Nowadays, traveling for business is a common occurrence. But believe it or not, employers are not legally obliged to pay for your work related travel expenses or give you a per diem. Most do it anyways, though, for the sake of good business practice because the trips you make benefit them a great deal. Every company has its own policy for this matter, so you should always clarify with your employer as to what costs are covered. While you are away, organize all of your business related travel spending so you do not end up losing money for work.
Here are a few strategy you can apply to suit your lifestyle:
The Laptop Pro
If you like tracking things on your laptop, create an email label or folder that stores all of your online receipts, such as flight / hotel booking confirmation. You can also find Excel spreadsheet templates online to log spending. Save and scan your receipts at the end of the trip and email all of your information along with your expense report to the employer.
The Gadget Guru
A smartphone can be a very powerful tool for expense tracking. Some applications allow you to take pictures of your receipts, log expenses, and generate report at the same time. Some promising apps are: Expensify (iPhone, Android), ProOnGo (iPhone, Android, Blackberry), and Expense Log Pro (Blackberry). There are also mileage trackers for those who'll be driving.
If you are more comfortable doing it the old fashion way, keep an envelope on hand with the travel dates and destination (s) written on the front. Put all of your receipts in there with a printed spreadsheet. At the end of each day, review it, write down where you had been, and make detailed notes of purchases if needed.
So what if your employers do not reimburse you for the cost of the trip? All is not lost because the government will give you a break in this matter. If you itemize discounts on your personal income tax return, you'll be able to claim the cost on Schedule A of the 1040 Form. Check out Topic 511 on the IRS website for more details on eligible expenses.
Have a safe trip!