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NPR 9710.1
Effective Date: June 20, 2018
Expiration Date: June 20, 2023
Printable Format (PDF)

Subject: General Travel Requirements (Updated with Change 2 June 28, 2021)

Responsible Office: Office of the Chief Financial Officer

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Chapter 6. Allowable Subsistence and Miscellaneous Expenses

6.1 Lodging, Meal and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) Overview

6.1.1 NASA employees are eligible for reimbursement of allowable subsistence expenses, including lodging, meals, and incidental expenses (M&IE), when they perform official travel away from their official duty station (i.e., outside the local travel area and are in a travel status for more than 12 hours). NASA will pay per diem allowances provided that the employee meets the criteria in 41 CFR §301-11.1 et seq. The per diem allowance is comprised of a daily lodging expense allowance and an allowance for M&IE.

6.1.2 For purposes of determining if the travel status is more than 12 hours, the trip commences upon departure from the traveler's residence or permanent duty station (as applicable, whichever is later) on the first day of travel and ends on return to the traveler's residence or official duty station (whichever is earlier). For travel where the official business outside the local travel area can be concluded on the same day, travel that can be completed in less than 12 hours, including all time at the temporary duty location and reasonable travel time to and from the temporary duty location, does not qualify for the first day of official travel, and allowances for lodging and meals are not permitted for that day. For travel to meetings outside the local area, where attendance is authorized for more than one full day, the time at the temporary duty location is determined commencing with the first session and ending with the last session authorized.

Note: For NASA-sponsored meetings, the meeting organizer should exercise prudence when planning the meeting, including always considering and taking steps to minimize total travel costs (for example, by limiting partial days) for all U.S. Government-paid travelers consistent with the mission objectives of the meeting; and authorizing officials should exercise prudence when determining the individual travel to be authorized, including limiting the sessions attended. Lodging outside the local travel area but nearby at the departure airport enroute the TDY location will rarely be authorized, but may be approved by an OIC when necessary, based on a mission requirement to be at the airport at late night (between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.) before the flight (for example, assisting with safe loading of equipment before an international flight). The justification sho

uld be documented on both the authorization and voucher.

6.2 Lodging Allowances

6.2.1 Lodging includes expenses for overnight sleeping facilities. Lodging does not include accommodations on airplanes, trains, buses, or vessels. Receipts are required for all lodging expenses, regardless of the amount.

6.2.2 If lodging is not available at the employee's TDY location, lodging should be authorized at a nearby reasonable location, and if such lodging is not available within per diem, lodging may be authorized as reasonably required in excess of the per diem rate, up to the maximum rate, for the location where lodging is obtained. If NASA does not authorize or approve any such per diem rate for the alternate location where lodging is obtained, the employee will receive the lodging amount based on the per diem for their authorized TDY location.

Note: All lodging reservations are required to be consistent with guidance outlined in 41 CFR §301-11.11. Any domestic lodging choices should be Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) certified. See: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/hotel for lodging facilities approved by FEMA as "approved accommodations."

6.2.3 Employees will only be reimbursed for nonconventional lodging costs, such as renting a room in a private home, in accordance with the limitations in 41 CFR §301-11.12, including the unavailability of conventional lodging facilities. The following criteria is required:

a. Approval of the room rental prior to official travel, providing justification for not booking lodging though the system and justification for the need for private room, i.e., remote/rural location where no lodging is offered.

b. The landlord is in the business of renting out the room, there is an advertisement for the rental of the room to the public, and the travel card is accepted as a form of payment.

c. The rent charge cannot exceed the authorized lodging amount, including for extended TDY (ETDY) travel as applicable (i.e., not to exceed the authorized reduced per diem). If actuals are needed, prior approval is required.

6.2.4 Employees who are authorized per diem while on temporary duty and whose travel orders are amended to change TDY locations may be reimbursed for dual lodging when lodging expenses at the prior TDY location are reasonably unavoidable (i.e., the change does not leave time to avoid a cancellation charge). ETDY travelers on further TDY travel may also be authorized limited dual lodging costs pursuant to NPR 9750 sec. 3.1.4. Receipts are required for all lodging claims.

6.3 Miscellaneous and Incidental Expenses

6.3.1 NASA will reimburse as miscellaneous expenses all items listed in 41 CFR §301-12.1 or any fees absolutely necessary for the completion of travel when they have been authorized and/or approved by NASA. Reimbursement for GPS devices may be authorized when necessary for travel being performed in a foreign country, but may only be approved by a Center Director or OIC on a case-by-case basis when necessary for travel being performed within the United States.

6.3.2 Excess baggage charges listed in 41 CFR §301-12.2 may be authorized; however, justification detailing the necessity for the excess baggage is required and should be documented and approved on the TA and/or travel voucher as necessary for official travel.

6.3.3 Employees may be authorized to make and be reimbursed for long-distance calls to conduct official business while on regular TDY. Employees should, however, use Government-provided phones or long-distance services when they are available or a Government telephone card.

6.3.4 An employee may be authorized reimbursement for reasonable (generally short) long-distance calls home while on regular TDY. The approving official may authorize reimbursement for long-distance telephone calls while a traveler is in official travel status. Employees are expected to use the most practical and cost-effective method for making telephone calls and should ensure that costs are minimized. Calls made using personal wireless services may be reimbursed if they increase the overall cost of the traveler's service charges and when they are authorized by the approving official as cost effective to the Government. Additional cost factors that may arise in foreign countries, including the country's telephone carrier system and additional tariffs may be reimbursable. The traveler will only be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses with supporting documentation.

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