Offsites are becoming more and more popular for startups, especially since many startups are hiring remote workers. Getting everyone together for a few days to go over corporate strategy and training can not only help improve productivity, it can also help grow the right company culture.

We are sharing an offsite travel policy that Kruze used for our recent Las Vegas gathering, where we brought our accountants and CFOs together to work on client projects, train, and bond. A good travel policy can’t prevent bad behavior or overspending, but it can help your team understand where the boundaries are supposed to be. Feel free to use and modify this policy for your startup’s next offsite.

Startup Offsite Travel Policy Example

Purpose

[Startup name] has developed this Travel & Expense Policy to provide guidelines and establish procedures for employees and contractors incurring business travel and related expenses.  The policy applies to all employees of [Startup name] and all those traveling on behalf of [Startup name] to the [Location] [Name of event] in [Date].

Hotel & Lodging

[Startup name] has paid for all lodging and related costs for the employees and contractors attending the [Event Name] in [Location].  Attendees may be required to provide a credit card for ancillary costs at the time of check-in. [Side note: running the hotel costs through a single corporate card can help prevent fraud; check out our list of the best cards for startups here.] These costs may be reimbursable providing the expenses meet the policy requirements.  Attendees can upgrade their rooms but will be responsible for the added cost in doing so.

Air Travel

The cost for all flights have been booked and paid for in advance by [Startup name].  The attendees are responsible for any upgrade fees should they decide to do so. Any baggage fees can be expensed but employees are encouraged to carry on their bags if possible.

Local Travel

Attendees are encouraged to travel together and coordinate travel to minimize costs.  The hotel provides a shuttle service from the hotel that attendees are encouraged to use.  Any travel outside of the hotel via Taxi, Uber, Lyft, etc. are reimbursable provided the travel relates to a [Startup name] event or has been approved.  Any non-business related travel would be the responsibility of the employee.

Meals

[Startup name] will be providing lunch on [Date], breakfast and lunch on [Date] and breakfast on [Date].  [List out the dates that meals will be provided so your employees know which meals that they should not be expensing meals on.] In addition, [Startup name] is providing team dinners at a restaurant on [Dates]. Therefore, employees should not purchase meals on these days.  Employees are permitted to purchase meals and beverages during their travel and while on travel when reasonable and appropriate. [If your offsite is longer, you may prefer to list out the meals in bullets so that it is easier to follow; you may also need to put in language that allows outside meal purchases if approved by a manager or someone.]

All staff is expected to attend the team dinners as dinners are an integral part of the team building.  [This is optional, but we think that it is important for your team to attend the corporate dinners, as they are a good opportunity to bond as a team, and bonding should be a big part of your offsite!]

Any meals or alcohol purchased outside of a company event, will not be reimbursable and will be the employees responsibility.  Attendees are allowed to make reasonable purchases on snacks and similar while at the event but should make an effort to avoid making any purchases from the in-room bar.  A daily per diem for any snacks, coffee and similar should not exceed $25. [This is at your discretion, you may prefer that your team does not purchase any outside drinks.]

Entertainment

Any entertainment expenses outside of company-sponsored events will be the responsibility of the attendee.  

Tips

Tips are reimbursable and [Startup name] Guidelines permit tips to be:

  • $2 per day for housekeeping
  • Up to 10% for travel (Taxi, Shuttle, Uber, Lyft)
  • Up to 20% on meals
  • [Note here, it’s a very good idea to have tip guidelines so people traveling to the offsite know what sort of a tip is reasonable.]

Professional Decorum

Professional decorum is required at all times, day and night, during the [Event name or location] offsite. This includes but is not limited to, travel to and from the airport, the airplane ride, meetings, meals, team building activities, and after-hours events of your own scheduling.  [Startup name] has a zero-tolerance policy for inebriation, drug use, illegal and/or disrespectful behavior of teammates, hotel and waitstaff, or other patrons. Any violation of this policy will result in immediate termination. [There is no single policy guideline that can prevent poor behavior at your offsite, but it’s very important to set the tone with your team so they know what is expected.]

Reporting

Attendees must submit their expense report no later than 15 days following the end of their travel. [It is a very good idea to get offsite expense reports submitted quickly!] The reports must be approved by their manager and all receipts must be attached. [We recommend that you use Expensify.] If an attendee does have a receipt for any approved meals or related, the names of those who attended must be included as well. 

We hope that this sample travel policy helps you have a successful offsite! You may wish to have an employment lawyer review the document before you send it out, as our piece here is not intended to be legal or accounting advice.