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GSA’s most traveled webpage

| GSA Blog Team
Post filed in: Per Diem  |  Policy  |  Travel

For such an unassuming icon in the upper right corner of the General Services Administration’s homepage, the little suitcase that links federal travelers to per diem rates packs a lot of clicks.

Our little suitcase carries more than 50,000 visitors to each day and delivers important goods for traveling federal employees.

Small, but mighty, is not an exaggeration.

With that much traffic, the page is often reviewed for functionality and user friendliness.

“We are constantly working with the digital team and consulting with others across GSA and across the government to improve it,” said Krystal Brumfield, the Associate Administrator of GSA’s Office of Government-wide Policy.

Once on GSA’s Per Diem site, government travelers can find up-to-date and accurate information about traveling allowances. Through the Per Diem webpage, travelers can search for the reimbursement rates on hotels, meals and incidentals in the contiguous United States, find links to maximum rate information for Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. territories and possessions, and foreign areas, and estimate total expenses when planning a trip.

GSA has had a role in establishing maximum travel reimbursements for over 50 years, helping get those federal workers around the country economically and efficiently to conduct official business. New per diem rates for the contiguous United States are typically announced each August and go into effect October 1, the first day of the federal fiscal year. 

GSA develops and publishes the per diem rates for the lower 48 United States and the District of Columbia so federal agencies can reimburse their employees for expenses incurred while on official travel. The Department of Defense establishes rates for travel in Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. territories and possessions. The State Department establishes rates for travel in foreign areas.

While GSA’s Per Diem rates are specifically for the federal government, the resource is often used by state and local governments. Some private companies also use the rates to determine how much they will reimburse their employees, according to Brumfield.

GSA factors historical average daily rates (ADR) data, a widely accepted industry measure, reduced by 5% into its formula to determine federal government lodging rates. High and low travel seasons are worked into GSA calculations as well. 

“A temporary rise in ADRs due to a short-term event will most likely be dampened when aggregating data across an entire year or season, especially in large markets with tens or even hundreds of thousands of rooms,” said Brumfield.

If a federal employee is traveling where room rates have skyrocketed because of a special event in that city, the traveler’s agency may reimburse up to 300% of the listed per diem rate, if permitted by internal agency policy.

For more about per diem visit GSA’s Frequently Asked Questions, Per Diem webpage.