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Travel FAQ

Before Travel/Booking

What expenses can be pre-paid by the University?

How can I book airfare?

  • Airfare should be purchased through Connexxus whenever possible. If your trip includes no personal days of travel, then your airfare may be Directly Billed to the University so that travelers may avoid personally carrying charges. This is especially important should travel be canceled.
  • If using Direct Billing and you need assistance with creating a Direct Bill Id (DBID), contact your Research Administrator or the Social Welfare front desk staff if you do not have a Research Administrator.  Provide them with the following information: Name of traveler, approximate dates of travel, business purpose of travel, and the chartstring to be charged. A unique DBID should be created for each trip.
Or
  • You can purchase the ticket personally using Connexxus, and request reimbursement (required if personal travel is included). Keep all itemized receipts and proof of payment

What happens if I have to cancel a flight?

  • You will need to cancel prior to travel, and according to the ticketing rules
  • If you booked through Connexxus and direct-billed the University (you did not pay for the flight with your personal credit card), please call one of the Connexxus booking agents, BCD Travel or UC Travel, beforehand to cancel the flight and obtain a credit
  • If you purchased the ticket with personal funds, you will be reimbursed after you travel for business using the cancelled ticket credit. Cancelled tickets generally have a credit value valid for a maximum of one year from the date of purchase of the original ticket. Please check the airline's ticketing rules
  • For this reason, it is recommended that you charge your flight directly to the University using a DBID, as long as there is no personal travel involved

What class airfare can I book?

  • Only Economy or Coach class airfare is reimbursable without prior approval, Business class is generally not allowable. Please contact Social Welfare front desk staff if there are special considerations such as medical concerns
  • You may upgrade at your own cost. Provide a comparable quote for the equivalent economy-class trip and the lower of the two fares will be reimbursed

Can I use a flight certificate or miles and be reimbursed the equivalent value?

  • No, only actual paid expenses can be reimbursed

Can I book an internet package to save cost?

  • Unfortunately, packaged travel should be avoided. There is a significant risk of non-reimbursement if costs are not sufficiently itemized
  • Internet packages can only be reimbursed if the receipt shows a breakdown of individual costs (air, hotel, car, taxes and fees) as required by the IRS

How many travel days are allowed for conference attendance?

  • One day prior, one day after meeting/conference/event if unreasonable to schedule on same day
  • Deviations require explanation. Please note them under "Special Circumstances" on the travel forms or in the "Special Circumstances" section of the reimbursement request in UCB Travel Reimbursement System

Can I schedule additional travel days for informal meetings?

  • Yes. Your documentation should include the following information:
    • Name and affiliation of colleague
    • Dates of meeting(s)
    • Location
    • Topics of research or meeting

Can I combine personal with business travel?

  • Yes. Please contact Social Welfare front desk staff for assistance
  • Personal travel (deviation from business) should be explained on the travel form or in the "Special Circumstances" section of the reimbursement request in UCB Travel Reimbursement System
  • For personal travel that causes a deviation from direct business travel, you will need a comparable airfare printout generated when booking your actual ticket
  • Comparable fare is a quote for a ticket as if traveling direct on business only
  • The quote is for at least a 14-day advance purchase, non-refundable type economy fare
  • Lower of either the actual or comparable quote is reimbursed

Can I drive instead of fly?

  • Yes. If surface transportation is used instead of flying, reimbursement is based on the lessor of either the actual expenses, or the lowest airfare using the most direct route. Please check with Social Welfare front desk staff for further details

How can I get travel insurance?

  • Travel insurance is offered free of charge to all UC employees and students on official UC business
  • Traveler is automatically enrolled if the business trip is booked on Connexxus through BCD or UC Travel Center
  • Alternatively, you may register your trip here for insurance coverage

Car Rentals

Are there preferred car rental agencies and should I purchase the insurance? 

  • We do have preferred rental agencies, please see our Travel Guidelines for more information
  • Additional insurance and upgrades are generally not reimbursable
  • Economy or compact rates are allowed, unless there are extenuating circumstances such as traveling with colleagues to save cost or a no-cost upgrade is provided

During Travel

Do I need all itemized receipts to be reimbursed? 

  • Submit itemized receipts for all airfare, car rentals, domestic U.S. lodging, and conference registration regardless of dollar amount, or any other single expense of $75 or more.

What are the meal limits while traveling?

Domestic:

  • Meals and incidentals total cannot exceed $62 per day (effective October 15, 2017)
  • This limit is not a per diem; only actual expenses can be reimbursed
  • Itemized receipts are required for all meals and expenses
  • Meals are not reimbursed for travel <24 hours without an overnight stay, excluding entertainment

International:

  • Government per diem based on country and hours in each location
  • Travel itinerary with dates and times of travel is required
  • Conference meals are deducted from foreign per diem allowance

Entertainment meals are separate and are reimbursed by entertainment policy

 

What are the lodging limits while traveling?

  • Daily lodging limits for domestic trips under 30 days will be set at a $275 room rate, excluding taxes and fees (effective October 15, 2017)
  • If the traveler is unable to secure lodging at $275 per night or less, then acceptable justification must be submitted the supports the higher rate.
    1. If it is a conference hotel, then a statement certifying that it is a conference hotel will be accepted.
    2. If it is not a conference hotel, then a statement that there were no hotel rooms within a reasonable distance (specific # of miles will not be defined) from the meetings that could be found for under $275 and a printout from a known travel booking tool showing available hotel rooms for the requested dates and the associated room rates to substantiate that statement.  Ideally, that should be generated at the time of booking, but after the fact comparison rates will be accepted when it is for the same nights of the week as the actual reservations.

Can I pay for colleagues traveling with me?

  • No, travelers must pay for their own expenses with the exception of pre-approved group travel

During travel, how do I document additional time in informal meetings with colleagues, coauthors, etc.? 

Please provide:

  • Name and affiliation of colleague
  • Dates of meeting(s)
  • Location
  • Topics of research or meeting

After Travel

What documents/information is needed to get reimbursed?

  • Completed and signed reimbursement form (Domestic or International) or request reimbursement directly via the UCB Travel Reimbursement System
  • Receipts for airfare, rental cars, entertainment meals, and other expenses over $75
  • Itemized receipts showing payment received, preferably originals
  • Air itinerary (even if paid by another source, to demonstrate travel duration)
  • Receipt for lodging showing balance paid in full ("zero-balance"). Taxes must be itemized separately from the base lodging rate
  • Flyer or agenda for conferences and details for informal meetings to establish Business Purpose
  • Description of all deviations (extensions, changes, layovers, cancellations, personal time, etc.)
  • Note: credit card statements are not accepted as receipts, only as proof of payment
  • If traveler is not a US citizen, the following are also required: UC W-8BEN form, Certification of Academic Activity, photocopy of passport, and I-94. Check with Social Welfare front desk staff if you have questions

How do I prepare the travel reimbursement request in the UCB Travel Reimbursement System?

Do I have to sign the travel reimbursement document?

  • Yes, the traveler's signature is required on travel forms unless the traveler requests or approves the reimbursement themselves in the UCB Travel Reimbursement System

How can I check the status of my reimbursement?

  • Log in to the UCB Travel Reimbursement System and search for your last name under the "Track Reports/View Reports" option to view the status of your reimbursement.