A. HOTEL ACCOMODATIONS
- Allowable lodging cost is generally based on the least expensive available rate for single occupancy in moderately-priced, safe accommodations given reasonable personal convenience.
- An employee may stay at a place where lodging costs exceed the cost of a room at another hotel in the area if this practice (a) in the case of a meeting or conference and staying at the meeting site, enables the employee to gain professional benefits due to interaction with other attendees, or (b) results in a lower overall trip cost to USNH as a result of reduced transportation or other costs.
- The cost of lodging for overnight travel within 50 miles of the traveler's place of business is not an allowable cost unless the circumstances necessitating such overnight travel are fully documented as to the compelling business purpose and approved in writing by the department head responsible for authorizing the travel. Potential criteria for approval may include extremely late night or early morning job responsibilities or excessive travel time due to extreme traffic or weather conditions.
- When possible, reservations should be made as far in advance as needed to take advantage of advance purchase discounts or a special conference rate. This is often one month in advance.
- Travelers are encouraged to use their memberships in AAA, AARP, or other groups to obtain discounts which exceed those otherwise available.
- Travelers should inquire while making reservations as to the availability of exemption from state rooms tax for employees of educational institutions. A copy of USNH state exemption letters may be obtained from the USNH Purchasing Office in advance of travel if required by the hotel.
- The traveler should consider using a personal telephone card or personal cell phone to charge calls since this can be considerably cheaper than having the hotel bill the traveler for calls made from a hotel room.
- A traveler is entitled to an amount up to $25 per night lodging expense without providing receipts for reimbursement (see Section C.1). A traveler may choose to use these funds to express their thanks to their host if staying at the private residence of a friend, relative or business associate. For thank-you gifts associated with other than travel, see Procedure 8-008 Awards, Gifts, and Prizes.
- Tips to bellhops and chambermaids are reimbursable if they are reasonable (i.e., $1 or $2 per bag or night of lodging, respectively). However, these tips are not allowed if the employee is reimbursed based on the federal meals & incidental expense (M&IE) per diem rate.
B. CANCELLATION OF ACCOMMODATIONS
- The traveler is responsible for the cancellation of room reservations if a trip is cancelled.
- USNH is not responsible for any charges or penalties resulting from the traveler's failure to give proper notice of cancellation.
- Travelers should remember that cancellation deadlines are based on local time at the destination hotel.
- Travelers should request and record the cancellation number in case of a billing dispute.
- USNH will pay for costs resulting from cancellations due to circumstances beyond the control of the traveler.
C. RECEIPTS FOR LODGING
- Travelers must submit all original, itemized receipts to support lodging expenses claimed in excess of $25 per day.
- A credit card charge slip, photocopies, or faxed copies are not considered acceptable substitutes for original receipts unless original receipts are lost (see C.4. below). A Lost Receipt form must be submitted stating that the original receipts were lost and will not be submitted again if found.
- The hotel receipt should indicate the name and location of the hotel and the dates of occupancy. If reimbursable under USNH policy, meal charges on hotel receipts will be reimbursed separately (see Procedure 7-007, Travel Meals).
- If original travel receipts are not available, the traveler must contact the hotel to obtain a substitute hotel folio and may submit other evidence (i.e., credit card charge slip, photocopies, or faxed copies) so long as the claim is accompanied by a signed statement indicating the traveler has not and will not submit the same expenses for reimbursement at another time or from another source.
D. PERSONAL EXPENSES
- The traveler will be reimbursed for one personal phone call of reasonable length (e.g., 10 minutes) per day which allows them to stay in touch with their family.
- Other personal expenses incurred while traveling will not be reimbursed (see Procedure 7-014, Non-Reimbursable Travel Expenses).