Printed on: 08/15/2020. Please go to for the most current version of the Policy or related document.
University of Minnisota  Appendix

Travel Tips

Appendix to Policy

When planning a business trip, please view travel tips that may assist you in avoiding problems:

Hotel Security Tips

  • When making reservations, consider requesting a room between the second and seventh floors above ground level to prevent easy access to your room but low enough for access by fire equipment. Standard fire equipment ladders usually extend only as far as the sixth or seventh floor of most hotels.
  • When checking in, make sure the desk personnel don't loudly broadcast your room number as they hand you the key, especially when there are people waiting in line behind you. If this happens and you feel uncomfortable, don't hesitate to request another room.
  • Immediately read the fire and evacuation instructions on your room door. Note the locations of fire exits and count the number of doors between your room and the fire door in case you must escape through a smoke-filled hallway.
  • Keep your door locked at all times. Never leave your door open when away from your room, even if you're going just a short distance to an ice or vending machine on your floor.
  • Check closets, bathrooms, and all locks on windows and doors. If anything is broken or there is a problem, report it immediately.

Flights, Car rentals, and Lodging

Commercial Air Flights

  • Make travel reservations 2 to 3 months in advance of travel.
  • Accept lowest fare offered within 2 hours of desired departure time, including those with stops or connections.
  • In rare instances, the approving authority may determine that a refundable ticket is the right choice, when weighing the potential savings against the likelihood of cancellation. Costs incurred due to non-emergency cancellation or rescheduling of transportation are not reimbursable. Advise the travel agent to monitor fare changes and provide notification if a lower fare becomes available before ticketing.
  • Review tickets for accuracy.
  • When the total one-way air time is 8 hours or more, the traveler may upgrade from coach class to the next most economical class of travel over coach (business class in most cases, first class in cases where business class is not offered).

Note: If an error is made in the reservation (dates, etc.) the airlines may allow changes to be made within 24 hours of the booking at no cost.

Rented Vehicles Savings

  • Before renting, consider other methods of ground transportation which may be less expensive, such as airport shuttles to and from hotels. Check with the travel agent or hotel on the price and availability of shuttles.
  • Vehicles should be rented only when absolutely necessary, or when doing so reduces overall transportation charges to the University. Consider all costs of the rental including gas, and parking fees when determining if rental is cost-efficient.
  • Select the size vehicle that is appropriate for the number of passengers or the amount of baggage.
  • Use the Big Ten Contract with National/Enterprise. To take advantage of the discount, the traveler must provide the University corporate account number when reserving a vehicle. See the Travel Services website for information regarding the Big Ten Contract with National/Enterprise. The Big Ten Contract also provides for "unlimited mileage" and "free Collision/Loss Damage Waiver (CDW/LDW) coverage" for these promotional and special rates.
  • Don't accept "upgrades" unless the price will remain the same.
  • Return the car to the same location to avoid drop-off charges.
  • Fill the gas tank before returning the car. Rental companies levy a charge for refueling, far more than the price of gas.
  • Look the bill over carefully before signing.

Lodging Savings

Like airlines, hotels have tiers of rates and the lower rates are available to travelers who qualify for them. University travelers should attempt to secure the lowest rate. Often business travelers may receive a lower rate simply by asking for it.

Preferred rates:
  • Negotiated rate (a corporation, travel agency, or trade association secures a favorable rate at a particular property by guaranteeing a certain number of room nights to the property).
  • Government rate (available to Federal government employees and contractors, sometimes offered to state governments and their agencies, including universities).
Other rates:
  • Corporate rates (available to any business traveler).
  • Student/Faculty rates (often require a student/staff ID).
  • Conference rate (based on a block of rooms reserved for a conference).
  • Educational rates.

Visit the Travel Services web site for negotiated hotel discounts.

International Travel Safety/Tips

Use the following resources to assist you in your international travel.

International Travel Contacts
SubjectContact Information
American Express Corporate Card – Domestic Assistance Call 1-800-377-3871
American Express Corporate Card – Overseas Assistance Call collect at 1-801-464-3232
City maps and tourist information Virtual Tourist II
Medical information, including immunizations Foreign Traveler’s Clinic, Medical College of Wisconsin
Travel Advisories (for the country you wish to visit) U.S. State Department
Disease warnings for international areas Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

For further information about the American Express Corporate card please refer to the Travel Services website.

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