Share This

Lodging and Meal Allowances

Finance and Administration

Lodging and Meal Allowances



Per Diem is the allowance for lodging (excluding taxes), meals and incidental expenses.  The General Services Administration (GSA) establishes per diem rates for destinations within the Continental United States (CONUS). The State Department establishes the foreign rates (for example, Russia, Aruba, Bahamas, Europe, etc.).  The Department of Defense (DOD) establishes non-foreign rates (OCONUS) such as Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Guam.  

Per NYS Travel guidelines, lodging costs that exceed the stated per diem rates must be requested in writing and approved by the Fiscal Officer.



Although, policy permits, it is strongly recommended, for the sake of simplicity, that employees DO NOT charge meals to the Travel Card.  Employees are entitled to established per diem meal and incidentals allowances during overnight trips, based on travel location.  

Use the above referenced federal government links to search national and international travel locations for meals and incidentals allowances, to determine and claim "Per Diems" on expense reports.  Travelers may claim 80% of these amounts for dinner and 20% for breakfast; (lunch is not reimbursable under State policy). Receipts are not required, to claim this method of reimbursement.  

If, however, meals and incidentals are charged to the Travel Card, then, employees are responsible for maintaining and submitting all itemized receipts for meals and keeping within federal reimbursement rates. Itemized receipts must contain ALL of the following details: 

  1. Business Name
  2. Date
  3. Meal Item(s) Purchased - Alcoholic beverages or related costs can NEVER be paid for or reimbursed by tax-levy funds.
  4. Price of Each Item
  5. Total Amount of Bill
  6. Method of Payment

Credit card receipts and bank statements, generally, reflect total amounts only; and are, therefore, not acceptable without the above referenced itemization of meals purchased.  

Keep in mind, that you cannot combine both methods on the same trip - i.e. claim Per Diems AND charge meals to the Travel Card with the intention of submitting meal receipts. 

Please refer to the NYS Office of the State Comptroller Travel FAQs and the  State of New York Office of the State Comptroller Travel Manual for more details, as well as information regarding local travel.