Booking Lodging and Paying for Meals While Traveling

Cup of coffee next to a pile of receipts on a spike

The manner in which you will be reimbursed for your lodging and meals depends on the location and duration of your trip. Travelers are either given a per diem rate (for international trips or domestic assignments over 30 days) or, more commonly, a set Meal and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) maximum.

If Your Trip is Within the Continental U.S. and Shorter Than 30 Days

The daily maximum for lodging is $275 per night (before taxes and fees - effective Oct. 15, 2017), and you will be reimbursed according to the University of California's Meal and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) guideline for meals. M&IE sets the daily maximum you can be reimbursed for meals and tips.

Lodging Guidelines
  • When booking lodging, use Connexxus to take advantage of UC-negotiated rates and potentially other benefits like later checkout times or free upgrades.
  • The lodging cap is $275 per night (before taxes and fees), but you should only rent a single room and the cost must be reasonable for the location and nature of the trip.
  • It is customary to stay at the hotel where the conference is being held, but consider alternative hotels for your conference stay that could save the University money and give you more flexibility in your plans.
  • 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 Guidelines
  • Meal costs can be claimed only for travel longer than 24 hours and with overnight lodging. For details and exceptions, see the Meals and Incidental Expenses page.
  • After you get back from your trip, you may claim the actual amount you spent on meals up to the M&IE daily maximum.
  • M&IE is not the same as a per diem, which applies to long-term U.S. travel (30 days or more) and travel outside the continental U.S.
  • Receipts should be obtained for all meals and may be required if the traveler routinely claims the full M&IE amount rather than the actual costs incurred.
  • Departments may require receipts to calculate the actual amount to claim for reimbursement up to the M&IE cap and also to show compliance with grant and contract restrictions.
  • The incidentals portion of an M&IE rate includes tips for service (e.g., for waiters, baggage handlers, etc.)

If Your Trip is Outside the Continental U.S. or 30 Days or Longer

In this situation, a per diem is given to travelers for lodging and meal expenses. A "per diem" is a daily amount provided to cover meal and lodging expenses.

Lodging and Meal Guidelines
  • You will need to calculate your per diem before the trip using the calculators in the sidebar on this page. The rate is set annually by the federal government and different depending on where you are traveling. (Tip: If the destination is Irvine or anywhere in Orange County, the per diem rate is listed under the primary destination Los Angeles.)
  • You will be reimbursed for the actual cost of meals, incidentals and lodging up to 100 percent of combined per diem, so track your expenses.
  • You should get a receipt for your hotel stay. An original, itemized hotel receipt must be submitted to the UCI Travel Office along with the Voucher.
  • You will not be reimbursed for spa fees, movies, or other in-room charges

Per Diem can be given to the traveler prior to their departure. The traveler to be paid approximately 10 days prior to departure date. A travel arranger should complete a Travel Authorization (TA) eDoc and complete the Travel Advances tab. Upon return, a travel arranger must clear the TA by creating a Travel Reimbursement document.

Local Hotels with Special UCI Rates

Visit the Local Hotels with UCI Rates page to see a complete directory of hotels in Orange County that offer special rates to UCI.

Use the guide to choose the most suitable one for individual travelers or your conference needs.

Please note that all rates listed here are subject to change without notice and cannot be guaranteed.

Per Diem Calculators

Use the federal government websites linked below to determine your Per Diem rate. The rate is set annually by the federal government and differs depending on where you are traveling. (Tip: If the destination is Irvine or anywhere in Orange County, the per diem rate is listed under the primary destination Los Angeles.)