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 I Need an Exemption for Disability-Related Travel?
- What if My Trip Requires Lodging?
- What Do I Need to Know if I'm Traveling to a Foreign Country?
- 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)
All airline reservations initiated by University employees – for either employee or non-employee travel – must be made with Fox World Travel or via the Concur self-booking tool. Visit UW TravelWIse for access to the contract vendor/booking tool and other University travel related information.
Note: These statements exclude UW Madison Athletics, which operates an on-site agency under ongoing delegation.
Depending on the circumstances, there are multiple forms of ground transportation you can use to get to your destination.
Note: Employees and students who are required to drive for University-sponsored business must be authorized to drive in accordance with Risk Management Driver Authorization policy prior to using a personal, rental or Fleet vehicle.
- 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 University and maintained by UW – Madison Facilities Planning and Management. 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.
- 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) Use of the Big Ten contract with Enterprise or National is required for UW employees, graduate students, guests and consultants over 21 years of age traveling on University paid business. The State of Wisconsin/WSCA contract with Enterprise, National and Hertz must be used by those who are unable to obtain a vehicle under the Big 10 contract. 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.
For exemptions, employees who seek a disability-related travel accommodation should see http://www.oed.wisc.edu/disability/employee.html for information on the Americans with Disabilities Act.
How much am I allowed to spend on lodging? (For details see Policy 201.H - Lodging)
Within the State of Wisconsin
Maximums vary by location and are determined by the General Services Administration (GSA). See the UWTravelWIse Calculator.
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
(excluding Alaska and Hawaii)
Maximums vary by location and are determined by increasing the rate established by the General Services Administration (GSA) by 25%. See the UWTravelWIse Calculator.Note: Taxes are not included in the maximum amount established for the location and may be paid when not exempt.
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 > Procedures & Operational Standards > Sales Tax Exemption > Obtaining Sales Tax Exemption from Other States.
Maximums vary by location and are determined by the US Department of Defense. See the UWTravelWIse Calculator.Note: Taxes are included in the maximum amount established for the location.
Note: Travelers are allowed to exceed the maximum allowable lodging rate if staying at a conference hotel.
For information specific to international travel, please see Policy 201.J International Travel and the UW – Madison International Travel Safety and Security website.
- 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:The cost of bottled water is included in the Meals and Incidentals Expenses per diem allowance. See the UWTravelWIse Calculator to determine the maximum for each location.
- 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: Hotel/Porter tips are included in the Meals and Incidentals Expenses per diem allowance. See the UWTravelWIse Calculator to determine the maximum for each location..
- 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 cost of laundry cleaning/pressing included in the Meals and Incidentals Expenses per diem allowance. See the UWTravelWIse Calculator to determine the maximum for each location.
- Local Transportation (taxi, shuttle, subway, etc.):The University will pay/reimburse local transportation costs when necessary for business-related activities, not including transportation to/from places of lodging or business to obtain personal meals. 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.
Note: This does not apply to hosted meal/events.
- Mileage: Mileage is reimbursable when an individual drives a privately owned vehicle in order to conduct UW-Madison business. See Policy 201.B – Privately Owned Vehicle Expenses for specifics.
- Parking: Parking charges incurred while on authorized official business are reimbursable. Parking charges incurred at the employee’s headquarters are not reimbursable.
- Phone Calls: The cost of phone calls (both personal and business-related) is included in the Meals and Incidentals Expenses per diem allowance. See the UWTravelWIse Calculator to determine the maximum for each location. 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. Advance deposits placed on individual toll pass accounts are not reimbursable.
- Travel Visas:Visa fees are payable/reimbursable by the University when required for University business travel. Fees for issuing or renewing passports are not payable/reimbursable.
- 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.