Travel & Meetings

Business Travel Expenses & Business Meeting Expenses are business expenses that are incurred for activities that benefit the University and advance its missions. In order for expenses to be deemed allowable they must clearly state the business purpose for the event, expense and/or meeting.

Business Travel

Basic travel guidelines

All faculty/staff are expected to choose the lowest priced, most feasible airfare available at the time of booking. The traveler can use a preferred airline, when available and when it satisfies the low-cost requirement. 14-day advance purchase of airline tickets is recommended with consideration to the following:

  • Business class flights that are transoceanic and continuous for more than 6 hours have been pre-approved by the Director. The Memo - Business Class Approval must be included in either the documentation for  the advance and/or reimbursement request.
  • Business-class flights for less than 6 hours must be pre-approved by the Director. This written approval must be included in either the documentation for  the advance and/or reimbursement request.
  • In order to cancel reservations, travelers must contact the vendor within the permissible refund schedule. Cancellation fees incurred due to travelers’ negligence are not deemed valid business expenses and are therefore not reimbursable. The University will only reimburse those expenses related to a cancelled trip or event if the cancellation was due to circumstances beyond an employee’s control.
  • Trips that have an outstanding advance request but are cancelled must have the advance reconciled regardless if there is reimbursement or not. A memo explaining the cancellation should be provided with the reimbursement request in AP Workflow.
  • Itinerary changes post-booking and any additional costs will only be reimbursed if necessitated by an emergency or made to serve ISAW requirements; they must be approved by the Director in all cases.
  • Travel insurance and/or trip protection can not be reimbursed per NYU policy (see information on GeoBlue Coverage, which is available at no cost to all NYU employees on short term business travel.)
  • ISAW will not pay for stopovers, layovers, and/or transfers for any paired trips that are unrelated to the authorized business of ISAW.
  • NYU will not reimburse the value of tickets purchased using frequent flyer miles, but issuance fees may be reimbursed.
  • Note that travel agents are required to report any exceptional requests to the ISAW budget office.

For additional information about these guidelines see the NYU Travel section at

Making travel arrangements

Travelers are encouraged to book travel using one of the NYU preferred booking tools at However, ISAW faculty and staff may find it simplest and most expedient to make their own reservations. The NYU Traveler service offers a connection to the corporate travel-booking platform Egencia, or you may select your own vendor, including booking directly on train or airline vendor sites.

Faculty and scholars may request a travel advance for their own travel. Request must be made no later than ten days in advance of travel to ensure adequate processing time. See Requesting Advances & Reimbursements for more information. Travel for students, project collaborators, guest speakers, or conference participants should be approved by the Director or an appropriate department head and purchased directly by ISAW whenever possible.  If an advance is not (or cannot be) requested, reimbursement cannot be requested until completion of the last leg of the travel itinerary. In all cases, Accounts Payable requires that a detailed itinerary including the cost of the travel as well as all boarding passes or applicable tickets/receipts be submitted after the trip’s conclusion as proof of travel.

For travel related to NYU Abu Dhabi refer to the NYU Abu Dhabi Travel and Accommodation Policy (NYUHome login credentials required).

For frequently asked questions regarding travel see Financial FAQs.

NYU Traveler and how to register a trip

NYU Traveler was created to provide the NYU community with tools and services for their travel needs and to help keep them safer. Drum Cussac is a traveler safety service NYU has enlisted to provide you with up-to-the-minute information of potential threats to your safety during your travels, and to enable the University to get in touch with you to render aid in the event of an emergency. From the NYU Traveler webpage, you can click on "book" to access the Egencia booking site, or "register" to manually register a trip booked through other means.

If you booked your travel through Egencia, it will automatically be registered in NYU Traveler. It can take up to 48 hours for an Egencia booked trip to automatically register in NYU Traveler.

Per ISAW policy, you must register flights for international fieldwork; for all other travel registration is recommended but not required.

Once you have registered a trip, you should print out the confirmation email sent by NYU Traveler and include it with any reimbursement/advance request. An i-Learn Orientation course on NYU Traveler is offered periodically.  See the NYU Traveler FAQ for details.

Permissible Travel Expenses

Permissible expenses are those required in carrying out a faculty or staff member's task or responsibility at work, including:

  • Transportation
  • Business Meals
  • Lodging
  • Overnight delivery postage for business documents
  • Visa, passport, and consular fees directly related to ISAW travel
  • Business supplies, such as presentation materials, that could not be anticipated pre-travel
  • Internet access charges
  • Cell phone expenses related to ISAW business during travel
  • Meeting and conference fees

Non-permissible Travel Expenses

Non-permissible expenses do not relate to activity of ISAW and will not be reimbursed, including:

  • Expenses of Non-employees/Non-affiliated Persons (i.e. spouses/partners/children)
  • Upgrades (air, hotel, car, etc.) when traveling on NYU/ISAW business
  • Late fees or finance charges on NYU corporate Amex or personal credit cards (unless they are caused by ISAW or NYU failure to process payments in a timely fashion)
  • In-room movies
  • Hotel mini bar expenses
  • Medical care
  • Telephone charges in excess of what is deemed reasonable
  • Grooming services (haircuts, shoeshines, etc.)
  • Gym and recreational fees, including massages and saunas
  • Expenses that will be reimbursed from another source

Travel Insurance

NYU has an agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield's GeoBlue service to provide medical benefits for short term business travel. You do not have to sign up for this service, simply download the group card. (You may also wish to register at GeoBlue's website, which takes only a few minutes.) Find this information and more on NYU's webpage for Traveler Insurance. Other forms of travel and trip insurance are not reimbursable expenses under NYU policy.

Business Meetings

Meals (Lunch/Dinner/Coffee) Catering related to Business Meetings or Events

Required Documentation:

  1. Business Purpose - A clear descriptive reason for the business meal must be documented. The names of all individuals present and their affiliations must also be documented.
  2. Receipts - Original, itemized receipts showing detailed list of food and beverages purchased. The expense should either a) cote that no alcoholic beverages were included in the expense or b) costs for alcoholic beverages should be specified and charged to account code 65183 always.
  3. Gratuities - Gratuities for meals are deemed part of the meal cost and will be reimbursed by the University provided these are reasonable (do not exceed 20% of total meal cost).

See Requesting Advances & Reimbursements for guides and examples of how to document & submit request.

Meals During Business Travel

Required Documentation:

  1. Business Purpose -  Meals taken by employees during business travel are deemed “business meals.” The business purpose of the trip also serves as the business purpose for the meals.
  2. Receipts - Individuals who travel on University business are reimbursed for meal expenses they incur in two ways: according to actual, substantiated costs, or at an established “per diem” rate. Travelers cannot switch between these two methods on one trip; the method travelers choose applies to all meal expenses incurred throughout a trip.

a) Based on actual substantiated costs

When opting to be reimbursed based on actual costs of each meal, travelers are required to provide detailed receipts or other appropriate documentation for all meals taken throughout the trip.

b) Based on “per diem” rate (Meals & Incidentals)

The alternative to keeping receipts and other appropriate documentation for each meal during travel is the “per diem,” or being reimbursed at an amount set as meal and incidental expense allowance for each day of travel. Per diem only applies when overnight travel is involved. It is permissible to utilize the combined meals and incidental expense rate when reimbursing based on the per diem method. Per diem rates for meals and incidental expenses are outlined as follows:

• The General Services Administration sets rates for travel within the 48 contiguous states. These rates can be found at

• The Department of Defense sets rates for Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. Territories and Possessions. These rates can be found at

• The State Department sets rates for International Travel. These rates can be found at

See Requesting Advances & Reimbursements for guides and examples of how to document & submit request. Additional resources and helpful links can be found at Websites, Links & Resources.

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