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There is now a Travel Decision Tree you can use before the trip to determine the correct steps.

New Dec 2022: Shorter Concur Guide

June 2023 Notice: Travel will require you to justify using your personal car for any trip over 100 miles.

The Basics

  • All employee travel is now handled through Concur. There are two main components: Requests and Expenses.
  • You will create your own requests/expense reports.
  • You are responsible for making your own bookings and other travel arrangements. See “Before the Trip”.
  • Make sure to get receipts for everything (except meals). Credit card statements will be rejected!
  • Please look through the Concur documentation.
  • See UNC Travel Services’ Get Started page for your responsibilities and a helpful checklist.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • When you create a request or expense report, please name it either the conference name or the destination and beginning trip date.
  • Items like supplies, poster printing, local hiring, etc are usually not considered travel expenses. See the section on cash advances under purchasing.
  • Full-time permanent employees may apply for a Travel and Expense card. This is a corporate Visa card that can only be used for travel and business entertainment.
  • Don’t assume you’ll be paid back for a non-standard expense; please ask your travel contact.
  • You can only be paid back for your own travel expenses, meaning your plane ticket, your hotel room, etc. If you pay for someone else’s hotel room/flight/etc., you will not be paid back, although it’s possible they could be.

Your Contact

GroupTravel ContactEmail
Center on Financial Risk in Environmental Systems / Characklis LabDeb
Institute for Environmental Health Solutions / Fry LabDeb
OSHERC/NIOSH training grant (Nylander-French)Julie
Water InstituteTBD, Robin

Before the Trip/Travel Requests

  • If your trip will include lodging, airfare, or a car rental, you MUST file a travel request through Concur.
    • The request must be approved before you can book anything or pay registration.
    • Please include estimates for all anticipated expenses in the request, including airfare, mileage, meals, registration, etc.
    • Please note: a request is not an advance. If you need money for an international trip, see “Advance” below.
  • Once your request is approved:
    • You can book airfare, lodging, and rental car expenses through Concur.
      • Airfare: UNC will pay airfare directly. You will need your request number.
      • Car rental:
        • If you want UNC to pay your car rental directly, you must book the car a) from Enterprise and b) by calling World Travel and requesting direct billing. This will incur a $10 fee that you must pay out-of-pocket (using T&E or personal card). You will need your request number and you must explicitly request direct billing.
        • If you choose to book through the Concur website, you will have to use a personal card or a T&E card.
      • Lodging: For hotels, you must provide either a personal credit card or a T&E card.
        • Note: conference rates for hotels are unlikely to be available through Concur bookings. If that happens, you may book through the conference instead of through Concur.
        • If you plan to use Airbnb or any other non-hotel lodging option, you must fill out the Third-Party Lodging Request Form and include it in your request documentation.
        • If your lodging is going to cost more than $300/night, you must complete the Excess Lodging Justification form.
      • Registration: The department can pay registration and abstract fees via the pcard if you do not have a T&E card.
    • All out-of-pocket expenses will be paid back to you after the trip.

Filing a Travel Request

International Travel – Extra steps required for international travel

Note: Once a request is approved, you can create multiple expense reports from it. It’s likely that things like airfare and registration, for example, will have to go into an expense report before the trip, while the rest of the expenses will be reported after.

Advances are loans from the travel department meant to cover meals, lodging, and select other expenses such as visas. They are only available for international travel. By default, the option is turned off in Concur; you will have to apply to have it turned on.

Travel advances are not meant for expenses such as supplies or services such as interpreters; those funds must be requested as a cash advance through your account manager.

Upon your return, you have one month to turn in all receipts so that we can reconcile the advance. This applies even if you do not plan to claim any further expenses. If you spent less than the advance, the overage will be taken from your next paycheck.

AIRBNB – If you plan to use Airbnb, you must fill out the 1502.1.2f Third-Party Lodging Request Form and include the listing.

You also have the option of applying for a UNC Travel and Expense Card. This will help prevent you from spending out of pocket.

IMPORTANT: UNC will only pay for economy airfare. The few exceptions are listed at the UNC Procedure on Air Travel.

Airfare must be booked via Concur or by calling World Travel to arrange a flight. No other travel agencies are authorized.

You will need your request number.

The airfare will automatically appear in your list of expenses to be added to a report.

Special Considerations

International travelers

If you are traveling on funds from a federal agency, you must enter and exit the country on a US-owned airline.

Special Seating

Any seating other than coach must be justified.


Q: What if I want to pay for it myself?
A: Don’t.

Q: Can I get an advance for airfare?
A: You cannot get an advance for domestic or international flights. However, if you are planning an international trip that requires local flights to be purchased in your destination country, you may be able to get an advance for those.

Q: Can I get reimbursed for seat selection fees?
A: No.

Q: Can I get reimbursed for flight insurance?
A: No.

Q: Can I get reimbursed for baggage fees?
A: Yes, as long as you have a receipt and the bags were for university business.

Q: What if I want to choose a specific route for personal reasons?
A: Establish the difference between your route and the cheapest route. You will have to pay the difference directly to the travel agency at the time of booking.

Personal Vehicle

UNC prefers that you rent a car for any trip over 100 miles, and will require you to justify not flying/renting.  If you can’t or the trip is short, you can take your personal car and be reimbursed for mileage for any trips over 20 miles (round trip).  The point of origin for your trip has to be either your workplace or your home, whichever is closer to your destination.

Rental Car

Note: Only people on UNC Payroll can rent a car.

You must go through Concur to rent a vehicle through UNC. UNC can pay for rentals from Enterprise directly. For any other agency, you will need to use a T&E or personal credit card to complete the booking.

UNC Risk Management recommends that we avoid using 15-passenger vans for insurance reasons.

For trucks, cargo vans, etc., see the section on Truck Rental at the UNC Motorpool site.

You can include gas in your expense report after the trip, but you must have actual receipts from the pump. Travel will not accept credit card statements!

Taxis, Trains, Buses, Shuttles

Commercial ground transportation can be reimbursed if you have a receipt. It’s best to get receipts for all trips possible, but if it’s less than $20 we can work without it. Please note that we need the origin and destination for each trip (this does not have to be exact addresses but we need the basic idea – an example would be “airport to hotel”).


For short local trips, you can sign up for Zipcar. As with rental cars, you can file for gas reimbursement if you need to.


Q: What if I’m in a country where no one provides taxi receipts?
A: Keep a little notebook with you. Note the date, origin, destination, and amount paid on one of the pages. Have the driver mark it somehow (preferably signing it; if not an X will do.)

Q: What if the driver refuses?
A: Write that on the receipt; it’ll have to do.

Q: What if I’m in an accident?
A: For accidents involving any Enterprise vehicle that holds 12 passengers or fewer, notify Enterprise when returning the vehicle. If you are in a 15-passenger van from Enterprise, a state-owned car, or your own vehicle, you must follow this procedure.

Note: The procedure is the same for online conferences.

The university can pay for registration directly. If you use your own funds to pay, you cannot be reimbursed until after the conference. If you are planning to purchase a membership because the registration will be lower, please contact your admin assistant about using their pcard.


I want UNC to pay directly by credit card

  • If this trip involves airfare or an overnight stay, you must first have filed a travel request via Concur.
  • Start at least two days before the registration deadline (or early bird deadline if you’re going for that) and fill out the pre-trip prompter.
  • Your admin assistant will have their own preferred method of handling payment – some may give you the card information, while others will want you to bring your laptop and let them fill out the payment information (To maintain social distancing, we may communicate solely by phone.) You will need to print or email any receipts you receive to them. They will not fill out the registration form for you.
  • We can only use the card for registration for the main conference and additional workshops. We cannot pay for hotel bookings, banquets, or any other extras the conference offers.

I will pay (or have paid) with my T&E card

The expense will automatically appear in your list of expenses for you to add to an expense report.

I will pay (or already have paid) out of pocket

You will need to add the expense to your expense report after the trip.

After the Trip

You must file for reimbursement within 30 days of the end of your trip.

Reimbursements happen after the trip, when the university pays you back for your expenditures.

If you received an advance, you must now account for all the money you received.

All receipts should have your name and show that the bill has been paid. A credit card or bank statement by itself is not sufficient documentation.

Documentation breakdown

Airfare: All airfare should have been booked through Concur. If you had to pay for local flights on an international trip, provide the receipt.

Ground transportation: If you drove your personal car, provide the origin, destination, and mileage of each leg of the trip. For rental cars, provide the rental receipts and any gas receipts you paid for. For taxis/rideshares, provide the origin and destination of each trip and include receipts. Write the tip on the receipt if it’s not already included.

Hotel: A booking or reservation is not a valid receipt. The hotel receipt should have your name as the occupant. If you shared a room and did not split the cost, we will need the details of the other person’s reimbursement. The receipt should list out the charges; a credit card receipt showing a lump sum is not sufficient as it may include laundry, meals, gift shop, movie rentals, etc. Note that if you are using federal per diem rates, you cannot be reimbursed more than the federal room rate. If you used an AirBNB and have not already given the travel preparer the Third-Party Lodging Request Form, you will need to. If your hotel bill is greater than $300/night, you will need to fill out the Excess Lodging Justification form.

Meals/Per diem: Meals are reimbursed at a fixed rate called per diem. For a more in-depth explanation, see Understanding Per Diem. For the meals you can claim on the first and last days of the trip, see Policy on Allowable Travel Expenses. No receipts are necessary unless the sponsor itself requires them (rare but possible).

Medical: If you are traveling internationally, you may be reimbursed for necessary vaccinations and prescriptions (such as antimalarial drugs). Provide receipts.

Other: Baggage fees, internet access, laundry (only for long international trips), parking, phone calls, phone cards (international only), and other miscellaneous expenses must be accompanied by receipts. Tips to airport employees are reimbursable at $2 a bag; no receipts are required.

Passport/visa fees: Provide receipts as best you can. This may include photo fees, mailing/shipping fees, etc. Multiple-entry visas will be reimbursed via a different mechanism and can be reimbursed before the trip. Single-entry visas will go on the travel and must wait until after the trip.

Forms and References

Concur Documentation
Get Started
UNC Policy on Travel Expenses
UNC Policy on Transportation Expenses
UNC Travel website – This is a very helpful overview site of how travel at UNC works.
Third Party Lodging Request Form – If you’re not using a hotel, this must be filled out before the trip. Includes AirBNB.
Excess Lodging Justification
Travel Decision Tree

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