Planning and Paying for Travel

Plan Carefully to Ensure the Best Possible Value

The University of Virginia is a public institution governed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. As such, all expense records, regardless of fund source, are open to the public under the Federal and State Freedom of Information Act. University faculty, staff, students, and others acting on behalf of the University must comply with requirements established in the University's Travel and Expense Policy.  

Book your trip with TravelUVA for special guidance on University Travel Policy, discounts with preferred airlines, rental car companies, and local contracted hotels, Duty of Care, and more.


Employee Travel

It is strongly recommended that all travel be authorized by someone who has knowledge of the traveler’s plans and the authority to question or reject it prior to any cost being incurred (usually the traveler’s supervisor or designated approver).


TravelUVA should be utilized for university-related travel only. Personal travel should be booked on own. See "Mixing Personal Travel with University Paid Travel" below if you are combining a business trip and personal trip.


Visit the Lodging Page

International Travel

If you are traveling outside the United States, please review the International Travel page before making arrangements.

Mixing Personal Travel with University Paid Travel

When mixing a personal trip with University paid travel:

  • Print a cost comparison of the itinerary the traveler would have taken for the business trip portion of the trip at the same time the ticket including the personal trip is purchased.
  •  The less expensive of the two itineraries will be reimbursed.
  • A trip including personal travel can only be purchased using a T&E card if it is equal to in cost or less expensive than the business trip would have been.
  • Submit both itineraries with the expense report in ExpenseUVA with an explanation in the Description field

Companion Travel

Expenses related to a companion traveling or attending a business meal (whether a companion of an Employee or Non-employee) are an allowable expense if the companion is considered to have a bona fide business purpose, rather than a personal or social purpose. However, companion travel is not allowed to be purchased on the T&E card. 


Companion expenses will be paid based on actual costs and must be supported by itemized receipts regardless of the amount. Companion travel expenses are subject to taxation based on IRS policy and business purpose. Expenses related to companion travel and business meals require justification and approval by the Supplemental Approver.


You may use Concur to book travel for a companion as a guest on a separate reservation using a personal credit card. The cloning feature will be helpful for you to ensure you are booked on the same flights. It is recommended that you email and ask to have your reservations cross-referenced so the airlines know you are traveling together. You may also call CBT's full-service agents by calling 1-844-4UVA-CBT (844-488-2228, M-F 8:00 am - 9:00 pm) to assure you are on the same flights with seat assignments together.

Air & Rail Travel:


Justification and approval of the supplemental approver are required for:

  • Domestic business or first class ticket purchases

  • International first class ticket purchases

  • Airline upgrades costing more than $350

  • Purchase of rail sleeping car ticket

Private or Chartered Flights

Private or chartered air travel is permitted when authorized by the traveler's dean or vice president prior to making the purchase. All private and chartered air travel must be handled by a PSDS buyer and purchased with a Purchase Order. Documented Pre-approval should be attached to the request to the buyer.  (For use of the University airplane, see PRM-001, Use of University Airplane or Private Air Transportation Service.)

Unused Tickets

Unused tickets purchased by the University should be retained for future University travel. TravelUVA will automatically track and apply unused tickets to future travel.

Frequent Flyer Miles

Employees may retain frequent flyer miles/points earned from business travel for personal use.

Any transaction made with loyalty points of any kind, including but not limited to frequent flyer miles or credit card points, are not eligible for reimbursement.

Global Entry & TSA PreCheck

Application fees related to trusted traveler programs, such as TSA PreCheck and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Global Entry Program, are allowable expenses for Employees who travel frequently for University business. The TSA Pre-check application is available online and at many DMV locations. Visit U.S. Department of Homeland Security for info about Global Entry.

Ground Transportation:

Vehicle Rental

Visit the Vehicle Rentals page

Personally-Owned Vehicles

The use of personally-owned vehicles will be reimbursed at current Standard Mileage Rates established by the IRS. The University cannot reimburse for fuel only for personal vehicles for domestic travel.

Domestic travelers using a personal vehicle should use the “Mileage” expenditure tile in ExpenseUVA. In order to comply with IRS Policy, ExpenseUVA restricts the use of the “Fuel” tile to rental vehicles, University vehicles, or international travelers. Reimbursement cannot be claimed for both mileage and fuel.

When using a personal vehicle, please be aware that the individual’s personal auto liability insurance will be used as coverage in the case of an incident. Drivers would also be responsible for any passengers in the car. For this reason, UVA strongly encourages the use of rental cars when there will be passengers in the vehicle.

When using personal vehicles for international travel, the University will reimburse the actual cost of operation of such a vehicle.


Car/Limo Service

Charter Bus Service

Parking Fees

Parking fees incurred while traveling on official University business are an allowable expense.

Parking Fines

Parking fines are not an allowable expense for University faculty, staff, or students.


Commuting to and from work is not considered business travel and mileage is not reimbursable. Parking costs associated with commuting are not an allowable expense.

Paying for Travel:

Payment Methods

Travel and Expense Card - The Travel and Expense Card, also known as the T&E Card, is the preferred method of payment for all employee initiated travel, meals, and entertainment expenses for the following reasons:

  • Does not incur international fees, cash advance fees, or sales tax on goods and services that are exempted from sales tax
  • VISA provides cardholder assistance, insurance, and services
  • More efficient than processing a travel reimbursement
  • Cash Advance option on the Travel and Expense Card

Please see University Travel and Expense Card Program  for details on how to obtain a card to pay for travel expenses. 

Cash Advance: Employees may obtain a Cash Advance  when it is the only means of paying for  travel expenses. A T&E card and direct payment to service providers should be used before requesting a cash advance. To  request a Cash Advance email Cash advances must be repaid to the University within 30 days from the last date of travel.  Failure to repay within 30 days will result in collection which could include payroll deduction. If you have a cash advance that you cannot repay within 30 days from the last date of travel, please contact immediately.  Payroll deduction could occur as soon as 35 days after the last date of travel. A cash advance cannot be paid from sponsored program funds.

Reimbursement: Expenses paid with personal funds should not be submitted until after the completion of the trip.  Employees have 30 days from the completion of travel to submit an expense report in ExpenseUVA. Expense reports submitted later than 30 days after the last day of travel require justification which describes why late submission was unpreventable, as well as approval by the supplemental approver. *Please note: Points (from a loyalty program, credit card, etc.) used to purchase travel do not have a dollar value and are therefore not reimbursable.

See Complete an Expense Report in ExpenseUVA for more details.

Per Diems

When claiming per diem, meals cannot exceed the per diem rate for the location of travel. Meals provided at no-cost to the traveler, whether not purchased, provided as part of a conference package, paid for by another person, or claimed as a business meal, must be deducted from the per diem. Travelers will receive 75% of the per diem rate for the first and last day of travel regardless of the actual meals purchased. For trips involving multiple travel destinations, use the rate in effect for the location where the traveler spent the night.   For the departure day, use the rate in effect for the location where the traveler will spend the night.  For the return day, use the rate in effect for the location where the traveler spends the night before returning home.  Meal tipping and taxes are included in the expense limit for the meal.  Travelers do not need to provide receipts for meals when claiming per diem limits.

Travelers should claim actual meals or per diems but not both in one trip.

Domestic Per Diem Rate Guide

International Per Diem Rate Guide

Travel Meals

Actual Meals: When claiming actual meals travelers should follow the University’s standard daily limit of $75. Exceptions over $150 per day require justification and supervisor approval. Travelers should claim actual meals or per diems but not both in one trip.

Day Trip Meals: Day trip meals will be reimbursed as actual meals and require itemized receipts. They may not exceed the University’s standard daily limit of $75. Exceptions over $150 per day require justification and approval by the Supplemental Approver. Day trip meals will be reported to Payroll. The amount will show on your payslip as taxable income and appropriate taxes will be withheld from your salary.


For employees claiming per diem, incidentals are included in the per diem rate at $5 per day. No incidentals are provided for day trips. For employees claiming actual meals, actual incidental expenses may be claimed. Tips and gratuities are allowed for service industries where it is customary. Tips should be reasonable and follow best practices.

Personal Expenses

The University will not reimburse personal travel expenses and using your card for personal expenses will result in the funds being deducted from your paycheck and may result in your card being cancelled for misuse.

Sponsored Program Funds Notice

  • Grant rules prevail in cases where the individual grant or contract specifies restrictions on purchases, i.e. some grants may not allow travel expenses. Please review "Sponsor's Notice of Grant Award" for more information.
  • If your grant includes federal funds, it will also be subject to federal regulations including the "Fly America Act". Visit the Office of Sponsored Programs website often to be sure that you are aware of issues relating to travel on these funds.