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Travel: Meals and Lodging

Find out about lodging and meal expenses for travel in the continental U.S. that lasts fewer than 30 days.

Before you book a room, find out how to get discounted hotel rates through Connexxus. Note that:

  • Effective October 15, 2017, the UC maximum lodging rate for reimbursement is $275 before taxes and mandatory hotel fees.
  • You won’t be reimbursed for in-room charges such as gym or movie fees.
  • An expense for lodging within the vicinity of your home or headquarters is generally not eligible for reimbursement unless an early start time is combined with a distance greater than 40 miles from the headquarters or home, whichever is closest. 

Meal costs can be claimed only for travel longer than 24 hours. For details and exceptions, see Claiming M&IE.


Reserve a room using one of these methods:

Note: If you reserve a room more than 21 days in advance and your card will be charged rather than held to secure the room, reconsider using your Travel Card to avoid any out-of-pocket expenses. See how to request a prepayment to your Travel Card via MyTravel.

Pay for your hotel using one of these methods:

  • Charge the bill to your Travel Card and request payment after your trip.
  • Use a personal form of payment and request reimbursement after your trip.

After your trip, use MyTravel to report these expenses:

  • Hotel tab
    • Enter the lodging amount (single room rate plus tax), including any prepayments by UC San Diego.
  • Meals tab
    • Enter any meal expenses that appear on the lodging receipt.
  • Other tab
    • Enter any additional expenses associated with your lodging, such as:
      • Business phone calls
      • Personal phone calls (1 per day allowed)
      • Modem access fee
    • If prompted, enter remarks in the Notes
Attach the itemized hotel receipt or provide it to the appropriate contact in your department.



  • Meal and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) is the term for the daily maximum for meals and service tips for business travelers' individual costs during trips lasting from 24 hours to 29 days in the continental U.S.
  • Claim the actual amount spent up to the maximum of $62 per day. (If actual cost exceeds the maximum, see instructions under Claiming M&IE. The M&IE Rate prior to October 15, 2017 was $74 per day.)
  • M&IE isn't per diem, which applies to long-term U.S. travel (30 days or more) and travel outside the continental U.S.

Recording M&IE

  • Before your trip, ask your department's travel preparer or approver if you must turn in receipts. UC San Diego travel policy doesn't require meal receipts for M&IE, but departments may require them to calculate the actual amount to claim for reimbursement up to the threshold.
  • If your department doesn't require receipts, keep a log of the actual amount spent on meals and tips each day of travel.

Claiming M&IE

Travel shorter than 24 hours:

  • For travel shorter than 24 hours, meals can only be claimed if you had:
    • An overnight stay and you provided a lodging receipt to your department's travel approver
    • A working meal scheduled as an integral part of a conference
  • If you claim a meal for either reason above, indicate the business requirement of the cost in the Notes section of the Meals tab in MyTravel. Entertainment costs incurred during travel status should be claimed under MyPayments (login required).
  • You can consecutively claim the allowable maximum amount only on a rare occasion. There are no exceptions based on location or high-cost area. If actual expenses meet or exceed the maximum of $62 per day and you are claiming the $62 maximum, use the Notes section of the Meals tab in MyTravel to explain.


The incidentals portion of an M&IE rate includes tips for service (e.g., for waiters, baggage handlers, etc.)

Tax consequences

  • Correct use of M&IE, by claiming actual expenses only up to the maximum daily amount, is required.
  • If M&IE is improperly used by routinely claiming the maximum amount or claiming the maximum amount on any occasion without written justification, it would be considered taxable income to the traveler.
Find answers, request services, or get help from our team at the UC San Diego Services & Support portal.
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).