How to Report Travel Expenses

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When a person from a business or organization travels, his hotel, food and transportation are often paid for by the business or organization for which he works. The traveler must keep track of the expenses and keep the receipts to make sure that he can properly fill out a travel expense report when he returns. The travel expense report is a document that includes a list of the items and services that were paid for by the traveler. Although each organization has its own requirements and regulations regarding travel, there are some general items that should typically always be reported on travel expense reports.

Things You'll Need

  • Receipts
  • Expense report form
  • Credit card statement

Take a travel expense form from the travel department or from human resources before leaving on the trip. The travel expense report will include a number of items that need to be filled in after the trip is completed. Typically these forms are one sheet. Sometimes they’re printed on envelopes. In the case that the employer requires employees to fill out travel expense forms electronically, print out the electronic form before the trip and use it as a template to record costs during the trip.

Save all of the receipts from the trip. If the travel form is printed on an envelope, simply place the receipts into the envelope after each purchase is made. If there is no envelope, receipts can be placed inside of plastic zipper bags. Be sure that every purchase is accounted for with either a physical receipt or a credit card statement after the trip has finished.

Wait to receive balance statements from the credit card company before submitting the report. Verify that you have included all of the costs from the credit card balance on the travel expense report. Add up the receipts and make sure that they are all accounted for and that the costs are placed in the right sections of the report.

Complete the “Food” section of the travel expense report. This section will likely be broken up into days. Simply write in the amount of money spent on food from each day. It is important to remember to include tips that are paid in cash on this expense report; otherwise your math may come up a few dollars short after the trip is completed.

Fill out the section that includes the prices for hotels and lodging. If this section includes services obtained at the hotel, like Internet fees or tips to the bellhop, be sure to include these things. If room service is ordered and added to the hotel bill, subtract this amount from the “Lodging” section and make sure to include it in the “Food” section before the expense report is submitted.

Fill out the “Travel” section by including the price for the plane tickets or the amount of miles driven if driving your own car. Check with the travel department to find out what the rate is per mile. Typically it is somewhere around 50 cents per mile, if using your own vehicle. If a rental vehicle is used, a reimbursement of the miles is not given, however gas costs will still be reimbursed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try to stick within your budget as you travel. The traveler who stays on budget will be more likely to be trusted to take other trips in the future.
  • If a cash advance is taken from your credit card, there will likely be an advance fee included on the credit card statement.

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