Turn Your Tax Return Money Into a Vacation with This Travel Calculator

If you're hung up on the best way to spend your refund, here are some ideas.

Kitiya Khamyaem/Shutterstock
Kitiya Khamyaem/Shutterstock
Editor's Note: We know COVID-19 is continuing to impact your travel plans. Should you travel now, be sure to familiarize yourself with the CDC's latest guidance on domestic and international travel as well as local requirements, protocols, and restrictions for both your destination upon your arrival and your home city upon your return. Be safe out there.

So, you finally filed your tax return, perhaps, just hours before the filing deadline. It's ok. We've all been there. Now you're looking at the expected refund you'll receive and agonizing a bit on how to spend it. Paying off your debts or perhaps finishing up a big home project? Solid ideas, sure. But, after two years of staying home, maybe the best investment you can make with the check from Uncle Sam is one in exploration.

If you are of that mindset, Kayak has unveiled an incredible tool that will allow you to decide how you can best spend your money to travel. "According to a recent survey, 1 in 6 people who expect to get money back for their 2021 returns are smartly planning to spend it on travel," Kayak's website states. "Consider it a re-investment in yourself—one we can help with. Simply plug in your estimated tax refund below, and we'll find destinations within your budget—try it out to see where you could go."

The tax refund travel calculator allows you to input the total amount for your 2021 tax return, so it can give you a comprehensive list of destinations that would fit into your budget. For example, if your refund is $1,000 and you live in or near New York City, it will list places like Nashville, Myrtle Beach, Toronto, and Sarasota.

There are filters for the calculator based on your interests, budget, and travel time. When you select a destination, it can give you an estimate for the cost of a four-day trip. You can choose travel dates that best match your ideal budget and schedule based on those prices.

Even if you aren't planning on using your tax refund money on traveling, the calculator can still be a helpful tool. It can help you find inspiration for your next travel adventure, even if it will come after paying off your credit cards.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.