15 Trips You Can Take With Your Tax Refund
The average tax refund is $3,120, according to the Internal Revenue Service. And while it may be most prudent to save that money or pay off debt, there are few better ways to make yourself happy than traveling.
In a survey by Trip.com, 34 percent of respondents said they would pay bills with their refund, 31 percent said they would save most of it, and about 6.5 percent said they would take a trip. (About 20 percent said they would do a combination of the above.)
As for why people travel, 34 percent of respondents said relaxation is the number one reason.
“More people responded that their motivation to travel was to relax,” Trip.com co-founder and CEO Travis Katz said in a statement, “which may reflect other reports that Americans are still feeling stressed about both the economy as well as post-election fatigue.”
After relaxation, the next most popular travel goals were exploration, to experience culture, and to visit friends and family.
With relaxation top of mind, it's not so surprising that 35 percent of respondents said their ideal destination is a warm beach like Hawaii, and 24 percent said they preferred adventure or outdoor recreation. Europe was also a popular choice, at 12 percent, while 10 percent said they'd like to travel to a big city.
If you've got a refund coming your way and are more interested in spending it than saving it, here are a few trip ideas.
A round-trip flight in April from New York City to Reykjavik will set you back about $340, according to KAYAK. (We're using New York City as a base for these trips for the sake of simplicity, but you can check prices for flights from your home airport with KAYAK's Explore tool.) There are also frequent airfare sales to this frozen hotspot on WOW Air and Icelandair. From Reykjavik, you'll be able to explore the rest of the country easily.
You'll want to save money on airfare to Iceland, because services and food can be pricey once you're there. Expedia has hotels in Iceland in April for about $200 per night, or you can splurge a bit on accommodations with these recommendations. A four-wheel drive van or SUV will set you back about $650 a week, and you can either spend more at sit-down restaurants or save by heading to the supermarket while there.
Check out Travel + Leisure's Iceland travel guide for more tips and information.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
But maybe you've already done Iceland (or you're too cool for it). Another amazing use of your tax return: Wyoming.
April is a great time for visiting the Cowboy State, but in 2017 you may want to wait until August. On August 21, a total solar eclipse will cross the state (along its path from Oregon to South Carolina) and what better place to watch the astronomical phenomenon than the great outdoors?
Flights in either April or the summer from New York City to Wyoming are about $550, according to KAYAK. Expedia has everything from $49 hostel accommodations to a $450 room at the Teton Club. Once there, Wyoming has scenic drives, hiking, and really any outdoorsy kind of activity you can think of. Depending on when you visit (and your preferences), you can get a rental car for as little as $80 a week.
But maybe mountains aren't your thing. If you count yourself among the 35 percent of survey respondents who want to head to a warm beach for vacation, let's talk Honolulu.
This year the city is hosting its first Biennial. The art event began earlier this month and continues through May 8.
If you'd like to combine your beach time with some surfing, some ziplining, and maybe a visit to a sloth sanctuary, then consider Costa Rica.
Round-trip flights from New York City to San Jose in April are about $330. Seven-day vacations at Witch's Rock Surf Camp (one of many great surf camps in Costa Rica) start at $930. A two-hour tour at the sloth sanctuary is $30; a four-hour “Insider's Tour” is $150. Here's how to get to it.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
You can't go wrong in the Caribbean.
Round-trip flights to Montego Bay, Jamaica, from New York City will set you back about $600, although it's possible to book some dates at closer to $400 right now.
Côte d'Azur, France
Round-trip airfare to Nice, which is very nice, averages $700 in April.
The Côte d'Azur, or French Riviera, has ritzy beach destinations like Cannes and Saint Tropez, as well as more reasonable (though not necessarily cheap) locales where your dollar will go further.
You could rent a car and explore, but maybe this is one place where it's best to lounge and people watch.
Fly to Madrid for about $800 round-trip from New York City, then rent a car (about $200 a week) or take the train south to Málaga, a coastal town close to Gibraltar that has a significant British expat population. It also has art — lots of it.
In addition to gorgeous natural attributes, southern Spain also has beautiful Islamic architecture. (Architecture fans should visit the Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita in Córdoba if they've got the time.)
San Juan Islands, Washington
Off the coast of Washington state, the San Juan Islands are what Pacific Northwest dreams are made of.
Flights to Seattle from New York City in April range from $267 to $607 round-trip depending on exact dates. From there, you'll need to drive north to catch one of the ferries to the islands. (There are also hopper flights for those less inclined to spend a few hours on a boat, but you can bring your car on the ferry so it's more convenient.)
Friday Harbor has so much small town charm it's ridiculous, and there are several options for whale watching or kayaking if the weather is amenable. Hotel rates vary; consider staying a couple nights in Friday Harbor before venturing out to something more remote and scenic.
About two years ago, Scotland announced the North Coast 500, a Route 66-style highway that circles the highlands and makes for an amazing road trip. Not all parts are highway — the project connected many existing roads, so there's plenty of rural country to be found — but the scenery is all amazing.
Round-trip flights from New York City to Edinburgh average $700 in April, Expedia has available car rentals for $300 a week right now, and there are home rentals along the drive. It's okay if you're leaving us to book this right now.
Casablanca, made famous forever by Bogey and Bergman, is one of the best places in the world to visit in April.
The city offers colonial architecture, the impressive Hassan II Mosque, and an unbeatable coastal location. Flights in April from New York City are $800 to $1,000, and you can book an ocean-view grand premiere room at the luxe Four Seasons for about $400 a night.
Round-trip airfares from New York City to Oslo in April range from $369 to $2,401, so this is one destination where dates really matter (unless you want to spend most of your return on getting there).
English is not as frequently spoken in the city, so brush up on your Mandarin before your trip. Hotels range from about $150 to $250 a night.
For some more tips, check out T+L's guide for a perfect day in Beijing.
Visit Graceland and enjoy live music in Memphis for a southern getaway.
Round-trip airfare from New York City to Memphis in April is about $380.
And since I'm big on themed travel, let's go all out. The Elvis Presley's Memphis Celebration Package at the Guest House at Graceland starts at $319 per night the weekend of April 14. Here's how to have an Elvis-themed vacation in Memphis.
It's not too late to plan a trip to Tokyo to see the cherry blossoms this spring.
You won't be alone, since the blooms attract tens if not hundreds of thousands of gawkers each year, but there are plenty of places to get away from the crowds and just enjoy the flowers.
Fly from New York City to Tokyo for as little as $704 round-trip on select dates in April and May.