Travel Expenses 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.


1. Expenses incurred in undertaking University travel will be paid directly or reimbursed by the University subject to the following conditions:

  • The expenses must be approved by the delegated financial approver
    Expenses must have a clear business purpose and be directly attributable to the University’s benefit
  • Travel expenditure must be cost effective and efficient, having regard to traveller health, security, safety considerations, the purpose, distance and time
  • Incurring travel expense must not provide a personal financial benefit to the traveller or an accompanying person
  • Reimbursement must be made on the basis of evidence of actual and reasonable expenditure
  • Reimbursements will only be made where it is not possible for the University to make payments directly
  • Expenses must be adequately supported by a receipt or tax invoice

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

  • A claim submitted by a staff member who holds a pCard specifically to purchase and pay for expenditure for students and staff – and the claimed expenses comply with Expense and Purchasing Card Policy
  • Where a group charge applies and the most senior staff member present is required to pay for the charge in line with policy, for example staff catering or hospitality.


3. The actual and reasonable cost of meals appropriate to the travel will be reimbursed.
4. The cost of meals to be paid for by the University must be in the mid-range both in terms of the eating establishment and the menu of the eating establishment.
5. The cost of meals is only reimbursable when travelling outside your home city.
6. Snacks including coffee are not reimbursable unless the snack is in lieu of a meal.


7. Mid-range priced alcohol when travelling on an approved University trip is reimbursable only when consumed in moderation, considered to be one or two alcoholic drinks with a meal or at a function.

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

Visas, vaccination and passports

9. Visas required for University travel are reimbursable.
10. The University will reimburse the costs of vaccinations prior to travel to particular countries where they are required for University travel and recommended by the University’s travel management company (TMC) or a registered medical practitioner
11. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that inoculations are current before travelling.
12. Visas and vaccinations obtained for any private travel undertaken in conjunction with University travel are not reimbursable.
13. Passport costs are not reimbursable.

Travel club and rewards programme memberships

14. 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.

15. Personal air points may be used to pay for airline flight club membership.

16. Travellers may retain frequent flyer or other travel reward scheme points or use personal funds 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 or funds is not reimbursable.
17. 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.
18. 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

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


20. Gratuities will not be reimbursed in New Zealand or Australia.
21. Gratuities may be reimbursed for countries where there is a strong culture of tipping for service.
22. Tipping is to be included on the receipt wherever possible, with the tipping amount clearly stated. Where no receipt is available for low value items, travellers are required to keep a record of all tipping and provide explanation as to why no receipt is available. This record should be maintained and attached to any expense claim.

Per diems

23. Per diems are daily allowances, and 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

24. Per diems are not paid for outbound travelling staff.

Hotel broadband costs

25. 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. Typically 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, this will likely be much cheaper and will offer more security than using hotel broadband (if not already included in the hotel charges / package cost).

Personal telephone calls

26. 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.


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

Additional travel insurance premiums

28. 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 University Student Activity Travel Insurance Terms & Conditions.
  • University travellers may be required to complete a form requesting additional information to determine whether insurance coverage is included.
    International travel insurance - The University of Auckland
  • Any uninsured costs or losses resulting from University travel, and where the University is responsible, will be funded by the traveller’s business unit.

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

Taxis & rideshare providers

29. 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 such as Uber provider is more economical.
30. Taxis and rideshares cannot be used to travel between home and work other than in an emergency (with approval of the Incident Controller or BCP Lead) or where deemed necessary in an approved risk assessment.
31. 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.
32.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. Please refer to the rideshare checklist of key considerations.


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

Cash advances

34. Travellers are expected to minimise their use of cash for reimbursable expenses by charging expenses back to the University via TMC wherever possible. Pre-payment on a University P-Card or E-card may be permitted where chargeback is unavailable.
35. To minimise dealing in cash and reconciliations out of pocket travel expenses are to be charged to a University E-Card (where one has been issued) wherever possible.
36. In instances where a cash advance is necessary, this is to be applied for via the expense management system.
38. 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.
39. Cash advances require approval by a person with delegated financial authority over the traveller’s default cost centre and approval from the Shared Transaction Centre.
40. Cash advances will be paid directly into the traveller's bank account in New Zealand dollars.
41. If the traveller requires foreign currency they are required to obtain this at the airport, a local bank, or withdraw it from an ATM in the country they are travelling to.
42. Original taxable supply information must be obtained for all expenditure from the cash advance.
43. The cash advance must be reconciled and settled promptly within 1 month after the traveller’s return to work via the expense management system.
44. Any unused portion of the advance is to be paid back to the University as outlined here

Non-reimbursable expenses

Accompanying person’s travel expenses

45. 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
46. Travellers with exceptional circumstances may request dispensation from their approving manager to have their companion’s travel expenses reimbursed.

Personal expenses

47. Expenses of a personal nature are not reimbursable. Such expenses are to be paid by the traveller directly to the service provider. Please refer to personal travel expenses for examples of expenses that are generally not reimbursable.

Business purpose

48. The overall business purpose of the trip must be clearly stated on the expense claim as well as the specific business purpose for individual expenses incurred.
49. Business purpose is to include information such as:

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

Supporting documentation

50. Expenses must be adequately supported by taxable supply information except for:

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

51. All travel expenses must be claimed within three months after the traveller’s return to work via the expense management system.
52. Approvers must confirm that a readable image of the taxable supply information is attached to the expense claim on the expense management system and that the goods purchased are clearly shown.
53. 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.
54. Proof of the foreign exchange rate used must be attached to the expense claim, such as a credit card statement or a receipt from conversion of cash into foreign currency.
55. In cases where a submitted expense does not conform to University policy, or if a receipt is missing or cannot be supplied, an explanation is required on the expense claim.
56. All reasonable steps must be taken to obtain a copy of a lost taxable supply information document.
57. Reimbursement may be declined where expenditure does not comply with the University policies.


The following definitions apply to this document:

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.
Chargeback is when travel costs such as air fares, accommodation and rental vehicles are charged to the travel management company who then on charge the University.
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.
Exceptional circumstances may include carer responsibilities that require companion travel.
Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part time basis.
Taxable supply information refers to the minimum set of information that the traveller is required to keep as evidence of a transaction, to support a GST return. New laws, which took effect on 1 April 2023, replaced the requirement to use tax invoices with a more general requirement to provide and keep certain records known as taxable supply information. For the purposes of expense claims, taxable supply information refers to receipts or tax invoices that include the supplier’s name, date of invoice or where no invoice issued, time of supply, description of goods and/or service supplied and amount of consideration for the supply.
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