A large majority of Americans get a tax refund each year and the national average is close to $3,000. The bad news is that your refund is essentially a zero-interest loan you’ve extended to the federal government over the course of the year. But the good news is that when Uncle Sam pays the loan back, it feels like “found money.” So, what should you do with it? It’s been proven time and again that experiences make us happier than things. When you spend your tax refund on travel experiences, you’ll get to see new places, taste foods you’ve never tried before, and learn about things you hadn’t even dreamed existed.
5 Terrific Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund on Travel Experiences
When choosing a destination that will appeal to the whole family, you can’t go wrong with a National Park. These rich resources give your family an opportunity to unplug and spend quality time together in nature. From hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee to seeing 200-million-year-old fossils in the Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, our National Parks offer stunning natural beauty. Pair that with wildlife encounters, sustainability awareness, and educational ranger programs and you have an engaging family vacation for all ages.
Traveling alone can be an empowering experience. At the risk of echoing Under the Tuscan Sun or Eat, Pray, Love, Italy is a wonderful place to find your inner strength and let it bloom. Specifically, the lovely hill towns of Siena and San Gimignano, with their medieval walls, towers, and piazzas are intriguing places to explore on your own. English is widely spoken, and you’ll be welcomed by friendly locals. You can easily travel from place to place by train, bicycle, or even on foot along the ancient pilgrimage route of the Via Francigena. By immersing yourself in Tuscany’s art, history, beautiful landscapes, and delicious food, you’ll rediscover yourself.
There are as many different versions of romance as there are couples, but let’s assume the focus of your trip is each other. One charming under-the-radar destination is Isla Holbox, a small island off the Yucatan Peninsula with miles of golden beaches. Stay in one of the enchanting boutique hotels right on the beach. There are no cars on the island, so you rent a golf cart to explore. You’ll find flamingos and nesting turtles in the lagoons and on dark nights, bioluminescence glows in the waters at the western tip of the island. Lobster is the main fishing product, so why not turn up the romantic vibe with a private seafood dinner on the beach?
Iceland is an adventure lover’s utopia with activities that can’t be found anywhere else. Adventures range from entering the caldera of a dormant volcano to exploring ice caves; riding Icelandic horses to riding ATV quad bikes; glacier trekking and ice climbing to soaking in geothermal pools and hot springs. There are countless hiking trails, scuba dive or snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of a glacial spring or take a whale-watching boat trip. Adventurers have endless possibilities in Iceland.
Food is such an integral part of travel because it tells so much about the local story. In Austin, Texas that story is all about meat and tacos. Mouthwatering beef brisket comes “lean or moist” and you order by the pound! In some places the wait can be three-hours or until they sell out. Tasty Tex-Mex is served up from dozens of food trucks and taquerias throughout the city. Austin is the “Live Music Capital of the World,” so meals often come with a side of live music.
For help turning your tax refund into a memorable experience, contact our top vacation advisors.