Plunging per diems: What do you think?


Federal travelers’ lodging per diems will decline in 310 areas — some quite sharply — beginning in October, as we reported yesterday.

Headed to Manhattan next May? You’ll have $106 less to spend on a hotel each day than you would have a year earlier. Chicago in June? Per diems are scheduled to drop from $211 to $166.

It’s not entirely unexpected. The recession has hit the travel industry hard, and hotels across the nation have dropped their rates in recent years to encourage travelers. They’ve also become more willing to work with the federal government.

We’d like to hear about what the drops in per diems will mean for you. Do you think the lower ceilings will make it tougher to find acceptable hotels? Or will it make the boss more likely to sign off on your trip if your lodging costs are dropping by a third or a quarter? Travelers and travel managers alike can e-mail me at If you’re concerned about being quoted, that’s fine, and we don’t have to use your name.


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  1. I agree with decreasing the per diem rates. As long as the rates are sufficient to cover the cost of a modest, yet clean and safe hotel room and reasonable rates for food; I applaud this move.

    I know far too many federal employees who make a killing on travel and try to travel as much as possible in order to rake in some extra money (which nobody declares as income on there taxes either). Some federal employees even double up and triple up on rooms just to walk away with more money. Per diem rates are not and should not be a proxy for your salary.

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