Traveling for work? GSA sets higher per diem rates for 2019

Federal employees on the road for work-related travel could see their per diem dining dollars stretch a little further in fiscal 2019.

Starting Oct. 1, the daily travel allowance authorized by the General Services Administration will go up to $149 per day — $94 for lodging (up from $93 in 2018) and $55 for meals and incidental expenses (up from $51 last year).

The travel expense rates pertain to most of the continental U.S., or about 2,600 counties across the nation, according to GSA.

For 2019, the agency lists 325 “non-standard areas” (NSAs) with a higher adjusted per diem that accounts for higher regional prices — that’s down from 332 non-standard areas in 2018.

GSA added Marietta, Georgia (Cobb County) as a new NSA location for 2019, but removed 21 regions from the NSA list. Those regions, which now receive the standard per diem rate, are:

  • Shelby County, Alabama
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Kings County, California
  • Bond/Calhoun/Clinton/Jersey/Macoupin/Madison/Monroe Counties, Illinois
  • Plaquemines/St. Bernard Parishes, Louisiana
  • Leelanau County, Michigan
  • Crawford/Franklin/Jefferson/Lincoln/Warren/Washington Counties, Missouri
  • Butte, Montana
  • Glendive/Sidney, Montana
  • Williston, North Dakota
  • Sullivan County, New Hampshire
  • Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Seneca/Tioga Counties, New York
  • Huron/Darke Counties, Ohio
  • Washington County, Rhode Island
  • Butte/Mead Counties, South Dakota
  • Greene County, Virginia
  • Warrenton, Virginia
  • Franklin/Addison Counties, Vermont
  • Wheeling, West Virginia
  • Uinta County, Wyoming

GSA bases its per diem rates on average daily rate (ADR) data from the lodging industry.

“The ADR is a widely accepted lodging-industry measure based upon a property’s room rental revenue divided by the number of rooms rented as reported by the hotel property to the contractor. This calculation provides GSA with the average rate in a given area,” GSA wrote Tuesday in its explanation of next year’s per diem rates.