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How to Turn Your Tax Return into a Vacation

March 20, 2017
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Everyone dreams of receiving a nice tax refund check from the federal government before or after April 15th of each year. After a full calendar year of seeing Uncle Sam take a chunk of your paycheck, it is time to start dreaming of what you can do with the hard-earned money of yours that has finally been returned to your account. The first thought many have is taking a vacation.

 

 Now, most people do not receive a tax refund large enough to pay for the entirety of a vacation, but that does not mean you should let go of your dream just yet. Large or small, you can turn your tax return into a lazy weekend at the beach or a fun-filled trip to Disney World. Here are a few tips to help you get there!

 

Get Others to Pay Your Way

 

OK, no one else is going to pay the entirety of your way to a beautiful destination. However, you can take advantage of offers out there to help fund the portion of your trip that your tax refund does not cover. For example, credit card companies offering a massive bank of airline miles for opening a new card might help you book a flight for a much lower price. Likewise, if you already have an airlines-miles card, all of your spending could be racking up miles for you.

 

 Another factor to keep in mind is the value of the US Dollar against other currencies. If Europe has always been your dream destination, the Euro is at all-time lows against the US Dollar, meaning you can visit there for the most affordable price in decades.

 

Save Money When You Book

 

There are a myriad of options available to you when it comes to saving money as you book your travel plans. First and foremost, know which days are the best to schedule your flights on. Business Insider notes that Wednesday is the best day of the week for departures, particularly if you are flying domestically within the United States.  

 

 

You might think you can find a better deal looking around separately for hotels, flights, and cars, but the opposite is often true. If you bundle your car, hotel, and flight together through one travel site you will often save money on the trip as a whole. Most importantly, be flexible in your travel plans. Do not be afraid to try alternate airports if the fare is cheaper, and look at alternative sites such as Airbnb to see if you can beat the rates compared to booking directly on a hotel chain's site.

 

 Save Some Money First

 

Just because you get a big tax refund in April or May does not mean you need to be on the beach in June. If you take time to earn some interest on that money, you might be able to take a longer vacation or go somewhere more exotic. Shop around for an account that pays you bonus interest for making no withdrawals each month, hunt around for high-yield savings accounts, and set up automatic transfers to your bank. With a little patience, that modest refund can turn into a nice vacation fund in no time.

 

 Write Off Your Trip for Business

 

If you can squeeze some business into your leisure time, you might be able to enjoy a nice tax break next year on your returns. All you have to do is ensure that at least 75% of your travel time is spent on business. Keep a journal of your expenses, including dates, meetings with clients, car rentals, and hotel stays. Make sure you hold onto all of your receipts, and don't go overboard. If you bring family along, you can't write off their expenses.

 

 Your next vacation is a lot closer than you think. With a little ingenuity, you can turn your upcoming tax refund into a vacation in no time!