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Card/Account Holders and Approving Officials Travel Training

Lesson 7: The Week Before the Trip

What is a quick checklist to review to make sure that I’m ready for my trip?

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 card/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 down your expenses and save receipts. Lodging receipts are required by all agencies. Follow agency policy with regard to other receipts.

What are some examples of reimbursable and non-reimbursable expenses for my upcoming trip?

Reimbursable expenses

  • Airfare and baggage fees.
  • Maximum lodging amount allowed for the per diem locality excluding lodging tax.
  • Meals (up to the rate for the per diem locality).
  • Personal calls (per agency policy).
  • Work related telephone calls and faxing.
  • Laundry and dry cleaning (at the TDY location and only after consecutive nights lodging on official domestic travel).
  • Car rental (approved).
  • Shuttle, taxi and tips.
  • ATM fees if allowed by your agency (cash advances for official travel only).

Non-reimbursable expenses

  • Business or First Class airfares without prior written approval.
  • Amount in excess of lodging amount allowed for the per diem locality unless previously approved.
  • Meal costs over the rate for the per diem locality.
  • Personal calls (per agency policy).
  • Gifts and souvenirs.
  • Postcards and postage.
  • Personal expenses.

How do I get my airline tickets?

Most Travel Management Centers (TMC) or Commercial Travel Offices (CTO) 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.

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

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 card to withdraw cash from an ATM machine. As a reminder, do not withdraw cash for personal use.


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