Any travel blogger around the world will inevitably run out of words when it comes to their experiences – both good and bad – about being in this profession. A professional travel blogger will, of course, talk about how much fun they are having or tell of a stressful time, but they will also write off the expenses that they incur while pursuing a travel blog career. These are things you should know and understand before undertaking your own steps to begin this fantastic journey.
Along with this exciting career or business that you are thinking of building or might have already begun, there are a handful of travel expenses that bloggers shoulder most of the time while traveling. Receiving discounts, privileges, and fewer travel expenses are considered the best reward any travel blogger could ever have, and YES, there are specific travel-related expenses that can be deducted from your total business spending.
To become a professional and successful travel blogger, you have to willingly invest and turn that hobby of yours into a business to be able to experience all the benefits that a travel blogger receives. This includes your travel expenses; yes, you read it correctly. Your travel expenses can be deducted from the total expenses of your trip, which we will be discussing in this article.
So, while you’re busy preparing everything for your blog kickoff, there are significant expenses to which newbies, like yourself, need to understand and consider.
The Blog-Related Expenses Every Blogger Should Know
If you are a travel blogger from the United States, you must claim your hard-earned blog income on your tax return. The good news is you can lower your tax liability by taking on deductions related to blogging on your tax return as long as the IRS is aware that blogging is your main source of income, and the deductions are related to your business. There are more eligible deductibles that apply for bloggers that work outside their homes. It’s best to get advice from a professional tax expert to make sure that you can and are eligible for any tax deductions.
Here’s a list of deductions that you can consider in preparing your tax return.
- INTERNET-RELATED EXPENSES
Since bloggers make use of the internet to make their posts fly out, internet-related expenses can be deducted from your expenses such as the following:
- Blog hosting fees
- Fees to acquire a domain name
- Internet fees
- Blogging software fees
- Fees to download music and images for your blog post.
- COMPUTER EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES
A blogger without a computer? A rare creature, indeed! The following are the items that you can deduct from your total expenditure.
- Computer or Laptop (whatever is your personal preference)
- Memory upgrades
- Wireless router
- Computer monitor, mouse, and keyboard
- Software needed for your blog
- Digital cam
- COMMUNICATIONS-RELATED EXPENSES
Here comes the best part. Any tools and equipment that you use in your blog business that have something to do with communication can likely be deemed a deductible.
- Second business phone
- Fax machine
- Long distance calls
- Cellphone calls
- OFFICE DEVICES
If you need to have your own office to run your blog business efficiently, here are the office items that can be a deductible.
- Office desk
- File cabinets
- SUPPLIES AND STATIONERY
If you think that the office supplies (even the small ones) cannot be considered as deductible items, just think again. They, too, can be counted as deductible from your business expenses. Just make sure to keep track of all your receipts in case you are ever audited.
- Business cards
- Staplers and staple refills
- Paper clips
- ADVERTISING, DESIGN, AND PROMOTION
Bloggers of any industry do invest a lot for their promotion, advertising, and especially, design. Though you don’t always purchase items like these, they are deductible, too.
- Paid site submissions
- SEO services
- Custom blog design and header
- Contest Prizes
- Letterhead design and logo
- Advertising placement
- Promotional giveaways
- TRAVEL AND ENTERTAINMENT
The following items are by far the best deductible expenses that every travel blogger are eligible to receive.
- Blogging conferences and meeting fees
The following should be related to your blog business:
- Dining Charges
- Hotel charges
- PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIPS AND PERIODICALS
Bloggers have the privilege to join and be part of any professional association that is related to their specific industry or to blogging in general. However, these groups are subject to professional dues and fees, which can be a deductible. Whereas, books and other readable materials related and needed to enhance your blogging business are also a deductible.
- Professional association fees and dues
- Professional website memberships
- Books, magazines, online subscriptions
- OFFICE SPACE AND RELATED EXPENSES
Some bloggers prefer working outside their homes to execute their blogging business efficiently. And, if you are one of them, you can deduct your office space rent from your tax return. Whereas, if you work as a home-based blogger, you can also deduct a percentage of your household bills, especially if you use it for your blog. The following are also entitled as a deductible.
- Natural gas
- OTHER MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES
Some bloggers overlook a profusion of out-of-pocket spending, which is also subject to a blogger’s deductible, such as the following:
- Post office box used only for your blogging business
- Professional services fees such as an accountant or lawyer
- Safety deposit box used only for your blogging business
- Website, marketing materials, and headshots used for your blog post
- Costs to be allowed to use images and photos owned by another person
Travel Blogger Deductible Expenses
Travel blogging should be purposely for BUSINESS alone. For a specific journey to become eligible as a deductible, the venue of the conference or meeting must take place out of the office or home and should be planned and scheduled before you leave either via plane, bus, train, or automobile.
Remember that the following travel expenses are subject and entitled as a deductible:
- Transportation costs – airport parking fees, taxis, bus, air or train fare
- Meals and entertainment – inclusive are 50% of the meal, tips, and taxes
- The other travel-related “common and essential” spending – this includes but are not limited to travel baggage fees, business center fees, dry cleaning, and many more.
To continuously enjoy the perks of business expense deductibles, you must be able to provide proof of profit from your travel business for at least three years. If your business is less than that, still prove that you are statutorily in the process of making a profit out of your traveling business. No matter how many photos you post about your travels, it’s not enough for you to be granted the deductible from your taxes. The worst part is when you totally fail the screening process; your travel blog business will just be ranked as a ‘hobby’ and will be stripped off any exclusive benefits.
Ways to write-off a travel blog junket
You have to provide these four notes to legally write-off a business-related trip:
- The number of days and places you have traveled.
- A complete list of your travel expenses from airfare to lodging.
- The purpose of your trip (business meeting, client visit, conference, conventions, etc.)
- The information of the person who traveled and who financed the trip.
(Note about item #1)
Keep documentation of your flight information whether you are traveling by air, train, bus, or, if you are driving and the mileage of your vehicle, or even your cruise details if you chose to travel by sea. Include the date, time, and any connections of your round-trip journey.
How to write-off travel that is both “Business and Pleasure”
There is this “business with pleasure” mantra that every individual tries to incorporate in their lives. With travel bloggers who are engaged in both business and personal-related trips, the IRS are strictly paying attention to taxpayers who are trying to declare a nondeductible personal journey as business-related deductible travel. So if you are trying to mix business activities with pleasure, you can declare your deductible travel expenses only if the trip is mainly business related.
Most travel bloggers, especially the professional ones, make sure that the primary goal of their trip is more on the business side. One vital element is the volume of time allotted on engagements that are strictly for business. Furthermore, those outside the U.S. travel expenses could be limited or restrained if proven that most of your trip was used for personal reasons. This strongly means that any trip used primarily for personal engagements alone cannot be considered as part of your deductible; not unless a portion of that trip will still qualify to be considered as a business deductible.
So now that you are aware of the terms and conditions that you must follow for your travel blog to be eligible for deductibles, there should not be a single reason for having second thoughts about the journey that you are determined to pursue. As long as you have the passion, skill, interests, and means, and every trip is guaranteed legally and legitimately business; then you can always get something out of whatever amount of spending you have invested. If you see that traveling is your life and will help you achieve your goals, then don’t be afraid to take all the necessary risks to get there.