Travel Policies


Management Directive 230.10, Commonwealth Travel Policy (Effective January 1, 2012) applies to all departments, boards, commissions, and councils (hereinafter referred to as "agencies") under the governor's jurisdiction, and to all other agencies subject to Section 216 of the Administrative Code that have not been exempt by the Executive Board.  This includes board members, commissioners, and any other individuals reimbursed for official commonwealth travel.  Issued as a companion to this Directive is Manual 230.1, Commonwealth Travel Procedures Manual (Effective January 1, 2012).

Here are some highlights of the current policy for your information:

Basics

  • The commonwealth has contracted with a travel agency, ADTRAV for booking services.  Commonwealth business travelers must reserve flights and hotels through ADTRAV's online booking tool GetThere. GetThere should also be used if a rental car is needed in conjunction with a flight.
  • For temporary ground transportation that is not associated with a flight, commonwealth business travelers should use an agency pool vehicle if available.  If an agency vehicle is not an available option, the least expensive choice between personal vehicle mileage reimbursement and a rental car should be used.  The Department of General Services has developed a ground travel worksheet to determine the least expensive option. 
  • Non-commonwealth business travelers who do not have an assigned SAP identification number cannot book their own airfare, hotels and car rentals associated with airfare. An agency-assigned travel arranger must make these arrangements on their behalf by calling ADTRAV at 866.530.8899.
  • Currently, there are restrictions on out-of-state travel.  If you plan to travel outside Pennsylvania, you may first need to obtain Governor’s Office approval prior to booking your travel.  Click here for information and form requirements. 
  • Expense reports must be submitted within 60 days of travel.  Receipts are required for all expenses.

Flights

  • Book flights online through GetThere. Out-of-state and international flights must be pre-approved by the Governor's office prior to booking.  Click here for information and form requirements. International flights that include more than one country can be booked by calling ADTRAV directly at 866.530.8899.
  • Each agency has a designated account to pay for air fare. These accounts are automatically charged when flights are booked through ADTRAV.  Commonwealth business travelers are not permitted to use corporate travel cards or personal credit cards to pay for airfare.  
  • When booking flights, opt for the lowest logical coach fare.  Choosing flights within a 2-hour window or choosing connecting flights over non-stop is required if there will be a $200 (or more) savings.  Using an alternate airport within 90 miles of your chosen airport is required if there will be a $300 (or more) savings.   
  • Currently, there are restrictions on out-of-state travel. If you plan to travel outside Pennsylvania, you may first need to obtain Governor’s Office approval prior to booking your travel.  Select this link for information and form requirements.

Hotels

  • Commonwealth business travelers are eligible for overnight lodging if their destination is more than 50 miles from home and headquarters.  Click here for instructions on booking a hotel.
  • Within Pennsylvania, a Preferred Hotel must be chosen if available within a reasonable distance from the trip destination.  If a Preferred Hotel is not available within a reasonable distance of the trip destination, or for all out-of-state travel, the hotel selected must have a rate that is equal to or less than the GSA maximum allowable rate for the area where the hotel is located.  
  • For conferences, travelers should book direct with the conference-site hotel only if there is a requirement to do so on order to attend the conference.  ADTRAV cannot make these reservations.  In these cases, travelers must attach the conference registration requirements to their travel expense report as justification.  For conferences that have a block of rooms at the conference hotel but it is not mandatory to book the room block to attend the conference, travelers should follow standard booking policy in Manual 230.1, Section 3.2 [Booking]. 
  • In Pennsylvania, you must present a completed REV1220 tax exempt form at check-in to your hotel. Commonwealth travelers are exempt from all tax except the state occupancy tax. (The Department of Revenue has clarified that commonwealth employees traveling on commonwealth business are indeed exempt from hotel room rental tax.)
  • Employees with a corporate travel card must use it for payment of lodging.  Only employees who travel fewer than 4 times per year or non-employees traveling on commonwealth business are eligible to use agency lodging cards.
  • When filling out your travel expense report for overnight travel, be sure to include the actual start and end times for your trip. See this memo for more information.
  • Feel free to use state park accommodations if they meet your business needs.  The corporate travel card and the agency lodging card are both accepted at PA’s state parks.”  

Cars

  • Commonwealth business travelers should use an agency pool vehicle if available.
  • If an agency pool vehicle is not an available option, commonwealth business travelers must use the least expensive transportation option possible. The Department of General Services has developed a ground travel worksheet to assist travelers in determining the most cost-effective option.
  • If a mileage reimbursement for use of a personally-owned vehicle is determined to be the least expensive option, mileage reimbursement will be the standard GSA rate.  If a traveler chooses to use a personally-owned vehicle when a less expensive option is available, mileage reimbursement will be at the lowest GSA rate
  • If the use of a rental car is determined to be the least expensive option, commonwealth business travelers can access a custom reservation site directly from the ground travel worksheet. 

Rail

  • Book tickets directly through Amtrak and travel coach class — a great option to and from Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Washington DC, New York City and Pittsburgh.
  • You may use either a corporate travel card or your personal credit card to pay for train tickets.

Meals

  • If you are traveling overnight on commonwealth business, you are eligible to be reimbursed for meals, including tax and tips. You will only be reimbursed for actual expenses, and the maximum reimbursement amount must be within the GSA overnight subsistence allowance for a 24 hour period. If overnight travel takes less than 24 hours, the meal reimbursement is limited up to 12.5% of the maximum daily rate per 3 hour period.
  • Employees not in overnight travel status should refer to their collective bargaining agreement/memoranda of understanding for information about when and at what rates meal reimbursement may be available. Non-union travelers may be reimbursed for a meal up to $8 if they are 50 miles or more from their home and headquarters, and work more than 2 hours past their regular shift. Travelers less than 50 miles away may be reimbursed for a meal up to $8 if they are required to work 2 hours past their regular shift and are given less than 2 hours notice of the requirement.
  • If you are provided meals during the course of your travel, you must deduct a corresponding amount from the maximum daily reimbursement rate for each meal provided: 22% breakfast, 22% lunch, 56% dinner.
  • Travelers in certain high-cost areas are granted an increased meal allowance. Allowances for these areas follow the GSA Meals & Incidental Expenses table. The commonwealth will only reimburse the meal portion of these allowances, not the incidental amounts.  

Payment

  • Flight arrangements made through the commonwealth’s contracted travel agent will be automatically billed to the traveler’s agency.  No other form of payment may be used for air travel.
  • Hotel and other expenses must be paid using a corporate travel card or personal funds.  If Commonwealth employees expect to travel overnight four or more times a year, they must obtain and use a corporate travel card. Employees may request a corporate travel card by submitting a completed application and cardholder agreement to their corporate card coordinator.
  • If your agency has an agency lodging card, it can be used to pay for your room and tax if you meet certain criteria. Requests for its use must be received by ADTRAV at least three full business days before the check-in date.
  • Car rentals booked through the Department of General Services - contracted rental car vendor will be directly billed to the traveler’s agency.  Car rentals booked in connection with a flight must be charged to the employee’s corporate travel card or a personal credit card.
  • In limited circumstances, after all other options have been exhausted, employees who qualify may request a travel advance from the Bureau of Commonwealth Payroll Operations. 
  • For help with travel audits and reimbursement, contact the Bureau of Commonwealth Payroll Operations.

Reimbursement

  • Employees traveling on commonwealth business will receive reimbursement of actual expenses incurred within prescribed maximums.
  • Employees must submit a travel expense report within 60 days of the travel date.
  • Employees with an assigned SAP identification number should use Employee Self Service to submit their expense reports or have an agency-assigned Travel Arranger submit one for them using SAP. Complete justification for expenses must be attached electronically in DocFinity and submitted in SAP along with the travel expense report. Justification includes matching receipts, approved expense verification methods, and when required, explanations in the corresponding comments section of the report.
  • Travelers without an SAP ID number must submit a paper STD-191 Travel Expense Voucher with complete justification to their assigned trip approver. When approved, documents should then be mailed to the BCPO Travel Audits Division.
  • Receipts must include the following information:
    • Name and address of vendor
    • Date of service
    • Description of service
    • Amount paid for each individual item
  • Commonwealth business travelers seeking reimbursement for fuel dispensed in conjunction with a rental vehicle should include a copy of the rental car receipt along with the fuel receipt. 
  • BCPO-3302 Declaration of Missing Receipt should be used for:
    • Vending machine subsistence, parking meters, or unmanned tollbooth expenses when a receipt is not provided.
    • Situations when it is impossible to get a receipt.
  • All original receipts should be retained by the traveler for 1 year after the travel date.
  • If expenses are being reimbursed by non-commonwealth funds, the employee must indicate on their expense report that a third party reimbursement is expected.  The third party vendor should make checks payable to “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania” and remit the payment directly to BCPO with a reference to the commonwealth employee. A copy of the invoice being sent to the third party vendor or some official form of documentation showing the reimbursement agreement must be attached to the travel expense report. Directions for entering third-party reimbursements are given in this memo.
  • Travel expenses are subject to audit by BCPO, who may ask for additional documentation to complete the claim.