Per Diem and Lodging Rates


When Chrome River is implemented for your department, per diem and lodging rates will be automatically calculated based upon the city/state/country entered. Chrome River uses the government rates found within these links, and this site explains how rates are calculated both manually and in Chrome River. Until Chrome River is implemented for your department, use the following information for guidance.

For travel to Hawaii, Alaska, or out-of-country travel, please see Out-of-Country Travel.

For the 48 contiguous states, rates are found at at At this federal GSA site, do the following:

GSAStep 1: Make sure correct year is selected for your dates of travel.
Step 2: Enter the ZIP CODE of the physical address of your lodging.
Step 2: Use the lodging rate shown for the month of your travel.
Step 3: Scroll down to see the per diem rate shown under the M&IE heading.

  • ALL COMMONWEALTH REGULATIONS APPLY. (Specifically, footnote #1 on the GSA site does NOT apply to the Commonwealth.) 

NOTE: The travel destination is the city or county in which the lodging facility is physically located. If you have questions, contact



Per Diem

A per diem is paid only when traveling on official OVERNIGHT business outside the traveler’s official station. (Official Station is defined as the area within a 25-mile radius of an employee’s designated base point. Base Point is defined as the place, office or building where the traveler performs his/her duties on a routine basis. An employee can have only one designated base point.) A per diem is never paid in advance.

The per diem includes meals and is broken down by breakfast, lunch, dinner and I&E (Incidental Expenses). Incidental expenses are things such as payment for bellhop, personal telephone calls, laundry, travel between lodging and places where meals are taken, and other individual needs.

The federal site provides a breakdown of individual meal amounts. The M&IE MUST correspond to the location specified for the OVERNIGHT LODGING. The meals are broken out because you must deduct any meal that is provided by the conference, hotel, event, etc. If a meal is provided, you MUST REDUCE the per diem by that applicable meal.


  • $51 per diem on a travel day and breakfast is provided
    $51 – $11 (breakfast) = $40 x 75% = $30
  • $51 per diem on a NON-travel day and breakfast is provided
    $51 – $11 (breakfast) = $40

On a travel departure and return day (defined as the day the traveler leaves from and returns to the official business travel destination) 75% of the per diem is allowable based on:
DEPARTURE DAY – where the traveler is GOING TO spend the night for official business
RETURN DAY – where the traveler spent the night on official business BEFORE returning from the official business travel

**When traveling to multiple cities within the same official business travel, the departure day per diem is based upon the city where you are going to spend that first night. All other days of per diem are based upon the city where you spent the night before (i.e., based upon the city where you woke up that morning of the per diem).

You are allowed 75% of the per diem based upon your travel day. For example, if you take a red eye flight out of California on 9/15/18 and arrive in the DC area in the morning on 9/16/18, you can be paid 100% of the per diem (less any meals that were provided) for 9/15 and 75% of the per diem on 9/16 (less any meals that were provided, on the plane, for example).


If no meal is provided on a travel departure or return day, the 75% is calculated for you on the bottom line of the table above. Using an example of a $74 per diem, and NO meal is provided on a travel departure or return day, the calculation would be as follows:
$74 (full per diem) x 75% = $55.50

When meals are provided, such as in conjunction with a conference, the per diem is reduced by the allowable rate for that meal.  For example, if breakfast is provided at a meeting in New York City, the total allowable per diem for that day would be $57.  Calculation: $74 (total per diem for NYC) – $17 (breakfast portion of the per diem as shown on the table above) = $57.

When meals are provided (at a hotel, or as part of a conference, or on an airplane) ON A TRAVEL DEPARTURE OR RETURN DAY, the per diem is reduced by the provided MEAL’S portion of the per diem, followed by a 75% pro-rating of the balance. For example, if you spent the night in San Francisco (the per diem for San Francisco is $74) and lunch was provided on the plane, the allowable per diem for that day would be $42.  Calculation: $74 (total per diem for San Francisco)  – $18 (lunch portion of the $74 per diem) = $56 x 75% = $42.

The meal per diem will be paid directly to the traveler –even where it can be shown that one traveler incurred the expenses on behalf of another traveler. In other words, you will NOT be paid someone else’s per diem–even if you paid for their meals. The travelers will be responsible for settling any meal expenses incurred on someone else’s behalf.

If the registration/conference fees receipt shows itemized charges for meals, and the cost of a meal exceeds the per diem amount for that meal, it is an allowable and reimbursable expense. The Commonwealth realizes that part of the meal fee could be for space rental. Your total per diem for that day should be reduced by the “provided meal’s” per diem rate–not the fee you paid for the meal.

If you are attending a “one day travel” conference where you will NOT spend the night, and a meal is listed as part of the fees, it is an allowable expense, but please note that if a meal is not included on “one day travel,” you are NOT allowed any portion of a per diem–and you will not be reimbursed for any meals, unless it is an official Business Meal. (See Business Meal for details.) Per diem is paid only when traveling on official OVERNIGHT business travel.

When meals are included with registration or lodging expense as part of a package, the meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) must be deducted. If a continental breakfast or reception is offered as part of the travel event and the food/timing is sufficient to serve as a meal, the traveler must reduce the per diem by the appropriate allowance amount.  If a meal is offered as part of a conference and the traveler has medical restrictions, the traveler should make every effort to have the conference facilitate his/her needs by the deadline specified by the conference.  If the conference does not honor the request, the traveler is NOT required to deduct the applicable meal allowance from the per diem; HOWEVER, the traveler MUST INCLUDE A NOTE documenting this information.

Lodging Details

Lodging may be reimbursed when an individual is traveling overnight on official State business outside his/her official station defined as the area within a 25-mile radius of an employee’s designated base point (defined as place, office or building where the traveler performs his/her duties on a routine basis).  First preference shall be given to selecting lodging in the economy class.  Check, request, and confirm government rates both at the time reservations are made and during check-in.

Allowed LODGING RATES for the 48 contiguous states are found in Chrome River and also at Per Diem and Lodging rates.

For Hawaii, Alaska, and out-of-country rates, follow instructions at Out-of-Country Travel.

General Lodging Regulations

The maximum reimbursable lodging rates do NOT include taxes and surcharges. NOTE:  The lodging rates are ROOM RATES–NOT per person rates.  UMW will reimburse a traveler for the actual amount charged by a lodging facility for the room up to the maximum rates listed for the city where the traveler spent the night, plus taxes and surcharges charged by the lodging facility based upon the maximum rate listed for that city. ROOM rates incurred beyond these maximum rates will NOT be reimbursed with state funds, and taxes and surcharges will be pro-rated based on the maximum allowable rate. THERE ARE SOME EXCEPTIONS.


The President or designee appropriate to your department may approve reimbursement for lodging up to 150% of the maximum rate “when circumstances warrant.” A written justification for the exception must be documented on the Travel Pre-Approval in Chrome River OR on the Request for Travel form. Again, if room rates incurred surpass the 150%, taxes and surcharges will be pro-rated based on the 150% maximum.  Travelers who do not plan with careful consideration to these guidelines will bear the additional expense personally.  If the room rate EXCEEDS the 150%, the Accounts Payable department can ASK DOA (the state’s comptroller’s office) for an exception.  If you want the Accounts Payable department to request an exception from DOA to exceed 150% of the state’s maximum allowed rate, you must do the following at least THREE WEEKS PRIOR TO TRAVEL:

1.  E-mail with a CLEAR cost justification for exceeding the 150%. CLEAR cost justification must include sufficient documentation showing alternative cost comparisons justifying the exception. The cost comparisons must include the name and complete address of the hotels–including zip code–used for the cost comparison. These requests must be reviewed by the UMW fiscal office which must evaluate and approve the request PRIOR to sending it to DOA.
2.  If the exception request is determined reasonable, the Accounts Payable department will forward the request to DOA.
3.  The Accounts Payable department will let you know DOA’s decision.

Generally, when two or more travelers stay in the same room, the allowable lodging rate is the destination rate (ROOM rate) plus the amount charged by the lodging facility for the additional person. (**In other words, if two travelers share a room, each is NOT allowed the maximum rate–unless approval is granted by the Assistant Vice President for Finance and Controller–see EXCEPTION #2 BELOW; one traveler is allowed the maximum lodging rate plus the additional cost of the additional person.)  The itemized hotel receipt MUST show the additional charge separately from the room charge. If the hotel bill indicates that more than one person stayed in the room, a written explanation must be provided, along with the rate difference between single and double rates charged by that hotel. If the rate for a double is the same as a single, please make a note of that fact on the receipt.


If you share the cost of a room, each official business traveler is allowed the rate that is shown on the lodging rate table AS LONG AS the room was not in any way an upgrade AND AS LONG AS the Assistant Vice President for Finance and Controller has approved this expense in advance. REASON:: Remember, state regulations require an exception from DOA in advance for any ROOM RATE that exceeds 150% of the lodging rate on the table. The Assistant Vice President for Finance and Controller has been given authority by DOA to approve the rate on the table for EACH official business traveler in the room.

An Example for clarity: The allowed rate is $138, but UMW can pay as follows:
1. Up to $207 ($138 x 1.5 = $207) with the President or designee’s approval–regardless of the number of people in the room (from EXCEPTION #1 above).
2. Up to $138 per official business traveler–with approval in advance by the UMW Assistant Vice President for Finance and Controller–when two or more official business travelers share a room (from EXCEPTION #2 above).

To further clarify: If two official business travelers (it could be a colleague from another university) share a hotel room in a city with an allowed rate of $138, and the ROOM RATE is $250 per night, we are allowed to pay it–even though it exceeds $207 (150% of $138)–based on the following: $250 divided by 2 people = $125, which is lower than $138 (the allowable lodging rate). IT HAS TO BE APPROVED IN ADVANCE BY THE ASSISTANT VICE PRESIDENT FOR FINANCE AND CONTROLLER (as mentioned in EXCEPTION #2).

If TWO official business travelers share a hotel room in a city with an allowed rate of $138, and the ROOM RATE is $277 per night, which is $138.50 per person, we would be able to reimburse at only $138 per person (plus taxes on the $138)–NOT $138.50, which is 1/2 of the room rate. NOTE: UMW would be able to pay $138.50 ONLY IF DOA HAD GRANTED APPROVAL FOR THIS EXPENSE PRIOR TO THE TRAVEL (AS MENTIONED UNDER EXCEPTION #1 ABOVE). If THREE official business travelers share the same hotel room at $277 per night, UMW would be able to reimburse EACH traveler the full amount of $92.33 ($277 divided by 3 people = $92.33 per person) which is less than the $138 allowable rate. IT HAS TO BE APPROVED IN ADVANCE BY THE ASSISTANT VICE PRESIDENT FOR FINANCE AND CONTROLLER (as mentioned in EXCEPTION #2).


In summary, if you are sharing the cost of a room and your ROOM RATE exceeds the allowable lodging rate on the table by more than 150% of the rate, the Assistant Vice President for Finance and Controller can approve a “per person” rate up to the actual rate listed. Only DOA can approve any rate above the guidelines mentioned in these regulations.


To be reimbursed for lodging expenses, your hotel receipt must:
1. Show or prove a zero balance.
2. Show the room rate and taxes broken out separately and by day.


1. Taxes and surcharges for lodging based upon maximum lodging rates
2. Business telephone calls, telegrams, faxes, Internet charges for official State business ( A full explanation must be included with supporting documentation verifying the phone numbers called/Internet use and nature of business.)
3. Parking, Tolls, and Public Transportation. Receipts are required for all expenses greater than $20.00. If you do not have a receipt for a toll, for example, a clear, detailed explanation of the toll location and amount of individual toll must be included.

ALTERNATIVE LODGING–When lodging other than hotels and motels is used, e.g., apartments, houses, etc. ADVANCE approval is required. A comparison statement is required and must show the following:

  • The total cost for using the alternate accommodations and length of contract, INCLUDING any additional expenses such as additional transportation cost and/or parking expenses
  • The cost of standard accommodations (hotel) in the area (to compare to the alternative lodging source)
  • The net savings of the alternative lodging source.

The approval MUST BE DONE IN ADVANCE. Please see the more than three employees traveling section.

For alternative lodging such as Airbnb, the lodging could be an entire house, an apartment, or a single room within a house/apartment. These same ALTERNATIVE LODGING regulations apply. However, if the TOTAL COST, including additional transportation costs, of the lodging–whether it’s a room in a house or an entire apartment/house (NOT just “your share” of the rental, if splitting with others, for example)–is within the state’s allowed rate, then the comparison statement is not needed. The standard requirements for lodging receipts apply. The physical address (including the zip code) of the place of lodging, the dates of lodging, and amount paid must be indicated on the receipt.

Procedures for Lodging in the Fredericksburg Area

Some lodging establishments will bill the University directly. Please see the heading Hotels/Lodging on the Direct Pay Table for guidance and details.

Advance payments to lodging facilities are discouraged and are limited to the first night’s stay only. Any exceptions to this rule have to be approved IN ADVANCE by DOA (the state’s comptroller’s office) through the Accounts Payable Department. E-mail with questions or concerns regarding the travel regulations.

According to CAPP 20335, when an employee is reimbursed by UMW or uses the SPCC for travel expenses, “Travel credits, reduced rates, or free services received from public facilities (i.e., airline, car rental agencies, motels, etc.) by individuals for whatever reason accrue to the Commonwealth. Any such credit, reduced rate, or free service must be reported to the agency fiscal office and must be deducted from the amount of travel expenses claimed.”

To reduce your chances of incurring out-of-pocket expenses, carefully read this entire page and then read details about submitting for reimbursement at the Reimbursement Process for Travel Expenses.