In this article, we will explain how anyone can travel at a fraction of the regular price, enjoy perks, benefits and upgrades like you’ve never experienced before, travel tax-deductible anywhere in the world, and even get paid when you travel.
What does it mean to travel as an “insider?” Well, for decades, the travel industry has depended on travel agents to book all travel. Then, in the mid-1990s, two things happened that forever changed the way people book travel. Number one, the airlines stopped paying commissions to agencies. This impacted them greatly since airline commissions were very important to their income stream. At about the same time, the first Internet booking engines like Travelocity came into existence. Over the years as the Internet sites got more user-friendly and offered better prices, less people went to the full service agency, instead booking their own travel online. In a way, the online booking websites trained millions of people to be their own travel agent. Of course, you don’t make a commission, but you do get a great Internet rate.
It’s important to keep in mind that for decades, the travel vendors (cruises, hotels, resorts, etc.) have depended upon the word-of-mouth advertising of travel industry professionals. It’s called free advertising. The travel properties routinely invite travel agents at a deeply reduced rate in exchange for the agents going home to promote their hotel or cruise line. The properties are not going to kick someone out of a hotel room so you can stay there cheaper, but if the room is going to go unused anyway in an off-season or shoulder season, then they will still benefit by having you stay there at a reduced rate and then help to promote their facility. It’s a win-win situation. If the hotel doesn’t rent that room tonight, it’s loss revenue forever.
It’s very important to understand the difference between traveling with after-tax dollars as opposed to traveling with pre-tax dollars as a business owner. Let’s look at taxes for a minute: if you are not a business owner, you are missing out on one of the advantages of tax-deductibility. Let’s take a simple example of the difference between an employee and a business owner. Let’s say the average American spends about $3,000 per year on travel and vacations. You may spend more. If you are an employee, you will have to earn about $4,500 down at the job and then net out $3,000 after taxes. You then spend the $3,000 on the vacations. At the end of the vacation, you have great memories, but no money in your pocket.
Contrast this with the travel business owner who also makes $4,500 (maybe even at the same job), but then buys the travel as a business expense. As a business owner, you don’t pay taxes until all business expenses are deducted. In addition, because you are a travel professional, you will probably get the same vacation at a reduced rate, say $1,500. Subtract this from $4,500 and you are left with $3,000. Now you must pay the same rate of taxes (let’s say about 33% or $1,000). You are left with $2,000 in your pocket and the good memories. Which way would you rather travel, as an employee or a travel business owner?
In addition to the travel being tax deductible (consult with your tax advisor), you may have other business expenses such as cell phones, internet connection, car expenses, cameras, etc. As long as you treat your travel business as a real business by documenting your business activities and expenses, you may have additional tax benefits (check with your tax advisor).