Smaller Tax Refunds Means Less Travel for Many Americans

The refund-fueled summer vacation might be harder to pull off this year.

I remember when the government was sending out those stimulus checks, and at the time, money was being spent on urgent issues. Now, when there's a bit more time and flexibility for travel, the IRS seems to be set on unstimulating us. This year, the IRS announced that tax refunds on average have shrunk by 11%. I find that particularly frustrating because I don't find my tax dollars are too hard at work.

According to review platform Trustpilot, this year's smaller tax returns may force as many as 48% of Americans to cut travel plans to make up for the difference in cost. Research shared with Thrillist from Trustpilot showed that "years with smaller tax refunds, like 2023, are leaving American wallets reeling and ready to cut back on travel to offset for the lost chunk of change."

About 10% of travelers have already started spending, anticipating a better tax return than what they will actually receive. That puts those spenders at a pretty big disadvantage, not just for trip planning but for our general financial wellbeing. If you haven't filed your tax return yet, you have until April 18 to meet the 2023 tax deadline.

Now knowing that you're less likely to receive as hefty of a refund this year, consider waiting to make any big travel purchases until after you get that final refund number. And don't worry, even with a tinier tax return, there are still ways to afford travel with some good flight deals and cheap travel tricks. The tax man is already taking our money, he can't take our travel dreams too!

Looking for travel deals?

Here's our running list of all the cheap travel deals you can book right now, and you can head here for all the latest flight deals plus cheap things to do and savings on hotels, cruises, trains, and more to help you plan for your next trip.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.