Stanfords Travel Policy

Stanford’s Travel Policy

General Information

The University’s policy is to reimburse employees and approved non-employees for necessary and reasonable expenses incurred for authorized University business.Reimbursements are to be consistent with federal regulations. Prices paid are to be economical; when the price paid by the individual is more than what would have been paid by the University, the lesser amount will be reimbursed. Reimbursable expenses include:

  • Travel expenses, related to University business, including air fare, lodging, incidental expenses, use of personal auto, car rental, taxi fares and phone charges.
  • miscellaneous purchases in support of University business, such as supplies, books and equipment costing less than $2,500Purchases exceeding $2,500 should be ordered through University Procurement
  • Payments to human subjects, made by an individual (Direct payment to human subjects from the University can be made by requesting a check through the Other Checks module in iOU.)
  • Cost of meals when there is a clear business purpose for the meal.
  • Conference registration and training course fees, when related to University business.
  • Dues & subscriptions for memberships to professional organizations and publications related to University business.
  • Moving & house hunting expenses incurred by a new employee when hired by StanfordGifts (tangible personal property) related to University business.


  • Travelers should book lowest available airfare.
  • Stanford authorizes air travel in coach class for domestic and international flights.
  • Business class is permissible for international flights with a duration of eight hours or more (including connecting domestic legs, provided there are no layovers).

If airfare is charged to a government contract or grant, flights must be booked on a U.S. carrier per the Fly America Act which states that:

In general, all flights charged to federal projects must be taken on U.S. flag air carriers or on foreign air carriers that code share with a U.S. flag carrier on the flight taken. This includes flights within the U.S. If there is no U.S. carrier to your destination, you must travel on a U.S. carrier as far as possible. By law, additional cost for U.S. carrier flights is not sufficient justification to fly on foreign carriers. Please note that the same rules apply to a foreign visitor’s flights

For International Destinations

These U.S. carriers and their foreign code share partners travel to major cities in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and South America: -Alaska Airlines (AS)

  • American Airlines (AA)
  • Continental Airlines (CO)
  • Northwest Airlines (NW)
  • United Airlines (UA)
  • US Airways (US)
  • Delta Airlines (DL)

All airlines are obligated to inform the traveler of code share flights. Additional information on airline code share alliances is available on: with 21 partners including

http://UA/ with 10 partners including with 11 partners including DL/NW/CO

For Domestic Travel and Travel to Canada

  • Airtran Airways (FL)
  • Alaska Airlines (AS)
  • America West Airlines (HP)
  • American Airlines (AA)
  • American Trans Air (TZ)
  • Continental Airlines (CO)
  • Delta Airlines (DL)
  • Frontier Airlines (F9)
  • Hawaiian Airlines (HA)
  • Jet Blue (B6)
  • Midwest Express (YX)
  • Northwest Airlines (NW)
  • Southwest Airlines (WN)
  • Spirit Airlines (NK)
  • United Airlines (UA)
  • US Airways (US)
  • Virgin America (VX)

Note: *Air Canada is NOT a U.S. flag air carrier*.

Car Rental

  • Stanford carries blanket car rental insurance policy for travelers. Travelers should not accept any other insurance for car rental within the continental US
  • Outside of the continental U.S. (including Hawaii and Alaska), traveler should accept insurance.
  • Prorated cost of car rental during personal days must be deducted from reimbursable expenses.


  • Travelers are expected to use lodging that is necessary and reasonable, selecting the lowest standard room rates available.
  • No overnight stay is allowed when traveling 50 miles or less each way from Stanford or from home, whichever is farthest.


  • Laundry is a reimbursable expense only if the business trip exceeds 6 days.

Meals During Business Travel

  • You may claim actual meal expenses or per diem based on city visited. Note: Per CS policy faculty should approve you to get per diem rate.
  • Provide receipts for transactions of $75 or more. No alcohol allowed on project accounts
  • Tips cannot exceed 20 percent unless there is a mandatory charge for a large group.
  • No meals or per diem may be claimed for one-day travel unless your destination is greater than 50 miles from your point of origin.

Personal Auto Use

  • Use shuttle instead of personal auto if two travelers are making the same two round trips to airport, or one traveler is making round trip plus parking for short trips.
  • Auto mileage + parking should be comparable to shuttle costs.
  • Mileage from home to airport may be claimed when traveling weekends or outside business hours: otherwise, mileage is the distance from Stanford to the airport.
  • For local travel or errands, keep a log with date, odometer readings and destination.
  • Driving in lieu of flying cannot exceed the cost of airfare plus ground transportation.

Documentation required for Travel Reimbursement

Submit all the documents to your administrator as soon as you have completed your travel.

  • An itinerary receipt for airfare, showing proof of payment, from a travel agency, airline, or online booking tool.
  • Itemized hotel bill for lodging (if claiming actual expenses reimbursement).
  • Receipts for meals and other miscellaneous expenses, i.e. taxis and shuttles, costing $75 or more.
  • If no itemized receipt is submitted for a meal, traveler must indicate amount of alcohol included, or state that there was no alcohol included in the meal. Note: Alcohol is not allowed on grant accounts, therefore alcohol will be charge to unrestricted funds. Students will not get paid for alcohol expenses during travel.
  • Itemized car rental agreement for a car rental expense. Amount submitted for reimbursement should not include charges for insurance unless in Hawaii or a foreign country.Receipts should include proof of payment. A credit card statement is proof of payment but does not qualify as an itemized receipt.