Meal allowances while traveling

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Comments (4)

lferguson in Bardstown, Kentucky

24 months ago

Hi, I work at a CRO and am completing my BSN. For my current class, I need to do a practicum that may pertain to my workplace. I have chosen to research industry standards for meal alowances when traveling and if there are any potential changes in dietary habits imposed by the allowance. I really appreacite it if you can help me with my project by answering the below questions.
Thanks

What system does your company use to reimburse meal allowances when traveling (i.e. fixed $ amount per day, per diem…)?

How much is the maximum amount per day?

Is it enough for you to eat properly?

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Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

24 months ago

I have worked for companies that give a fixed perdiem and companies that will allow you to spend up to a certain amount on the corporate card.

Fixed perdiem rates go along with the IRS standards for meals and incidentals. If you travel for a FULL day to a high cost area, you will get $65, and for a low cost area, you will get $45. You will get that amount regardless of what you actually spend. Here, you are incentivized to spend as little as possible because you can pocket the money that you didn't spend. Because of my hotel frequent guest program, I almost always get a free breakfast and will typically take a piece of fruit for my morning snack or I will make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from the continental breakfast. Then, I would go out for a nice dinner and spend $30-50. Some locations it's not enough to eat properly and you have to spend out of pocket, but other days you can keep most of the money allocated to you.

I used to work for a company that would allow you to spend UP TO $85 for high cost areas and $75 for low cost areas. It was basically a 'use it or lose it' system. In this system, you are incentivized to spend as much as you can and you will end up eating at some fine dining places if you have the chance!

It's hard to eat on the road. If you don't get the free breakfast, getting two eggs at the hotel often costs up to $15 ($25 if you are staying in a nice hotel)! Also, you aren't allowed to take liquids through airport security, so you are often subject to the inflated $5 bottle of water at the airport. $85 may seem like a lot at first, but when you are traveling late nights and forced to buy at the airport and use room service at the hotel, it goes FAST! It's hard to stay within perdiem.

There are a lot of CRAs out there that don't take care of themselves and end up being fast-food bandits. I just can't do that to my body, and of course, we gotta fit in those airline seats!

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lferguson in Bardstown, Kentucky

24 months ago

Hello Mather in Pittsburgh :)
Thanks for you reply. This will definitely help me with my project.

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Pat

24 months ago

It's true, CRAs end up eating a lot of PB&J. ;)

I think when it comes to dietary concerns for travelers, you often have to eat on the run. Wake up at 3am, fly until 9, then drive right to your site. Because you don't have much time until you return flight later that day, you rarely get to stop and eat a real lunch. Snacks from the continential breakfast or something you had to pick up at the airport is often the best you can do. This is an unfortunate dietary habit formed by the requirements of the job.

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