Paying your taxes = free trip

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“Sleep tourism” is on the rise—thousands of travelers were polled and agreed that they sleep better when in a hotel, compared to their own home. Do you agree? Read more here.

Good morning, earthlings. Welcome to Daily Drop, the answer to all of your problems in life (as long as all of those problems involve travel).

Here’s what I’ve got for you today:

💳 Paying your taxes = free trip

Well, people - 2023 has come and gone, as years tend to do. The new year is always a time full of whimsy, hope, and joy.

That is… until you get your fat tax bill and have to shell out your hard-earned dollar bills to the government.

That’s right, folks - It’s time to pay the piper. But fear not - I’ve got some tips today that might eliminate some of the dread around the subject of paying taxes.

A meme about how we all feel pain when tax season comes

As someone who has owned a business and done lots of freelance self-employment work, I know the pain of having to pay big quarterly or annual tax bills, even when you plan for it accordingly.

What you may not know, however, is that there are ways to profit massively off your tax payment and even turn it into a luxurious business-class flight... 😮

a gif of Larry David sying "My interest is piqued"

Allow me to explain:

You may be aware that you can pay taxes using a credit card, usually with a pretty sub-optimal fee attached.

For example, the IRS website gives you multiple options for different payment processors, along with the various rates they each charge for different payment methods.

All of them will charge you just shy of 2% in fees to pay with a credit card. For the sake of this example, let's conservatively call it 2%.

A screenshot fro the IRS website showing the various fees for paying taxes with a credit card

Let's say you rack up a $10,000 tax bill. This is not unreasonable for freelancers, small business owners, and others with supplemental income.

The 2% fee would mean you would have to pay an additional $200 just to use a credit card. In most cases, paying more money to earn more points is rarely worthwhile. But in the following two scenarios, it can be very worthwhile.

Scenario 1: Earning a welcome bonus

You might be reluctant to sign up for expensive credit cards even when they have huge welcome offers due to the minimum required spending.

For example, this card has a huge welcome offers and tons of great perks but requires you to spend $6,000 to get the bonus.

Some people may struggle to spend that much and might even spend money they otherwise wouldn't just for the sake of the offer. This is bad, and we don't want to do this.

But if you have a $10,000 tax bill, you'd eliminate that spending requirement in one swoop. Is not having to worry about reaching the bonus over a 6-month period worth the $200 processing fee? For some people, it just might be. 😏

If you want to take this to the next level, you could open the Capital One Venture X card AND this other (equally awesome) card.

Since they each require you to spend $4,000, you'd earn both welcome offers and get nearly 150,000 points (including points from your spend)… 🤯 

That’s enough to book an entire trip somewhere!

Is a free trip abroad without stressing or waiting to earn points worth $200? For most of you, I'd guess the answer is yes.

Scenario 2: Normal points earning

Let's say you already have a credit card open, have already earned the welcome offer, and are really skeptical about shelling out $200 on fees just to earn some points from your taxes.

There are still ways for this to be worthwhile, believe it or not.

For example, if you own our highest-rated travel card or its younger sibling, you earn a minimum of 2 miles per dollar on every single purchase.

That means your $10,200 purchase would earn you 20,400 miles on either of those cards.

If you then transfer those miles to Flying Blue, you could book this luxurious flight on Etihad’s new business-class suites, a flight that otherwise costs over a thousand dollars.

A screenshot showing an Etihad business-class flight bookable with Flying Blue
A screenshot f the same flight as the earlier image, but with a cash cost of over $1,000

In this scenario, you're paying $200 because you know the points you earn can get you flights or hotels worth WAY more than that price.

That doesn't mean that $200 is free or that you aren't spending it. Rather, you're investing in something far more valuable.

So here’s the bottom line:

Now that 2023 has ended, it's important to start strategizing about maximizing your tax payments when the time comes. Who knew paying your taxes could be so fun, eh?

🌎 Map: Travel requirements for Americans

I’ve made you read quite a bit already today. So instead of another long, tedious travel hack, let me share a visual aid that I find useful and interesting. 👇

A color-coded map showing visa requirements (by country) for U.S. passport olders

That’s a LOT of green…

The above map shows entry and exit requirements for various countries around the world (for U.S. citizens).

Here is the key:

  • Dark Blue = United States (please, god, tell me you all know that)

  • Dark Green = No visa required for U.S. citizens

  • Less-dark green (i.e. Egypt, Tanzania) = Visa on arrival OR online

  • Teal (i.e. India) = eVisa, online visa, etc.

  • Yellow-ish (i.e. Iraq) = Visa on arrival

  • Gray = Visa required

  • Dark gray (i.e. North Korea) = ……well, don’t worry about it.

I think it’s pretty amazing to see how much of the world U.S. citizens (a.k.a. most of you) have access to with minimal effort required.

So enjoy that - maybe you’ll be inspired to travel somewhere that’s easier to go to than you thought!

🤓 Travel Trivia Tuesday

The Henley Passport Index just released its most recent rankings for the most powerful passports in the world.

Can you guess which country has the most powerful passport in 2024?

Only Email Recipients can participate in polls.

So, if you clicked through the trivia, you now know the winner from that list.

But there’s a twist in the plot…

The first-place slot for the world’s most powerful passport is a six-way tie between Japan, Singapore, Italy, Germany, Spain, and France.

The reason for this is that there is a scoring system that determines the outcome, and all six countries earned the same score.

Many factors determine these rankings, and it’s actually quite interesting. If you want to see more rankings and/or read more about the methodology, check out this article.

Do you prefer to learn in VIDEO FORMAT?

YouTube has all the music and visuals and killer thumbnails that we all know and love…

And this week’s video is all about flying Virgin’s famous Upper Class. It’s EPIC.

So drop what you’re doing and check it out! 👇

A thumbnail of Kara in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

That’s all for today, folks! Next time you hear from me, I’ll have moved on to the next country of the trip.

But there’s been a HUGE change to my travel plans that is going to surprise any of you who know anything about me… But you’ll have to tune in next week to find out. 😉

For now, take care and have a fabulous rest of your day. ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

13.7563° N, 100.5018° E

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