313.1 Determining Meals and Incidentals Maximum Procedure

Procedure # 313.1
Effective Date:

Related Policy: 313 – Meals and Incidental Expenses
Functional Owner: Accounting Services, Division of Business Services
Contact: Travelers and departmental staff should contact their respective Divisional Business Office for policy or procedural questions.  Divisional Business Offices may contact uwtravel@bussvc.wisc.edu with questions.


I. Procedure Statement
II. Who is Affected by this Procedure
III. Procedure
IV. Contact Roles and Responsibilities
V. Definitions
VI. Related References
VII. Revisions

I. Procedure Statement

When a traveler is expected to incur costs for meals and incidentals for overnight business travel, the University will reimburse meal and incidental expenses (M&IE) under a per diem allowance. The University’s M&IE rates are determined by the federal government.  The Lodging & Per Diem Calculator is used to determine lodging rates for specific locations and dates of travel.  Details are outlined below.

II. Who is Affected by This Procedure

Faculty, staff students and non-employees traveling or using funds and/or resources administered by the University.

III.   Procedure

A. Meals and Incidental Expenses Per Diem Allowance: The M&IE per diem allowance will be at a rate established by the Federal Government for the location and dates of travel.  Rates are updated on a monthly basis.

B. Lodging & Per Diem Calculator: To determine the M&IE per diem allowance for a specific location during specific dates of travel, access the UW TravelWIse Lodging & Per Diem Calculator. Enter the following trip details:

  1. Is this trip for a single day? This determines whether the traveler is eligible for a per diem allowance or the day trip meal allowance.
  2. Destination Notes: Select the Country, State and City of the first or only destination of the trip.  Click Next Step.
  3. How long will you be at [destination]? Enter the following about the first or only destination of the trip:
    • Do you have another stop? If the trip requires the traveler to go from one destination to another before returning to their headquarters, select Yes.  If the traveler is going to one destination and returning to their headquarters, select No.
    • Date you are going to [destination]: Enter the date of departure.
    • Date you are leaving [destination]: Enter the date of return.
    • Click Next Step.
  4. Provided Meals: Select any meals that are provided by another source (e.g. meals included in a conference registration fee). These meals will be deducted from the traveler’s per diem allowance.  Click Verify Entered Information.
  5. Review/verify the information entered on the previous screens. If accurate, click Calculate Rates.  If inaccurate, click Start Over.
  6. Review the table that displays. The per diem allowance will be displayed in the third column.

IV. Contact Roles and Responsibilities

A. Federal Government: responsible for determining per diem allowances for specific locations during specific dates of travel.

B. Traveler: responsible for reviewing per diem allowances prior to a trip.

V. Definitions

A. Lodging & Per Diem Calculator: A tool developed by UW System Administration and Fox World Travel used to calculate lodging maximums and per diem allowances for specific travel locations and dates.

B. Per Diem Allowance: The amount reimbursed to a traveler for a specific day of travel to a specific location, regardless of what was actually spent by the traveler.

C. Provided Meal: A meal provided by another source (e.g. conference registration) that is deducted from a traveler’s per diem allowance prior to reimbursement.

VI. Related References

313 Meals and Incidental Expenses Policy

VII.  Revisions

Procedure Number: 313.1
Date Approved: May 8, 2017
Revision Dates: