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How to pay for travel

Category Purchase Options Comments
Airfare - domestic (see Personal Time)
  1. Christopherson Business Travel (charges directly to your budget)
  2. Lake City Travel (charges directly to your budget)
  3. Out-of-Pocket / submit for Reimbursement
  • Most economical/reasonable option.
  • First class, business class, coach upgrade and seat fees are not reimbursable unless you have appropriate justification.
  • For Lake City Travel, contact Mona Moreno or Josie Hazen.
Airfare - foreign (see Personal Time)
  1. Christopherson Business Travel (charges directly to your budget)
  2. Lake City Travel (charges directly to your budget)
  3. Out-of-Pocket / submit for Reimbursement
  • Fly America Act (for federally funded travel)
  • Contact grant manager if charging to a grant.
Lodging / hotel Out-of-Pocket / submit for Reimbursement On rare occasions, such as student trips and visitors, the department can request approval to charge lodging on the department travel card (Central Travel Account).
Non-traditional lodging / hotel (e.g. AirBnB) Out-of-pocket / submit for reimbursement
  • Reimbursable with itemized receipt (including names of guests)
  • Indicate UW or non-UW employee
Meals Out-of-pocket / submit for reimbursement
  • Reimbursable with itemized receipt or at per diem rate.
  • Provide airfare/train/car rental itinerary or indicate time of departure if using personal vehicle.
  • Indicate if meals were provided (e.g. conference, host).
Other transportation (privately owned vehicle, taxi, public transportation) Out-of-pocket / submit for reimbursement
  • Reimbursable with itemized receipt
  • Map for mileage (privately owned vehicle) required
  • Taxi/Uber - full receipt is required.
  • Tips are reimbursable.
  • Rounding up for donations are not reimbursable.
Car rental Out-of-pocket / submit for reimbursement
  • UW employees only (drivers); if non-UW employee is listed (e.g. spouse, friend), the expense is void, and NOT reimbursable.
  • When possible, use Enterprise and National UW Contract rates.
    • Decline all additional coverage.
  • Reimbursable with itemized receipt.
Train / rail
  1. Christopherson Business Travel (charges directly to your budget)
  2. Lake City Travel (charges directly to your budget)
  3. Out-of-Pocket / reimbursement
Reimbursable with receipt.

Submitting a request for travel reimbursement

All travel reimbursement requests are submitted via PurchasePath. Please email Hettie Scofield for access.

To submit a travel reimbursement, follow these step-by-step instructions .


Although university policy only requires receipts for reimbursing expenses over $75, the CEE departmental policy REQUIRES that individuals submit ALL RECEIPTS to the CEE Fiscal Office when requesting reimbursement, regardless of cost.

Additional travel information

Per diem rates

Travel packages

Travel packages are only reimbursable as a travel expense if components of the travel package can be itemized (airfare, airfare tax, lodging room rate per night, lodging tax per night, etc)

If package deals are reimbursed without detail, it is not an allowable travel expense, and the reimbursement counts as taxable income for the traveler and is taxed through payroll.

Visit UW's policy on package deals.


Travelers must indicate if meals were provided by other sources. For example, if you are attending a conference and lunch is included. Your conference itinerary must be included in your reimbursement request.

Meal per diem starts when you are in travel status. Documentation examples include airfare itinerary, train reservation confirmation, or POV departure time.

If you opt to reimburse direct costs rather than claim per diem, you will only get reimbursed up to the per diem rate.

You will not be reimbursed for alcohol. For additional information on meals and/or alcohol during travel, please see UW’s policy on meals and CEE’s alcohol policy.

Lodging per diem

Before you book, verify lodging per diem rate for your travel destination. Reimbursement is limited to per diem rate unless an exception exists.

Exceptions in which lodging costs in excess of the per diem rate is allowable include:

  • Hotel is adjacent to conference listed in program – limitations apply
  • Lower cost overall to stay in more expensive hotel (vs. combined cost of staying in cheaper hotel and taking a taxi to conference or renting a car) – limitations apply
  • Concerns for health and safety
  • Special event or disaster

For additional information on lodging, please see UW's policy on lodging.

Personal time

If taking personal time, you will need to provide documentation comparing airfare costs showing your personal time did not incur additional costs.

Comparison airfare

If you are taking personal time off, comparison airfare is the airfare you would have booked if you only stayed for the allowable business days. For example, a conference is Monday-Thursday, and you want to take personal time from Thursday-Sunday. You will need to provide comparison airfare for the Monday-Thursday dates, along with the airfare you purchased with personal time. If the purchased airfare exceeds the comparison cost, you will only be reimbursed the lesser of the two.

For additional information on comparison airfare, see UW’s policy on comparison airfare.

Mileage for long distances

If requesting mileage for long distances, you will need to provide other transportation comparisons to show what the cost would have been if taking other means of transportation (e.g. train, airfare, bus, etc.). For example, if you were traveling from Seattle to Portland, you will need to provide documentation on cost of airfare, mileage, and/or other means of transportation (e.g. bus or train).

Car rental

Compact or sedan (5-person car) is the standard allowable car rental. Upgrades are allowable with appropriate justification. For example, requesting a van to transport supplies and equipment necessary to complete field work is an appropriate justification.

For additional information on car rental or other transportation, see UW’s policy on car, insurance, mileage and other transportation.

Mileage rates for privately owned vehicle

All mileage starts from the university campus on weekdays, during work hours 8am.- 5pm. If travel begins outside of work hours, you may use your home as your starting point for mileage. You cannot claim reimbursement for BOTH mileage and gas. The mileage rate accounts for gas and wear and tear.