If per diems are not used when a government employee travels then they should not be given those as a check after they return from a trip. They should either use it or lose it.
Why not have everyone specify actual costs of meals, incidentals, and lodging while on travel status. That way reimbursements can be tailored to match the amount spent, and reduce the overages that are reimbursed daily (I know that I do not need $80+/day for meals and incidentals)
We travelled less than 100 miles to a conference and had to spend the night due to the hours... more »
Encourage employees to choose the lowest hotel rate below the Per Diem by giving them 10% of the amount below the Per Diem. Example, if the Per Diem is $200 and the final hotel bill is $100, the traveler would receive 10% of the amount below the Per Diem - $10.