How to Spend Your Tax Refund on Travel

By Jessica Nabongo

It’s that time of year again — tax season. The U.S. government graciously gave us an extra weekend to toil over those receipts, W2s, and 1099s this year as you have until April 18th, refund checks are around the corner!! Some people owe money to Uncle Sam, but to those who don’t, “Me and my friends we got money to spend.”

In two to three weeks when you peer into your bank account for the 46th time looking for that refund, you will finally see it, the money that you earned in the previous year that they were kind enough to give back to you. So what to do with that money? Go somewhere! Here are some suggestions for where to travel with your tax refund based on how much you’re getting back.

$500 or less

So you have a little bit of money, but not that much. With a couple hundred dollars, it might not be possible to venture too far from home, but if you’re diligent and you find a flight deal, you can certainly make the great escape. You’ve got a few options:

Use the money to start your travel saving fund. This might be the exact start that you need to really begin planning for your one big vacation this year. Here are a few tips for how to add to this fund.
Have a staycation. Sometimes a vacation is just about getting away from your everyday life. Hop on or Airbnb to find a hotel or beautiful home to stay in for the weekend. Whether it’s a girl’s weekend, a bae-staycation or a solo travel moment, staying within 100 miles of your home can be that reset button you need. Think beautiful cabin in the mountains, visiting a small historic American town, making your way into the big city, or going to a resort/spa combo for some pampering.
Do a quick four day, three night getaway to the Caribbean.Sites such as Orbitz and Expedia can help you find deals that include airport and hotel, some that come in just under $500.

$500 – $1,000

Alright, so you have a little more money to play with…grab your passport! The cost of travel has really gone down in recent years and the rise of flight deals has made traveling very, very affordable. Last year, a few friends and I went to the United Arab Emirates, I paid $218 for a nonstop flight from DC to Abu Dhabi on one of the world’s best airlines. Here are two options for those in this refund range:

Put your money in a savings account and sign up for some flight deals. When you see the deal you want, pull that money out of savings and buy that flight! This article will tell you exactly how to save money on travel. A few countries have been on sale recently including France, Spain, and the Philippines, so book your flight, download Duolingo and brush up on some Spanish or French. The cheapest accommodations are most often found using Airbnb, but if that isn’t your thing, and are good for deals on hotels.
Staying relatively close to the U.S. will be your best bet in terms of saving on flights, so think South America, Central America and the Caribbean. Also heading to countries where the dollar is strong against the local currency will make that tax refund go even further.

$1,000 – $3,000

This refund range could allow for a luxury vacation to a Caribbean island or even will allow you to travel further to places as far away as Thailand and Cambodia or even South Africa or Zanzibar.

If you decide to head to the Caribbean to lay on a picturesque beach to sip tropical drinks, try Curacao, Turks and Caicos or St. Bart’s for life in the lap of luxury. It will leave you feeling better than any Louis Vuitton bag ever could! Flights to these islands should be less than $600 as long as you book in advance. Be sure to sign up for travel alerts on to ensure that you don’t miss a flight deal to your dream destination.