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9 Affordable Trips You Can Pay for with Your Tax Refund

dashboard hula girlMany Americans are up in arms about reduced tax refunds this year — hopefully, you’re not on the short end of that stick — but all is not lost. You can still get away on budgets that range from small to a little more generous. Here’s how:

Glamping for a weekend

Skip town with your partner, or round up a buddy, and say so long to the city for a couple nights in the great outdoors. TravelPirates editor Alanna Smith rounded up great glamping cabins and tents around the US from $25 to $200 a night; I’ve personally booked several weekend trips through Tentrr and Glamping Hub in the $200 to $250 range. I also recommend checking out KOA’s free camping promotions, like this $20 night in May that helps support cancer research. Fresh air and toasted marshmallows for everybody!

Cross-country via Amtrak

Train travel is severely underrated in the United States, but Amtrak Superliners may well be the most inexpensive way to cover the most ground and see the most sights. Last October, I embarked on my first cross-country Amtrak adventure, departing from Manhattan and traveling to Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco for $415. And later this month, I’m setting off again on another experience that will take me from DC to Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Los Angeles for $339. And if that’s still too rich for you, the price can be reduced to $225 if you’re willing to make no stops and stay on the train from coast to coast. On Amtrak, it’s not about the destination but rather the journey; I saw more of our beautiful country during last year’s nine-day trip than I have in my previous 37 years alive.

Asia for less than $500

While the prospect of jetting off to exotic locations like Bangkok, Singapore, and Tokyo may seem out of reach, it’s quite the opposite. Departing from coastal cities like Los Angeles will score you can’t-believe it fares, including this $456 roundtrip to Hong Kong during select weeks through the end of the year.

Affordable packages to Europe

TravelPirates has flagged some great flights to Spain, France, Ireland, and more from both coasts, thanks to the rise of budget airlines. You can spend six nights in Ibiza for less than $650 a person, which includes flights from New York City and accommodations at a gorgeous oceanfront hotel.

Cruising in style

Along with Amtrak excursions, cruises are another big deal for relatively little money. You can book an interior cabin on a cruise for $500 or less per person — depending on the season, where you’re going, and for how long — but with a bit more refund than you expected, why not treat yourself to an ocean view or balcony stateroom instead? Right now is a great time to book cruises, since cruise lines are offering wallet-friendly bonuses like liquor packages and free WiFi.

Exploring the pyramids in Egypt

The final price to historical Egypt all depends on what flights are available, says Smith, but TravelPirates has spotted nine-night tours along the Nile for around $650. And even when you throw in a few extras like camel rides, street falafel, and kitschy souvenirs, you can score a bucket list adventure for less than $1300.

Road-tripping with Outdoorsy

I’m 100% Team Outdoorsy, a popular RV-rental service; think of it as sort of like the Airbnb of RVs. I did a search in my area of New Jersey just to provide an example, and you can hit the road starting at $65 a night. Prices increase based on the vehicles’ amenities, but even moderate luxury is available for around $120 a night.

Down Under for less than $1000

Yes, $1000 is a lot of to spend on airfare, but considering that air travel to Australia can sometimes be as high as $2300, it’s a relative steal. TravelPirates reports that you can do even better than that with some flights to Aussie cities hovering around $600. That extra savings mean more to spend on cuddling up with koalas, cage diving with sharks, and however else you want to get your Steve Irwin on.

Go all out in Mexico

Finally … If you’re looking at a fat tax kickback this year, why not go big? For $1305, you can stay at Mexico’s only overwater bungalows near Cancun — they’re adults-only and all-inclusive! — with flights from many American cities around $400. It’s like getting all the luxury and magnificence of Fiji without the high price or having to go halfway around the world.

Photo Credit: Michael Cory

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