As soon as your Request Form is approved by the University Librarian, you can begin purchasing airline tickets, booking hotel rooms etc. This approval will be conveyed to you via email from the Libraries Finance & Accounting Unit. (However, keep in mind that airfare, registration, and car rental fees can often be billed to the Libraries directly if that's preferable to you.)
Once you fill out an expense report in UGA Financials, and your supervisor has logged in and approved it, the reimbursement process will begin. Expenditures can only be reimbursed after they have been spent. For example, lodging costs can only be reimbursed after the hotel stay, but airline tickets and registration fees may be reimbursed before the actual flight or conference since those are paid in advance. Depending on how your travel is funded, you may be reimbursed via direct deposit, or by a paper check. Reimbursement times can vary between a few days and a few weeks depending on funding source and other external factors.
In many situations, faculty will need to personally fund the remaining balance when their travel expenditures exceed their annual funding allotment. However, there is no disadvantage to listing all of your projected expenses on the Request Form, even if the total exceeds your travel fund allotment. It can be helpful for the University Librarian to know the true cost of your travel when considering your travel request.
Depending on the nature of your travel, it is also possible that a case can be made for your remaining balance to be covered by the Libraries under administrative travel. It is up to the traveler to make this case to their supervisor and/or Department Head—if the Department Head agrees, it should be brought to the University Librarian.
A per diem is a maximum daily reimbursement set by the government. Depending on where you are traveling and the time of year, the per diem may vary. Knowing the per diem associated with your travel destination is a helpful way to estimate your costs when filling out the Request Form. When seeking reimbursement after traveling, you can simply request the per diem instead of providing receipts.
The U.S. General Services Administration website provides information about location specific per diems. There is a per diem for lodging, (a nightly rate which does not include fees and taxes), and a per diem for meals. Meal per diems are broken down here to determine breakfast, lunch, and dinner components, and include gratuity. This can be helpful if lunch is included as part of your conference registration, but you still need to purchase your own dinner.
Please note that UGA only reimburses meal per diems at a rate of 75% on travel days for trips outside the state of Georgia. (If you fly to a conference on Wednesday and return Friday, Thursday would be the only day for which you could claim 100% meal per diem reimbursement.) Here is another break down of meal per diems that explicitly states the 75% rate per meal.
Meal per diems are reimbursed at 100% for all travel days while traveling overnight in the state of Georgia.
There is also a per diem for incidental expenses (IE), but UGA only reimburses incidental expenses when travel is international.