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  • Travel diary

    A travel diary shows the dates, places, times and duration of your activities and travel.

    The purpose of a travel diary is to help work out the work-related and private elements of your trip. If any portion of the travel is private, you can only claim the work-related part.

    This information is about keeping a travel diary. If you want to check if you can claim a deduction, see Deductions you can claim. To see if you are eligible to keep less detailed records, see Exceptions for keeping travel expense records.

    On this page:

    Do you need to keep a travel diary

    If you travel away from home for six or more nights in a row, you need to keep a travel diary except in the following circumstances:

    • You receive a travel allowance for your travel, you are travelling in Australia, and the amount you are claiming is up to our reasonable travel allowance expense amount.
    • You are a crew member on an international flight, you receive a travel allowance for your travel, your travel is principally overseas, and your claim is not more than the amount of allowance you receive.

    You don’t need to keep a travel diary if your travel away from home is for less than six nights in a row.

    It can still be helpful to keep details of your travel, even if you aren't required to keep a travel diary.

    See also:

    • TD 2018/11 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2018–19 income year?
    • Travel allowances

    How to keep a travel diary

    To ensure you keep a valid travel diary, you should record your:

    • travel movements and activities in a diary or journal of your choice that has adequate space for information, such as  
      • where you were
      • what you were doing
      • the start and end times for activities
       
    • travel movements and activities before the activity ends, or as soon as possible afterwards
    • diary entries in English.

    Example – domestic travel with no private component

    James is a sales consultant who lives and works in Melbourne. He is required to attend a sales conference in Wangaratta over three days. He then does some store visits in this area over the next four days.

    James does not receive a travel allowance for his travel. His employer gives him a credit card to use to pay for accommodation while he is away from home. James pays for his own meals and incidental expenses.

    Because James is away from home for six nights, and does not receive a travel allowance, he must keep a travel diary.

    James' travel diary

    Day

    Activities

    Monday

    6:00am travel to Wangaratta – arrive 9:00am

    9:30am – 5:30pm Sales conference

    Overnight at conference centre

    Tuesday

    9:30am – 5:30pm Sales conference Wangaratta

    Overnight conference centre

    Wednesday

    9:30am – 5:30pm Sales conference Wangaratta

    Overnight conference centre

    Thursday

    8:00am travel to Shepparton, arrive 9:15am

    10:00am meet Mr Smith for display meeting

    1:00pm – 5:00pm Shepparton store review

    Overnight Shepparton hotel

    Friday

    6:00am travel to Echuca, arrive 7:00am

    8:00am – 12:00pm Echuca store review

    12:30pm – 12:45pm drive to Moama store

    1:00pm – 5:00pm Moama store review

    Overnight Moama hotel

    Saturday

    7:00am travel to Bendigo, arrive 8:30am

    9:00am – 6:00pm State Rep meeting

    6:00pm dinner with State Reps

    Overnight Bendigo Motor Inn

    Sunday

    8:00am State Rep breakfast conference, finish 10:00am

    10:00am travel home to Melbourne, arrive 12:30pm

     

    End of example

    Example – overseas travel with private component

    Grace is a university lecturer who lives and works in Perth. She attends a six-day international convention in England as a keynote speaker. After the convention is finished, Grace has a holiday.

    Because Grace is travelling for more than six nights overseas, she is required to keep a travel diary.

    Grace's travel diary for September
    Grace's travel diary for September

    Monday

    Tuesday

    Wednesday

    Thursday

    Friday

    Saturday

    Sunday

    4
    No diary entry

    5
    No diary entry

    6
    No diary entry

    7
    No diary entry

    8
    No diary entry

    9
    10am flight Q13 to London (via Dubai)

    10
    Arrive London 1pm local time. Train to Oxford 7pm–8:30pm

    11
    Rest day

    12
    International teachers convention starts 9am

    13
    Convention day 2

    14
    Convention day 3

    15
    Convention day 4

    16
    Convention day 5

    17
    Convention day 6, ends 3pm

    18
    Train to London 9am–10:30am

    19
    Holiday – Sightseeing in London

    20
    Holiday – London

    21
    Holiday – Paris

    22
    Holiday – Paris

    23
    Holiday – Lyon

    24
    Holiday – Milan

    25
    Holiday – Florence

    26
    Holiday – Rome

    27
    Holiday – Rome

    28
    Flight home Q23 6pm, arrive 10pm local time

    29
    No diary entry

    30
    No diary entry

    1
    No diary entry

    Grace’s diary entries show that she was travelling for 20 days. Only half of these were for work purposes as she spent half the time enjoying a holiday while overseas. Grace can only claim deductions for the work-related portion of travel.

    End of example
    Last modified: 30 May 2019QC 56005