10 trips to spend your tax return on

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Tax season is here and if this year is like last year the majority of filers – 83 percent last year – can expect a refund according to the Internal Revenue Service. If you’re like us, you’re already dreaming of where to travel with that money.

The average refund is $3,120, which means it might be time to splurge on a ticket to a bucket-list destination on the other side of the world. Even if your refund is smaller, you can get savvy and take a vacay a little closer to home. Here are 10 trips to take with your tax return. Start your flight search on Cheapflights.com and you’ll be on your way in no time.

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Phuket, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand
Plan a post-tax trip to Phuket, Thailand. (Image: Tourism Authority of Thailand)

After dealing with the stress of filing your taxes, you can find your zen on a Thai island like Phuket. Arguably the most famous and most popular Thai island, Phuket is home to lush rainforests, majestic mountains and beautiful beaches on the Andaman Sea. Just a short plane ride from Bangkok, Phuket also offers a range of accommodations, from inexpensive beach huts and cheap guesthouses that cost a few dollars per night, to ultra-luxe resorts.

Orlando, Florida

Volcano Bay - Universal Orlando Resort
Take a post-tax plunge at Universal Orlando Resort’s Volcano Bay. (Image: Universal Orlando Resort)

File your taxes and then whisk the kids (or kids at heart) away to the “theme park capital of the world,” Orlando, Fla. The destination’s affordable restaurants and budget hotels make for a comfy stay without extravagant spending, while activities outside the theme parks – from airboat rides to paddle boarding and blooming gardens – can supplement a visit without breaking the bank. Orlando is for adults too (check out our bar hopper’s guide to Disney World). The perfect spring weather is comfortable enough for exploring theme parks, relaxing by the pool and dining alfresco. May is value season with great deals and lighter crowds. Two new additions open this May: Volcano Bay, a brand-new water park at Universal Orlando Resort, and a new Avatar-inspired land called Pandora – The World of AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which features bioluminescent rainforests, new after-dark entertainment and two new rides.

The Bahamas

Relax with your refund in the beautiful Bahamas. (Image: Bahamas Tourist Office)

Party post-tax preparation in paradise. Spring is an excellent time to visit the Caribbean as crowds are thinning and prices are coming down after winter. Temperatures remain mild, with sunny days and breezy nights. With a high volume of rooms, the Bahamas is an ideal spot to find competitive prices, including exceptional all-inclusive packages, so you can leave your cares at home.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Makena State Beach Park
Say aloha to an amazing vacation funded by your tax refund. (Image: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Tor Johnson)

A luxurious Hawaiian escape is a perfect way to spend a hefty tax return. Make post-tax season a romantic beach escape with your special someone, and your combined tax refunds can fund a few splurges at Hawaii’s luxurious hotels. Say aloha to fun in the sun. And, if you didn’t get as much back as you’d hoped, make your trip a reality with our tips on “How to do Hawaii on a shoestring budget.”

Cusco, Peru

Machu Picchu
Take your tax refund and check off travel bucket list places. (Image: PROMPERU)

A generous tax refund is a perfect excuse to go to Peru and finally cross Machu Picchu off your bucket list. The site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983 and was named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World in 2007. After indulging in some of the best food in the world – at restaurants like Central and Maido, which just came in at the top of the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 – fly to the Andean city of Cusco, Peru, and then take a train or bus to Machu Picchu. The trek to this remote sacred sanctuary is a bucket-list item for many travelers. The ancient “Lost City of the Incas” was built atop a mountain range 2,430 meters above sea level and is populated with stone temples.

Easter Island

Easter Island
Tax refunds are the perfet excuse for a splurge-worthy trip. (Image: Turismo Chile)

Where in the world will you go with your tax refund? Why not to a far-flung locale like Easter Island? Famous for its monumental statues, Easter Island is a remote island off the coast of Chile. As a bonus, you’ll finally have a reason to use the Easter Island Maoi (monolithic statue) emoji.

Beijing, China

Tiananmen Square - Beijing
Take off to Tiananmen Square after filing your taxes. (Image: China National Tourist Office)

The capital of China is a travelers’ treasure trove, from iconic Tiananmen Square, to the palatial walled Forbidden City that was home to 24 Ming and Qing Dynasty emperors, to the Great Wall of China. While you’re in Beijing, indulge in street food like lamb skewers and roasted chestnuts, bargain shop at the Silk Street Market and watch a Peking Opera. Spring is a great time to visit as the harsh winter weather gives way to warmer days. Opt for a stay in a traditional siheyuan to stretch your tax refund dollars while also having an authentic experience.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong
Enjoy a two-for-one vacation in Hong Kong. (Image: Hong Kong Tourism Board)

Forget the stress of tax filing by flying off to Hong Kong for retail therapy, spa days and Michelin-starred dim sum. Hong Kong is an ideal destination for a two-for-one trip. Take a one-hour high-speed ferry from Hong Kong to Macau and indulge in more shopping, sample Macanese cuisine and try your luck at the casinos for the chance to win money for another whirlwind vacation.

Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia
Celebrate the end of tax season Down Under (Image: Destination New South Wales)

Since January, the Australia dollar has been at an all-time low. Couple this with spring shoulder season in Sydney and a terrific tax refund and you have the perfect vacation destination Down Under. The temperature in Sydney is fall-like (mid-60s and 70s) in April and May, making it the perfect weather for exploring the Tarong Zoo, Royal Botanical Garden and Sydney BridgeClimb. Don’t miss Vivid Sydney, the world’s largest lights, music and ideas festival, which runs from May 26 to June 17.

Cancun, Mexico

Cancun, Mexico
Relax with your tax refund in Mexico. (Image: Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Celebrating the end of tax season calls for chilling on the beach with unlimited margaritas. Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel are on sale in late spring even though the summer heat hasn’t arrived yet (thanks to snowbirds heading home). Direct flights to Cancun from most major cities in the U.S. make it easy (and cheap) to get there. May is sea turtle egg-laying season, and many hotels offering night tours to watch. Whale shark migration season begins at the end of May and visitors can witness the world’s largest fish migrate to Cancun (adventurous travelers can even swim with the sharks).

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10 trips to spend your tax return on was last modified: April 14th, 2017 by Lauren Mack
Author: Lauren Mack (298 posts)

Lauren Mack has traveled to 40 countries on five continents, including Cuba, New Zealand, Peru and Tanzania. For many years, she called China, and then Taiwan, home. Countries at the beginning of the alphabet, particularly Antarctica, Argentina and Australia are on her travel bucket list. Lauren is a multimedia travel and food journalist and explorer based in New York City.