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Travel Policy

Anyone traveling on University business (University Travelers), must abide by the CSU travel policy, the CSU travel procedures, and Cal Poly’s travel guidelines. It is each University Travelers responsibility to read and understand ALL these policies and procedures and abide by them since together, they form Cal Poly’s travel policy. In no way does the guidelines on this page replace the CSU travel policy or CSU travel procedures, but enhances it.

NOTE: It is recommended to review this page each time before you travel since Cal Poly will be rolling out a new travel program in 2019. This will ensure you are up to date on Cal Poly’s travel guidelines.

REQUEST AUTHORIZATION FOR TRAVEL

Before committing any funds for university travel, including conference fees, etc. all University Travelers must receive authorization to travel. To receive approval, the University Traveler must:

  • Request authorization via a Travel Pre-Authorization form or “1A form”
  • Clearly identify the University Traveler (name) and traveler type (student, faculty or staff, guest, partner or other non-employee)
  • Sign the "Certification of Minimum Liability Insurance" section in the form if a private vehicle will be used
  • Include an itinerary (such as conference agenda, etc.) explaining purpose of travel
  • Provide justification for traveling to a banned state, if applicable, so department VP may review it
  • Provide a budget breaking down travel expenses (air, car, hotel, conference fees, meals, etc.)
  • Include a Cash Advance request, if needed, see below
  • Get proper signatures for international travel, see below.
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CASH ADVANCES

Cash Advances to cover travel expenses are given only to Cal Poly students, faculty or staff and...

  • Seven (7) days or more before first day of travel, so plan accordingly
  • Minimum $200
  • Approved by Approving Official
  • Paid via EFT only to faculty and staff or
  • Paid via check to students, pick up at Cashier’s office in Administration building. Student is responsible for picking up check

During 2019, Cal Poly will be providing multiple payment solutions for faculty and staff travel, including a university travel credit card, therefore no cash advances shall be granted to faculty or staff when the new payment methods are rolled out in 2019. Exceptions may be made for travel to remote places where credit cards are not accepted and traveler will need $200 or more for travel expenses.

Since Cal Poly provides limited payment solutions for student and/ or group travel, cash advances may be granted to this traveler type.

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BUNDLED TRAVEL PACKAGES

Travel packages purchased from internet vendors typically do not itemize expenses. Therefore, no business-related travel should be booked through such vendors unless the traveler has confirmed that each aspect of the package will be separately itemized (e.g. itemized hotel charges, airfare, etc.) to assure appropriate documentation for reimbursement.

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INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

Any person traveling on University business or representing Cal Poly, whether travel is paid by University funds or not, MUST register with the International Center. This will ensure proper duty of care, including insurance is in place for the University Traveler. Not doing so may restrict your future University Travel.

All expenses must be in US Dollars. If the travel expense tool does not automatically calculate foreign currency to US Dollars, than the traveler will need to do so. Please use The Currency Site for proper currency conversion and print and submit website conversion along with the receipts.

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TRAVEL LESS THAN 24 HOURS

Meals and incidental expenses are not reimbursed by the University when the start time and end time of a trip are within 24 hours of each other (for benefit beyond a doubt, the entire trip is less than 24 hours), unless an overnight stay is included and supported by a lodging receipt. In the event a lodging receipt cannot be provided (e.g. the traveler lodged with a friend or relative, stayed overnight at the airport, or took alternative transportation that required the traveler to be away overnight), a statement explaining the lack of lodging receipt must be submitted along with the travel expense.

An exception to the overnight stay requirement may be granted by the approving authority. In this case, the amount of breakfast and/or dinner and incidentals reimbursed by the University are taxable, therefore the amount will be reported to Payroll and included in Box 1 of the employee’s W‐2 form.

Under no circumstances will expenses for lunch be reimbursed for travel of less than 24 hours.

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LODGING

Traveler will be reimbursed for actual lodging expenses and a receipt is required. Any published amounts referenced as per diem are considered a do not exceed amount by Cal Poly.

Lodging is the only expense you may share with another individual traveler. If you share lodging with another University Traveler, only one traveler need expense the cost of the shared hotel room.

The cost of shared lodging must follow as such:

When sharing a hotel room, it shall not exceed the nightly hotel allowance

When sharing an entire apartment or house (e.g. AirBnB) the entire rental cost, including all fees (service, cleaning, non-taxes, etc.) shall not exceed the nightly hotel allowance multiplied by the number of University Travelers. For further clarity, see the below calculation to determine the reimbursable amount:

Number of Nights
X
Number of People
X
Nightly Allowance per Person ($)
=
Reimbursable Amount ($)

In-state hotels may provide a tax discount or waive taxes for University Travelers. The hotel needs an approved Tax Waiver Fee form as proof of traveling on University business. Waving of such fees is at the hotel’s discretion.

The International lodging nightly amounts are determined by the US Office of Allowances. For lodging nightly allowance, select the appropriate location and see the Maximum Lodging Rate column. Although the site reference the amount as a per diem, this is a do not exceed amount. Cal Poly will reimburse actuals.

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AUTOMOBILES

Rental of 15 passenger vans is prohibited by Cal Poly. Enterprise & National are the CSU preferred vendors for rental cars.

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AIR

The university will not pay for any seat upgrades, including but not limited to paying additional fees for exit row, premium seats, business class or first class. See CSU Procedure for any exceptions. In the event there are only paid seats available during your check-in, these fees are still not reimbursable since the airline will assign you a seat at the airport.

If travel will be same day, University Traveler should travel basic economy (or “Group 9”) where traveler may only carry a personal bag/ backpack.

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PERSONAL TRAVEL

While traveling on University business, travelers may add extra days of personal travel. The University does not cover costs for personal travel, therefore…

Lodging

University Traveler must pay with your own personal credit card for the days on personal travel. You may only use University payment methods, such direct bill or travel credit card for University expenses.

Automobile

University Traveler is encouraged to turn in any rentals upon completion of University Travel since university insurance is only applicable for business travel, not personal travel. Traveler should rent their own automobile on their own personal credit card and insurance to ensure proper coverage for personal travel.

Air

University Traveler may extend their airfare dates to include personal travel as long as traveler documents the cost of airfare for University Travel only (e.g. to conference and back) since this will be the reimbursement amount. Proper documentation includes a screenshot of air fare for University Travel, which must include university travel start date and end date, destination(s) and price. Any additional costs above reimbursement amount for personal travel is the traveler’s responsibility and will have to pay the University back.

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MEALS

Domestic

The daily meal allowance for domestic travel is $55 total. This is not a per diem, but a do not exceed amount. Cal Poly will reimburse actuals.

On departure and arrival days (on trips over 24 hours), only part of the daily meal allowance can be reimbursed. The table below (Table 1) outlines the daily reimbursement amounts for departure and arrival dates, the amount depends on the time of departure and arrival.

Table 1. Domestic Daily Meal Allowance for Arrival & Departure Days
Domestic Daily Meal Allowance $55
Depart
before 8:00am $55.00 100%
8:00am - 12pm $36.66 66%
12pm - 6pm $18.34 33%
Arrive
9am - 2:00pm $18.34 33%
2:00pm - 6:00pm $36.66 66%
after 6:00pm $55.00 100%

International

The daily meal allowance for international travel is determined by the US Office of Allowances. For meals and incidental daily allowance (1 rate), select the appropriate location and see the M & IE rate column. Although the site reference the amount as a per diem, this is a do not exceed amount. Cal Poly will reimburse actuals.

On departure and arrival days, only part of the daily meal allowance can be reimbursed. The table below (Table 2) outlines the daily reimbursement amounts for departure and arrival dates, the amount depends on the total number of hours between time of arrival at the foreign location and the time of departure from the foreign location.

Table 2. International Daily Meal Allowance for Arrival & Departure days
International Daily Meal Allowance
# of hours % of daily amount
3 - 8.75 25%
9 - 14.75 50%
15 - 20.75 75%
21 – 24 100%
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HOSPITALITY

Hospitality, hosting a guest or group of guests, is acceptable while traveling on University business outside the San Luis Obispo area. Travelers must follow the Hospitality Policy when doing so.

Since Hospitality usually includes a meal, it can affect the traveler’s meal allowance. The table below (Table 3) outlines allowable meal expenses when hospitality is included in travel. For clarity, since another individual (host) is claiming the individual traveler’s food and beverage, the traveling attendee may not claim that specific meal for the event date. Meals at conferences are considered a hosted meal and therefore can’t be claimed without justification that the provided meal was unacceptable for medical, religious or other valid dietary restrictions. Conference itineraries or agenda are required.

Table 3. Daily Meal Reimbursement Amounts with Hospitality

One Meal at Event
1 Meal per day provided at Event:
Meals that may be expensed by Individual Host
Breakfast X X
Lunch X X
Dinner Event Attendee Event Host
Reimbursement Amount on Event Date:
Individual meals $36.66 $36.66
Event Expense (Food & Beverage) $0 $/person X
# attendees
Two Meals at Event
2 Meals per day provided at Event:
Meals that may be expensed by Individual Host
Breakfast Event Attendee Event Host
Lunch Event Attendee Event Host
Dinner X X
Reimbursement Amount on Event Date:
Individual meals $18.33 $18.33
Event Expense (Food & Beverage) $0 $/person X
# attendees
Three Meals at Event
3 Meals per day provided at Event:
Meals that may be expensed by Individual Host
Breakfast Event Attendee Event Host
Lunch Event Attendee Event Host
Dinner Event Attendee Event Host
Reimbursement Amount on Event Date:
Individual meals $0 $0
Event Expense (Food & Beverage) $0 $/person X
# attendees
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CLAIM TRAVEL EXPENSES

Travel expenses shall be claimed via a Travel Expense Report (replacing Travel Claim forms). Expense Reports must

  • Be submitted by the person who incurred the expense, which must be the traveler. See CSU
  • Be submitted within thirty (30) days upon the return of your travel, therefore from the last day of your trip.
  • Be accompanied by an approved travel Request
  • Include itemized receipt for all required transactions, see Travel Expense Documentation Requirements section.
  • Clearly identify personal expenses, if any, that may have been charged to a university charge account or credit card. Traveler is responsible for all personal expenses/ charges
  • Claim actual costs incurred, no per diem amounts allowed. For clarity, the Federal per diem allowances for international travel is a do not exceed amount, not a given daily amount to claim.
  • Clearly identify any cash advances given to traveler
  • Follow Hospitality policy, if hospitality is included in trip
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TRAVEL EXPENSE DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS

Travel Expense Reports require the proper documentation to back up the expenses incurred while traveling on University business. The proper documentation, such as a receipt must:

  • Include transaction itemization for both domestic and international travel; for instance meal receipt listing what was purchased –vs- credit card receipt with total only
  • Be provided for individual travel expenses over $40.00 to obtain reimbursement; a Lost Receipt Form (and any additional proof, such as a credit card bill) must be submitted if a receipt is not available. Amounts not supported by a receipt or a Lost Receipt Form will be reported to the I.R.S. as income.
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BANNED STATE TRAVEL:

University Travelers are not allowed to use any state funds to travel to Banned States (see AB1887 for most updated list), since the California Legislature determined that "California must take action to avoid supporting or financing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people." (Gov. Code, § 11139.8, subd. (a)(5).) To that end, AB 1887 prohibits a state agency, department, board, or commission from requiring any state employees, officers, or members to travel to a “banned state” after June 26, 2015 or whenever a specific state is added to the list, whichever is later.

To support California’s stand on this issue all faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to not travel to the Banned States regardless of the funding source.

Exceptions to Banned State travel must be approved by your Vice President prior to any funds being committed for travel and if ONLY any of the following are required:

  1. To enforce California law, including auditing and revenue collection.
  2. Litigation.
  3. To meet contractual obligations incurred before January I, 2017.
  4. To comply with requests by the federal government to appear before committees.
  5. To participate in meetings or training required by a grant or required to maintain grant funding.
  6. To complete job-required training necessary to maintain licensure or similar standards required for holding a position, in the event that comparable training cannot be obtained in California or a different state not subject to the travel prohibition.
  7. For the protection of public health, welfare, or safety, as determined by the affected agency, department, board, authority, or commission, or by the affected legislative office.

(Gov. Code, § 11139.8, subd. (c).)

Travel Updates