Foreign Travel

Official University business travel to a foreign country (excluding Mexico and Canada) requires a Request for Travel Authorization (RTA) form to be completed prior to travel. Authorization from the Chancellor and President is required. Actual expenses are reimbursable. All itemized receipts (including all itemized meal receipts) must be attached to the Travel Voucher.

TWU Travel policies apply to employees and prospective employees traveling for official university business. Employees are entitled to reimbursement for only his or her travel expenses and not for any other individual, regardless of who paid the travel expense. Unless otherwise noted, these regulations apply to all University funds regardless of source.

Except for items specifically regulated on this website, it is the policy of TWU to follow travel guidelines as set forth by the State of Texas on the Textravel website. Textravel should be consulted for items not specifically covered by this website.

The State allows for its agencies to specify a travel expense payment or reimbursement rate that is less than the maximum rate allowed. In an effort to comply with the requirements to conserve funds, TWU has adopted some policies more restrictive than those specified on the State website. In these cases, TWU employees will follow the policies outlined on this website unless instructed otherwise by the department that is paying for the employee's travel expenses. Departments within the University may specify reimbursement limits that are lower than the maximum allowable under Texas Government Code Section 660.007(b). The department must notify affected individuals in writing about the lower reimbursement rate before implementing it.

Upon completion of the trip, the traveler will compile all required receipts and complete a Travel Voucher. This documentation, along with the completed RTA, is then submitted to the Travel Desk in Procurement Services for auditing, processing and payment. The preferred and fastest form of payment is direct deposit. Travelers can enroll in direct deposit for special payments other than payroll through the Procurement's SharePoint Site.

In order to receive reimbursement, actual travel expenditures paid by the employee seeking reimbursement must be documented on a Travel Voucher and must be signed by the employee or prospective employee seeking reimbursement. The Travel Voucher must reflect the total reimbursable expenses in US Dollars. Travel services exchanged for "points" or "miles" in any customer rewards program are not considered reimbursable expenses. Itemized receipts are required for all foreign travel expenses.

Required Documentation:

  • RTA with the following signatures: Traveler, Supervisor, Accountholder, Chancellor and President, and ORSP (if using a grant account)
  • Travel Voucher with the following signatures: Traveler, Supervisor, and ORSP (if using a grant account)
  • Odometer readings for personal vehicle mileage or
  • Google Maps verifying personal vehicle mileage
  • Keep ITEMIZED receipts for all expenses including, but not limited to:
    • Meals
    • Hotel
    • Vehicle rental (the bill should have a zero balance, not a deposit amount or amount due)
    • Gasoline purchases for rental car
    • Public transportation – bus, shuttle, taxi, ride share
    • Parking
    • Tolls
    • Registration

All receipt totals must be converted from foreign currency to US dollar amounts using the exchange rate in effect on the date of the transaction. Conversions can be made using Oanda Currency Conversion Calculator.

The preferred method of submitting completed travel documentation to Procurement Services is to scan and email everything to twutravel@twu.edu.

If you submit a hard copy, be sure receipts smaller than 8 ½” x11” are taped to an 8 ½” x11” sheet of paper. Do not tape or highlight over any printed portion of receipts as it erases the printing making the receipts illegible.

Helpful links – Foreign Travel:

Contracted Travel Agencies

Short's Travel Management

Online Booking Tool: www.shortstravel.com/texasE-mail: texas@shortstravel.com
Toll Free Number for Reservations: 1-888-846-6810
From Monday through Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm CST, the toll free number rings to Short's Travel Management.
From 5:00pm - 8:30am CST, in the case of a travel emergency, the toll free number will be transferred to Short's after hour's service. (Please note: there will be an additional charge of $15 per call.)

National Travel Systems

Online Booking Tool, tutorials and general information: www.nationaltravelsystems.com/state/welcome.htmlE-mail: twutvl@nationaltravelsystems.comToll Free Numbers for Reservations: 1-800-542-0452 or 1-877-717-7768 or 1-800-891-9002
From Monday through Friday 8:30am – 5:30pm CST, the above toll free numbers ring to National Travel Systems.
From 5:30pm CST – 8:30am CST, the three above toll free numbers ring to the 24 Hour Emergency Service.

Transportation

Air Travel

For airfare, an Air Travel Authorization (ATA) form must be completed, signed and given to the Air Card administrator in the traveler’s department. The administrator will retain the ATA and purchase airfare using the departmental Air Card

The Air Card may only be used to purchase airfare for employees, prospective employees or TWU students traveling for University sanctioned activities. Guest Lecturers or Performers airfare cannot be purchased using the Air Card. If a traveler chooses to purchase his/her own airfare, be aware that the cost of airfare will be reimbursed only after travel is completed.

If employees book airline reservations using online systems such as Expedia and Travelocity rather than the airline’s websites, the following should be considered:

  • All airlines may not be listed
  • Receipts may be provided by the online booking source rather than the airline vendor, which may not meet reimbursement requirements.
  • Transaction fees are incurred by the online booking source, which should be included when evaluating various booking methods for the lowest total cost.
  • Oftentimes, direct booking with an air carrier’s web portal such as, Southwest.com or AA.com, provides a lower total cost than sites with multiple carriers’ inventories.

Caution: Any restricted fares may have non-reimbursable penalties associated with reservation changes or cancellations.

Contracted Airlines: Direct links to the state’s two contracted airline vendors are provided below. Comparing two or three airlines for the lowest available airline fares is recommended.

The Fly America Act (49 U.S.C. 40118) generally provides that foreign air travel funded by Federal government money may only be conducted on U.S. flag air carriers. A ‘U.S. flag air carrier’ is an air carrier that holds a certificate under 49 U.S.C. 41102 but does not include a foreign air carrier operating under a permit. Also note that lower cost and personal convenience does not justify nor is acceptable for the non-availability of a U.S. flag air carrier.

For complete guidelines and policies concerning booking air travel and using the Air Card, see the Air Card Policies and Procedures.

Rental Cars

University employees are required to use State contracted rental vehicles to ensure the lowest rates.

Review comparison tables for all vendors' rates and other contract provisions.

Rental car arrangements should be made directly by the employee to ensure state rates and establish payment method. If employees do not use a contracted rental car agency, they must complete a Contract Travel Vendor Exception form.

Be aware that insurance (CDW, LDW, etc.) is included in the State of Texas contract with all Enterprise locations and with most Avis locations. All additional insurance and products (such as GPS) should be declined unless the traveler is willing to pay for the expense. Charges associated with such items will not be reimbursed.

The receipt must include the following:

  • The name of the rental company, and
  • The name of the employee renting the vehicle, and
  • The starting and ending dates of the rental, and
  • An itemization of expenses incurred, and
  • Proof of payment.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

1-866-398-5080
Texas State Rate Identifier for TWU: TX731
Using the link provided above will take you directly to the TWU dedicated webpage. By booking through this link, you will be certain that you are receiving the contract rate and that all insurance coverage is already included in that rate.

Avis Rental Car System, Inc.

1-800-331-1212
www.avis.comThe State of Texas rate identifier for TWU: F999731
After reviewing the following steps, log-on to "Avis" Web site.

  1. Enter rental date, time and location on "Avis" Web site.
  2. Enter your entity’s State of Texas rate identifier (F999731) under OPTIONAL INFO in the “Avis Worldwide Discount
  3. Select “Continue”.
  4. Change the drop-down box near the top of the screen for “Available Rates” to your entity’s AWD number. This ensures you receive the State rate with the State’s insurance coverage.
  5. Select a car type, then click on “continue”. You will advance to the Rate Confirmation screen.
  6. DO NOT accept the optional coverage, Loss Damage Waiver and Additional Liability is built into the rate.
  7. Select "Continue," enter your name and e-mail address to receive an e-mail confirmation.
  8. Select the "Make Reservation" button and your car will be reserved.
  9. A confirmation page will appear with your reservation number.

Taxi, Bus or other mode of mass transit

Actual cost of transportation provided by taxi, bus or other mode of public transportation is reimbursable if incurred to conduct state business and if it was provided by a commercial transportation company.

Actual invoices are preferred but not required, however expenses must be itemized on the Travel Voucher form. When sharing transportation, only the employee who paid for the service may be reimbursed.

Network transportation Driver or Limousine

Actual cost of transportation provided by a network transportation driver (Uber, Lyft, etc) is reimbursable if incurred to conduct state business and if it was the most cost-effective mode of transportation available.

Actual invoices are preferred but not required, however expenses must be itemized on the Travel Voucher form. When sharing transportation, only the employee who paid for the service may be reimbursed.

Lodging

When traveling internationally, lodging expenses will be reimbursed at the actual expense when itemized receipts are submitted. No lodging expense will be reimbursed without an itemized bill reflecting a zero balance due.

 

 

Meals

Meals purchased during international travel will be reimbursed at the actual expense provided that itemized receipts are provided. No meal expense will be reimbursed without an itemized receipt. Gratuities and tips are not reimbursable when using State funds.

Alcohol is NOT reimbursable. Tips and gratuities up to 20% are reimbursable.

Meal costs incurred during non-overnight trips, regardless of the length of travel time, are NOT reimbursable. Unless the date changes during your trip, no meal expenses can be claimed.

The State allows for its agencies to specify a travel expense payment or reimbursement rate that is less than the maximum rate allowed. In an effort to comply with the requirements to conserve funds, TWU has adopted some policies more restrictive than those specified on the state website. In these cases, TWU employees will follow the policies outlined on this website unless instructed otherwise by the department that is paying for the employee's travel expenses. Departments within the university may specify reimbursement limits that are lower than the maximum allowable under Texas Government Code Section 660.007(b). The department must notify affected individuals in writing about the lower reimbursement rate before implementing it.

General Travel Tips

No reimbursements will be made for personal expenses such as:

  • Loss of stolen articles
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Damage to personal vehicles, clothing, or other items
  • Services to gain entry to a locked vehicle
  • Movie charges to hotel bills
  • Expenses resulting from personal negligence of traveler (such as fines)
  • Entertainment expenses
  • Towing charges
  • Expenses for children, spouses, and companions while on travel status
  • Safe deposit box

Packaged Travel

When using travel services companies such as Travelocity or Expedia please use the following guidelines to ensure your maximum reimbursement:

  • Do NOT bundle any travel services regardless of destination. Do not book air, hotel and/or rental car on the same purchase. These companies do not provide sufficiently detailed receipts to satisfy the State’s auditing requirements, and you will not be reimbursed.
  • Do NOT book a hotel stay in Texas. These companies do not provide a breakdown of taxes and fees. As a tax exempt agency, we must be able to provide the State proof that no state taxes were paid. Any taxes or fees charged by travel service companies on hotel stays in Texas will NOT be reimbursed.
  • Also remember that travelers must use contracted vendors whenever possible.

Under no circumstances should a traveler package or bundle travel service purchases. Purchasing any combination of travel services (airfare, rental car and hotel accommodations, for example) in one transaction through a travel services website such as Travelocity or Expedia many times results in no reimbursement for the traveler. These companies do not provide receipts with enough detail to satisfy the State’s auditing requirements.

Page last updated 9:50 AM, September 28, 2017