Travel Expenses and Booking Procedures


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

This document is intended be read in conjunction with the following:


These procedures apply to all University members organising, undertaking or approving funded University travel.

Students organising and undertaking self-funded University student activity travel must refer to the University Student Activity Travel Procedures.


Organising and booking travel

  • Travel supplier
  • Air travel
  • Accommodation
  • Rental Vehicles and related insurance
  • Use of Private Motor Vehicles
  • Use of University Vehicles
  • Cancellations and alterations

General travel expenses

  • Meals
  • Alcohol
  • Visas, inoculations and passports
  • Travel club and Rewards Programme Memberships
  • Excess baggage
  • Airport parking
  • Gratuities
  • Per diems
  • Hotel broadband costs
  • Personal telephone calls
  • Laundry
  • Additional Travel Insurance Premiums
  • Taxis or Uber
  • Cash advances
  • Non-reimbursable expenses

Supporting documentation requirements


Organising and Booking Travel

Travel supplier

Note – In line with the Travel Policy all University travel must be booked via the University’s Travel Management Company (TMC).

To contact Orbit please see Before you Travel with Orbit.

1. If the traveller’s itinerary contains components as per the allowable exceptions outlined in the Travel Policy, item 2, the traveller must supply the following information to the Performance and Risk Office at before their departure:

  • full travel itinerary
  • accommodation (name, address, telephone, check in and check out dates)
  • local transportation (name, departure city, departure date/time, arrival city, arrival date/time)
  • mobile number

Note – This info will be shared with the TMC and the University’s emergency assistance providers to assist in locating travellers and providing assistance in the event of a major incident in the traveller’s vicinity.

Air travel

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

  • travel at off-peak times wherever possible
  • use the TMC self-service options i.e. the online booking tool
  • to the extent practical, air travel is to be booked well ahead of the actual travel to take advantage of lower fares
  • what products are required i.e. 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
  • where return times are subject to change, the traveller is to book the cheapest flexible return flight
  • where a number of Senior Leadership Team members are attending the same engagement it is not recommended this group travel together


3. When a person is required to be away from their home overnight on University travel, the actual cost of reasonable accommodation will be paid.

4. 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.

5. Where possible accommodation must be booked to include chargeback for daily per person room, breakfast and internet charges only.

6. All home share e.g. Airbnb accommodation must be arranged via the TMC. The below checklist has been designed to provide staff with key considerations when utilising home share properties;

  • Check the location on a map – is there parking if you require? Is this near any sensitive locations i.e. protest / rally flashpoints / likely terrorist activity
  • What sort of an area is it in – is it a safe and “nice” area?
  • Are there any public holidays / events / hot spots in this area during your stay as this may impact ability to secure transport/food/ other supplies?
  • Are there working smoke detectors, emergency card information, first aid kit, fire extinguisher
  • Alternate power source in the event of power cut i.e. generator
  • Check in procedure and access controls / is there an after-hours option / secure drop box / key pad / doorman
  • Is the property stand alone or in a block?
  • Are there adequate facilities to meet the traveller needs?
  • Are there adequate pictures, reviews and overall rating?

7. 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.

8. 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

9. Travellers must refer to the Traveller Checklist for Funded University Travel to ensure they have complied with the Travel Policy and these procedures.

Rental motor vehicles and related insurance

10. Rental vehicles may be used for University travel where that is the most cost-effective means of transport.

11. Prior approval must be obtained from the traveller’s approving manager, and reservations are to be made through the Travel Management Company (TMC).

12. The traveller must conduct a pre-hire inspection with the rental provider, prior to renting the vehicle.

13. In general, vehicles up to 2.0 litres are to be hired, unless:

  • there are four or more passengers including the driver
  • the amount of luggage or equipment necessitates a larger vehicle

14. If rental vehicles used on University travel are re-fuelled, the cost is reimbursable.

15. All charges relating to the return of rental vehicles must be minimised, e.g. vehicles must be returned to the rental company in a presentable condition and where possible fully refuelled.

16. 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.

17. Rental vehicles (cars and vans only) hired within New Zealand for University travel are covered under the University’s motor vehicle insurance policy.

Note: accordingly the rental company’s insurance cover is to be declined.

18. Rental vehicles hired outside of New Zealand must have comprehensive insurance cover in the country of hire which must include vehicle damage, third party and public liability cover.

  • 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 $5,000. The University’s travel insurance provides coverage for the excess up to $5,000.

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.

Use of private motor vehicles

19. Travellers may be reimbursed for approved use of their private motor vehicle when on University travel.

20. 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.

21. The use of a private vehicle for University purposes will be approved only in circumstances where a University pool vehicle, rental vehicle or taxi is not an efficient option. For distances greater than 150kms in total a rental car is the most economical option.

22. Travelling between home and work will not be reimbursed.

23. Private motor vehicles used for University travel must have a current warrant of fitness, registration, be road worthy and fully insured.

24. 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.

25. 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.

26. When using a private motor vehicle on University travel, the shortest route necessary for the purpose of the trip must be claimed for.

27. Use of private motor vehicles will be compensated via a mileage claim.

28. 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.

29. Receipts will not be required for reimbursement of this expense.

30. Use of private motor vehicles cannot be compensated via petrol vouchers.

Use of University vehicles

31. Staff operating University vehicles for University travel must refer to the Motor Vehicle Policy.

Cancellations and alterations for travel arrangements

32. 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.

33. If it becomes necessary to cancel a reservation directly with the service provider (e.g. hotel or rental car company), the traveller is to obtain a cancellation number to avoid the possibility of disputes later.

34. 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 genuinely unavoidable circumstances.

General travel expenses

35. Claiming items for other staff members or students is not permitted unless one of the following exceptions apply:

  • By staff who hold a pCard specifically to purchase and pay for expenditure for students and staff – and these expenses comply with pCard policy (conferences, subscriptions etc.)
  • Where a group charge is applicable and the most senior person present is required to pay for the charge in line with policy – for example staff catering or hospitality.


36. The actual and reasonable cost of meals appropriate to the travel will be reimbursed.

37. The cost of meals to be paid for by the University must be in the mid-range both in respect to the eating establishment concerned and the menu of the eating establishment.

38. The cost of meals is only reimbursable when travelling outside your home city.

39. Snacks including coffee are not reimbursable unless the snack is in lieu of a meal.


40. Mid-range priced alcohol when travelling on an approved University trip is reimbursable only when consumed in moderation with a meal or at a function.

Note - One or two glasses of wine or bottles of beer per person per day are considered moderate.

41. The price of a bottle of wine to be shared is not to exceed NZD$100 GST inclusive.

Visas, inoculations and passports

42. Visas and inoculations required for University travel are reimbursable.

43. Visas and inoculations obtained for any private travel undertaken in conjunction with University travel are not reimbursable.

44. Passport costs are not reimbursable.

Travel club and Rewards Programme Memberships

45. Airline flight club, hotel reward, customer club or any other travel reward scheme membership (new or renewal) is a private expense and will not be reimbursed or paid for by the University unless:

  • it is specifically provided for in an individual employment agreement, or
  • it is approved by the appropriate delegated financial authority for frequent travellers, travelling 20 or more return trips a year

46. Personal air points may be used to pay for Airline flight club membership.

47. Travellers may retain frequent flyer or other travel reward scheme points for personal use, including upgrading an economy class fare to premium economy or business class, or other benefits such as hotel room upgrades but the use of such points is not reimbursable.

48. No travel arrangements are to be created or approved where a higher booking class and/or cost is incurred for the advantage of personal travel reward schemes over the requirement to obtain the cost effectiveness consistent with the objectives of the proposed trip.

49. No travel arrangements are to be created or approved where those arrangements have been made outside the University approved process of booking via the contracted TMC for the advantage of personal travel reward schemes.

Excess baggage

50. Excess baggage costs for University-owned property required for University travel are reimbursable.


51. Gratuities will not be reimbursed except for countries where there is a strong culture of tipping for service.

52. Tipping is to be included on the receipt wherever possible which the tipping amount is clearly stated. Where no receipt is available for low value items travellers are required to keep a record of all tipping and provide genuine explanation as to why no receipt is available, this record should be maintained and attached to any expense claim.

Note - New Zealand and Australia are not considered to have a strong culture of tipping for service.

Per diems

53. Per diems (i.e. daily allowances) will not be paid by the University unless:

  • otherwise stated in existing staff collective agreements, or
  • the recipient is a Distinguished Fellow travelling inbound on a Distinguished Visitors/Travelling Award, for whom per diems have been requested and pre-approved as part of a successful Distinguished Visitors/Travelling Award application

54. Per diems are not paid for outbound travelling staff

Hotel broadband costs

55. Hotel broadband costs incurred on University travel are reimbursable.

Note - When using a hotel's broadband facilities, travellers should be conscious to avoid the high charges some hotels impose for the use of the hotel's telephone system. At times it is much more convenient and cost effective to purchase a pre-paid SIM with data for the duration of travel – which can be used as hotspot for internet, which will likely be much cheaper and more secure than using hotel broadband (if not already included in the hotel charges / package cost).

Personal telephone calls

56. Personal telephone calls of a reasonable level when away on University travel may be reimbursed at the discretion of an approving manager.

Note - As a guide, one ten-minute call per day would be regarded as being reasonable.


57. Reasonable laundry and dry cleaning charges are reimbursable on trips lasting 3 days or more.

Additional Travel Insurance premiums

58. Insurance premiums incurred for additional travel insurance cover must be purchased through the University’s insurance broker and are to be charged to:

  • the authorising department, PReSS account or research grant if the premium is for funded University travel.
  • the traveller, if the additional premium is incurred due to the personal travel portion of the travel, or travel in excess of the allowable coverage in the Via TRM Student Travel Insurance Terms & Conditions.

Note - The Funded Travel Insurance Terms & Conditions and the Via TRM Student Travel Insurance Terms & Conditions outline the eligibility requirements and length of cover for University provided travel insurance.

Taxis & Rideshare Providers

59. The use of taxis on official University travel is permitted when no University vehicle is available or as an alternative to a rental vehicle when use of a taxi or rideshare e.g. Uber provider is more economical.

60. Taxis & rideshares cannot be used to travel between home and work unless there is a business purpose or health and safety concerns.

61. Taxis or rideshares must be used for travel to and from the airport where the total cost is more cost effective than mileage plus airport parking fees for a private vehicle.

62. Taxis or rideshares must be used for travel to and from the conference where the total cost is more cost effective than mileage plus conference parking fees for a private vehicle.

Note - The below checklist has been designed to provide staff with key considerations when utilising rideshares;

  • Consider your location & time of travel
  • Be aware of the model/make and license plate number of the car before accepting the ride
  • Confirm this is your ride before entering the vehicle
  • If possible be aware of the potential journey route in advance
  • Sit in the back and wear a seat belt
  • Firmly reject any attempt from the driver to pick up additional passengers or acquaintances
  • If you feel uneasy with the driving, route or driver instruct the driver to stop at the first secure or busy place
  • Do not discuss personal details, keep conversation on a professional level


63. Reasonable car parking fees such as airport, conference and other businesses will be reimbursed for vehicles used on University travel.

Cash advances

64. Travellers are expected to minimise their use of cash for reimbursable expenses by charging expenses back to the University via TMC wherever possible.

Note - e.g. air fares, accommodation and rental vehicles can typically be charged back to the TMC. Pre-payment on a University P-Card or E-Card may be permitted where chargeback is unavailable.

65. Out of pocket travel expenses are to be charged to a University E-Card (where one has been issued) wherever possible.

Note - This is to minimise dealing in cash and reconciliations.

66. In instances where a cash advance is necessary, this is to be applied for via the expense management system.

67. The amount requested is to correspond with the likely amount of expenses which cannot be charged back to a University credit card, taking into account the length of the proposed trip and its requirements.

68. Cash advances require approval by a person with delegated financial authority over the cost centre that the travel is being charged to and approval from the Shared Transaction Centre.

69. Cash advances will be paid directly into the traveller's bank account in New Zealand dollars.

70. If the traveller requires foreign exchange they are required to obtain this at the airport or local bank, or withdraw from an ATM in the country they are travelling to.

71. Original receipts and invoices must be obtained for all expenditure from the cash advance.

72. The cash advance must be reconciled and settled promptly within 2 weeks after the traveller’s return to work via the expense management system.

73. Any unused portion of the advance is to be paid into the University’s main bank account (01-1839-0818777-00) by either EFTPOS, credit card or internet banking.

Non-reimbursable expenses

Accompanying person’s travel expenses

74. Where a traveller is accompanied by a friend or family member on official University travel, the University will not pay for any of the accompanying person’s travel expenses or other incremental costs.

75. Travellers with exceptional circumstances may request dispensation from a University Executive Committee member to have their companion’s travel expenses reimbursed.

Personal expenses

76. Expenses of a personal nature are not reimbursable. Such expenses are to be paid by the traveller directly to the service provider.

77. Travellers with exceptional circumstances may request dispensation from a University Executive Committee member to have their expenses reimbursed.

78. The following are examples of expenses which are generally not reimbursable (in addition to those referred to elsewhere in these Procedures):

  • mini-bar usage (excludes bottled water)
  • fines for traffic and parking violations and towing fees
  • any illegal use of a motor vehicle
  • in-room movies or video rentals
  • personal expenses incurred as a result of being away on University travel, such as carer responsibilities
  • lawn care, care of pets, gym sessions
  • souvenirs or personal gifts
  • barber or hairdressing services
  • luggage or briefcases, toiletries or clothing
  • other personal costs such as snacks, newspaper, magazines, personal postage costs, pharmaceuticals, recreational activities, or private travel while on University travel

Business purpose

79. The overall business purpose of the trip must be clearly stated on the expense report as well as the specific business purpose for individual expenses incurred.

80. Business purpose is to include information such as:

  • people involved or attended and their purpose for attending
  • university affiliation
  • business topics covered

Supporting documentation

80. Expenses must be adequately supported by a receipt or tax invoice (if applicable) except for:

  • private vehicle usage: details of each journey and the distance travelled are to be itemised on the expense claim
  • staying privately: however, proof of the cost being paid for the private accommodation may be requested. This does not include AirBnB stays as these must be booked via the TMC
  • incidental allowances: as agreed in existing staff collective agreements

81. All travel expenses must be claimed within three months after the traveller’s return to work via the expense management system.

82. Receipts for expenditure incurred in New Zealand over $50 must meet IRD requirements for tax invoices.

Note - These requirements are outlined on the tax compliance page.

Note – The words “Tax Invoice” must be stated on the documentation. Credit card dockets and EFTPOS chits by themselves are not adequate documentation for taxation purposes.

82. Approvers must confirm that a readable image of the receipt or tax invoice is attached to the expense report on the expense management system and that the goods purchased are clearly shown.

83. Purchases in foreign currency must be converted to NZD at the foreign exchange rate that was used at the time of the transaction or the time the cash was converted to foreign currency.

84. Proof of the foreign exchange rate used must be attached to the expense report (e.g. credit card statement or a receipt from conversion of cash into foreign currency).

85. In cases where a submitted expense does not conform to University policy, or if a receipt is missing, an explanation is required on the expense report.

86. All reasonable steps must be taken to obtain a copy of a lost receipt.

87. Where expenditure does not comply with University policies, the reimbursement may be declined.


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, programme manager, travel plan approver or the 360 International office.

Economy class does not include premium economy class or equivalent.

Exceptional circumstances may include extraordinary family responsibilities or disabilities.

Travel management company (TMC) refers to Orbit, the travel agency contracted by the University to supply travel management services.

University means 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 self-funded 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 directly related to the to the student’s professional/academic development

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

Policy owner: Chief Financial Officer
Content manager: Financial Services
Approved by: Vice-Chancellor
Date approved: 31 January 2019
Review date: 31 January 2024