10 Packing Tips for Traveling Moms
Everyone loves traveling, but packing your bags can be a bit of a drag — especially when you’re packing for your kids too. Too many of us wait until the very last possible second to throw what we can into a suitcase before we go on our merry way, only to later discover we’re short on underwear and forgot baby’s favorite blanket. Time to break that bad habit. If you’re a traveling mom, check out our tips on how to pack smart and savvy. It just might make your next vacation a lot more enjoyable!
1. Start with a solid packing list. Figure out what you’ll need to wear depending on your destination’s weather, as well as what activities you’ll be participating in. Remember some items can be worn multiple times, but always make sure there’s enough underwear and at least one very comfortable bra. When you’re traveling with your kids, you’ll want to pack extra, well, everything in the event of accidents, spilled sippy cups, and Cheeto hands.
2. Fold clothes before you go; roll clothes before you return. Many of us tend to overpack for a trip, leaving little to no room for extras (and you know your kids are going to want more than one souvenir). Before you leave, pack your suitcase with folded clothing. If you’re in need of space for your return trip, you can make some by tightly rolling those same clothes. Suddenly your kid’s new toy will fit, and you’ll avoid any tears.
3. Pack “explodables” into Ziplock bags. The last thing you want is diaper cream or your body lotion splattered all over your clothes. Make sure they’re packed securely in plastic bags where they won’t cause any damage.
4. Pack extra (empty) bags too. You’ll want bags in a variety of sizes. Ziplocks are good for any liquids or gels you might pick up. Bring some larger bags to keep dirty shoes and other items separate from clean clothes. And don’t forget a larger bag for any other just-in-case moments (like an on-the-go diaper change when there’s no trash bin around).
5. Consider investing in some vacuum-seal bags. If you’re sure you’ll be doing some serious souvenir shopping, this isn’t a bad way to go. It’s also a solid move if you’re traveling with multiple children, as you can divide their outfits into separate, clearly labeled bags, keeping everyone’s stuff nice and organized.
6. Call your destination ahead of time to inquire about borrowing or renting kid gear. You can get away with not bringing along a pack-n-play or even a high chair at many hotels. Check with your hotels ahead of time so you don’t bring unnecessary (and often bulky) items.
7. Bring along some baby wipes. For one, they keep your kids clean. For another, if you’re unable to get to a shower for a certain amount of time, these conveniently moist hankies will keep you fresher than usual.
8. Always, always, always bring along a couple of solid scarves. The possibilities here are endless; bundle it up as a pillow, lay it over your kiddo as a blanket, or even use it to protect your baby’s skin from a less-than-pristine changing table.
9. Organize an emergency supplies kit. It’s always best to be prepared for the worst. Pain and indigestion meds are a good thing to have on hand. Duct tape, a small pair of scissors, and a sewing kit can also prove to be handy. Figure out what works best for you and your family, and keep it all together in one handy kit.
10. Don’t forget the toothpaste. For some reason, even the nicest hotels rarely offer toothpaste. You nor your kids want to get caught with funky breath on the road.
Have a tip we missed? Tweet it to us at @BritandCo!
(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