Columbia University

Global Travel

Managing Expenses While Traveling

Faculty and Employees

While traveling, you will incur expenses. These will be either related to your personal travel or can be necessary expenses related to Columbia business in the host country.

Travel-related expenses might include such items as meals, lodging, internet access, laundry expenses (on trips lasting over 5 days), baggage handling fees, currency conversion fees, business office expenses such as photocopying, and postage. Other business-related expenses might be necessary while traveling that are not directly related to personal travel. These could include expenses related to short-term trips (i.e., conferences, lectures, group trips, etc.) or trips for the start-up of longer-term projects.

Refer to the Finance Gateway Global Support Cash Management section for additional details on different options for paying for business-related expenses, and review the Purchasing pages of that section for additional information on how to buy needed supplies while in a host country.

Programs should always consult the terms of any grants for restrictions, requirements, and price limitations on travel-related expenses.

  • Per Diems: allowable for meals where local custom makes it difficult to obtain receipts. For more information, please see Expenses and Receipts.
  • P-Card: While use of a University P-Card may not be viable in many locations, it is a potential option in places where credit card transactions are possible. The University’s P-Card is a Bank of America VISA product. For further information, please consult the Procurement Services page about general information for the P-Card.

Travelers can manage personal travel-related expenses through a reimbursement process or a cash advance. Refer to the Finance Gateway section on Travel and Business Expense Information from Procurement Services for additional details.

If you have any questions, please email us at