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Per Diem for Travel

Find out about travel per diem rates for meal and lodging expenses.

Per diem is a daily amount to cover meal and lodging expenses for UC San Diego employees traveling on official UC San Diego business. Per diem applies to the following travel situations:

  • Foreign travel
  • Alaska, Hawaii, or U.S. possessions travel
  • Long-term travel (30 days or more) in the continental U.S.

Per diem is not the same as meal and incidental expense (M&IE), which applies to short-term travel (29 days or fewer) in the continental U.S.


The incidentals portion of a per diem rate includes tips for service and costs for ground transportation directly connected with a meal (e.g., taxi from hotel to restaurant and back).

Claiming actual expenses

The claim should reflect the traveler's actual costs up to the per diem rate. Travelers can claim:

  • Actual expenses that are less than the per diem rate (best option).
    • To claim actual expense less than per diem does not require receipts and can be rounded to the nearest whole dollar. For example, a traveler may keep a log of expenditures and use it to calculate expenses.
  • The per diem rate (only if actual expenses are equal to the per diem rate).
  • An exception to per diem when actual expenses exceed per diem and required conditions are met.

See Using MyTravel for instructions.

Calculating per diem

Use MyTravel to determine per diem maximums which are automatically calculated based on location and duration. Travelers should only claim actual travel expenses (e.g., subsistence and lodging) up to the per diem rate.

For each meal or lodging provided at no charge during travel or paid as part of a registration fee, the daily per diem must be adjusted. See calculating per diem.

Note: this page has a friendly link that is easy to remember: http://blink.ucsd.edu/go/perdiem
Notice: UC San Diego travel policy, as published in Blink, is decisive. It has been adapted to UC San Diego's organization, delegation of authority, terminology, chart of accounts and processing applications. The source for UC San Diego travel policy is UC Travel Policy and Regulations (PDF).