Terms and Definitions for Purposes of Travel
It is important to understand the myriad terms associated with government temporary duty (TDY) travel. Many travel disputes could be avoided or resolved simply by understanding the terms and how they are used. The following are some of the most common terms that relate to federal travel. For additional terms, consult with your agency travel manager and refer to the current Federal Travel Regulation (FTR).
Any place of public lodging that is listed on the national master list of approved accommodations. The national master list of approved accommodations is compiled, periodically updated, and published in the Federal Register by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Additionally, the approved accommodation list is available on the U.S. Fire Administration’s website, www.usfa.fema.gov/hotel/index.htm.
Automated teller machine (ATM) services
Government contractor–provided ATM services that allow cash withdrawals to be charged to a government contractor–issued charge card.
Private-sector supplier of air, rail, or bus transportation.
A meeting, retreat, seminar, symposium, or event that involves attendee travel. The term “conference” also applies to training activities that are considered to be conferences under 5 CFR 410.404.
Calculations that show what the allowable travel costs would have been if the employee had traveled according to the recommended guidelines for official travel. When scheduling travel according to personal preference, rather than the most advantageous arrangement to the government, travelers will be reimbursed for the amount of the constructive cost of travel or the actual cost, whichever is less.
Continental United States (CONUS)
The 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia.
U.S.-certificated air carriers that are under contract with the government to furnish federal employees and other persons authorized to travel at government expense with passenger transportation service. These include the General Services Administration (GSA) scheduled airline passenger service between selected U.S. cities/airports and between selected U.S. and international cities/airports at reduced fares.
An immediate family member of the employee.
See Employee with a disability.
An adult in a domestic partnership with an employee of the same sex.
A committed relationship between two adults of the same sex, in which they meet all of the following conditions:
Are each other’s sole domestic partner and intend to remain so indefinitely
Maintain a common residence and intend to continue to do so (or would maintain a common residence but for an assignment abroad or other employment-related, financial, or similar obstacle)
Are at least 18 years of age and mentally competent to consent to a contract
Share responsibility for a significant measure of each other’s financial obligations (i.e., there is financial interdependence between the partners; does not exclude partnerships in which one partner stays at home while the other is the primary breadwinner)
Are not married or joined in a civil union to anyone else
Are not a domestic partner of anyone else
Are not related in a way that, if they were of opposite sex, would prohibit legal marriage in the U.S. jurisdiction in which the domestic partnership was formed
Are willing to certify, if required by the agency, that they understand that willful falsification of any documentation required to establish that an individual is in a domestic partnership may lead to disciplinary action and the recovery of the cost of benefits received related to such falsification, as well as constitute a criminal violation under 18 U.S.C. 1001, and that the method for securing such certification, if required, will be determined by the agency
Are willing to disclose promptly, if required by the agency, any dissolution or material change in the status of the domestic partnership.
The definition of domestic partnership also requires that the partners share responsibility for a significant measure of each other’s financial obligations. This criterion requires only that there be financial interdependence between the partners and does not exclude partnerships in which one partner stays at home while the other is the primary breadwinner.
E-Gov Travel Service (ETS)
The government-contracted, end-to-end travel management service that automates and consolidates the federal travel process in a self-service web-centric environment; covers all aspects of official travel, including travel planning, authorization, reservations, ticketing, expense reimbursement, and travel management reporting.
Employee with a disability – see also Special needs
An employee who has a disability and is otherwise generally covered under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 701–797b).
“Disability,” with respect to an employee, means:
Having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
Having a record of such an impairment
Being regarded as having such an impairment.
The definition does not include an individual who is currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs, when the covered entity acts on the basis of such use.
“Physical or mental impairment” means:
Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organ, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine
This definition includes, but is not limited to, such diseases and conditions as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, and orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments.
“Major life activities” means functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
“Has a record of such an impairment” means the employee has a history of, or has been classified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
“Is regarded as having such an impairment” means the employee has:
A physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit major life activities but the impairment is treated by the agency as constituting such a limitation
A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities as a result of the attitudes of others toward such an impairment
None of the impairments defined under “physical or mental impairment,” but is treated by the employing agency as having a substantially limiting impairment.
For purposes of TDY allowances, an “employee” is:
An individual employed by an agency, regardless of status or rank
An individual employed intermittently in government service as an expert or consultant and paid on a daily when-actually-employed (WAE) basis
An individual serving without pay or at $1 a year (also referred to as “invitational traveler”).
For purposes of TDY allowances, includes:
An executive agency as defined in 5 U.S.C. 105 (except for government-controlled corporations as defined in 31 U.S.C. 9101)
A military department
An office, agency, or other establishment in the legislative branch
The government of the District of Columbia.
The definition does not include:
A government-controlled corporation
A member of Congress
An office or committee of either or both houses of Congress
An office, agency, or other establishment in the judicial branch.
Foreign air carrier
An air carrier that does not hold a certificate issued by the United States under 49 U.S.C. 41102.
Foreign area – see also Non-foreign area
Any area, including the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands, situated outside both CONUS and the non-foreign areas.
Government contractor–issued individually billed charge card
A government contractor–issued charge card used by authorized individuals to pay for official travel- and transportation-related expenses for which the contractor bills the employee.
An automobile (or “light truck,” as defined in 41 CFR 101-38, including vans and pickup trucks) that meets one of the following conditions:
Owned by an agency
Assigned or dispatched to an agency from the GSA Interagency Fleet Management System
Leased by the government for a period of 60 days or longer from a commercial source.
An automobile or aircraft provided by the government.
Government Transportation Request (GTR) (Standard Form 1169)
A government document used to procure common carrier transportation services; obligates the government to pay for transportation services provided.
Any of the following members of the employee’s household at the time he/she reports for duty at the new permanent duty station or performs other authorized travel involving family members:
Children of the employee, the employee’s spouse, or the employee’s domestic partner, who are unmarried and under 21 years of age or who, regardless of age, are physically or mentally incapable of self-support. (The term “children” includes natural offspring; stepchildren; adopted children; grandchildren, legal minor wards, or other dependent children who are under legal guardianship of the employee, the employee’s spouse, or the domestic partner; and unborn children born and moved after the employee’s effective date of transfer.)
Dependent parents (including step- and legally adoptive parents) of the employee, the employee’s spouse, or the employee’s domestic partner.
Dependent brothers and sisters (including step- and legally adoptive brothers and sisters) of the employee, the employee’s spouse, or the employee’s domestic partner, who are unmarried and under 21 years of age or who, regardless of age, are physically or mentally incapable of self-support.
An individual who is being considered for employment by an agency. The individual may currently be a government employee.
Authorized travel of individuals either not employed or employed (under 5 U.S.C. 5703) intermittently in the government service as consultants or experts and paid on a daily when-actually-employed basis and for individuals serving without pay or at $1 a year when they are acting in a capacity that is directly related to, or in connection with, official activities of the government. Travel allowances authorized for such persons are the same as those normally authorized for employees in connection with TDY.
Lodgings-plus per diem system
The method of computing per diem allowances for official travel in which the per diem allowance for each travel day is established on the basis of the actual amount the traveler pays for lodging, plus an allowance for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE), the total of which does not exceed the applicable maximum per diem rate for the location.
The states of Alaska and Hawaii; the commonwealths of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands; and the territories and possessions of the United States (excluding the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands).
An area defined by the agency that includes the location where the employee regularly performs his/her duties or an invitational traveler’s home or regular place of business. The area may be a mileage radius around a particular point, a geographic boundary, or any other definite domain, provided no part of the area is more than 50 miles from where the employee regularly performs his/her duties or from an invitational traveler’s home or regular place of business. If the employee’s work involves recurring travel or varies on a recurring basis, the location where the work activities of the employee’s position of record are based is considered the regular place of work.
Permanent duty station (PDS) – see Official station
Privately owned automobile
A car or light truck (including vans and pickup trucks) that is owned or leased for personal use by an individual.
Privately owned vehicle (POV)
Any vehicle such as an automobile, motorcycle, aircraft, or boat operated by an individual that is not owned or leased by a government agency and is not commercially leased or rented by an employee under a government rental agreement for use in connection with official government business.
A commercially rented or hired vehicle other than a privately owned vehicle and other than a vehicle owned or under contract to an agency.
Physical characteristics of a traveler not necessarily defined as a disability. Such physical characteristics could include the weight or height of the traveler. See also Employee with a disability.
Temporary duty (TDY) location
A place, away from an employee’s official station, where the employee is authorized to travel.
Written permission to travel on official business. There are three basic types of travel authorizations/orders:
Unlimited open. An authorization allowing an employee to travel for any official purpose without further authorization.
Limited open. An authorization allowing an employee to travel on official business without further authorization under certain conditions, such as travel to specific geographic areas for specific purposes, subject to trip cost ceilings, or for specific periods of time.
Trip-by-trip. An authorization allowing an individual or group of individuals to take one or more specific official business trips; must include specific purpose, itinerary, and estimated costs.
A written request, supported by documentation and receipts where applicable, for reimbursement of expenses incurred in the performance of official travel. Also referred to as a “voucher.”
A service for booking a common carrier (e.g., air, rail, and bus confirmations and seat assignments), lodging accommodations, and car rental services; fulfilling (i.e., ticketing) reservations; providing basic management information on those activities; and meeting other requirements as specified in FTR section 301-73.106. A TMS may include a travel management center (TMC), a commercial ticket office (CTO), an electronically available system, other commercial methods of arranging travel, or an in-house system.
The 48 contiguous states, the District of Columbia, and the states and areas defined under the term “non-foreign area.” For purposes of travel on U.S. flag air carriers, defined as the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories and possessions of the United States (49 U.S.C. 40102).
Voucher – see Travel claim
Explore how to assess a wide range of factors to determine which contract type will provide the government the best value...
Transform your workplace into a well of learning and employee potential fulfilled with the help of this book!
Use past performance to win contracts at the lowest risk and cost
Learn project management processes, tools, and techniques that are scalable and adaptable to small projects.