Environmental Protection Agency

Save Travel Money

When people travel and overnight stays are involved, give the traveler the choice of staying at the home of a friend or relative, and pay the traveler one half of the amount that would be allowed for a hotel.  Depending on the circumstances, this could save a large amount of money.  For example, if I make a two-night trip to D.C., the savings would be over $200.  Depending on who the "host" is, the traveler could choose to give the money to that person, or split it evenly, or whatever they agreed upon.  Obviously this would not be applicable to all trips.  For example, if I have to go to Salt Lake City on business, I don't know anyone there, so I would still have to stay in a hotel.  But very often, federal government business involves travel to cities in which the traveler knows someone well enough to use this sort of arrangement, especially if the friend/relative is getting $50-150/night out of it!  I remember vaguely that one or more agencies may have instituted this policy.  My wife, who also happens to be a U.S. government lawyer, says that she thinks each department or agency that wants to allow this type of arrangement has to create rules to govern it.  My suggestion is that GSA create a government-wide set of rules, so individual agencies don't have to, and encourage travelers to use this approach as often as possible.  It would save millions of dollars each year and combat the reduction in effectiveness that will occur otherwise, in this era of shrinking travel budgets.

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Idea No. 2768