Travel Booking Procedures


To provide further explanation and mandatory procedures for implementing the Travel Policy.


These procedures apply to all University members organising, undertaking or approving University travel funded by the University or a third party and all University student activity travel, unless indicated otherwise.

Booking procedures

Planning and pre-approval

1. Before all travel, the traveller must investigate and be aware of the risks involved with the planned trips. (See item 4 below)
2. Discuss travel with your manager and determine whether it is:

  • essential to the functions and strategic objectives of the University,
    within budget and can be arranged at a reasonable cost,
  • unable to be effectively conducted via alternatives to travel such as teleconferencing and videoconferencing.

3. Prior to booking University funded travel, the University member must also:

  • obtain approval from the budget holder that the travel is being charged to,
  • review the official government travel advisories published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) at for any destination, including locations transited through (for all international travel),
    review and consider the technology risk assessment information and have a conversation with the approving manager to determine whether further action is required. (for all international travel).

Organising and booking air travel

4. Consideration must be given to the following when arranging air travel:

  • Travel is essential and beneficial to the functions and strategic objectives of the University (refer Basis for Approval).
  • travel at off-peak times wherever possible
  • use the travel management company (TMC) self-service options via the online booking tool
  • book air travel as far in advance as practical to take advantage of lower fares
  • what products are required such as checked in luggage
    personal air points may be used to upgrade an airfare and class of travel provided the airfare purchased incurs no additional cost to the University
    changing a business class ticket for a cheaper ticket to enable another person to accompany a traveller on University travel is not permitted
  • if return times are subject to change then the traveller is to book the cheapest flexible return flight
  • Travelling together is not recommended for groups of University Executive Committee members or senior leadership, including senior faculty leadership.

Travel approval

5. Travel is to be approved in a transparent and equitable manner.
6. University travellers must demonstrate to their approving manager that sufficient budget is available, or will be available, prior to incurring costs.
7. Approvals must be able to identify which of the essential travel criteria is being satisfied
8. Travellers with exceptional circumstances may request dispensation from their approving manager to have their companion’s travel expenses reimbursed. The approving manager will need to seek approval from their HoD/HoS or equivalent.

High risk travel

9. Where the traveller has identified that a destination, or location through which they are transiting, has a ‘do not travel’ or ‘avoid non-essential travel’ advisory, the traveller must follow the High Risk Travel procedures.  

During travel

10. Should an incident happen in the vicinity of a traveller, the traveller must confirm their safety and wellbeing to their line manager or trip organiser and respond to any messages sent by the University’s emergency assistance providers.
11. University travellers must advise their supervisor/manager prior to requesting travel if there is a possible foreseen risk of costs being incurred in connection with the travel which may not be covered by the University's travel insurance. Funded travel insurance terms and conditions - The University of Auckland.

Allowable exceptions for booking travel outside of the TMC

12. The TMC must be used to coordinate all travel requirements including airfares, accommodation, and rental vehicles unless one of these exceptions applies;

  • Conference accommodation purchased directly from an alternative supplier as part of a special conference package that includes conference registration and accommodation.
  • Travel is purchased by an external organisation without the use of University funds, or, in the case of self-funded University student activity travel, travel is purchased directly by a student.
  • An alternative accommodation or rental car supplier with comparable standards demonstrates a significant cost savings when compared to an equivalent booking quoted via the TMC
  • In all of the above cases, a copy of the travel reservation and any amendments to the reservation (for the entire duration of the travel) must be sent to the Risk Office at


13. The cost of reasonable accommodation will be paid when a person is required to be away from their home overnight on University business.
14. Accommodation should be fair and reasonable taking into account cost-effectiveness, the location relative to where the traveller needs to be, standard of accommodation and safety or security issues
15. Where possible, accommodation must be booked to include chargeback for daily per person room, breakfast and internet charges only.
16. All home share such as Airbnb accommodation must be arranged via the TMC. Please refer here for a checklist of key considerations when using home share properties.
17. When a traveller chooses to stay privately when away on University travel which necessitates overnight accommodation, they may be reimbursed at the rate of NZD $80 per night away on University travel in lieu of accommodation.
18. A receipt will not be required for reimbursement of private accommodation. However, as it is the intention of this payment to compensate the travellers’ host for their hospitality, assurance or proof of these funds being passed to the private accommodation owner may be requested.

Traveller checklist

19. Travellers must refer to the University traveller checklist for funded University travel to ensure they have complied with the Travel Policy and these procedures and the Travel Expenses Procedures.

Rental motor vehicles and related insurance

20. Rental vehicles may be used for University travel where that is the most cost-effective means of transport.
21. Where an alternative supplier with comparable standards, demonstrates a significant cost saving, the booking may be made outside of the University’s TMC. A copy of the reservation must be sent to the Risk Office at
22. The traveller must conduct a pre-hire inspection with the rental provider, prior to renting the vehicle.
23. No smoking or vaping is permitted in any rented vehicle.
24. Hybrid or electric vehicles are the preferred option where possible.
25. The vehicle needs to be an appropriate size considering the number of passengers and the amount of luggage with the smallest practical option preferred.
26. Vehicles must be returned to the rental company in a presentable condition and fully refuelled if possible in order to minimise additional charges.
27. The cost of refuelling vehicles used for University travel is reimbursable.
28. Drivers must be declared to the rental company, be legally allowed to drive, have a valid driver license and must adhere to the conditions of their license.
29. Rental company insurance is to be declined for rental cars and vans hired within New Zealand for University travel because these rental vehicles are covered under the University’s motor vehicle insurance policy.
30. Rental vehicles hired outside New Zealand must have comprehensive insurance covering vehicle damage, third party, and public liability, obtained from the rental company at collection, as it cannot be prebooked. 

  • The cost of this comprehensive insurance is reimbursable
  • When purchasing this comprehensive insurance, travellers should not purchase any additional insurance to secure an excess/deductible under NZD $6,500. The University’s travel insurance provides coverage for the excess up to $6,500.

Note: for procedures related to accidents or damage to rental vehicles, or making a related insurance claim please see the Motor Vehicles Accidents and Insurance Policy and Procedures.

Use of private motor vehicles

31. Travellers may be reimbursed for approved use of their private motor vehicle when on University travel.
32. The use of a private vehicle for University purposes will only be approved in circumstances where a University pool vehicle, rental vehicle or taxi is not an efficient option.
33. For distances greater than 150 km in total, a rental vehicle is the most economical option.
34. Approval must be obtained from the traveller’s approving manager and delegated financial authority for the cost centre being charged before a private motor vehicle is used on University travel.
35. Travelling between home and work will not be reimbursed.
36. Private motor vehicles used for University travel must have a current warrant of fitness, registration, be road worthy and fully insured.
37. Owners of personal vehicles being driven for University travel are advised that their personal insurance will be called on first in the case of an insurance claim.
38. The University’s motor vehicle insurance policy will only consider the claim if all terms of these Procedures and the Travel Policy are met, the vehicle is within New Zealand and the owner’s personal insurance does not cover the claim.

Note: for more information related to motor vehicle accidents, or making a related insurance claim please see the Motor Vehicles Accidents and Insurance Policy and Procedures.

39. When using a private motor vehicle on University travel, the shortest route necessary for the purpose of the trip must be claimed for.
40. Use of private motor vehicles will be reimbursed via the University expense claim reimbursement process.
41. The prescribed Inland Revenue Department rates are to be used except where otherwise stipulated in the relevant Collective Staff Agreements.

Note - These rates are compensation for all costs of running a vehicle including fuel and insurance.

42. Receipts will not be required for reimbursement of private motor vehicle expenses.

Use of University vehicles

43. Staff operating University vehicles for University travel must refer to the Motor Vehicle Policy before undertaking their journey.

Cancellations and alterations for travel arrangements

44. Cancellations and alterations are to be made through the TMC wherever practical.

Note – This is to ensure a credit is received for the unused reservations and any fees.

45. If it becomes necessary to cancel a reservation directly with the service provider (e.g. hotel or rental vehicle company), the traveller is to obtain a cancellation number to avoid the possibility of disputes later.
46. No-show charges are not reimbursable, and any charges to the University may be claimed back from the person incurring the charge unless in extraordinary and unavoidable circumstances.


The following definitions apply to this document:
Alternative supplier means a supplier other than the Travel Management Company (TMC).
Approving manager is the traveller’s line manager or a manager higher in the approval hierarchy with the appropriate financial delegated authority or travelling student’s supervisor, learning abroad programme manager, or the 360 International office.
Economy class
does not include premium economy class, products (such as Skycouch) or equivalent where an additional cost is incurred over and above that of the standard economy class airfare.
Entire duration is the total length of the trip from the date of departure to the date of return to the traveller’s place/city of departure.
Essential travel is travel that is absolutely necessary and required to deliver the University’s strategic objectives. Travel is directly attributable to achieving the agreed strategic objectives of the faculty, service division, or

  • the purpose of travel is directly attributable to achieving a contracted deliverable or milestone, or
  • student approved travel, or
  • travel provides demonstrable benefits to the University through updated knowledge, networking with peers or developing new skills, supporting early -career development and
  • the benefits cannot be achieved through teleconferencing or videoconferencing, or
  • the University traveller is presenting at an event which provides demonstrable reputational benefit to the University and/or contributes to the professional or academic community of practice
  • it has been specifically included in a grant or fund

Exceptional circumstances may include carer responsibilities that require companion travel.
Technology risk assessment refers to an assessment of the risks to personal safety, information security and export controls compliance associated with international travel.
Third party an organisation or individual separate from the University.
Travel management company (TMC) refers to Orbit, the travel agency contracted by the University to supply travel management services.
University means Waipapa Taumata Rau | the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.
University members refers to those persons who make up the University as set out in section 3(2) of The University of Auckland Act 1961 and includes University staff members, students, Council committee members, contractors, sub-contractors and invitees.
University student activity travel refers to international travel for any student activity:

  • undertaken to fulfil a requirement for academic progress at the University or
  • organised by the University or
  • endorsed by the approving manager and/or 360 International and directly related to the to the student’s professional/academic development

Note - University student activity travel does not include activities organised solely by a student or group of students unless they otherwise meet the above definition of University student activities.
University travel is travel that has been approved as being for University purpose and is funded by the University, a grant or third party.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owned by: Chief Financial Officer
Content manager: Procurement Office
Approved by: Vice-Chancellor
Date approved:  01 November 2023
Review date:  01 November 2025