Academic Tip: Travel Reimbursement Envelopes

When I get back from a trip, I always have plenty of e-mail and other things to catch up on, and turning in receipts for work travel falls down the list until my next credit card bill comes. Most places have a deadline to submit receipts, and it’s an expensive one to mess with. I need ways to keep myself from procrastinating, and I think I’ve come up with one.

Several years ago I made a form in Microsoft Word that I fill out after each trip and then include with my receipts. That way I can specify which meals I’m requesting per diem’s for and which ones were included. (No, you can’t request a per diem for an included meal just because it wasn’t good food.) It’s less work for your assistant, and it makes it less likely there will be delays while someone tries to figure out which meals you should get.

I was at Surgical Education Week last week and heard several folks mention keeping an envelope of receipts. I’ve always shoved mine in the back of my wallet, but that leaves the extra step of getting them together with the hotel receipt (which is as long as a mortgage application) and turning them in.

So I put the info I’ve always collected onto an envelope, and I’ve attached it here for your use.

Example Reimbursement Envelope-wclayj

I printed out a few, and stashed some in the office and some in my briefcase. I’m likely to forget the ones in my office, but my briefcase goes on every trip.

Extra tip: If you extend your trip to add vacation, be sure to save info to prove it was no more expensive. For example, if you’re flying Saturday-Thursday so you can spend the weekend at the site of the conference, book your ticket but also print out proof of what it would have cost to travel Monday-Thursday. It’s almost always cheaper to travel on the weekends, but you need to prove it to get your money back.

If you have other academic travel suggestions, please comment below!