Tips for Travel

Meal Reimbursements: The concept of high-cost areas has been reinstated in the new regulations with a maximum daily meal allowance of$36.00 (compared with a maximum daily allowance of $28.00 for non-high cost areas in Georgia). HIGH COST AREA means any area within Georgia within which meal expenses may be reimbursed at a higher amount than the limits that otherwise apply to travel within Georgia. High Cost Areas are limited to the following areas: metropolitan Atlanta (Cobb, Dekalb, Fulton and Gwinnett Counties), Brunswick (Glynn County) and Savannah (Chatham County).

The regulations further clarify that the general meal limits for breakfast, lunch and dinner (for high cost and non-high cost areas) may be considered as a single daily total, allowing for variances in the amounts for different meals.

Non-High Cost Areas (see above)

  • Breakfast: $6.00
  • Lunch: $7.00
  • Dinner: $15.00
High Cost Areas (see above) 
  • Breakfast: $7.00
  • Lunch: $9.00
  • Dinner: $20.00

Outside of Georgia, please refer to the GSA website to find our meal per diem rates. Remember that meals are reimbursed based on the city you are in at a particular meal time.

Mode of Transportation: From Chapter 5 of the Statewide Travel Regulations: "The Legislature in its 2005 special session passed Senate Bill 1 EX, amending OCGA 50-19-7 and tying the mileage reimbursement rate for use of a personal motor vehicle to the rate established by the United States General Services Administration (GSA) pursuant to the Federal Travel Regulations Amendment 2005-01 as of July 1, 2005, or subsequently amended. These GSA rates are comprised of tiers based on a determination of the most advantageous form of travel (see discussion of tiers below). Advantageous use may be determined based on energy conservation, total cost to the State (including costs of overtime, lost work time, and actual transportation costs), total distance traveled, number of points visited, and number of travelers.Documentation of the determination of “advantageous use” should be retained for audit purposes." (Emphasis added)

1. Tier 1 Rate. When it is determined that a personal motor vehicle is the most advantageous form of travel, the employee will be reimbursed for business miles traveled as follows:

  • Automobile: $0.575 per mile
  • Motorcycle: $0.545 per mile
  • Aircraft: $1.29 per mile

2. Tier 2 Rate. If a government-owned (institution-owned or DOAS motor pool, for employees in the vicinity of Capitol Hill) vehicle is available, and its use is determined to be most advantageous to the state, OR if it is determined (through institution policy or otherwise) that a rental vehicle (Enterprise Rent-a Car contract) is the recommended method of travel, but a personal motor vehicle is used, the employee will be reimbursed for business miles traveled at the rate of $0.23 per mile.

3. Tier 3 Rate. No longer applicable

The Mileage Reimbursement Rate For Travel using a personal vehicle on 1-1-2013 and thereafter is .575 cents per mile.
Other tips:
Commuting Miles

  • Travel from Residence - If an employee departs from his/her residence, mileage is calculated from the residence to the destination point, with a reduction for normal one-way commuting miles.   If an employee returns to his/her residence, mileage is calculated based on the distance to the residence with a reduction for normal one-way commuting miles. Exceptions include:


    1. Travel occurring on a weekend or holiday: mileage is calculated from the point of departure with no reduction for normal commuting.
    2. Travel originating from the employee's home rather than headquarters when the employee's home is closer to the destination than headquarters: no reduction will be made for normal commuting if the employee chooses to leave from home, resulting in a net savings to the institution. (For example: an employee lives in Tifton and normally commutes to VSU daily, but has to travel to Athens for business and leaves from Tifton rather than Valdosta.  Mileage will be calculated from Tifton to Athens.)
  • Travel from Residence to Multiple Locations - Employees traveling from their residence to multiple locations in a given day for business purposes (i.e. clinical supervision) must deduct the lesser of 1) commuting miles to and from headquarters (campus) or  2) commuting miles to the first destination of the day and commuting miles from the last location visited to his/her residence.  Miles traveled to obtain un-reimbursable meals cannot be claimed.
  • Please refer to the University System of Georgia Business Procedures Manual section 4.1.11 for more detailed information and examples.

If a hotel refuses to accept the state tax-exempt form from the employee, the employee should obtain a written statement from the hotel, but pay the tax and claim it as an "unusual expense" on the travel expense statement. The institution must then forward the name, address and telephone number of the hotel to the Department of Audits.

The prohibition against reimbursement of first-class travel is expanded to all non-coach travel.

Payment for food outside the allowable travel meal per diems is generally considered a gratuity which is disallowed under state law, unless it meets the following exception: The purchase of Group Meals is allowed when employees are not on travel status or otherwise eligible for the reimbursement of meals but when employees are required to remain at work during mealtime and in emergency situations.  Expenses charged to this category (account 727700) should be rare and infrequent and must be pre-approved by the University President unless the meals occur during an emergency situation.  Further, these expenses will be subject to audit each year.  For more in-depth details, please refer to the University System of Georgia Business Procedures Manual.