6.00 Special Travel

Relocation guidelines are no longer part of the MIT Travel Policy. For information on relocation, please contact the MIT Human Resources Relocation Specialist at 617-253-4249.

Students are treated the same as other MIT Travelers, and should follow the requirements and guidelines detailed in this policy.

  • Students may obtain an MIT Travel Card, with approval from the primary authorizer for the cost object to which expenses will be charged.
  • If a department does not authorize a student to obtain an individual MIT Travel Card, the department is encouraged to book student travel with the Department Travel Card.
  • In cases where departments are paying for the travel of prospective students to and during a visit to MIT, departments are encouraged to charge as much as possible of the prospective students' travel expenses to the Department Travel Card, including miscellaneous expenses incurred during the course of the visit.
  • MIT strongly discourages travel by groups of more than three faculty or staff members on the same aircraft or on extended automobile trips, when catastrophic injuries to the group could seriously impair the operation of an Institute activity.  This restriction should be enforced by the supervisors according to the circumstances of travel and the level of responsibility of the Travelers. For those in key positions, it is expected that this restriction will be rigidly self-imposed.
  • Departments planning trips with student groups are discouraged, whenever feasible, from booking travel arrangements for more than 20 students on the same aircraft or in the same train or vehicle.

Prospective employees may be reimbursed, if authorized by the DLC, for travel expenses incurred in connection with an employment interview in Cambridge or elsewhere, in accordance with the normal travel policy for employees. It is recommended that Department Travel Cards be used for all expenses associated with such travel, including miscellaneous reimbursable expenses incurred during the course of travel.

  • It may be necessary for individuals assigned to temporary duty outside the local commuting distance to maintain a local residence in addition to a permanent residence elsewhere. Such individuals who have approved arrangements may be eligible for travel subsistence and related expenses. These expenses are referred to as dislocation expenses and must be arranged in advance.
  • The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has strict rules concerning the tax status of reimbursement for dislocation expenses.

Employees who are not eligible to receive payment for overtime may be reimbursed to cover transportation and meal expenses incurred when they are called to work on an emergency basis on scheduled days off or recalled to work after a normal day's work, up to the following limits:

  • Lodging: Actual cost of lodging in Cambridge area hotels as documented by the itemized receipts. Use of MIT's local preferred hotels and extended stay facilities is strongly encouraged.
  • Transportation: Current prevailing IRS mileage reimbursement rate or the cost of public transportation, as used. The 2019 rate is 58 cents per mile. The 2020 rate is 57.5 cents per mile.
  • Food: Actual cost of meals.

In cases where departments are paying for the travel of visitors and guests to and during a visit to MIT, departments should charge as much as possible of the travel expenses to the Department Travel Card, including miscellaneous expenses incurred during the course of the visit. It is recommended that the Department Travel Card be linked to a guest account. To set up a linkage with a guest account, email travel-support@mit.edu. Visitor and guest travel should follow the MIT Travel Policy.

On occasion, a spouse will have a formal role in a MIT-related event. In such circumstances, travel expenses for the spouse may be reimbursed by MIT.

  • The Provost's Office must approve MIT payment of travel expenses for spouses in advance of the travel. Requests must be made in writing and should include a clear explanation of how the spouse’s presence will be part of the formal MIT-related program.
  • Spouses who accompany MIT employees on business trips for personal reasons do so at the expense of the Traveler.

Per diem is the payment of a flat sum to cover food, lodging, and incidental expenses for each day in lieu of a statement of actual costs. Per-diem rates may not exceed the rates set by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) for domestic locations and by the U.S. State Department for foreign locations for the dates of travel. When a per diem is used, the MIT Travel Credit Card may not be used as a form of payment.

Per diem may be used in the following two circumstances:

  • To obtain reimbursement at a daily rate for expenses of individuals hosted on campus by DLCs
  • To obtain reimbursement at a daily rate for expenses while on domestic or international business travel – an alternative to using the MIT Travel Card or to paying out of pocket and obtaining reimbursement for each individual expense.

Per diem may be claimed to cover lodging and/or meals and incidental expenses. On travel day, meals and incidental expense per diem should be pro-rated based on departure and arrival times. Lodging per diem should only be claimed for the number of nights that the traveler stayed in a hotel. The number of days and the location determining the per diem rate should be cited.

Travelers who want to use per diem to obtain reimbursement for expenses while on domestic travel must obtain prior approval from department heads, laboratory directors or project supervisors associated with the cost object, and VPF Travel. It is not necessary to obtain prior approval in order to use per diem for international travel.

Travelers using Meals and Incidental Expenses per diem should not seek separate reimbursement for incidental expenses. Incidental expenses are covered by the per diem. The Federal Travel Regulation describes incidental expenses as:

  • Fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses and others on ships, and hotel servants in foreign countries.
  • Mailing cost associated with filing travel vouchers and payment of charge card billings.

See the GSA and State Department websites for domestic and foreign per diem rates.