The Carpentries Travel Reimbursement Policy

Designed to be consistent with Community Initiatives reimbursement policies.


The Carpentries reimburses community and Core Team members for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in connection with approved travel on behalf of The Carpentries. All travel should be pre-approved by The Carpentries Business Team prior to travel expenses being incurred. This policy provides broad guidelines for Carpentries-related travel reimbursement.


  1. The Carpentries Travel Reimbursement Policy

  2. Introduction

  3. Contents

  4. Policy Statement

  5. Pre-Approval and Responsibilities

  6. Pre-Payment Prior to Travel

  7. Receipt Documentation

  8. Splitting Receipts

  9. Lost Receipts

  10. Reimbursement Process

  11. Submitting Reimbursements

  12. Timely Submission

  13. Receiving Reimbursements

  14. Travel Expense Guidelines

  15. Transportation

  16. Lodging/Accommodations

  17. Meals

  18. Vacation in Conjunction with Business Travel**

  19. Event Registration Fees**

  20. Other Expenses**

Policy Statement

Carpentries-related travel expenses may be reimbursed if an individual paid the expense from personal funds. Reimbursement of expenses is allowed within the parameters of this policy, and when the individual will not be reimbursed from any other source.

This policy establishes the following requirements for the reimbursement of allowable expenses:

  • Business Connection: The Carpentries provides reimbursements of travel expenses paid or incurred in the performance of services as a Carpentries Core Team or community member.

  • Pre-Approval: All travel should be pre-approved by The Carpentries Business Team prior to travel expenses being incurred.

  • Reasonable: A travel expense that is commonplace and reflects a prudent decision to incur the expense on behalf of The Carpentries. The expense should be the minimum purchase or service required to achieve a particular objective.

  • Substantiation: Documentation to support an incurred travel expense that includes the original receipt, documentation of business purpose, and the timely submission of an expense report or reimbursement request.

If a circumstance arises that is not specifically covered in this travel reimbursement policy, the most conservative course of action should be taken. The Business Team reserves the right not to approve expenses that are excessive (i.e., exceed the U.S. federal per diem rates) and/or do not meet the requirements of this policy.

Pre-Approval and Responsibilities

This policy affects all Core Team members, volunteers, independent contractors, Executive Council members, and guests seeking reimbursement from The Carpentries, or payment for allowable travel expenses. All persons seeking reimbursement of Carpentries related travel expenses need to be familiar with this policy and are responsible for discerning reasonable and allowable expenses, maintaining required receipt documentation and submitting reimbursement requests in a timely manner.

All travel requires pre-approval. Prior to incurring travel related expenses, individuals should verify that planned travel is eligible for reimbursement. The pre-approval process for Carpentries-related travel is outlined below:

  • Core Team: Please use the planned expense form to submit requests for travel reimbursements. The Business Team lead or your supervisor will follow-up on the approval of submitted planned expense forms.

  • Workshops and Instructor Training: If travel expenses will be reimbursed by The Carpentries (rather than the host institution), your Workshop Administration Team will pre-approve the reimbursement of your travel expenses and connect you with a member of the Business Team for more information on the reimbursement process.

  • Executive Council: Members of the Executive Council will not need prior approval for travel expenses incurred during travel for an in-person Executive Council meeting. A budget will be created for each in-person meeting including planned travel expenses. Members of the Executive Council are approved to be reimbursed for expenses in accordance with the approved meeting budget. For other pre-approved travel, Executive Council members should use the workflow for Core Team members described above.

  • CarpentryCon and CarpentryConnect Travel: Applications for travel support will be reviewed and approved by the event task force or planning committee. Individuals whose travel support applications have been approved will be connected with a member of the Business Team for more information on the reimbursement process.

Pre-Payment Prior to Travel

Typically, travelers will be reimbursed after travel is completed. In situations where travel expenses might cause undue financial hardship for travelers, The Carpentries can:

  • Make airfare, travel insurance, accommodation, and conference registration purchases/reservations directly (Preferred Method)

  • Reimburse travel expense purchases prior to travel

In the event that travel is cancelled completely or partially and reimbursement has already been issued, reimbursed funds must be returned to Community Initiatives, The Carpentries’ fiscal sponsor. Return of excess funds must be completed within 60 days of the cancelled event or upon returning from travel. A check or wire transfer should be sent directly to Community Initiatives in the amount of the funds that need to be returned. Please contact the Business Team ( for guidance on returning funds to Community Initiatives.

Receipt Documentation

Receipt Documentation In order for a travel expense to be reimbursed, it must be properly substantiated. The original receipt or invoice issued by the supplier or service provider is required. A digital image of the original receipt is allowable provided that it is legible. Electronic receipts received via email are allowable. A valid receipt typically includes:

  • Date

  • Item

  • Amount

  • Proof of purchase (i.e., Payment Method)

Splitting Receipts

The partial reimbursement of a receipt may occur when:

  • The receipt includes purchases for others (i.e., one receipt was given while dining as a group.)

  • Personal expenses/items are included on the receipt

  • Items on the receipt do not align with this travel policy (i.e., alcoholic beverages)

If a partial reimbursement is needed, this information must be clearly communicated when the reimbursement request form is submitted.

Lost Receipts

If a required receipt has been lost, that information must be included when the reimbursement request form is submitted. Seek guidance on alternate methods to document the purchase by contacting The Carpentries Business Team at

Reimbursement Process

Once travel has been pre-approved, The Carpentries Business Team will share (via email) a summary of this reimbursement policy as well as The Carpentries Expense Reimbursement Request form (for community members).

Submitting Reimbursements

Reimbursement requests and documentation should be submitted to The Carpentries Business Team via Reimbursement requests should include:

  • Completed Expense Reimbursement Request form:

    • Full Name

    • Purpose of Travel

    • Event Date(s)

    • Mailing Address of Traveler

    • Description and cost of each expense (Vendor and Item)

    • If applicable, explanation of why requirements are not being met (i.e., missing receipt, submitted later than 60 days after purchase)

  • Receipts for all expenses

  • Wire Transfer Form (if applicable)

The Carpentries Business Team will review the submitted documents and approve reimbursements before sending the request to our fiscal sponsor for payment.

Core Team members should follow the Reimbursement Workflow for the submission of expenses for reimbursement.

Timely Submission

To be reimbursable, travel expenses must be properly substantiated and submitted within the following timeframes:

  • Workshop and Instructor Training Related Travel: For expenses incurred while traveling to teach workshops or instructor training, the traveler will have 14 calendar days upon returning from travel to substantiate and submit the expenses for reimbursement.

  • Other Carpentries-Related Travel: The traveler will have 60 calendar days upon returning from travel to substantiate and submit the expenses for reimbursement.

If a reimbursement request is submitted later than the above listed timeframes, the reimbursement request must include an explanation for the delay. The Carpentries reserves the right to refuse reimbursement for late submissions.

Receiving Reimbursements

If you reside in the United States, you will be reimbursed with a physical check. Please allow 2-3 weeks for processing. You should receive a check addressed from The Carpentries’ fiscal sponsor (Community Initiatives) about 3-4 weeks following your submission.

If you reside outside the United States, and are employed through Velocity Global (Community Initiatives’ PEO), please refer to your employee handbook for reimbursement processes.

If you reside outside the United States, and are not employed through Velocity Global (Community Initiatives’ PEO), you will be reimbursed with a wire transfer. Please allow 2-3 weeks for processing. You should receive the funds via wire 2-3 weeks following your submission.

Travel Expense Guidelines

Individuals are expected to travel in the most cost-effective manner that accomplishes the purpose and needs of The Carpentries. Travel expenses should not exceed the current US federal per diem rates for the location of travel within the U.S. and the International per diem rates for the location of travel outside of the U.S. If an expense exceeds these rates, a justification for additional spending should be included in the description of that expense. In many cases the per diem rates suggested in the links above are excessive. We created the guidelines below to provide guidance in the discernment of allowable expenses.


Travel Classes: Travelers should book the most economical coach class airfare available which accomplishes the purposes and needs of The Carpentries. In making reservations, the traveler should balance the cost vs. the efficiency of the travel. For example, a cheaper fare that requires a long layover, or which does not include baggage charges, may not be the most effective choice. In those cases when an individual is requesting reimbursement for costs in excess of the most economical rate, they must provide justification. Such documentation must be uploaded and attached when submitting the request for reimbursement. If the traveler wishes to upgrade to business or first-class, the traveler will be required to pay the difference between the lowest price economy coach class airfare and the final airfare.

Ride Sharing: When traveling in groups, sharing of cars/rides is encouraged to reduce costs.

Ground Transportation: The cost of ground transportation to and from hotels, airports, railroad stations, or an event location in connection with approved Carpentries-related business activities is reimbursable.

  • Personal Vehicles: Reimbursement for use of a personal vehicle is based on mileage. As of January 1, 2024, the reimbursement rate is 67 cents (USD) per mile. The mileage allowance covers all operating costs of the vehicle including gas. Repair costs are not reimbursable, whether they result from the traveler’s acts or the acts of others. However, ferry, bridge, tunnel, toll road, and parking charges are reimbursable in addition to the mileage allowance. The Carpentries will reimburse for actual tolls incurred for business purposes, whether paid via cash or electronically.

    • Determining Mileage: The traveler must document business miles or calculate mileage using Google Maps, Mapquest, or similar to determine the total mileage for each trip being expensed.

    • Alternative arrangements for travel to airports should be considered when airport parking charges will exceed the cost of a round-trip taxi or car service.

  • Rental Vehicles: Reimbursement for a commercial rental vehicle as a primary mode of transportation is authorized only if the rental vehicle is more economical than any other type of public transportation, if the destination is not otherwise accessible, and for travelers with mobility impairments or other disabilities which make public transportation inaccessible. When renting a car, fuel costs will be reimbursed based upon actual fuel purchased, not mileage.

    • Car Rental Insurance: For persons who own a vehicle with collision coverage on their insurance policy, collision damage insurance (sometimes referred to as CDW or LDW), personal accident insurance (PAI), and liability insurance supplement (LIS) should be declined when traveling within the United States. If your personal auto insurance policy does not extend coverage to rented vehicles, coverage will be reimbursed. When traveling outside the United States, this coverage should be selected and is reimbursable. Some states and/or car rental agencies require travelers less than 25 years of age to obtain insurance; If the insurance is required, it is reimbursable.

  • Public Transportation: As the preferred mode of transportation, public transportation is to be used whenever possible, safe, and practical. Public transportation costs are to be itemized on the reimbursement request form. Travelers with mobility impairments or other disabilities that make public transportation inaccessible are authorized to use alternative transportation options.

  • Shuttle Service: Shuttle service to and from airports and railroad stations, including reasonable tips (10 - 15%), is reimbursable when public transportation is not practical.

  • Taxi Service: Taxi fares, including reasonable tips (10 - 15%), are reimbursable when taxi service is more economical than any other type of public transportation or shuttle service.

Air Transportation: Travelers are encouraged to make reservations at least 30 days in advance to ensure the most convenient and cost effective fares. Flights should be reserved to and from the traveler’s home airport or a nearby airport if the flight is more economical.

  • Baggage: Baggage fees for checking one piece of luggage are reimbursable. For travel of longer than two weeks, baggage fees for checking two pieces of luggage may be reimbursed. The reimbursement of baggage fees for 3 or more pieces of luggage must be pre-approved prior to travel.

  • In-Flight Internet ** : Fees associated with Wi-Fi connections are reimbursable if accessed to support Carpentries work is required during flight. Please check with your supervisor prior to travel to request the reimbursement of in-flight internet fees.

  • Travel Cancellation Insurance: Travel cancellation insurance is reimbursable and should be purchased if available.

  • Other Fees: Fees associated with changes are allowable, provided there is a necessary business reason or extenuating circumstance. The individual assumes responsibility for any additional charges incurred (including seat upgrades).

Lodging (Accomodations)

The Carpentries will pay actual room costs, as substantiated by the detailed accommodation receipt, for each day that lodging away from home is necessary for business reasons. Travelers are encouraged to make reservations at least 14 days in advance to ensure the best accommodations at the most reasonable cost.

Travelers should choose convenient, safe, and reasonably-priced accommodations whenever practical. When attending a conference, travelers may stay at the conference hotel even if it is not the most economical option available.

Additional lodging costs:

  • Meals charged to hotel: Meals purchased at the hotel (breakfast, lunch, dinner) are reimbursable only if this option is more economical than any other meal option available. Transportation or delivery costs should be included in estimates.

  • Other Fees: Fees associated with changes or cancellation are reimbursable, provided there is a necessary business reason or extenuating circumstance. The individual assumes responsibility for any additional charges incurred (including room upgrades)


The Carpentries will reimburse meal expenses only when the travel requires overnight lodging (accomodations), or for business-related meals for groups of Core Team members. Travel meals include breakfast, lunch and dinner. Provided below are additional notes on meal expenses.

  • Provided Meals: Meals served on the plane, included in a conference registration fee, included in the hotel room rate, or provided at an event should replace the appropriate travel-related meal whenever possible. Exceptions should be made for allergy and dietary restrictions, religious observances, etc.

  • Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages are not reimbursed. Meals charged to a federal grant must have all alcohol clearly itemized on receipts.

  • Tips: Reasonable tips will be reimbursed. Typically, reasonable tips range from 10% to 20% of the food bill depending on region, with 20% provided for exceptional service. Tips should be noted or included on meal receipts.

Vacation in Conjunction with Business Travel**

For cases in which vacation time is added to a business trip, any cost variance in airfare, car rental or lodging must be clearly identified and documented (e.g.. screenshot showing direct travel costs). The cost of airfare, travel or lodging should be equal to or less than the costs for direct travel on the days required for the business trip. Any costs in excess of the amount for direct travel on the required travel days will not be reimbursed. Similarly, travel meals will only be reimbursed on the following travel days:

  • On the day of the departing flight

  • On the day(s) of the event or reason for travel

  • On the day of the return flight

Event Registration Fees**

The Carpentries will reimburse event registration fees, including business related banquets or meals that are part of the event registration. Many events offer optional recreational events for attendees at an additional cost. Decisions regarding the reimbursement for such events should be made by the traveler’s supervisor prior to travel.

If the event does not provide a receipt, the following can be used to substantiate or document the expense:

  • A photo of your conference badge, event ticket, etc.

  • A check or bank statement showing the amount that was paid

  • A URL link or screenshot from the conference website showing the cost of registration

Other Expenses**

If items are required for international travel, their reimbursement should be approved by the traveler’s supervisor and the Business Team prior to travel. Examples include:

  • Phone: The Carpentries will reimburse charges incurred outside a cell phone plan for business telephone calls.

  • Internet: Internet charges while in travel status will be reimbursed if an appropriate business purpose is documented.

  • Chargers / Adaptors: Chargers and/or adapters needed for travel will be reimbursed.

  • Medical: Mandatory immunizations required by the country visited will be reimbursed.

  • Visa(s)/Passports: Fees related to visas or passports, if required by the country visited will be reimbursed.

** These sections apply only to members of the Core Team or when expressed written prior approval has been given.

VII. Update Log

  • Updated on 2020-07-30 to reflect industry and procedural changes and provide clarification of guidelines for travel reimbursements

  • Updated on 2019-02-19 to replace Business Administrator with Administrative Support Specialist

  • Updated on 2018-07-06 to include Business Administrator in procedures and add federal per diem rates as guidelines for expenses.

  • Updated on 2018-03-06 to reflect that reimbursements cannot be denied due their time of submission.

  • Updated on 2018-02-23 to reflect updated workflow with Community Initiatives and approval contacts.

  • Updated on 2018-01-31 to refer to Community Initiatives as our fiscal sponsor.

  • Updated 2017-12-22 to change from Data Carpentry to The Carpentries.