Travel Planning Guide: Expenses



Initiate airfare reservations within a time frame that ensures the most economic fare options that meet the business need.

  • Coach class or economy tickets should be purchased for domestic or international flights with flight times totaling less than 5 consecutive hours—excluding layovers.  Note:  Refer to U.S. Flag Air Carriers for restrictions with federally funded research travel.
  • Airline discounts are available and airfare can be prepaid using one of the university's contracted travel agencies with an approved spend authorization (SA#):
    • Book Individual Business Travel airfare with the university’s contracted agency (Corporate Travel Planners) via online booking tool or agent assist.
    • Book Group (10+ pax with same itinerary) Business Travel airfare with the university’s interim contracted agency (Corporate Travel Planners) via or agent assist.
    • Book Athletic Team or Athletic Individual Business Travel airfare with the university’s contracted agency (Anthony Travel).


Ground Transportation

  • Rental Car:  Discounted rates and required insurances are included when using the university’s contracted suppliers for rental cars.
    • See Rental Car Discounts for rates, reservations and other details for rentals with Enterprise, National or Hertz.
  • Personal Vehicle Mileage:   Personal vehicles can be used as a primary mode of transportation if the cost does not exceed the least expensive airfare or rental car. Reimbursement for use of a personal vehicle is based on the IRS mileage rate and is inclusive of the cost for gasoline, wear and tear of the vehicle and personal auto insurance.  For the current mileage rate, see U.S. General Services Administration.

Refer to the Travel Policy for more information.


Reserve travel accommodations as early as possible to confirm availability of the room or special rates (e.g. conference rate).

  • Local (Columbus area) hotels may offer discounted rates for University business-related travel.  See Contract Book for options.
  • When making reservations:
    • Inquire about educational institution or government rates (if applicable to the hotel franchise). OSU ID may be required at check-in.
    • Confirm check-in/check-out times, cancellation policy and other included benefits (e.g. shuttle service, breakfast, etc.)
    • Be sure to indicate tax exemption status if using a university PCard . Tax exemption is only applicable to The Ohio State University (not the individual traveler) in authorized U.S. states. A copy of the State of Ohio Sales and Use Tax Blanket Exemption Certificate is available through the Office of the Controller’s Tax Compliance website.

Refer to the Travel Policy for more information.


Meal allowance is authorized for out-of-state or overnight, in-state travel.  Meal allowances are based on the federal meal and incidental rates that vary by city location.  These rates include incidental expenses (e.g. service tips, housekeeping, baggage carriers, porters, etc).  For current Per Diem rates, see U.S. General Services Administration.

Refer to the Travel Policy for more information.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Miscellaneous business travel expenses (e.g. baggage fees, parking, tolls, WiFi, immunizations) that are considered necessary for business travel may be purchased with university procurement tools (e.g. PCard) or reimbursed.

Refer to the Travel Policy for more information.


NOTE:  The Travel Planning Guide is a general resource and may not be inclusive of all considerations necessary for planning your business travel.  Consult your Service Center, Fiscal Office or other university-related travel resources to ensure all policies and basic requirements are considered.