What is a business travel allowance?
A travel allowance is a payment from the company you work for, to cover your expenses when you travel for work. It usually takes care of things like accommodation, food, drink and transport.
You could receive your travel allowance before or after your business trip. If you get it before you go, don’t feel like you have to spend all of it!
Things that are usually covered
Generally, whether you’re heading overseas or to another city, your travel allowance pays for:
- Travel for work outside your normal commute – so a flight to the US is definitely covered!
- Daytime food and drink away from your normal workplace
- Overnight accommodation when you’re travelling for work
- Dinner and breakfast when you’re staying somewhere overnight
To give you an idea of what you might end up spending on a business trip overseas, our travel costs around the world page shows the average costs in different countries.
What to remember
- Get to know your company's travel allowance policy – it varies from business to business
- Your expenses have to be business-related – always take any personal costs off the total amount you’re claiming for, you may have to show that you’ve done this
- If you’re self-employed rather than an employee, the rules can be slightly different – check with your accountant
- You can’t claim for your journey from home to your usual place of work – so if you’re going into the office before your flight, that isn’t covered
- You can usually claim ‘reasonable expenses’ for your meals – check what this means for your company
- Alcohol is usually only covered when it’s part of a meal – again it has to be ‘reasonable’, for example one drink or half a bottle of wine
- Be careful if you’re claiming for expenses at places that might be considered too close to home or your usual workplace – for example, check that breakfast at the airport or train station is still covered if it’s not far away
- Make sure you keep track of your expenses while you’re away. There are apps you can use, or at least keep notes and put all your receipts together in an envelope.
Other things you might be able to claim for
- Dry cleaning and laundry – especially if you’re on a longer trip and you need to make sure you stay looking smart
- Phone calls and internet fees
- Travel expenses might include fuel and car hire as well as flights and bus, train, tram and taxi fares.
Getting ready to go on a business trip?
If you're looking for an easy way to track your expenses on your trip, why not try our Travelex Money Card? It works the same as a debit or credit card and can be loaded with up to 10 different currencies.
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