Federal Travel Regulations

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» Posted by on Jan 19, 2014 in Business Practices, Government Traveler Comments | 0 comments

There are several resources that are available to both travelers and systems staff that guide and govern the federal government travel process.  One of the most important documents is the Federal Travel Regulations or FTR.  The FTR provides regulations on just about any aspect of travel that you can think of from how reservations are to be made, how they should be paid for and what expenses are allowable on the voucher.

The FTR mandates that all reservations should be made using a Travel Management Center.  It also mandates that all reservations are to be paid for with the government travel card.  This means that the traveler isn’t permitted to charge official travel expenses on a personal card.  While there are additional benefits to the traveler by doing this, it also allows the government to better track expenses.

The FTR also discusses which expenses are allowed to be claimed on the travel voucher.  From my personal experience in auditing travel vouchers, it’s amazing some of the expenses that travelers feel they should be reimbursed for.  Although the FTR mandates which expenses can be claimed, it falls back to the approving official to ensure that only allowable expenses are claimed and reimbursed.  The eTravel system has some built-in checks to ensure that travelers follow certain parts of the FTR but it can’t check every single item on the voucher.

There are certain areas of the FTR that are not overly clear.  In this case, each agency usually has a policy that provides additional detail for what the traveler is supposed to do.  This also allows for agencies to be stricter on what they allow and don’t allow.  The FTR must be followed but allows for an agency to put additional restrictions in place as long as they aren’t more lenient than the FTR.

Without the FTR there would be no consistency in what is allowed while on official travel.  Although I feel that certain areas need to be revised and/or explained, it’s good that there’s a basis for all agencies to follow.

By: Jason Caltrider

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