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Travel Overview

Institute travel is subject to the policies and procedures set forth by Penn State University. Details of this policy are available at: Travel reimbursed by research and federal grants may be subject to more restrictive guidelines. All travel approvals and reimbursements are processed through the IGC administrative assistant.

Airfare can be purchased through Travel OnLion or through any travel agency or online source. Please note that Centre for Travel is no longer a Penn State-approved travel arranger.

Each agency provides a wide range of services and can assist you in confirming your flights, car rental and lodging reservations. Agents can also provide you with information on obtaining passports, visas and tourist cards.

I need to make travel arrangements. Where do I start?

Written approval from your faculty advisor must be submitted to the IGC administrative assistant prior to confirming your arrangements. Include the reason for your travel as well as an outlined itinerary. All flight arrangements must be made through a Penn State contracted agency.

How do I pay for my airline tickets?

Airline tickets can be purchased with either a Penn State issued purchasing card or a personal credit card.

How do I pay for my other travel expenses?

The Penn State purchasing card can be used for lodging, car rental and fuel for rental cars. All other expenses should be paid either in cash or using a personal credit card. If you do not have a purchasing card, you must use a personal credit card for all other travel expenses.

I found a less expensive flight through an outside vendor. How can I purchase this ticket?

Airline tickets can be purchased directly from outside vendors; however, the traveler must provide comparison documentation from Travel OnLion at the time of purchase to show that the fare booked through the outside agency is the lowest priced fare.

My airfare will be reimbursed by a federal grant. Are there any additional restrictions?

Yes, all those traveling on federal grants must comply with the Fly America Act which states that you must travel on a U.S. flag carrier for all international air travel when available. Non-compliance will result in a denial of your reimbursement request. Full details of the Fly America agreement are also available at

I am not a U.S. citizen. How do I verify what documentation is required for my travel?

If you are a nonresident of the United States, it is essential that you inform Randi and contact International Scholar Advising before traveling outside the U.S. Obtaining a valid passport and/or visa is the responsibility of the traveler. You may check the travel requirements with any travel agency or with country conciliates directly. Most airline tickets are non-refundable so please be sure you have met all travel requirements before purchasing your tickets.

What do I need to know about booking a car or hotel?

Hotel and car rental reservations may be confirmed directly through the vendor. Most hotels offer discounts to Penn State business travelers. Please be sure to request a University discount when making your reservations.

Car rental reservations must be made with National or Enterprise. For more information, please see the Travel Services page on car rentals. The University contract offers special discount rates as well as additional insurance included at no extra cost. The corporate discount number for National is 5160279 (Enterprise XZ40034) and must be provided to the reservation agent at the time of booking. If National or Enterprise is unavailable you must provide written documentation explaining the reason for using an alternative company.

What receipts do I need to ensure I am reimbursed for my travel costs?

An original receipt should be obtained for every reimbursable travel expense incurred. Common expenses such as taxis, tolls, parking, gas for rental car should be included along with your airfare and hotel receipts. A more detailed list of reimbursable expenses is available on the Travel Services web site.

I have all the necessary receipts, now what?

You must complete an employee travel worksheet reimbursement form. This form is available as a PDF at Employee Travel Reimbursement form The form is self-explanatory. If filled out on-line, the calculations will be performed for you. The per-diem calculator is available to you on the Travel Services web site under "reimbursement rates". Please be sure to use the settlement calculators either CONUS (continental US) or OCONUS (outside continental US) to estimate your per-diem reimbursement.

I have completed the reimbursement form and calculated the per-diem due. How do I request reimbursement?

A printed signed and dated copy of your travel reimbursement request form along with a copy of your per-diem calculation page including the correct destination and travel dates and all necessary receipts should be submitted to either Kathy or Randi for completion and submission. All receipts must be originals.

How long do I have to submit my travel receipts?

All travel reimbursements should be submitted within 14 days of your return for prompt processing. Receipts submitted after 120 days of your return may not be processed.

How and when can I expect to receive my reimbursement?

Most reimbursements are processed promptly and are deposited directly to the bank account on file with Penn State. Under normal circumstances reimbursements are received within 14 to 21 days of submission. In order to assure prompt processing of your request review the policies and be sure to include all the necessary documentation and receipts.

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