Travel Reimbursement and Guidelines

Travel for UNOLS meetings, workshops and other official business will be reimbursed by the University of Washington (UW) after approval by the UNOLS Office at the School of Oceanography/UW. 

The following rules and guidelines should answer most of your questions regarding allowable costs and procedures; please read them before your trip. If you have any additional questions, please contact Laine Ritter at

All travel claims must be completed within 60 days of travel.

UNOLS Travel Guidelines

Points: The UNOLS Office cannot reimburse any travel procured through mileage programs or with credit card or hotel points.

Package Deals:  Package deals can only be reimbursed if the vendor itemizes the cost of each element of the package (airfare, lodging, rental car, etc.). Generally, vendors of package deals refuse to do this, in which case the package deal cannot be reimbursed. Traveler estimates of how much each element “would have been” are not acceptable; itemization must be from the source of the package deal, or it can’t be reimbursed.

Travel Expense: Travel expenses reimbursed by the UNOLS Office under the terms of the cooperative agreement with the federal funding agencies must adhere to the approved federal per diem rates unless specifically authorized for higher rates. Access the federal per diem rates for the area you are traveling to here.

Airline Reservations: Except for Federal employees, UNOLS travelers are not eligible for the GSA contracted airline rates. The UNOLS Office can only provide reimbursement for the cost of coach seats. All UNOLS travel must be in compliance with the Fly America Act. In order to keep travel costs within budget, it will be necessary for UNOLS travelers to make their best efforts to obtain lower airfares and use the lowest logical cost, and observe/exclude any fees due to personal preferences or convenience not necessary/critical to UNOLS business. Some of the factors that can reduce airline costs are to reserve flights early enough to get advance ticketing discounts, shop airlines and destination or departure cities. Please book your flights with your own agent or online with the air carrier. Reimbursement for the airfare should be included in your travel claim following the meeting. Please submit scan of your itinerary showing airline and class of service, and your airfare receipt indicating that payment was made and showing the cost paid. Itineraries without proof of payment will not be accepted as receipts for reimbursement.

Personal travel combined with business: If you are planning to arrive early or stay extra days for other business or personal days outside the meeting dates please follow these steps:

  • Traveler is required to print an online airfare quote for the UNOLS "business portion" dates of travel.  This quote should reflect the lowest logical cost, and observe/exclude any fees due to personal preference or convenience not necessary/critical to UNOLS business.  This printed quote must be done at the time of airfare booking to ensure dates are compliant with business travel dates and must show options for multiple airlines.  The comparison itinerary can come from another traveler's itinerary which accurately depicts what the traveler would have done for business only, a travel agency or an online travel provider. Quotes printed after travel is completed will not be accepted.
  • Book the airfare for your actual trip (including extra days).
  • Request reimbursement using the least expensive airfare amount, whether this is the quote from #1 above or the cost of the actual airfare.
  • Include all quotes and actual airfare receipts with your request for reimbursement
  • UW will not reimburse airline change fees for personal convenience. Reimbursement for a flight change will be reimbursed only when accompanied by a written request by Doug Russell or Alice Doyle requesting that you change your flight to accommodate business related to the UNOLS event that you are attending.
  • UW will reimburse baggage fees for one bag per flight only. UW will not reimburse for overweight baggage or any additional fees such as extra legroom.

Receipts: Please keep receipts for travel expenses as noted below; you will be required to submit scanned receipts for most reimbursable expenses except for meals.

  • Receipts: Please keep receipts for travel expenses as noted below; you will be required to submit scanned receipts for most reimbursable expenses except for meals.

  • Receipts are required for Airfare, rental cars, lodging, rail travel (except subway or other in-city rail), any miscellaneous expense (such as cabs) $75 or over, and Uber or Lyft receipts of any amount

  • Receipts are not required for meals or miscellaneous expenses under $75
    • Misc. travel expenses are defined as: 
      • Gas
      • Parking fees
      • Transit fares (public transportation)
      • Ferry
      • Tolls
      • Baggage fees (Baggage Cart for UW Business Supplies may be applicable, not for personal convenience)
      • Registration fees
      • Internet/Wi-Fi fees

 Misc. travel expenses, even below $75.00, must be within compliance with UW regulations

Per Diem: Per diem reimbursement will be for actual lodging expense (up to approved per diem rate) plus meals and incidentals at the per diem rate. One of the following must be submitted with your lodging claim:

  1. A scanned lodging receipt that shows the detail of daily charges, OR
  2. An emailed reservation from an online booking site that shows the actual (not averaged) daily room rate and associated tax/fee showing that payment was made, OR
  3. An emailed reservation from an online booking site showing the actual (not averaged) daily room rate and associated tax/fee QUOTE, accompanied by a credit card receipt or line item that matches exactly.

Mobile Payment Applications:  Meeting attendees are strongly discouraged from using Venmo and other similar mobile payment applications for travel expenses. If you do choose to use Venmo or anything similar you will be required to provide additional documentation including a copy of your bank statement showing that the payment was taken from your account. 

Receiving Reimbursement for Travel

Upon completion of your travel, to request reimbursement please complete the following steps: 

  1. Complete the Non-Employee Travel Claim form and save a copy for upload. If any personal travel is included, whether you went earlier/stayed longer than just for the UNOLS meeting or flew from or to airports other than your official one, remember to check the Personal Travel box on the form. Per the instructions above, you must provide a comparison airfare quote for the amount of the ticket using the official travel dates and locations with no personal travel involved.
  2. Fill out the Misc Payments Google form. If this link doesn't work, you can find the google form on UW's School of Oceanography website under the Resources tab.
  1. On the last page of the Misc Payments Google form, upload the Non-Employee Travel Claim form and any applicable receipts 
  2. Click submit.  

UW Payables will mail a check to the home address you indicated on your claim form. (We use your home address for mailing as institutional addresses tend to be long and the space, we're allowed for mailing address in the UW's online travel system is very limited.)

For any travel questions contact Laine Ritter at