Travel Policy

Approved: 07/28/2004
Modified: 03/16/2005


Definitions: The following terms are defined for use in this document.

NSGIC means the National States Geographic Information Council

Traveler means any person seeking travel approval, assistance with travel arrangements, or financial assistance from NSGIC to engage in a travel event regardless of the mode of transportation, type or duration of the activity, or reason for traveling.

1.0 Scope and Policy

1.1 These guidelines establish a Travel Management Program, to help ensure fairness in the application and administration of travel expense reimbursement, and to reduce and control NSGIC's costs related to travel.

1.2 A person traveling on NSGIC business is expected to exercise the same care while incurring expenses as would a prudent person traveling for personal reasons. Traveler shall request reservations as far in advance as possible and shall utilize the lowest logical air/rail fares available. Traveler may not participate in any promotional plan, such as frequent flyer program, when this participation entails foregoing a more favorable fare rate when NSGIC is expected to reimburse Traveler.

1.3 NSGIC has adopted the Federal Per Diem reimbursement rates for travel. Expenditures for official travel may be considered as reimbursable only if incurred in accordance with these guidelines. Federal Per Diem reimbursement rates are established annually by the Office of Management and Budget. NSGIC shall use the most recently published OMB rate schedule. (Web Link)

1.4 Requests to exceed 120% of the Federal Per Diem reimbursement rates for lodging must be approved by the President, Board of Directors or Executive Director in advance.

1.5 NSGIC will reimburse an authorized Traveler within 21days of Traveler's submission of a properly completed reimbursement request form with the required receipts. (PDF Document)

2.0 President, Board of Directors, Project Manager and NSGIC Staff Responsibilities

2.1 NSGIC Project Managers, NSGIC Staff and Board Members shall:
    2.1.1 Be responsible for ensuring compliance with these guidelines by providing adequate internal control over travel under their authority;
    2.1.2 Monitor Traveler compliance in accordance with these guidelines;
    2.1.3 Provide assistance to Traveler concerning questions and problems with travel;
    2.1.4 Serve as a liaison with NSGIC's Staff to ensure proper billing of accounts and timely payments to Travelers.

3.0 Exculpatory Agreement

3.1 NSGIC does not offer any form of compensation or maintain insurance coverage for any persons it reimburses for travel-related expenses As a condition to receiving NSGIC travel benefits (whether in the form of NSGIC making such arrangements and paying for them, reimbursing the member for travel expenses incurred by him or her, or otherwise), an authorized traveler must sign an exculpatory agreement holding NSGIC harmless for all harm that may befall the traveler, whether or not caused by the negligence of NSGIC.

4.0 Travel Authorization

4.1 Travel must be authorized in writing by the NSGIC President or the Board of Directors; or a Project Manager or NSGIC Staff empowered by the Board of Directors to manage a grant activity.
4.2 No other entity other than those listed in Section 4.1 may authorize travel on behalf of NSGIC.


5.0 Travel Payment and Reimbursement

5.1 Each Traveler's reimbursement request shall include:
    5.1.1 The appropriate NSGIC form for reimbursement identified for the activity as specified by the President, Board of Directors, Project Manager, or NSGIC Staff.
    5.1.2 Itemized receipted bills for transportation (including shuttle and taxi), lodging and significant incidental expenses such as parking and large volumes of photo copies.
    5.1.3 Payment for airline and rail tickets (Common Carrier) will be project specific and as directed by the President, Board of Directors, Project Manager or NSGIC Staff. Options for payment will include a) Traveler paying for tickets, b) a third party paying for tickets, or c) NSGIC booking and paying for tickets. Only option (a) will be reimbursed to the Traveler.
    5.1.4 Unused portions of tickets procured by NSGIC shall be returned to NSGIC to obtain credit. Unused portions of tickets procured by Traveler are the traveler's responsibility since they can only be reused by the Traveler. If reused later for official NSGIC travel, NSGIC will pay the additional "change" fees.

6.0 Reimbursable Expenses

6.1 General. NSGIC shall reimburse Traveler for authorized necessary travel and related expenses incurred by the Traveler. NSGIC will not reimburse Traveler for transportation, lodging, meal expenses, or any other costs incurred by a spouse, child, or other person not essential to the business mission, who accompanies the Traveler on an official business trip.
6.2 Taxi, Bus, and Airport Limousine. Taxi, bus, and airport limousine fares incurred while on travel status are reimbursable when traveling to and from the airport, train station, or bus station, or when otherwise incurred while conducting official NSGIC business. Traveler shall use the mode of public transportation that results in the lowest logical cost to NSGIC.
6.3 Rental Cars. Subject to specific approval by the President, Board of Directors, Project Manager or NSGIC Staff, Traveler may rent cars while on travel status when other means of transportation are unavailable, more costly, or impractical. The lowest cost vehicle necessary to achieve the Traveler's mission shall be reserved and Traveler shall accept all vehicle liability insurance so that Traveler has no liability for the vehicle or accidents whatsoever. In addition to the cost of the rental, Traveler shall be reimbursed for necessary and reasonable expenses incurred for the following items:
    6.3.1 Gasoline, oil, and emergency repairs;
    6.3.2 Parking;
    6.3.3 Toll charges.
6.4 Personal Vehicles. Traveler may use their personal vehicle while on travel status instead of common carriers.
    6.4.1 Reimbursement shall be on a per mile basis using the most recently published personal vehicle mileage reimbursement rate by the Federal Office of Management and Budget. Reimbursement for personal vehicles shall be limited to an amount equal to the lowest cost airfare available when travel approval is requested. If requested, Traveler shall provide written proof that they determined the lowest cost airfare. In addition to the mileage reimbursement, the Traveler shall be reimbursed for necessary and reasonable expenses incurred for the following items: Parking; Toll charges.
6.5 Lodging. Reimbursement shall be in an amount equal to the actual costs, up to 120% of the current Federal Per Diem rate for accommodations based on single occupancy for the destination of the travel. NSGIC will also pay local sales and room taxes that appear on the hotel invoice.
    6.5.1 Traveler must ask for a waiver from the Board of Directors, Project Manager or NSGIC Staff in advance of the travel event if a rate within 120% of the Federal Per Diem rate is not available.
    6.5.2 In cases of double occupancy by two NSGIC Travelers, each Traveler shall be reimbursed 50 percent of the total room charge unless one Traveler pays the entire charge.
    6.5.3 In cases of double occupancy when one of the occupants is not on NSGIC business, lodging reimbursement shall be on the basis of the least expensive available rate for reasonable accommodations based on single occupancy.
6.6 Meals. Meal allowances for the Traveler, while in travel status, are reimbursable at the current Federal Per Diem rates established for the destination of the travel, unless the President, Board of Directors, Project Manager or NSGIC Staff reduces the rate in advance of travel approval.
    6.6.1 No receipts are required for reimbursement of meals.
    6.6.2 Reimbursement shall not be made for the cost of alcoholic beverages.
    6.6.3 If the registration fee for a conference, convention, seminar, or training meeting includes the cost of meals, NSGIC shall reimburse Traveler for the full registration fee. For this meeting, Traveler will request reimbursement for meals and incidental expenses at 50% of the current Federal Per Diem rate for the travel destination.
6.7 Conference Registration Fees. When a registration fee is charged, the participating NSGIC Traveler shall be reimbursed upon submission of a receipt.
6.8 Incidental Expenses. Porter fees, hotel tips, shuttle tips, routine telephone charges and other incidental expenses are the responsibility of the Traveler, because they are factored into the current Federal Per Diem meal rate for the travel destination which includes incidental expenses.
    6.8.1 Unusual incidental expenses such as conference calls for NSGIC business can be reimbursed to Traveler upon request.
6.9 Cleaning Expenses. When Traveler is required to be on travel status for a period exceeding 6 working days, the cost of necessary laundry, cleaning, and pressing is reimbursable.