Entertainment While on Travel

This page highlights how to process entertainment expenses while on Travel status, and which types of expenses are allowable.

While on a business trip, the occasion may call for you to entertain (i.e., incur expenses for meals or light refreshments for others) for the business purpose of promoting goodwill, donor cultivation, or similar social or recreational activities in support of the university’s mission.

All entertainment expenses must comply with UC policy BUS-79

Using Travel Card

In situations when a university employee is hosting others at a business-related activity, and a meal is being served, you may use your Travel card to pay for the meal, up to the per-person limits noted on this page.

Allowable Limits

For meals that are not associated with an entertainment event, different limits apply.  When traveling within the United States, the maximum daily total for all meal costs is $79 (excluding entertainment meals). The maximum daily limits for meals when traveling abroad vary by location and are based on the U.S. State Department's rates.

Business Related Entertainment Meal Per-person Limit
Breakfast $31
Lunch/Brunch $54
Dinner $94
Light Refreshments $22

These limits include the cost of food, beverages, labor, sales tax, delivery charges and other service fees.

If the university is paying for the meal for your spouse or domestic partner, or the spouse or domestic partner of your guest, exception approval will be required.

Reconciling Expenses on Travel Report

Include the entertainment expense(s) on your travel expense report. Choose the Entertainment expense type that applies to the occasion.  Details about the entertainment activity, including the guest names and their affiliations, meal type (breakfast, lunch, dinner or light refreshments), the business purpose of the event, the location, the total amount, the per person amount and the date are all required. 

Receipts are required for all entertainment expenses of $75 or more per occasion. 

Unallowable Situations

Entertainment expenses are not allowed if:

  • The activity is not directly related to the employee’s job
  • The expense is lavish or extravagant under the circumstances
  • The traveler who is hosting the event is not present at the activity
  • The expense is not substantiated with supporting documentation and justification