor Contract (Hertz and Enterprise). If traveling out of state, VSU highly recommends the traveler elect to receive a damage/collision waiver for an additional cost from the car rental agency. The damage/collision waiver is a reimbursable expense for out-of-state or international car rentals only.

*Liability Coverage – This will cover damages to third-party property and injury in the event of an accident. The state provides liability coverage to an employee traveling so long as the travel is business-related.

**Damage/Collision Waiver – This covers damages to the rental vehicle the employee is driving.


  • Travel via Flight
Flight Cost Comparison:  Employees should obtain the lowest available airfare and include documentation justifying the lowest cost. Visit sites such as: Orbitz, Expedia, Cheap Tickets, or Travelocity, etc and print a copy of your flight search for your flight cost documentation.

Only coach travel fares will be reimbursed.
Baggage charges for one bag can be claimed for departure flight and returning flight.
Airfare expenses can be reimbursed prior to the travel dates.

 3.  Lodging:  

Employees should inquire about government rate availability or conference lodging rate and select the most cost efficient option.

Tax Exemptions:  A copy of the State of Georgia Certificate of Exemption of Local Hotel/Motel Excise Tax  should be provided to the hotel upon check-in when traveling and lodging in the State of Georgia on official State business.  This tax cannot be reimbursed to employees, if charged.

This does not exempt the employee from State Tax.  
If a hotel refuses to accept the tax exempt form, employees are requested to obtain a written statement from the hotel manager, pay the tax at that time and claim it on the travel expense statement. 
For travel outside of Georgia, travelers will be reimbursed for all taxed charged for lodging.

Private Residence:  State Travel Policy section 3.1 prohibits the use of private residence, therefore online private rental services such as Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway are not allowed. 
Parking:  Travelers should always choose the self-parking option. If valet parking was utilized, travelers can only be reimbursed the self-parking rate, if self-parking is available.
Miscellaneous Charges:  If miscellaneous charges are included on lodging receipt, and the employee is seeking reimbursement, an explanation of the business use for the charges should be included.                 (EX: Internet usage charges)

 4.  Meal Reimbursements:  State of Georgia- Meal Per Diem - All Areas

   Breakfast  

$13.00

   Lunch

$14.00

   Dinner

$23.00

Travel outside of Georgia:  Refer to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) website for the current per diem rates
First & Last Day of Travel: Travelers are eligible for only 75% of the total day's per diem on the first and last day of travel for both in-state and out-of-state travel.
Non-Overnight Travel: Effective July 1, 2018, the USG does not provide meal per diem during non-overnight travel due to the IRS taxable compensation implications.  
Meals provided by Conference/Meeting: The per diem or meal allowance must be adjusted for any meals provided to the traveler.  Conference or meeting agendas should be submitted to verify all meal reimbursements requested. Instructions on how to enter when meals are provided on the first and last day of travel.

 5.  Completing an Expense Report

After returning from a trip, complete and submit the expense report using PeopleSoft Employee Self-Service for Expense Reimbursements. All expenses should be itemized by type of expense and date of expense.  Attach all receipts and documentation online with the attachment feature.  Submit the report electronically for approvals.  Expense reports should be submitted for reimbursement within sixty (60) days of the completion of travel or they will be reimbursed via Payroll and subject to tax withholding.  Expense reports are usually processed within 5 business days of receiving both the electronically approved expense report and all required receipts and documentation.  If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Accounts Payable office at 229-333-5708, or email travel@valdosta.edu.  

Travel Helpful Links

Forms and Links Needed for Travel

Per Diem Rates

Travel Regulations