eTravel: How to plan and book your trip

Note: When traveling to a domestic conference/seminar/workshop/field site/etc., University Policy dictates that you can only depart ONE day before the event and return ONE day after the event ends. Alternatively, when traveling Internationally, Unviersity Policy dictates that you can depart only TWO days before the event and return within TWO days after it ends. Please plan your trips accordingly and provide the Department Office enough time to assist you and always save/provide your receipts!


  • Airfare: You may pay the airfare from your personal credit card and get reimbursed later; save the receipts (and at least one boarding pass) and send them to Natasha after the trip is complete. If you want to use a departmental card, contact Natasha and follow the rules described in the Pcard section below. To have the university prepay your travel, contact one of OSU's designated travel agencies or send your request to Natasha (preferred) with the exact flights you would like booked. You will need to provide the following information: Name on id, cell phone number, and date of birth. Once you have received a quote for the flight you prefer, if you have contacted the travel agency yourself, forward it on to Natasha so that a travel request can be created and the funds can be released to the travel agency for payment.
    • Note: To stay compliant with University policy, flights must be purchased at the lowest reasonable coach/economy fare that meets business needs (Travel 2.11 Policy, page 5, section I.Airfare/Rail)


  • Shuttle/Rail Services: Our pcard should not be used to pre-pay shuttle or rail/train services without a valid explanation and pre-approval from the department; these requests may be denied. Any expenses incurred for these services will be reimbursed after your travel with appropriate documentation, provided they comply with the University Travel Policy.


  • Registrations: Registrations can be pre-paid using the department card, provided you are using university funds. If a conference/meeting does not accept credit card payment, but instead requires a check, we can still pre-pay the conference registration for you (please ask Natasha for more information). If OSP funding must be used and the conference requires credit card payment, the employee will need to pre-pay the registration themselves and request reimbursement after they return from the travel (if you - or your PI - have a pcard for a grant, ask OSP if that can be used for registration first). If OSP funds are used and pre-payment via check is available/required, please see Natasha for more details.
  • Renting a car: Please review the Rental Car Information before booking a car; use the provided discount code and pin when booking. You are required to use the university contracted rental car agencies, which include the necessary LDW, CDW, DW and Liability insurance in rental agreements; policy also requires that a compact car (economy) be your first option and larger vehicles can only be reimbursed with valid pre-approved justification. Microbiology does not allow rental cars to be booked using the department pcard. Please review the travel policy in relation to Rental Car expenses and note what is allowable.
    • Note: If you use a university contracted agency, but do not use the University discount code and pin you will not be reimbursed for the rental.
    • You can also request a gas reimbursement with a rental vehicle (if not pre-paid with rental). You cannot request a mileage reimbursement with a rental car.


  • Driving Personal Vehicle: When driving a personal vehicle, you can get reimbursed for mileage only. If you are driving a certain distance/going outside of Ohio, a flight comparison must be provided (the request could be denied). Please keep in mind: Driving is not always the most cost effective travel option as the total travel time must also be considered when making this decision.
    • If a flight comparison is necessary, you will be reimbursed at the lowest possible cost. (for example, if a flight comparison is cheaper than mileage you would be reimbursed what it would have cost to fly; if the flight comparison is more than total mileage, you will be reimbursed the total cost of mileage).
    • mileage log is required for reimbursement when driving a personal vehicle
    • Gas receipts can no longer be reimbursed when driving a personal vehicle
      • If a PI would prefer to reimburse a lower amount for mileage, this must first be discussed and agreed upon with the traveler. 
      • The Department must know beforehand so that a comment can be made on the travel noting the agreed upon amount (or please provide an email that can be attached to the request).


  • Lodging: Hotels can either be booked using our travel agency, PO, or with a personal credit card. Microbiology does not allow the department credit card to be used to reserve/book any type of lodging.
    • When registering for a conference, the suggested accommodations of the conference must be used (to obtain the conference (and usually lowest) rate). However, if it is not used or available please provide a short justification along with your reimbursement (for example: the rate was no longer available when you registered).
    • If you choose to do no traditional house (for example: AirBNB or VRBO), you must provide justification even if it is cheaper.


  • Poster Printing: It is preferable that posters be paid well in advance of a conference/meeting and that a university pcard be used where available. However, if OSP funds are used you will need to pay yourself and be reimbursed after the trip. (Note: If your PI has a pcard for one of their OSP funds, please work with the PI and OSP to use that card for the poster printing payment if allowable)

Additional Information: 

  • Do not use our pcard to use an outside travel agency. As we have a contract with Corporate Travel Planners (CTP), we are required to use their services if going through a travel agent. If doing so, you must use your personal funds and may not be reimbursed additional travel agency fees. If you have used the department card/funds to use an outside travel agency, it is your responsibility to get the charge reversed and provide all required documentation. We also will not reimburse a travel agent fee if you used your personal funds to go outside of the University contracted Travel Agency.
  • Neither your PI or the department is responsible for paying for any non-employee travel (i.e. spouse, partner, friend, children, other family member, etc.). If someone else is planning to travel with you, you cannot use our department card or travel agency to book their flights - you must use personal funds and you will not be reimbursed for any charges related to the non-employee.
  • If someone else is planning to stay in your hotel room, you will need to provide a cost comparison to show there is no cost difference in having 1 vs. 2 guests (or more).

To review the reimbursement process, please click here.