Employees these days strengthen customer relationships and facilitate market expansion by traveling to various business travel destinations. They incur a variety of expenses to accomplish business travel goals. Work travelers experience stress when they cannot incur essential business travel expenses.
At the same time, they escalate business trip costs by incurring unproductive travel expenses. While streamlining travel expenses, employers implement travel and expense policies that define reimbursable and non-reimbursable expenses.
Also, they ensure that each employee can access a comprehensive travel expenses list seamlessly before, during, and after the business trip. In addition to preventing employees from incurring out-of-policy expenses, the list of travel expenses helps the finance team speed up employee expense reimbursement.
Here is a list of essential travel expenses you must consider while making or updating the organizational travel and expense policy.
Essential Travel Expenses You Must Include in the Travel Expenses List
Work travelers these days opt for air transport to reach destinations quickly and sustainably. But most prefer direct flights to connecting flights to save time and remain stress-free. Hence, your organization must reimburse the money employees spend on booking domestic or international flights.
While engaging in domestic business travel, many employees prefer trains to flights. Your policy must allow employees to book trains instead of flights. Also, you must ensure that your company reimburses the train fare paid by the work traveler. However, your policies must clearly define what train travel class can a specific employee book.
Employees spend money on making stay arrangements for business trips. But older employees prefer hotels, while millennials and Gen-Z employees opt for homestays and similar unconventional accommodations.
Your policy must allow employees to book hotels or unconventional accommodations. At the same time, it must encourage employees to save money by availing of the complimentary services provided by the accommodation provided by the hotel or homestay facility.
Employees incur expenses to travel from one area to another in the business travel destination. However, employees now choose various ground transportation options – car rental, taxis, cabs, and shared car drives. Your organization must reimburse the expenses incurred by business travelers to move from one location to another.
Employees spend money on breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks to sustain themselves during business trips. Your organization must reimburse the subsistence expenses incurred by employees entirely. Also, it should refund costs incurred by employees in business meals while attending events or entertaining clients.
You can control costs by allowing work travelers to use their vehicles for business. In such scenarios, your organization must support mileage reimbursement. It must reimburse fuel costs, toll charges, and parking fees incurred by travelers. Many organizations these days cover these expenses by providing mileage allowances to employees.
Cost of Essential Business Travel Accessories
Often first-time business travelers have to buy essential travel accessories like travel laundry bags, packing cubes, eye masks, neck pillows, and power banks. Your company must allow them to buy these must-have business travel accessories. Also, you need to ensure that the amount spent on business travel accessories is reimbursed fully.
Your travel expenses list should include this item if your organization covers various business travel risks by allowing employees to buy business travel insurance. However, work travelers have the option to buy several types of travel insurance – trip cancellation, baggage loss, life coverage, and medical. Your policy must specify what business travel insurance a domestic or international business travel can buy.
Visa and Passport Fees
Many employees engage in international business travel for the first time. They spend money on arranging essential travel documents like passports and visas. Your organization must reimburse the passport application fees and visa charges paid by an employee before the business trip.
Conference or Event Fees
Many executives these days travel to various business travel destinations to participate in seminars, conferences, and other corporate events. They have to pay fees while registering for specific conferences or seminars. Your business travel expenses list must include these event fees in the category of reimbursable travel expenses.
Work travelers sometimes need personal assistance to perform certain activities efficiently. They avail of professional concierge services to make reservations, create travel itineraries, and interact with local people. Your company must help employees accomplish business travel goals by reimbursing the cost of concierge services.
This element in the corporate travel expenses list refers to the minor ancillary fees paid by a work traveler after incurring specific travel expenses. For instance, the tip paid by the work traveler in addition to cab fare will come under that category of incidental expenses. Your company must reimburse incidental expenses to make work travelers follow destination-specific etiquette.
Often work travelers incur certain expenses to remain safe and stress-free during business trips. Your company must boost the business travel experience of employees by reimbursing such items not included in the travel expenses list. However, your finance team must review these miscellaneous expenses to ensure they are not personal expenses.
You should consider this travel expense if your organization motivates employees by supporting bleisure travel. Your organizational travel policy must clearly define the leisure activities a work traveler can indulge in without neglecting his professional responsibilities. In addition, you must define the bleisure travel expenses your company will reimburse.
A comprehensive travel expenses list will help employees differentiate between reimbursable and non-reimbursable travel expenses. At the same time, it will help your finance team reduce the time required for employee expense reimbursement.
While making the travel expenses list, you should include expenses that improve business travel experience and business travel safety. Likewise, you need to ensure that employees pay from their pockets for amenities like personal, companion, and commuting expenses.
However, you must remember that business travel trends change at regular intervals. Hence, you must review and update the travel expenses list periodically to meet emerging trends like bleisure travel. In addition, you need to ensure that each work traveler accesses and understands the updated list while planning a business trip.