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  1. What is TDY?

    TDY stands for "temporary duty." It is defined as duty at a location(s), other than the permanent duty station. In your case, you are performing TDY to attend a course of instruction in conjunction with your PCS (Permanent Change of Station) to a new/initial permanent duty station. The maximum length of this type of TDY is 139 days. This is a prolonged TDY.

  2. What is a per diem rate?

    This is an allowance (also referred to as subsistence allowance) for lodging (excluding taxes), meals, and related incidental expenses. The CONUS (defined as the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia) per diem rates are established annually by GSA for travelers on official Government business to use for their lodging, meals and incidental expenses.

  3. Why does GSA establish a per diem rate?

    The rate is established to provide sufficient allowance for the Government traveler to stay at safe and comfortable rooms while on official business for the Government. This rate coincides with the IRS tax plan for expenses incurred while on travel within a calendar year. The per diem rate takes away the tax liability issues that would be created without an established allowance for required travel expenses.

  4. How does GSA establish these rates?

    GSA contracts annually with an independent vendor to survey hotel rates and meal costs in locations traveled to by our Government employees on official business. For the lodging rate the vendor surveys 2 and 3 star hotels that are on the fire safety list maintained by the Federal Emergency Management Administration, within specific locations identified by GSA, for their room rates. Based on this information and the available number of room nights for each location, GSA establishes the appropriate per diem allowance for each location.

  5. Why does GSA require surveyed hotels to meet fire safety approval?

    The Hotel Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-391, 9/1/90) reflects the Government's policy to save lives and protect property by promoting fire safety in hotels, motels, and all places of public accommodation affecting commerce. In furtherance of this Act, Federal employees are encouraged to stay at hotels that are FEMA approved. In order to ensure the safety of our travelers and support the provisions of this Act, only hotels that meet this requirement are surveyed.

  6. What is the Standard CONUS per diem rate?

    GSA establishes a standard CONUS per diem rate (CONUS is defined as the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia) that is used for cities not specifically shown in the CONUS per diem rate listing (Appendix A of Chapter 301 to the Federal Travel Regulation. The current Standard CONUS per diem rate is $50 for Lodging (excluding taxes) and $30 for Meals and Incidentals.

    You can find out the per diem rate for your city of destination here or at

  7. Do all per diem rates exclude lodging taxes, and laundry and dry cleaning expense?

    No, this only applies to CONUS (Continental United States) per diem rates only.

  8. My experience indicates that a prescribed per diem rate is inadequate--how can I have the rate changed?

    This is spelled out in Footnote 4 of Appendix A to Chapter 301 of the Federal Travel Regulation. Please visit the GSA per diem Web site at for more information.

  9. Where may I obtain a copy of the per diem rates, plus copies of previous rates for tax purposes?

    The CONUS per diem rates are available on the Internet at You may also look at the per diem rates here on our site. For anyone not having access to the internet, he/she may call the Federal Information Center at 1-800-688-9889, (TDD/TTY users call 1-800-326-2996). Other sources include local library internet; and GPO, to order a hard copy, or contact their agency travel policy manager/coordinator.

  10. When the prescribed per diem rate does not cover my hotel, can I get reimbursed actual expenses?

    Travel on an actual subsistence expense basis may be authorized or approved (not to exceed 300 percent of the applicable maximum per diem rate) for travel assignments when the applicable maximum per diem rate is inadequate. The agency decides what may be approved as reimbursement of appropriate expenses incurred for occasional meals or lodging that are determined to be necessary and justified by the circumstances involved.

  11. Since the new per diem rates do not include lodging taxes, do I have to pay separate hotel tax?

    A Federal employee on official travel is obligated to pay all taxes unless the State or local authority assessing the tax provides a specific exemption. The per diem rates exclude lodging taxes, but travelers must pay the taxes, when applicable, and file for reimbursement under Miscellaneous Expenses. Check the GSA Policyworks Web site at for those states who offer tax exemptions and appropriate forms. Also, see your agency travel policy coordinator for further assistance.

  12. When I attend a conference which includes lunch, it may be necessary to skip lunch for health reasons or because I'm eating elsewhere due to official business. Will I be reimbursed for a replacement lunch?

    No. Conference attendees' travel costs include attendees' subsistence expenses (including lodging and meals and incidental expenses (M&IE)) and transportation costs authorized at Government expense. It is the policy of the Government that agencies shall exercise strict fiscal responsibility by selecting conference sites that minimize, among other things, conference attendees' travel costs. Most normally, a reduced lunch has been prearranged as part of the agency's negotiation with the conference facility. When a conference facility knows in advance that an attendee has special health/medical needs, the facility will make special arrangements to accommodate that attendee.

  13. Should I be required to share my hotel room with another employee?

    No. Each Federal employee, for official travel away from the official station, is entitled to a daily payment for lodging, meals and related incidental expenses. If, for whatever circumstances, a lodging receipt shows a charge for double occupancy, such fact shall be shown on the travel voucher. If the person sharing the room is a Government employee on official travel, one-half of the double occupancy charge shall be allowable for each employee. If the person sharing the room is not another Government employee on official travel, identification of the person is not required and the employee may be allowed the single room rate.

  14. How are tips shown on my travel voucher?

    Tips to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses and others on vessels, and hotel servants in foreign countries are included as part of incidental expenses covered by per diem. Tips related to meals are covered as part of your per diem meals expenses. Reimbursement of tips when authorized the use of taxicabs will be allowed, but is not included as an incidental expense. Specific questions as to the proper completion of a travel voucher should be referred to an agency's ITMC representative.

  15. What is the Meals and Incidentals breakdown?

    The new M&IE breakdown as provided in FTR Amendment 75 is as follows:
    M&IE   $30 $34 $38 $42 $46
    Breakfast............................ 6 7 8 9 9
    Lunch................................ 6 7 8 9 11
    Dinner............................... 16 18 20 22 24
    Incidentals.......................... 2 2 2 2 2

    An employee's obligation, under the prudent person rule while traveling on official business, is to exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business. All expenses may not be necessarily incurred, and the intent is that @ $2 per day (i.e., 5 days @ $2 = $10), the traveler is adequately reimbursed.

  16. If I have confirmed late arrival at a hotel on my Government-issued travel card, and was delayed due to weather, illness, or other, will I be reimbursed for the first night's lodging?

    If the agency determines that the employee acted reasonably and prudently in reasonable expectation of a travel assignment being completed as ordered or directed, the lodging expenses may be reimbursed as a miscellaneous travel expense. Again, see your ITMC travel policy contact for any questions.

  17. What are the current POV (privately owned vehicle) mileage rates?

    1. For use of a privately owned automobile: 31 cents per mile.
    2. For use of a privately owned airplane: 88 cents per mile.
    3. For use of a privately owned motorcycle: 26 cents per mile.

  18. How can I use my earned frequent flyer points for personal travel?

    The rule is that frequent traveler benefits earned in connection with official travel may be used only for official travel. Employees may not retain and use such benefits for personal travel. If both personal and official frequent flyer bonus points are co-mingled into one account, all those points belong to the Federal Government unless the employee can separately account for the personal mileage. Since the law says that frequent flyer benefits earned in connection with official travel may be used only for official travel, the points may no longer be donated to a charity. Some agencies are using a gain sharing program to encourage their employees to participate in various frequent traveler programs offered by airlines, hotels, and car rental vendors. See your agency's ITMC representative.

  19. How can I get a copy of the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR)?

    You may get a copy of the FTR Consolidated Looseleaf Edition (Includes Amendments 1-76) by:

    1. If you are Federal, call your agency printing and publications liaison. Ms. Faye Deal (GSA), 202-501-2693, maintains liaison information and can direct Federal callers to their appropriate agency liaison office.
    2. If you are non-Federal, call the Government Printing Office (GPO) order desk, 202-512-1800. You will need the stock number 922-002-00052-5. Hard copy subscription for new subscribers is priced at $152 (includes the basic edition, plus 18 amendment issues).
    3. The electronic FTR may be found on the internet at
    The looseleaf changes take approximately 4-6 weeks to process through the printer to the subscriber. You may verify the accuracy of the FTR looseleaf hard copy by using the page checksheet issued with each new amendment.

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