Corporate travel & expense reimbursement policy template
With this travel expense policy template, TravelPerk has done the hard work for you. The team talked to travel managers to discover what essential elements go in a policy, and developed one that is concise, simple-to-understand, and very easy to customize.
Grab the template now, or keep reading below to learn more about what’s included, why it’s included, and how to customize each element for your own company use. You'll see that planning a business trip has never been easier!
What’s inside our travel policy template?
Our company travel policy template for Canadian travellers includes the six key sections listed below. It’s easy to read and, more importantly, easy to customize. Feel free to use this template for domestic or international travel. You can adapt it to air travel, rail transport, road transport, and more.
An effective corporate travel policy is made up of six key sections:
- Travel booking process
- Expense categories
- Non-reimbursable purchases
- Expense reporting and reimbursement process
- Travel support, safety and duty of care
Let’s take a look at what you need to include in each section.
Section 1: Introduction
Let’s start from the top, with your introduction. Every travel expense policy template needs an introduction. Your introduction sets the groundwork and helps manage employee expectations off the bat.
An introduction is especially useful if your travel policies and expense reimbursement processes look different for different departments, types of travel, or seniority levels. Essentially, you’ll want to flip out your introduction, depending on who’s accessing your travel policy template.
It’s always a good idea to affirm the benefits of following your policy for the reader. A few benefits to include are:
- Personal safety
- Understanding who to turn to for support
- Reducing manual or repeat work by running things correctly the first time around
Clearly outline the benefits, and your employees will be more encouraged to read on.
Section 2: Travel booking process
In the second section of our free travel policy template, we’ve included everything employees need to know about where and how to book travel. Make travel arrangements for your employees or let them book for themselves—either way, this template will work for you.
- How to book travel – What is your approved process, method and/or platform for booking business travel? If your company uses a platform to enable travellers to book within policy, include the name of your approved booking platform. Otherwise, write out the name and contact details of the company or person they’re supposed to contact in order to request a booking.
- Approval process for senior management — the approval process for c-suite and senior members of staff will likely differ from that of other employees. Senior management might require approval from an executive, and executives might require sign-off from other c-suite members. All of this must be included in your policy.
- Use of loyalty programs – Many companies don’t allow travellers to collect points for their personal loyalty programs. But if you trust your travellers to do the right thing, you can allow this and include a line in your policy like “Employees may not choose more expensive options only to get loyalty points.”
- Leisure extensions – Sometimes, business travellers want to extend their trip into the weekend or use up some of their vacation days. You should include rules around leisure extensions (or “bleisure”), such as what cost difference is allowable for return flights. It's important to outline what expenses you will cover and what you consider "personal expenses" for "personal travel." Make clear that these are additional costs that do not fall within the ambit of business expenses under your travel policy.
- Travelling with non-employees — travel expenses related to travel with spouses, family members, pets or anyone outside of the company are not normally eligible for reimbursement. These situations can be subject to approval if they are accompanying staff members for business reasons such as attending a conference or for a networking event.
Top tip: Make it crystal clear how travellers are supposed to book trips. Use a corporate booking platform to keep track of travel in one place.
Section 3: Expense categories
Expense categories are one of the most important things you need to get clear in your travel policy. Why? It’s crucial you manage employees’ expectations from day one, so they know exactly what they can and can’t expense from their trip. This will keep everyone on the same page and save any awkward misunderstandings between your finance team and travelling employees.
Section three of this corporate travel policy template covers business travel expenses by popular categories. The categories include flights, food and drink, client entertainment, hotels & accommodations, ground transport, data allowances, resources, and anything else necessary for your employee to do their job on the go.
Here’s the information to include in each expense category:
- Approved tool or method for booking
- Preferred vendors (if any)
- Rules on whether or not business class is allowed, such as for flights over a certain duration, or flights taken by employees of a certain seniority level. Highlight whether travellers should go in economy class or business.
- How many days in advance international flights must be booked
- How many days in advance domestic travel must be booked
- Approved tool or method for booking
- Maximum nightly rates per city for hotel rooms
- Preferred vendors and negotiated rate details (if any)
- Rules on standard rooms and upgrades, for example, standard rooms are required but room upgrades are allowed if offered at no additional charge
- Reimbursable hotel costs, such as parking
- Rules for booking Airbnb or apartment rentals
- Approved tool or method for booking
- Type of train ticket allowed, such as economy
Taxis and ride-sharing
- When taxis and ride-sharing is allowed, for example when public transportation isn’t viable
- Maximum amount per transaction
Rental and personal car
- Type of rental car class allowed, such as compact or mid-size
- The number of employees expected to share a rental car when travelling together
- How much is reimbursed per mile or kilometer
Conferences & events
- Expense reimbursement process for conference or event registration in cases where it was not pre-paid
- Process for other conference or event-related expenses such as business meals or anything not included in the registration cost
Food, travel and entertainment
- Reimbursable amount, per breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Alternatively, a daily maximum or per diem
- Personal meal expenses throughout a trip
- Rules for business meals, such as who approves the amount
- Rules for client entertainment expenses, such as what is allowed
Personal telephone usage
- Phone bill amount or percentage that is reimbursable during the weeks that the employee travels. Clarify whether calls for personal reasons will be covered by your company.
- Whether or not personal phone damages or theft are reimbursable during business travel, and if so, up to what amount?
Top tip: We’ve included everything in our travel policy template. Simply enter the amounts, approved vendors and other details for each reimbursable expense category. You can easily delete anything that doesn’t fit your company.
Section 4: Non-reimbursable purchases
Include a bulleted list of the potential travel expenses that your company will not reimburse. Make it clear that your company will only cover travel-related expenses and whatever provisions you accounted for in the previous section.
Here are some examples of non-reimbursable items that you may want to include in your travel policy:
- In-flight purchases, not airfare
- Excess baggage fees
- Childcare, pet care, and pet boarding
- Costs for family members joining travellers on their trip
- Toiletries or clothing
- Airline club memberships
- Minibar purchases or bar bills
- Laundry or dry cleaning
- Parking fines or traffic violations
- Airline ticket change fees
- First-class rail transportation
- Premium, Luxury or Elite car rentals
- Movies, online entertainment or newspapers
- Spa and health club usage
- Flowers, sweets and confectionery
- Room service
- Additional beds or bedding
- Damage to personal vehicles
- Rental car company insurance
Top tip: Involve stakeholders like your CFO and a few of your frequent travellers to determine what is fair to exclude across the entire company, for all trips. Make it clear what is payable to employees upon their return and what is not (think about commuting).
Section 5: Expense reporting and reimbursement process
In the section on your expense policy and procedure, be sure to include the following:
- What tool to use for expensing
- What items do not need to be added in the expense tool, for example, if a trip is booked with your approved booking tool
- Who to submit expense reports to
- What to include in reimbursement requests, such as original receipts
- Deadline for submitting reimbursement requests
- Typical processing time for receiving reimbursement
Your policy on the use of personal credit cards
Top tip: Make it crystal clear what tool employees should use to submit expenses and reimbursement requests.
Section 6: Travel support, safety, and duty of care
It’s important for your travel policy to be something that travellers want to read. It should include information that they need to access; that way, they must visit it regularly and at the same time, they can familiarize themselves with the document.
Travellers care about staying safe on the road, and your company should too. You should include information on travel support, travel insurance, and your duty of care provider inside of your travel policy.
- Tracking travellers’ whereabouts: use this opportunity to let travellers know that when they book using your approved method or tool, their trip is tracked. In the event of an emergency, steps will be taken to evacuate them. If you don’t know where they are, you can’t help! Include the name of your approved tool and what they should do to ensure their trip is accurately tracked if they must book outside of the tool for a valid reason.
- Travel support: in case of trip cancellations or changes. Who should your travellers call? Include contact details for your travel support provider, including phone numbers and email addresses. If there are multiple numbers based on region or language, include those as well.
- Support for emergency needs:n this sub-section, include your duty of care vendor (if you have one) and your travel insurance policy details. Also include the employee name or vendor name they should contact in the event of an emergency.
Top tip: Include information on travel support, insurance and safety so travellers can get everything they need to know in one place and familiarize themselves with your policy as a whole before their trip.
How to implement your travel policy
- Customize: customize and finalize the travel policy template. Work with stakeholders to make all of the necessary edits and customizations to the policy; collect all details like travel insurance, nightly rates, and more.
- Automate: update your automated travel policy. Create or update an automated travel policy so travellers and/or admins can book within policy all the time.
- Deploy: roll out changes to employees. Depending on the size of your company, roll out your new policy document and automated policy to all employees or an initial subset.
- Listen: collect feedback on the new policy. Get feedback from employees on the clarity of your travel policy, as well as the ease-of-use of your approved tools and automated policy.
Grab the template now, or sign up for a free trial to TravelPerk Premium so you can make an automated policy that’s built inside of the travel booking process.
How to improve corporate travel policy compliance
Have you got a travel policy compliance issue? Are your employees disregarding your T&E policy on purpose or due to insufficient training? There are a number of issues why this might be happening from the booking tool your company is using, to your company culture, or even your policy document itself.
How TravelPerk makes travel policy compliance simple
When you book your business travel through TravelPerk, your travel policy is seamlessly integrated into our platform. This means, when booking a trip, our platform automatically detects when something is out of policy, empowering your employess to make more informed choices with ease. Not to mention, more control and peace of mind for your finance team too!
How to improve corporate travel policy compliance in 4 steps
There are many reasons why employees may not be complying with your corporate travel policy. It could be that your policy isn't clear enough, perhaps it's not accessible, or perhaps it's just not ingrained into your company culture—yet.
Not to worry, there are a few sure-fire ways to win travel policy compliance from your team and keep business travel running smoothly and employees happy.
Here are four steps you can take to ensure employees are sticking to your policy, time and time again.
- Keep your doc active
Many employees disregard documents if they think they're out of date and no longer used. Ensure you keep your policy doc updated with the latest changes in travel—and your business. Better still, showcase this and leave a note at the top of the doc letting users know the last time it was updated.
- Nip compliance problems in the bud
No matter how well put together your policy is, there will still be employees who may not comply—for whatever reason. You won't know those reasons unless you actively track and look out for them. Travel management software can help you track why employees aren't complying and better combat these issues in your next policy rendition.
- Allow for self-booking
Use a travel booking platform to give your employees the booking autonomy they deserve while ensuring things stay within policy. When you use booking software, you can set in-app limitations that will stop your employee from accidentally breaching the policy.
- Pick a tool employees love
A huge part of using a booking tool to help implement your travel policy is that its use comes easily to your employees. When scoping out potential booking platforms, ensure the tool you've got your eyes on has raving reviews in the UX department. You'll then be able to integrate your policy into your tool and build a smooth booking process that travellers love—and your finance team love even more!