Guidelines for Travel for Postdocs & Students in the Center for Theoretical Physics

Update for September 2023
Hi.  Here are some guidelines to follow when booking travel for submitting receipts for reimbursement.  We have limited time to process the many requests for we receive so please review and follow the rules/guidance below.

For students only—weeks before traveling, you must turn in a travel request form to request CTP funds to Scott Morley (6-307) for your proposed trip.  Scott has the form. The form will then be reviewed and signed off on.
Graduate students can take one trip per year, after their first year, and receive up to $500 for a domestic trip and up to $1000 for an international.  You should request of your advisor additional funds if you incur additional costs on your trip.    It is at their discretion if they will cover it.   All such travel must be endorsed by the student’s research supervisor, who is responsible for making certain that the school, conference or workshop is relevant to the student’s research program.

If you are in your first year, travel needs the approval of a faculty member the student has started doing research with and the Director.

Once a year, the Director will ask for requests for travel funds a program to provide modest ancillary funding amounts to CTP graduate students for needs and initiatives that are not already funded through other sources. Each year, subject to continued availability of funding, we provide several grants for amounts in the range of $10 – $1000 for purposes such as conference travel beyond that already supported, books, participate in DEI activities, inviting visitors that complement graduate student needs (please confirm we have space for them before inviting), etc.

For postdocs only—
Your budget for the year is the one in your offer letter.  If you have additional expenses that extend beyond that level, you should work out with your advisor in advance to see if they can cover your additional costs.  If so, that should be relayed to Scott Morley.

For Postdocs and Students–
1. In the email for reimbursement
All requests must contain the following: where you went (conference name, workshop name, collaborative visit with X, etc.) and the dates of your travel.  The email must also have an itemized list of the costs you are seeking reimbursement for. 

Attended: Fantastic Conference 2022.  Paris, France.
Dates of Travel:  September 1 – September 5, 2023
Request for Reimbursement:
Air.  Boston-Paris Roundtrip.  Delta.  $600.
Conference Fee:  $300
Lodging not covered by Conference Organizers:  $500.
Uber:  $40 (receipt not needed it under $70)
Taxi:  $35 receipt not needed it under $70)
Request for reimbursement without the above will be returned.

If a foreign trip, no need to convert Euros, etc. MIT has a daily currency calculator for when we process each travel report.

get your requests for approved reimbursements right away when you return from your trip. MIT mandates travel be submitted within 60 days of the conclusion of the trip. Not doing that means they will not reimburse.

Send the email to Charles Suggs ( and cc

Each item needing reimbursement needs its own pdf.  Do not group them into one pdf.   Receipts grouped in one pdf will be returned to you.

3. Air travel
Receipts for air travel. 
 A receipt is one that shows the flights, the airline, the class of flight (coach or economy only unless you pay for the difference yourself and show what the difference between business and coach/economy is), and delineation of all costs, including if you incurred a baggage fee you seek reimbursement for.

ALL travel conducted where you are seeking reimbursement from a Federal grant account (most of our travel is paid that way) MUST utilize US Air Carriers when flying over an ocean (Atlantic, Pacific, etc.) AND when flying to Canada or Mexico.  You can book on a US carrier and fly on a non-US carrier partner as a code share. 

If you are making a side trip within a region (Amsterdam to Vienna, for example) you may use a non-US carrier for that leg of the trip if that is more convenient and/or cost effective.  

Some travel is paid on non-Federal money and if that is the case (check in advance), non-US carriers can be used in those circumstances for convenience/lower cost.

Special Note on Air Travel:
If you are traveling to place X for a research trip but also say going to place Y for a week’s vacation after, you must when booking your air source and also save for when you turn in your receipts a sample fare would have been from Boston to X to Boston for the dates of the conference. as if that was the sole activity you were doing. Travel accounting requires these comparisons to make a determination of fair reimbursement for the conference travel itself.

4. Train, taxi, Uber/Lyft and subway travel
We need pdf scans of the tickets or rideshare receipts.  Train receipts should have to, from and a breakdown of the total cost.

5. Hotel reimbursements
If you are seeking lodging reimbursements, we need the bill from the hotel, etc.   As with air bookings, Orbitz, Priceline, etc email receipts are not acceptable to MIT’s Travel Office.

Hotel bills need to have the hotel name and location, dates of your stay, the itemized cost per night, the name of the person staying and total amount paid.

6. Conference fee reimbursements
If you are seeking reimbursement for a conference fee, we need a receipt that states the amount, the name of the conference and the dates of the conference.