Business travel

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Make a prior request for professional travel

Travelling better to emit less

In a globalised world, where research is increasingly international, international exchanges are an important part of university life. However, if the academic world is to play its part in achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement, certain travel practices need to be rethought.

Based on 2019 data, it is estimated that business travel alone accounts for 23% of UNIL’s greenhouse gas emissions, making it the largest source of emissions.

In order to achieve the objective of bringing UNIL’s impact within planetary limits, UNIL Rectorate has adopted a new directive on business travel, which will come into force on 15 June 2023.

This directive 0.8 is based on the following general principles (art. 2):

  1. Environmental and human rights responsibility to minimise as much as possible the impacts of professional travel on planetary boundaries and climate change;
  2. Economy, by using the financial resources available sparingly;
  3. Exemplarity and transparency in the use of public funds, whatever the origin of the funding; and
  4. Compliance with the duty to inform, monitor, prevent and intervene abroad arising from UNIL’s obligations to protect the health and personality of its employees and to prevent occupational accidents.

Directive 0.8 on the organization of professional travel, in brief

Prior authorization for air travels and travels outside of Europe (art. 4)

For all air travel and travel outside of the European Union by any other means, employees must fill the request form prior to departure and then receive authorization by their line manager.

Create a business travel request

List of destinations for which only train tickets are reimbursed (art. 8 and 9)

For all destinations accessible within a day’s train journey (approximately 10 hours) from the train station closest to the contractual place of work (Lausanne or Sion), plane tickets will not be reimbursed and the train must be preferred.

This rule applies in particular to all destinations on  this list.

Train travel arrangements (art. 8)

For train journeys of more than 5 hours, 1st class is reimbursed.
If time constrains so require, an additional night's accommodation will be reimbursed on the outward and/or return journey.

The use of night trains as well as Interrail-type flat-rate tickets is reimbursed.

Guests, students, and UNIL contractless personnel (art.10)

Travels for students and guests funded by UNIL are exempt to a prior travel request via the online form but remain subject to Directive 0.8. The inviting entity/mandator has the authority to grant any exemption from the conditions of Directive 0.8 (Article 10). Please refer to the specific instructions for each faculty where applicable.
The same applies to UNIL contractless personnel (e.g., some FNS doctoral students).
When requesting reimbursement from the Financial Service, ensure that the supporting documents indicate that the person is exempt to a prior travel request via the online form.

CO2 contribution (art. 23)

For air travel, a CO2 contribution proportional to the emissions generated will be levied fund an internal redistribution mechanism for transition projects.

This mechanism must still be perfected with faculties and will not come into force until 2024.

Particular measures (art. 25)

The UNIL Rectorate and the deaneries may grant exceptional exceptions to the rules set out in the directive for the following reasons :

  • reasons relating to the reconciliation of work and family responsibilities,
  • health reasons, or
  • other cases of force majeure.

Any derogation must be justified and documented when requesting the reimbursement.

Exemption requests are made using the prior travel request form.

How to plan your train trip?

There are a number of useful online resources to help you plan your train journeys (see the non-exhaustive list below).
Many train journeys abroad can be planned via the SBB website. However, sometimes this site is not powerful enough and the best available connection is not offered. The websites of Deutsche Bahn and Czech Railways can be consulted for international connections and ticket reservations.

Swiss Airlines and SBB are offering combined rail and air tickets. Travellers can now travel from certain stations in Switzerland - including Lausanne - and neighbouring countries to the airport. The train ticket is valid from one day before departure and one day after the flight on all the corresponding routes.

Online planning tools

Omio is a booking platform that brings together more than 1,000 travel suppliers: train, bus, ferry and plane. It allows you to compare prices and travel times according to the mode of travel chosen. However, some destinations that are easily accessible by train do not appear in the options. is a guide to planning individual train journeys, with details of the stages of the journey, including a map, but also links to ticket-buying sites.

Regularly updated, seat61 is an English site packed with information for planning a trip without a plane in Europe, but also on other continents. Although the routes start in the UK, the information can still be used to plan a trip.

Trainline sells train and bus tickets from 270 public transport companies in over 40 countries. However, journeys with stopovers cannot be booked all at once, but each stage must be ordered separately.

Main questions to ask yourself before organizing a professional trip


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Documents in french

Directive de la Direction 0.8

 Formulaire de demande préalable pour les voyages professionnels

 Liste des destinations pour lesquelles seul le train est remboursé

 Liste des adresses pour les demandes de dérogations