Finance Office - Travel Planning

Travel planning guidelines from the SoHE Business Office.

The information below addresses the most common travel costs and policies. A more complete guide to UW Travel policies can be found at Business Services website.

Please Remember…

  • When in doubt, ask the Business Office, we’re here to help.
  • Your supervisor needs to approve your travel on department funding before booking.
  • 90-day deadline from the last day of travel to file an expense report (fully documented and submitted).
  • Travel Inc can help.
  • More documentation can’t hurt.
  • To use Concur to book your travel, you will need to setup a Concur profile if you haven’t already. This will also allow you to assign a travel arranger.
    • See the Travel Hub for travel info/updates from Travel Inc, Concur, unused tickets, how to exchange a ticket, mobile app info, and more.
  • UW would prefer travel be booked via Concur since service fees are lower ($3.75) than calling Travel Inc consultants directly ($18). Please see Travel Inc’s Fee Grid for a full list. 
  • Traveling for a conference? View the conference travel page on TravelWIse to view processes and frequently asked questions

My Corporate Card

  1. If you travel a lot, this may be a good option. The My Corporate Card streamlines and automates travel and expense reimbursement for UW employees. 
  2. It is issued by US Bank for travel + business-related expenses while in travel status. The cardholder is personally liable for charges, but UW will pay US Bank directly to cover business-related charges claimed through e-reimbursement.

Meals & Incidentals Per Diems (click for information on reimbursement)

  • No receipts required for regular meals when traveling
  • Day trips (no overnight lodging) = $15/day even if a meal was provided and is tax reportable.
  • Overnight
    • Varies by location. Use UWTravelWise Lodging & Per Diem Calculator before you travel to see the per diem amounts.
    • First day: location is where you will be spending the night. Subsequent full days: where you will be spending the night for that day. Last day: where you spent the night before returning to home/headquarters.
    • First and last days of travel is 75% of total based on location.
  • Provided meals
    • Any meals provided by host/conference will be deducted from your daily meal per diem.
    • Hotel breakfasts included in lodging price or meals included in airfare price do not require per diem deductions.
    • Meals added on to lodging bill should be deducted from lodging reimbursement and reimbursed as part of per diem allowance.
    • Per Diem reimbursement includes $5/day for incidentals
      • Even if all meals are provided, you can still get this $5/day.
      • Examples: bottled water, tips for service staff, laundry, mailing, transportation between places of lodging, etc.

Personal Vehicles/Mileage (click for information on reimbursement)

  • Must be an authorized driver in the State of WI Enterprise Fleet Management System (applies to any driving for UW business)
  • If driving more than 300 miles round-trip, a fleet vehicle is encouraged
  • Effective 09/01/2022, mileage reimbursement requests for roundtrips of 800 miles or greater must be supported by an airfare cost comparison obtained during the trip planning process.  All associated costs must be considered (e.g. additional nights’ lodging, per diem allowance) when determining the final reimbursement amount.
  • Provide Google Maps documentation to show route taken and approximate mileage
    • This is especially important if there are additional stops, an abnormal route, etc.


Fleet Vehicles

  • Must be an authorized driver in the State of WI Enterprise Fleet Management System (applies to any driving for UW business) 
  • Contact Tammy O’Brien in the Business office to obtain a Fleet Billing number.
  • All drivers need to complete the Vehicle Use Agreement for Fleet Vehicles
    • If you have an out-of-state license, or have previously had an out-of-state license
      and have had a WI license for less than 2 years, you must also submit PDFs of:
      • Driving abstract from other state showing last 2 years of driving history 
      • Copy of driver’s license
      • See Risk Management for more info/questions.
  • If you need to cancel, do so within 24 hours of reservation, or you will still be charged
  • If there is no fleet vehicle available in the online system, you may put your name on a wait-list, but you need to keep checking the status, as you are not informed if a car becomes available
  • Fleet also encourages you to contact them 608-262-1307 or, as a Fleet vehicle may still be available.  The online system sometimes shows non-availability based on vehicle type rather than overall availability.
  • There is parking at the fleet vehicle lot for your personal vehicle
    • It is limited—first come, first served basis
    • You can be reimbursed for a taxi ride to fleet vehicle lot or for an alternative parking location (receipts required if more than $25.00)

Lodging (click for reimbursement information)

  • Lodging maximums vary by location and dates of travel
    • Use UW TravelWise Calculator before travel for estimates
    • If a conference is held at a hotel that exceeds this maximum, you can still be reimbursed for the whole amount if you provide documentation showing the conference’s recommendation. (brochure, registration form, etc.)
  • Booking
    • To book, contact the hotel directly OR use Concur/Travel Inc.
    • The UW is encouraging us to use Concur, so please check there first.
    • Employees may use a UW purchasing card, Corporate Card or personal funds for lodging.
    • Travelers and travel arrangers are expected to research rates and reserve lodging using Concur or Travel Inc to take advantage of potential cost savings.
    • Rates found in Concur/Travel Inc may be less than conference rates.
    • UW contract rates, which provide opportunities for lodging savings, are only offered within Concur/Travel Inc
    • Concur will tell you if the rate selected is within UW’s lodging maximums, however, it is up to you to know these maximums to ensure the cost falls below.
  • As of July 1, 2020, Airbnb is permitted for lodging
    • All service fees (guest, cleaning, etc.) are included in daily lodging maximum calculations
    • NOT reimbursable: taxes, deposits, damage waivers, and insurance 
  •  DO NOT use third-party booking sites such as Expedia, Priceline,, etc.This is a University-wide rule; we cannot reimburse
  • Some hotels and AirBnB require pre-payment. In these cases, prepayment is permitted.
  • If you have any further questions (non-cancellable, extra fees, etc.), please see the Business Office before booking
  • Tax exemptions
    • Tax exemption for lodging in Wisconsin, as well as:
    • Colorado, FloridaIdahoIllinoisKansas, Kentucky, Maine, MississippiMissouriNorth DakotaRhode IslandTennesseeTexas
    • *this list is subject to change, so please check with Business Office before you travel
    • Please see Business Office for tax-exempt documentation to provide to hotel. If you pay for sales tax in any state where the UW is tax-exempt, you will not be reimbursed for the sales tax.

Airfare (click for reimbursement information)

  • Travel Inc must be used (via Concur or directly with agent)
    • Only exception: traveling within a foreign country
    • But: the flight to and from the U.S. must be through Travel Inc
    • And: you must receive confirmation from Travel Inc/Concur that they cannot book these flights for you
  • Travel Inc = travel agents; Concur = online booking platform used by Travel Inc.
    • Booking online or directly is a matter of preference, but service fees are lower if you book online through Concur
    • If you experience difficulties with Concur, contact Travel Inc agents directly.
  • Employees may use a UW purchasing card, Corporate Card or personal funds for airfare.
  • Reimbursement
    • Provide your Travel Inc Invoice/receipt.
    • E-itineraries, boarding passes, check-in print-offs, etc. are not acceptable forms of documentation.
    • Reimbursable as soon as you purchase; there is no need to wait until conclusion of trip.
  • In the event of airline delays, flight cancellations, or other disruptions:
    • Contact Travel Inc directly (they can work across all airlines)
    • For 24/7 support, call: (877)-811-9898
  • Indirect routing/personal travel
    • Allowable as long as no additional costs occur or if there are substantial savings
    • However, Travelers must obtain a cost comparison under the following circumstances:
      • Indirect routing, extra stops, and/or days for personal reasons.
      • Departing from/returning to a city other than Madison, Milwaukee or Chicago for personal reasons – while it is allowable, travelers must consider potential extra costs for transportation, lodging, meals, tolls, parking, etc. when choosing to travel to/from Milwaukee or Chicago.
      • Any other situation where the traveler’s itinerary is modified for personal reasons.
    • Either the traveler’s actual flight or their comparison flight – whichever is less expensive – is payable/reimbursable. The University will not pay/reimburse excess costs related to personal travel. Cost comparisons are not required for non-employees. Acceptable cost comparisons include Concur screenshots, ITA matrix screenshots, or designated agency documentation (such as emailed quotes). Due to airfare pricing and availability fluctuation, accurate cost comparisons must be done at the time of booking to be valid.
    • Economy vs. “basic” economy
      • The major airlines have introduced “budget” or “basic” economy.
      • While these “basic” economy fares are often cheaper…
        • They are entirely nonrefundable and nonchangeable
        • If your plans change, you will need to purchase a whole new ticket
      • It is recommended that you book Economy fares rather than “basic” economy fares
    • Baggage
      • First bag within the airline’s limits:
        • No questions asked
      • If more than one bag, or if bag is oversized:
        • A business justification is required 
    • Seat assignment fees
      • Additional fees associated with booking coach/economy aisle, window or exit roware allowable.
      • No fare class upgrades (i.e. first class, business class, etc.) of any kind are allowed.
      • Premium Economy is permitted for international travel with 8+ hours of total flight time.
    • If any other flight fees, issues, or questions come up (“premium” or “plus” economy fares, “preferred seat” charges, extra-legroom charges, change fees, cancellations, etc.) please ask the Business Office prior to booking.

    International Travel

    • Travel Insurance - Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI)
      • International health and travel insurance when traveling abroad on business.
      • Includes diagnosis, treatment, hospital stays, prescription drugs, ambulance, replacement eyeglasses or contacts, trip delay/interruption, and more.
      • Required as of January 1st, 2022 for faculty/staff, required for students.
      • You may also personally purchase coverage for dependents traveling with you, this is not reimbursable.
      • For questions on Information on International Health Insurance, contact the Office of Risk Management at:
    • Airfare within another country
      • This is the only exception to using Travel Inc/Concur for flight
        • But: the flight to and from the U.S. must be through Concur/Travel Inc
        • And: you have to receive confirmation from Travel Inc /Concur that they cannot book these flights for you
    • Foreign currency
      • Any purchase made using foreign currency must be converted to US dollars for reimbursement.
      • If the Business Office is preparing your reimbursement we will do the conversion.
      • If you are personally preparing the reimbursement:
        • Please provide the exchange rate documentation using the conversion website preferred by the UW and use the date of the purchase (not today’s date)        OR
        • Provide your credit card statement showing the conversion of each transaction.

    Vehicle Rental (click for reimbursement information)

    • Must be an authorized driver in the State of WI Enterprise Fleet Management System (applies to any driving for UW business)
    • Booking
      • Must Use University contracts
        • Enterprise or National
        • Only exception: If no Enterprise or National available in the area, use the Hertz state contract. (Must provide Travel Inc/Concur documentation regarding unavailability or Enterprise or National).
        • If Hertz is not available, can then use non-contract vendor.
    • Book via Travel Inc/Concur 
    • Collision (CDW) and liability (LDW) insurance coverage is already included on Domestic (US) rentals. Do not take any other extra insurances, they cannot be reimbursed.
    • For International (non-US) rentals: Rates/Coverages vary by location.  All insurances should be purchased and are reimbursable.
    • Non-contract rentals: CDW and LDW insurances must be purchased.
    • We may use these contracted rates for personal travel, however:
      • We must book through this link to apply the discount (not Concur)
      • Personal use does not include the Collision Damage Waiver or Limited Liability Coverage.
    • Documentation and receipts
      • Must provide the original vehicle rental agreement or digitally scanned copy.
      • Must provide the original rental receipt or digitally scanned copy.
      • Receipt required for gas reimbursement.
        • Do NOT opt for the gas pre-pay option, even if you think it will be less expensive. It is not reimbursable. 
        • Do NOT return the vehicle with an empty tank to let the rental company fill it up as vendors charge high premiums for vehicle refueling charges.
          • - If the traveler fails to return the vehicle with a full tank of fuel, the cost of the vendor refueling the vehicle will not be paid or reimbursed by the University.


    • Receipts required if more than $25.00.
    • Uber, Lyft and similar services are allowed.
    • Tips for drivers are limited to 20% of the total fare.
    • Please note where the taxi is to/from
      • To/from the conference? to/from the hotel? Etc. 
      • We cannot reimburse for taxis to/from per-diem meals. Transportation to hosted meals is reimbursable.

    Internet Connection Fees

    • Receipts required
    • Actual cost is reimbursable if business purpose is documented.

    Phone Calls

    If you have a question on an item not listed above, please refer to UW TravelWise Travel Policies or contact the Business office. 

    KeywordsMeals, per diems, fleet, mileage, lodging maximums, receipts, reservations, personal vehicle, rental vehicle, round-trip, turndown rate, lodging and per diem calculator, concur, travel inc, travel incorporated, airfare, flight, book, cost comparison, baggage fees, Enterprise, Hertz, Airbnb, taxi, uber, lyft, tips, train, phone calls   Doc ID105537
    OwnerAngela O.GroupSchool of Human Ecology
    Created2020-09-02 10:42:03Updated2024-07-22 14:52:22
    SitesSchool of Human Ecology
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