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Effective October 1: Incidental Expenses Policy Modification

MAP/CAP 186-13, Incidental Expenses - In an effort to simplify policy, align with industry best practices, and reduce travel costs for the Department, the Incidental Expense policy in Appendix A of the  Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) will be revised to expand the definition of incidental expenses to include various miscellaneous reimbursable expenses including CONUS laundry, baggage tips, and ATM fees.  As of October 1, 2014, these expenses will now be covered under the incidental expense portion of per diem ($5/day in CONUS and at various rates OCONUS) and will no longer be reimbursed as separate miscellaneous expenses. Additionally, this policy revision also designates certain expenses, such as cell phone use and phone calls, as mission-related versus travel-related expenses that are to be paid outside the travel system.

Data analysis of travel vouchers shows that the incidental expense portion of per diem is sufficient to cover such costs if incurred by the traveler. The analysis shows that:

    • Only 13.27% of travelers claim ATM fees at an average of $0.76/day
    • Only 4.2% of travelers claim CONUS Laundry expenses at an average of $1.63/day
    • Only 0.04% of travelers claim transportation tips at an average of $0.86/day

In the event the traveler justifies spending more than the applicable per diem rate on incidental expenses averaged over the TDY period, the Approving Official can authorize Actual Expense Allowance (AEA) for reasonable and necessary meals and incidental expenses. As is the case today, justification must show itemized daily actual meals and expenses authorized with the total compared to the standard meals and incidental expense payments. The free form text field on the Non-Mileage Expense page in DTS is available to itemize expenses that do not appear in the drop down selection list.

The Government Travel Charge Card (GTCC) can be used for most, if not all expenses, eliminating the need for travelers to use cash via an ATM. In unique circumstances when this is not the case, such as travel to remote parts of Africa, Approving Officials may authorize the traveler an advance in travel pay.

Related DTS Modifications

The Defense Travel System has been modified to comply with this revised travel regulation.  Those expenses now covered by the incidental expense portion of per diem (as of 1 October) will be removed from the Non-Mileage Expenses drop down menus. For more information on the DTS changes, please refer to the Release Information document at:

This policy change has been coordinated with the Uniformed Services, applicable Governance Boards and stakeholders. 

Before this change can be implemented for employees represented by a union, activities must ensure that they meet all of their bargaining obligations. To facilitate the process with the unions, please contact your servicing human resources office labor relations specialist for assistance.

To view the official policy change, go to ../Docs/perdiem/browse/Travel_Regulations/Regulations_Changes/Immediate/UTDCTD186-13(R).pdf.

For more information on this policy change, go to:


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