Direct Costs – Travel

Click here to access the Travel section of the Post-Award Sponsored Projects Guide on page 26.


University travel regulations (available at govern travel performed with sponsored funds. In some instances, a particular contract or grant may specify travel limitations different from the University policy and these take precedence. When domestic or international travel is charged to a sponsored project, it is only allowable in accordance with that sponsor’s terms and conditions. Note that many Federal agencies have restrictive regulations concerning international travel. Even though the awarded proposal may have included a line item for international travel, agency prior approval may still be required.

NOTE: Under the U.S. Fly America Act, Federally funded travel must use a United States flag carrier even if it is more expensive. Contact your OSP Contract Administrator if there is no U.S. flag carrier service or if other special circumstances exist.

Reimbursement of travel expenses on sponsored projects will be in accordance with University of Maryland Baltimore County travel reimbursement rates. Examples of unallowable travel costs include, but are not limited to:

  • Alcohol
  • Laundry (unless business trip >14 days)
  • Mini bar
  • Movie rental
Departmental review

The following items are review recommendations:

  • Examining the relevance of the trip to the project
  • Confirming that the traveler is either paid by the project or otherwise documented as being directly involved in the project
  • Verifying that the travel will occur during the time period of the project
  • Making certain that funds are budgeted in the project for the travel and that the available balance is sufficient to pay for the expenses associated with the trip
  • Confirming that there are no funding agency restrictions or additional approvals needed for the travel.
Reminders when using sponsored funds for travel
  • Airline bookings should be made using the least expensive logical fare.
    • The UMBC requirement to purchase the least expensive logical fare and Uniform Guidance specifically stating “costs in excess of the basic least expensive unrestricted class is unallowable” precludes travelers from purchasing unrestricted airfare.
  • The cost of flight insurance is not reimbursable.
    • Flight insurance may be purchased at the traveler’s expense but is not considered an allowable charge to a sponsored award.
  • If the traveler must change their plans for the convenience of the campus or if changes are the result of a personal emergency, the campus will pay any penalty fees incurred. (Reference USM BOR policy VIII-11.00-1.2) Any change caused by a personal emergency requires a memorandum from the next higher authority and must be approved by the Dean or Vice President.
    • Cancellations/changes by the airline or conference sponsor are considered changes for the convenience of the campus. Any fees resulting from this change/cancellation would be an allowable charge to a sponsored award.
    • The occurrence of these charges cannot result in the need for additional funding requests to the sponsor. The scope of work must be able to be completed within the approved sponsor budget provided.