Travel Policies

This page contains general information about travel, including allowable expenses, unallowable expenses and other travel policies. Additional information specific to international travel can be found on the International Travel page.

Please note: As of March 2020, nonrefundable travel costs and travel cancellation fees for travel canceled due to public health concerns related to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) are allowable on sponsored projects, as long as planned travel was allowable on the project and appropriate documentation is provided to show an attempt to obtain refund.

Allowable travel expenses

Air Travel

  • Schedule most economical and direct route.
  • Ticket receipt and itinerary must be submitted with travel expense report. Change or cancelation allowed according to circumstances, for business purpose only.
  • For a Saturday stay-over the traveler is responsible for documenting fare savings. Additional lodging charges, per diem and other expenses will be reimbursed only up to the amount of the savings on the airfare.
  • Exception: Tickets purchased with frequent flyer miles, as well as airline club membership fees are not reimbursable.
  • Consultants are not eligible to charge airfare, but may request reimbursement. Before leaving, review the requirements of the Secure Flight Program at the Transportation Security Administration federal website.
  • Change or cancelation allowed according to circumstances, for business purpose only. As of March 2020, non-refundable travel costs and travel cancellation fees for travel canceled due to public health concerns related to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) are allowable on sponsored projects, as long as planned travel was allowable on the project; and appropriate documentation is provided to show an attempt to obtain refund.

Baggage Handling

Reasonable airline charges for checked bags are reimbursed. Physically disabled travelers may claim reimbursement for special assistance such as gratuities to baggage handlers. Cost of transporting equipment and supplies directly related to project activities is reimbursed if valid business purpose is documented. Tips are not allowed except when required for a disabled traveler or special circumstances.


Car Rental

Allowable if other transportation is not available or is too costly. Mid-size vehicle is recommended. Sharing of vehicles is encouraged if multiple travelers from KU are traveling to the same destination. Fee for waiver of physical damage to rental vehicle is an allowable cost. No other insurance charges will be reimbursed.


Cash Advances

Cash advances for travel will be issued no more than 30 days prior to the trip. Expenses related to cash advances shall be documented with unspent amounts returned within 30 days of the date the expense is incurred. Unsubstantiated expenses and un-returned cash advances are reported as compensation and are subject to income taxes in accordance with IRS code. Exception: Non-KU employees are not eligible for cash advances. Note: Arrange for prepayments whenever possible to reduce the amount of cash advance.


Currency Conversion

Convert to U.S. dollars on travel report. Use rates applicable on the date of expense. Document currency conversion calculation with receipts or credit card statement.


Fuel

Rental vehicles used for business purpose only. Exceptions: On personal vehicles, fuel is not reimbursed on top of mileage rate reimbursement.


Hotel/Lodging

Expenditures will be reimbursed at the rate for one person. If multiple business travelers share accommodations, the actual cost will be split between them. Advance written justification is required for lodging in excess of $200 per night, unless the traveler is staying at the conference hotel. Not reimbursable: In-room movies and room service are personal expenses, which are covered by per diem. "No show" charges will not be reimbursed except for emergency situations not controlled by the traveler. If traveler is accompanied by spouse or non-business traveling partner, costs in excess of single room rate will not be reimbursed to traveler.


Meals and Tips

Use per diem calculation for standard business travel. Meals and tips are generally covered by the per diem allowance. Exceptions: Meals furnished to a group and paid by the traveler require documentation that includes the business purpose of the meal, names and business relationship of attendees, and an itemized receipt. Gratuity charges for group business meals require a receipt. Meals provided in the conference fee or by third parties will be subtracted from the per diem claimed. See KUCR Travel Rate Schedule.

No overnight stay: Departments may allow employees one meal on same-day trips provided the travel is more than 30 miles from traveler's workstation AND exceeds 11 hours. Each reimbursement must identify the date, departure time, arrival time, destination, trip purpose and meal requested. No receipts are required. If the actual cost of the meal exceeds the reimbursement amount, the difference is not reimbursed. One breakfast, lunch or dinner may be reimbursed based on 15%, 35% or 50% (breakfast, lunch or dinner) of the daily M&IE rate.


Meetings, Seminars, and Conferences

The meeting agenda is required documentation for the report of travel expenditures. Meals provided in the conference fee or by third parties will be subtracted from the per diem claimed.


Mileage

Reimbursed at the IRS rate in effect on the date of travel. See the Travel Rates Schedule. Based on the shortest available route unless other documentation is provided which supports an acceptable alternate route. Mileage to and from the workplace from the traveler's residence will not be reimbursed. See "Point of Departure" below.

Mileage vs. Airfare: If a personal vehicle is used in lieu of air travel, the reimbursement for mileage, per diem, lodging and other expenses resulting from the additional travel time will be compared to the cost of air travel. Traveler is responsible for documenting comparable airfare costs based on 14-day advance purchase plus other expenses pertinent to air travel.


Passport and Visa Fees

If necessary for completion of the business purpose of the trip.


Telephone and Internet

Telephone, internet and other communications charges will be reimbursed for business purposes only. Exceptions: Telephone card expenses are not reimbursed.

 

Unallowable travel expenses

Alcohol


Check Cashing Fees


Entertainment


Fines

Driver is personally responsible for traffic and parking violations, as well as towing fees related to violations.


Insurance

Fees for personal insurance, such as personal liability, personal effects coverage, life insurance, etc. are not reimbursable. University of Kansas employees traveling on KUCR authorized business are automatically covered by a travel insurance policy which includes life insurance, medical evacuation and repatriation. For policy on rental vehicle insurance, see "Car Rental.” Trip Protector/Flight Cancelation Insurance is a personal expense and not allowable for reimbursement.


Laundry

The per diem allowance covers this expense. Exceptions: Reasonable laundry expenses for extended travel (over seven days).


Personal Expenses - Gifts


Spouse or Other Non-Business Travel Partner Expenses

Traveler is responsible for identifying and separating personal costs from business costs. Exceptions: Reimbursable if there is a business purpose for partner to travel.


Theft or Accident - Personal

Traveler files claim with personal insurer, hotel or carrier for theft, damage or loss to personal effects.


Transportation: Parking, Taxi, Shuttle, Bus and Subway

During official business travel time only. Obtain receipt if possible. Tips allowable for taxi and airport shuttles.


Toll Charges for Turnpikes and Bridges

During official business travel time only. Obtain receipt if possible. Identify toll location on travel report.

 

Other travel policies

Authorization and Reporting

Traveler is required to report and substantiate travel expenses within 60 days of the date of travel or travel will be treated as taxable benefit. Requests for travel reimbursement submitted more than 90 days after date of travel or after the end date of a sponsored agreement may be denied. KUCR’s Cost Accounting Policy requires that all travel on sponsored projects be reviewed to ensure allowability under sponsor guidelines. Submission of a travel report for reimbursement indicates travel is necessary and applicable to the sponsored project’s scope of work.


Per Diem

Per diem allowance covers meals, personal expenses and tips while traveling on business. Rates are published in the Travel Rate Schedule. Any deviation from standard per diem rates must be approved by KUCR in advance of the travel and be in compliance with the sponsor’s regulations. Requests for exceptions should be directed to the appropriate Post-Award grant officer.

Traveler may opt to claim actual expenses in lieu of per diem. However, the reimbursement for actual expenses may not exceed the per diem allowance. Only allowable expenses will be reimbursed. Traveler may not mix per diem allowance and actual expenses on the same trip. Receipts are not required for documentation of per diem allowance. Additional per diem compensation received due to "bumped" air flight or other situations outside the control of the traveler must be reported.

No overnight stay: If travel is more than 30 miles from workplace AND exceeds 11 hours, meals will be reimbursed up to the amount of one-quarter day per diem. Per diem is based on time of travel. Include the quarter day of departure. Exclude the quarter day of return.

View the exceptions policy (DOC)


Personal Time Mixed with Business Travel

Traveler is required to document a business purpose for the trip and verify which days are personal and which days are dedicated to business purposes. If personal days exceed business days, the cost of transportation will be treated as a personal expense and will not be reimbursed, per IRS regulations. Per diem, lodging, local transportation and other costs will be reimbursed for business days only.


Point of Departure

If departure date is a weekend or holiday, the point of departure will normally be the traveler's residence. If departure date is during the traveler's normal workday, the initial point of departure will be the traveler's regular place of employment.


Receipts

Receipts are required for reimbursement of all purchases of project supplies regardless of the cost. For lodging and transportation expenses, receipts are only required when the item needing reimbursement exceeds $50 and is not covered by per diem. Traveler must document the date, place and business purpose of the expense if a receipt is not submitted with the travel report. If a credit card is used, include the detail receipt with expense documentation.


Travel Authorization Number

Required for all KU employees regardless of funding source. See the KU Travel Authorization page.