Traveling in 2021? Expect few changes to annual per diem rates next year

It’s unclear how many will go on official business during a pandemic in the upcoming fiscal year, but federal employees will see few changes to their reimbursable travel allowances.

The General Services Administration made no changes to the standard per diem travel rates for fiscal 2021. The daily travel allowance authorized by GSA remains unchanged at $151 in fiscal 2021.

Hotel and lodging rates remain unchanged at $96 a night in fiscal 2021, according to GSA, with meal and incidental allowances ranging from $55-to-$76.

Much of the United States — about 2,600 counties — are covered by the standard Continental United States (CONUS) per diem rates. There are, however, 319 non-standard areas (NSAs), which have higher per diem rates than the standard CONUS allowance.

GSA added only one area — Albuquerque, New Mexico — as a new NSA location this year.

Four locations came off the NSA list from 2020 and will now receive the standard per diem rate:

  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey
  • College Station, Texas
  • Abingdon, Virginia

Per diem rates are based on average daily rate (ADR) data from the lodging industry. By law, GSA sets these rates annually.

It’s up to GSA to establish per diem rates for CONUS, which includes the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. The Defense Department sets per diem rates for Alaska, Hawaii and the US territories, while the State Department handles foreign rates.