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San Diego Per Diem Rates 2024 Guide

You’ve got a business trip to San Diego coming up, and you’re wondering how to manage your expenses. Understanding per diem rates can help you budget effectively and avoid out-of-pocket costs. Let’s break down what per diem in San Diego entails and how it works.

Managing travel expenses can be a hassle, especially when you’re trying to adhere to company or federal guidelines. Knowing what per diem rates cover can make this process smoother and ensure you get reimbursed accurately.

What is Per Diem in San Diego?

Per diem is a daily allowance for expenses incurred while traveling for work. It covers meals, lodging, and incidental expenses like tips and transportation. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) sets these rates to standardize reimbursements for federal employees and contractors.

Example of Per Diem Expenses

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner costs fall under this category.
  • Lodging: Hotel or other accommodation expenses are included.
  • Incidental expenses: Tips, local transportation, and other minor costs are covered.

Understanding these categories helps you plan your travel budget and ensures you get reimbursed accurately.

Navigating per diem rates can seem daunting, but it’s crucial for managing your travel budget efficiently. Let’s dive into how San Diego’s per diem works and why you should care.

TIP: For a better understanding of travel-related pay, check out this guide on travel time pay for hourly employees.

How Does San Diego’s Per Diem Work?

When you travel to San Diego for work, your employer reimburses you for travel expenses through per diem rates. These rates cover your daily costs for meals, lodging, and incidental expenses. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) sets these rates, and they can vary based on the location and time of year.

Employers use per diem rates to streamline the reimbursement process. Instead of submitting individual receipts for each meal or hotel stay, you receive a daily allowance. This simplifies accounting and ensures you get reimbursed quickly.

Rates vary depending on where you stay in San Diego and the time of year. For example, peak tourist seasons might have higher lodging rates. Always check the current rates before planning your trip to ensure you stay within the allowed budget.

To get reimbursed, you need to submit an expense report. This report should detail your travel dates, the per diem rates for each day, and any additional expenses. Your employer will then review and approve the report, reimbursing you according to the set rates. This process ensures you don’t have to cover work-related travel costs out of pocket.

TIP: Simplify your expense tracking by introducing time tracking to your employees.

Understanding the different per diem rates can help you plan better and ensure you’re fully reimbursed. Let’s explore the types of per diem rates in San Diego.

What are the Types of Per Diem Rates in San Diego?

Lodging Per Diem Rate

The lodging per diem rate covers the cost of your hotel or other accommodations while you’re in San Diego for work. This rate ensures you have a comfortable place to stay without having to pay out of pocket. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) sets these rates based on the average cost of lodging in the area. Depending on the time of year and specific location within San Diego, the lodging rate can vary. Always check the current rate before booking your stay to ensure it falls within the allowed per diem.

Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) Per Diem Rate

The Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) per diem rate covers your daily costs for meals and other minor expenses. This rate includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as incidental expenses like tips and local transportation. The GSA sets these rates to simplify the reimbursement process, so you don’t need to keep track of every meal receipt. The M&IE rate can vary depending on the location and time of year, so make sure to verify the current rate before your trip. This rate helps you manage your daily expenses without the hassle of detailed accounting.

Combined Per Diem Rate

The combined per diem rate includes both the lodging and M&IE rates, providing a comprehensive daily allowance for all your travel expenses. This rate simplifies budgeting and reimbursement, as it consolidates all your daily costs into a single figure. The combined rate varies based on the specific lodging and M&IE rates for San Diego, which can fluctuate throughout the year. By using the combined rate, you can easily calculate your total travel expenses and ensure you stay within the allowed budget. This approach streamlines the reimbursement process and helps you manage your finances more effectively.

TIP: Ensure accurate payroll by avoiding common payroll errors.

Knowing the per diem rates for 2024 can help you plan your trip to San Diego without financial surprises. Let’s look at what you can expect.

What are the San Diego Per Diem Rates for 2024?

When planning your work trip to San Diego, knowing the per diem rates for 2024 helps you manage your expenses effectively. These rates, set by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), vary based on location and time of year, ensuring they reflect the actual cost of living in different areas.

Rates Vary by Location and Time of Year

San Diego’s per diem rates adjust depending on where you stay and the season. For instance, lodging costs might be higher in popular tourist areas or during peak travel months. Always check the specific rates for your destination within San Diego to ensure you stay within the allowed budget.

TIP: Stay compliant with labor laws by understanding federal labor law breaks.

GSA Releases New Rates Annually

The GSA updates per diem rates every year to account for changes in the cost of living and other economic factors. This ensures that the rates remain fair and accurate, providing adequate reimbursement for your travel expenses. For 2024, the GSA has released updated rates for both lodging and meals and incidental expenses (M&IE).

M&IE Rate for San Diego in 2024: $74 per Day

The M&IE rate covers your daily costs for meals and incidental expenses, such as tips and local transportation. For 2024, the M&IE rate for San Diego is set at $74 per day. This rate ensures you can cover your food and minor expenses without needing to submit individual receipts for each meal.

Lodging Rate for San Diego in June 2024: $230 per Night

The lodging rate covers the cost of your hotel or other accommodations. For the first half of 2024, the lodging rate for San Diego was $194 per night. This rate has risen to $230 from June 2024. This rate reflects the average cost of lodging in the area, ensuring you can find comfortable accommodations without exceeding the per diem limit.

Understanding these rates helps you plan your travel budget and ensures you get reimbursed accurately for your expenses. Always check the current rates before your trip to stay within the allowed budget and avoid out-of-pocket costs.

TIP: For effective financial management, learn about creating an effective balance sheet.

Calculating per diem can seem tricky, but with the right steps, you can ensure you’re reimbursed properly. Let’s break down how to do it.

How to Calculate Per Diem in San Diego

Determine the Applicable Rates

First, you need to know the current per diem rates for San Diego. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) updates these rates annually. Visit the GSA website to find the most recent rates for lodging and meals and incidental expenses (M&IE). Make sure you check the rates for the specific dates and locations of your travel, as they can vary.

TIP: Accurate time tracking is crucial. Learn about time clock rounding rules to ensure precision.

Calculate Total Per Diem

Once you have the applicable rates, calculating your total per diem is straightforward. Multiply the daily lodging rate by the number of nights you will stay. Do the same for the M&IE rate, multiplying it by the number of days you will be traveling. Add these two amounts together to get your total per diem. For example, if the lodging rate is $150 per night and the M&IE rate is $70 per day, and you are traveling for five days and four nights, your calculation would look like this:

  • Lodging: $150 x 4 nights = $600
  • M&IE: $70 x 5 days = $350
  • Total Per Diem: $600 + $350 = $950

Adjust for First and Last Days of Travel

The GSA guidelines specify that the first and last days of travel are reimbursed at 75% of the M&IE rate. This adjustment accounts for partial travel days when you might not incur a full day’s worth of expenses. To calculate this, take the M&IE rate and multiply it by 0.75 for the first and last days. Using the previous example with an M&IE rate of $70:

  • First Day: $70 x 0.75 = $52.50
  • Last Day: $70 x 0.75 = $52.50

If your trip spans five days, with the first and last days being partial travel days, your total M&IE calculation would be:

  • First Day: $52.50
  • Last Day: $52.50
  • Full Days: $70 x 3 days = $210
  • Total M&IE: $52.50 + $52.50 + $210 = $315

Add this adjusted M&IE total to your lodging costs to get the final per diem amount. In this case:

  • Lodging: $600
  • Adjusted M&IE: $315
  • Total Per Diem: $600 + $315 = $915

By following these steps, you can accurately calculate your per diem for a trip to San Diego, ensuring you stay within budget and receive proper reimbursement.

TIP: For more on managing employee schedules and travel, explore managing employee time off requests.

Need some tips to make the most out of your per diem in San Diego? Here’s how you can maximize your allowance.

5 Tips for Maximizing Your San Diego Per Diem

Choose Accommodations Wisely

Selecting the right accommodation can make a significant difference in staying within your per diem budget. Look for hotels that fall within the lodging per diem rate set by the GSA. Many booking websites allow you to filter options by price, making it easier to find suitable accommodations. Staying within the per diem rate ensures you won’t have to cover extra costs out of pocket. Additionally, consider the location of the hotel. Staying closer to your work site can reduce transportation costs, further maximizing your per diem allowance.

TIP: For hotel managers, using hotel management software solutions can streamline operations and reduce costs.

Plan Meals Carefully

Meals can quickly add up, but planning can help you stay within the M&IE rate. Many hotels offer complimentary breakfasts, which can save you a significant amount over the course of your stay. Take advantage of this perk whenever possible. For lunch and dinner, look for affordable dining options nearby. Researching local restaurants and cafes before your trip can help you find budget-friendly choices. If your hotel room includes a kitchenette, consider preparing some meals yourself. This not only saves money but also allows you to eat healthier options.

Keep Detailed Records

Maintaining detailed records of your expenses is crucial for accurate reimbursement. Save all receipts related to your meals, lodging, and incidental expenses. Use a dedicated folder or app to organize these receipts, making it easier to submit your expense report. Documenting your expenses helps ensure you receive the full per diem allowance and avoids any discrepancies during the reimbursement process. Additionally, keeping detailed records can help you track your spending habits and identify areas where you can save more in the future.

Utilize Per Diem Rates for Budgeting

Using per diem rates as a budgeting tool can help you manage your travel expenses effectively. Before your trip, calculate your total per diem allowance based on the number of days you will be traveling. This gives you a clear understanding of how much you can spend each day on lodging, meals, and incidental expenses. Sticking to this budget helps you avoid overspending and ensures you stay within the allowed per diem rates. Knowing your daily allowance also makes it easier to make informed decisions about where to stay and where to eat.

Understand Your Employer’s Policies

Familiarize yourself with your employer’s travel reimbursement policies to avoid any surprises. Some employers may have specific requirements or limitations regarding per diem reimbursements. For example, they might require you to stay at certain hotels or use specific transportation methods. Understanding these policies helps you comply with your employer’s guidelines and ensures a smooth reimbursement process. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask your HR department or travel coordinator for clarification. Knowing these details in advance can save you time and hassle when submitting your expense report.


  • What: Per diem rates help manage business travel expenses in San Diego.
  • So What: Ensures you budget right and get reimbursed without personal costs.
  • Pros & Cons: Pros: Simplified reimbursement, easier budgeting; Cons: Rates vary by location and season.
  • Bottom Line: Know the rates and employer policies to maximize your travel budget.


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