Domestic Travel

Domestic travel consists of travel within the U.S. states and territories. Official travel begins whenever the traveler departs the office or home, whichever occurs last, and ends when the traveler returns to the home or office, whichever occurs first.

All official travel must be approved before the trip start date and before any expenses are incurred. If you will be lodging overnight or in travel status more than 12 hours, a travel request must be completed and approved before the travel begins. The travel request is required to determine whether adequate funds are available to cover the estimated cost of the trip, prevent problems with unallowable travel costs, and to ensure all travel requests remain in compliance with ORISE participant travel guidance.

It is very important that you discuss your Travel Request with your travel approver(s) and let them know the Request will be forthcoming via Concur.

To ensure sufficient processing time, we ask that you submit the travel request to Travel Central at least two weeks before the travel departure date. Travel requests submitted less than two weeks in advance may not be approved. However, depending on the purpose of the trip and other agency restrictions, you may be required to submit travel requests with more time in advanced. A best practice is to complete a travel request as soon as you know you will be traveling, and consider the time it may take to obtain approval.

Per Diem rates cover costs for lodging, meals and incidental expenses and are based on the city of lodging according to the General Service Administration (GSA). M&IE rates are based on the city of lodging. Travelers are paid 75% of the M&IE rate for the first and last day of travel, and are paid the full amount for all other business days.

Domestic travel M&IE rates and meal breakdowns to deduct any meals that are provided while on travel can be found on the GSA website linked below.

The actual cost of lodging up to the GSA ceiling for the city in which lodging occurred will be reimbursed.

Domestic per diem rates may be found on the GSA's Website.

Note: The domestic lodging ceiling does not include applicable taxes.

 Conference Approval (For DOE-Sponsored Participants Only)

Additional approvals are required for participants sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and DOE facilities.

Conferences subject to DOE conference management guidance are also often referred to by names other than “conference.” Other common terms used include conventions, expositions, symposiums, seminars, workshops, or exhibitions. Indicia of a formal conference often include but are not limited to registration, registration fees, a published substantive agenda, and scheduled speakers or discussion panels. Individual events may qualify as conferences without meeting all of the indicia listed above, but will generally meet some of them.

Local events within the local duty location that do not require advance travel authorization may also qualify as a conference if the event exhibits other key indicia of a conference, especially the payment of a registration, exhibitor, sponsor, or conference fee.

All conference attendance requests, including virtual conferences, will be entered by ORISE into the DOE Conference Management System on your behalf once you have submitted a Travel Request Form. You will be notified by Travel Central when your attendance request has been approved.

When traveling to a conference or requesting approval to attend a conference, you must submit the Travel Request no less than 60 days in advance from the conference start date or as soon as you are aware that you may attend a conference. Note that some conferences may be “locked out” well in advance of the 60-day deadline; advance submission does not necessarily guarantee that your conference attendance will be approved. You should not book your travel or incur any travel or conference-related expenses prior to receiving notification from Travel Central that DOE has approved your conference attendance.

All requests for conference attendance approval should be made through Travel Central. Do not ask DOE hosting office to approve your conference attendance. You will not be reimbursed for expenses if the conference was not pre-approved by Travel Central.

If you are attending a local conference (within 50-miles) and no expenses will be claimed, DOE approval is not required. However, mentor approval is still required.

There may be times when you may have the opportunity to add personal travel to appointment-related travel.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering adding personal travel:

  • The primary purpose of the travel must be appointment-related, and personal travel must be incidental to the appointment requirement. Expenses for lodging, M&IE and other associated travel costs will not be reimbursed for locations other than the city of business.
  • When personal travel is combined with appointment-related travel, an airfare simulation must be obtained on the same day of ticketing that reflects the lowest available airfare to meet the business travel need. The traveler will be responsible for any increase in airfare and other expenses due to the addition of personal travel and the increase in costs will be deducted on the Expense Report.
  • If an airfare simulation is not completed on the same day of ticketing, the traveler will be responsible for a proportionate part of their airfare cost equal to the number of days on personal travel as determined by Travel Central.

Example:
Total number of travel days 10 | Business days 7 | Personal days 3

The program would pay/reimburse 70% of the airfare cost and the participant would pay for the remaining 30%.

Travel Certificates for reimbursement of Inbound/Outbound Expenses must be submitted as directed in the form provided by your ORISE Program. If you have questions regarding Travel Certificates, please contact your ORISE program point of contact for further information.