Information for Department Guests and Speakers

Detailed information regarding business travel to our department is provided in the 4 sections below.

For any questions about your visit, please contact:

Communications & Events Coordinator

1. The UC system has detailed policies regarding travel and reimbursements, please read ALL sections to avoid problems arranging your visit and with reimbursement at the conclusion of your trip
2. Do not purchase anything from bargain sites such as Priceline or Hotwire as they do not show a breakdown of expenses or your proof of purchase. We cannot guarantee reimbursement for expenses if you purchase through such agencies.
3. Per UC policy, 
a rental vehicle must have a justifiable need to be reimbursed, consequently any rental vehicle reservation must be approved by the department prior to your visit.
4. Per UC policy, all travel reimbursement claims must be submitted to the ME offices within 30 days of the completion of your trip in order to receive a reimbursement. 

1. Travel

The Mechanical Engineering Department prefers visitors to make their own travel arrangements, with the exception of hotel reservations. 

Air travelers

Per UC travel policy: 

  • We can only reimburse coach class or economy tickets. 
  • Airline receipts must include itinerary, total cost, and proof of purchase (e.g. visa xxxx xxxx 1234).
  • You can purchase airfare through sites like Expedia and Kayak as long as it meets the above two requirements, but you cannot purchase packaged deals (airfare and rental car). 
  • Multi-destination trips that involve stops not related to UC business are not reimbursable, e.g. stopping at a conference on your way back from your engagement at UCSB. If you have a situation such as this, please contact the ME Front Desk directly at before booking your tickets.
  • The Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) is directly next to UCSB and many airlines fly into it. Alternately, you can fly into LAX and take the Airbus or rental car into Santa Barbara only if the cost would be less than flying directly into SB.
  • If you are concerned about delays into or out of Santa Barbara, be aware that San Francisco, Denver and Chicago can have delay issues. Phoenix and LA are more reliable connectors.
  • If your airfare exceeds $850, please contact the ME Front Desk for approval before booking your ticket.

Local transportation

UCSB and the hotel we use (Best Western South Coast Inn) are both within 2 miles of the Santa Barbara Airport, and a car is not needed for your visit. The hotel provides a free shuttle to the airport, campus, and the train station between 7:30am and 10:00pm, or you can use a taxi. 

  • You can request a shuttle pick up by calling the hotel directly at 805-967-3200
  • When requesting a shuttle to or from campus, the drop off you should request is the UCSB KITP (Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics) drop, which drops off right behind our building (Engineering II).
  • For taxi service you can contact Paradise Cab Co. at (805) 377-1112 (call or text). There are usually also taxi’s queued at the airport.

Rental Cars
Rental cars are not reimbursable unless there is a provable need, e.g. it is your mode of transportation into Santa Barbara from LAX. Due to the strict UC auto rental policies, if you feel you need a rental car during your visit, you must contact the ME Front Desk before making any reservations. 

Amtrak runs multiple trains daily into and out of Santa Barbara and Goleta. We recommend all train travelers use the Goleta (GTA) stop, as the Santa Barbara one is quite far from the University. The Best Western South Coast Inn offers a free shuttle that will pick up/drop off at the Goleta station.

Personal Automobile Travelers

The personal mileage reimbursement rate is currently 54 cents a mile (this includes gas and wear). You must have liability insurance if you use a personal auto.

Campus parking

Please notify the ME Front Desk if you will be parking on campus for more than 4 hours. A parking permit can be arranged for you to park in Lot 10, closest to our building.

2. Lodging

The hotel we generally use is the Best Western Plus South Coast Inn in Goleta.

Once we have your travel dates, we will make a reservation under your name and a confirmation will be forwarded to you. Your hotel room will be billed directly to the Mechanical Engineering Department unless otherwise arranged, however, any incidentals (such as room service) must be paid directly by you. Incidental expenses may be claimed as travel expenses if reimbursable under UC policy. Incidental expenses include tips or fees for services such as baggage handlers, waiters, etc.

Note: If you depart Santa Barbara in the afternoon, you can bring your luggage with you and we can store it in the ME offices.

3. Schedule, Seminars and Meetings

Schedule and Meetings

If it has been arranged with your host as part of your visit, a personalized visitor schedule will be sent to you shortly before your travel dates. 

Seminar Presentation

If you are giving a seminar, please bring your own laptop, adapters, and anything else you feel is necessary for your presentation. We do have a combo power point remote/laser pointer and Mac adapter available if needed. Your seminar presentation, including the question-and-answer period, should last 55 minutes (approximately 45 minutes for the seminar, and 10 minutes for Q&A). 

If you need audio, internet connectivity, or a microphone (not necessary unless you are a very soft speaker), or have any other special need, please let the ME Front Desk know ahead of time so we can make sure everything is set up for your talk.

4. Reimbursements

As UCSB is a publicly funded institution, we have very specific reimbursement policies for travel expenses. Detailed instructions and forms will be sent to you after your visit is completed. They can also be downloaded here. Per UC policy, all travel reimbursement claims must be submitted to our offices within 30 days of the completion of your trip in order to receive a reimbursement. To make sure you have everything required please keep the following points in mind:


All transportation receipts must be itemized, include a total amount paid, and the method of payment. If a credit card was used, proof of purchase must be included (e.g. visa xxxx xxxx 1234). Electronic receipts are accepted for airfare and intercity transportation if they were purchased online.

  • Airfare documentation must also include the travel itinerary
  • Rental car documentation must also include the complete rental contract

Meals & Incidentals

UC Policy allows up to $71 per day of actual expenses for meals and incidentals while on travel within the US. You can submit itemized receipts, or keep a meal log. If you keep a log and there is a question regarding an expense, be prepared to supply the original itemized receipt. Any individual expense over $75 requires an itemized receipt. Incidental expenses include tips or fees for services such as baggage handlers, waiters, etc.

Miscellaneous Expenses

These include parking, baggage fees, etc. Itemized receipts with proof of payment are required for these expenses.

Did You Lose a Receipt? 
If you are claiming an expense that requires an itemized original receipt and you lost the receipt or don't have an itemized receipt you will need to fill out a Lost Receipt Form in order to be reimbursed for the expense. Please include the completed and signed form with the rest of your reimbursement documents.


Your hotel room and taxes will be billed directly to the Mechanical Engineering Department unless otherwise arranged.

Your Reimbursement
You will be reimbursed by check for your travel expenses once your paperwork clears the Department financial office and the UCSB accounting office. This generally takes 2-3 weeks if all information is correctly submitted.