University Accounting Services

Lodging, Meals & Incidentals


  • Travelers may secure lodging when traveling on University business that is more than 25 miles (one way) from their normal work location or home, whichever is closer.
  • The nightly lodging rate for domestic travel based on actual expense incurred may not exceed $333 per night, not including taxes and other related charges, effective with travel on or after April 18, 2024. The nightly lodging rate for domestic travel prior to April 18, 2024, may not exceed $275 per night, not including taxes and other related charges. In the event the nightly lodging rate exceeds the cap, a justification must be provided and approval must be obtained from the appropriate administrator.
  • A traveler who attends an approved conference where the prearranged conference lodging rate exceeds the $333 per night limit may stay at the conference hotel without additional approval.
  • University employees traveling on official business may be granted an exemption from the payment of transient occupancy taxes. Prior to your travel, complete and print the “Hotel/Motel Transient Occupancy Tax Waiver (PDF)” form and present it at check-in. Some lodging establishments may require a form specific to their location or chain in lieu of the State of California form. Some lodging establishments will not honor the waiver; however, the traveler should present the form at check-in to try and obtain the exemption.
  • If lodging is purchased through a non-commercial facility, such as a cabin, house trailer, Airbnb, or other such facilities are used, the traveler will be reimbursed a daily amount based on actual expenses incurred up to 100% of the applicable federal per diem lodging rate for the appropriate geographic area. Itemized receipts are required. Federal per-diem rates for all locations can be found at Website of Defense Travel Management Office
  • Travel packages purchased through internet vendors, such as Expedia, typically do not itemize expenses. It is recommended that these internet vendors not be used to book business-related travel; unless the traveler has already confirmed that an itemized receipt can be obtained (e.g. itemized hotel charges, airfare, fees, etc.) to ensure appropriate documentation is included for reimbursement.
  • If lodging is purchased through an internet vendor, such as and Expedia, proof of the travelers hotel stay (e.g. hotel folio showing traveler’s name, arrival and departure dates) must be provided in addition to the receipt from the internet vendor. Reservations/confirmations from the internet vendor will not be accepted as proof of lodging. 
  • Lodging expenses must be substantiated with an itemized receipt. Receipts should be clearly marked “paid” or show a zero balance. Payment method should be clearly identifiable on the itemized receipt. If the traveler is unable to provide a required receipt, they must seek exception approval that includes an explanation as to why a receipt is not available. Approved exception documentation must be submitted with the Expense Report to support the approval or denial of the request for reimbursement.
  • For lodging pertaining to international travel, please refer to our International Travel webpage.

Meals & Incidental Expenses (M&IE)

  • The reimbursement of daily domestic M&IE for employee travelers will be paid as a federal per diem allowance based on the travel destination. Employee travelers will be reimbursed for a set amount per travel day, where the first and last day of travel is set to 75% of the per diem value. Expenses above the per diem rate will not be paid and are the responsibility of the traveler. Per diem amounts do not require receipts. Employee travelers can use the GSA Per Diem Rate website to find the daily rate for the travel destination prior to travel.
  • The reimbursement of daily domestic M&IE for non-employee travelers, including prospective employees, students and volunteers, will be paid as a flat rate of $59 per diem per day, with 75% of the daily per diem for the first and last day of travel ($44.25).
  • The per diem rate for M&IE includes meal expenses for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and related tips and taxes. Incidental expenses include fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, and hotel staff.
  • Alcoholic beverages are not reimbursable.
  • When the entire length of a trip is less than 24 hours, IRS regulations state that meals shall not be reimbursed unless the travel includes an “overnight stay” as supported by a lodging receipt. Meal reimbursements associated with trips without an overnight stay are taxable and reportable income, and must be reported to the IRS. Under no circumstances will expenses for lunch be reimbursed for travel of less than 24 hours.
  • Supporting documentation, such as an agenda or event program, must be included in the travelers expense report to validate whether meals are provided as part of the event attended. If the traveler must forego an event provided meal for health or business reasons, an explanation for the purchase of the meal replacement must accompany the expense report.
  • Travel to Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. possessions will be reimbursed based on a fixed amount per diem for meals and incidentals based on the Federal Per Diem rate for the destination of travel; as published by the U.S. Department of Defense at Website of Defense Travel Management Office
  • For meals and incidentals pertaining to international travel, please refer to our International Travel Website Page.