What qualifies as “reasonable” travel expenses when asking for reimbursement?

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Robyn Ginsberg

I will be interviewing at an out-of-town law firm next week. The firm has offered to pay for reasonable travel expenses to and from the interview. What generally qualifies as "reasonable"?


Although circumstances will differ from situation to situation, as a general rule of thumb "reasonable" travel expenses include (1) air or train fare; (2) related additional transportation costs, such as taxis to and from the airport or from your hotel to and from the law firm; and (3) hotel accommodations when an overnight stay is required. If you are driving to the interview instead, then other costs such as fuel and parking expenses may be reimbursable depending on firm policy and the distance traveled.

Some firms, especially larger firms, will offer you the option of booking travel directly through their travel agent. Other firms require you to book your own accommodations and then seek reimbursement from the firm. When seeking reimbursement, it is important to use good judgment. Make sure you book reasonable fares and, where you are uncertain, contact the firm to make sure a specific expense will be reimbursable.

Unreasonable expenses vary, depending on the circumstances, but as a general rule you should assume that luxury items, such as room service, limousines to and from an interview and first class airfare are not considered to be reasonable expenses.It's important to exercise good judgment and to make a good first impression. Remember, the decisions you make at this early stage in the interview process can impact your candidacy.

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