Travel Planning & Resources

Travel planning resources are consolidated here for your convenience. Travelers should refer to the Business Travel Services Procedure Manual (PDF) for a complete description of the business travel process and resources available to support university travel.

Domestic Travel Meal Per Diem Rates

Travelers should use the meal per diem rates listed below for all domestic travel. Please see Special Topics: Foreign Travel at the end of this the page for more resources supporting foreign travel.

Contiguous United States (CONUS)

There are two schedules of meal reimbursement rates available to travelers traveling within the continental United States: standard and high cost metropolitan area rates. High cost rates may be claimed if the traveler's destination is one of the cities or counties designated in the High Cost Metropolitan Areas (PDF) listing. 

Meal Reimbursement Rates

Note: Rates are subject to change each fiscal year.

 Meal Standard High-cost
Breakfast $10.00 $10.00
Lunch $12.00 $14.00
Dinner $25.00 $28.00
Total Meal Cost $47.00 $52.00

Prior meal per diem rates for fy15-17

Standard Meal Rate equaled: breakfast $9, lunch $11, and dinner $25. High Cost Meal Rate equaled: breakfast $9, lunch $13, and dinner $28.

Non-Contiguous/Non-Foreign United States (OCONUS)

For non-continental travel, Towson University refers to the “Local Meals” column found on the Defense Travel Management Office website for determining reimbursable meal per diems.  Examples of non-continental travel include Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, etc. When using this link, select "exclude military installations" to simplify search results.   

For partial day travel, per diem should be calculated based on the total local meal rate as follows: 15 percent for breakfast, 25 percent for lunch, 60 percent for dinner.

Group Travel Planning

Most group travel planning requires special resources and instructions.  Funds for large advances need to be requested as early as possible in the event special loans need to be requested from the state of Maryland. Faculty and staff planning a group travel event should contact the Business Travel Office for a pre-travel planning meeting.

Payment Options

During a typical business trip, travelers may use one or multiple university payment options. Please refer to the Business Travel Services Procedure Manual (PDF) for applications, usage, instructions and documentation requirements. Payment options include: 

  • Business Travel Office credit card
  • individual business travel card
  • invoice from vendor
  • personal funds
  • Visa procurement card (limited)
  • advance from the Business Travel Office 

Personal Vehicle Usage and Mileage Rates

Properly insured personal vehicles may be used for travel on university business. It is important to note that an employee's daily commute miles from home to their regular work location are not reimbursable per state regulations.  Therefore, commute miles must be deducted from the total miles claimed for each trip with the following exceptions: the trip starts and ends at the regular work location; the trip starts or ends on a non-duty day.

The use of a personal vehicle will be reimbursed in accordance with the current officially approved rate. The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The chart below details mileage rates along with effective dates.

current mileage allowance effective date
53.5 cents per mile January 01, 2017
Previous year mileage allowances effective date
54.0 cents per mile January 01, 2016
57.5 cents per mile January 01, 2015
56.0 cents per mile January 01, 2014

Related Websites and Resources

Airport Flight and Parking Information

Discounted Airfare and Hotel Site Recommendations

Driving distances and directions

Rental Cars

Preferred Travel Agencies

  • Globe Trotters: 301-570-0800 x116
  • Town & Country Travel: 410-825-4535

University system of Maryland Travel Policy

University Vehicles

Fleet Services manages the rental of vehicles to employees and student groups traveling on official university business. A university vehicle may be rented for university business only. For travel involving an approved travel authorization form, employees must attach a receipt copy of their final fleet services arrangement to their expense form. For more information on requesting a university vehicle, please see the Fleet Services website.            

Special Topics: Foreign Travel

University Guests

Departments wishing to invite foreign faculty, guests and advisors should first contact the Non-Resident Alien Tax Office (NRA) to initiate the foreign travel approval process prior to extending an invitation to their guest.  Once the NRA manager has approved their travel funding sources and obtained required approvals, university resources may be used to assist in purchasing travel arrangements. 

Foreign Meal Per Diem Schedules

Towson University refers to the U.S. State Department Meal Per Diems for Foreign Travel. Reimbursement rates are based on the applicable meal and incidental expense (M&IE) rate of the U.S. State Department in effect at the time of travel.  A partial day's per diem should be calculated based on the total meal and incidental expense rate as follows: 15 percent for breakfast, 25 percent for lunch, and 60 percent for dinner.

Foreign Travel Advisories

University travelers should regularly check the U.S. State Department website for travel restrictions and cautions. 

Foreign Travel Support Documentation

All university travelers must complete a travel waiver and travel warning representation, which can be found on the Provost's website. These documents must be attached to the Travel Authorization e-Form when requesting approvals for foreign travel. In addition, travelers must attach supporting documents as to how exchange rate fees were calculated. Please visit the Oanda website for the approved currency conversion rates. 

Passports and Visas

The U.S. State Department website provides all the information travelers need to prepare for their passport application process.

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