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GSA SmartPay Training

Lesson 7 of 12

The Week Before the Trip

Can I receive a cash advance?

In accordance with agency policy, you may obtain cash to cover all anticipated out-of-pocket cash expenses for the trip before you leave. The preferred and most efficient method to obtain a cash advance is by using your government travel account to withdraw cash from an ATM machine. As a reminder, do not withdraw cash for personal use.

How do I get my airline tickets?

Most TMCs/ CTOs use e-ticketing and will send your itinerary and ticket confirmation through email. With e-ticketing, you will not get a physical ticket, only information about the reservation. If your TMC/CTO mails airline tickets, pick up your ticket as close to the date of departure as possible.

Note: Federal employees may retain, for personal use, frequent flyer miles earned while on official government travel.

Travel Checklist

When packing for your trip, don’t forget:

  • Your Government issued picture ID card/ badge or driver's license.
  • A copy of your travel authorization.
  • Your GSA SmartPay travel account to pay for official travel expenses.
  • Personal cash or personal credit cards to pay for personal expenses.
  • Lodging tax exempt forms; if required.
  • A record of expenses - write them down and save receipts. Lodging receipts are required by all agencies. Follow agency policy with regard to other receipts.

Below is a quick snapshot of what is and is not reimbursable while on your trip:

Is Reimbursable

Is NOT Reimbursable

Airfare and baggage fees

Business or First Class air fares without prior written approval

Maximum lodging amount allowed for the per diem locality excluding lodging tax

Amount in excess of lodging amount allowed for the per diem locality unless previously approved

Meals (up to the rate for the per diem locality)

Meal costs over the rate for the per diem locality

Personal calls (per agency policy)

Personal calls (per agency policy)

Work related telephone calls and faxing

Gifts and souvenirs

Laundry and dry cleaning (at the TDY location and only after consecutive nights lodging on official domestic travel)

Postcards and postage

Car rental (approved)

Personal Expenses

Shuttle, taxi, and tips


ATM fees if allowed by your agency (cash advances for official travel only)


Additional Resources

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