Commonly Asked Questions about Travel

Q: When should I file a travel request? 
A:
Travel requests are required for all trips day and overnight (including overnight travel in Kentucky).  No travel expense shall be reimbursed without an approved travel request.

Note: You should not incur any expenses related to your trip, whether paid for on the procurement card or not, prior to your travel request being approved.

Q: What if I need to book a flight, hotel, or registration for an upcoming trip that takes place in the next fiscal year?
A:
If travel is not yet open in SAP for the next fiscal year, you will not be able to enter a travel request in the system. Until that time, you should get an emailed approval from your department head prior to making any purchases related to your trip.

Q: When should I file an expense report?
A: 
For mileage only, expense reports are to be filed within five (5) days after the end of the month for one month’s mileage, or within 10 business days after the end of a major trip. For overnight travel, an expense report should be filed within 10 business days after the end of the trip.

Note: A travel request is required for all travel, make sure your request has been completely approved before beginning the Travel Expense Report. You will not be able to complete your Expense Report if the travel request is not approved.

Q: Am I allowed any extra travel days for my overnight trips?
A:
Yes. If necessary due to time constraints, you are allowed 1 day prior to and 1 day after your event. For example, if you attend a conference from March 5 that begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 9 p.m. on March 8, you are allowed March 4 and March 9 as travel days.

Q: What if my expense report total is greater than my travel request total?
A
:  If your expense report is more than 10% greater than your travel request, please attach an email from the department head approving this increase. Your travel expenses will not be approved by Accounts Payable without this documentation.

Q: If I put my travel expenses on my department procurement card, do I need to include these on my travel expense report?
A:
Yes. This is needed in order to verify dates, overnight stays, any provided meals while traveling, etc., as well as for travel reporting. You can choose the expense type “paid by NKU” for these expenses. For example, if you booked your flight on the procurement card, the expense type you should use on your travel expenses is “Airfare paid by NKU.”

Q: What if I want to drive instead of fly?
A:
You can drive instead of fly if you choose to do so. However, NKU will only reimburse you for the most economical form of transportation.  Expenses added by use of other transportation or route must be assumed by the individual. If for any reason an employee decides to not take the most economical form of transportation, documentation of what the most economical prices were at the time of travel must be provided to Accounts Payable when travel expenses are submitted. Without this documentation the employee will only be reimbursed for the current cost estimation of this form of transportation.

Q: How do I enter mileage for a span of time?
A:
  Once dates are occupied in SAP no other trips can be entered during the span of time those dates cover. For example, if you enter mileage for the month of July and use the dates 7/01/13 through 7/31/13, the traveler will not be able to enter any other trips during that span of time. Therefore, if there will be overnight travel during the month as well as mileage, use the last day of mileage as the start/end date in SAP.

Note: Accounts Payable recommends using the mileage expense log on our website to avoid this problem. The log can be attached as a document in ESS Travel. The log has directions in every column for convenience.

Q: For mileage reimbursement, can I claim mileage from my home to my destination?
A:
You should claim the lesser of the mileage from either NKU or your home to your destination. No reimbursement shall be paid for travel between residence and work station. For reimbursement purposes, the point of origin must be the shortest distance from your workstation to the destination. According to IRS regulations you cannot deduct the costs of taking a bus, trolley, subway, or taxi, or of driving a car between your home and your main or regular place of work. These costs are personal commuting expenses. You cannot deduct commuting expenses no matter how far your home is from regular place of work. You cannot deduct commuting expenses even if you work during the commuting trip.

Q: How do I know if I can get reimbursed for gas or mileage?
A:
If you drive your personal car, you will be reimbursed for mileage at the state rate during your travel dates. If you drive a rental car or an NKU leased vehicle, you can be reimbursed for your out of pocket gas receipts that are attached to your expense report.

Q: When can I claim per diem for my meals?
A: 
Per diem is allowed only for overnight trips when travel beginning and ending times fall within the time frames listed below and if no meals are provided on your flights, conferences, etc.

For travel out of state, except "high rate", subsistence shall not exceed:

Breakfast    (must include 6:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.)* $8.00

Lunch           (must include 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.)* $10.00

Dinner          (must include 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.)* $18.00

For travel to "high rate" areas, subsistence shall not exceed:

Breakfast     (must include 6:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.)* $10.00

Lunch           (must include 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.)* $11.00

Dinner          (must include 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.)* $23.00

*Authorized travel must depart before first time and must end after second time in order to claim subsistence.

Q: Can I combine my personal trip with my business trip and get reimbursed?
A
: Yes, you can get reimbursed for business related expenses only.  However, you must pay for all expenses using personal funds, not with an NKU procurement card. Any personal choice that is included with the employee’s business travel must be supported with a business travel only cost comparison. In all cases that personal and business travel are combined on an airline ticket, a valid airfare cost comparison must be secured for what the airfare would cost if the traveler were only flying on official NKU business. This cost comparison must be attached to the travel expense report.

Q: Where can I find the reason my trip was sent back for correction?
A: 
In Universal Worklist, click on the “Notifications” tab to see the reason the trip was sent back.

Q: What do I do with the original receipts?
A:
Receipts and other supporting documentation are to be scanned and attached electronically for swift processing by accounts payable. Receipts paid by non-grant funds are to be kept at least 4 years. Receipts paid by grant funds are to be kept for 8  years. Please contact Grants and Contracts Administration Office for further information.

Q: How will I receive my reimbursement?
A:
The Accounts Payable systems use the employee banking and address information from the HR system to generate travel reimbursement payments.  Travel reimbursements for employees who direct deposit their payroll will be deposited electronically into the bank account they have designated as their main bank.  Travel reimbursements for employees who receive a paycheck, will be mailed to their permanent address.