General
Info

Q:   What is the purpose of the itinerary?
A:   1. To document the timeline of the trip.
2. To calculate the number of business days and allowable Lodging and M&IE allowance based on the business destination.
3. To know where UH travelers are when they're away for business purposes.

Q:   What if the itinerary does not reflect actual traveling time?
A:   The purpose of the itinerary is to reflect the travelerís business itinerary Ė which may or may not match the airline itinerary times, or when personal time is included.
 
Q:   What is the "At Airport" field on the itinerary?
A:   Travelers are allowed additional time to be at the airport, which is included in calculating the total number of business days in quarter day segments. For inter-island trips, the traveler may claim up to 90 minutes prior to their departure time. For out-of-state travel, the traveler may claim up to 3 hours prior to departure time.
 
Q:   How do you fill out the itinerary if the traveler drives or catches a train during the trip to different destinations?
A:   Add additional lines/legs in the itinerary for each business destination.
 
Q:   The travelerís flight was delayed. Do I input the scheduled or actual departure/arrival times?
A:   On the Travel Completion, input the actual travel time so the traveler will be reimbursed based on what actually happened.
 
Q:   Is it required to input all connecting stops?
A:   No. However, it is helpful for the UH administration to know where UH employees are at any point in time. If all connecting stops are included, eTravel can be used to generate reports in case of emergency.
 
Q:   What is a connecting leg?
A:   In eTravel, itís a leg in the itinerary section where no costs were incurred. When you check the Connecting box in the itinerary section, the input/text boxes for Lodging, M&IE, and Per Diem are grayed out.
 
Q:   Whatís the difference between M&IE, Lodging and Per Diem?
A:   Lodging = Lodging / Hotel Expenses
M&IE = Meals & Incidental Expenses
Per Diem = M&IE + Lodging
 
Q:   How many Lodging, M&IE or Per Diem days am I entitled to claim on a business trip?
A:   The traveler is entitled to claim Lodging, M&IE and per diem from the time the traveler departs and returns, excluding personal time. Assuming you input the departure/arrival dates and times in the eTravel itinerary, the number of business days is automatically calculated (in quarter day segments). Basically the calculation of business days starts when the traveler departs (from the airport or their starting destination), and ends when they return.
 
Q:   Does a change in itinerary need to be justified?
A:   Yes, when the change in business itinerary results in additional charges a justification is required. Documentation may also be required. Additional costs resulting from changes or delays for personal reasons are not reimbursable.

For example, if the traveler changed flights and a fee was assessed, the business reason for the change must be explained. If there was an unexpected delay and the traveler required additional M&IE, the circumstances for the change must be explained.
 
Q:   What if the itinerary hasnít changed from the Travel Request, is another copy required?
A:   No, the itinerary is not required on the Travel Completion.
 
Q:   How do I amend the travel forms for a change in itinerary?
A:   If a change has to be made to the Travel Request, retrieve the Request online, scroll to the bottom and click Revise. This will create a revision to the travel request to enter the change. However, the change can be made when creating a Travel Completion.
 
   
 
Lodging
Q:   How do I fill out the lodging section?
A:   At time of Travel Request, input the estimated daily rate and the number of days of lodging required. The estimated daily rate is based on the daily rate plus taxes. The number of days depends on when the traveler arrives at their destination/hotel and when the traveler plans to depart. Lodging days must be entered as whole numbers.

At time of Travel Completion, the traveler would normally have a hotel bill with the total cost. Enter the total lodging amount (minus any other charges like room service, phone, internet, etc.) and the actual number of lodging days. The system will calculate the daily rate.
 
Q:   Is the lodging comparisons required when staying at the host conference hotel?
A:   If the traveler is staying at the host conference hotel, comparisons are not required.
 
Q:   Are 2 hotel quotes always required?
A:   2 quotes are required if the lodging rate exceeds the Federal Allowable Rate (FAR), or rate set by the collective bargaining agreement. TWO quotes includes the traveler's lodging of choice, plus ONE additional quote for hotels in the area. This does not apply if the traveler is staying at the conference hotel.
 
Q:   If I change hotels while travelling or don't know the hotel rate by the time I submit my travel request and the final rate is higher than the FAR, are 2 quotes and a justification required?
A:   Yes. Two (2) quotes and a justification are needed for the higher rate (i.e. excess lodging) and change of hotel.
 
Q:   If the traveler stays at several different hotels, each with different lodging rates, how is that reflected in the itinerary?
A:   Enter multiple legs in the itinerary to reflect different lodging rates. The itinerary section is to reflect the ďbusinessĒ itinerary, not necessarily the airline itinerary.
 
Q:   What is excess lodging?
A:   For foreign travel, excess lodging is total lodging expense greater than the expense would be using the lodging rate in FAR or as set by the collective bargaining agreement. Lodging taxes are included in the FAR rate set by the Department of State and cannot be reimbursed separately.

For travel in continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. possessions, excess lodging is the lodging rate charged greater than the FAR lodging rate times the number of nights. Lodging taxes are not included in the total lodging expenses when determining excess lodging and can be reimbursed separately.
 
Q:   Why is justification required for excess lodging?
A:   Justification and cost comparisons are used to document price reasonableness. Per UH Policy, excess lodging must be approved in advance and must be necessary and reasonable.
 
Q:   What if the hotel rates arenít accurate?
A:   At time of Travel Request, all rates including taxes are estimated. At time of Travel Completion, reimbursement for lodging requires a receipt which will reflect actual costs.
 
Q:   If I stay with a friend/relative, can the University pay them for my lodging?
A:   No.
 
Q:   If a lodging receipt is unavailable, can a BU07 employee accept a per diem allowance within FAR?
A:   No. For BU07, reimbursement for lodging is based on actual receipts per bargaining unit contract.
 
Q:   Why do I have to use my credit card to front the charges for the hotel cost?
A:   Most hotels require a credit card be provided to make a reservation or upon arrival/check-in. There may be other payment methods available such as Purchase Order or P-card, however youíll need to inquire with your fiscal officer.
 
Q:   What if thereís just a credit card statement without any breakdown of the hotel cost?
A:   Lodging receipts are required in order to reimburse the traveler for lodging expenses. The traveler may contact the hotel for a duplicate receipt. Lodging receipts are required to show actual detail expenses or charges.

For travelers entitled to a Bargaining Unit (BU) per diem, claiming excess lodging (any amount above the BU lodging rate) requires receipt for reimbursement.
 
Q:   Where to include internet charges. Itís on the hotel bill so include with lodging, or input as a separate line item?
A:   Internet charges are not a Lodging expense so must be separated out on its own expense line.
 
Q:   What is the requirement in terms of single vs. double occupancy rooms?
A:   The room rate is more important than the type of room. Single occupancy rates should be used as the most economical means. Double occupancy rates must be justified.

It is possible for a traveler to stay in a double occupancy room but be charged a single occupancy rate. In that case, a note should be provided on the eTravel form, such as in the Comments section.
 
Q:   What if the hotel bill does not show a zero balance?
A:   Then proof of payment is required.
 
   
 
M&IE
Q:   What does M&IE stand for?
A:   Meals & Incidental Expenses.
 
Q:   What is included in incidental expenses?
A:   Incidental Expenses are Fees (such as room services) and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses and laundry, Foreign countries hotel servants.
 
Q:   Can a traveler claim M&IE less than the Federal Allowable Rate?
A:   Yes. Travelers can always claim less than the Federal Allowable Rate or the Bargaining Unit Rate. It should be stated on the travel form that the traveler has chosen to claim less.
 
Q:   How to calculate M&IE when the traveler crosses the international dateline?
A:   Enter departure and arrival dates and times into the eTravel itinerary Ė it will calculate the correct number of business days. Overall, the traveler loses one day upon departure from Hawaii and gains one day upon arrival back to Hawaii.
 
Q:   Which M&IE rate should be claimed if the traveler lodged in a different location than the place of the conference?
A:   The FAR used should always reflect the place of business. In this case, use the FAR for the location that the conference is being held.
 
Q:   Do I have to adjust my M&IE if meals are provided by the conference?
A:   If thereís a set rate for the conference registration such that the traveler doesnít have the option of excluding meals, then no. If the conference registration has an option to include meals for additional cost, then yes.
 
Q:   Do I need to adjust the Travelerís M&IE for breakfast if it was provided by the hotel (breakfast included in room rate)?
A:   Yes.
 
Q:   How do we reduce the meal reimbursement to the traveler?
A:   One day of M&IE for a traveler is broken down as follows: Breakfast = 20%, Lunch = 30%, Dinner = 50%. If 3 dinners were paid for, the M&IE can be reduced by 1.50 days (.50 x 3 = 1.50). If 2 lunches were paid for, reduction would be .60 days (.30 x 2 = .60). This can be reflected in the Itinerary section. In addition, a notation should be made (in the Justification or Comments section) on exactly what was reduced. Note: Meal reductions cannot be made within the Expenditure section using negative numbers since negative values are NOT allowed.
 
Q:   If part of the day is business related and the rest is personal, how is the M&IE calculated?
A:   M&IE is based on quarter days for when the business purpose started and ended. For example, if a conference ends at 3:00pm and the traveler intended to take personal time after the conference, the business portion of M&IE ends at 3:00pm.
 
Q:   If the traveler has personal time at the beginning or end of the travel, is M&IE allowed for departure or arrival?
A:   Yes. The traveler should be entitled to M&IE for the total number of business days determined. Whether personal time happens at the beginning or end of the trip is irrelevant. The ideal way to figure this out is to generate an itinerary that only includes the business portion of the travel - eTravel will calculate the total number of business days.
 
Q:   Are travelers required to submit receipts for meals?
A:   No. Travelers receive an M&IE (meals and incidental expenses) allowance. Itís at the travelerís discretion on how to spend that allowance.
 
Q:   Can I be reimbursed for dinner with a colleague?
A:   No. Itís at the travelerís discretion on how to spend their meal allowance, but no additional meal reimbursement will be given regardless of who the traveler dines with.
 
Q:   For Same Day travel, if the traveler takes less than the allowable rate, is it still taxable?
A:   Yes. For Same Day travel, all Per Diem and Meal allowances are taxable. By BU contract, if the traveler is entitled to $20 for meals and only claims $5, the $5 is taxable. The IRS does not provide any allowance for Same Day travel.
 
Q:   Can travelers claim for tips?
A:   No. Tips are considered incidental expenses and are included in the M&IE allowance.
 
   
 
Federal
Allowable
Rate
Q:   What is the Federal Allowable Rate (FAR) used for?
A:   The FAR represents the maximum daily allowance for Lodging and Meals & Incidental Expenses. For UH travel, users must look up the FAR on the GSA (U.S. General Services Administration) website, which provides rates for CONUS (Continental United States) and OCONUS (outside the Continental United States) destinations. These rates must be inputted into the eTravel form. The rate set by the Federal government determines how much an employee is entitled to for travel to a particular city/county/locality.

Note: Per the GSA website, the General Services Administration (GSA) establishes per diem rates for CONUS destinations. The State Department establishes the foreign rates (for example, Russia, Aruba, Bahamas, Europe, etc.). The Department of Defense (DOD) establishes non-foreign rates such as Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam.
 
Q:   Where do I get the FAR?
A:   Go to the eTravel Home Page and click on the ďFederal Allowable Rates WebsiteĒ link, or click on "FAR" in the header column of the Itinerary section when creating your Request or Completion.
 
Q:   What FAR should I use if my business destination (e.g. city, county or province) is not listed on the website?
A:   If the city, county or province is not listed, use the STANDARD rate for continental US (CONUS) travel or use the OTHER rate for outside of continental US (OCONUS) travel. Note: If your city is not listed but the county is listed, use the FAR for the county.
 
Q:   If employees are required to be on travel status for extended periods and require long-term accommodations, does the FAR for M&IE apply to the entire period?
A:   Yes. The traveler may take M&IE up to the Federal Allowable Rate.
 
Q:   For fiscal year and seasonal changes, how do I enter different FAR rates for the same business location?
A:   Add another leg in the itinerary and list each FAR separately. The itinerary should be the ďbusinessĒ itinerary, it does not have to be the airline itinerary.
 
Q:   What is the proper procedure for documenting the Federal Allowable Rate?
A:   Print a copy of the FAR table from the GSA website and attach it as supporting documentation.
 
Q:   Can my actual lodging exceed the FAR?
A:   Yes, you may claim excess lodging but you must provide 2 cost comparisons (hotel of choice plus one additional quote) for lodging in the area. Note: All excess lodging must be approved in advance. If prior approval is not obtained, the traveler may only be reimbursed for either the FAR or the flat rate amount set by collective bargaining contract.
 
   
 
Taxability
Q:   How do I know if a trip is taxable?
A:  
  • For bargaining units using the Federal Allowable Rate, there is no taxability.
  • M&IE and Per Diem for Same Day travel is taxable because the IRS does not provide any allowance for Same Day travel. Allowances given to employees are based on collective bargaining unit contract.
  • For bargaining units that receive flat rate M&IE or Per Diem (an example would be bargaining unit 03), the amount that exceeds the FAR is taxable.
Q:   How do I report the taxable amounts?
A:   In eTravel, you must fill in the Itinerary section with the the Federal Allowable Rate for each leg/destination, as well as the amount the traveler is claiming (for M&IE and Per Diem, if the Traveler is entitled to Per Diem). Subsequently the system will automatically generate the taxable amounts. No further action is required on your part - Disbursing will forward the tax information directly to the Payroll Office.
 
Q:   Does the FAR lodging rate include taxes?
A:   For CONUS travel (within the continental United States), the FAR for lodging does not include taxes. For OCONUS travel (outside the continental United States), the FAR for lodging includes taxes.

Special note: there's a difference between taxes and fees. Taxes would apply to all hotels in the area, whereas fees may be applied by a specific hotel (an example may be resort fees). Fees must be added to the lodging rate when determining whether it exceeds the FAR.
 
   
 
Personal
Time
Q:   How do you figure out how many personal days to subtract out?
A:   Prepare the itinerary as if the traveler were leaving and returning strictly for business, which will give you the total number of business days. Then input the itinerary including the personal time. The difference between the two reflects the personal time that should be subtracted out.
 
Q:   How should airfare quotations be handled when the trip involves business and personal time?
A:   Transportation should always be by the most economical and direct route. Check various airline prices in order to determine the most direct business route. Whichever is the most economical, add on the travelerís personal time. The traveler is responsible for paying the difference if adding personal time results in higher airfare cost.

If the airfare cost for the business only itinerary is less than $2,500, TWO airfare quotes must be submitted: ONE quote for the business only itinerary and ONE quote/itinerary including the personal time.

If the airfare cost for the business only itinerary exceeds $2,499, FOUR airfare quotes must be submitted: THREE quotes for the business only portion, and ONE quote/itinerary including the personal time.
 
Q:   What is the recommended procedure for obtaining airfare quotations as supporting documentation?
A:   Airfare quotations can be for multiple carriers from one source (e.g. travel agent, travel search engine) or from multiple sources. However, since airline prices are so variable, all airfare quotations should be obtained on the same day for meaningful cost comparison purposes.
 
Q:   What supporting documentation is required if the travel includes personal leave?
A:   No documentation is required, however if the traveler is an employee and is taking personal time during business travel, he/she may be required to submit a leave/vacation form to their department.
 
Q:   Do I need to submit a travel form if itís for a personal trip?
A:   No. A UH travel form is required only if the employee is traveling for University business. However, he/she may be required to submit a leave/vacation form to their department.
 
Q:   When a travler combines both business and personal travel, is the pre-boarding allowance (e.g. 90 minutes for Intra-State travel and 3 hours for Out-of-State) permitted each time the business travel resumes?
A:   No, pre-board is at the beginning of the first leg.
 
Q:   Personal travel mixed with business travel. An employee plans a personal stop enroute home to Hawaii. The trip home results in additional fees and lodging costs due to bad weather. Are the additional charges chargeable as a business expense?
A:   In this specific scenario, probably not. However, this type of scenario really depends on the circumstances and will be treated on a case by case basis.