Lodging, Meals & Incidentals

Lodging

  • 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 may not exceed $275 per night, not including taxes and other related charges. In the event your nightly lodging rate exceeds the cap, a justification must be provided and approval must be obtained from the appropriate administrator in your division.
  • 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” 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. Original, itemized receipts, are required.  Federal per-diem rates for all locations can be found at https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/perdiemCalc.cfm.

  • 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 Hotels.com 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. 
  • Original, itemized receipts, are required for all business travel related expenses of $75 or more. Receipts should be clearly marked “paid” or show a zero balance.  Payment method should be clearly identifiable on the itemized receipt.

  • For lodging pertaining to international travel, please refer to our International Travel page.

Meals & Incidentals

  • The reimbursement of daily meals will be for the actual amounts incurred, subject to the daily maximum reimbursement cap of $55 per day. The meals reimbursement cap should not be treated as a per diem.

Meals may be claimed in alignment with the following:

Claiming Meals
Trip Start Time Allowable Claim
At or before 6 am Breakfast may be claimed
At or before 12 pm Lunch may be claimed
At or before 5 pm Dinner may be claimed
Continuing after 24 hours...
Trip End Time Allowable Claim
At or before 8 am Breakfast may be claimed
At or after 2 pm Lunch may be claimed
At or after 7 pm Dinner may be claimed

  • Alcoholic beverages are not reimbursable.  If an alcoholic beverage is found on a travel reimbursement as a meal expense, the amount will be deducted from the meal, even if the meal amount falls within the daily reimbursement cap.
  • 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, needs to be included in the travelers expense claim 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 claim.
  • Incidentals will be reimbursed up to the daily maximum of $7 per calendar day, including the first day of travel; and only when the business travel includes an overnight stay. Please note: Tips for meals, drivers, and valet are not considered to be incidental expenses and should be reported as part of the actual travel expense.  
  • 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 https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/perdiemCalc.cfm. 
  • Original, itemized receipts, are required for all business travel related expenses of $75 or more. Receipts should be clearly marked “paid” or show a zero balance.  Payment method should be clearly identifiable on the itemized receipt.
  • For meals and incidentals pertaining to international travel, please refer to our International Travel page.