Skip to main content

Utah State University's Travel Policy

The University's travel policy can be seen in the policy library on the Human Resources website.

Policy #515

Travel Procedures

**A new per diem rate will apply to all travel beginning on or after April 1, 2019. The Daily travel rate will be increased to $49.00 per day. Current percentage rates will still apply to travel days and meal breakdown.**

(Effective March 20, 2018) 

Group Travel: Two or more people traveling together for authorized University business. This could include: employees, students, or employees and students.

Travel Status: These procedures apply to individuals between the time they leave for University travel and return from University travel with consideration given to tax home (as defined in IRS Publication 463).

All University travel must be supported by properly completing a Travel Authorization (TA) and Travel Reimbursement (TR), except for travel utilizing only University owned vehicles. 

When university funds are not available to reimburse all expenses, an individual is not obligated to travel. However, if the individual chooses to travel, it is expected that the traveler will assume the remainder of the cost.

The Travel Approval - Electronic Process guidelines.




Motor pool vehicles are the preferred method when automobile travel is required for University business.

Private Automobile

When using your private automobile, your personal automobile insurance will be the primary insurance coverage. The University's automobile insurance will only be effective after your personal insurance has been fully exhausted.

The mileage reimbursement rates are determined utilizing Motor Pool data for cost of operation adjusted for cost of fuel. Rates will not be greater than the approved IRS rate. 

The following mileage reimbursement rates are effective July 1, 2013.

         Passenger Cars $.485 per mile
         Pickups & SUVs $.55 per mile (Only available when University related travel requires hauling a load or towing a trailer)

  • If a traveler is provided with a University vehicle and is required to cover all of the operating costs of that vehicle, the reimbursement rate for miles traveled on University business is $0.20 per mile. This rate will be adjusted as needed to ensure that it never exceeds the IRS moving expense rate.

Additional Mileage Reimbursement Rules:

  • Commute is defined as those miles from your place of residence to your work location.
  • Under IRS regulations, commuting expenses are not reimbursable to an employee.
  • Your work location is constant regardless of weekend or evening travel.
  • If you have an office location away from your home, that will be considered your primary office and will be used as a basis for mileage reimbursements even if you work from home some days.
  • Your mileage log and/or google maps should include all stops along the way.  We will check your miles for accuracy.  If we don’t know what additional stops you made, we will ask you to reduce your miles.
  • If you take a route other than the shortest one, please provide justification as to why a longer route was taken.  A justifiable business purpose must be given.
  • For personal mileage reimbursement on an open TA, documentation of mileage must be submitted which should include dates, miles traveled, and destination cities.  Please follow this link for an example of a mileage log.

Rates will be reviewed at least annually in November. If motor pool rates have changed, new reimbursement rates will be presented to the Executive Committee for consideration. New rates will become effective at the beginning of the next University fiscal year except in those instances where rates are being immediately reduced to comply with the allowable IRS rates.


Automobile at Airfare Rate

When traveling out-of-state and the traveler elects to drive his or her own car instead of using a commercial carrier, reimbursement will be the lower of:

  • The allowable mileage rate; or
  • The associated expenses of flying as allowed  and documented by the department.

Rental Cars

Reimbursement for rental cars will be based on actual receipts with reductions for any personal use outside of the University travel period.

Pre-contracted liability and physical damage insurance is available for vehicles rented from certain car rental agencies, if the traveler uses the appropriate Contract Number and pays the pre-negotiated rates. As these rental contracts are negotiated periodically, travelers should make sure they have the relevant information for the current fiscal year. Please refer to the Rental Vehicle website under Risk Management Services about contracts and insurance coverage.

Commercial Aircraft

Reimbursable air transportation costs are limited to those fares less than first class. Reimbursement will be based on actual costs as supported by detailed receipts.

Private Aircraft

Reimbursement will be ten cents higher than the private automobile reimbursement rate per mile for one person and fifteen cents higher than the private automobile reimbursement rate per mile for two or more persons.

Private aircraft owners opting to fly their aircraft on University business must have their own liability insurance. This insurance coverage should be at least $1,000,000 per occurrence and name the University as an additional insured for such flights.


Domestic Travel

Lodging will be reimbursed at actual costs as supported by itemized receipts.

International Travel

Lodging will be reimbursed at actual costs as supported by itemized receipts not to exceed the maximum allowable Federal lodging per diem rate. The maximum allowable Federal lodging per diem rates can be found at the US Department of State Office of Allowances. Per Federal guidelines, if reasonable lodging accommodations cannot be secured at a location where the actual cost is within the maximum lodging per diem allowed, the traveler may request reimbursement on an actual expense basis, not to exceed 300 percent of the maximum lodging per diem allowance. Approval of actual expenses in excess of the maximum lodging per diem allowed should usually happen in advance of travel and at the discretion of the Department Administrator.

Lodging at Other than a Motel/Hotel

Travelers may elect to stay with friends, relatives, personal accommodations other than the traveler's permanent residence, personally owned campers, or personally owned trailer homes instead of staying in a motel/hotel. With  an authorized TA and proof of staying overnight away from home, the traveler will be reimbursed as follows:

$25 per night with no receipts required; or

Actual cost up to $40 per night with a receipt from a facility such as a campground or trailer park.


Actual Costs (applicable to both Domestic and International Travel)

Reimbursement for meals based on actual costs must be supported by an itemized receipt. If reimbursement for actual costs for any given meal is requested, then ALL meals for THAT TRIP must be reimbursed at actual costs.

Per Diem

  • Domestic Travel - Travelers may be reimbursed on a per diem basis for any trip. The current per diem rate is $49.00
  • International Travel - Travelers may be reimbursed on a per diem basis for any given trip. The per diem rates applicable are those outlined in the Federal Travel Regulations. Calculated based on the destinantion city. These rates are available through the Department of State website.
  • Partial-Day Travel - The first and last day of any travel requiring more than a single day will be reimbursed at 75% of the per diem rate. 
    • Example #1 - Assuming travel occurred over a two day period the following per diem calculation would apply:
      • Day 1- .75 X $49.00 = $36.75
      • Day 2- .75 X $49.00 = $36.75
      • Total = $73.50


    • Example #2 - Assuming travel occurred over a three day period the following per diem calculation would apply:
      • Day 1- .75 X $49.00 = $36.75
      • Day 2- Full per diem = $49.00
      • Day 3- .75 X $49.00 = $36.75
      • Total = $122.50
  • Multiple Destination Points - The per diem rate will be based on the destination point. Where there is more than one destination point, the per diem could be different for any given travel itinerary. For example, travel might include a conference in Washington D.C. and then a departure to London, England. The initial per diem rate would be based on the current per diem rate for domestic travel. Upon departure from Washington D.C., the per diem rate would be effective for London, England.
    • Example – Assuming per diem rate of $49 per day for domestic travel and $139 per day for London and an itinerary as follows:
      • Depart Salt Lake City for Washington D.C. on Monday at 9:00 a.m.
      • Attend a conference in Washington D.C. through Wednesday until 11:00 a.m.
      • Depart Washington D.C. for London, England on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.
      • Make a presentation at a research conference in London, England that ends Saturday at 5:00 p.m.
      • Depart London, England for Salt Lake City on Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m.
      • Per diem calculations would be as follows:

           Monday domestic rate at $49 x 75% (first day of travel) $36.75
           Tuesday domestic rate at $49.00 
           Wednesday (depart to London) international rate $139.00
           Thursday through Saturday international rate $139 x 3 days = $417.00
           Sunday domestic rate $49 X 75% (last day of travel) $36.75
              Total per diem for meals  $678.50

  • Adjustment for Meals Provided - Reimbursement under the per diem method will be adjusted for any meals provided. The adjustment for meals will be based on a percentage of the total per diem allowed: 25% for breakfast, 30% for lunch, and 45% for dinner.

Travel Day ($36.75)













Full Day ($49.00)













Travel Not Requiring an Overnight Stay

For single day travel travel where the individual is in travel status for more than 12 hours but is not required to stay overnight, the meal reimbursement will be  at the actual cost as supported by an itemized receipt or 75% of the per diem rate.  This meal reimbursement will be reported as taxable income in accordance with Internal Revenue Service regulations.

Other Out-of-Pocket Expenses

  • Parking Fees - Parking fees are reimbursable at the actual cost as supported by a receipt.
  • Taxi, WIFI, etc. - All University business related expenditures are reimbursable at actual cost. Individual transactions of $15.00 or more must be supported by an itemized receipt.
  • ATM Fees - ATM fees charged to obtain a cash advance related to University travel will be reimbursed to the traveler

International Travel Insurance

With the well being of international travelers as a top priority, Utah State University has contracted with International SOS (SOS) to provide travel assistance services for the university community traveling abroad on university business or sponsored activities. SOS provides security and medical evacuation services, and a variety of online health, safety, and security resources. Go to the University Risk Management website and select International Travel Insurance. From there, access the SOS website to complete a traveler profile, obtain helpful travel information and print an ID card for your wallet.

The USU pin is: 11BYSG000002

For additional information regarding this valuable program call the Office of Risk Management, at 435-797-1844.

Family/Companion Travel

For those occasions when it is determined that family/companion travel is essential or beneficial to the University for the accomplishment of a bona fide business purpose, University funds may be used to reimburse the family/companion travel expenses with approval by the appropriate Dean or Vice President.
Reimbursement Approval Form
The following form is used to document the approval by the Dean or Vice President and to determine if the family/companion travel is essential or beneficial to the University: Companion Travel Approval Form.

Essential Family/Companion Travel:

If the approved family/companion travel is determined to be essential (not just beneficial), to the University for the accomplishment of a bona fide business purpose, the reimbursement will be non-taxable to the employee.

Essential family/companion travel and a bona fide business purpose may be established with the following criteria:

  • The presence of the companion would be considered essential to the University and is necessary for the employee to carry out the business purpose, AND
  • The predominant purpose of the companion travel is to serve the University's business purpose, AND
  • The companion must perform significant and substantive business related functions and those functions must be documented by including the following items:
    • Agenda, Calendar, or Schedule of Events detailing the required companion participation.
    • Describe the bona fide business purpose that predominantly benefitted the University.
    • Describe the significant and substantive business related functions performed by the Companion.
    • Describe how the presence of the companion was essential to the University.

Beneficial Family/Companion Travel:

If the approved family/companion travel is determined to be beneficial to the University for the accomplishment of a business purpose but does not meet the requirements for essential family/companion travel or the traveler chooses not to complete the documentation as listed above, the reimbursement will be taxable to the employee and withholding taxes will be deducted from the next available payroll.