Meals and Incidentals

How UW-Madison employees can determine which meals and incidentals are approved for reimbursement during business-related travel.

Travelers are reimbursed for meal and incidental expenses (M&IE) while in travel status requiring an overnight stay. M&IE are reimbursed on a per diem basis; travelers are not reimbursed for actual costs. Travelers cannot claim M&IE for other travelers.

The M&IE per diem rate varies from location-to-location and sometimes can vary from month-to-month.

Calculate your per diem allowance

Meals, incidentals, and receipts


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First/Last day of travel and provided meals

Travelers are reimbursed 75% of the meal and incidental per diem on the first and last day of travel.  Meals which are provided to the traveler (e.g. conference meals) must be deducted from the per diem reimbursement.

Dietary restrictions

Travelers with an ADA exemption for a medical dietary need (e.g. Celiac disease/food allergies) can be reimbursed for provided meals if the provided meals do not meet their dietary restriction. Reference the ADA exemption on the reimbursement request.

Travelers will not be reimbursed for provided meals that do not comply with their voluntary dietary preference (e.g. vegan/vegetarian).

Day-trip meals

Travel that does not include an overnight stay will be limited to a tax-reportable day trip meal allowance of $15.


The M&IE per diem allowance includes an amount to cover otherwise non-reimbursable costs (e.g. personal phone calls, laundry, hotel maid tips, porterage tips, bottled water).

Travelers will not receive additional reimbursement for these items.


It is not required to retain receipts for M&IE.


Travelers and departmental staff should contact their Divisional Business Office for policy or procedural questions.

Divisional Business Offices may e-mail with questions.