The Trip Planning resource is designed to assist travelers with their UW business travel arrangements. This supplemental guide should be used in conjunction with the UW-Madison Travel Policies. Please note, this is intended for individual travel. Additional requirements may apply for group travel. Contact your Divisional Business Office for further guidance.
- Do I Need Pre-Trip Approval?
- How Do I Pay for My Trip?
- How Will I Get to My Destination?
- What if My Trip Requires Lodging?
- What About Other Miscellaneous Trip Expenses?
- Do I Need to Keep Receipts?
Pre-trip approval requirements vary by Division/Department. It is your responsibility to follow all internal travel approval procedures prior to making trip reservations. If you are planning to travel outside the state of Wisconsin on General Purpose Revenue (GPR) funds (e.g. 101), you must complete the Out-of-State Travel Approval Form and include the form as supporting documentation for payment/reimbursement claims.
A UW-issued Purchasing Travel Card or the personal liability US Bank Corporate Travel Card (My Corporate Card) are the preferred methods of payment for all business-related airline tickets, travel agency service fees, lodging costs, registration fees and car rental costs. Additional expenses incurred during travel can be paid with the My Corporate Card or with personal funds. In rare circumstances, travelers may be issued a cash advance to cover their expenses. See below for further information on each payment option.
- Purchasing Travel Card: A Purchasing Travel Card is a Visa card issued to a UW employee by US Bank, tied to University funding and approved for travel-related expenses. Oftentimes, purchasing cards are held by a department travel coordinator rather than the individual traveler. If you do not have a Purchasing Travel Card in your name, check with your department to see if there is a travel coordinator that can make reservations on your behalf or see How to Obtain a Purchasing Travel Card for more information. Note: If a reservation is made with another individual’s Purchasing Travel Card, be prepared to provide an alternate payment mechanism (e.g. My Corporate Card) in case the vendor requires the card to be present upon check-in/pick-up.
- My Corporate Card: My Corporate Card is a US Bank personal-liability corporate travel Visa card issued to a UW employee for travel and business-related expenses. Reimbursable expenses charged to My Corporate Card are claimed via e-Reimbursement and paid directly to US Bank, by the University, on behalf of the cardholder. For more information and to apply, see My Corporate Card.
- Personal funds (personal credit cards, checks, cash, etc.): Reimbursable expenses paid with personal funds are claimed via e-Reimbursement.
- Cash Advance: Employees approved by their Divisional Business Office may request a cash advance. See Policy 302: Cash Advances for more information.
Employees are required to use the most reasonable form of public transportation to reach their destination.
Air Travel: How Should I Book My Flight? (For details see Policy 201.A - Air Travel)
Fox World Travel, the University’s contracted travel agency, can be used to book domestic, international, and group travel. Concur, the contracted self-booking tool should be used to book individual domestic or non-complex international airfare. Visit UW TravelWIse for access to the contract vendor and booking tool. Please note that if travelers use an alternative (e.g. purchase tickets through internet sources or other travel agencies), the University will not centrally pre-pay the airfare. (These statements exclude UW Madison Athletics, which operates an on-site agency under on-going delegation.)
People traveling on university-paid business may use a non-contracted travel agency that best meets their needs for multi-destination international travel and group travel. However, use of the contracted travel agency (Fox World Travel) is recommended in these instances since it will allow UW institutions to further consolidate volume and leverage savings.
Depending on the circumstances, there are multiple forms of ground transportation you can use to get to your destination.
- When should I use a personal vehicle? Personal vehicles are best used for roundtrips less than 300 miles. You will be reimbursed based on the mileage. For mileage reimbursement rates, see Policy 201.B – Privately Owned Vehicle Expenses.
- What is a Fleet vehicle and when should I use one? A fleet vehicle is owned by the State of Wisconsin and maintained by UW – Madison Facilities Planning and Management or the Wisconsin Department of Administration. Fleet vehicles are available on the UW – Madison campus and can be used by employees for official University business. Fleet vehicles should be your first choice for roundtrips greater than 300 miles. If you choose to use your personal vehicle for a roundtrip exceeding 300 miles when a Fleet vehicle is available, your mileage reimbursement will be at a reduced rate. Fleet vehicles can be reserved and internally billed to your department via Physical Plant Car Fleet or DOA Central Fleet.
- What about public transportation? Several bus companies service the UW – Madison campus and offer transportation to many common destinations in Wisconsin and neighboring states (e.g. regional airports, major metropolitan areas). Schedule and ticket information can be found on the Wisconsin Union’s Public Transportation page.
- What if I need to rent a vehicle? (For details see Policy 201.D - Vehicle Rental and Gas) If you need to rent a vehicle once you reach your destination, or because other ground transportation options are not available locally, the UW System has mandatory vehicle rental contracts with three vendors. Reservations can be made in the following ways:
- Concur: The contract booking tool is accessible through UW TravelWIse. Contract vehicle rental rates are automatically applied when reservations are made in Concur.
- Fox World Travel: Travelers can contact Fox World Travel directly at
Toll-Free: 866-230-8787 or 920-230-6467 to reserve a vehicle. Contract vehicle rental rates are automatically applied when reservations are made through Fox World Travel.
- Contract Car Rental Agencies: Travelers must reference the UW contract codes available within UW TravelWIse under “Discounts/Contract Car Rentals” when booking online or via phone directly with the rental agency.
How much am I allowed to spend on lodging? (For details see Policy 201.H - Lodging)
Within the State of Wisconsin
(Exception: In Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha Counties, travelers are allowed $80/night.)
If you are traveling in-state on official UW business, you are exempt from the payment of state and local taxes on lodging. To avoid payment of the tax on hotel/motel rooms, you need to provide vendors with a tax exempt wallet card, which can be obtained from your Divisional Business Office.
Domestic Locations outside the State of Wisconsin
(including Alaska and Hawaii)
Domestic lodging maximums vary by location.
To avoid paying lodging tax outside the state of Wisconsin, please see UW TravelWIse to see if the University has a tax exemption agreement with the state you are traveling to. Use the following navigation: Before You Go > Travel Process Standards > Sales Tax Exemption > Obtaining Sales Tax Exemption from Other States.
Foreign lodging maximums vary by location.
How should I reserve a room? Reservations may be made directly with the vendor or via the University’s contracted online booking tool, Concur.
- Baggage Fees: The University will pay/reimburse for one checked bag without explanation. For further information, see the Associated Fees section of Policy 201.A – Air Travel.
- Bottled Water (international travel only): You may be reimbursed for the purchase of bottled water while traveling internationally. See Policy 201.J – International Travel for the maximum reimbursement amount.
- Foreign Currency Exchange Fees: The University will reimburse you for foreign currency exchange fees related to University business travel.
- Gasoline for a Rental Vehicle: The University will pay/reimburse for gasoline purchased to refuel a rental vehicle. The vehicle must be filled at a local station prior to returning it to the rental agency. See Policy 201.D – Vehicle Rental and Gas.
- Hotel/Porter Tips: You may be reimbursed for tips/gratuities for housekeepers, bellhops, porters, etc. See Policy 201.R – Travel Incidentals for the maximum reimbursement amounts.
- Internet Connectivity Fee: The University will pay/reimburse for internet connectivity fees if the service is necessary to conduct business while in travel status.
- Laundry Cleaning/Pressing: The University will pay/reimburse for laundering expenses if your trip exceeds three days.
- Local Transportation (taxi, shuttle, subway, etc.): The University will pay/reimburse local transportation costs when necessary for business-related activities. See Policy 201.G – Taxi/Airline Limousine.
- Meals: You may be reimbursed for meals not included in the cost of your airfare, registration fee, etc. See Policy 201.I – Meals for maximum reimbursement amounts.
- Passports/Visas: Passport/Visa fees are payable by the University when required for University business travel.
- Phone Calls: Travelers may be reimbursed up to $10/day for personal phone calls when traveling internationally. For information about business-related phone usage while in travel status, see DoIT Voice and Telephone Services.
- Registrations: Registration fees are payable by the University; however, non-business related or optional activities, such as sightseeing tours, golf outings, family activities, etc. are not reimbursable/payable. Employees are encouraged to take advantage of significant discounts for early registrations. See Policy 201.S - Registration Fee.
- Tolls: The University will reimburse toll charges incurred while traveling on University business.
- Transportation to/from the Airport: You may be reimbursed for transportation to/from the airport (e.g. personal vehicle mileage, taxi) as well as parking fees for the duration of your trip.
- Vaccinations: When required for foreign business travel, inoculations/vaccinations not covered by your insurance are reimbursable by the University.
For a list of non-payable/reimbursable expenses, see Policy 201.M – Non-Payable/Reimbursable Expenses.
YES! It is in your best interest to obtain and retain all receipts and supporting documentation for expenses incurred prior to and during your trip, such as conference brochures/agendas, registration materials, itineraries, vendor receipts, etc. For specific documentation requirements, see Policy 201.L – Receipt Requirements.