How I Packed for a Three Week Trip With Only a Carry-On
While attending the Women’s Travel Fest earlier this year, I asked a handful of experts to share their biggest travel mistakes. All of them said overpacking. As I started planning for my big summer trip to Europe, I knew that if I was going to be able to afford to go everywhere I wanted to go for as long as I wanted to go (six cities in three weeks), I needed to cut costs wherever possible. Because the budget airlines I took charged for a checked bag, I decided that traveling with just a carry-on was an easy way to shave a couple hundred bucks off my journey. But could I really pack for a three-week trip with just one small bag? I was going to try.
Earlier this year I tried wearing a capsule wardrobe for a month and ended up loving it. It honestly did help simplify my mind and wasn’t nearly as repetitive as I had anticipated. So I began by curating a miniature capsule collection for my trip. I kept things relatively neutral, with a few pops of pattern and color. (Because when you own a rainbow fruit t-shirt, you bring it on vacation with you.)
Here are the clothes I brought:
Not pictured: Undergarments and a lightweight scarf (use your imaginations, people).
Shoes take up SO MUCH space. Choose wisely. I made sure every pair I brought was practical and that each served a different function. The sneakers were great for those days when I was out exploring for hours on end. The sandals were great for the cities I visited that were super warm. And my trusty Dansko clogs were great for the evenings or if I wanted to dress up an outfit a bit.
These three shoes can be worn all day with zero discomfort, which really is key. If you have a pair of shoes that’s going to give you a blister after you wear them for half a day, you’re probably just not going to wear them after the first time. And then they’re just going to sit there taking up precious luggage space.
A few of my favorite outfits:
1. When I was traveling in Edinburgh, it was pretty chilly every day. And because I was there covering the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I was walking around the city all day. Layers were essential here. Most of the days I was there I had my sweater, denim jacket and scarf on over a t-shirt and jeans.
2. This is just about as fancy as it gets for me. I wanted to bring one nice dress in case I went somewhere a little more upscale at night. Because you never know, right? I actually ended up getting invited to a wedding while in London, so this ensemble worked out perfectly.
3. There’s just something so timeless about a white shirtdress. This one is from H&M and has been in regular rotation for me for awhile now. It’s breathable, stylish and easy to explore a city in. I often tied my sweater around my waist to give it a little more shape and so that I was prepared if the weather took a chilly turn.
4. This jersey skirt was my regular go-to throughout my whole trip. It was so comfy and stretchy and, unlike a pair of jeans, it allowed a nice breeze, which was vital during my time in ultra-humid Prague, Vienna and Budapest. I’m also pretty into the athleisure look at the moment, and felt no shame pairing the skirt with some sneaks.
Looking back, I am SO glad I decided to only bring a carry-on for this trip. With the amount of moving I was doing from place to place, it was so nice to be able to skip the check-in line at the airport and not have to worry about lugging a giant bag over uneven cobblestone streets. I wasn’t all that worried about repeat outfits, because here is my theory there: You’re in a place where no one knows you. And if it’s a multi-city trip, even better. If you wear an outfit on Monday and move cities then wear it again, who really knows you just wore it? No one, guys. No one knows. See the photo above to observe a prime example of me repeating an outfit and living to tell about.
So, is a travel capsule wardrobe possible? 100 percent. Will I ever check a bag again? Not if I can help it.
Psst, if you want to check out pics from all my travel adventures, follow me on Instagram @cortneyclift. And we want to know all your favorite packing tips + tricks! Share with us on Twitter @BritandCo.
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