The Institute for Energy Efficiency engages in many activities and programs that require domestic and foreign travel in order to further our ultimate mission or contribute to funded research programs.

All official university travel (purpose, dates, estimated cost) must be approved by the department head or a person to whom such authority has been delegated. This approval can be obtained verbally, in writing (e.g., department-created form), or electronically (e.g., email). Department heads shall obtain approval for their own travel from a higher administrative level (i.e., their vice chancellor or dean).

In addition, travel funded by extramural funds must be approved by the principal investigator and allowable on that contract or grant. Authorization must be obtained prior to undertaking official university travel. Travelers who fail to obtain prior authorization may be liable for the expenses incurred.

For questions, ask the Financial Coordinator or check the University of California Travel Policy, G-28

Maximum for Meals & Incidentals

Meals will be reimbursed only if they fall within the trip’s start and end dates/times. The trip begins once transportation to the destination begins and the trip ends once you return home. For example, if your flight is at 2pm, your trip begins when you leave your house at noon in an Uber to get to the Santa Barbara airport. Your breakfast from that morning is not reimbursable.   

If the total trip is less than 24 hours, meals and incidentals will not be reimbursed unless travel includes proof of an overnight stay. Exception applies if the meal expense has a business purpose (i.e. business meeting).

​Hawaii, Alaska, and all US possessions are to be treated as foreign travel.

Domestic Travel Under 30 Days
The traveler may be reimbursed up to the maximum of $62 per day for meals and incidentals. A half day of travel (12 hours) will allow a maximum of $31 for meal reimbursements. Receipts are not needed, as long as the traveler is recording actual expenses incurred. If it appears that the meal cap is being treated as a per diem rate, traveler will be asked to provide receipts. 

Domestic Travel Over 30 Days
Please check the per diem rates associated with each city. Traveler may claim actual expenses incurred or the city's per diem rate for reimbursement. Receipts are not necessary for per diem reimbursement; however, are required if the actual expenses claimed are over the per diem rate. 

Foreign Travel
Please check the per diem rates associated with each city. Traveler may claim actual expenses incurred or the city's per diem rate for reimbursement. Receipts are not necessary for per diem reimbursement; however, are required if the actual expenses claimed are over the per diem rate. 


Domestic Travel Under 30 Days
For domestic travel under 30 days, traveler may be reimbursed up to the maximum of $275/night (before taxes and fees) for lodging in the lower 48 states. Alaska and Hawaii are to be treated as foreign travel.

If the traveler is in a higher cost city and is unable to secure a room at or below $275, the traveler must submit a “Lodging Limit Justification” form and explain why a rate under the cap could not be obtained and provide screenshots of price comparisons within the proximity of the meeting location. The price comparison should be performed at the time of booking.

Domestic Travel Over 30 Days
Check the domestic travel per diem rates for lodging.

Please note that when lodging is 1-199% over the destination city’s federal per diem rates, only the Director’s approval is needed (unless the travel is for the Director, then Dean’s approval is needed). If the rate exceeds 200%, then the Dean’s approval is needed in addition to the Director.

Foreign Travel
Check the foreign travel per diem rates for lodging.

  • Only Economy Class tickets will be reimbursed.
  • Excess baggage charges require justification. Please include details regarding excess baggage expenses on your Travel Reimbursement form. This expense may or may not be reimbursed.  
  • Flights reimbursed on federally funded projects, must be through an American air carrier (e.g. Delta, United, Southwest, Alaska, etc.). Some exceptions apply for foreign travel (see below). Please see the Financial Coordinator for questions or check out the “Fly America Act” policy.

"Fly America Act"

In Connexxus, look for the little blue shield next to the flight as confirmation that the flight is an American Flag Carrier:


Please take screenshots at this stage of selecting your flight, as it is not easy to see that the selected flight is an American Flag carrier after this point.  


Connexxus is an online travel booking website available to UC employees that provides discounted rates and deals on airfare, hotels, and car rentals (similar to Kayak or Expedia). Employees can log into the system using their UCSBnetID and password. 

Direct Bill: To bill the cost of airfare directly to the department, log into Connexxus, click on BCD Travel, and place your flight on Hold. Next, assign the Financial Coordinator as your travel arranger on Connexxus and send an email to the Financial Coordinator to finalize booking.  

Rental Car | Personal Car | Lyft/Uber & Taxis

Rental Car

When renting vehicles from a university-contracted vendor (e.g. Hertz, National, and Enterprise), you are generally covered for Liability and Loss Damage Waiver in the Continental United States when providing the UC contract number at the time of rental (see below). Any additional insurance coverage you consent to is not a reimbursable expense. Vehicle rentals through Connexxus are automatically covered under the UC contract insurance policy.

  • Hertz Contract ID #: 72130
  • National Contract ID #: XZ32A01
  • Enterprise Contract ID #: XZ32A01
  • Thrifty Contract ID #: 3072823
  • Dollar Contract ID #: 3072821

Personal Car

A personal vehicle may be used for transportation. The traveler must have liability insurance and will be reimbursed $0.58 per mile. Vehicle license plate must be provided on travel reimbursement form when submitted for reimbursement.


When the traveler uses Lyft/Uber or a taxi to travel within the city, it is always best to obtain a receipt for the expenses incurred. It is not required for expenses under $75, but it is highly recommended to provide receipts for all rideshare transportation. 

Personal Time

If permitted, personal time may be taken while on a trip. However, the traveler will need to provide quotes for travel that exclude all personal time. For example, there is a conference in New York. You must be there Monday to Tuesday afternoon, but you would like to extend your trip and take personal time until Friday. Please print out ticket prices for flights returning on Tuesday evening, as well as, any other portions of your travel reimbursement affected by personal time (e.g. rental car returns, hotel quotes, etc.).  

Travel Insurance

UC Business Travel Accident Insurance provides additional coverage to UC employees traveling on official University business. This coverage applies to domestic and foreign travel. The policy includes emergency medical evacuation, out-of-country medical expenses, loss of personal effects, and security extraction.

If travel is booked through Connexxus, your trip will automatically be insured. If booked outside of Connexxus, traveler must register travel plans.

For more information, visit UCOP's Risk Services or UCSB's Travel Insurance.

Foreign Travel
  • In some cases, prior approval from funding agency is required for foreign travel. Always confirm approval in advance of any travel plans.
  • For each expense incurred abroad, a currency conversion rate must be printed for the reimbursement packet. These rates must correspond with the particular dates of charge.
  • Alaska, Hawaii, and all US possessions are considered foreign travel. Per diem rates apply.
  • For trips that take place outside of the U.S., a “Foreign Travel Reimbursement Sheet” must be completed and submitted within 45 days of trip completion with accompanying receipts. Please see the “Travel Reimbursement Sheet” section below for additional details. 
  • Please check all other tabs for additional Foreign Travel tips and requirements.
Travel Advance

Prior to departure, the traveler should fill out a “Travel Advance Request” form and obtain a signature from his/her PI (if on federal grant) or the department Director (if on department funds) to request a reimbursement before the trip takes place (e.g., flight fees, conference registration fees, etc.). Please be sure to include any original receipts.

Travel Reimbursement Sheet
  • Upon the traveler’s return, a “Domestic Travel Reimbursement Worksheet” or a “Foreign Travel Reimbursement Worksheet” and any accompanying original receipts must be submitted within 45 days of trip completion for reimbursement processing.
  • If any receipts are unobtainable/lost, please also submit a “Declaration of Missing Evidence” form along with a bank statement outlining the expense.
  • Traveler must pay for all of his/her own expenses that would be reimbursed by the department. Another individual may not be reimbursed for expenses paid on the traveler’s behalf. All receipts and credit card statements must be in the name of the traveler.
  • After reviewing the completed Travel Reimbursement sheet and accompanying documentation, the Financial Coordinator creates a Travel Expense Voucher (TEV), obtains appropriate signatures of approval, and submits all original documentation to Accounting for final processing.