In July 2023 AIM began operating in its new location on the Caltech campus in Pasadena, CA.

For fully funded participants AIM arranges hotel lodging and pays the hotel directly. AIM also provides a per diem meal allowance and a travel allowance for airfare and ground transportation from participants’ home institutions. Because funding comes from the National Science Foundation, there are travel requirements that must be met in order to qualify for the travel allowance. Participants must use the most cost-effective means of travel, which means economy class tickets for air travel. Guidelines do not allow reimbursement for insurance, priority boarding, seat selection, economy plus, business class, or first class tickets.

If your travel plans are unusual for some reason (you are not traveling to and from your home institution, you require an open-jaw or open-return ticket, etc.) or if your travel expenses will exceed the guidelines below, please document the expenses and send the information to Harpreet Kaur ( for approval before completing the purchase. If your expenses are significantly higher than these guidelines and you have not received approval in advance, AIM may not be able to reimburse the full cost of your trip. Our FAQ for AIM Participants has some additional information.

Ground transportation:
AIM will reimburse up to $250 total in ground transportation costs (this includes shuttles, mileage, and parking on both ends of your trip). Airport transit in the LA area can be quite expensive. When possible, consider sharing airport transportation with other participants in your Workshop or SQuaRE, and pay careful attention to these guidelines:

  • Do not request a Lyft, Uber, or taxi directly from an LAX terminal. Instead, walk or take the free shuttle to LAX-it, and arrange your ride from there.
  • We encourage visitors to arrange shared rides back to the airport while at AIM, and to consider pre-booking the ride with Uber or Lyft for a guaranteed rate.
  • Public transportation to LAX or BUR airports can take longer but is of course much less expensive. You can look for options here.

Airfare: The closest airports to Pasadena are Burbank Airport (BUR) and Los Angeles International (LAX). BUR is much closer and ground transportation is much easier, but there are fewer flights and destinations available compared to LAX. Other airports in the area are Long Beach (LGB), Ontario (ONT), and John Wayne (SNA). If you find a cheaper airfare to one of those airports, be sure to estimate the higher ground transportation costs before finalizing your booking.

Please purchase economy class tickets for air travel at least 30 days in advance. AIM cannot reimburse the cost of travel insurance, priority boarding, seat selection, economy plus, business class, or first class tickets. Guidelines for airfare (including checked bag fees):

  1. within California – $350
  2. within North America – $750
  3. from Europe – $1400
  4. other overseas travel – $1800

Because of the Fly America Act, participants coming from outside the U.S. must purchase a ticket from a U.S. flag carrier (an airline owned by an American company) or an EU (European Union) carrier, unless exempted by one of the following Open Skies Agreements:

  • Participants may use a Japanese carrier as long as the point of origin or destination is an airport in Japan.
  • Participants may use a Swiss carrier as long as the point of origin or destination is an airport in Switzerland. Likewise for Iceland and Norway.
  • Participants may use an Australian carrier as long as the point of origin or destination is an airport in Australia.

These exemptions do not include the U.K., Canada, or Mexico. All flights originating in the U.K. or North America must bear the designation of a U.S. airline. This means that the ticket must show the flight code of a U.S.-based carrier, independent of which company actually operates the flight. Normally this means that the ticket must be purchased from the U.S. airline. Tickets from British Airways and Air Canada cannot be reimbursed.

Workshops and SQuaREs run Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Participants should plan to arrive on the Sunday and depart on Saturday or possibly late Friday night. AIM does not pay for Saturday night lodging. In the event that a funded participant does not attend four full days the air fare reimbursement is half the total.