Business travel is a necessary evil for every company. Face-to-face interaction is irreplaceable and traveling allows you to provide that personal touch and expand your business through networking. However, business travel comes at an expense (literally). Not only are you spending time away from friends and family, but it can personally cost you a lot of money if you don’t properly report your business travel expenses. In order to help you navigate your next business travel expense report, we have created a list of business trip expenses as well as some tips to help you stay organized.
Categories for Business Travel Expenses
- Transportation: Flights, train, taxi, rental car, gas prices, etc.
- Lodging: Hotel, motel, AirBnb, etc.
- Meals: check with your HR department to see what your budget is and which meals are covered.
- Miscellaneous: dry cleaning, internet, etc.
Bottom line? Travel expenses must be strictly business-related in order to be refunded. Non-business related expenses may include personal entertainment or shopping. Thus, in order to manage this fine line between personal and business travel expenses, the first step is to keep an accurate, detailed account of your expenditures. Differentiating between the two categories can seem confusing at first, but all you have to ask yourself is this, “what is the purpose for my spending right now?” Business travel expenses that deal with transportation, meals, lodging, or crucial conference participation are all business-related and these can be reimbursed.
Tracking Business Travel Expenses
- Before you leave, make sure you have 4 pre-labeled envelopes: transportation, lodging, meals, and miscellaneous.
- Keep all of your receipts. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- After each purchase, tape your receipts together and put them in the appropriate envelope.
- Take pictures of your receipts, just in case.
- Use Google Sheets, Excel, or a travel journal to write down and categorize your spending.
- At the end of your trip compare your receipts with your expense journal so you can see if you lost any receipts along the way.
- Download an expense tracking app, like Expensify.
The purpose of this is to keep your business trip spending as transparent as possible. Keep all of your receipts well-organized and easily accessible to minimize the potential mistakes. Tracking your daily expenses will also help you spend money within the budget constraints set by your company.
TRAVO business travel planner can help you organize all your transportation for your next business trip. Check it out to check transportation expenses off your next business travel expense report.