Stanford faculty, staff, students, affiliates and visitors travel on a wide range of activities in support of the university. It’s essential that travel activities and expenses conform to university policies and procedures, which can be ensured by following these steps.
Stanford employees who work remotely must follow the travel process of any other Stanford traveler. Learn more about remote worker policies, including travel to a Stanford work location, on the Cardinal at Work page Flexible Work Arrangements & Policies.
- Review the university's traveler health and safety guidelines as well as information about travel restrictions on the Office of International Affairs and Environmental Health & Safety websites.
- Review Administrative Guide 5.4.2: Business and Travel Expenses.
- Review Business and Travel Expense Fundamentals for the overarching policy pertaining to travel.
- Review the travel category pages that apply to the trip: Travel Meals, Airfare, Lodging and Ground Transportation.
- Know the account number (PTA) to which expenses will be charged (Find a PTA).
- Get travel approved by a person with authority over the PTA.
- Refer to Foreign Travel policy page, if planning foreign travel.
For international travel, the traveler is responsible for checking the documentation requirements (passport, visa, country specific forms, vaccination requirements, etc.). These requirements vary by citizenship and purpose of trip, change frequently, and should always be checked before booking international travel. For more guidance, see the Faculty, Staff & Postdoc Travel Checklist on the International Affairs site.
In order to be able to more effectively support university travelers, Stanford requires the use of a centralized travel booking program (Stanford Travel) when faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and students are booking airfare for university-sponsored travel unless it is specifically exempted from the booking policy. Travelers may also use Stanford Travel when booking hotels and rental cars for university-sponsored travel.
Stanford Travel automatically sends booking updates to the registry when itineraries change, supports compliance with reimbursement policies and procedures and offers discounts, waivers, and perks to travelers. More booking policy details are available in the Business and Travel Expense Policies overview.
- Review special negotiated rates with airlines, lodging and ground transportation providers, using travel resources in the Stanford Travel Program.
- Review and choose a payment method. The Stanford Travel Card (TCard) is the recommended payment option for any travel costs that will not be reimbursed through the per diem method.
- Make reservations and purchase tickets via Stanford Travel.
- Download the at-a-glance view of the Business and Travel Expense Desk Guide.
- Consider discussing the eReceipts app with your preparer and using the app to capture and share receipts with your mobile device.
- Choose a reimbursement option (actual expenses vs. per diem) by reviewing Travel Meals and Lodging policy pages.
- Obtain a Stanford Travel Packet (envelopes for collecting receipts).
- Download the relevant travel supplier and booking channel apps to receive timely travel updates.
- Collect required receipts using the travel packet, or use a mobile device to take an image of each receipt and email the image(s) to the transaction preparer. The eReceipts app streamlines this process by automatically attaching receipts to the expense request.
- Track mileage for any personal vehicle use for Stanford business.
- Note whether a conference provided any meals (save conference agenda).
- Record all details for missing receipts over $75.
- Enter cash and personal credit card expenses in a spreadsheet (optional) (download Excel template).
- Obtain itemized meal receipts to indicate if any alcohol was included in the expense.
Travelers may use one or any combination of the following payment methods when incurring travel expenses.
- Traveler charges all or some portion of travel costs to a TCard (Stanford's preferred payment method; refer to Topic Overview: Stanford's Travel Card Program).
- Traveler personally pays for expenses, then requests reimbursement from Stanford using the Expense Requests system after travel.
- Traveler requests travel expense advance in the Expense Requests system. Refer to Administrative Guide Policy 5.4.1: Expense Advances, and Guidelines for Use of Advance Categories.
- Download Excel template (spreadsheet in which to record expenses - optional).
- Meet with the administrator to provide travel receipts and details. This should be done within 10 days after completion of travel for timely expense reporting. Expenses reported 60 days or more after completion of travel may be reported as taxable income to the traveler.
- Initiate an expense report through the Expense Requests system for the travel expenses.
- Clear any advances and/or return unused advance funds through the Expense Requests system.
Regardless of how the traveler pays for travel expenses, an expense report must be initiated to: properly account for travel expenses; be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenditures; and clear any advance.