Travel Guidelines and Procedures


The Legislature creates laws governing travel; the Montana Department of Administration prescribes regulations to follow, and the effective managerial controls and enforcement rest with University of Montana.

The three references with information regarding state employees’ travel are:

  • Montana Codes Annotated
  • Administrative Rules of Montana
  • Montana Operations Manual

For questions not covered in the University of Montana Procedures, refer to the above procedures & policies for clarification.

  • Employee travel is authorized when the travel is related to University business and is approved by the employee/students supervisor.  Travel should be in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible which still allows for the purpose of the trip to be accomplished.
  • The number of personnel attending a given function requiring travel will be held to the absolute minimum.
  • Transportation should be the most economical in terms of direct cost to University of Montana and the employee’s time away from the office. All commercial air travel should be the least expensive service available.  Trips should be scheduled to avoid unnecessary backtracking and overlapping.
  • Employees using automobiles in an approved travel status (transportation services, rental or personal car) will obey all posted speed limits and follow the UM Sustainability and Energy Conservation Measures.
  • A Request and Authorization to Travel form should be completed prior to leaving on an Out-of-State/Out-of-Country UM business trip.
  • A Travel Expense Report has to be submitted within 90 days of the trips completion.


  • Airline tickets should be purchased using the UM Procard for all employee travel. This applies to ticket purchases made through a travel agent, purchased directly from an airline, or purchased from an online travel source.
  • Luggage fees may be charged on the UM Procard and should be included as part of the airline fees.
  • Additional travel insurance should not be purchased unless traveling to a foreign destination.


  • Hotel/Motel and taxes should be paid using the UM Procard. A copy of the itemized receipt from the hotel/motel is required to be submitted with the Travel Expense Report.
  • No personal charges may be charged to the hotel bill.  Please ensure to check your bill prior to checking out and pay such charges with a personal card.
  • Nightly lodging costs should not exceed the Federal per diem room rate as established by GSA. When looking this up you should look at the base nightly charge excluding the tax.
  • The department head or designated approving authority may authorize the actual lodging cost without the GSA cap for the following circumstances:
    • Lodging costs below the GSA caps provided for the area are temporarily unavailable due to special functions such as fairs, sporting events, conventions or seasonal demand; or
    • Emergency travel arrangements preclude being able to find accommodations below the caps; or
    • Remote locations with limited accommodations within a 15-mile radius preclude obtaining accommodations below the caps; or
    • The traveler is employed in a regulatory or undercover function and has reasonable cause to believe there is risk to personal safety.

When the department head has authorized the cap to be exceeded, the traveler must complete and submit an approved “Request for Reimbursement of Actual Lodging Costs” form (this has been combined with the Request and Authorization to Travel form now.) For in-state travel where the lodging rate is exceeded, 1)please fill in the top portion of the Request and Authorization to Travel form with the travelers 790# through destination, 2)mark the appropriate reason for the lodging cost being exceeded, and 3) have the traveler and supervisor sign the bottom.

  • If externally funded, sponsor terms and conditions mandate that Federal travel requirements apply; costs above the allowable rates are the responsibility of the PI and department.
  • Travelers staying in a location that a receipt cannot be obtained or fail to obtain a receipt will be reimbursed based on the un-receipted lodging rate. In regards to an itemized receipt; credit card receipts (unless fully itemized), credit card statements, nor canceled checks are insufficient documentation.


Transportation Services

  • When traveling from campus, employees should use a transportation services vehicle whenever possible.
  • Procards can be used to purchase gas in Transportation Services Vehicles. If a State gas card is provided in the vehicle it should be used for refueling rather than the procard.

Rental Vehicles

  • All rental car costs should be paid using a UM Procard and secured using the University of Montana Rental Car contracts in place with Enterprise Rental and Hertz. (The Accounts Payable department can provide the membership information.)
  • Do not accept additional liability & comprehensive/collision insurance.  Travelers are automatically covered through the State of Montana and Visa.
    •  Individuals may choose to add additional insurance at their own expense through the rental car agency to cover personal items, as these are not covered under the State of Montana’s Property Insurance.  This coverage cannot be charged on the Procard.
    • The rental vehicle should be refueled prior to return. 
    • The rental vehicle gas may be charged on the Procard.
      • Out of Pocket rental gas can be reimbursed on the Travel Expense Report.  The itemized gas receipt needs to be submitted for reimbursement.
      • If the Rental Contract is longer than 30 days, please notify the University Risk Management Coordinator.

Private Vehicle

  • The Personal Vehicle Authorization Form is to be completed and approved prior to travel and submitted with travel documentation.
  • Reimbursement rates for private vehicle mileage are defined by State statute. Please see State of MT for rates.
  • To report mileage, the beginning odometer and end odometer readings should be submitted.  For multiple or lengthy trips, there is a mileage log available on the travel web page.
  • Procards should not be used to purchase gas for private or department vehicles.  If an error occurs then an abatement needs to be promptly processed.
  • Personal vehicle reimbursement at the higher mileage rate is justified when one of the following occurs (and must be documented on the TER):
    • No Transportation Services Vehicle or Rental Vehicle is available and it is in the best interest of the state not to use a government vehicle
    • Driving less than 25 miles per day.  i.e. errands to pick up/drop off things. 


  • Conference/Registration fees should be paid using the UM Procard. You may also enter this in GrizMart as a Non-PO payment to pay the vendor. If paid by employee, list as an out-of-pocket expense on your Travel Expense Report and attach the registration receipt.
  • Special conference events of a personal nature, such as entertainment, are non-reimbursable and must be paid by the traveler personally.
  • When trips are canceled, that include a prepaid fee, it is the departments responsibility to apply for a timely refund.


  • A meal per diem allowance may be obtained by UM employees and students in travel status if the total is over $50. If the meal per diem is less than $50 you will need to submit on your travel expense report for reimbursement.
  • Meal per diem advances need to be submitted on your Request and Authorization to Travel form and entered into GrizMart for processing. Allow a minimum of 10 business days processing time. (Please change your GrizMart cart name to the departure date and per diem to help with processing).
  • The Accounts Payable department issues checks once a week, on Thursday's. Checks are mailed to the travelers’ home address. Signing up for Direct Deposit Application and Authorization for Accounts Payable is encouraged.
  • The UM Procard CANNOT be used to pay for travel per diem meals.
  • The meal per diem rates have been established by the State of Montana based on fixed rate and travel times.
  • Travelers do not need to submit receipts for in-state and out-of-state meal per diem. Foreign travel meal per diem requires itemized receipts be submitted if the traveler is being reimbursed for the actual meal cost that is above the foreign per diem rate.
  • Travelers may not claim per diem for meals that are included in, or provided by, a conference or meeting that the traveler is attending.
  • To be eligible for a meal allowance while traveling on State business, you must; be in travel status for more than three continuous hours and be at least 15 miles from the headquarters or home (whichever is closer).
  • In-State travel is considered to be: any travel that occurs within or to the State of Montana.

Meal Per Diem

In be eligible for reimbursement for travel meals you must have been in travel status for at least three (3) continuous hours within one of the following time ranges:



Per Diem

Time Range

Meal Allowed

In State

Out of State


12:01 am to 10 am

Morning meal

$  7.50


10:01 am to 3 pm

Midday meal  

$  8.50


3:01 pm to midnight

Evening meal



  • Travel is considered to be out-of-state from the time a flight is boarded with a destination outside of Montana. 
  • Travel status for airline travel begins 1 ½ hours before the flight departure time.

Non-Overnight Meal Per Diem

  • Non-Overnight meals are determined by the travel shift.
  • A travel shift is defined as 1 hour before the employees regularly assigned work shift begins and 1 hour after the work shift ends. Standard UM Shift is 8-5.
  • During this travel shift only one (1) meal can be claimed.
  • When a departure or a return occurs outside of the travel shift, that additional meal can be reimbursed.
  • When travel is totally outside of the daily travel shift times, all 3 meals can be claimed for reimbursement.
  • Non-Overnight meals are a taxable benefit.  Meals are paid by the Accounts Payable department and reported to the Human Resource Services department for tax deduction from your paycheck.
  • Group travel cannot be used for non-overnight travel due to the tax liability.


  • Any travel outside of the 50 United States is considered Out-of-Country/Foreign Travel.

Foreign meal per diem rates established by the State of Montana: Section 2-18-501(4) MCA are:

Breakfast - $7

Lunch - $11

Dinner -$18

Total Daily - $36

Nightly Lodging - $155

  • If the daily meal or lodging costs exceed the rates established by the MT State Statute the employee, student, or non-employee may be reimbursed for the actual meal and lodging expenses up to the daily maximum established by the United States Department of State for that specific area. With itemized receipts.  Rates are available here: click here
  • NOTE: Itemized receipts must be submitted with the converted US dollar amount written on them.  If meal receipts are not included you will be paid the state foreign per diem rate. Per Diem advances will be issued at $36/day and any difference will be reimbursed upon completion of travel.
  • The Foreign Meal Worksheet is available on the travel website to be used to account for the meal breakdown for each daily meal to reflect either the state per diem amount, or the receipted amount up to the Department of State Per Diem Rate.
  • To look up the Per Diem Breakdown/Lodging rates by area please follow these instructions:
  • The first link on this page takes you to the foreign meal per diem rates by location.  Choose a country from the drop down menu on this page.  Click Go and it will then take you to a list of cities in that country.  Find the M & IE rate (meals and incidentals) for the city (or “other” if not listed and take note of it).  
  • Next you will need to go the second link on the home page (FTR Appendix B – Breakdown of Meals/Incidentals).  On this page, find the amount listed from the M & IE rate column on the first page.  The number will be broken down into four columns: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and incidentals.  Add the amounts from the breakfast, lunch and dinner columns for the daily maximum meal per diem total. 
  • Grants must also follow the travel guidelines of their contract and their granting agency as well as University of Montana travel policies. 
  • If you are traveling using grant funds, you must be in compliance with the “Fly America Act” using a US Flag air carrier service.
  • Rental Cars: When traveling in foreign countries, additional insurance coverage should be accepted through the rental agency.


  • Miscellaneous business expenses associated with business travel are reimbursable.
  • Individual expense items of $25 or greater must be supported by paid receipts and itemized as out of pocket expenses on the travel expense report.
  • Examples of allowable miscellaneous expenses include: taxi fares, baggage handling.
  • Non-Reimbursable expenses:  personal telephone charges, alcohol/food charges, tips and meal taxes, exercise facility charges, hotel movie charges.


  • Student Travel is authorized when the travel is related to University business and is approved by the appropriate UM supervisor.
  • All travel procedures outlined apply for student travel; therefore the students department should try to secure Flight, Lodging, Transportation and Registration with a UM Procard when possible.  Since it may not always be possible for this to occur Accounts Payable will issue a travel advance to students with a request and authorization to travel form.
  • Items that may be included in the advance calculation:
    • Lodging, rental vehicle, airline tickets, conference registration, ground transportation, anticipated mileage for a personal vehicle
    • Students may only have two (2) travel advances outstanding at any one time.
    • Once travel is complete a Travel Expense Report should be completed to reconcile the travel advance.  If money is owed back to the University a check made payable should be attached to the Travel Expense Report and sent to the treasury department for deposit and validation of the expense report. The department should then enter the Travel Expense Report in GrizMart with a $0 Expense Report submission.  Accounts Payable will review the Travel Expense Report and clear the travel advance balance and charge the expense to the departmental index and expense account.  If money is not owed to the UM or the traveler is owed a reimbursement complete the Travel Expense Report and submit through GrizMart.  Accounts Payable will review for travel policy compliance and issue a reimbursement and/or clear the travel advance balance and charge to the department index and expense account.
    • If a Travel Expense Report is not submitted to Accounts Payable within 40 days of the trip conclusion the travel advance amount less any per diem advance will be placed on the student’s bill and a hold put on the students account.  The department will be charged the entire amount of the travel advance.


  • To qualify for group travel 4 or more travelers must be traveling at the same time, in the same mode of transportation, to the same event, and stay at the same hotel.  If any of the travelers  have any deviation from that the travel they cannot be included as part of a group travel.
  • One employee will be designated as the prime traveler.  The Prime traveler is responsible for paying for the expenses incurred by the group during the trip.  All per diem and reimbursements are issued to the Prime Traveler.
  • A group travel notification identifying the Prime Traveler and all others must be completed and attached with the travel paperwork.
  • Group travel may only be used for overnight trips.


  • For in-state travel: the Request and Authorization for Travel needs to be completed only if a meal advance is being requested, or if the nightly lodging rate exceeds the federal nightly rate. You then have to complete the form to fill out the lodging section and/or advance meal per diem request.
  • For any per diem advance or student travel advance that is being requested the completed Request and Authorization to Travel form will need to be entered in GrizMart on the Travel Form for processing.  Accounts Payable Checks are only issued on Thursday; please ensure that you are entering a Per Diem request at least 2 Thursdays prior to the traveler’s departure.
    • Change the name of your GrizMart cart to the departure date/RAT or the departure date/Per Diem to aid in processing.
    • For out-of-state and foreign travel the Request and Authorization to Travel form should be completed and authorized prior to travel.


  • The Travel Expense Report-TER documents and summarizes all costs incurred by the traveler related to that trip.
  • TER has to be completed within 90 days of the trip conclusion. The completed TER, copies of all Procard receipts and out of pocket receipts need to be entered into the GrizMart on the Travel Form.
  • TER’s for in-state travel require a supervisor’s signature as the RAT would not have been completed prior to travel.  TER’s for out-of state travel will only require a supervisor signature as deemed by the department as authorization was secured on the RAT.
  • Traveler reimbursements are mailed to a home address.
  • In situations where travel funds are limited and full reimbursement of travel costs allowed by state regulations is not possible the traveler must initial the reimbursement waiver acknowledgement.  The University assumes no responsibility for maintaining records to support un-reimbursed expenses deducted by employees when they file their personal income tax returns.
  • Travelers who do not file their TER within 90 days after the trip conclusion may forfeit their right to reimbursement.


  • Is considered a part of contract service all travel will be recorded through the SOW that is done on the contract service.


  • If the traveler is authorized by their supervisor to combine a personal component of travel to their business trip, additional costs associated with personal travel must be paid by the UM traveler at their own expense.
  • Documentation must be attached to show no additional cost is being paid by the University of Montana.  For Example: If the traveler is staying in a location for additional days they must print the flight cost for what travel would have been had they just traveled for just the normal business days at the time you are making your arrangements, Single occupancy for employee lodging; additional costs for family needs to be paid by the traveler.







Personal Mileage Reimbursement

Private Vehicle –use requirement met

For the first 1,000 miles

After the first 1,00 miles

30.1 cents/mi.

62.5 cents/mi.

59.5 cents/mi.

30.1 cents/mi.

62.5 cents/mi.

59.5 cents/mi.


MEALS (maximum allowable)

          Breakfast       12:01am – 10am

          Lunch            10:01am - 3pm

          Dinner            3:01pm - 12 pm

          Full Daily Allowance





$ 30.50






Foreign Per Diem** 





To be reimbursed up to the Maximum Federal Rate per meal, itemized receipts in US dollars must be submitted. The traveler will be reimbursed at the lessor rate: receipt vs Federal Rate. .


Maximum Allowable (receipt required)                       

Per Diem Rates as of October 1, 2009

Maximum Allowable (without receipt)



$83 plus tax or prescribed Federal Rate**




$83 plus tax or prescribed Federal Rate




$155 plus tax**



In order to claim reimbursement for a meal, the traveler must have been in travel status for at least three (3) continuous hours within meal time ranges


             Baggage, Taxi Receipt

Actual but Reasonable.

Receipt required if cost is $25.00 or greater.

Actual but Reasonable.

Receipt required if cost is $25.00 or greater.

Actual but Reasonable

Receipt required if cost is $25.00 or greater.

 ** The Foreign Per Diem system provides lodging and meal per diem rates for all areas in the world.