Pet Friendly Corporate Housing Eases the Burden of Business Travel |

Gene Brown missed having a dog around. A traveling radiologist, Brown lived in corporate housing and was often on the road between assignments.

“I would see other technicians, who traveled with pets, and think, ‘I wish I could do that,’” he said.

Pets can be accommodated by most corporate housing providers, although some properties carry breed restrictions such as no pit bulls, rottweilers, German shepherds, or chows. Other properties require pet interviews, which can be difficult for traveling professionals to do if they are unable to see the property before taking occupancy. Taking the time to attend obedience classes with your dog will benefit you in any number of ways, but especially in the case of a pet interview.

If you own an aggressive breed of dog such as a pit bull, you may have an easier time accommodating your pet if you choose to rent a private furnished property over renting corporate housing at an apartment complex. Your corporate housing provider will be able to advise you how to proceed in such circumstances.

“One time we had this client whose dog kept escaping from the apartment,” said Erin Connelly, Operations Manager for the corporate housing provider Almost Home USA, “So we asked the complex to put a special lock on the door and they did.”

Finding housing that will accommodate a pet is only part of the challenge, there’s also getting them from point A to point B without causing them undue stress. Here are some helpful tips:

  • If you’re taking your dog or cat by car, begin by taking them on shorter trips first. That way you can gauge the level of their anxiety and speak with your veterinarian if you feel that tranquilizers are necessary.
  • Make sure the dog is always in the back seat of a car (although never in the bed of a pick-up truck) because passenger side air bags deploying can cause a pet damage. What’s more, dogs should not be allowed to stick their heads out of the window. According to the Humane Society, “Pets who are allowed to stick their heads out the window can be injured by particles of debris or become ill from having cold air forced into their lungs.”
  • To help a pet deal with motion sickness, the Human Society suggests taking along ice cubes, which are easier on a pet’s stomach than water.
  • Never leave your dog alone in a parked car. According to the Los Angeles SPCA, a parked car can heat up to 160 degrees in a minute, potentially causing stroke, brain damage, or even death.
  • If you’re traveling by plane, make sure that the dog or cat’s crate is clearly marked with all of your contact information. Make sure that the animal is wearing a collar with a legible tag, and a rabies tag.
  • There are pet transportation specialists who will, for a fee, make sure that Fido gets to where he needs to go with great efficiency, but online reviews of these services are mixed. Pet Airways, a new airline that caters to pets, will also transport your pet to its new home.
  • And most importantly, make sure that you travel with a pet in good health. A certificate of health from your veterinarian is usually required in case you need to stop at a hotel (and some providers may require it as well). Make sure your dog or cat’s vaccinations are up-to-date and that you have the appropriate documentation of them.
  • Get a reference from your current veterinarian of a good animal clinic that is a short drive from your new home. Carry both clinics’ numbers on you in case of emergency.

Although it’s best to be prepared for emergencies, concern should not prevent you from taking your pet with you when you travel for work. A dog or a cat can be an excellent companion on a lonely business trip, and it’s always nice to come home to a friendly and familiar face at the end of a long day.

Business Travel Expenses – What Every Businessperson Needs to Know |

Travel can be very expensive. When you travel for business, many of your expenses can be written off at tax time. This will save you a lot of money if you know how to do it correctly. But you don’t want to overdo it and risk being audited. It’s a careful process and some areas have thin lines. You’ll want to know exactly what you’re doing.

The most important thing to know is what is deductible and what isn’t. A lot of things can be written off as business travel expenses, but you don’t want to get ridiculous with it or you could find yourself in trouble. Ask yourself if your trip is primarily for business, or pleasure. Even if it is primarily a business trip, things you do for pleasure on the side may not be deductible.

When a purchase IS business related, you can write it off. Nearly anything counts. Hotel rooms, airfare, travel documents, meals, cab fare, dry cleaning, and business related long distance calls. But you’ll need to save all the documentation. This mostly pertains to receipts. While you may not need to send the receipts with your tax claim, you will need to have them in case you get audited so that you can back up your claims if they are called into question.

Don’t use the tax write-offs as an excuse to go crazy with your expenses. Getting the most expensive meal on the menu every night and sleeping in a penthouse suite the whole time can cause trouble if you try to write that off. That doesn’t mean you have to eat fast-food every night, either. There’s no set dollar amount as to what counts as a basic meal and what counts as an overly extravagant luxury. Just try to use your common sense. Another thing to remember when it comes to meals is that typically you will only be able to claim 50% of the meal as a business expense. Percentage amounts may apply to other niceties as well; the IRS changes these amounts every so often.

If you stay on the trip longer than what it takes to conduct business, your deductible expenses only count for the business portion of the trip. If business is concluded a day early, almost anything you do on this last day cannot be written off.

Even if business is still in motion, certain things you do that do not pertain towards business cannot be written off. For example, going to a theater by yourself will probably not be a valid claim. But if you treat your business contact to a local play and business is discussed before and after; you may have a valid claim.

If you bring family or friends along for the trip, only your own expenses are deductible. When going to restaurants and hotels, you may want to request your own bills be put on a separate ticket to simplify things when it comes time to file a tax claim. The only exception being if your friend or family member is also a business partner and you can prove this fact.

It is essential that you keep very good records of your business travel expenses. Tax laws can be confusing and they are changed often. If you have questions, your safest option is to consult a tax specialist.