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Business and Financial Policies and Procedures

Make Travel Arrangements

Before You Begin

Travel must serve the best interest of the University, have a legitimate business purpose, and be related to the employee's job duties. Units may make travel arrangements for non-employees traveling on behalf of the University.

All travel must be by the most direct route, using the most economical mode of transportation available considering travel time, costs, and work requirements. When reserving lodging, employees must request the lowest available rate that does not exceed state lodging maximums.

Travelers who interrupt their business travel or deviate from the direct route for personal convenience or leave are reimbursed only at the rate for uninterrupted travel by the most direct route. The Travel Card (T-Card) cannot be used for transportation and lodging that includes expenses for personal convenience. Consult Determine Allowability of Travel Expenses, Restricted T-Card Purchases, and Prohibited T-Card Purchases.

When travelers must use premium transportation, such as first/business class, for medical reasons, documentation from a medical provider is required stating the need and duration for premium transportation. This documentation must be renewed annually with the medical provider and submitted for review and approval prior to paying the expense.

The Unit Head or delegate must approve travel and verify the unit has funds available.


To make travel arrangements:

  1. Plan ahead. Some trips, especially group or international travel, can be complex. The most convenient and economical travel may require extra planning time.
Special restrictions may apply to travel for sponsored projects. For additional information, consult Section 16: Grants and Research Contracts - Sponsored Projects Cost Principles (Urbana and Springfield) or Section 16.4.3 - Chicago Functional A-21 Cost Categories and Definitions (Chicago).
  1. Obtain approval and verification of funding from your Unit Head.
TEM (Travel and Expense Management System) can be used to obtain pre-trip approval and compare planned expenses to actual trip expenses. Consult the job aid for Travel Plan for Pre-Trip Approval for step-by-step instructions.
  1. Use the most direct route and most economical transportation, taking into consideration travel time, expense, length of absence from campus, and convenience. Consult Reimbursement Rates for Travel Expenses to ensure your travel arrangements do not exceed allowable limits.
For employees, obtain separate quotes when booking a travel "package" where one price is charged for airfare, hotel, rental car, and so on. Travel packages cannot be reimbursed unless detailed, itemized, receipts are submitted for each portion of the "package." The Travel Card (T-Card) can be used to purchase a travel package only for guests of the University.
  1. The State of Illinois and the University have contracts with several travel service providers. For detailed information about these contracts, consult:

Airfare Purchases with the Travel Card (T-Card)

You may use your T-Card to purchase airfare through one of the Contracted Travel Agencies or through any air travel provider that offers the needed itinerary at the most economical price, including non-contracted travel agencies, online booking tools, or airline direct websites.

Domestic Vehicle Rentals

The University has contracts with rental car agencies that include, at no additional cost, liability insurance and optional collision damage waiver (CDW insurance). Do not purchase the collision damage waiver insurance as you will not be reimbursed for it. Consult How Your Personal Insurance Becomes Involved in a Claim for additional information.

International Vehicle Rentals

If you are renting a vehicle while traveling internationally, purchase collision damage waiver insurance from the rental car company, which is a reimbursable expense.

Related Policies and Procedures

Report an Accident Involving a Commercial Rental Vehicle
Restricted T-Card Purchases
Prohibited T-Card Purchases
Section 16: Grants and Research Contracts - Sponsored Projects Cost Principles
Section 16.4.3 - Chicago Functional A-21 Cost Categories and Definitions
Determine Allowability of Travel Expenses

Additional Resources

TEM Resource Page
Business Travel
Job aid for Travel Plan for Pre-Trip Approval
Contracted Travel Agencies
Car Rental
Reimbursement Rates for Travel Expenses
Charter Air Service
How Your Personal Insurance Becomes Involved in a Claim

Last Updated: October 26, 2017 | Approved: Senior Associate Vice President for Business and Finance | Effective: September 2012

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