travel-policy-for-employees

The complete guide to corporate travel policies 

The business travel policy guide you’ve been waiting for .

Creating a business travel policy for employees can feel really daunting. You don’t want to just throw something together and hope for the best, but it feels impossible to anticipate every possible scenario. The truth is your policy serves as more than a rule book; it's a guide to better decision-making about your corporate travel program and can save you a world of headaches down the road. 

Introduction

What is a travel policy .

  • Why do you need a travel policy?
  • How to create a travel policy

What to include in a travel policy 

  • Travel policy best practices
  • How to promote travel policy compliance
  • How to market your travel policy

When to review and update your travel policy

  • Final thoughts

When it comes to company travel, a travel policy brings it all to one place. It acts as an influencer for travelers to make the most cost-effective choices, an important visibility tool for your managers and HR department, and it protects your people if it’s done right. 

If you’re new to business travel or haven’t looked at your travel policy in a while, we’ll start with the basics and then move into the nitty gritty of corporate travel policies. We’ll touch on a few best practices for writing a travel policy, what to include, and offer plenty of resources along the way. 

Ready to get cracking? Let’s go! 

A travel policy is a guide for business travelers to follow that outlines: 

  • How, where, and when to book 
  • Approved technology for travel management 
  • Preferred suppliers for air travel, land travel, and accommodations 
  • Approvals process for out-of-policy bookings 
  • Trip extensions and personal travel 
  • Expenses and what is covered or not covered 
  • Reimbursement processes 
  • Business travel insurance information 
  • Emergency procedures and contacts 

Your company’s travel policy should reflect your company culture and values, be supportive of your travelers and their needs, and protect your company from unforeseen circumstances. It acts as a central document that guides your team to the processes of embarking on company business travel, from start to finish! 

While you might hear a few grumbles and groans around the words “policy” or “process,” don’t worry! A travel policy does not need to be rigid and inflexible. 

Do your travelers prefer to book on their own? Don’t take away their autonomy. They can still self-book, you’ll just provide them with a better tool and way to do it more efficiently. 

Do your people feel prepared for any event that can cause a travel hiccup? With a travel policy, you can give them clarity and help them feel more prepared when traveling for business purposes. 

Why do you need a travel policy? 

Your travel policy is an extension of your travel program and company culture. It’s the glue that holds your travel program together – from approvals, expenses, booking processes, and emergency contacts. 

Having a travel policy helps you: 

  • Control travel costs 
  • Determine how reimbursement works 
  • Compile a list of trusted and approved travel vendors 
  • Manage an employee’s travel experience and safety 
  • Cut rogue bookings – and simplify approvals 
  • Budget, report on travel expenses and activity and reconcile bookings 

It’s a roadmap or guidebook that your travelers can reference when they’re booking their own travel if they run into a tricky situation abroad, and it helps provide clarity around processes. 

As a company though, your travel policy helps centralize your travel program, makes data and tracking more accurate and easier to navigate, and it saves time and money (including on expense management). Plus, if you take the time to craft your policy in an intentional and inclusive way, you’ll have a policy your travelers are happier to follow. 

How to create a travel policy for employees 

  • Determine business travel guidelines 
  • Create a travel policy that puts your people first 
  • Set reasonable budget limits 
  • Simplify the process of expense claims 
  • Adopt a user-friendly all-in-one travel platform 

Once you’ve read through our tips, be sure to download our free  travel policy template  so you can get started on creating a travel policy of your own! 

1) Determine corporate travel guidelines 

When you take the time to create a policy that meets the needs of your business, you are making sure that your travelers are safe, costs are controlled, and you’ve made every business trip count. 

Start by looking at what types of travel are allowed and the reason for each trip. 

If you have team members traveling all over the globe, you might want to set some extra safety measures. You should also decide if there will be restrictions on the type of ground transportation used or where employees can stay. 

Create a process for booking flights, hotels, and other ground transportation needs. How far in advance should they be booking? Do different rules apply based on the traveler’s position? Who is the point of contact for bookings and other travel questions? 

Making sure to include your company’s travel insurance info is also important. Make sure to note if your policy covers medical expenses and/or any losses due to cancellations or delays in transportation services due to factors outside an employee’s control. 

Do you have a policy for reporting and documenting expenses? This includes having a system in place for claims (like meal expenses) and a reimbursement process, so your team can easily get their money! 

2) Create a travel policy that puts your people first

You’ve heard the term “duty of care” before, so it’s important to create a corporate travel policy that puts traveler safety and accessibility needs first. You’ll need to define and assign the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved, including a travel manager, if you have one. 

Set up an emergency plan and provide access to traveler safety information. Determine who is the emergency contact (your TMC?) and how to get in touch. Do they have 24/7 emergency support available by phone or chat? What about email support? 

Invite your HR department, the travelers themselves, and your DE&I manager into a discussion to find out what needs your team has as individuals, what hiccups they face when traveling, and what holes exist in your travel program that make it difficult to navigate. 

Working with a TMC is a great way to ensure travelers are kept safe before and during their trip.  

3) Set reasonable budget limits for business travel

You have a budget you need to adhere to, but is it realistic? Setting reasonable budget limits is key to an effective policy. 

Your budget should account for all travel-related expenses, including airfare, accommodation, meals, and ground transportation. And once you’ve set your budget, you can determine reasonable costs for hotels and accommodation, ground transport, flights, and more. Build these caps into your  travel booking software  to help travelers stay within the set parameters, which will later help with accountability. 

It's important to set clear rules on what the company can pay back and what types of expenses are out-of-pocket. 

If you’ve set a maximum daily rate for meals on work trips, it's crucial that travelers understand the limit before racking up additional charges. Requiring receipts can also help keep track of employee spending and make sure they're not going over budget. 

By working with a  travel management company  like Corporate Traveler, you can review your previous year’s expenses and find where you can optimize or make changes based on market changes. 

4) Simplify the process of expense claims 

If you're unfamiliar with how to write a travel expense policy, creating a simple process for claiming expenses is key to getting your team on the same page. Do you have access to a payment system that pays for the majority of expenses at the time of booking? This could be a good way to save time and stress down the road.  

The more you can pay for before your travelers get to their destination, the easier everything is to reconcile after they get home.  

If you have a person in charge of reviewing expense reports and watching pre-trip approvals, make sure to set criteria for claim approvals and look at automating processes to make approvals simple! 

5) Adopt a user-friendly all-in-one travel platform  

Finding the right  corporate travel platform  is essential. The right booking platform can provide travelers with an easy-to-use experience, giving them access to the best fares and availability. 

For example, at Corporate Traveler, we use Melon . It’s a booking tool, reporting suite, travel policy pusher, traveler profile manager, and so much more. Melon features a “recommended spend” function, which helps keep travelers booking in policy. Hello, visual guilt! 

Melon’s simple user interface, combined with dedicated travel consultants and expert 24/7 support, makes it simple to book, manage, and keep track of your business travel. You’ll be able to access Melon-exclusive deals and perks (alongside many negotiated contracts and online deals) and take care of all your travel needs from one place. 

From the get-go, you’ll be able to work closely with our team to ensure that all of your needs are met. We'll help you customize your travel program to meet specific business needs, build your travel policy into the platform, and offer training to staff to help them along the way.   

Putting it all together  

Wow! You’ve reached the end and should have a better idea of how to write a corporate travel policy. High five! Now it’s time to put it all together and get it on paper.  

Maybe you already have something in place that needs some work or an entire overhaul. Check out our easy-to-use template and start checking those boxes! 

Corporate travel policy template

Grab our corporate travel policy template builder

Not sure where to start? No worries! We’ve got you. Here’s how to streamline your process with a travel policy template! 

While there’s no one-size-fits-all travel policy for every company, following the set guidelines helps you nail a perfect-for-you policy that can see you through an ever-changing travel climate. 

Travel policy template  

When you’re crafting your business travel policy, there are so many considerations to be made. Things might come up that you never even thought of, but not to worry. We have loads of resources to help you see this through. 

Starting out, it might be looking a little drab and wordy, but depending on your travel program size, a visual travel policy might be just what you need. You can search for examples online or take a look at an example of a visual travel policy we’ve created.  

When building your policy, it’s important to include: 

1. International or foreign travel policies  

When you’ve got travelers all over the globe, you need to build out a policy for international or foreign travel. This is a protects them (and you) on anything from travel safety, to expenses, and everywhere in between. 

Whether your travelers are individuals or entire teams, your international travel policy needs to cover: 

  • How and where to book – is that with a travel manager, online booking tool, a travel management company (TMC) ? 
  • Travel insurance coverages and contact info – international numbers and policy information 
  • Emergency contacts – how to reach them and the process of in-destination emergencies 
  • Travel expenses – limits and how to file for reimbursement 
  • Travel documentation – who to contact with questions 
  • Advance booking timelines – when should they be booking for international travel? 
  • Travel extensions – are these allowed and what are travelers expected to cover if they choose to extend their trip for leisure? 

By outlining all of this information in your policy, you’ll streamline the process for your finance teams, travel managers, and your travelers. And really, who doesn’t want to make travel a smoother experience? 

2. Corporate travel policy for business class travel 

Does your corporate travel program have different rules, limits, or allowances for different levels of seniority? Are some junior members expected to travel in economy class, while some executives are allowed to book in business class? 

If some certain exceptions and situations might allow for an employee to book business class, regardless of their position, you should include that in your policy as well. 

Making this as clear as possible will avoid an approvals nightmare down the road. 

3. Corporate meal allowance policy 

It’s great if you’ve already centralized most of your business travel expenses like flights, accommodation, transportation, and car rentals, but your people gotta eat! It’s super important to include a meal allowance policy that clearly outlines which meals (and how much) you’ll cover. 

Some of your team might be traveling with corporate credit cards, while others might need to be reimbursed. The guidelines and procedures for submitting expenses or asking for reimbursement need to be crystal clear! 

Make sure to outline if you have a corporate travel policy for alcohol, too! You don’t want murky policies when it comes to footing the bill for drinks. 

Some things to consider for your meal allowance and alcohol travel policy: 

  • Which meals are covered and for how much? 
  • Who is footing the bill for an alcoholic beverage with dinner? 
  • If entertaining clients, what is the budget, and how flexible is it? 
  • What is the process of submitting company card expenses? 
  • What is the process for requesting reimbursement? 

Your team will always have questions about the policy on food and drinks, so make sure they can find the info easily and have a point of contact for whoever can offer more clarity. 

4. Executive travel policy 

We briefly touched on executive travel when we talked about traveling in business class, but there is certainly more to the top dogs traveling. 

Executive travel can be a touchy subject if there are more lenient policies in place than there is for less senior team members. Your executives also may need to know the guidelines in place for their own travel, so they don’t accidently go overboard, which could be an accounting nightmare! 

You’ll need to make sure you deliver a guide for approvals, procedures, booking deadlines, meals, accommodation, basically everything. 

Lay it all out. Make your policy as digestible as possible, and for a busy exec, consider bullet points and titles in bold so they can easily skim to the areas they need to know. 

5. Natural disaster or COVID-19 business travel policy  

We can all agree that COVID-19 caused business travel to come to a screeching halt. Across most industries, the pandemic impacted client relationships, the ability to gain new clients and caused budgets to get slashed pretty dramatically.  

While this was only one event, many businesses have begun to consider the “what-ifs” of their travel programs should another outbreak of COVID or something else happen. Crossing our fingers and toes doesn’t cut it, unfortunately. 

There is also the chance of their travel being impacted by a natural disaster. We’ve seen it before – earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, hurricanes. Do you have a plan or policy to aid your team and guide them through the unthinkable? 

In 2022, we surveyed 120 employees across various industries and businesses. More than half, 51% of respondents said their companies didn’t provide resources or tips for safety on their trips. Duty of care isn’t something to put on the back burner, it’s your legal obligation to make sure your team is informed. 

So, what’s the solution, you ask? 

Working with a TMC gives you the backup you need if anything ever happens and you have people traveling abroad. At Corporate Traveler, our travel management software, Melon, is a central place to house your policy for quick and easy access. Plus, our travel experts can help you paint the big picture of what to do, who to call, and how to get your team home safely as quickly as possible. 

Is there anything missing from your travel policy? 

Let’s break it down. If you think of your policy like a sandwich, it should include: 

The bread and butter  

  • Where and why: Are there any restrictions on who travels domestically or internationally? Or guidelines around reasons for travel? 
  • When: Are there any restrictions on when business travel is a no-no, like during an auditing period or financial downturn? 
  • How? How should travel arrangements be booked? Through your corporate travel booking software or with a preferred Travel Management Company (TMC)? How far in advance should domestic and international trips be booked? 
  • Preferred suppliers: Do you have preferred partners for air travel, accommodation, ground transport or travel insurance? 
  • Approvals: Who’s responsible for giving the green light on trips? 
  • Show me the money: What’s the process for managing/submitting expenses, paying for travel and reimbursements? 
  • Uh-oh: How will you prevent or deal with non-compliance to the travel policy? 
  • Noise level: Getting loads of ‘noise’ and questions about things in your policy? This means it’s not clear and it’s time to review why and where the stumbling block is for travelers (or your finance team!) 

 The filling  

  • Classy, baby: Who gets to fly business class, book 5-star properties or order UberLUX? And how does your business handle upgrades or airport lounge access for long-haul flights? 
  • All work, some play: What are the conditions if someone wants to extend their business trip to take personal leave? Are you happy for them to enjoy a bleisure trip, and if so, who foots the bill and for what? 
  • Loyalty: Are there any travel rewards or business loyalty programs that can be used during booking? 
  • Spending money: Do your business travelers have a daily allowance for meals, snacks, and drinks? How much is it, what does it include – and what’s not covered? Can they order room service, drink from the mini-bar, or use the in-house laundry service? 

The not-so-secret sauce  

  • Safety first: your policy should support air, accommodation and ground transport suppliers that have been safety and security vetted. Guidelines or information on travel insurance for work trips is also helpful. 
  • Now what: What’s the plan of action in the case of Acts of God or Force Majeure events? Does your team know who to call for help? 
  • What’s next: Who is responsible for updating and reviewing your travel policy, and how often? 

Corporate travel policy best practices

  • Write for skim readers
  • Guide travelers to the right resources
  • Automate your policies
  • Stipulate a timeframe for expense claims
  • Be prepared for the unexpected

1. Write for skim readers  

One of the first steps towards writing a people-first travel policy is understanding how your travelers will read it. And the truth is…  

They probably won’t.   

Research has shown that  adults get distracted every 47 seconds . So if a business traveler is looking at your policy, they’re most likely just searching for a specific answer – and they want it fast. So what can you do?  

First, make sure the document is easy to navigate. That means including things like:   

  • A table of contents  
  • Visual elements to help guide the eye toward crucial information, like flow charts and tables  
  • Clear headings and important details in bold  
  • Bulleted lists (see what we did here?) 

And even though it’s a technical document, don’t make it sound like one. An effective travel policy should be clear, concise, and easily comprehended. So skip the long, complex sentence structures and technical jargon, and write in plain, simple English. It helps to pretend like you’re writing it so an eighth-grader can understand it.   

2. Guide travelers to the right resources  

Remember when we said travelers will only read your policy to find a solution for a specific need? Whether it’s a link, a phone number, or a step-by-step tutorial – a well-managed travel policy should provide them with the right resources.  

Instead of treating a travel policy as a list of rules, treat it like a resource sheet. Here are some key pieces of information travelers might need to pull up easily:  

Your approved online booking tool (and steps on how to use it)  

  • QR codes to download your  mobile travel app   
  • Preferred airlines, including class, budgets, and other limits  
  • Permissible hotels, including guidelines on star-class and incidental expenses  
  • Guidelines on ground transportation (trains, ride-sharing services, rental cars, and personal car usage)  
  • How to get travel support  
  • Travel insurance carrier  
  • Clarification on the reimbursement process (more on this later)  

You can also include other factors specific to your company, but this should at least be the necessary groundwork to help employees make the right choices on their own.  

3. Automate your policies  

Let’s face it: even with the best communication efforts, there’s always a chance that an employee may violate policy, even unintentionally. So, what can you do?  

Build policy into booking.  

By building your travel policy into your travel management software, it becomes unavoidably embedded in the booking process, so even the most easily confused employees end up following by default.   

Automation tools can sound the alarm on out-of-policy bookings and even provide an audit trail. This can be especially helpful for employees who may struggle to remember procedures and policies, especially after big changes to your travel program.  

4. Stipulate a timeframe for expense claims  

No one wants to get stuck waiting on the money they’re owed – or worse – find out they’re not getting reimbursed for an expenditure they thought would be covered.  

Having a clear and well-defined expense claim process is critical in any travel policy. Employees need to know how to claim their travel expenses, how soon they need to submit an expense report, and when to expect reimbursement.   

The policy should also be clear about what expenses are and are not reimbursable, including any limits or exceptions. For example, if an employee needs to book a different seat class to  accommodate a disability , the policy should include the process for requesting and approving this expense.   

Plus, a submission deadline reduces cash flow issues and provides more accurate and complete expense data for that period (your finance team will thank you later).  

5. Be prepared for the unexpected  

As a company, you have a duty-of-care responsibility. When it comes to business trips, you need to be prepared for the unexpected. No matter how much effort you put into planning, there will always be a few hiccups along the way.   

For instance, lost luggage, canceled or delayed flights, and sudden weather or political emergencies in unfamiliar destinations could all leave your employee stranded.   

“Companies need to be prepared to plan for the particular, not just the universal. Every aspect of the travel program needs to be able to fit each of your travelers like a glove, from adaptable plans and experts on call, to technology that makes the journey seamless.” - Emese Graham, DE&I Manager @ FCTG  

Don’t let unexpected situations blindside you. Have processes in place to ensure travel safety and security. Make sure they know what to do, where to go, and who to get a hold of if something goes wrong. Taking a proactive and prepared approach to your policy can minimize the impact of emergencies and take care of your team’s well-being while they’re on the road.  

BONUS TIP: Update your policy regularly  

Here’s a free business travel policy best practice just for you! It isn’t just a “one and done” deal – it’s a living document.  

What’s that mean? As your company grows and travel conditions change, so should your travel policy. Revisit your expense policy at least once a year to keep it relevant and effective – and lead you towards new cost-saving solutions.    

Data is going to be your best friend here. Here are a few key factors you should look into when updating your travel policy:  

  • Analyze travel spend patterns – are you throwing a lot of company money at certain suppliers? You might want to see if you can negotiate a new deal or find better rates elsewhere.  
  • Identify areas of overspending or inefficiency – are employees accruing high parking or travel costs? See if you can get season tickets or other accommodations.  
  • Evaluate the overall performance of your policy – are you still compliant with any new regulations that have come into play since the policy was established? How can traveler experience be improved?  

You may even want to consider enlisting the help of professionals, such as a travel management company with experience in expense management, to give advice on how to optimize your travel policy to better meet the needs of your employees and your business as a whole.   

Building a travel policy that's good for business and travelers and meets their needs is no small feat. But whether you're looking to retain your team, attract new talent, or make life a little easier for your travelers, investing in a well-designed travel policy is definitely worth the effort and great for company culture.  

By following these travel policy best practices and ensuring your policy meets all travelers' needs, you’ll be on your way to smoother, safer, and more enjoyable travel experiences for all.  

How to promote travel policy compliance  

Whether compliance is a big or small issue in your company, it takes a little bit of investigating to figure out why it’s an issue at all. 

Maybe your policy meets the needs of only a few of your team members. Maybe it’s too difficult to navigate your policy. Or maybe, your policy is written in legalese and makes your travelers vision blur before they go rogue and book how they want. 

It could be that your travelers prefer a bit of freedom in booking and would rather do it on their own. Or, maybe they have specific needs that aren’t being met by the options provided. 

Whatever their reasons, it’s your job to figure out why they aren’t following and what you can do to build better compliance. 

Here are a few tips to improve travel policy compliance: 

  • Make your policy easy to navigate, understand, and find 
  • Use an online booking tool (OBT) for travelers who prefer to self-book 
  • Allow a bit of flexibility so travelers feel they have some autonomy 
  •  Include a category for last-minute bookings so it doesn’t mess up your data 
  • Understand your traveler needs and build an inclusive policy 

improving travel policy compliance

Read the full guide:

You've researched, gathered the necessary resources, and communicated your travel and expense (T&E) policy to your employees. But now, you're not so sure they're actually following it.  

Read the full guide:  How to Improve Corporate Travel Policy Compliance

How to market your corporate travel policy internally?

Corporate travel might be off the radar for most employees, especially those outside of customer-facing positions. The first step in promoting successful corporate travel policies is awareness. 

Do employees know about the policy? Where can they find information and updates on business travel? Clear communication at pivotal points and frequent intervals can help keep everyone aware.

Review common and expected challenges

Business trip policies might be ineffective if they don't meet the needs of some business travellers. You can get ahead of challenges by understanding that last-minute travel can be necessary or that different travellers have unique needs. 

Inclusive policies plan for employee safety and comfort on a range of business trips, paying attention to details such as arrival and departure times, car rentals, ground transportation, and noise levels.  

Communicate business travel policies effectively

Travel managers can use best practices to ensure all employees are aware of and understand travel programs. Visual policies, internal documents, and guides all work well. People learn differently, so it’s a good idea to have key information in both visual and text formats. 

A yearly update is also beneficial, as well as communication on any major changes, like new technology or changes in the approval process or submitting expenses. An internal FAQ page can increase understanding of corporate travel guidelines, as well as prompt new questions.

Book a demo of Melon , the all-in-one travel platform. 

Increase employee engagement 

Highlight areas of company travel that offer flexibility, to show what’s possible for different preferences. Talk about benefits like an online booking tool vs. working directly with a TCM.

Developing interactive content, like employee surveys, can show if traveller satisfaction is achieved. It also helps identify travel arrangements that are unnecessary for cost savings.

Find internal champions for the business travel program 

Travel policies cross paths with a lot of different departments, from sales to the finance team. Identifying key people and keeping them involved in developing the travel program means getting buy-in and internal support.

Corporate Traveler has a long history of travel management and is ready to join forces as an external member of your travel planning team. Let’s make booking a breeze , together.  

Case studies: effectively marketing your corporate travel program

A travel manager should match your company culture for the best fit. Find out how these companies successfully targeted the right mix of technology and service to meet employee expectations and business goals.

Flipp Case Study

Flipp Travel Case Study

ct-us-validant-sum-hotel-checkin.png

Streamlining global travel for Eliquent Life Sciences

oil and energy facility

Beyond Energy Case Study

If the last time you reviewed or upgraded your travel policy was more than a year ago, it’s outdated and needs a refresher. If your company is small and has low turnover, you could probably get away with making small tweaks and optimizations. 

But if you have a larger company with multiple departments and higher turnover, you probably need to do an overhaul and review it more regularly. We’re not saying you have to change it every time someone is hired or leaves the company, but making sure it’s relevant to the people who are there and are traveling matters! 

Corporate Traveler conducted a survey in 2022, which showed that 48% of respondents didn’t know if their company had resources for specific traveler profiles, while 41% said their company didn’t provide resources for specific traveler profiles. This really goes to show that there’s room for improvement in how policies are built to support their people and their businesses. 

A people-first travel program and policy have become necessary as the world grows and begins to understand neurodiversity, disabilities, and cultural differences. When we learn about our team members’ diverse needs, we can better understand how to support them when they venture abroad for our businesses. 

GUIDE: Download the How to design a people-first travel program guide 

We recommend policy reviews every 3-6 months, but at the minimum, once per year. 

Final thoughts 

Business travel is so unpredictable, as we’ve seen in recent years. There will always be circumstances you can’t avoid as a company, but making sure that you have the necessary checks and balances in place can help to make things just a little easier. If you have groups traveling, VIPS, or people heading to high-risk destinations, it’s important that your policy is relevant. 

Don’t forget that travel policies shouldn’t be written and forgotten about – these are living documents that must be regularly updated to make sure they best protect your people. 

Remember these best practices when writing your travel policy: 

  • Keep it simple and make it pop with visuals, bullet points, and bold headings. 
  • Answer any and every question possible – think of all the eventualities 
  • Always put your people first 
  • Implement a quick and simple approval process 
  • Automate as much as you can 
  • Use technology that’s supports your policy 
  • Be flexible with due reason 
  • Be clear about what’s not allowed 
  • Update your travel policy at least once a year 
  • Keep it somewhere easy to find  

And finally, it doesn’t hurt to have a couple of different formats. Consider a visual version and an extended version so the message is delivered best depending on the person reading. For some, it might be easier to digest one over the other. 

Looking for a policy review? We’d be happy to work with you. 

Let’s chat .

  • Human Resources
  • Tools and Samples

Company Travel Policy

A company travel policy is designed to outline a business's travel arrangement procedures and guidelines, stipulating which travel expenses are paid for by the company and how to manage the reimbursement process. A company travel policy should include a purpose statement, scope, authorization and reimbursement section, and travel arrangement processes.

Creating a detailed company travel policy will help ensure all business trips run smoothly, are secured ahead of time, and adhere to all company requirements.

Company Travel Policy - Free Template

Download this company travel policy template in Microsoft Word format.

Company Travel Policy Template:

Introduction..

When employees travel for company-related purposes, it is [ company name's ] responsibility to provide safe and reliable travel arrangements. This company travel policy serves to clarify the conditions and parameters of a company-paid trip.

The purpose of this company travel policy is to (a) outline the authorization and reimbursement process for travel arrangements and expenses; (b) list the company-paid travel expenses; and (c) establish protocols that oversee the travel arrangement process.

This company travel policy applies to all employees under contract at [ company name ], including paid interns, contractors, as well as seasonal, part-time, and full-time employees. [ Company name ] sees traveling out of the city, state, and/or country as a fully paid business trip, as well as one-day trips that are [ number of hours ] hours away from the office.

Authorization and Reimbursements.

All company travel arrangements must be authorized by senior employees at least [ number of weeks/months ] before the expected travel date, depending on the circumstances and the required travel arrangement period. Employees are not permitted to authorize their own travel arrangements.

Employees are expected to submit a Travel Expense Report at least [ number of days/weeks ] after the first business day back at work. On the Travel Expense Report, employees must include all company-paid expenses and personal expenses. The finance department is responsible for examining the Travel Expense Report and finalizing reimbursement payments.

Travel Arrangement:

All travel arrangements must be reserved at least [ number of weeks ] weeks before the travel date. The finance department is responsible for the booking and payment of all transportation, accommodation, and travel-related expenses.

Travel Expenses.

[ Company name ] employees are entitled to a company-paid travel ticket for any means of transportation the employee(s) require, including a [ type of class ] return plane, boat, train, and/or coach ticket, [ number of meals ] meals, and [ number of luggage ] luggage.

While traveling, employees can use a company-paid taxi service from and to the airport, hotel, and business location. If an employee wishes to travel for personal reasons, they will be financially responsible for the travel fare.

Accommodation.

[ Company name ] employees are permitted to stay in a [ number of stars ][ type of accommodation ] while traveling for company purposes. The finance manager is responsible for securing the [ type of accommodation ] room and paying for an employee's stay.

Other Expenses.

[ Company employees ] will be reimbursed for [ number of meals ] lunch(s) and [ number of meals ] dinner(s) for a maximum of [ $/meal amount ] per meal. If an employee is hosting a client of [ company name ], the entire meal will be reimbursed.

In addition, if an employee requires a meeting, boardroom, or conference room while traveling, [ company name ] will book the room and make payment.

Personal Travel.

[ Company name ] will not be financially responsible for any personal expenses and travel arrangements. If an employee chooses to travel with a partner, [ company name ] is not responsible for their partner's accommodation, leisure, and/or travel expenses. An employee is required to submit this information on the Travel Expense Report and produce payslips for their expenses only.

International Travel.

If employees are required to travel out of the country for business, [ company name ] is financially responsible for all travel arrangements, including accommodation, transportation, visas, travel insurance, and medical expenses. International business trips must be authorized at least [ number of months ] before the expected travel date.

The finance department is required to submit a Travel Expense Report before and after the trip. Both reports must be signed off by at least two senior officials before and after the trip.

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What should be included in a travel policy?

  • Introduction .
  • Purpose statement .
  • Authorization and reimbursements .
  • Travel arrangement (both business-related and personal) .

What is corporate travel policy?

A corporate travel policy is a formal document that details the procedures and rules of business-related trips. The policy mainly focuses on the arrangements, expenses, and authorization processes.

How do you write a travel expense policy?

Use our free, customizable company travel policy template in Word format.

What is a travel and expense policy?

A travel and expense policy is an alternative name for a company travel policy, which outlines the travel arrangements and expenses required on a company-paid business trip.

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How to Set a Corporate Travel Policy: Key Elements, Best Practices, and Compliance

corporate travel policy for employees

A corporate travel policy is a set of guidelines and best practices that govern employee travel. Organizations that have corporate travel policies use them to ensure that all employees follow the proper protocols when booking business-related travel and logging expenses.

While travel policies are often standard for large corporations, smaller businesses can also benefit from instituting them.

Key Takeaways

  • A corporate travel policy is essential for organizations to manage travel expenses, ensure compliance, and streamline processes.
  • Key elements of a corporate travel policy include travel booking procedures, expense reimbursement guidelines, travel safety measures, and approval processes.
  • Best practices for implementing a corporate travel policy include effective communication, employee training, and regular policy review and updates.

Having a corporate travel policy can yield a range of benefits, both for business owners and their employees.

From the perspective of business owners, a corporate travel policy can allow you to:

  • Monitor employee travel expenses to ensure accuracy and detect possible instances of fraud
  • Establish guidelines for which hotels, airlines, and other travel organizations that employees may book through
  • Ensure that employees understand which travel expenses may be submitted for reimbursement
  • Organize expense data accurately and quickly
  • Remain compliant with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax rules and regulations regarding business travel
  • Minimize waste and streamline your accounting systems

On the employee side, having a standard corporate travel policy in place can help employees avoid a scenario where they may be waiting weeks or months to be reimbursed for expenses they’ve paid out of pocket because the company can’t verify what they spent.

Employers should take care to understand which business travel expenses are deductible and which ones are not under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) .

There’s no one-size-fits-all corporate travel policy template or blueprint that businesses can follow. That’s an advantage, however, as it allows you to create a travel policy that fits your business’s needs.

Generally speaking, a corporate travel policy should cover rules and guidelines for the following:

  • Airline, hotel, and rental car reservations
  • Other transportation expenses , such as rail travel or ride-sharing
  • Employee spending, as it pertains to meals, entertainment, phone calls, and other necessary expenses
  • Parking fees and toll passes
  • Acceptance of gifts when meeting with clients, or expensing of gifts presented to clients
  • Medical care and travel insurance
  • Currency exchange fees and international banking
  • Employee submissions of receipts for reimbursement
  • Review, approval, and payment of submitted expenses
  • Personal safety of employees
  • Security of business equipment or documents

When in doubt, it’s better for a corporate travel policy to cover more ground rather than less. Making your organization’s travel policy as comprehensive as possible can help to avoid confusion with regard to which expenses are acceptable and when employees can expect to be reimbursed.

Creating a corporate travel policy is a multistep process. Breaking each step down can make it easier to manage and create a policy that’s tailored to your business’s needs.

Identify Your Objectives

First, consider what you need a corporate travel policy to do for you. Are you primarily interested in minimizing costs or preventing abuse? Do you want to ensure that employees are booking with approved organizations and taking steps to remain safe while they’re traveling? Considering your top three objectives can offer a good starting point for developing your corporate travel policy.

You can use those insights to draft a purpose statement outlining the policy’s intentions. This doesn’t need to be lengthy, but it should convey what the policy is designed to do.

Get Your Team Involved

A corporate travel policy is only as good as its ability to meet the needs of those who are expected to adhere to it. Asking some questions about your team and your business’s travel activities can help you pin down what your policy should cover.

For example, ask yourself the following:

  • Do any employees require special accommodations for travel related to a health condition or disability?
  • Are there any destinations that the business travels to regularly?
  • Are there any preferred hotels, airlines, or rental car companies that the business likes to use?
  • Is there a preferred process for booking trips or answering questions?
  • Who will be responsible for approving bookings, answering employee questions, approving expenses, and submitting them for payment?
  • How will employees pay for expenses they book?
  • If employees are using corporate credit cards , what rules are they expected to follow?
  • How will they submit those expenses for reimbursement, and what information will they need to provide?

Polling your employees can further inform your decision making. For example, an employee who travels frequently may know which hotels are better than others or which airlines offer the best rates. Your employees may appreciate being given a chance to share their insights and opinions on what the company’s travel policy should look like.

If you’re considering corporate credit cards for employees, look for one that allows you to set individual spending controls for each card.

Draft the Policy, and Review It Carefully

Once you’ve collected all the feedback you think you’ll need, you can get to work on fleshing out your corporate travel policy. Again, you want to be thorough in detailing the policies and procedures that you expect employees to follow.

After you’ve written out the first draft, go through your policy a second time. Is there anything that could be explained more clearly? Any areas that may cause confusion for employees? Anything you’ve left out entirely?

You may need to review your travel policy several times to make sure you’re covering all of the most important bases. Once you have the language down, you can review it one final time to check for spelling and grammar errors.

Share the Policy with Your Staff

The final step after creating a corporate travel policy is conveying it to everyone in the company who’s affected by it. If employees don’t know what’s in the policy, it’ll be very difficult for them to adhere to it.

Remember that you’ll need to repeat this step anytime you make changes to the policy. If you add something new or take something away, it’s your duty to convey that to your employees so they’re aware of the changes.

Once you’ve created a corporate travel policy, you’ll need to implement it. These tips can help with introducing your company’s travel policy and enforcing it.

  • Ensure that employees know who they can direct questions to regarding business travel bookings, expense reporting, and reimbursement.
  • Set a specific time frame for submitting expenses for reimbursement and processing payments to employees.
  • Consider scheduling an employee meeting or workshop to walk through the details of the travel policy and answer any questions that might arise.
  • Ensure that all new hires get a copy of the travel policy.
  • Regularly review and update your travel policy if necessary.
  • Conduct monthly reviews or audits of travel expenditures to check for errors and potentially detect fraud or abuse.

It’s also important to specify what consequences, if any, employees may face if they’re found to be noncompliant with the policy. That may include having travel privileges restricted or, in a worst-case scenario, dismissal if evidence of fraud is found.

Ensuring compliance with your company’s corporate travel policy is important from a cost perspective, as you don’t want to blow your travel budget. There are different tactics you can use to maintain compliance across all stakeholders .

  • Update your policy regularly to reflect the company’s latest practices and guidelines.
  • Simplify the policy if necessary to avoid confusion.
  • Clearly communicate compliance expectations, as well as the consequences of noncompliance, to all employees.
  • Ensure that the policy is detailed thoroughly during the onboarding process for new hires.
  • Conduct regular reviews and audits of travel expenses to look for any signs of noncompliance.
  • Consider using a business travel management tool or software to keep track of bookings and expense reporting.

You may also place safeguards on travel bookings to prevent employees from straying outside the boundaries of the policy. For example, if you use a corporate travel agency, you might direct the agency to automatically reject any attempted bookings that don’t involve a preferred travel partner.

Corporate travel policies are common across a variety of industries, from finance to retail to the government. Examples of organizations that maintain corporate travel policies include:

  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Columbia University
  • U.S. Department of the Interior

All of these sample policies have similar characteristics, in that they outline the purpose of the policy, specify the rules that apply to booking accommodations, and offer detailed instructions to employees on how to submit expense reports for reimbursement. It may take some time to work out your travel policy, but reviewing examples like these can give you an idea of what to add.

If writing a detailed corporate travel policy yourself seems daunting, you may consider outsourcing this task to a consultant who’s experienced in compliance.

A corporate travel policy establishes the guidelines for booking travel expenses and submitting them for reimbursement. Travel policies can also extend to things like personal safety and security of business equipment or documents. Having a corporate travel policy is important for minimizing fraud and abuse, while ensuring more accurate record-keeping.

At a minimum, a corporate travel policy should outline approved practices for booking airfare, hotels, rental cars, and other necessary travel expenses. It should also detail the process for submitting expenses for reimbursement, including how expenses are approved and when employees can expect to be paid.

The first step in creating an effective corporate travel policy is understanding what your business needs. Forecasting your budget for business travel and setting proper limits on which expenses are acceptable are the next steps. Organizations must also ensure that all employees are aware of the corporate travel policy and understand how to adhere to it.

A corporate travel policy may be a necessity if your employees take regular business trips to meet with clients or prospective clients, attend professional conferences or seminars, or participate in career training. If you don’t yet have a policy in place, you may want to set that as a priority for your business. Having a clear policy to follow leaves little room for misunderstandings and mismanagement of travel privileges.

Internal Revenue Service. “ Understanding Business Travel Deductions .”

JPMorgan Chase & Co. “ JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. Supplier Travel and Expense Policy .”

Best Buy Partner Portal. “ Vendor Travel and Expense Reimbursement Policy .”

Columbia University, University Policies. “ Travel Expense Policy .”

U.S. Department of the Interior. “ Travel .”

Starbucks. “ Non-Partner Travel and Business Expense Standard—U.S. and Canada .”

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Company Travel Policy: The Complete Guide + A Free Template

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Traveling on business has become the norm in our busy, work-oriented society, and so is a company travel policy with this trend.

Despite all the technological advancements, getting a chance to talk to clients face to face or pitch a business project in person still beats sometimes messy communications apps. 

Since travel is neither cheap nor easy, it's best to set clear expectations and rules ahead of time. A company travel policy will outline the procedures for employees on company-paid trips to avoid any issues that might arise in the process.

Our comprehensive guide to company travel policies will give you an idea about the kind of information and provisions the Policy should include. 

We'll also provide you with a free template that you can use to quickly deploy a company travel policy of your own.

What Is Travel Policy?

A company travel policy, also known as a corporate travel policy, is an  internal document that outlines how business-related expenses are handled within the company . 

It covers everything from defining what a business-related expense is and isn't to how to remain safe if traveling alone and everything in between. Most importantly, it makes it clear who's in charge of approving expenses and reimbursements and who takes care of the actual booking.

Among other things, a travel policy can include:

  • Booking responsibilities and the choice of company-approved travel agencies
  • Total budget (lodging, travel, daily meals, etc.)
  • Company-paid and out-of-pocket expenses
  • The approval process and the person in charge of it
  • The approval of reimbursements
  • Preferred company vendors and partners
  • Travel debriefing process
  • Travel insurance carrier
  • Exceptions to rules for any reason

As you can see, a travel policy is about much more than just saying whether an employee can fly business or not.  Instead, a corporate travel policy is about foreseeing all the situations that can arise from business trips and staying on top of them .

Why Do Companies Need a Travel Policy?

Streamlining processes saves companies a lot of time and money in the long run. Be it onboarding new employees, paying out bonuses, or organizing business trips,  having a system in place will make the process more efficient and reliable .

More importantly, rules and  policies protect both parties from unexpected events and expenses  that could arise from misunderstandings.

A travel policy will help employees manage both business and personal expenses more reliably while also giving them the freedom to book and organize trips how they please.

When employees have strict guidelines, they'll always know what's coming out of their pocket and what expenses the company will incur. 

On the other hand, companies will reduce unnecessary overheads by making it clear what is reimbursable and what isn't. An employee on a business trip with a business card in their wallet can quickly lose sight of the purchases they're making. Your Policy should clearly say what the limit to such expenditures is and draw a line.

A company travel policy will also contribute to fairness and positive company culture as there will be the same set of rules that applies to everyone.

Approving and reimbursing expenses won't be left to the whims of individuals — instead, everyone will abide by the same guidelines.

Another important point needs to be clarified when we're talking about company travel policy. What exactly falls under the category of business travel? We'll address that issue in the section below.

What Counts as Traveling on Business?

Any international or domestic journey that the employee undertakes for the company constitutes traveling on business .

In some cases, companies might try and define what a business trip is depending on the distance that the employee has to travel, but in essence, it should all fall under traveling on business.

It shouldn't matter whether a company is reimbursing its employee for just a bit of gas or a transoceanic flight — if the employee was traveling at the company's behest, all their expenses should be covered.

Of course, this goes only for the expenses mentioned in a company travel policy, which is yet another reason to have such a document in the first place.

How Do You Write a Business Travel Policy?

Now that we've gotten the "what" and "why" out of the way, it's time to address a frequent question:  how do you write a business travel policy?

Writing any Policy can feel daunting since there is a lot to cover and keep in mind. We'll help you write an effective travel policy, step by step. First and most importantly - let's see what you need to include in this document.

What Should Be Included in a Travel Policy?

When you want to create a company travel policy for employees, it's important to include information they really need. For example,  reimbursement is vital for your team , so it should be properly addressed. 

Your employees need to understand what they can get reimbursed for and how to claim those expenses. The reimbursement procedure must be a part of a comprehensive corporate travel policy.

And, of course,  safety is a crucial component  of travel policy for companies. You want this document to have value for your team and to add a layer of protection, so it needs to include travel insurance and emergency procedures too. This is especially important nowadays, given the fact that both Coronavirus and Monkeypox are circulating the globe. 

The list below will give you an idea of the basics that are usually included in the company travel policy for employees:

  • The introductory part  that explains what will the travel policy cover and why it is important for the employees
  • The travel booking procedure  and business travel booking tool - are both approved by you. This section should also contain exact timeframes for booking and approvals
  • Expense categories  include details on what's reimbursable in each one. Your Policy should clearly state whether items like meal expenses are included. 
  • Non-reimbursable purchases . This part of the travel policy is important, as it cites what isn't covered and therefore must be paid by the employee if they want it.
  • Expense reports and reimbursement requests  - how to submit them
  • Travel support and emergency procedures , including travel insurance and duty of care vendors 

These are the essential elements that are usually listed in a corporate travel policy. Still, you are free to expand it or tailor it in any other way, so it suits your business needs.

Pro tip:  Before you make your corporate travel policy official, reach out to one or more frequent travelers for feedback. They'll be able to fill any gaps and assess whether it's clear and to the point.

Avoid Common Company Travel Policy Mistakes

The most frequent mistake companies make when creating their travel policies is making the document  too challenging to understand . This means that the Policy is either too loosely and unprofessionally written or that it's too strict and bureaucratic.

Both of these extremes make understanding travel policies unlikely.

Give your policy structure and decide on a tone of voice you'd like to use throughout the document. Then, try to be as consistent as you possibly can. The tone can be serious and official, but it doesn't have to be robotic. If your employees need a lawyer to make heads or tails of your Policy, you haven't done a good job.

Another common mistake is  not using technology to your full advantage .  Tracking mileage , employee expenses, and  their location  and then aggregating that data can help you manage travel budgets accordingly. Without tech-based solutions, you'll have to record every receipt and every tiny detail of the employee's trip. It's time-consuming, ineffective, and annoying at best.

Read our article on the best GPS employee tracker apps and find out which solution is right for your business.

Get Your Free Company Travel Policy Template Now

Now that you've learned how to create an effective and comprehensive corporate travel policy, we'll provide you with more guidance on the matter:  a sample company travel policy for employees in a PDF format . You can download and print it or use it as a foundation for your internal document.

Company Travel Policy

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How to write an effective corporate travel policy

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corporate travel policy for employees

Writing an effective corporate travel policy

There’s a lot to consider when arranging business travel, so it makes sense to have a robust corporate travel policy in place. Setting out all the relevant procedures will help keep your employees safe while working to reduce your business’s travel spend. Some of the key steps to creating your ideal company travel policy include:

  • Defining your objectives. These could include keeping costs down, ensuring employees are safe and comfortable and helping them make decisions on their travel.
  • Ensuring your travel policy reflects travelers’ needs. Consider the most common destinations for your business travelers and the best way to get to them, are there specific needs or considerations related to your company’s activities?
  • Giving your employees options. Everyone likes to have a choice, so try to give your employees a selection of hotels or airlines. You can keep costs down by capping the hotel star rating or class of airline ticket.
  • Setting clear guidelines for all aspects of travel and more. Your travel policy needs to be all-encompassing so it leaves no room for doubt – that includes everything from airline booking rules to the policy on areas such as additional expenses and the acceptance of gifts.
  • Making sure everyone knows what the travel policy is. All relevant documents need to be readily available to everyone within your company whether via the intranet or a travel platform. The policy needs to be clearly communicated to all, including line managers so they can enforce it.

Corporate travel policy best practices

When writing a corporate travel policy document, one size doesn’t fit all. You should start by thinking about the nature of your organization – is it pretty strict or relaxed? Make sure your travel policy follows the same tone.

Highlight how important it is that your employees read the document, not least for their own safety, and clarify what they need to do in an emergency situation, as well as who they’d need to contact.

Other information you should include is how business travelers should get to and from airports, and to what extent they’re permitted to combine their business travel with their own leisure.

Empower your employees by giving them a choice of hotels while capping the star rating or cost per room. Impress upon them the fact that complying with your travel policy will ensure the smooth and easy reimbursement of additional expenses. Finally, keep reviewing your corporate travel policy. Flexibility is key, and your travel policy and procedures should be open to the changing requirements of your employees and your business.

Remind your senior leaders that this is for them as well as business travelers –if everyone follows the policy it will help your company offer more effective support to its strategic partners, as well as allow better management of its expenses budget.

What to include in your corporate travel policy

There are many aspects of business travel to consider before writing your corporate travel policy. While your policy should reflect the unique needs of your business and employees, you’ll need to establish policies for these fundamental areas:

  • Airline, rail, hotel and rental car reservations.
  • The use of other transportation, such as taxi cabs.
  • Rules for on-site spending, including meals, entertainment and phone calls.
  • Security relating to travel – both in terms of personal safety and work materials.
  • The rules around gifts and favors that may be bought or received during business travel.
  • The approval process that employees and managers need to follow.
  • The system for the payment of any expenses incurred during travel.

Laying out your travel expense policy

Establishing a clear and fair expenses policy is vital to the health of your business – poor management of travel expenses costs your business money. Here’s how we’d recommend your policy approaches a range of key expenses:

Additional travel State that travel costs will cover the purposes of business travel only – whether to events, meetings or training – and that non-business or leisure travel comes out of the employee’s pocket. You should also encourage business travelers to use the most cost-effective mode of transport, taking expected journey time into account. Accommodation Empower your business travelers by giving them control over their own spending – capping their budgets by hotel star rating or amount per room. You could provide average room rates in each location, and ask them to stay within that range. Specify that standard rooms should be the required room type, and clearly outline whether your business will cover minibar charges, Wi-Fi costs, etc. Meals Depending on your company culture, you can be as explicit as you like with your meal policy. Many companies find it easier to offer a daily allowance that covers breakfast, lunch and dinner, but your policy should include a statement about alcoholic beverages – usually to clarify that they will be at the employee’s cost, unless they’re with a client. Tips Many corporate travel policies cover tips to 20 percent, but only when it’s already been included in the bill as a service charge. If a business traveler decides to add a tip for anything else it should be out of their own pocket, or at a manager’s discretion. Entertainment Entertainment can cover eating, drinking or any other hospitality. The most effective way to manage entertainment expenses is by setting a limit or range, and advising that managerial approval will be required for any reimbursement above and beyond this amount.

How to forecast your budget

Using data on traveler behavior and previous expenses is key to setting intelligent forecasts for your annual expenses budget. Different employees will travel in different ways, to different locations, and at different frequencies. However, having data on the average flight cost per mile, as well as the nightly hotel, average meal and ground transportation costs, will mean you can accurately predict and anticipate your expenses budget for the year ahead.

Setting expense limits

For the most part, business travelers want to do what’s right for their company – and many companies find that giving employees control over their own spend can actually reduce overspending. Find a happy middle ground by giving employees control while setting key limits.

For example, meal expenses can be set as an overall allowance per day, giving the employee the choice of how much to spend individually on breakfast, lunch and dinner.

When it comes to booking accommodation, give employees the choice of a standard room in any hotel of a certain star rating or a maximum price per night.

For ground transportation, a corporate travel policy should clearly advise employees to choose the most cost-effective method considering the journey time. Most business travelers will accept being restricted to flying economy on short-haul trips.

Handling expense claims

It’s important that business travelers have a clearly defined method of claiming back their expenses. Ask them to fill out an expense report for the date, amount, category, location and business purpose of their claim – and decide whether you’d like them to file receipts for all their expenses, or just ones that exceed a certain amount.

Give your employees a time frame for submitting expenses – this will help your business maintain a stable and accurate cash flow. Similarly, let them know when they can expect money to be credited back into their accounts. Depending on the amount spent, it might be a good idea to clarify who will approve their expenses in each case.

Setting up your guidelines and procedures

There is no one, uniform corporate travel policy. If your policy doesn’t fit with the nature of your organization, it’s unlikely to ever meet the expectations of your stakeholders. Fundamentally, your travel policy and procedures must be adapted to your business’s culture, and be flexible around the needs of your employees, industry and economy. They also need to be widely circulated and understood.

Your guidelines and procedures will help your business travelers make decisions within the framework of your corporate travel policy. They should include procedures for all bookings – after all, it’s important that employees are clear on what is expected of them at every point of their business trip.

It might also be necessary to include a section about the consequences of not following the set guidelines and procedures.

Considering safety and security procedures

The safety, security and well-being of employees must be at the heart of every corporate travel policy. While they’re engaged in business travel, your employees are your responsibility, so it’s crucial your policy has procedures in place that can ably respond to personal risk, severe weather or political unrest in a foreign country.

Highlight how important it is that your employees read your corporate travel policy document for their own safety, and clarify what they need to do in an emergency situation and who to contact. If your employees are regularly flying out to high-risk countries, organize additional travel safety and security training. We work closely with International SOS to offer enhanced medical and security assistance, and keep your employees safe on the road.

Take a look at how else we’ll support your employees at every stage of their journey.

Delivering the travel policy to employees

Once you’ve written your corporate travel policy, you need to make sure your employees read and understand it. Whether you choose to deliver the policy in a printed document, via intranet or in an email, there are some general ways to make sure it’s communicated as effectively as possible.

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Travel and Expense

8 corporate travel policy best practices.

Corporate travel policies need to address some of the most complex and important issues related to business travel. 

When written well, corporate travel policies provide both employees and employers with clarity and answers to common questions and scenarios. 

Developing, reviewing, and revising corporate travel policies is an ongoing process, one that should consider multiple perspectives and needs and evaluate data. A business travel policy for employees should also adapt to changing patterns of travel, employee needs, and practical considerations. 

Best Practices in Corporate Travel Policies 

Here is a closer look at some corporate travel policy best practices to consider. It can help your organization decide what should be included in a travel policy and your business travel guidelines. 

1. Involve Key Stakeholders 

Your travel policy will touch nearly every employee and department within your organization. Involving key stakeholders in human resources, payroll, finance and operations ensures that the policy reflects their unique perspectives and needs. If there are departments that are frequent travelers, they too should be included in conversations. 

Bringing together the major players allows for better collaboration and discussion of complex or controversial elements of the policy. Regular meetings among the stakeholders allows for a well-rounded policy and can ease the process of review and revisions when necessary. 

2. Track Expenses for Reporting and Analysis 

Your organization needs systems that will collect, report on, and analyze data related to your corporate travel program. These data points help leaders understand what’s working and not working within the program and provide insights that can guide revisions to the policy. 

Having the  right tools and applications  provide those in charge of the policy with information necessary to make important decisions. The company needs a standardized system for completing expenses to avoid data duplication and creating a consistent reporting process for all employees. 

Accurate expense reporting helps to develop the true return on investment of your corporate travel program. 

When developing your systems, consider integrating your policy with your travel management software. Doing so creates automated enforcement of certain policy elements, makes it easier for employees and managers to remain in compliance with the policy and helps accelerate processing and approval. 

3. Factor in Employee Satisfaction, with a Focus on Communication 

For travelers, a policy can generate lots of emotions and feelings, especially if policy changes force changes in the way people travel for business. For example, some employees prefer certain hotel or airline brands. A change to mandated providers can create significant ill-will. 

The key is to communicate regularly about the process by which the policy is created, evaluated, and modified. There may be generational or departmental differences in how employees prefer to travel and any changes can become problematic. 

Remember to emphasize why a corporate travel policy is necessary and important. The policy itself should be clear and easy to understand, using subheadings, bullet points, examples, and short paragraphs to make it more readable. 

4. Provide Resources 

A good corporate travel policy does more than just list do’s and don’ts. It can also be an effective resource that employees and managers turn to. Among the resources to include are: 

Links to your travel management and booking platform 

Forms for expense reporting 

Travel insurance coverage with a link to your carrier 

Lists of purchases that are and are not allowed 

What to do in case of an emergency 

Key phone numbers – human resources, finance, corporate travel office (if applicable) 

5. Set Clear Policies for Booking and Costs 

Your policy can clear up many gray areas around corporate travel. Be sure that the policy addresses some of the following areas that can cause concern for travelers and administrators: 

Whether travelers must use a corporate travel agency or website 

Expected turnaround times for expense reports and reimbursements 

Budgetary guidelines for airfare, hotel and ground transportation, including whether there are mandatory vendors 

Guidance on bleisure ( combining business and leisure travel ), including whether it’s allowed and cost-sharing guidance 

Procedures for handling rejected expense submissions or requests 

6. Understand Duty of Care and Reflect in the Policy 

Employers are responsible for duty of care , the legal obligation to research and develop a plan that reduces the risk for employers traveling on behalf of their employers. 

The policy should explain what duty of care is and the employer’s commitment to its employees and how far that extends. 

Begin by discussing any necessary changes to the policy with travelers who regularly must complete high-risk business travel and their managers. Examine global risk trends, discuss past experiences, and draft initial guidelines. 

Your policy needs a pre-travel process and a standardized risk assessment report, especially when traveling to high-risk areas. Incorporate travel alerts into the itinerary and ensure that the company has access to employee contact information and health records, if applicable. 

The policy needs to have multiple contingency plans detailed and ready to implement if needed. Be sure that employees have access to technology that can help them if problems occur while traveling. 

7. Include Travel Risk Management Considerations 

Travel risk management is the practice of anticipating, preventing, and reacting to issues that may arise while employees are traveling. The risk can run the gamut from weather issues and natural disasters to social unrest and terrorism. 

The goal of travel risk management is to identify and prepare for potential risks and decrease the risk of those threats materializing, if possible. If threats do materialize, the risk management also develops the plans to address with them. 

Travel risk management and duty of care are interrelated and often overlap. Both are critical to keeping employees safe. 

8. Practice Continuous Improvement 

Keeping corporate travel policies up to date requires diligent scrutiny of the policy itself and the supporting data. Factoring in employee safety, costs, and compliance requires regular review of the policy. Doing so allows your company to have policies that continue to benefit the organization and employees alike. 

Why Are Corporate Travel Policies Important?  

A well-constructed corporate travel policy  is a powerful tool. It can help shape employee engagement, recruitment and retention. 

By engaging key stakeholders, communicating regularly, gathering data, integrating systems and focusing on safety, your corporate travel policy will serve all employees well. 

At SAP Concur, we help businesses seamlessly integrate business travel, expense and invoice management. Our solutions simplify and automate travel mechanics, integrating real-time data and artificial intelligence to drive efficiency and accuracy. 

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Mastering Corporate Travel Policy: Best Practices for Creation and Implementation

Travel and expense management can often be a complex and challenging area for businesses to navigate. With multiple stakeholders, including finance teams and travel managers, each vying for their say in budget allocation and expenditure, establishing a clear travel policy becomes crucial. This policy serves as a set of guidelines to ensure that travel-related expenses are managed efficiently and per company standards.

Regardless of a company’s size, having a well-defined travel policy is essential for financial control and maintaining positive relationships with clients and partners. A carefully crafted policy can significantly impact traveler motivation and productivity, while also addressing environmental considerations, and aligning with modern sustainability goals.

What is a Travel Policy?

A travel policy is a set of guidelines and rules established by a company to manage and control employee travel expenses and ensure safety and compliance with company standards. It typically includes guidelines for booking travel, selecting accommodations, using transportation, and reimbursing expenses. 

A travel policy may also outline expectations for behavior while traveling, such as adherence to the company’s code of conduct. The main goals of a travel policy are to control costs, ensure traveler safety and well-being, and streamline the travel booking and reimbursement process .

Importance of Creating a Travel Policy

Creating a business travel policy is important for several reasons. It provides clear guidelines that ensure fairness for all employees. Travel policies are not just about imposing rules; they can have positive effects on both travelers and businesses. Here’s how:

Benefits for travelers

  • Employees have the freedom to book their travel arrangements within the policy’s guidelines.
  • The company can track travelers’ whereabouts to ensure their safety.
  • Employees experience less confusion and hassle when booking travel.

Benefits for the company

  • The policy helps reduce spikes in travel expenses and provides better control over spending.
  • It minimizes conflicts and frustrations related to expenses and reimbursements.
  • The policy helps reduce overall business travel costs and allows the company to optimize its budget.
  • By ensuring consistency and fairness, the policy helps foster a positive company culture.

Key Components of a Corporate Travel Policy

Travel Booking: This part of the policy explains how employees should book their business trips. It includes details on approved booking methods, like online systems or designated agencies. It may also mention specific guidelines for air travel, such as preferred airlines, class of travel, and when to book tickets.

Expense Guidelines: This section outlines how employees can submit their travel expenses for reimbursement. It includes the deadline for submitting expense reports, required documentation, and any special approval needed for certain expenses .

Transportation and Accommodation: It guides on choosing transportation and accommodation options. It may specify preferred modes of transport and types of accommodations based on cost and convenience.

Entertainment Policy Guidelines: This part explains the rules for entertainment expenses during travel, like meals with clients or team activities. It may set spending limits and require specific documentation for reimbursement.

Per Diem Allowances: It clarifies how employees can request advances or receive daily allowances for expenses . It outlines eligibility criteria, maximum limits, and the process for requesting advances.

Reimbursable and Non-Reimbursable Expenses: The policy specifies which expenses will be reimbursed and which will not. Reimbursable expenses usually include transportation, accommodation, and meals within set limits, while non-reimbursable expenses may include personal expenses or unapproved upgrades.

How to Create an Effective Travel Policy?

By following the steps below, you can create a comprehensive travel policy that meets the needs of your organization and helps streamline the travel process for employees .

1. Review your current policy or practices. Assess the effectiveness of your existing policy or travel procedures.

2. Set goals and priorities. Define two or three key objectives for updating the policy, such as improving efficiency or reducing costs.

3. Involve stakeholders. Include key stakeholders in the process, such as travel managers, office managers, and frequent travelers, to gather insights and ensure buy-in.

4. Choose a travel management style. Decide how travelers will book trips and the level of autonomy they will have.

5. Decide on the level of strictness. Determine how strict the policy will be regarding booking and expense reimbursement.

6. Decide what to include in your policy. Include an introduction, approved booking procedures, expense categories, non-reimbursable purchases, airfare and ground transportation guidelines, expense report submission process, and contact information for travel support and emergencies.

7. Write the policy document and ensure it is clear and concise. Obtain approval from all relevant stakeholders.

8. Set up an automated travel policy. Create an automated version of the policy to guide travel bookings based on your parameters, such as cost limits per flight or route.

Challenges of Managing Corporate Travel Policy

Common challenges faced in implementing and managing a corporate travel policy include:

  • Ensuring that employees adhere to the policy can be challenging, especially if the guidelines are perceived as restrictive or cumbersome.
  • Managing and controlling travel expenses to stay within budget can be difficult, particularly when dealing with fluctuating costs and unforeseen expenses.
  • Enforcing the policy consistently across all employees and departments can be challenging, especially when dealing with exceptions or special circumstances.
  • Integrating travel booking and expense management systems with the policy can be complex and may require training for employees to use effectively.
  • Communicating the policy effectively to all employees and ensuring they understand the guidelines and procedures can be challenging, especially in large organizations.
  • Keeping the policy up to date with changing regulations, travel trends, and company needs can be challenging and may require regular review and revision.

Corporate Travel Policy Best Practices

By following the best practices listed below, you can create a corporate travel policy that is not only comprehensive and compliant but also easy for employees to understand and follow.

Ensure Clarity and Conciseness

Use language that is easy for all employees to understand, avoiding jargon or technical terms. Divide the policy into sections for different topics such as booking procedures, expense reimbursement , and safety guidelines. Provide examples or case studies to illustrate how the policy applies in different situations.

Customize to Company Needs

Consider the specific needs and priorities of your company when drafting the policy. Take into account the types of travel your employees typically undertake (e.g., domestic vs. international, short vs. long trips). Align the policy with your company’s culture, values, and budget constraints.

Establish a Transparent Approval Process

Clearly outline the steps employees must take to obtain approval for business travel. Specify who has the authority to approve travel requests and any limits or conditions for approval. Provide guidance on the documentation required for approval, such as travel itineraries and budgets.

Define Clear Business Objectives

Explain how following the travel policy contributes to the overall goals and objectives of the organization. Emphasize the importance of cost control, compliance with regulations, and ensuring employee safety and well-being. Help employees understand the broader context of the policy beyond just following rules.

Clarify Expense Reimbursement Procedures

State which expenses are eligible for reimbursement and any limits or restrictions that apply. Provide guidance on how to submit expense reports, including required forms and deadlines. Clarify the process for approving and reimbursing expenses, including any documentation needed for verification.

Set Clear Communication Guidelines

Ensure the travel policy is easily accessible to all employees, such as on the company intranet or shared drive. Provide contact information for questions or clarification about the policy. Regularly update employees on any changes or updates to the policy through email or company-wide announcements.

Utilize an Automated Expense Management System

Implementing travel and expense management software can streamline the process of booking travel, submitting expense reports, and approving expenses. An automated system can help reduce errors, improve efficiency, and provide real-time visibility into travel expenses. Consider training employees on how to use the system to ensure maximum benefit and compliance with the policy.

A Way Forward

A well-crafted corporate travel policy is essential for any organization looking to streamline their travel processes, control costs, and ensure compliance. Utilizing an automated expense management system, such as Peakflo’s Travel and Expense Management solution , can further enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of a travel policy. 

Peakflo simplifies and expedites the reimbursement process for employees by allowing them to capture receipts and submit expenses digitally through the app. It streamlines reimbursement cycles, minimizes delays, and enhances employee satisfaction. Additionally, Peakflo integrates seamlessly with popular accounting software, eliminating manual data entry and reconciliations. It also offers robust expense tracking and reporting features, allowing businesses to gain insights into spending patterns and enhance cost control. Additionally, customizable approval workflows ensure compliance with the corporate travel policy, reducing errors and enhancing policy adherence.

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Corporate Travel Policy Reimbursement & Approval Process

Build an effective corporate travel policy in 5 steps.

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Keeping up with best practices for travel policy is crucial for your corporate travel program, regardless of whether you manage a few dedicated frequent travelers or oversee a large fleet of employees who frequently travel for work. Your travel policy demonstrates your commitment to meeting the needs of your employees and enhancing their travel experience.

Download the guide to access travel policy insights and recommendations for flight, hotel, car rental and rail.

What is a travel policy?

A travel policy is a set of guidelines and rules an organization establishes to govern employee travel. It outlines the expectations, procedures, and limitations for business-related trips. A formal corporate travel policy is the foundational building block for your business travel program.

Why create a business travel policy?

Historically, corporate travel policies have primarily been used to manage the travel budget. Today, however, corporate travel policy is vital in mitigating risk and supporting traveler wellbeing. It is a framework for consistency and employee wellbeing.

Here are three benefits of a corporate travel policy:

It saves time. An agreed upon policy provides clarity and consistency for employees, ensuring they understand the expectations and procedures when traveling for work.

It saves money. Travel policies help manage costs by setting limits on expenses, preferred vendors, and reimbursement guidelines.

It improves employee satisfaction: Travel policies protect not only the organization with legal and regulatory requirements but also mitigates risks for the traveler. Duty of care is not just a term we throw around, but a commitment required by all organizations and businesses with traveling employees. Learn more about why your human resource team should be concerned with corporate travel policy here.

Why is your current corporate travel policy not effective?

The last thing travelers need (or want), is to have to memorize a lengthy set of travel policies. For many companies, the travel expense submission and approval process remains overly cumbersome and frankly… behind the times. Low policy compliance is one of the biggest factors behind the high cost of corporate travel, so be sure to look out for the following reasons why your travel policy is an afterthought.

Some of the reasons your employees are not complying with your corporate travel policy include:

  • Your employees don’t know you have a travel policy.
  • Your policy isn’t easy to find, or it’s difficult to understand.
  • Your policy doesn’t align with your company culture.
  • Your policy doesn’t align with your business objectives.
  • Your policy is outdated or too rigid.

Travel policies should be periodically reviewed and updated to adapt to changing circumstances and evolving needs.

Per diem travel policy

Per diem rates for corporate travel refer to the daily allowance given to employees to cover their expenses while on business trips. This allowance typically includes costs for meals, lodging, and incidental expenses. Per diem rates are set by the government or company policy and are meant to simplify the reimbursement process for employees while also managing costs for the employer. This way, employees do not need to keep track of every receipt and expense for business purposes.

In the United States, the per diem rate for Salt Lake City remains at $183 throughout the year. In comparison, in New York City, the per diem rate is significantly higher and varies monthly, with the lowest at $239 and the highest at $374. In London, the per diem rate an average of around $180 for meals and incidental expenses and $360 for lodging. These rates can vary based on the cost of living in each location.

There are two main methods for calculating per diem rates:

  • Standard method: uses fixed rates set by companies or government agencies, such as the General Services Administration (GSA).
  • High-low substantiation method: allows for different rates based on high-cost and low-cost areas.

Per diem allowances aren't considered taxable income. They also allow employers to manage costs while allowing employees to budget for travel expenses. However, there is a potential for abuse if employees do not spend the total allowance and misrepresent their actual expenses to pocket the remainder.

At the end of the day, business trip expenses must be in-policy for expense reimbursement. Read more about why you need a travel expense policy here.

Travel management companies (TMC) improve compliance and simplify the approval process.

Streamlines travel arrangements.

Approvals provide an added layer of oversight, but employees may get frustrated if the process is overly complicated. There are many variables to consider. The recommended options for car rental , airfare, and hotel rooms based on price and safety are always changing.

You should have the flexibility to set approval requirements visible to your travelers in the travel booking tool. When you partner with Amex GBT Egencia (Egencia), you can manage the approval settings so that your travelers see recommended options based on your industry, company size, number of travelers, geographic location, international or domestic travel, and travel budget.

Manages travel costs & expenditures

An automatic policy filter provides cost-effective decisions by travelers and less oversight by travel managers. Built-in policy guidance is critical for cost savings . Look for a TMC that provides the following benefits:

  • A TMC that lets travel managers and arrangers create detailed policy guidelines —with a wide array of traveler preferences and the ability to create traveler groups.
  • Travel policy options that let you reflect your company’s culture —and allows for easy updates that deploy instantaneously.
  • A digital booking system that integrates policy directly into the booking path —to guide travelers’ choices with visual cues (like red flags and alerts) to increase policy compliance effortlessly.
  • The ability for employees to create and submit expense reports —from their mobile devices for administrator approval with a simple click

Supports centralized frequently asked questions (FAQ) for travelers and travel managers

A TMC can clarify on miscellaneous questions that can come up, like “Does my dry cleaning count as an actual business expense when I travel for long periods of time?”

Your employees should easily be able to find the following company travel policy information:

  • Reimbursable business expenses.
  • Non-reimbursable expenses or personal expenses.
  • Price range of airline tickets based on destination.
  • Maximum cost for lodging expenses per night.
  • Business class or first-class upgrade permissions.
  • Minimum number of days booked in advance.
  • Travel reimbursement method (if not using a corporate credit card).
  • What types of travel insurance is provided.

Clear duty of care protocols

TMCs provide travel risk management resources that can help set risk tolerance frameworks and duty of care policies. They also apply traveler security guidelines and keep travelers informed in real time about events and developments worldwide.

Egencia TM provides to following travel risk management solutions:

  • Monitor: An up-to-date global map of high-risk situations that could impact travel.
  • Mitigate: Built-in travel risk management policy to prevent international travel to high-risk destinations.
  • Track: Quickly locate your business travelers with the Egencia Traveler Tracker.
  • Alert: Keep your travelers safe and up to speed with alerts.
  • Support: 24/7/365 customer service in more than 32 languages in over 66 countries available to travelers and arrangers.

Booking tools can flag business travelers for any non-compliant bookings and guide them to compliant choices. That interface can also communicate appropriate traveler security information about a destination or itinerary. Travel managers can set the company’s duty of care policies in one place and instantly apply them across every booking channel.

Download our exclusive travel policy guide for tips from corporate travel professionals on travel policy for air travel, lodging, and ground transportation.

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How to write a corporate travel policy

Published: November 1, 2023

In today's fast-paced world, travel has become an essential part of doing business for organizations from startups to enterprises. Without proper guidelines in place, however, travel expenses can quickly become tough to manage. That's where a corporate travel policy comes in. In this post, we’ll give you an overview of what you need to know.

This article explores travel policy topics, including:

What is a corporate travel policy?

Why does your company need a travel policy, how to write your corporate travel policy.

  • Key topics to cover in your policy
  • 7 Common roadblocks when creating a comprehensive policy

A travel policy is a set of guidelines that covers the rules and regulations regarding employee travel. It may cover topics such as travel and accommodations booking, reimbursement procedures, and travel expenses. A travel policy ensures that travel expenses get managed effectively and that all expenses are within the company's budget.

Having a travel policy offers many benefits for employees and for your company. It helps ensure compliance, improve safety, and enhance the overall travel experience for your employees. For example, a clear travel policy can make employees aware of the company’s guidelines and what the recommendations are for avoiding risks related to security issues and other incidents. A well-crafted policy can also help improve employee morale and satisfaction, as they'll know what to expect when they're on the road.

An in-depth exploration of business traveler and travel manager priorities, in partnership with GBTA.

Writing a travel policy may seem like a daunting task, but when you have guidelines for where to focus your attention, it becomes much easier. Consider these tips the starting line to put travel policies together.

Identify your company’s travel needs

Determine the purpose of the travel policy. What are your primary goals? Example goals might include needing to stay within company budget, complying with safety and security regulations, or streamlining travel processes. Consider the types of travel your team members will participate in, including domestic or international travel, and the frequency of travel. This information will help you develop a clear and concise policy that addresses the specific needs of your company.

Set your guidelines

The next step is to make note of the dos and don’ts for employees booking travel. This includes identifying and approving vendors that employees should use. Specify the reimbursement rates for each type of expense. Make sure that the guidelines are easy to understand and that they align with the goals you set for yourself in the first step.

Establish approval and reporting procedures

After you define the guidelines for booking travel, it’s important to establish the process for obtaining approval for travel and reporting expenses. Define who has the authority to approve travel requests and what criteria to consider before approving them. There should also be a process for reporting expenses and submitting reimbursement requests.

In addition, outline what documentation employees need, like receipts or invoices, to support each expense. Your process should specify how long employees have to submit their expenses for reimbursement and what the timeline is for receiving their funds.

Consider flexible options for your employees

Flexibility is key to creating an effective corporate travel policy. By providing a range of options and accommodating individual preferences, you can encourage adherence and increase employee satisfaction, all while maintaining control over your travel budget.

Here are a few ideas about where to add flexibility to your policy:

Encourage local experiences: Support employees in exploring local businesses, like restaurants and independent retail locations that cater to their preferences.

Include alternative lodging options: Employees who prefer a more home-like environment or require longer stays may appreciate choices like serviced apartments or co-living spaces.

Provide a travel allowance: This approach empowers employees to make their own decisions about some of their travel-related expenses while staying within a predefined budget.

Think through formatting

Employees should be able to quickly understand your travel guidelines. It may be helpful to create a travel policy template with headings, bullet points, and other formatting elements to make it easier to comprehend and navigate. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the policy is accessible to all employees. You can do this by making the travel guidelines available in print and digital versions.

Key topics to cover in your business travel policy

There’s no one-size-fits-all method for creating a corporate travel policy, but there are best practices. Consider the 3 concepts below as key pillars as you build out your document.

Travel arrangements

It's essential to clearly outline which modes of transportation and accommodations are acceptable, in order to avoid any confusion. For instance, you may want to make sure employees stay in hotels that you’ve preselected or have them fly with preferred airlines. To make the booking process easier, consider using company-approved travel agents or online booking tools that meet your standards.

Expenses and reimbursement

Another critical topic to cover is travel expenses and reimbursement. According to Runzheimer’s Business Travel Expense Trends: Conference Travel Costs report from 2020, the average business trip cost is divided among lodging (34%), airfare (27%), meals (20%), and car rentals (19%). Many companies set per diems for these expenses to simplify the tracking and reporting process. Consider this as you develop your plans and define the expenses that are reimbursable.

Additionally, you may decide to invest in resources that assist employees with expense reporting, like a mobile app or online platform. For example, with Uber for Business , employee ride and meal receipts can flow directly into your expense provider dashboard. This helps employees save time by not needing to track down receipts.

Safety and security

Another topic that you’ll want to cover is travel safety and security. In this section of your policy, establish guidelines including recommendations on what to do if a problem arises and which locations are currently unsafe.

Consider providing employees with resources, such as specific training and emergency contact information. By prioritizing travel safety and security in your policy, you can help employees stay out of harm’s way while traveling and help ensure that the company isn’t taking on unnecessary risks.

7 common roadblocks when creating a comprehensive policy

Landing on the right standards for business travel comes with a specific set of challenges. Let’s take a closer look at the 7 common obstacles businesses face when developing their corporate travel policy and how to overcome them.

Balancing company needs with employee preferences . It can be a challenge to develop a travel policy that meets the needs of the company while also considering the preferences and needs of employees. To make a policy effective, strike a balance between cost efficiency and employee satisfaction.

Keeping up with travel regulations . Travel regulations can change, which makes it difficult to always have the right information. Many countries, for example, frequently assess and revise entry policies. You must stay up to date with changing requirements and adjust your documentation accordingly.

Ensuring consistency . Making sure travel policies are followed consistently across all departments and employees is not easy. Create a system that can monitor and enforce policy compliance.

Addressing unique travel needs . Employees may have travel needs—such as disabilities or medical conditions—that require special attention. Consider these unique needs so that you can provide the necessary accommodations and resources.

Communicating the policy effectively . It’s essential to share the details about this initiative with all employees and make sure they know where to find relevant information. Establish a process for introducing the guidelines, and be sure to have a plan to address questions and concerns.

Auditing expenses . Regular monitoring and reporting can help ensure that you’re on track with the budget. Make time to review travel expenses so that everything lines up as expected.

Keeping the travel policy current . As technologies and employee needs evolve, it’s important to routinely review and update your policy so that it remains relevant and effective. You’ll also want to ask employees regularly for feedback.

Streamlining the overall business travel experience doesn’t have to be complicated. By addressing critical elements like travel arrangements, expenses and reimbursement, and safety, you can create a functional travel policy that caters to the needs of both your company and your employees.

Are you looking for a way to manage corporate travel with ease? Uber for Business offers a range of features to help companies enforce their travel policies. With Uber for Business, companies can set spending limits for employees, track expenses, and receive detailed reports on employee travel.

Frequently asked questions

The purpose of a company travel policy is to provide employees with guidelines for booking travel, managing expenses, and staying safe while traveling. A travel policy helps to ensure that all employees are following the same standards and procedures for travel, and it can help manage expenses and reduce risk for the company. By providing clear guidelines and resources for travel, a company travel policy can improve efficiency and reduce stress for employees who travel frequently.

A comprehensive travel policy should cover topics such as travel booking and arrangements, travel expenses and reimbursement, travel safety and security, and approval and reporting procedures. This includes guidelines for which modes of transportation are acceptable, which accommodations are approved, and the maximum amounts that can be reimbursed for meals, lodging, and transportation. It should also specify the process for obtaining approval for travel and for reporting expenses and submitting reimbursement requests.

Corporate travel policy best practices include investing the time needed to create a clear and comprehensive policy, prioritizing safety, leveraging technology, and continually reviewing and updating the policy. Together, these elements will help ensure that your travel policy remains relevant and effective.

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Travel Policy for employees  

The following reasons explain the need of a Travel Policy for employees and these various reason to make this important to have travel policy in place for a company.

Sample Travel policy gives standardised rules and regulations which are to be followed while on travel.

It saves time of employees as with business Travel Policy in place processes and procedures are clearly mentioned so an employee’s time is not wasted in making arrangements.

Travel Policy

Corporate Travel Policy

Corporate Travel Policy results in better analysis with the inputs received from employees review. Better analysis results in better decision making.

Travel policy helps in cost management.

Travel expense policy helps to keep an eye on the overall travel expense.

It determines do’s and don’ts of conduct/behaviour while travelling.

Travel policy for employees includes

Travel Guidelines for employees to be followed while travelling.

Complete travel policy format

Details of company travel policy & procedure

Details of boarding and lodging as per HR travel policy

Details of the process to be followed for travel arrangements and related aspects as per travel policy template

Arrangements for local conveyance in the city ,travel to be done

Entitlements details as per different levels.

Different categories of cities and how entitlement differs in these cities.

Per Diem details

Travel insurance while on international travel

Safety & security of employees

Corporate travel policy best practice

Disclaimer: The content prepared has been created with greatest care. These policies have been prepared for sample. However, for accuracy and completeness.

HRhelpboard.com cannot guarantee. The user is therefore requested to professionally check or to have professionally checked the suitability of all content for its use

               *******

Travel Policy Sample

Phase  1.

3. General guidelines to be followed in policy

4. The Company approved travel agency.

5. Travelling by air

a. Guidelines

b. Class to be chosen

c. Customized Air Ticket

d. Flight Insurance

e. Cancellation of travelling

f. Loss of airline ticket

g. Transportation from Home to airport

6. Road transportation

a. Car on rent

c. Use of personal cars

d. Sharing of Ride

7. Rail  transportation

Phase  3

a. Entitlement  for International travel

b. Classification of countries

c. Domestic travel entitlements

d. Per diem entitlements for international travel

e. Classification of cities as per domestic travel

f. Per diem entitlements for domestic travel

9. Meal expenses

10. Entertainment  Expenses

11. Process for expense reporting

b. Expense payment

c. Miscellaneous  expense

d. Medical emergency

e. Laundry charges

f. Spouse/ guests/ personal travel combined with business

1. Purpose: The Purpose of travel policy is to ensure that the travel expense of the company is controlled by establishing certain standards. Employees must control business travel expense by making the sound judgment with respect to use of company funds. Travel is an important aspect for carrying out the business, it is expected from employees that they will follow the "travel guidelines for employees “while travelling and would provide documentation in support of the same. It is also meant to reimburse the amount spent by an employee when on international or domestic travel.

2. Scope: The policy includes all the regular employees of the company. Non-adherence with policy while on business travel for company's business include stringent disciplinary action which may even lead to termination . 

3. General guidelines to be followed  in the policy 

1. A travel request must be approved before proceeding on any international or domestic travel. 

2. Any international or domestic travel request must be raised and followed as per the company travel policy and procedure.

3. If there is any change in the travel ( domestic or international) due to any reason and it is more costly then the approval that has already been taken, a fresh travel request need to be raised in this case.

4. The details on all exceptions with respect to the policy must be explained on the travel request form in case there is an exception and it needs to be approved by  HOD and director.

5. All employees are expected to travel to the countries which are allowed as per the company's guidelines. No exception in this regard will be entertained.

6. Any employee who requires travelling for the business purpose must get the approval in advance by the department head/ director. 

7. An email need to be sent to the finance department along with approval mail to get the travel advance.

8. Most economical mode of travel would be reimbursed.

9. All the tickets for any kind of travel international or domestic must be approved by the travel help desk.

10. Food expenses are allowed only as per the limit of entitlements.

11. No expense will be reimbursed for alcoholic beverages or cigarette etc.

12. In the case of business travel wherein food expenses are taken care of the client in such case only incidental expenses can be claimed.

13. In case an employee gets ill while on business travel the expenses occurred while taking the treatment will be reimbursed on actual bill and doctor’s prescription. However, if the illness is for more than 3 days special approval needs to be taken from director / HOD.

14. The expense report with travel request submitted to the finance department must consist of original boarding pass and travel -tickets, along with complete tour report maintained date wise. Any deviation from the tour programme shall be approved by the business head/director as applicable.

15. In case an employee wants to combine business stay with personal vacations, it must be duly approved by the director/HOD. It should be noted that no reimbursement would happen for any personal expense.

4. The Company  approved travel agency

All travel arrangements must be made through the travel agency which is approved by the organisation. Any arrangements if made by some other travel agency need to have approval from director/HOD. In case the travelling services are not provided by the organisation approved agency, in that case, any local agency can be contacted as per the Corporate travel policy .

5. Travelling by Air: 

A . Employees are expected to take the lowest airfare while travelling. By considering the lowest airfare common sense need to be applied as the expense must not exceed the amount mentioned in Travel Policy. The undermentioned guidelines to be followed while travelling by air for the company's business purpose. 

1. There should not be more than 1 stoppage in case of domestic travel and the stoppage must not exceed more than 2 times in the case of international travel.

2. It must not increase the travelling time for more than 2 hours in case of domestic travel and more than 4 hours when it comes to international travel.

3. It is advised to book only through the company approved travel agency as it provides savings in both domestic and international travel. Also, the benefit both for the company and employee lies with the fact that it will book a ticket with the lowest logical fare available with the air carrier.

4. As per the Company travel policy any exception need to have approval from the director and above.

5. Any kind of additional fee which is occurring due to any reason like seat up gradation etc. will not be reimbursed.

B. Class to be Chosen

1. While on air travel, organisation employees are expected to fly in the economy class which comes under the category of economical fare. Business class is allowed only for director level and above.

2. All policy exception must be noted on the travel request form and must be approved in advance by the director and above level.

3. Baggage fee will be reimbursed.

4. In case any rebooking is done, it must be reimbursed in case of emergency only.

C. Customized  Air tickets

Following the Travel expense policy customization of the air ticket is not allowed. It can't be upgraded or downgraded and any expense occurred in case of up gradation will not be reimbursed by the company. On similar ground downgrading of air ticket is also not allowed. However, the air carrier itself downgrades the ticket for any reason the refund must be made to the organisation. For the employees who travel often the points accrued due to frequent flying by the employee can be used for personal purpose.

D. Flight Insurance

The business travel policy makes it clear that while purchasing the ticket from the company authorised agency, the employee is covered under the business travel accident insurance. In case an employee purchases some other insurance coverage it will not be reimbursed by the company.

E. Cancellation of Travelling:

In case of any cancellation done to the already planned business trip, the employee must inform the travel help desk who in turn will check from the agency as soon as possible. The ticket can be refunded if it is possible; the same need to be checked by the travel agency with the air carrier.

F. Loss of airline ticket:

If the paper air ticket has been issued but it is lost due to any unforeseen reasons in such case the travel agency must be contacted immediately so that they can check from the air carrier as well. Best practices in corporate air travel must be followed.

G. Transportation from home to airport

The most economical means of transportation must be chosen while commuting from home to the airport and vice versa.

6. Road  Transportation

A . Car on Rent: Like air travel, most effective and economical means must be chosen in case of ground transportation also. The various means of ground transportation means the use of alternative transportation before deciding on car rental.  Like travel agency, the organisation also has a tie-up with the most usable car rental company. 

B. The car on rent must be taken from the company booked vendor. In case vendor car is not available, the most economical vendor should be chosen. 

C. Any reservation to have a car on rent must be chosen from the travel agency approved by the organisation. 

D. The employee must ensure that proper and economical rate is charged at the time of rental.

E. The Car can be rented when there are no other means of transportation available, It is either more costly or impractical.

F. The employee is required to refill a car before returning it to the rental company.

1. In case of travelling to an international location as per the International travel policy for employees,  the expense for taxi must not be more than the cost of a car rental.

2. Use of taxi shall be done only in case no other means of transport is available. Generally, the use of a taxi is not encouraged as other services which are more economical are available. In most of the cases, public transport must be used.

C.Use of personal cars :

The employee can use the personal cars for business travel in case it is more economical than other means of transportation. The amount spent by the employee can be reimbursed on actual. However, before the start of travel, approval needs to be taken from HOD and immediate reporting manager.

D.Sharing of Ride

If 2 employees are travelling to the same location, they are advised to share the ride.  

7. Rail Transportation

Rail transportation can be available by the employee in case travel distance is less than 12 hours.

The rail travel fare is reimbursed as per the entitlement. However, like air class, Rail transportation must be done in the most economical way.

9. Meals Expenses :

1. The company policy states that expenditure occurred on meals ( breakfast, lunch or dinner) will be reimbursed while the employee is on business travel. This is defined under "Company travel policy and procedure".

2. Every 24 hours from the scheduled departure will be counted as a day.

3. In case food bills are claimed for any client or on entertainment per diem allowance will be reduced.

4. Meal expenses are reimbursable whenever the company business travel demand stays for overnight.

5. When the business travel is for 1 day, Meal expenses are reimbursable under the following conditions:

Breakfast : If the employee is required to leave home 3 hours early than the normal time.

 Dinner: If an employee cant return home within 3 hours or more after normal           working  hours.

10. Expenses  held on entertainment :

The company by solving the “ Purpose of travel policy “

However, it should be noted that only those reimbursement are allowed which is contributing towards the business purpose.

11. Process for Expense reporting:

A. guidelines followed as mentioned under “travel policy for employees”..

  • All expenses report must be raised through a web-based expense system.
  • All reports must be submitted within 15 days of return from a business trip.
  • If reports are delayed for more than 15 days, it will be considered late.
  • In case the business travel is for more than a month's time expense report must be submitted on a weekly basis through a web-based system.
  • The expense report must have the following items:
  • Travel request form.
  • Actual expense bill related to the meal, transportation etc.
  • If possible, the employee must try to submit expense bill on miscellaneous articles also.
  • Any exception made to the employee must be attached to the expense report.
  • Expense  Payment
  • All the expense payment is made by the finance department.
  • The expense report along with the bill is submitted to the finance department who in turn validate the bills and makes the payment to employee account.
  • In case of international travel, employees are issued with the credit card./li>
  • The application form for issuance of credit card can be obtained from the web portal.
  • The credit card must be used only for the business purpose, in case it is used for the personal expense it must be indicated clearly in the expense report and payment must be made directly to the company.
  • Miscellaneous  Expenses
  • The company will reimburse calls made for business purpose while travelling. The calls made for the business purpose must be marked clearly in the expense report.
  • The company also encourages the employee to be in touch with the family to maintain communication. So, it will reimburse reasonable personal calls made by the employee. However, before the start of business travel, the employee must submit a declaration with contact details which he/she will be calling while travelling.

      D . Medical Emergency

In case of any medical emergency while travelling for business purpose the organisation insurance carrier will provide referral and support service. The details on the same can be obtained from the travel desk.

      E . Laundary charges

The company will reimburse necessary laundary charges if stay in the location is for business purpose and is more than 7 days.

      F . Spouse/Guest/personal travel combined with business:

Any kind of travel expenses occurring for guest or family member will not be reimbursable.

Spouse/ guests can share the accommodation till the time there is no additional cost to the company.

Revision of the policy

  • The company reserves the right to revise, modify any or all clauses of this policy depending upon the demand of business.

 Explanation of the policy 

  • Corporate HR department will be the sole authority to interpret the content of this policy.                                

Template Sample - 2

Objective :   The objective of the Company travel policy is to lay down guidelines which are to be followed by an employee on domestic or international travel for official work and also to ensure that the travel of employees is effectively managed.

Purpose :  The purpose of travel policy is to make guidelines for travel related to business and to provide protection against any kind of misrepresentation and to ensure all reimbursement for the expense done on travel

Eligibility :   This policy applies to all the regular employees of the company and management trainees

Classification of Cities as per Domestic Travel Policy

​classification of countries as per international travel policy for employees, ​company travel policy and procedure.

As per the procedure followed in company travel policy, all business travel must be approved by immediate reporting manager and HOD as per the domestic travel policy. Also as per the HR travel policy any international travel made by employee must also be informed to Human Resource Department and an approval is must to be taken from immediate reporting manager, HOD and HR. All expenses in case of domestic and international travel are made as per the eligibility of expense made under travel expense policy.

NO CLAIM OVER AND ABOVE THE ELIGIBILTY CRITERIA 

Guidelines for travel policy for employees in india and international travel policy for employees.

All Travel request must be raised by an employee on HRMS tool. Request must be made 30 days prior to the start of travel. This  travel guidelines for employees is mandatory to be followed.

All guest house /Hotel facility will be made available by travel desk as per the entitlements mentioned in the Company Travel Policy.

As per travel policy Hotel /Company guest house arrangement will be done by travel desk once travel request has been raised and approved on HRMS tool depending upon the eligibility criterion. In case on urgent travel when bookings have not been made by travel desk an employee can book a hotel as per eligibility criterion and can later on claim the amount on actuals.

Airport pick and drop can be made by radio taxi/local conveyance depending upon the availability and the same can be reimbursed on submission of actual as per company travel policy & procedure.

The number of days will be counted from the time of departure till the time of arrival as  per business travel policy.

Any extension of stay due to personal reason will not be counted as official travel and no reimbursement for personal stay will be made.

All Claims must be raised on HRMS tool. Filling of Travel expense report is must even in case all expenses were made by company directly as per travel policy format.

As per Travel Policy All travel request must be duly approved by the approving authority. An automatic notification will reach employee and travel desk after approval. Once approved travel desk can make necessary arrangement after coordinating with employee.

All travel expense must be settled within 15 days of return from the tour. In case of delay from employee end/travel desk an escalation email will be sent to immediate reporting manager and HOD as per Travel expense policy.

Travel   advance, if any, to be paid to employee will be credited to employee account.

Any Travel expense not been used by employee on travel, such amount shall be returned to accounts department with a confirmation mail.

All reimbursement bills must be supported by original bills / receipts etc.

In case an employee is accompanying seniors from level above their own level on domestic travel arrangement in such case bookings will be done as per eligibility criterion only.

Employee cannot avail higher class facility then their own entitlements.

Any arrangement made over and above the eligibility criterion the same will be deducted from employee salary.

In case 2 or more employees travelling to the same destination up to level 2 & 3, twin sharing arrangement will be made. However separate arrangement will be made for level 1

Team entertainment expense will not be counted as part of travel expense claim.

In case employee is suppose to take client for dinner/Lunch, amount will be reimbursed on actual. However email approval to be taken from immediate reporting manager before any such event.

Cancellation of travel shall be duly informed to travel desk at least 2 days before the travelling date and must have a valid reason.

In case flight/ train missed by employee without any valid reason, the amount will be recovered from employee salary.

Leave can be allowed to an employee on tour on a case-to-case basis by the HOD. No other charges will be admissible for such period of leave.

If any company assets are lost while on tour the same should be informed to the concerned authority immediately. In case no action taken company reserves the right to recover the amount of lost assets from employee salary.

Food claim exclude Alcohol and tobacco.

In case an employee is using own vehicle /company leased car vehicle to an outstation city in such case reimbursement can be made at the rate of Rs. 9/KM . This clause is not applicable from office to home or vice versa.

For local travel in outstation city an employee can avail local transport/Taxi depending upon eligibility and availability of transport. This amount can be reimbursed on submission of actual.

Travel expense report in case found fake, serious disciplinary action will be taken against the employee. Such an act can lead to termination also.

All Air travel should be by economy class.

All arrangement for international travel shall be made by travel desk/admin. Department

International travel for an employee must be approved by immediate reporting manager, HOD, HR and director.

It is as per the corporate travel policy while on international travel it is the employee’s responsibility to control travel and meal expense.

In case arrangement for employee is made in company guest house in the country of travelling expenses for meals, refreshment and other expenses will be given as 20% of entitlement as mentioned in the corporate travel policy.

All payments while on international travel can be made by credit card, the amount can be reimbursed on submission of  actual. The points however earned by use of credit card can be used by an employee on personal use.

All claims which are made by foreign exchange / foreign currency can be settled with accounts department on submission of actual, upon return from travel. However all  foreign exchange must be drawn from an authorised agent. It is as per business travel policy.

Most economical preferably local transport must be availed for ground transportation.

In case employee is making own stay in such case an allowance is paid for $125 in lieu of hotel expense.

Travel Entitlements as per Travel policy for Employees in India

travel policy -Travel Entitlements in india - hrhelpboard

Travel Entitlements as per Travel expense Policy for International travel policy for employees

Per diem entitlement for international traveler.

I nsurance coverage :   Insurance coverage is provided by the company to its international traveler. The insurance cover is provided by the company

​Items which are not covered under Travel Expense Policy

The non reimbursable expenses which are not covered under the Corporate Travel Policy are as follows:

  • Family Care items.
  • Dry cleaning.
  • Expenses for personal entertainment.
  • Any change of airline class or change from economy to business class.

​Local conveyance expense and working on a holiday

Employees are encouraged to use public transportation wherever possible or the most economical means of transport. In case of emergency if an employee has to use some other means of transport in such case approval is required from immediate reporting manager & HOD.

Also if an employee has to work on holiday or weekend as per the need of hour while travelling to some international location, he/she will be paid 800 Rs. Per day.

​Process to be followed for domestic & International travel

The process to be followed by an employee while going on domestic/ international travel as per travel policy template is explained below. Generally the process to take pre approval is mandatory both in case of domestic as well as international travel however if any changes they are highlighted separately.

Travel Policy Process

​Safety & Security of Employees While on travel (Domestic travel or International travel)

  • One of the most important aspects of any business travel policy is to protect employees while on international or domestic travel. Some of the measures that are being taken is as follows:
  • As per the travel policy format employee is suppose to inform travel desk & immediate reporting manager about their stay with the help of an itinerary.
  • They are also suppose to provide their hotel contact number as soon as they reach the destination.
  • Time to time intimation of their stay and plan of the day
  • Insurance cover as provided by the company on international travel.
  • The practices mentioned in the travel policy template are some of the best practices as they include:
  • Employee friendly practices
  • Details on reimbursable and non reimbursable items
  • Clear and easy to follow process & procedure for travel.
  • Information about safety and security
  • Insurance Coverage.

Revision of the Travel policy

The company reserves the right to revise, modify any or all clauses of this policy depending upon demand of business.

Explanation of the Travel policy ​

Corporate HR department will be sole authority to interpret the content of this policy.

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The complete guide to corporate travel policies

Foreign travel policy for employees.

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Start writing your own corporate travel policy with our comprehensive template

What is a foreign travel policy for employees.

  • Processes and tools for making reservations (airline, railway, car & hotel) and travel arrangements
  • Travel expense limits and restrictions for different categories
  • Protocols to follow in case of unaccounted incidents
  • Incidental expense allowance
  • Expense reimbursement policies, including formats for expense receipts and reports
  • Business travel insurance details

What to include in your foreign travel policy for employees?

1. expense categories and limits.

  • Hotel bookings
  • Personal car mileage
  • Ground transportation, including rental car expense
  • Tips to waiters and bellhops
  • Room service
  • Incidental expenses
  • Per diem rates or daily allowance for miscellaneous spending
  • Cash advances
  • Visa expenses
  • Public transportation allowance inc. trains, buses, and trams
  • Airline ticket cancellation

2. Non-reimbursable expenses

  • Hotel upgrades
  • Airline ticket upgrades from economy class to business class
  • Airport lounge fees
  • Foreign transaction processing fees
  • Expenses due to negligent traveling
  • Personal travel expenses

3. Expense claim reporting policy

  • How can employees report international travel expenses?
  • Is there a way to report travel expenses online?
  • Does it need to be reported within a specific timeline?
  • Do employees need to submit proof of expense? If yes, in what format (receipt, invoice, form, etc.)?
  • How long will it take for employees to receive reimbursements?

Learn how to write a comprehensive business travel policy with our ebook.

4. international travel expense approval and reimbursement process.

  • Travel request approval
  • Travel and hotel expense approval
  • Making air travel bookings
  • Making hotel reservations
  • Creating expense report (non-reimbursable amount, travel advance amount, and reimbursable amount)
  • Expense auditing for identifying policy violations
  • Processing expense reimbursements
  • Carry forward excess reimbursements

5. Safety and insurance policies

Best practices for creating an international travel policy.

  • Use an approved business travel tool to consolidate travel plans, automate spend approval, and reimbursements
  • Create an easy-to-understand and handy policy guide outlining details of SOPs for emergencies, reimbursement procedures, and travel support
  • Leverage automated expense management solutions for gaining deeper insights into the financial health of your company
  • Allow self-booking so that employees can choose the flight, layover, and accommodation they want

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corporate travel company policies

The complete guide to corporate travel policies 

The business travel policy guide you’ve been waiting for .

Creating a business travel policy for your company can feel really daunting. You don’t want to just throw something together and hope for the best, but it feels impossible to anticipate every possible scenario. The truth is your policy serves as more than a rule book; it's a guide to better decision-making about your corporate travel program and can save you a world of headaches down the road. 

Introduction

What is a travel policy .

  • Why do you need a travel policy?
  • How to create a travel policy

What to include in a travel policy 

  • Travel policy best practices
  • How to promote travel policy compliance
  • How to market your travel policy
  • When to review and update your travel policy
  • Final thoughts

When it comes to company travel, a travel policy brings it all to one place. It acts as an influencer for travellers to make the most cost-effective choices, an important visibility tool for your managers and HR department, and it protects your people if it’s done right. 

If you’re new to business travel or haven’t looked at your travel policy in a while, we’ll start with the basics and then move into the nitty gritty of corporate travel policies. We’ll touch on a few best practices for writing a travel policy, what to include, and offer plenty of resources along the way. 

Ready to get cracking? Let’s go! 

A travel policy is a guide for business travellers to follow that outlines: 

  • How, where, and when to book 
  • Approved technology for travel management 
  • Preferred suppliers for air travel, land travel, and accommodations 
  • Approvals process for out-of-policy bookings 
  • Trip extensions and personal travel 
  • Expenses and what is covered or not covered 
  • Reimbursement processes 
  • Business travel insurance information 
  • Emergency procedures and contacts 

Your company’s travel policy should reflect your company culture and values, be supportive of your travellers and their needs, and protect your company from unforeseen circumstances. It acts as a central document that guides your team to the processes of embarking on company business travel, from start to finish! 

While you might hear a few grumbles and groans around the words “policy” or “process,” don’t worry! A travel policy does not need to be rigid and inflexible. 

Do your travellers prefer to book on their own? Don’t take away their autonomy. They can still self-book, you’ll just provide them with a better tool and way to do it more efficiently. 

Do your people feel prepared for any event that can cause a travel hiccup? With a travel policy, you can give them clarity and help them feel more prepared when traveling for business purposes. 

Why do you need a travel policy? 

Your travel policy is an extension of your travel program and company culture. It’s the glue that holds your travel program together – from approvals, expenses, booking processes, and emergency contacts. 

Having a travel policy helps you: 

  • Control travel costs 
  • Determine how reimbursement works 
  • Compile a list of trusted and approved travel vendors 
  • Manage an employee’s travel experience and safety 
  • Cut rogue bookings – and simplify approvals 
  • Budget, report on travel expenses and activity and reconcile bookings 

It’s a roadmap or guidebook that your travellers can reference when they’re booking their own travel if they run into a tricky situation abroad, and it helps provide clarity around processes. 

As a company though, your travel policy helps centralize your travel program, makes data and tracking more accurate and easier to navigate, and it saves time and money (including on expense management). Plus, if you take the time to craft your policy in an intentional and inclusive way, you’ll have a policy your travellers are happier to follow. 

How do I create a travel policy that works for my business? 

  • Determine business travel guidelines 
  • Create a travel policy that puts your people first 
  • Set reasonable budget limits 
  • Simplify the process of expense claims 
  • Adopt a user-friendly all-in-one travel platform 

Once you’ve read through our tips, be sure to download our free  travel policy template  so you can get started on creating a travel policy of your own! 

1) Determine corporate travel guidelines 

When you take the time to create a policy that meets the needs of your business, you are making sure that your travellers are safe, costs are controlled, and you’ve made every business trip count. 

Start by looking at what types of travel are allowed and the reason for each trip. 

If you have team members traveling all over the globe, you might want to set some extra safety measures. You should also decide if there will be restrictions on the type of ground transportation used or where employees can stay. 

Create a process for booking flights, hotels, and other ground transportation needs. How far in advance should they be booking? Do different rules apply based on the traveller’s position? Who is the point of contact for bookings and other travel questions? 

Making sure to include your company’s travel insurance info is also important. Make sure to note if your policy covers medical expenses and/or any losses due to cancellations or delays in transportation services due to factors outside an employee’s control. 

Do you have a policy for reporting and documenting expenses? This includes having a system in place for claims (like meal expenses) and a reimbursement process, so your team can easily get their money! 

2) Create a travel policy that puts your people first

You’ve heard the term “duty of care” before, so it’s important to create a corporate travel policy that puts traveller safety and accessibility needs first. You’ll need to define and assign the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved, including a travel manager, if you have one. 

Set up an emergency plan and provide access to traveller safety information. Determine who is the emergency contact (your TMC?) and how to get in touch. Do they have 24/7 emergency support available by phone or chat? What about email support? 

Invite your HR department, the travellers themselves, and your DE&I manager into a discussion to find out what needs your team has as individuals, what hiccups they face when traveling, and what holes exist in your travel program that make it difficult to navigate. 

Working with a TMC is a great way to ensure travellers are kept safe before and during their trip.  

3) Set reasonable budget limits for business travel

You have a budget you need to adhere to, but is it realistic? Setting reasonable budget limits is key to an effective policy. 

Your budget should account for all travel-related expenses, including airfare, accommodation, meals, and ground transportation. And once you’ve set your budget, you can determine reasonable costs for hotels and accommodation, ground transport, flights, and more. Build these caps into your travel booking software to help travellers stay within the set parameters, which will later help with accountability. 

It's important to set clear rules on what the company can pay back and what types of expenses are out-of-pocket. 

If you’ve set a maximum daily rate for meals on work trips, it's crucial that travellers understand the limit before racking up additional charges. Requiring receipts can also help keep track of employee spending and make sure they're not going over budget. 

By working with a travel management company like Corporate Traveller, you can review your previous year’s expenses and find where you can optimize or make changes based on market changes. 

4) Simplify the process of expense claims 

If you're unfamiliar with how to write a travel expense policy, creating a simple process for claiming expenses is key to getting your team on the same page. Do you have access to a payment system that pays for the majority of expenses at the time of booking? This could be a good way to save time and stress down the road.  

The more you can pay for before your travellers get to their destination, the easier everything is to reconcile after they get home.  

If you have a person in charge of reviewing expense reports and watching pre-trip approvals, make sure to set criteria for claim approvals and look at automating processes to make approvals simple! 

5) Adopt a user-friendly all-in-one travel platform  

Finding the right travel software is essential. The right booking platform can provide travellers with an easy-to-use experience, giving them access to the best fares and availability. 

For example, at Corporate Traveller, we use Melon . It’s a booking tool, reporting suite, travel policy pusher, traveller profile manager, and so much more. Melon features a “recommended spend” function, which helps keep travellers booking in policy. Hello, visual guilt! 

Melon’s simple user interface, combined with dedicated travel consultants and expert 24/7 support, makes it simple to book, manage, and keep track of your business travel. You’ll be able to access Melon-exclusive deals and perks (alongside many negotiated contracts and online deals) and take care of all your travel needs from one place. 

From the get-go, you’ll be able to work closely with our team to ensure that all of your needs are met. We'll help you customize your travel program to meet specific business needs, build your travel policy into the platform, and offer training to staff to help them along the way. 

Wow! You’ve reached the end and should have a better idea of how to write a corporate travel policy. High five! Now it’s time to put it all together and get it on paper.  

Maybe you already have something in place that needs some work or an entire overhaul. Check out our easy-to-use template and start checking those boxes! 

Corporate travel policy template

Read the full guide

Not sure where to start? No worries! We’ve got you. Here’s how to streamline your process with a travel policy template ! 

While there’s no one-size-fits-all travel policy for every company, following the set guidelines helps you nail a perfect-for-you policy that can see you through an ever-changing travel climate. 

Travel policy template  

When you’re crafting your business travel policy, there are so many considerations to be made. Things might come up that you never even thought of, but not to worry. We have loads of resources to help you see this through. 

Starting out, it might be looking a little drab and wordy, but depending on your travel program size, a visual travel policy might be just what you need. You can search for examples online or take a look at an example of a visual travel policy we’ve created.  

When building your policy, it’s important to include: 

1. International or foreign travel policies  

When you’ve got travellers all over the globe, you need to build out a policy for international or foreign travel. This is a protects them (and you) on anything from travel safety, to expenses, and everywhere in between. 

Whether your travellers are individuals or entire teams, your international travel policy needs to cover: 

  • How and where to book – is that with a travel manager, online booking tool, a travel management company (TMC)? 
  • Travel insurance coverages and contact info – international numbers and policy information 
  • Emergency contacts – how to reach them and the process of in-destination emergencies 
  • Travel expenses – limits and how to file for reimbursement 
  • Travel documentation – who to contact with questions 
  • Advance booking timelines – when should they be booking for international travel? 
  • Travel extensions – are these allowed and what are travellers expected to cover if they choose to extend their trip for leisure? 

By outlining all of this information in your policy, you’ll streamline the process for your finance teams, travel managers, and your travellers. And really, who doesn’t want to make travel a smoother experience? 

2. Corporate travel policy for business class travel 

Does your corporate travel program have different rules, limits, or allowances for different levels of seniority? Are some junior members expected to travel in economy class, while some executives are allowed to book in business class? 

If some certain exceptions and situations might allow for an employee to book business class, regardless of their position, you should include that in your policy as well. 

Making this as clear as possible will avoid an approvals nightmare down the road. 

3. Corporate meal allowance policy 

It’s great if you’ve already centralized most of your business travel expenses like flights, accommodation, transportation, and car rentals, but your people gotta eat! It’s super important to include a meal allowance policy that clearly outlines which meals (and how much) you’ll cover. 

Some of your team might be traveling with corporate credit cards, while others might need to be reimbursed. The guidelines and procedures for submitting expenses or asking for reimbursement need to be crystal clear! 

Make sure to outline if you have a corporate travel policy for alcohol, too! You don’t want murky policies when it comes to footing the bill for drinks. 

Some things to consider for your meal allowance and alcohol travel policy: 

  • Which meals are covered and for how much? 
  • Who is footing the bill for an alcoholic beverage with dinner? 
  • If entertaining clients, what is the budget, and how flexible is it? 
  • What is the process of submitting company card expenses? 
  • What is the process for requesting reimbursement? 

Your team will always have questions about the policy on food and drinks, so make sure they can find the info easily and have a point of contact for whoever can offer more clarity. 

4. Executive travel policy 

We briefly touched on executive travel when we talked about traveling in business class, but there is certainly more to the top dogs traveling. 

Executive travel can be a touchy subject if there are more lenient policies in place than there is for less senior team members. Your executives also may need to know the guidelines in place for their own travel, so they don’t accidently go overboard, which could be an accounting nightmare! 

You’ll need to make sure you deliver a guide for approvals, procedures, booking deadlines, meals, accommodation, basically everything. 

Lay it all out. Make your policy as digestible as possible, and for a busy exec, consider bullet points and titles in bold so they can easily skim to the areas they need to know. 

5. Natural disaster or COVID-19 business travel policy  

We can all agree that COVID-19 caused business travel to come to a screeching halt. Across most industries, the pandemic impacted client relationships, the ability to gain new clients and caused budgets to get slashed pretty dramatically.  

While this was only one event, many businesses have begun to consider the “what-ifs” of their travel programs should another outbreak of COVID or something else happen. Crossing our fingers and toes doesn’t cut it, unfortunately. 

There is also the chance of their travel being impacted by a natural disaster. We’ve seen it before – earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, hurricanes. Do you have a plan or policy to aid your team and guide them through the unthinkable? 

In 2022, we surveyed 120 employees across various industries and businesses. More than half, 51% of respondents said their companies didn’t provide resources or tips for safety on their trips. Duty of care isn’t something to put on the back burner, it’s your legal obligation to make sure your team is informed. 

So, what’s the solution, you ask? 

Working with a TMC gives you the backup you need if anything ever happens and you have people traveling abroad. At Corporate Traveller, our travel management software, Melon, is a central place to house your policy for quick and easy access. Plus, our travel experts can help you paint the big picture of what to do, who to call, and how to get your team home safely as quickly as possible. 

Is there anything missing from your travel policy? 

Let’s break it down. If you think of your policy like a sandwich, it should include: 

The bread and butter  

  • Where and why: Are there any restrictions on who travels domestically or internationally? Or guidelines around reasons for travel? 
  • When: Are there any restrictions on when business travel is a no-no, like during an auditing period or financial downturn? 
  • How? How should travel arrangements be booked? Through your online booking tool or with a preferred Travel Management Company (TMC)? How far in advance should domestic and international trips be booked? 
  • Preferred suppliers: Do you have preferred partners for air travel, accommodation, ground transport or travel insurance? 
  • Approvals: Who’s responsible for giving the green light on trips? 
  • Show me the money: What’s the process for managing/submitting expenses, paying for travel and reimbursements? 
  • Uh-oh: How will you prevent or deal with non-compliance to the travel policy? 
  • Noise level: Getting loads of ‘noise’ and questions about things in your policy? This means it’s not clear and it’s time to review why and where the stumbling block is for travellers (or your finance team!) 

 The filling  

  • Classy, baby: Who gets to fly business class, book 5-star properties or order UberLUX? And how does your business handle upgrades or airport lounge access for long-haul flights? 
  • All work, some play: What are the conditions if someone wants to extend their business trip to take personal leave? Are you happy for them to enjoy a bleisure trip, and if so, who foots the bill and for what? 
  • Loyalty: Are there any travel rewards or business loyalty programs that can be used during booking? 
  • Spending money: Do your business travellers have a daily allowance for meals, snacks, and drinks? How much is it, what does it include – and what’s not covered? Can they order room service, drink from the mini-bar, or use the in-house laundry service? 

The not-so-secret sauce  

  • Safety first: your policy should support air, accommodation and ground transport suppliers that have been safety and security vetted. Guidelines or information on travel insurance for work trips is also helpful. 
  • Now what: What’s the plan of action in the case of Acts of God or Force Majeure events? Does your team know who to call for help? 
  • What’s next: Who is responsible for updating and reviewing your travel policy, and how often? 

Corporate travel policy best practices: 

  • Write for skim readers
  • Guide travellers to the right resources
  • Automate your policies
  • Stipulate a timeframe for expense claims
  • Be prepared for the unexpected

1. Write for skim readers  

One of the first steps towards writing a people-first travel policy is understanding how your travellers will read it. And the truth is…  

They probably won’t.   

Research has shown that  adults get distracted every 47 seconds . So if a business traveller is looking at your policy, they’re most likely just searching for a specific answer – and they want it fast. So what can you do?  

First, make sure the document is easy to navigate. That means including things like:   

  • A table of contents  
  • Visual elements to help guide the eye toward crucial information, like flow charts and tables  
  • Clear headings and important details in bold  
  • Bulleted lists (see what we did here?) 

And even though it’s a technical document, don’t make it sound like one. An effective travel policy should be clear, concise, and easily comprehended. So skip the long, complex sentence structures and technical jargon, and write in plain, simple English. It helps to pretend like you’re writing it so an eighth-grader can understand it.   

2. Guide travellers to the right resources  

Remember when we said travellers will only read your policy to find a solution for a specific need? Whether it’s a link, a phone number, or a step-by-step tutorial – a well-managed travel policy should provide them with the right resources.  

Instead of treating a travel policy as a list of rules, treat it like a resource sheet. Here are some key pieces of information travellers might need to pull up easily:  

Your approved online booking tool (and steps on how to use it)  

  • QR codes to download your  mobile travel app   
  • Preferred airlines, including class, budgets, and other limits  
  • Permissible hotels, including guidelines on star-class and incidental expenses  
  • Guidelines on ground transportation (trains, ride-sharing services, rental cars, and personal car usage)  
  • How to get travel support  
  • Travel insurance carrier  
  • Clarification on the reimbursement process (more on this later)  

You can also include other factors specific to your company, but this should at least be the necessary groundwork to help employees make the right choices on their own.  

3. Automate your policies  

Let’s face it: even with the best communication efforts, there’s always a chance that an employee may violate policy, even unintentionally. So, what can you do?  

Build policy into booking.  

By building your travel policy into your travel management software, it becomes unavoidably embedded in the booking process, so even the most easily confused employees end up following by default.   

Automation tools can sound the alarm on out-of-policy bookings and even provide an audit trail. This can be especially helpful for employees who may struggle to remember procedures and policies, especially after big changes to your travel program.  

4. Stipulate a timeframe for expense claims  

No one wants to get stuck waiting on the money they’re owed – or worse – find out they’re not getting reimbursed for an expenditure they thought would be covered.  

Having a clear and well-defined expense claim process is critical in any travel policy. Employees need to know how to claim their travel expenses, how soon they need to submit an expense report, and when to expect reimbursement.   

The policy should also be clear about what expenses are and are not reimbursable, including any limits or exceptions. For example, if an employee needs to book a different seat class to  accommodate a disability , the policy should include the process for requesting and approving this expense.   

Plus, a submission deadline reduces cash flow issues and provides more accurate and complete expense data for that period (your finance team will thank you later).  

5. Be prepared for the unexpected  

As a company, you have a duty-of-care responsibility. When it comes to business trips, you need to be prepared for the unexpected. No matter how much effort you put into planning, there will always be a few hiccups along the way.   

For instance, lost luggage, cancelled or delayed flights, and sudden weather or political emergencies in unfamiliar destinations could all leave your employee stranded.   

“Companies need to be prepared to plan for the particular, not just the universal. Every aspect of the travel program needs to be able to fit each of your travellers like a glove, from adaptable plans and experts on call, to technology that makes the journey seamless.” - Emese Graham, DE&I Manager @ FCTG  

Don’t let unexpected situations blindside you. Have processes in place to ensure travel safety and security. Make sure they know what to do, where to go, and who to get a hold of if something goes wrong. Taking a proactive and prepared approach to your policy can minimize the impact of emergencies and take care of your team’s well-being while they’re on the road.  

BONUS TIP: Update your policy regularly  

Here’s a free business travel policy best practice just for you! It isn’t just a “one and done” deal – it’s a living document.  

What’s that mean? As your company grows and travel conditions change, so should your travel policy. Revisit your expense policy at least once a year to keep it relevant and effective – and lead you towards new cost-saving solutions.    

Data is going to be your best friend here. Here are a few key factors you should look into when updating your travel policy:  

  • Analyze travel spend patterns – are you throwing a lot of company money at certain suppliers? You might want to see if you can negotiate a new deal or find better rates elsewhere.  
  • Identify areas of overspending or inefficiency – are employees accruing high parking or travel costs? See if you can get season tickets or other accommodations.  
  • Evaluate the overall performance of your policy – are you still compliant with any new regulations that have come into play since the policy was established? How can traveller experience be improved?  

You may even want to consider enlisting the help of professionals, such as a travel management company with experience in expense management, to give advice on how to optimize your travel policy to better meet the needs of your employees and your business as a whole.   

Building a travel policy that's good for business and travellers and meets their needs is no small feat. But whether you're looking to retain your team, attract new talent, or make life a little easier for your travellers, investing in a well-designed travel policy is definitely worth the effort and great for company culture.  

By following these travel policy best practices and ensuring your policy meets all travellers' needs, you’ll be on your way to smoother, safer, and more enjoyable travel experiences for all.  

What are you waiting for? Start with this travel policy template and watch your business soar to new heights!  

How to promote travel policy compliance  

Whether compliance is a big or small issue in your company, it takes a little bit of investigating to figure out why it’s an issue at all. 

Maybe your policy meets the needs of only a few of your team members. Maybe it’s too difficult to navigate your policy. Or maybe, your policy is written in legalese and makes your travellers vision blur before they go rogue and book how they want. 

It could be that your travellers prefer a bit of freedom in booking and would rather do it on their own. Or, maybe they have specific needs that aren’t being met by the options provided. 

Whatever their reasons, it’s your job to figure out why they aren’t following and what you can do to build better compliance. 

Here are a few tips to improve travel policy compliance: 

  • Make your policy easy to navigate, understand, and find 
  • Use an online booking tool (OBT) for travellers who prefer to self-book 
  • Allow a bit of flexibility so travellers feel they have some autonomy 
  •  Include a category for last-minute bookings so it doesn’t mess up your data 
  • Understand your traveller needs and build an inclusive policy 

corporate travel management booking

Read the full guide:

You've researched, gathered the necessary resources, and communicated your travel and expense (T&E) policy to your employees. But now, you're not so sure they're actually following it.  

Read the full guide:  How to Improve Corporate Travel Policy Compliance

How to market your corporate travel policy internally?

Corporate travel might be off the radar for most employees, especially those outside of customer-facing positions. The first step in promoting successful corporate travel policies is awareness. 

Do employees know about the policy? Where can they find information and updates on business travel? Clear communication at pivotal points and frequent intervals can help keep everyone aware.

Review common and expected challenges

Business trip policies might be ineffective if they don't meet the needs of some business travellers. You can get ahead of challenges by understanding that last-minute travel can be necessary or that different travellers have unique needs. 

Inclusive policies plan for employee safety and comfort on a range of business trips, paying attention to details such as arrival and departure times, car rentals, ground transportation, and noise levels.  

Communicate business travel policies effectively

Travel managers can use best practices to ensure all employees are aware of and understand travel programs. Visual policies, internal documents, and guides all work well. People learn differently, so it’s a good idea to have key information in both visual and text formats. 

A yearly update is also beneficial, as well as communication on any major changes, like new technology or changes in the approval process or submitting expenses. An internal FAQ page can increase understanding of corporate travel guidelines, as well as prompt new questions.

Book a demo of  Melon , the all-in-one travel platform. 

Increase employee engagement 

Highlight areas of company travel that offer flexibility, to show what’s possible for different preferences. Talk about benefits like an online booking tool vs. working directly with a TCM.

Developing interactive content, like employee surveys, can show if traveller satisfaction is achieved. It also helps identify travel arrangements that are unnecessary for cost savings.

Find internal champions for the business travel program 

Travel policies cross paths with a lot of different departments, from sales to the finance team. Identifying key people and keeping them involved in developing the travel program means getting buy-in and internal support.

Corporate Traveler has a long history of travel management and is ready to join forces as an external member of your travel planning team. Let’s make  booking a breeze , together.  

Case studies: effectively marketing your corporate travel program

A travel manager should match your company culture for the best fit. Find out how these companies successfully targeted the right mix of technology and service to meet employee expectations and business goals.

Flipp Case Study

Flipp Travel Case Study

ct-us-validant-sum-hotel-checkin.png

Streamlining global travel for Eliquent Life Sciences

oil and energy facility

Better processes, bigger savings | Beyond Energy Case Study

When to review and update your travel policy .

If the last time you reviewed or upgraded your travel policy was more than a year ago, it’s outdated and needs a refresher. If your company is small and has low turnover, you could probably get away with making small tweaks and optimizations. 

But if you have a larger company with multiple departments and higher turnover, you probably need to do an overhaul and review it more regularly. We’re not saying you have to change it every time someone is hired or leaves the company, but making sure it’s relevant to the people who are there and are traveling matters! 

Corporate Traveller conducted a survey in 2022, which showed that 48% of respondents didn’t know if their company had resources for specific traveller profiles, while 41% said their company didn’t provide resources for specific traveller profiles. This really goes to show that there’s room for improvement in how policies are built to support their people and their businesses. 

A people-first travel program and policy have become necessary as the world grows and begins to understand neurodiversity, disabilities, and cultural differences. When we learn about our team members’ diverse needs, we can better understand how to support them when they venture abroad for our businesses. 

GUIDE: Download the How to design a people-first travel program guide 

We recommend policy reviews every 3-6 months, but at the minimum, once per year. 

Final thoughts 

Business travel is so unpredictable, as we’ve seen in recent years. There will always be circumstances you can’t avoid as a company, but making sure that you have the necessary checks and balances in place can help to make things just a little easier. If you have groups traveling, VIPS, or people heading to high-risk destinations, it’s important that your policy is relevant. 

Don’t forget that travel policies shouldn’t be written and forgotten about – these are living documents that must be regularly updated to make sure they best protect your people. 

Remember these best practices when writing your travel policy: 

  • Keep it simple and make it pop with visuals, bullet points, and bold headings. 
  • Answer any and every question possible – think of all the eventualities 
  • Always put your people first 
  • Implement a quick and simple approval process 
  • Automate as much as you can 
  • Use technology that’s supports your policy 
  • Be flexible with due reason 
  • Be clear about what’s not allowed 
  • Update your travel policy at least once a year 
  • Keep it somewhere easy to find  

And finally, it doesn’t hurt to have a couple of different formats. Consider a visual version and an extended version so the message is delivered best depending on the person reading. For some, it might be easier to digest one over the other. 

Looking for a policy review? We’d be happy to work with you. 

Let’s chat .

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10 Steps to Developing an Effective Travel Policy for Employees

Creating an efficient travel policy for employees in India is all about achieving specific goals that ultimately lead to higher compliance and better control. This guide will detail the steps for crafting an effective policy and how to enforce it with ease:

Corporate travel is an integral part of many Indian companies, particularly those with a global or regional presence. It is, therefore, essential for businesses to have an efficient and effective travel policy in place, taking into account the country's unique cultural characteristics and business practices.

A travel policy outlines the expectations for employees who travel for business purposes. It includes details about what expenses will be reimbursed, the preferred partners for bookings, and the company's stance on travel and entertainment expenses. The policy aims to balance the needs of the employees and the financial considerations of the company. The need for a comprehensive policy is imperative in a country like India, where travel costs and protocols vary significantly from other countries, and there are several travel and accommodation options available. Therefore, it is essential to develop a well-defined travel policy to provide clarity to employees. So, let's look at the ten essential steps you need to take to formulate an effective travel policy for your employees.

Ten Steps to Developing an Effective Travel Policy for Employees in India

Step 1: define the goals of the travel policy.

The first crucial step in developing a sound travel policy for your employees is to clearly define its purpose and objectives. In other words, be clear about why this policy is needed within your organisation. This could be to ensure that business travel aligns with the company's financial constraints, to set clear guidelines for safe and secure travel, to maintain an ethical approach towards travel, or all.

Enlightening everyone about the need for the policy keeps everyone on the same page and fosters understanding and compliance. You could highlight points like:

  • Aligning travel with company budget
  • Ensuring employees' safety during travel
  • Maintaining ethical standards within the firm

Next, lay out the objectives that this policy seeks to achieve. These should align directly with the reasons for the policy's establishment and could encompass improving cost-efficiency, enhancing employee safety, or promoting ethical conduct.

Step 2: Understand the Current Travel Landscape in India

Kick off this process by reaching out to your employees. They are your first and most valuable resource for understanding the status quo. Understand their travel habits, the obstacles they face while travelling for work, and any booking issues or accommodation concerns. 

Once you have documented the existing practices and challenges, the next step is to scrutinise the travel expenses incurred by the employees. Collect and review data about transportation costs, accommodation expenses, meal costs, etc. This analysis will provide you with insights into the most common and costly expenditures.

Step 3: Assess the Needs of Different Employee Groups

Crafting an efficient travel policy should involve a keen examination of the travel requisites of diverse departments and job roles within your organisation. Each department might have distinct needs depending upon its function. For instance, your sales team may require more frequent travel to different regions, while your IT team may only need to travel for certain projects.

To identify the travel requirements of different departments and job roles, you can -

  • Survey each department to identify their specific travel requirements.
  • Map out the travel patterns, such as common destinations, trip durations, and frequency.
  • Identify whether employees need to travel during peak times or off hours.

Step 4: Establish Travel Approval and Booking Procedures

The fourth step in developing an effective travel policy is to establish clear procedures for travel approval and bookings. This provides a framework to manage business-related travel requests efficiently and systematically.

Start by defining the process for employees to request business travel. This would include the requirements to justify the need for travel, estimated costs and the required approval process. It could range from a simple email chain to a more sophisticated software system over time. Preferably, for each travel request:

  • Employees must provide a brief about the purpose and the expected outcome of the travelling.
  • There should be an estimate of travel expenses linked to the trip.
  • The request should be approved by a designated authority or authorities within your organisation.

Next, set up instructions for booking transportation and accommodations. You may work with a travel agency or prefer a more sophisticated online travel management platform that aligns with your company’s policies. Ensure that you communicate the preferred mode of transport, accommodation, and booking times in alignment with the best rates.

Step 5: Set Guidelines for Transportation and Accommodation

Defining transportation and accommodation guidelines is an integral part of creating an effective travel policy for your employees. This step ensures compliance while simultaneously making sure employees are comfortable during their business trips.

   For transportation, consider the company's budget, the destination, and the significance of the trip. Acceptable modes may include:

  • Air travel for long-distance trips
  • Railway for interstate journeys
  • Cabs for local transportation.

It's imperative to provide clear guidance on what kind of accommodation employees should opt for while travelling. Consider aspects like security, vicinity to the workplace, expense, and the reviews of the hotel or the guest house in your policy. Emphasize that employees are encouraged to choose accommodations that are safe, reasonably priced, and comfortable.

Step 6: Define per diem and expense allowance policies

After setting the stage for developing an effective travel policy for your employees in India, it is critical to define the per diem and expense allowance policies. These policies will determine the amount your employees are allowed to spend daily and how they can claim these expenses. 

 Start by establishing daily spending limits for meals and incidentals like transportation and phone calls. This can be based on the cost of living in the destination city. For instance, metropolitan cities can have a higher per diem compared to smaller areas. A higher allowance can be allocated for business-specific cities, as expenses for meals and the like may also be higher. 

Next comes the clarification of the reimbursement process and requirements for expense claims. This can encompass:

  • Providing all original receipts for expense claims.
  • Using a company credit card for all spending, where applicable.
  • Submitting expense claims within a specified period after the completion of the trip.

Such a process can ensure a smooth experience for the employee while keeping the company's finances in check.

Step 7: Enforce a Travel Safety and Security Protocol

A critical aspect of your corporate travel policy includes safeguarding the safety and security of your employees while they travel.

Start by introducing a rigorous pre-travel risk assessment procedure. This can help foresee potential risks and, accordingly, devise safety measures. It would be beneficial to include:

  • Regular updates on travel advisories and regional risk assessments.
  • Approved hotel lists based on safety audits.
  • Mandatory travel insurance with adequate coverage.

Communicate Emergency Procedures and Provide Necessary Contact Information

The next step is to establish a robust communication system that is proactive during crises. Essential elements could be an emergency helpline number, prompt updates on transport cancellations and delays, and a workshop on how employees should respond to different emergencies.

These steps will ensure your employees feel secure during their travels, enhancing their overall trust in your travel management policy.

Step 8: Implement cost-saving strategies

A crucial part of developing an effective travel policy for employees in India is to incorporate cost-saving strategies. This not only reduces the overall burden on your business's budget but also instils a sense of fiscal responsibility in your employees.

For starters, the simple act of advance booking can save a considerable amount of money. This applies to trains, flights, and even accommodations. The travel policy should clearly state this. Other strategies may include choosing budget-friendly travel and accommodation options and making use of corporate discounts. 

The policy should motivate employees to select cost-effective options. However, consideration should be given to maintaining a certain level of comfort to ensure productivity during travel. 

Step 9: Provide clear communication and training

Once your travel policy has been developed and approved, you must communicate its details effectively to all parties involved. This is not a one-time task but an ongoing process to consistently remind employees and stakeholders of the policy's importance and changes, if any.

  • Share your travel policy document with everyone in the organisation and make sure it’s easily accessible.
  • Use multiple channels like emails, company intranet, or internal newsletters to reach your audience.
  • Regularly update it and ensure the employees are informed about the updates.
  • Once the policy is shared, it's equally important to conduct training sessions to clear any doubts and to enhance employees' understanding.
  • This can be done through webinars, workshops, or brief meetings.

Remember, the goal is to ensure that everyone understands the policy thoroughly and complies with it willingly. 

Step 10: Evaluate and Update the Travel Policy Regularly

The final and important step in the process of creating an effective travel policy for employees in India is to perform regular evaluations and updates.

 Regular reviews and assessments are tools for improving the travel policy. This may involve setting a schedule, maybe quarterly or semi-annually, to scrutinize the tidbits of the policy. You need to consider questions such as:

- Are employees sticking to the travel policy?  - Is it effectively controlling costs?  - Is the policy still aligned with the company's goals and objectives?  

Also, updates should take into account feedback from employees and stakeholders who use the policy.

  • Are travellers finding the policy easy to use and understand?
  • Are travel vendors still the best fit for the company?

Additionally, changes in business needs and objectives should also be mirrored in the policy over time. Make sure any adjustments reflect changes in the market, industry trends, or shifts in company goals.

Like any policy, your travel policy isn't a static document; it should evolve with your company's growth and changing needs. Continuous monitoring and review will help identify potential issues early and facilitate necessary amendments. Regular feedback from employees who actually travel, combined with data analysis by the travel management team, can provide valuable insights for improvement. Always remember, an effective travel policy isn’t just about cutting costs or streamlining processes; it's also about ensuring your travelling employees’ comfort and well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What should be the travel policy for employees?

Ans.   The travel policy aims to provide clear guidelines on how to book and get reimbursed for travel expenses, along with important rules pertaining to travel safety, accommodation, and required documentation. Additionally, it should outline the process for getting travel requests approved, as well as any limitations or restrictions on travel arrangements and expenses that may be in place.

Q2. What is the executive travel policy?

Ans.   The executive travel policy is a handy set of guidelines created just for high-level company executives. It lays out rules and procedures for booking first-class or business-class flights, finding higher-end accommodations, and other privileges that may be granted to executives during business travel.

Q3. Why travel policy is required?

Ans.   Having a travel policy in place is essential for maintaining consistency, transparency, and cost control when it comes to business travel. Not only does it establish clear expectations and procedures, but it also helps mitigate potential risks and ensures adherence to relevant laws and regulations. Additionally, a travel policy provides guidelines for booking, reimbursement, safety, and compliance.

Q4. What is the travel and expense policy?

Ans.   A travel expense policy serves as a comprehensive set of rules and guidelines governing the booking of flights, hotel rooms, car rentals, and rail services. Its primary objective is to establish clear criteria for identifying work-related expenses, ensuring transparency and facilitating streamlined employee reimbursement processes.

Related Blogs:

  • •   What is Corporate Travel? Understanding the Basics with myBiz!
  • •   What is the Corporate Travel Policy? A complete Guide!
  • •   10 Trip Management Tips for Successful Business Travel
  • •   Business Travel and Managing Stress in 5 Easy Steps!
  • •   7 Powerful Business Travel Tips for Corporate Travellers
  • •  Corporate Travel Management - An Ultimate Guide for Business Travel

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COMMENTS

  1. Guide to corporate travel policies for employees (best practices)

    Having a travel policy helps you: Control travel costs. Determine how reimbursement works. Compile a list of trusted and approved travel vendors. Manage an employee's travel experience and safety. Cut rogue bookings - and simplify approvals. Budget, report on travel expenses and activity and reconcile bookings.

  2. Company travel policy

    The company travel policy outlines provisions for business-related travel, detailing reimbursable expenses and guidelines. It covers transportation, accommodation, legal/medical expenses, and daily allowances. Employees are advised to exercise judgment and submit expenses timely for reimbursement. 50,814.

  3. The Complete Guide to creating Corporate Travel Policies

    Corporate travel policies are usually created by the. Finance Manager. and the. Travel Manager. and typically outline things like, if an employee can fly business class, how many weeks or business days in advance should they book their trips, or if there are certain precautions employees must take when traveling alone.

  4. Sample Corporate Travel Policy (Plus How To Write One)

    A corporate travel policy, also called a travel and expense policy, is a set of official guidelines for work-related trips. Business leaders create this type of policy to explain to employees the proper procedures for arranging their flights, hotels and other travel-related plans. Specifically, these documents outline how employees might pay ...

  5. Company Travel Policy

    This company travel policy applies to all employees under contract at [company name], including paid interns, contractors, as well as seasonal, part-time, and full-time employees. [ Company name ] sees traveling out of the city, state, and/or country as a fully paid business trip, as well as one-day trips that are [ number of hours ] hours away ...

  6. How to Set a Corporate Travel Policy: Key Elements, Best ...

    A corporate travel policy may be a necessity if your employees take regular business trips to meet with clients or prospective clients, attend professional conferences or seminars, or participate ...

  7. The Corporate Travel Policy Guide For Business Travel

    In addition to encouraging employees to book with the company's preferred airline carrier(s), the business travel policy may require employees to only book from travel providers that offer flexible cancellation policies and refundable rates in case plans change quickly. Guidelines for how to take advantage of unused airline credits to ...

  8. Company Travel Policy: The Complete Guide + A Free Template

    A company travel policy will outline the procedures for employees on company-paid trips to avoid any issues that might arise in the process. Our comprehensive guide to company travel policies will give you an idea about the kind of information and provisions the Policy should include. We'll also provide you with a free template that you can use ...

  9. Corporate travel policy (+ free template)

    Our company travel policy template for UK, US, or EU travelers includes the six key sections detailed here. We've formatted it to be easy to read and easy to customize. It can apply to domestic or international travel, air travel, rail transport, and more. An effective corporate travel policy is made up of six key sections: Introduction.

  10. How to Write a Corporate Travel Policy?

    What to include in your corporate travel policy. There are many aspects of business travel to consider before writing your corporate travel policy. While your policy should reflect the unique needs of your business and employees, you'll need to establish policies for these fundamental areas: Airline, rail, hotel and rental car reservations.

  11. 8 Corporate Travel Policy Best Practices

    Developing, reviewing, and revising corporate travel policies is an ongoing process, one that should consider multiple perspectives and needs and evaluate data. A business travel policy for employees should also adapt to changing patterns of travel, employee needs, and practical considerations. Best Practices in Corporate Travel Policies

  12. How To Write a Corporate Travel Policy in 5 Steps

    If you need to write a corporate travel policy for your company, here are five steps you can use: 1. Think critically about the purpose. Thinking critically about the purpose of your corporate travel policy is important because it may influence the information you choose to include. For example, if your company only travels short distances, the ...

  13. How to Write a Travel Policy

    A travel policy is so much more than that: it's your way to corral business travel into something that doesn't overtake all of the administrative team's time. It's a way to empower domestic and international travel, connect employees to each other and to their clients, and get a handle on actual expenses for travel.

  14. A Complete Guide on Creating an Effective Corporate Travel Policy

    2. Set goals and priorities. Define two or three key objectives for updating the policy, such as improving efficiency or reducing costs. 3. Involve stakeholders. Include key stakeholders in the process, such as travel managers, office managers, and frequent travelers, to gather insights and ensure buy-in. 4.

  15. Corporate Travel Policy Reimbursement & Approval Process

    Per diem travel policy. Per diem rates for corporate travel refer to the daily allowance given to employees to cover their expenses while on business trips. This allowance typically includes costs for meals, lodging, and incidental expenses. Per diem rates are set by the government or company policy and are meant to simplify the reimbursement ...

  16. How to write a corporate travel policy

    A travel policy helps to ensure that all employees are following the same standards and procedures for travel, and it can help manage expenses and reduce risk for the company. By providing clear guidelines and resources for travel, a company travel policy can improve efficiency and reduce stress for employees who travel frequently.

  17. Travel Policy for employees with Sample for corporate

    1. Purpose: The Purpose of travel policy is to ensure that the travel expense of the company is controlled by establishing certain standards. Employees must control business travel expense by making the sound judgment with respect to use of company funds. Travel is an important aspect for carrying out the business, it is expected from employees that they will follow the "travel guidelines for ...

  18. Corporate Travel Policy Q&A: How to Answer the 9 Most Common Business

    If you have a business where employees travel, you should have a solid travel policy in place. Your policy should be a balance of detail and briefness. ... Making your policy comprehensive and working with a TMC who has more experience drafting corporate travel policies will save a lot of time and hassle in the long run.

  19. How to write a corporate travel policy for the modern employee

    Make your corporate travel policy easy to remember by keeping it short and simple. For best results, use clear, straightforward, and specific language. Use photos, diagrams, and charts if needed ...

  20. Travel Policy for Employees 2024

    Creating the right travel policy for employees has the potential to directly impact the travel budget of a company and its future decision-making. In this guide, we explore the details of creating comprehensive travel policies and more: Corporate travel is accompanied by many roadblocks. In the absence of proper planning, employees can be ...

  21. How to create a foreign travel policy for employees

    A foreign travel policy (FTP) for employees is a high priority for organizations with employees traveling the globe for business purposes. It acts as a clear and simple guide, helping employees understand the nitty-gritty of expense reimbursement, travel safety. , and personal well-being. For the company, it improves employees' travel ...

  22. The Complete Guide to Corporate Travel Policies for Employees

    5) Adopt a user-friendly all-in-one travel platform. Finding the right travel software is essential. The right booking platform can provide travellers with an easy-to-use experience, giving them access to the best fares and availability. For example, at Corporate Traveller, we use Melon .

  23. 10 Steps to Developing an Effective Travel Policy for Employees

    Step 10: Evaluate and Update the Travel Policy Regularly. The final and important step in the process of creating an effective travel policy for employees in India is to perform regular evaluations and updates. Regular reviews and assessments are tools for improving the travel policy. This may involve setting a schedule, maybe quarterly or semi ...