Monthly Archives: June 2017

Do not Have Time to Travel to Your Favorite Destinations of the Year? do not you try it Think again

Believe it or not, our life revolves around travel everyday! When we think of the word “travel,” we would normally think about exotic vacations, airplanes, road trips, our dream travel destinations, all inclusive hotels on a tropical island, you name it! Travelling is simply moving from point A to point B. This includes but not limited to travelling to work, travelling to school or even travelling to a destinations a few blocks away from our home.

Humans and animals travel for various reasons. During the winter time, some birds such as the Canadian geese, travel south to far as Mexico to escape the cold (humans do that too!), we as humans travel to work in order to make ends meet and the list can go on forever. Not to mention, we travel to other places on this planet to temporarily escape our chaotic environments, then we come back to it rejuvenated. Sometimes we even travel permanently to other destinations for various reasons such as seeking a “better life,” reuniting with family and taking up a new job offer.

Just about everyone has their own dream travel destination. Many people in developing countries dream about travelling to the USA to taste the American dream; many people from developed cold countries dream about travelling to tropical countries such as Jamaica to taste at least two weeks of sunshine and many others from various regions around the globe dream about exploring other countries that are known to have extraordinary sceneries.

Now unfortunately, many of us don’t get a chance to fulfill our travel dreams in our life time for various reasons such as lack of finances, can’t get the time off from work or just simply having to fulfill other commitments. These common excuses mentioned here are all understandable; however, the truth is you can still fulfill your travel dreams if you work hard at it. The question I have for you is, “How important are these travel dreams to you?” If your dream travel destination doesn’t have any form of priority in your life, don’t expect to be going anywhere soon! Yes, I would certainly encourage you to be realistic with your finances and resources at the same time. If you really want to go on that trip that dreamed about all your life, make it happen!

Start planning ahead with your family about the family travel plans. If you plan at least 1-2 years in advance, you can make it happen (depending on where you’re travelling). For example, if you’re planning an all inclusive trip to the Caribbean for a family of four, and save at least $200 US or more a month, you’ll be amaze to see how much you’ll end up by the end of the year!

You may say “I can’t afford this” but think about all the unnecessary things that you’re purchasing and add up how much you can be saving and who knows, you and your family can be able to fulfill that travel dream in less than a year! By saving up from now, you can pay for that vacation with cash without going in to debt if you start saving now. Yes, it’s going to take some sacrifice but at the end of the day, it’s all worth it. It’s good to also plan ahead with your boss when you want to take time off from work. If you own your own business, plan ahead of time to set aside some days off from work.

Did you know that there are some benefits about travelling? Education may be the first benefit. Yes, travelling can also be a learning experience. A person from a developed country who travels to a developing country may learn how to complain less and appreciate life more in his own developed country. A person from a developing country who travels to a developed country will learn that he can have a “better life” in another environment though this may not be true all the time.

Travelling to other nations may give you the opportunity to discover developmental and business opportunities. If you’re an entrepreneur or investor who is on a vacation in another country, you may learn about some investment opportunities that may come with great rewards.

Travelling may be good times to get know your friends and family much better. Not to mention again, it’s one of the best opportunities to relax and escape the stressful world for a while. I enjoy travelling myself and I also enjoy encourage people to travel other places, and even locally. My travelling experience has taught me that there is much more to life than I thought before. In other words, my view about life has changed for the better.

Hospitality and Travel Industry

The concept of Dynamic Packaging is to bundle all the components chosen by the aspiring traveler and create one reservation. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer.

To a traveler, there is nothing better than a one stop shop for his traveling needs. The Dynamic Packaging Engine uses a travel component inventory and prices. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer. It automatically applies rules defined by the suppliers and the travel marketer to build and price travel packages. This package configuration process determines which components are used, what combinations of components are allowed or required, and handles inclusions such as taxes, fees or additional package features. Rules also determine how the final retail price is computed.


A typical dynamic packaging application will need the following capabilities:

1. Search and Availability

2. Memberships

3. Shopping Cart

4. Booking and Reservations

5. Payments

6. Cancellations


A traveler always seeks a destination. Even though he may well be aware of where he needs to go to, he will search for the most appropriate place to stay and enjoy his visit. The search starts with a Transportation and Travel components, Hotel Property, Leisure Components. The search therefore has to be divided geographically to include destinations and neighboring destinations that meet the search criteria. An example search could be travel to New York City, stay at Stamford, Connecticut, Golf at upstate New York. Clearly the Dynamic Packaging engine needs to know the dates of travel, from and to destinations, closest airport to hotel, rental car or other desired ground transportation from selected airport to hotel and access to tee times at the neighboring golf courses. Like the traveler, businesses also seek travel related information.

Travel Agents, Call Centers, and Meeting Planners need packaged information on behalf of their clients. Such a search is riddled with rules and complexity. Besides, the customer needs to have choices that can vary from comfort to price and everything else in between.

1. Proximity: The search uses parameters that can narrow down possibilities yet offer extended possibilities. In our search example, Westchester Airport would have been the best choice. La Guardia airport would be an ideal choice. JFK and Newark and Teterboro are the next choices from a distance to Hotel point of view.

2. Fare and Rates: The traveler will look for the best fare. In our example though Westchester is close to the hotel, offers limited Airlines and perhaps not the best fares. Some fares maybe very attractive, however when it comes to flexibility and cancellation they are not the best. Flexibility of change, penalties associated with change and cancellation are important factors to include in the search results.

3. Travel Times: That’s another important factor for the business traveler. How many flights are there to the airport and at what intervals. Check in times and total time to travel also helps in determining his choice. Therefore non-connecting and connecting flights with layover times need to figure in the search.

4. Accessibility: Another key factor often not paid attention to is accessibility. Physically impaired travelers, people who need meals on a flight, wheelchair access, and quick access to rental cars or trains or ground transportation play a very important role in travel. Do the hotel(s) have wheelchair access? Is it possible to get ground transportation to destined hotel that has wheelchair access?

5. Amenities: Does the hotel offer standard amenities like restaurants, swimming pool, health parlors, spa, fax and printing, broadband Internet access etc? Similarly does the rental car come with GPS, insurance, inter state travel? Does the Golf Course allow only cart access? Are ski rentals available near the resort? The inclusion of amenities in a search result ensures the traveler is not in for surprises at the first lap of travel.

6. Prepackaged: You want to travel, stay in a semi luxury hotel, play golf, why search for each individually. A prepackaged deal would also be more attractive than customizing the travel. Perhaps cheaper.

Travel should be far from being hostile. It is after all a home away from home. A home is a pivotal source for living and entertainment. One uses the home and its peripheral surroundings to make the best of living. The travel destinations and the mode of travel should be as non hostile and as hospitable as is possible. A dynamic packaging should offer a wealth of choices to the traveler yet not inundate the traveler with so much information that he/she is nervous wreck at the end of an itinerary creation.


From the above description one can determine who the obvious actors are in this case.

1. The Traveler

2. GDS (Airlines and Hotels Rate Distribution)

3. Airlines

4. Car Rental Companies

5. Hotel Central Reservation

6. Tour Operators (Buses, Ground Transportation)

7. Proprietary Aggregators (like Golf, Ski etc.)


The Dynamic Packaging should be capable of extending the services for business-to business operations. Which would imply that our actors now are?

8. Travel Agents and Meeting Planners

9. Call Center Agents.


The key item in dynamic packaging is the Shopping Cart. The results of search can be selected and added as line items in the shopping cart. It bundles all the components chosen by the traveler to create one reservation. This shopping cart based vacation builder allows comparison shopping of packages that can include plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, insurance, attraction tickets and other features. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer. It automatically applies rules defined by the suppliers and the travel marketer to build and price travel packages. This package configuration process determines which components are used, what combinations of components are allowed or required, and handles inclusions such as taxes, fees or additional package features.

Reduce Travel as a Business Expense

As a general rule, travel expenses are deductible as a business expense as long as the expense is considered by the IRS to be an ordinary and necessary business expense under (IRC section 162). But when you incur a travel expense outside the United States, that is when the rules begin to change. Do not assume that 100% of your foreign travel expenses are tax deductible. And better yet, consult with your CPA during the planning phase of your foreign travel in order to maximize your opportunity for a tax deduction.

General Rules Regarding Travel Expenses:

Travel expenses traditionally includes the following categories of expenses associated with at least one overnight stay (i.e. where sleep is required while away from home):

1. Transportation Costs – Transportation includes airplane, train, bus, car, or ship between your home and business destination. It also includes commuter bus, taxi and limousine transportation.

2. Baggage and Shipping Costs- This category includes the cost of sending baggage, samples, display materials between regular and temporary work locations.

3. Lodging Costs – Such costs include overnight hotel stays and temporary housing costs.

4. Meals – Allowable meals expenses include food, beverage, tips and tax. If the meals qualify for a tax deduction they may be 50% or 100% deductible. Meals between employees/employers are generally not deductible unless a business purpose can be substantiated. In cases in which there is a business purpose, the meal is eligible for a 50% tax deduction. Meals also include customer-related meals in which business is discussed (50% deduction).

Also allowed are meals related to business-related travel that includes an overnight stay (50% deductible. If the overnight travel is related to an employer-sponsored social or recreational event the meals are 100% deductible. If the meal is related to promotional activities that are made available by the business to the public such costs are 100% deductible.

5. Cleaning – This category includes dry cleaning and laundry expenses incurred during your travel period.

6. Telephone – Business calls, fax costs or other communication costs associated with the business travel are deductible.

7. Tips paid for any travel expense category are allowed as a tax deduction

8. Other – Other costs related to the business travel might include internet fees, computer rental fees, equipment rental fees, supplies etc.

Travel expenses must be temporary in nature. What this means is that the travel period cannot last more than one year. If the travel lasts more than one year all of the travel expenses become non-deductible.

Special Rules:

1. Conventions – In order for travel costs associated with a convention to be tax deductible, such costs must be directly related to your company’s business and must benefit your company’s business. Conventions outside North America are allowed, however, there is reasonableness test that must be met. Reasonableness is based on the purpose of the meeting, activities taking place at the meeting, activities of any sponsors, homes of sponsors and other material facts and circumstances that the IRS will consider in determining eligibility for the tax deduction.

2. Cruise Ship Conventions – If the convention meets the ordinary and necessary business purpose test and the reasonableness test then the IRS will permit a tax deduction equal to $2,000 per person, per year for travel expenses incurred in connection with the cruise ship convention as long as the ship is a U.S. flagship and all ports of call are located within the United States or its possessions. In order to deduct cruise ship convention travel expenses the business must attach two written statements to their tax return. Statement #1 must be signed by the business owner. This statement specifies the number of hours each day that were devoted to business activities, total days of the trip and the program of business activities on the ship. Statement #2 must be signed by an officer of the cruise ship convention organization and provide detailed schedules of the meetings and the number of hours the taxpayer attended.

3. Travel Outside the United States – Only costs associated with the days in which business was conducted are allowed as a travel tax deduction. Business days include days spent traveling to and from the business destination. Days spent on non-business activities are not counted as business days. Weekends and holidays are considered business days if they fall between the business days. Where part of the foreign travel includes non-business days, travel costs must be prorated by dividing the number of business days by the number of total days. This
percentage is then applied to the total travel costs in arriving at the tax deductible travel expense deduction.

4. Non-Convention Cruise Ship Travel – The travel deduction allowed for this type of travel is determined by the IRS every year, so it changes every year. IRS publication 463 lists the daily deductible amounts allowed(called per diem rates). You multiply the per diem rate by the number of travel days in arriving at your tax deductible travel expense amount. If meals are a separate charge you are allowed to deduct 50% of the meal costs in addition to the per diem amount.

For more information please consult with a tax advisor or attorney.

Tom is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Financial Planner, CLTC (Certified Long-Term Care) and President of Cerefice & Company, the largest CPA firm in Rahway, New Jersey. Tom works with clients helping them manage their money, retirement planning, college savings, life insurance needs, IRAs and qualified plan rollovers with an eye towards maximizing tax benefits and minimizing taxes. Tom is founder of the Rich Habits Institute and author of “Rich Habits”.

Truth About Government Travel Advisor.

If you’re like most people and you believe that government travel advisories, warning and alerts represent the most accurate advice for business travellers then you are terribly mistaken.

Here are the key elements that all business travellers and travel managers need to know regarding the validity and application of government travel alerts and travel related advice. Knowing and understanding these few simple issues will save your company unnecessary travel delays and disruptions under almost any circumstance. The main points to always consider in the wake of a renewed or updated advisory, warning or alert is the target audience, specific government resources, commercial relevance and the avoidance of evacuation scenarios.

The primary demographic for government advisories are first time travellers, backpackers, families and anyone else with little to no prior travelling experience and preparation or the lowest possible denominator. It is this group that governments aim their advice and analysis towards with the belief that if this group is adequately informed, then all remaining demographics will be covered. Unfortunately this results in an artificially low benchmark for all travellers not within this group.These other groups depend upon travel for business productivity, management and administration and the more likely to have their travel plans altered unnessesarily due to many government alerts. This is in part due to corporate risk avoidance (in the belief the government travel advisories are adequate) and insurance companies benchmarking many of their travel policy exclusions on that of government travel advice (again, in the belief the government are catering to their needs too). Unless you are a first time traveller, significantly inexperienced or lack appropriate business support while travelling, then the majority of government travel advice does not apply to you.

Detailed examination of dedicated resources aimed at travel related advice and content typically reveals little more than a handful of “specific” resources. That is, someone or department dedicated solely to the collection, analysis and dissemination of commercially relevant travel advice. Most government resources are “shared” services when it comes to travel intelligence and advice with general non-government travel a very small increment of their overall mandate. Smaller countries have no dedicated resources and simply “share” the advice from coalition partners or more populace countries, further diluting the relevance to their citizens. Most continuous travel advisory services, provided by a government, are little more than a chronology of publicly available media updates. While resources are limited in the first instance, it is the lack of commercial experience that constitutes the greatest flaw to government travel advisories.

What little resources there are that are aimed at travel intelligence typically lack any direct commercial experience. Therefore, all their apparent advice is predicated more on the interests of the government (resulting in censorship, omissions and politically correct publications) than that of any business sector or commercial demographic. When you have soldiers, government agents and police officers commenting on matters relating to commerce and business travel, you get little actionable advice due to their inability to put into commercial context the impact events may have from a purely commercial perspective rather than a transnational or political viewpoint.

Behind closed doors, most governments admit they do not maintain nor posses the resources (assumed by most of their citizens) for large scale evacuations from any corner of the globe. Regrettably many travellers have grown to assume that complete failure to take responsibility for their own safety and security while travelling will always be compensated by the government’s ability to swoop in and save then if they should so choose. This is wrong and very dangerous for those with such a belief. For those governments that would even consider an evacuation of their nationals (not very many) they will often go to great lengths to advise their citizens to leave or make personal arrangements long before any government is forced into acting. Landing troops or foreign government elements in someone else’s country is always the choice of last resort and highly prone to complications, even if it were possible.

Anything published by a government will always have the country’s national interests such as economy, trade and diplomatic relationships carefully considered before release. Anything that may threaten such strategic goals is likely to be withheld, including government travel advisories, warnings and alerts. Now that you understand the importance of being self sufficient and discerning when it comes to government travel advice you will waste less time placing priority on such updates and focus on more commercially relevant inputs. As a result, your company travel risk management process will be far more resilient and less impacted by the stop/start affect created by government updates, warnings and alerts. You may also now identify gaps that need to be filled by insufficient commercial content from government sources.

Government travel advisories, warnings and alerts focus on the wrong target demographic, lack the appropriate resources, have little commercial relevance and seek to avoid last minute acts such as evacuations. Now that you too are aware of these limitations you should be better positioned to make business decisions in the wake of crisis, emergency and dynamic events that affect a location and your business travellers. Business travel risk management is a commercial process and can only be achieved with appropriate commercial products and services.