Show download pdf controls
  • Travel diary

    A travel diary shows your travel movements with the time, date, places and length of activities when travelling for work.

    On this page

    Do you need to keep a travel diary?

    The purpose of a travel diary is to help work out the work-related and private elements of your trip. You can only claim a deduction for the work-related part of your expenses.

    If you want to check if you can claim a deduction, see deductions you can claim.

    If you travel away from home for 6 or more nights in a row, you need to keep a travel diary. However, if your circumstances are either of the following, you don't need to keep a travel diary:

    • 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 mainly 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 6 nights in a row. To see if you are eligible to keep less detailed records, see travel allowance record keeping exceptions.

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

    For more guidance, see TD 2021/6 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2021-22 income year?

    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
      • when you stop for meals
      • 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 3 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 6 nights, and does not receive a travel allowance, he must keep a travel diary.

    James' travel diary

    Day

    Activities

    Monday

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

    9:30 am – 5:30 pm Sales conference

    Overnight at conference centre

    Tuesday

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

    Overnight conference centre

    Wednesday

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

    Overnight conference centre

    Thursday

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

    10:00 am meet Mr Smith for display meeting

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

    Overnight Shepparton hotel

    Friday

    6:00 am travel to Echuca, arrive 7.00am

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

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

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

    Overnight Moama hotel

    Saturday

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

    9:00 am – 6:00 pm State Rep meeting

    6:00 pm dinner with State Reps

    Overnight Bendigo Motor Inn

    Sunday

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

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

     

    End of example

     

    Example – overseas travel with private component

    Grace is a university lecturer who lives and works in Perth. She attends a 6 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 6 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
    10:00 am flight Q13 to London (via Dubai)

    10
    Arrive London 1pm local time. Train to Oxford 7:00 pm–8:30 pm

    11
    Rest day

    12
    International teachers convention starts 9:00 am

    13
    Convention day 2

    14
    Convention day 3

    15
    Convention day 4

    16
    Convention day 5

    17
    Convention day 6, ends 3:00 pm

    18
    Train to London 9:00 am–10:30 am

    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 6:00 pm, arrive 10:00 pm 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: 21 Jun 2022QC 56005