• Unless otherwise stipulated by the sponsor, the University of Waterloo policy and guidelines apply
  • These tools may aid in the preparation and review of travel claims:
  • Air fares
    • The guideline on airfares, including the procedure for pre-approval of business class flights, can be found in Finance Resources, Guidelines for Expenses, Section 4(A)(i)(c).
    • Where flights taken are impacted by non-research reasons (i.e. personal travel), a cost comparison must be done which compares costs incurred to costs that would have been incurred had the travel been limited to research purposes. Cost comparisons must be done in advance of travel and be supported by appropriate documentation. The maximum amount that can be charged to a research account is the cost that would have been incurred had the travel been limited to research purposes
  • Affiliation
    • Where the traveller is not the PI, the affiliation of the traveller to the research project must be provided on the travel claim form or supporting documentation

Travel cost comparisons

Travel cost comparisons are required for the following reasons:

  1. When the destinations of travel or services purchased are impacted by non-research activities. In these situations, the amount reimbursable from the research account is the lesser of the amount incurred and the amount that would have been incurred had the non-research portion of the travel not taken place
  • E.g. A claimant attended a conference in Spain and then flew to Portugal for a vacation before returning to Waterloo (cost comparison for flights required)
  • E.g. A claimant rented a minivan rather than a car because members of their family were also travelling (cost comparison for rental car vs. rental minivan required)
  • E.g. A claimant stayed in a two room hotel suite because their family was also travelling (cost comparison for standard room vs. two room suite required)
  1. When the duration of a trip has been lengthened beyond what would otherwise be expected to take advantage of more cost effective transportation options
  • E.g. A claimant flew to a conference one day earlier than they otherwise would have to take advantage of lower flight costs (cost comparison considers flight savings offset by incremental costs (accommodation, meals, etc.))
  1. When a claimant drives a personal vehicle more than 500 km (one way) to a destination rather than flying because it's more cost effective
  • E.g. A claimant chose to drive to Quebec City because it's more cost effective than flying (cost comparison contrasts cost of driving vs. flying)

When a travel cost comparison is required, it must be obtained at the time that travel arrangements are made; it's not possible to obtain accurate cost comparisons for some travel expenses after the travel has occurred. Required cost comparisons must be attached to the travel claim form.

Per Diems

  • Per diems are eligible on Fund 105 Research Accounts when the research sponsor specifically allows per diems or does not prescribe a meal policy
  • Per diems are ineligible on Fund 105 Research Accounts when the research sponsor specifically disallows per diems
  • Per diems are optional, travelers can claim actual meal costs (supported by receipts in accordance with Policy 31)
  • Per diems cannot be claimed on behalf of someone else
  • When hospitality costs are claimed, actual costs (supported by a receipt) must be claimed (guideline “Eligible Hospitality Costs” applies)
  • When claiming per diems:
    • Users must indicate how they derived the number of per diems they are claiming - they can:
  • Each per diem is allocated to individual meals as follows:
    • ¼ for breakfast
    • ¼ for lunch
    • ½ for dinner
  • Partial per diems can be used where a full per diem is not eligible; for example:
    • When breakfast was provided by a hotel
    • When lunch was provided by a conference
    • When a dinner banquet was provided by a conference
    • When someone traveled only part of the day
      • E.g. evening flight to go to conference (breakfast and lunch are ineligible)
      • E.g. arriving home in morning after a conference (dinner is ineligible)
  • When someone does not eat a meal that was provided to them, they must claim the actual cost of the meal they purchased (supported by a receipt)
    • E.g. – when someone does not eat the conference meals because of a dietary restriction
  • Meals cannot be excluded from a hotel bill and replaced with a higher per diem