Travel Services Booking Travel


WSU has decentralized booking for travel, with the responsibility being that of the department and/or traveler. When making travel arrangements it is important to keep in mind it is WSU’s trip, not the individual traveling, and to be good stewards of the funding provided. The department and traveler are responsible for:

  • Ensuring the authorized travel plan is the most economical and advantageous to the state; and
  • Exercising prudent judgement when making travel arrangements.

Best Practice

  • Know the policies and what expenses are allowable for the funding source.
  • Book travel 2-3 weeks in advance.
  • Book directly with the vendor when possible and ask for rates for government employees
  • Utilize the State Contracted Rates.
  • When travel plans are uncertain (i.e. when bringing in a candidate), purchase refundable airline tickets.
    • A justification must be included with the reimbursement.
  • Use the State Charge Card System.

How to Book

Travel may be booked:

  • Direct to Vendor
    • Traveler can utilize WSU and Washington State contracts, providing better rates and additional coverage.
    • Lodging and rental car vendors typically do not require full payment up front, which is less of a financial hardship on travelers when they have to wait to be reimbursed after the trip.
    • Changing reservations is easy and, often times, has much lower associated fees than the other alternatives.
  • Travel Agent
    • Provides additional services and guidance when booking, which is especially helpful when travelling internationally.
    • The service comes with a fee, which adds cost to the trip.
  • Third-Party Site
    • The full payment is required up front. This can be a hardship on the traveler if they are making the reservation with personal resources as WSU will not reimburse until after the trip has taken place.
    • Changing reservations is difficult and comes with cancellation and change fees that are much higher than the other alternatives. If these are incurred without a business purpose they are not reimbursable by WSU.
    • No perks. The traveler is unable to take advantage of WSU and Washington State contracted rates and coverage when booking through a third-party.
    • When the expenses are bundled (i.e. flight and hotel) auditing for per diem is not possible as the nightly rate is not provided separately.