Travel Expenses Incurred Seeking Residence Quarters

B-196153: Feb 12, 1980

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An agency official asked whether an employee may be paid travel expenses for six house-hunting trips incident to his permanent change of station. The employee and his wife made six house-hunting trips by privately owned vehicle. His travel orders authorized one round trip to the new duty station for 6 consecutive days by privately owned vehicle to seek residence quarters. The employee stated that he was unaware that the 6 days be consecutive until he submitted his travel voucher. Regulations provide that expenses of a house-hunting trip are authorized for one round trip between the localities of the old and new duty stations for a maximum of 6 days. The agency's implementing regulations authorize a round trip of 6 days duration, including all travel time. Since only one round trip is payable, it necessarily follows that the maximum number of 6 calendar days must be in consecutive order. Further there is no authority to pay the cost of several trips not to exceed the constructive cost of one 6-day trip. The travel orders placed the employee on notice that he was limited to one trip. Accordingly, he may not be paid for six house-hunting trips.