Travel Basics: Essential Information for all UCI Travelers

Travelers Walking in airport

Every UCI department and organization has its own procedures for booking and reimbursing travel and entertainment expenses. For this reason, you should first ask about your unit’s specific travel procedures.

As a traveler at UCI, you will likely be working with a departmental travel arranger who will help submit your travel expenses for reimbursement. They may also be involved in booking your travel or you might simply do it yourself. In either case, UCI recommends that travel expenses—including plane tickets, hotel rooms, and rental cars—be booked using Connexxus to take advantage of UC negotiated prices. 

The following points apply to just about all UCI employees who wish to travel:
  • UCI Employees Must Create a TEM Profile in KFS to be Reimbursed

All travel and entertainment reimbursements are processed through UCI’s Kuali Financial System (KFS), and if you want to be reimbursed, you will need to create a TEM (Travel and Event Management) profile in KFS. It’s not difficult and only takes a few minutes.

Click here for instructions on how to create a TEM profile.

  • You Must Follow UC and UCI Travel Policies

For a quick overview, check out these travel policy highlights. The full policy documents governing travel and entertainment expenses are listed in the resources section.

UCI travelers are to contact the campus Export Control Officer (m.copeland@uci.edu) before travel on university business to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria. More information:
http://www.research.uci.edu/compliance/export-controls/exporter/ofac.html

For international travel and to view the sanctioned countries list and information, click here to read the summary. 

  • You Should Obtain and Keep Receipts
    • Airline - Receipt or invoice/itinerary showing payment, traveler name, and ticket number
    • Lodging - Itemized receipt showing daily expenses
    • Conference Registration - Receipt and copy of registration form
    • Rental Car - Receipt given when car is returned (mileage in/out)
    • Anything over $75 - You will need a receipt for any expense over $75

Protect your traveler's personal information.  Please redact all personal addresses, cell phone numbers, full credit card numbers, frequent flyer numbers etc. before sending documentation to the scanning department.

These are the basics. You can review the Supporting Documents Guide to see receipt requirements for all types of reimbursement. Your department might require more than listed here.

  • There is a Daily Cap for Meals for Domestic Trips

This Meals and Incidentals Expense (M&IE) cap is the maximum amount you can get reimbursed per day for meals and incidentals like tips. Click here to see the current M&IE cap.

The cap should not to be treated as a per diem by claiming the maximum every day. Keep track of your actual meal expenses and you will be reimbursed for the actual amount up to cap. Receipts will be requested for daily meal expenses at or near the cap.

  • You will be Required to Certify and Approve Your Travel in KFS

While your travel reimbursement will probably be processed by a trained travel arranger, you will still need to personally certify your travel online in the Kuali Financial System. You should get an email from the system when the reimbursement is routed to you for certification (unless you have turned off email notification in which case, you will just need to check your KFS action list).

Click here for instructions on how to approve a Travel Reimbursement Document.

  • Other Things to Consider When Planning a Trip
    • Renting: Guidelines and information about renting a car.
    • Meals: Information about paying for meals and tipping on short-term trips inside the Continental U.S.
    • Per Diem: You will need to calculate a per diem for long-term trips and when traveling outside the Continental U.S.
    • Connexxus: You should book travel with Connexxus to get UC Discounts.

Travel Incentive and Frequent Flyer Programs

Individuals who travel often may take advantage of airline and credit card incentive programs to upgrade their travel arrangements, such as with accumulated "airline miles."

At present, the University allows individuals to retain points earned for future travel use, either business or personal travel.  

Please note that ‘airline miles’ used cannot be reimbursed, there is no cash value to the airline miles.

Options for Paying for Your Trip

To help individuals to pay for their travel, the University offers these payment options:

Your best option is the Corporate Travel Card. CTS Cards and advances may only be used in limited circumstances. Visit those pages to learn more.