A Ticket to Ride From Uncle Sam

tax refund road trip

It’s that time of year! Tax returns are starting to come in (or not if you’re against granting an interest-free loan to the government) and you may have started dreaming about what you could do with the windfall. For a little fun this tax season, take this year’s return and stretch it out to fund a whole trip. While it may not seem like a lot, with a couple thrifty travel tips you can take your next adventure with just that one check in hand.

Save on Accommodations

Planning ahead is the single best cost-saving tip when it comes to budgeting a trip. In some cases planning ahead is necessary, such as reserving a camping site at a National Park during busy season. But even when you don’t have to plan ahead, it’s a good practice that your wallet will thank you for. Most lodgings offer lower rates the earlier you book. This holds true regardless of whether you’re at a hotel or tent camping. If you scout around now for lodging later this spring, you also have the advantage of more options to choose from. As they say, the early bird gets the worm!

Travel in Numbers

It’s no secret that the more people you have in your group the more you can save. A large enough party can qualify for group rates almost anywhere, but even a modest group can save by making smart decisions. Deciding to drive instead of fly with a group of four or so people could save hundreds on airfare. Combining this with the use of tools like GasBuddy will help you save ever more. A few extra dollars left in the wallet by selecting the cheapest place to stop for gas adds up over longer journeys. We want that return to take us the extra mile!

Pack a Meal

Another great tip for frugal travel is to pack your own meals. Of course, if you’re traveling someplace known for phenomenal or unique food you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to try a new dish or two. Not every meal has to be at a five-star restaurant, but you don’t want to miss out on any local specialties!

The real measure of the frugal traveler is their ability to prioritize what they want to see and do. By understanding your travel goals and being honest about the what is most important for you, you’ll minimize costs without sacrificing any of the rich experiences you’ll have out there.


  • Harriet Reply

    Great idea for using your tax refund. You’ve worked hard all year now enjoy with an adventure travel trip. I need to get ready foR a trip to Alaska. Can I trek on Mendenhal Glacier? Sure if I get the right training.

    • Amanda McCadams Reply

      Hi Harriet, You definitely can take a trek to Mendenhall Glacier. You’ll need to wear good shoes or water boots or depending on what time of year you go, maybe even traction cleats. It’s a gorgeous excursion and one you will never forget. If you are considering adding that to your bucket list and need some fitness training we can certainly create a custom program to help you make that happen.

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