10 Travel Sites That’ll Help You Plan an Unforgettable Vacation
Remember back in January when you promised yourself to travel more this year? Well, it’s officially summer, and there’s no better time to head to the beach or take a family road trip. And while you may not have the ideal vacation length (eight days!) lined up, any amount of time you have to explore a new place is worth a bit of front-end research, so you can rest assured that you’ve found the best-priced flight to your destination and the trendiest local coffee shop when you arrive. We’re sharing 10 of our favorite travel sites to help get you there.
1. Hipmunk: Sure, Hipmunk has search features for cheap flights and hotels, but the real reason we love it so much is for the in-depth, hotel-focused city guides. If you’re looking to go to Chicago, for instance, Hipmunk breaks down your options by type (luxury, hostel, Airbnb), neighborhood (Hyde Park, Lincoln Park) and ease of transportation (parking, bus, el train) so you can make informed decisions based on your personal preferences.
2. Eat This Poem: If your “to visit” list is as long as your “to read” list, might we suggest stopping by Eat This Poem’s Literary City Guide to get the scoop on America’s cities that are packed full of awesome eats and bustling bookstores? Each city page has its own tour guide who will give you the scoop on where to shop for cookbooks and where to eat the best tacos. #heaven
3. Cereal: Come for the devastatingly gorgeous photography; stay for the thoughtfully curated travel suggestions. So far, Cereal only has nine online city guides, but you can buy the paper version of many more cities on their website. Each recommendation feels personal, like your well-traveled best friend is giving you her years’ worth of insider knowledge in one minimalist swoop.
4. Kayak: It may not be glamorous, but Kayak is the OG of cheap flight fares and an absolute must when you’re factoring flying into your vacation. It pulls prices from all the major discounted flight websites, drastically cutting your search time and ensuring that you’re getting the best deal out there.
5. HomeAway: Just like its major competitor, HomeAway offers travelers private homes to stay in that the owners have listed on the site. We particularly like HomeAway because, in addition to all the awesome property listings, they also offer well-edited city guides for the world’s major metropolises, making it a one-stop shop for your next urban adventure.
6. Spotted by Locals: With local “spotters” in over 66 countries giving the scoop on their favorite activities, restaurants, coffee shops, spas, theaters and shops, Spotted by Locals is the guidebook answer for the guidebook-adverse. You can search spots by activity to find locals-approved things to do, or you can search by spotter if you find yourself digging a particular local’s taste.
7. Jetsetter: If you’re looking to add a major dose of luxury to your travel plans, hit up Jetsetter before you head out. This flash sale site has incredible deals on uber-cool hotels and resorts in some of the world’s most exotic, hip and of-the-moment locales. Descriptors like “posh,” “brilliant” and “royal” allow you to narrow down the myriad options based on your personal vibe and the “what we love” and “what to know” sections of each hotel listing give you a glimpse into the real life pros and cons of each place.
8. Secret Escapes: Secret Escapes is like Groupon, but for seriously swank vacation deals — we’re talking $70 rooms at boutique hotels in Miami kinda deals. You can book city hotel rooms, spa retreats and all-inclusive beach vacations at up to 70 percent off, which means if you’re flexible with your dates and vacation spot, you can score a significantly sweeter spot than you were probably expecting.
9. 12hrs: For those travelers looking to take a quick trip, let 12hrs plan your 12-hour itinerary. Their guides have a distinct design bent, so if you’re into art, fashion and mid-century modern furniture, be sure to check them out. Even if you’re planning on staying at your destination for longer than a day, 12hrs gives you an awesomely aesthetic jumping off point.
10. Yapta: Once you’ve decided where you want to go and how you want to get there, be sure to start tracking your trip on Yapta. If the price drops for either your preferred hotel or flight, the website will notify you. If you’ve already bought a ticket but have registered the trip on Yapta, you’ll get a refund for the difference when the price drops!
Do you have a favorite travel website? Tweet us @BritandCo and dish for us!
(Photo via Getty)
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com