Foreign Travel Meals

The actual cost of meals, including taxes and tips (except where limited by contract or grant), while on Duke business is reimbursable. Travelers should select restaurants which are reasonably priced for the locality. Original receipts are required for all meals regardless of the amount. Duke will not reimburse travelers for snacks purchased in addition to regular meals. Non-alcoholic beverages may be purchased at the traveler's discretion and submitted for reimbursement. If the traveler is claiming the foreign meals and incidentals per diem, these beverages are included in the daily per diem rate and should not be submitted for reimbursement.

If a meal is provided by a conference as part of the conference fees and a traveler elects to purchase a meal independent of the conference, such meals will be considered a personal expense and will not be reimbursed.

Alcoholic beverages can not be reimbursed from federal grants or contracts. Meals that include alcohol are considered to be entertainment expenses and must be coded as Entertainment/Social Expenses (693200).

Breakfast will be allowed when the traveler is out of town the night before or when the incurred travel begins earlier than a normal breakfast (7:00am).

Lunch will be reimbursed provided that the trip begins before the lunch hour (or 11:00am).

Dinner reimbursement will be made when the trip begins prior to the dinner hour (5:30pm) or when the traveler does not return home until after the normal dinner hour (7:00pm).

The departure and return times should reflect when the payee leaves/returns to home or work. This, in general, is not the departure time/return time of a flight or other ticketed travel. Use military time to indicate departure/return times on the Travel Expense Form.

When traveling abroad, a per diem, based on the U.S. Department of State published rate for the area is allowed for meals and incidentals in lieu of documentation. If the U.S Department of State rate is different than the rate provided in the online expense report tool or if travel occurs in a region where a per diem has not been established in the tool, please contact Employee Travel and Reimbursement at employeetravel at so that the rate can be updated. Per diem claims in excess of this amount are not allowed unless a grant or contract specifies otherwise. The number of days claimed for meals and incidentals must take into consideration the departure and return times per the following guidelines. The day must be adjusted accordingly:

Day of Departure:

  • Depart after 8:30 a.m. - 80% of total
  • Depart after 1 p.m. - 50% of total
  • Depart after 7 p.m. - 0% of total

Day of Return:

  • Return prior to 6 a.m. - 0% of total
  • Return prior to 11 a.m. - 20% of total
  • Return prior to 5:30 p.m. - 50% of total

The foreign travel per diem rates and actual expenses may not be interchanged. One option should be chosen for the duration of the trip. Students are not eligible to use the foreign travel per diems.