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Definition of University Group Travel

University Group Travel is defined as pre-approved travel arranged by the University for several individuals to accomplish a specific common University purpose. University Group Travel may be paid for in full or in part, directly or indirectly by the University; organized by the University with participants or sponsors paying; organized by others and paid for by the University; or supported by the University in the form of organization, management, staffing, transportation, or space provision. University Group Travel may include arrangements for transportation, lodging, activities, events, meals, tours, interaction with experts, conferences, meetings, etc. University Group Travel must be conducted in full compliance with University Travel Policy.

Authorization Requirements

University departments do not have authority to enter into travel or hosting contracts/agreements, regardless of the dollar value.

Travel Services has been delegated the authority to execute contracts and agreements for travel services including:

  • Group Airline, Train, and Bus Travel
  • Lodging
  • Conference Accommodations and Events
  • Local Hosting

If your department is planning group travel or a local group event that will require a signed contract and/or will exceed the University's departmental $5,000 delegated procurement authority limit, contact Travel Services before entering into discussions with vendors.

University Group Travel must be pre-approved using a University Travel Approval Request. Pre-approval must be obtained from University personnel with the authority to approve travel for each group member. Both routine and non-routine expenses are to be detailed on the Travel Approval Request. Without documented advance approval, individuals could be held personally accountable and financially liable for arrangements. Institutional or reimbursable personal funds should not be expended without documented advance approval.

All participants/travelers must be listed on the Travel Approval Request. Participants who will be directly reimbursed for travel-related expenses must file an individual Travel Expense Statement in order to be reimbursed.

Use of University Contract Travel Agencies

Normally, group air and hotel accommodations should be made through the University contract travel agencies. The contract travel agencies are responsible for providing professional oversight for reservations, ticketing, and payment requirements for all University travel. Those arranging University Group Travel must comply with all University Travel Policy and Procurement regulations, including advance documented approval, compliance with competitive bid/delegated procurement authority policies, and guidelines for properly executed contracts/agreements. Only the Department of Business Services and the Department of Procurement and Supply have the authority to sign travel contracts, such as hotel, airfare, bus, and tour package agreements, on behalf of the University.

A purchase order is not required when utilizing the University's contract travel agencies. The University contract travel agencies will provide all coordination with Travel Services if it is necessary for a contract to be executed.

If specific operating requirements make it desirable to issue a contract for travel services directly with the hotel, etc., contact Travel Services for instruction on how to proceed.

Payment for University Group Travel

Following final approval of a Travel Approval Request, payment for University Group travel may be made using the following:

  1. University funds
  2. Personal funds of participants who are later reimbursed by the University
  3. Personal funds not to be reimbursed or to be reimbursed by a non-University source

The University Travel Card should be utilized for University-funded travel expenses. Those paying for travel accommodations on behalf of the University must obtain itemized receipts for all transactions in accordance with travel policy and procedures. Receipts are required for payment documentation when using University funds or personal funds to be reimbursed. Travel expense reimbursements must be obtained using the Travel Expense Statement.

Special Considerations for International Travel

Special identification, passport, visa, customs, insurance, and other requirements may apply to international group travel. The University department arranging travel is responsible for determining what documentation and other special circumstances apply to international travel to the specific destination(s). The travel arranger must verify each participant's citizenship, passport, visa, and travel authorization status prior to confirming their participation.

Travel arrangers should verify sponsor guidelines, restrictions, policies, and procedures prior to making reservations.

International travel may also involve payments made in foreign currency, variable or floating exchange rates, and other financial considerations specific to international travel.

Related Websites

Additional Information

Questions related to University Group Travel may be referred to Travel Services, Department of Business Services at 301.405.0607 or travel@mercury.umd.edu.