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About the Academy
Travel Expense Policies for Volunteers


The Academy's travel expense policies serve as guidelines for the reimbursement of expenses in conjunction with Academy-related business (other than for the Annual Meeting) and ensure compliance with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations. In general, the Academy will reimburse reasonable expenses for individuals traveling on Academy business. Academy department directors or individuals they designate are responsible for reviewing submitted expenses and for determining which expenses are reasonable based on these travel expense policies.

AAO Physician Travel Expense/Reimbursement Form

The following policies were approved by the Academy's Board of Trustees in June 1992 & revised September 2002.


  • To be reimbursed for expenses incurred, a Request for Travel Expense Reimbursement form should be submitted as soon as possible after the completion of the business travel, but not later than two weeks after the travel has been completed. Whenever possible, expenses should be documented by receipts. All expenses over $25 must be documented by an original receipt (credit card statements are no longer acceptable as documentation).
  • Individuals serving on committees from outside the US will not receive travel expense reimbursement from the Academy without EVP authorization.
  • Questions concerning expenses not covered by these policies should be directed to the appropriate department director, the designated staff member, or the Academy's chief financial officer.
  • An individual traveling on Academy business is responsible for any expense incurred by an accompanying relative or friend, including, but not limited to, airfare, additional room charges, and meals.

Air Fare

  • Individuals traveling on Academy business are required to purchase airline tickets at least 14 to 21 days in advance to take advantage of available discounts. If the Academy makes changes to the meeting schedule that require an individual to change travel plans, the Academy will reimburse any additional charges or penalties that are incurred.
  • The Academy provides reimbursement only for coach airfare (i.e., not for business or first class).
  • Exceptions to these policies pertaining to airfare will be granted on a case-by-case basis for illness, family emergency, or other extraordinary circumstances.
  • An individual may combine Academy business with personal travel, provided that any additional cost associated with the personal travel is paid by the individual. Subject to prior Academy approval, the total cost of business and personal air fare will be reimbursed if such cost is equal to or less than that which would have been incurred for Academy business alone.
  • For individuals who use private airplanes while traveling on Academy business, the Academy will reimburse the equivalent of the lowest available coach air fare.


  • All meeting arrangements must be made by the Academy to ensure that available discounts are realized.
  • Generally, hotel room rate and tax will be billed directly to the Academy. Incidental expenses should be charged to the individual's credit card and, if appropriate, submitted for reimbursement.
  • When a committee member for personal reasons chooses an alternative hotel to that selected by the Academy, lodging expenses above the daily rate arranged by the Academy will not be reimbursed.
  • When a volunteer is traveling on Academy business other than a committee meeting, the Academy will reimburse reasonable hotel costs, including room, tax, and reimbursable incidentals.


  • Generally meals provided in conjunction with a meeting are intended for members and staff, unless otherwise indicated by the committee chair.
  • When a social or dinner is held in conjunction with a meeting, one guest per member or staff may attend that event, with the approval of the committee chair.
  • If a meal is provided in conjunction with a scheduled meeting, no individual expenses for that meal will be reimbursed.
  • The cost of meals while out of town (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) should be reasonable and documented by receipts whenever possible. Any meal over $25 must be documented by an original receipt.
  • Business-related meals and entertainment (i.e., those that have a specific business purpose) must be documented in accordance with IRS regulations to be eligible for reimbursement. Such documentation must include the date, place, people present, their business relationship to the Academy, and the business purpose.

Ground Transportation

  • The Academy encourages individuals to use the most economical form of transportation available, such as public transportation, hotel shuttles, or taxis. In general, the Academy does not reimburse for auto rentals except when required for business reasons or when they are less expensive than other forms of transportation.
  • When rental autos are used, collision damage waiver (CDW) coverage should be purchased unless the individual uses a credit card that provides such coverage automatically.
  • Individuals using personal autos on Academy business will be reimbursed at the rate currently allowed by the IRS.

Incidental Expenses

  • The Academy will reimburse reasonable expenses for: 
    • Ground transportation to/from the individual's home and the airport and to/from the airport and the meeting location
    • Tips for sky caps, bellmen, etc.
    • Telephone charges
    • Parking when a personal or rental auto is used
    • Other incidental expenses subject to adequate documentation
  • Examples of incidental expenses that will not be reimbursed include:
    • Hotel and airline movies
    • Greens fees, tennis court fees, ski lift tickets, health clubs, etc.
    • Reading material not directly related to Academy business
  • Whenever possible, incidental expenses should be documented by receipts regardless of amount. Any expense greater than $25 must be documented by an original receipt.
  • All incidental expenses submitted for reimbursement are subject to review and approval by the Academy.

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