Travel Information

In January 2023, the Physics Dept held a zoom session to provide instruction and explanation, walking through the Workday travel process. The Zoom video recording is available to view in the OSU Physics Microsoft Teams General Files "Pre-Trip Zoom Recording 1_19_2023.mp4" 

OSU Travel Policy (PDF) 
Please refer to this policy when arranging your trip for OSU Business and seeking reimbursement of your travel expenses.


Pre-approval (Spend Authorization) is required for all OSU Business related trips.

Have a spend authorization approved prior to making travel arrangements or purchases. Please consult with your group’s admin about planning your trip. 

Lead Time

It is important to get your Spend Authorization with as much lead time before the trip as possible to leave time for review and approval of the travel.
The department guidelines for how long to submit the Spend Authorization before the start date of travel:

  • Domestic travel: 2 weeks
  • International travel: 4 weeks

To Gain Pre-trip Approval:

1. Get an email from your advisor approving the trip.

Ask them to include the funding source for the trip, it will either be a grant number (GR# ) or UNIV worktags.

2. Get travel quotes for airfare, and or car rental, and or mileage (driving your own car). 

You can get a travel quote by calling or emailing a CTP agent. Or by going online using the concur system. Airfare requests should be requested as far in advance as possible to keep the ticket cost low.

3. Go into Workday and fill out a Spend Authorization (SA) following the job aid instructions: How to Create a Spend Authorization

Attach quotes for airfare, car rental, comparison forms if applicable, and approval email from faculty advisor before submitting.

4. Once the spend authorization is approved in Workday, you can finalize the quote/purchase the airfare and make purchases for the trip.  

Note: All personal reimbursement expense reports must be submitted within 60 days of the transaction date. No longer do you wait until after the trip for reimbursement. (You can submit multiple expense reports for one spend authorization.)

5. As always, at anytime you have questions, ask your group admin for support!

Additional Details for completing your travel in Workday

Justification (aka Business Purpose of trip)

A concise and detailed justification is needed. Include answers to where you're going (i.e. city/institution), to what (i.e. name of conference), why (i.e. to present a poster), to see whom, dates and research titles.

Including your advisor's name on the SA is helpful.
No acronyms allowed, please spell out all abbreviations.
If there is a website for the event, please list the URL in the business purpose or in the comments.

Examples of a good JUSTIFICATION: 

Attend the March American Physical Society Meeting, March 14-18, 2022 in Chicago Illinois to learn about advances in the field and meet potential collaborators.
Present a talk at the March American Physical Society Meeting, March 14-18, 2022 in Chicago Illinois.
Present a poster at  the March American Physical Society Meeting, March 14-18, 2022 in Chicago Illinois.


It is required to purchase all flights with OSU's travel agent Corporate Travel Planners (CTP) either by working with an agent directly or searching flights online in Concur

Meals / Per Diem

  • Full Per Diem: look up the federal rate for the city/cities you will be traveling to on the GSA for Domestic locations and Federal site for International locations.
  • Partial Per Diem: specify the flat rate amount you'd like to receive each day in place of full per diem. (This is submitted in the Workday SA under "actual meal expense" category, as there is not a selection for "partial per diem" and then use the spreadsheet template for calculating meal costs for reimbursement.)
  • Decline all per diem for entire trip.
  • Reimbursement of actual meal expense by submitting itemized receipts, we do not recommend this option.

Note: It is University Policy to not give a per diem allowance for meals that are provided as part of the workshop, seminar, or served on your flight. Meals would be noted in your conference agendas and flight itineraries and where appropriate, advanced permission for an exception for dietary restrictions could be accommodated.


  • Receipt must be for one person unless otherwise noted.
  • Put the lodging costs on two expense lines: One expense line is for "Lodging" and contains costs for daily room rate only. The other expense line is for "Lodging Fees and Taxes" and contains costs for the lodging taxes and fees. 

It is strongly recommended that all travelers have separate room accommodations.  

Registration Fee

  • This may be able to be prepaid if you'd like but you must request it well in advance of the registration deadline. If you decide to pay with your personal funds, save the receipt and submit an expense report within 60 days of payment on receipt.

Ground Transportation

  • This includes expenses for taxis, Uber, Lyft, etc. Receipts are required for Uber/Lyft. 


Your Expense Report (Reimbursement) must be submitted within 60 days of your return date.

How to submit an Expense Report in Workday

Note: Worktags from the Spend Authorization do not carry over to the expense report automatically, please check the SA and manually enter the same ones before submitting expense report. 

Special Situations

Personal Travel

Personal travel in conjunction with OSU Business travel is allowed as long as it's documented before you leave.

Utilize the ASC Travel Comparison Form (link below) or the University Travel Comparison Form to organize comparison information. This will need to be attached to the SA when submitting. You will only be reimbursed for the cost of the business portions of the trip.



International Travel

For all international travel, please complete the DocuSign for acknowledging understanding about the risks while traveling. Attach a signed pdf copy of the form to your Spend Authorization. Effective Dec 16, 2022, the pdf acknowledgment will be replaced by a questionnaire in Workday that is automatically prompted based off your travel location listed in your SA. The pdf is not needed if the questionnaire is completed. 

All graduate students will also need to work with their admin to procure supplemental health insurance for traveling abroad. 

Rental Car

Rental Car Discount Information

The CTP Travel Agent can add a rental car reservation to your airfare quote as needed. This is not prepaid like the flight, but can be reserved. 

You can also make rental car reservations online using Concur. Also, this will not prepay through Concur but it will secure the reservation per OSU rules.  

  •  National, Enterprise and Hertz are the preferred vendors.
  •  When using a company other than these three: Purchasing of insurances LDW and CDW is required!
  •  Economy size must be chosen unless a reason for larger size is provided.
  •  If wanting a larger car without just cause, a cost comparison can be done to reimburse the cheaper option, economy vs larger size.

Fill out comparison forms if you are planning to drive versus fly (either with personal vehicle or rental car). 

Cash Advance

  • No, unless otherwise discussed with your group admin.

3rd Party Reimbursement

  • If any expenses are expected to be reimbursed by another institution, please specify in the justification what expenses or amounts that you expect to receive.
  • If third party is paying for the full trip and no OSU reimbursement is expected, a spend authorization is still required to be submitted and approved pre-trip.

Travel Incidentals

For example, internet charges at hotel or airport. A business purpose will be required in the Memo field for all travel incidental expenses.