If you’re like me and wait until the exact last minute to do your taxes… then you probably just received your tax refund or will be getting it very soon. The smart thing to do here is to save, invest, pay off debt, you know, any and all of the above.
However, that’s not how my mind works. Sorry, Dad! Instead, I’m thinking, where can I go with this chunk of change!?
So whether you received $3k back, which I read is the national average, or had to pay in… I’ve broken it down in ranges to give you ideas big and small for any budget! Feed your wanderlust below with some fun inspiration of where you can go with your tax dollars this year!
For everyone who’s had multiple jobs, contract jobs, or your own side hustle, where it’s left your refund a little on the sad side, this one is for you. You can still have fun on a low budget! My personal favorite thing to do when I’m seeking adventure on minimal money is a day trip. Wake up early on a Saturday morning and hit the road!
My best advice is to go somewhere under 90 mins. That way it keeps driving and fuel to a minimum while maximizing your day. My day trips are usually budgeted out around $200 for 2 people, but you can cater it to you! Share meals, drive around or hike a trail. There are so many free ways to explore a town! If you like hiking try Taylor Falls, or if you prefer both nature and history, try Red Wing. One of my personal favorites, especially for a Sunday Funday, is a tour of all the wineries around Waconia!
For those with a little bit more to spend, go for a staycation in your hometown or neighboring suburb! I can’t tell you how long my list is of local places to explore that I haven’t even scratched the surface yet. In Minneapolis especially, there are so many trendy and unique neighborhoods to enjoy a staycation. So pack your bag and head out to a hotel you’ve always wanted to check out or a cute little AirBnB. Try Expedia, Hotel Tonight, or hotel.com to find the lowest rates!
Make the most of your stay by choosing a good location that is walkable to may things. In the Minneapolis area, North Loop, East Town, or Downtown Wayzata are all great options for example. Use your budget to either splurge on a luxury hotel for a 1 or 2-night stay and then keep other costs minimal, or snag a cheaper hotel or Airbnb and spend your money seeing a show, shopping, and eating and drinking your way through the weekend.
Glamp in the Black Hills
Are you a fan on camping but want to take it up a notch? Imagine waking up, walking out of your tent, and seeing Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, or the Appalachian Mountains. Under Canvas has 8 locations for luxurious camping and exclusive activities. For 3 nights you can stay in their “basic” tents for about $400 at Mount Rushmore. You can also stay in one of their deluxe rooms that include an en suite private bathroom and private patio for about $800 for 3 nights as well.
While you’re there make sure to make a stop in the Badlands and Wall Drug!
Downtown Los Angeles & Catalina Island
Do you like to enjoy a slower paced vacation near water but your partner likes the hustle and bustle of the city? Get the best of both by heading to Southern California. You can easily find cheap flights to LAX any time of the year really. Follow Thrifty Traveler or Google Flights to get the best deals!
Start your adventure in Los Angeles at the Ace Hotel. It’s a great location, walkable to many things and the rooftop pool and bar have prime views of the city. See a show at the Ace Theatre or head to LA Live to see what’s happening at the Staples Center. Grab dinner at Faith & Flower then head to Perch to end the night at their rooftop bar!
After a night in the city, zip to Long Beach where you can get on the Catalina Express. Make your way to Avalon Bay on the island and stay at a cozy Airbnb or one of their little hotels. Relax at one the many spas on the island or go for some outdoor adventuring. If you’ve never tried parasailing, this is a great place to try it! Go snorkeling in Lover’s Cove or hike the Trans Catalina Trail. The Botanical Garden offers incredible views too!
This trip gives you the best of both experiences with so many options to cater to everyone’s interests.
New England Fall Foliage Tour
If you want a stress free, already planned trip, try a guided tour! Explore all the beautiful fall colors on the East Coast with Caravan Tours. This tour starts in Boston for an 8 day New England adventure. See Plymouth Rock before heading to Martha’s Vineyard. Enjoy all the history you can see through Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Complete the loop by ending back in Boston. All bus transportation is provided as well as the hotels, breakfast, and dinner some days too! The 8-day tour starts around $1295 before airfare.
I’ve had this personally recommended to me and the pictures I have seen have been absolutely beautiful! Book early as this tour sells out!
I hope these 5 trips trigger your wanderlust! There are so many wonderful places to explore locally and beyond. So where are you traveling with your tax refund this year? Let me know! My bags are always packed 😉