Search
  • Ben Fletcher

What is a travel diary?

You may have heard your accountant ask you for a travel diary in relation to your employee or business related expenses. The purpose of such a diary is to substantiate the business and private portions of a trip so you know how much you can claim as a deduction and will be required if the ATO should ever come knocking.


What does a diary need to show? It needs the following for each day you're away:

  1. Date

  2. Location

  3. Primary activities on each day (e.g. meeting with Mr Smith to discuss project A, screening of new film, cocktails by the pool, etc.)

If you didn’t receive a travel allowance and you’re simply looking to back up the travel costs you want to claim you don’t actually need a travel diary if the travel is less than 6 nights in a row. That said, it’s often easier to simply keep a travel diary all year just in case you do need it. Many people simply use their Outlook calendars or iCal as the information is largely already there.


If you received a travel allowance the following applies:

  1. Travel less than 6 nights in a row and not claiming more than the reasonable amounts – no travel diary required.

  2. Travel more than 6 nights in a row and not claiming more than the reasonable amounts – domestic travel doesn’t require a travel diary, but overseas travel does require one.

  3. Claiming more than the reasonable amounts – travel less than 6 nights in a row doesn’t require a travel diary, whilst travel over 6 nights in a row does require one.

Note the above doesn’t consider the requirement to maintain written records in relation to deductions claimed when receiving a travel allowance, it only contemplates the travel diary requirement. Information on the requirements relating to travel allowances and reasonable amounts can be found here.


If you’ve got issues in your business you don’t seem to be able to get on top of, why not get in touch? Not only do we provide a full suite of bookkeeping and tax services here at Generate, but we’re also able to help with business advice, strategy and much more. You name the problem and I’m sure we can help.