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state seal 10.10
Travel Management Requirements and Restrictions


June 7, 2012

Who must comply with these policies?

The following persons in the executive, legislative, or judicial branches of government must comply with the policies in this chapter:

  1. All state officers, employees, and volunteers that agencies have legal authority to utilize, unless otherwise provided by law.
  2. As provided in RCW 28B.10.029, institutions of higher education may use all appropriate means for making and paying for travel arrangements to support student, faculty, staff and other participants travel in the most cost effective and efficient manner possible. Methods used must be based on standard industry practices and be compliant with federal accountable plan requirements. Accordingly, they are exempt from Subsections 10.10.45, 10.30.60, 10.50.35, 10.50.40, 10.50.45, 10.50.50, 10.50.75, and 10.80.55.

  3. Persons other than state officers and employees, where travel expenses are authorized by statute but the statute is silent as to amount.
  4. Members of the Senate or House of Representatives. When on official legislative business, these members are entitled to receive allowances as provided in RCW 44.04.120 in lieu of per diem or travel expenses as stipulated in this chapter.
  5. Contractors, unless there are specific contractual arrangements modifying travel reimbursement.

These rules may be used as a guideline for the payment of legally authorized travel expenses for students and other clients of the agency.


October 9, 2015

Agency responsibilities

Agency heads, and their designees for directing travel and approving reimbursement, are to:

  1. Ensure that any travel costs incurred are:
    • Directly work related,
    • Obtained at the most economical price, and
    • Both critical and necessary for state business.

  2. Exercise prudent judgment in approving travel-related costs.
  3. Establish an effective system for management and control over travel-related costs. This system should include:
    • Written internal policies and procedures which cover the items required in this chapter.
    • Authorization or approval of travel costs by the agency head or authorized designees.
    • Clearly defined roles and responsibilities to include the level(s) to which agency head responsibility has been delegated.
    • Periodic review of airline ticket purchases to ensure compliance with Subsections 10.50.40 and 10.50.45.
    • The amount of time the agency requires for advance approval of meal costs at meetings, conferences, conventions, and training sessions.
    • A prohibition to pay parking tickets, citations, or infractions received by drivers authorized to operate vehicles on state business.  Payment of fines or citations is solely the personal obligation and responsibility of the driver and NOT a qualified reimbursable obligation of the employing agency.  Refer to Subsections 10.10.15 and 10.20.20.

  4. Ensure travelers are not treated differently under like travel circumstances.
  5. Ensure the agency uses the procurement methods required in this chapter and maintains an accountability record for all state travel charge card systems it or its travelers are issued.
  6. The agency head or designee must authorize student drivers or volunteer drivers to use vehicles while on official state business.  Agencies should consult with the Department of Labor and Industries for information about personal injury insurance coverage for students and volunteers operating vehicles on official state business, and age restrictions for operating vehicles for business purposes.  Refer to


Agencies may adopt internal travel policies and reimbursement allowances that are more restrictive than those contained in this chapter.


October 9, 2015

Responsibilities of travelers

A traveler on official state business is responsible for:

  1. Being familiar with state and agency travel and transportation regulations before embarking on travel.
  2. Exercising the same care in incurring expenses and accomplishing the purposes of the travel that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business. Excess costs, circuitous routes, delays, or luxury accommodations unnecessary or unjustified in the performance of official state business travel are not acceptable.
  3. Paying any excess costs and any additional expenses incurred for personal preference or convenience.
  4. Returning as promptly as possible to either the official station or official residence when the state business is completed.
  5. Securing prior authorization for travel when required. (Subsection 10.10.50)
  6. Preparing the Travel Expense Voucher and providing appropriate receipts and documentation as required in Section 10.80 and other sections of this chapter.
  7. Promptly pay fines to the appropriate jurisdiction for all parking tickets, citations or infractions received while operating a vehicle on state business.  Payment of fines and citations under these circumstances is the sole obligation and responsibility of the traveler and is NOT to be reimbursed or paid by the state.  Refer to Subsection 10.20.20.


October 1, 2005

These criteria must be used for selecting and approving travel

In addition to complying with state travel policies and procedures, an agency head or authorized designee must use the following criteria to determine whether to authorize a person to travel on official state business, and to determine what travel alternatives to authorize.

  1. Select the travel alternative that is most economical to the state.
  2. Agencies must use this criteria except in the situations noted in Subsection 10.10.20, #2.

    All costs should be considered--travel, labor, etc.--in making the determination. For example: Is it less expensive to drive than fly out of Sea-Tac Airport? Is it cheaper to fly out of Sea-Tac than out of Port Angeles?

  3. Select the travel alternative that is most advantageous to the state.
An agency may use this advantageous criterion only in the following situations:
    • To ensure the health and safety of agency travelers (Subsection 10.10.35)
    • To comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (Subsection 10.10.40)
    • Process and travel situations for meals with meetings (Subsection 10.40.60)
    • Use of privately owned motor vehicles (Subsection 10.50.20)
The personal travel plans of the traveler shall not influence this criterion.


January 1, 2004

Implement alternatives to travel

Agencies are to develop and implement alternatives to travel, as well as less expensive means of travel. These methods should include, but are not limited to:

  • Teleconferencing and video conferencing;
  • Video recordings and published reports;
  • Car-pooling and greater use of public transportation;
  • Reduced frequency of regularly scheduled out-of-town meetings;
  • Restrictions on the number of staff traveling to the same destination; and
  • Coordinating between agencies for joint travel arrangements when more than one agency is involved.


May 1, 1999

Considerations when placing an employee in travel status

Plan the itinerary of the traveler to eliminate unnecessary travel in the performance of work assignments. Whenever it is feasible for two or more persons to travel on official state business in one vehicle, they are to do so.


Before placing a traveler in travel status, the agency is to determine for each occurrence whether it is more economical or advantageous (Subsection 10.10.20) to reimburse the traveler for meals and/or lodging, or to require the traveler to return to the official station or official residence daily or on weekends.


After 90 days, agencies should review assignments placing travelers in travel status at a temporary duty station to determine if the traveler’s permanent official duty station should be changed. The agency should inform the traveler of the possible federal tax implications of official station assignments for an indefinite period of time or for longer than one year. Refer to Internal Revenue Service regulations contained in Publication 463 for further information.


January 1, 2015

Ensure the health and safety of travelers

The health and safety of travelers is a top priority in the conduct of travel related activities.  It is advantageous to the state for agencies to establish and alter travel plans and itineraries with consideration of hazardous inclement weather and other situations that could threaten the health and safety of state personnel.

When establishing travel plans and itineraries, if additional expense is involved to address hazardous weather or other local conditions that could threaten the health and safety of the traveler, the reason for authorizing the additional expense should be included on or attached to the travel authorization form.

When travel itineraries are altered after travel begins to address health and safety issues , travelers should:

  • Promptly notify the traveler's supervisor of the change in travel plans.
  • Note the reason for any additional expense on the traveler's travel expense voucher.

10.10.35.b Recognizing that the safety of passengers and flight crews is of paramount importance to the state, agencies are authorized to obtain commercial lodging for flight crews during standby periods in locations away from their official duty station.  Agencies are to develop internal policies and procedures consistent with this regulation.


July 1, 2000

Comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act

Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is considered to be advantageous. All state personnel are to be afforded equal opportunity to perform travel for official state business even if the travel costs for disabled travelers will exceed what would normally be most economical to the state. For example:

  • When a traveler uses a wheelchair and it is necessary to pay more for an airline ticket so the traveler can fly on a larger airplane that can accommodate the wheelchair.
  • When a traveler flies out of Sea-Tac because the traveler's disabilities cannot be accommodated at the local airport.
  • When a traveler has hearing or vision impairments and there is a cost of providing auxiliary aids and services to enable the traveler to successfully accomplish the purpose of the travel.

10.10.40.b Travel authorizations and travel claims should be annotated that the extra costs were required to comply with the ADA. ADA supporting documentation should remain confidential and a statement added to the travel voucher indicating the agency file location.


October 1, 2018

Use of the State Charge Card System, when required, to purchase travel

The term “State Charge Card System” comprises the authorized state consolidated charge card program or other agency charge card program authorized by statute , which includes purchasing cards for non-travel expenses plus the following three components that can be used for travel purchases:

  • Corporate Travel Card. Each agency head or authorized designee may authorize the use of or approve the issuance of the corporate travel card to those travelers whose work requires them to travel on official state business. When a state employee uses the corporate travel card they are billed directly, are responsible to pay all charges, and must apply for travel reimbursement through their agency.
  • Central Travel Account (CTA). The CTA is a ghost account. No actual card is issued. The agency is responsible for charges against the CTA.
  • One-Card (Combination Purchase & Travel). The one-card can be used for travel related expenses. Because the one-card is not assigned to a particular individual, it is generally not used by travelers. The agency is responsible for charges against the one-card.

In accordance with RCW 39.26.090, the Department of Enterprise Services (DES) develops policies and standards for the use of credit cards. In addition, general guidelines and requirements related to the use of the charge card program are presented here, in section 40.30, and subsection 85.36.20. To obtain specific information about the state charge card program, specific contract requirements, and to view the credit card policy contact the DES at (360) 407-2210. 

The use of the State Charge Card System is required for the purchase of air travel arrangements. (For emergency situations, refer to Subsection 10.50.75.)

The use of the State Charge Card System is optional for the purchase of other common carrier travel.


Each agency is to maintain an accountability record for all State Charge Card Systems it or its travelers are issued.

In cases where a State Charge Card System receipt is issued, the traveler is to attach the original receipts or agency policy may allow non-original receipts if the agency ensures adequate controls are in place to reduce the risk of duplicate or improper payments to the Travel Expense Voucher (form A20-A or A20-2-A) or reference its file location.


July 1, 2011

Prior authorization for travel may be required

Travelers must receive prior authorization for travel from the agency head or authorized designee:

Use the Travel Authorization (form A40-A), or other equally effective written means for requesting and documenting prior authorization for travel.


Travel to Hawaii and foreign countries except British Columbia, Canada requires additional approval as follows:

  • Agencies reporting to the Governor must have prior written approval of the Office of the Governor.
  • Agencies not reporting to the Governor must have prior written approval of the agency’s governing body or its managerial designees.


July 1, 2011

Scheduling meetings, conferences, conventions, and training sessions

When meetings or conferences are necessary, agencies should consider cost to the state, accessibility to attendees, and other relevant factors in their selection. First priority is to be given to using state-owned or other public owned facilities in lieu of renting or leasing private facilities.

The location and facilities for all conferences, conventions, training sessions, or meetings held or sponsored by the state are to be barrier-free in accordance with Section 50.50.

When a conference, convention, training session, or meeting held or sponsored by the state is conducted at a rented/leased non-state facility, the person responsible for the choice of location and facilities is to submit justification in advance in writing to the agency head or authorized designee for approval. The justification is to include:

  • The purpose and objective of the meeting;
  • The name of the organizations or persons expected to attend and an estimate of the attendance;
  • An estimate of the anticipated cost to the state to include travel costs of travelers; and
  • An explanation why state-owned or other public owned barrier-free facilities cannot be used.


Limit the number of persons from an agency attending a particular conference, convention, meeting, or training session to the minimum necessary to benefit from the event.


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