Friendly Planet Blog

Where you should travel with your tax refund

Tax season is officially over and you might be expecting a refund check in the near future. The average person will receive a tax refund of about $2,755, according to the IRS, which can come in handy if you want to get away on an international vacation. To help, I’ve broken down a few suggestions for where you can travel at a few different price points.

If you’re looking to stay under about $2,000 per person, I recommend:

  • A Taste of China or Beijing & Tokyo. Visiting China is the trip of a lifetime for travelers interested in exploring a culture truly different from their own. The country has impressive modern achievements and an ancient, rich culture. Beijing, China’s capital, and Shanghai, often called the “Paris of the East,” are two of the most dynamic cities in the world. And Xi’an, a large industrial city, is the site of one of the world’s most important archaeological treasures: the army of 2,200-year-old terra-cotta soldiers buried to protect the tomb of the first Qin emperor.
  • A Taste of Ireland or Discover Ireland. As I’ve said before, whether you have Irish roots or just a love of Irish culture, there has never been a better year to visit Ireland. That’s because The Gathering, a year-long celebration of Irish ancestry with clan gatherings, festivals, sporting events, music, and concerts, is going on this year. This event only adds to the lush countryside, friendly and wonderful people, and the array of beautiful destinations — Dublin, Kerry, Killarney, Kilkenny, Limerick, and more — in Ireland.
  • Captivating Costa Rica or Costa Rica Pura Vida. From jungles, cloud forests, and active volcanoes to its rivers and Caribbean and Pacific coasts, travelers need to experience everything that makes Costa Rica the jewel of Central America. This destination has beautiful resorts and adventurous travel opportunities — making it the perfect place for every kind of traveler. And the location is out of this world: the island contains 5 percent of the world’s biodiversity.

If you’re looking to splurge on your vacation and go off the beaten path, check out:

  • Colors of Cuba. The island of Cuba has remained closed to American travelers for many years. But when the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) granted people-to-people licenses to tour operators, legal travel to Cuba became possible again for Americans. The license mandates that travelers interact with Cuban people through educational exchanges concerning art, music, and culture. It’s really a wonderful experience to visit Cuba and be able to interact with Cubans one-on-one in their communities. Travelers on these tours can experience sharing meals with Cuban families, attending events in local neighborhoods, visiting local schools and interacting with children, among others.
  • Kenya Safari Express. Kenya is the home of the African safari and should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Whether it’s your dream to see Africa’s big five game or sweeping vistas, Kenya is truly different than anything else you’ve experienced. The true star in Kenya is the wildlife — you’ll see elephants, giraffes, over 400 varieties of birds, hippos, buffaloes, zebras, and much more.
  • Galapagos Islands Wildlife Discovery. The Galapagos Islands are 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, but feel like an entirely different world. Marine iguanas, giant tortoises, blue- and red-footed boobies, pelicans, and even a few penguins call these archipelagos home. The true wonder here is the ecosystem, which remains untouched, and is filled with history and natural beauty.

That’s where I recommend you travel with your tax refund this year. Do you have another destination in mind? Let me know in a comment, and I’ll be happy to offer any advice I can.

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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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