Skip to main content

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public institution governed by the State of North Carolina. All travelers, as defined by 1501 – Policy on Business Travel are responsible to ensure that travel expenses are valid for University business-related purposes; are in accordance with University policies; receive the appropriate approvals in advance of travel; and that costs are held to a minimum while meeting the traveler’s scheduling and business needs.

World Travel, Inc. (WTI) has been selected as the University’s Authorized Travel Agency for all University Travel (excluding Athletics). WTI supports all bookings made online via Concur Travel as well as bookings made directly with their designated team of agents.

Please visit the UNC Global’s website Preparing for International Travel to review registration requirements. University employees are required to have travel health insurance, purchased through the University.

A Concur Request is required for all travel that includes airfare, lodging, and/or meal per diem.

Related Policies

Booking/Payment Options

  • Airfare should be booked online via Concur Travel, or directly through the University’s Authorized Travel Agency, World Travel, Inc. to take advantage of University discounts with preferred travel partners.
  • The University strongly discourages booking flights outside of the authorized travel agency, World Travel, Inc. When this occurs, the University is unable to reimburse until after the trip, per state policy.
  • All Faculty and Staff will begin the booking process by submitting a Concur Request for Approval.
  • T&E Card accountholders will make payment on their T&E Card.
  • Travelers who do not have a T&E Card will provide the agency with their Concur Request ID and book through the University’s direct bill process. Transactions will automatically be assigned to the traveler’s profile in Concur Expense for reconciliation.
  • Student and Guest Travelers may continue to use the Central Airfare Booking System (CABS) until further notice.

Additional Information

  • Accept the lowest fare offered within two hours of a desired departure time. It is acceptable to book a higher fare (up to $100 more than the lowest fare for domestic and $500 for international) if the higher fare flight has fewer stops.
  • Transportation by commercial airlines is limited to main cabin seating. Generally, travel upgrades including Economy Plus seating and “early bird” check-ins are not covered by the University; however, purchasing an assigned (non-preferred) seat in the main cabin is acceptable. If the airtime on any one flight segment is eight hours or more, the traveler may upgrade from coach class to the next most economical class (business class in most cases and first class where business class is not available).
  • An upgrade can be made when it is necessary to accommodate a traveler’s disability or special needs. The disability must be substantiated in writing by the traveler’s physician.
  • The University will reimburse baggage fees reasonable for the length of the trip.
  • Trips booked using federal awards must use U.S. airline carriers, as outlined in the federal government’s Fly America Act.
  • If traveler is hand carrying or shipping out of the country any research equipment, biological material or non-biological scientific samples, see Policy on Export Controls before proceeding.
  • Additional guidance can be obtained from your school/unit’s travel representative.

Rental Car

  • Before renting, consider other methods of ground transportation which may be less expensive such as: airport shuttles to and from hotels, taxis, rideshares, etc.
  • Effective Jan. 1, 2019, University travelers are encouraged to use the state contract with EHI Direct (Enterprise) for their rental vehicle needs. Reservations may be made online via Concur Travel or directly with the University’s Authorized Travel Agency, World Travel, Inc. T&E Card Accountholders should provide their card for payment. Non-T&E Card Accountholders will book on their personal credit cards and submit for reimbursement.
  • If a personal vehicle is used, see the Travel Allowances, Mileage and Per Diem Rates for mileage reimbursement rates.
  • Select the size of the vehicle that is appropriate for the number of passengers or the amount of baggage. Do not accept “upgrades” or insurance (for domestic travel) unless the price will remain the same. Insurance is included in the University’s rental agreement for domestic travel. See Travel Guide for more information about international travel, including car insurance.
  • Return the car to the same location, if possible, to avoid drop-off charges.
  • Fill the gas tank before returning the car. Rental companies levy a charge for refueling, generally far more than the price of gas.
  • Please refer to 1501 – Policy on Business Travel for more details on vehicle rentals.

Rail

  • The University will support the cost of economy class rail. Use of business class rail is permitted on unrestricted accounts, when use of business class is necessary to ensure a seat reservation (e.g., Amtrak). Please refer to 1501 – Policy on Business Travel for more details on rail transportation.

Transportation by Other Means

  • Taxis, rideshares (e.g. Uber, Lyft), car services and shuttles may be used as transportation for business purposes. T&E Card Accountholders should charge these costs to their cards and maintain all receipts. Requests for reimbursement of taxi fares should identify each trip by point of origin, destination, and purpose.
  • Employees should not upgrade rideshare vehicles.
  • Please refer to 1501 – Policy on Business Travel for more details on transportation by other means.

Hotels

  • University travelers are expected to seek lodging that is safe, comfortable and reasonably priced.
  • Hotels may only be booked if location is 35+ miles from UNC-Chapel Hill.
  • If you are attending a conference, consider booking at the conference hotel.
  • Like airlines, hotels have tiers of rates and the lower rates are available to travelers who qualify for them. Travelers should attempt to secure the lowest rate. Often business travelers may receive a lower rate simply by asking for it. State employees can ask for the “state rate” in any state, although hotels in other states are not required to honor their local state rate for our travelers.
  • If your lodging expense exceeds $300 per night before taxes, or the allowable rates for select high-cost cities, an approved justification will be required with your expense reimbursement.  See 1501.6 – Procedure on Lodging Accommodations for additional information.
  • Hotel lodging should be for standard rooms. T&E Card Accountholders may book directly on their card. Non-T&E Card Accountholders will continue to book on their personal credit cards and submit for reimbursement. Student lodging may be paid for on a T&E Card (if traveling with an Accountholder) or on a departmental P-Card with prior approval. Save your itemized receipt/folio for reimbursement after the trip has completed.
  • For more details on allowable expenses, see 1501.5 – Procedure on Per Diem Rates.

Third-Party Lodging

  • The decision to use third-party lodging (e.g. AirBnB, VRBO) is similar to deciding to use a taxi or rideshare. It is a personal decision; however, the traveler should be fully aware that they are personally responsible if there are issues. Since the agreement is between the traveler and the unit owner, UNC Travel Services cannot intercede to assist if there is a problem with the residence or the reservation.
  • Travelers must complete the 1501.6 – Procedure on Lodging Accommodations to receive preauthorization to book a third-party lodging. Do not put a deposit down until you have received pre-authorization from your school/unit.
  • Once approved, you are responsible to book the accommodation on your own. T&E Card Accountholders may use their card to pay if their requested exception for the accommodation has been approved. Third-party accommodations with flexible cancellation policies are preferred.
  • The cost should be similar to or less than the average hotel in the same location. Prices for two hotel options must be included as supporting documentation.
  • A signed lease agreement must be shared with the approving party to receive reimbursement. Please refer to 1501.6 – Procedure on Lodging Accommodations for further guidance on Third-Party Lodging.
For University units/departments hosting guests on campus

Guests include, but are not limited to, speakers, student recruits (athletic or academic), job candidates, and study subjects.

  • Guests traveling on University business whose expenses are paid or reimbursed by University funds are subject to all University travel regulations. See 1501 – Policy on Business Travel.for additional information.
  • Guests should work with the hosting school/unit on questions (e.g. booking process, what expenses will be reimbursed, family travel, etc.).
  • To be reimbursed for travel expenses, a guest must be set up as a Domestic Vendor, which requires a W-9 form. For international guests or for assistance with creating a domestic vendor, contact your unit/department business office.
  • For a guest who is set up as a vendor, flights can be booked via Central Airfare Billing System (CABS), see Airfare – Direct Billing.
  • Direct billing is preferred for hotels.
  • Guests must submit itemized receipts for meals and will be reimbursed up to the appropriate per diem rates. See Travel Allowances, Mileage and Per Diem Rates for details.
  • Out of pocket expenses must go through the campus voucher system for reimbursement.
For University units/departments

Flights

Hotel Reservations

  • Hotel blocks often include additional discounts.
  • Negotiate rates with the vendor and work with Purchasing Services if a hotel contract is required.
  • If the unit/department is paying for the rooms, request a group payment. Work with Travel and Payment Card Services to select the best payment option (purchase order, T&E Card or P-Card for approved student travel).

Conference Registration

  • The unit/department business office can work directly with the conference sponsor to receive a group invoice and pay via T&E Card or P-Card, as appropriate.

Per Diem Versus Business Entertainment Meals