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Travel Planning Procedure

Category Finance
Type Procedure
Approved by Chief Financial Officer
Date Procedure Took Effect 16 April 2002
Last Approved Revision 20 October 2017
Sponsor Chief Financial Officer
Responsible Officer Procurement Manager
Review Date 15 February 2021


These procedures aim to achieve a cost- and time-effective way of University staff arranging travel. They should be read in conjunction with the Travel and Travel-Related Costs Policy

Organisational Scope

These procedures apply to all staff of the University of Otago and all staff in controlled entities of the University of Otago.


  • Approved Supplier - University appointed supplier
  • Australia/Pacific Rim Travel - Travel to Australia or Pacific Islands
  • DCP – Direct Connect Portal, A direct connect portal for the booking of domestic and short haul flights with Air New Zealand
  • Domestic travel - Travel within New Zealand
  • Intra-country travel - Travel within a country
  • MTA - University appointed Mandatory Travel Agent
  • P-Card - University issued Purchase Card

Policy Content

1. Booking Air Travel

(a) Effective from April 2016, the University re-signed as a participatory agency to the All of Government (AoG) Agreement for Air Travel. Under this agreement, the University receives discounted airfares for travel from 10 supplier covering 13 airlines providing an increased range of carriers for both domestic and International Air Travel. Further information on the contracted airlines and additional contracted benefits can be found in the AOG Air Travel Summary Document.

AirlineDomesticAustralia/Pacific RimInternational
Air New ZealandMTA or DCPMTA or DCPMTA
Other Contracted AirlinesMTAMTAMTA
Other Non-Contracted Airlines-P-CardMTA

(b) Staff should ensure they book air travel via the most economical method (in-line with current policy requirements) in order to minimise the overall cost of travel to the University. When booking Domestic or Australia/Pacific Rim travel through a Mandatory Travel Agent (MTA), staff should maximise the use of online booking tools in order to reduce the booking fee.

(c) Staff may use low cost carrier airlines other than those under the AoG agreement (e.g. Jetstar) where this provides a low-cost and logical travel option. When booking Domestic or Australia/Pacific Rim travel, payment should be via P-Card.

(d) All international air travel (excluding Australia and Pacific Rim countries) must be booked using a MTA, who shall provide travel options appropriate to the staff member’s budget and schedule. Seeking quotes from both University MTAs is encouraged.

(e) All bookings made through a MTA must be made using a University Purchase Order and quoting the appropriate GL/PL account code.

(f) In instances where intra-country travel in overseas locations (including countries in Europe and North America) has not previously been arranged by the MTA, staff may book such travel online via P-Card.

2. Booking Land Travel

(a) Land travel (including connections) may be booked directly (using a Purchase Order or P-Card) or via an MTA. When using an MTA, bookings should be made at the same time as any associated flight bookings to minimise MTA fees.

(b) Rental cars should be booked using the University’s approved supplier in the first instance. Where the approved supplier is unable to meet the booking requirement, the next most cost effective supplier should be used.

(c) When hiring a rental car, staff should not select the pre-paid fuel tank option as there is no credit applied for any un-used fuel remaining in the vehicle at the end of the hire period. To avoid a refuelling service charge, including higher fuel cost, staff should ensure the rental car fuel tank is full before returning it to the car rental company.

(d) For all other land travel, including road or rail, staff should use the best available pricing on the day.

3. Booking Accommodation

(a) Accommodation may be booked (in order of preference):

  1. using an MTA (as part of an overall travel booking;
  2. directly with a University-preferred domestic hotel provider; or
  3. online using a reservation system.

4. Associated Private Travel

(a) Where private travel is undertaken in conjunction with University business travel, or where family members or other non-business associates accompany staff on University business, the private part of the air travel and/or accommodation must be disclosed at the time the reservation is made and will be charged separately by the MTA. Private travel at discounted rates is not offered by all the airlines under the AoG agreement. Staff members should check with the MTAs prior to making a booking.

(b) Private travel or related costs are not to be charged to the University. This includes the charging of private travel costs to the University on a cost recovery basis. Any variation to this instruction requires the prior approval of the Chief Financial Officer.

5. Insurance

(a) All persons travelling internationally (including Australia and the Pacific Islands) on University business must have approved travel insurance coordinated via the University’s Travel Insurance Officer. See the Insurance Procedure for more information.

(b) For vehicle rentals within New Zealand, staff are to decline the rental agency’s insurance cover when hiring vehicles for Otago University business purposes (the University maintains insurance policies that provide coverage for the hire of rental vehicles used for University business purposes within New Zealand).

(c) Where a vehicle is hired outside New Zealand, staff must purchase comprehensive vehicle insurance from the rental agency. As not all hire contracts are structured the same, the staff member must ask the rental agency to confirm that the insurance includes vehicle damage, third party, and public liability cover. Staff should not pay an increased premium to secure an excess below NZ$5000 (the University has insurance to cover an excess up to this amount).

Any questions regarding travel or vehicle insurance should be directed to the University Insurance Officer on extn 8175.

Related Policies, Procedures and Forms

Contact for Further Information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact the Procurement Manager, extn 8195 or email