Tax refund vacations: 7 exotic trips

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Are you getting a tax refund this year and are eager to spend that newfound cash? According to the IRS, the average individual income tax refund for 2016 was $3,050.

Depending on where you start, that money can take you far, far away … on a vacation. Here are seven destinations where airfare and a hotel stay will cost less than the average refund.

Island-hopping in the Aegean Sea

Spend nearly two weeks soaking up the sun on some of Greece’s most beautiful islands for just $1,499. This trip from Go-Today begins with two nights in Athens, where travelers can visit the Parthenon and the Temple of Poseidon. The next nine nights are spread across the relaxing islands of Mykonos, Crete and Santorini. The cost includes airfare, hotel accommodations and daily breakfast.

A taste of Ireland

Get the full Irish experience with this two-week trip from Friendly Planet, starting at $2,699, which features visits to classic Ireland destinations like Dublin, Killarney, Galway and Belfast. The cost includes round-trip flights, all ground transportation and transfers, hotel and meal accommodations, and a guide to help get the the most out of the charming country.

Experience Ecuador

This eight-day trip from LivingSocial takes travelers to exotic Ecuador and Galapagos Islands for just $1,399. The fee includes round-trip international and local flights, six breakfasts, and hotel accommodations. For even more adventure, activities like snorkling with sea lions and observing giant sea turtles are available for a small extra fee.

Mamma mia!

Also from Go-Today is the so-called “Italian Adventure” package, priced from $1,099. The cheapest prices are found in October; plan to pay between $100 — $1,000 more for high season departures in July. The trip includes round-trip airfare from New York (other gateways available), accommodations in Rome, Florence and Venice with rail transfers in between. The 10-day trip is a good option for someone who wants the ease of a fully-booked tour but wants to primarily explore on their own. Breakfast, as well as hotel taxes and surcharges, are also included in the price.

Get there before the crowds

Yes, we’re talking about Cuba. The hottest hotspot is tops on every travelers’ radar, so do yourself a favor and get there before everyone else does. Included in the price of $2,818 from Apple Vacations is a four-night Havana Tour with multiple summer departure dates. Round-trip airfare from Miami, hotel accommodations, tours, private workshops, a salsa lesson, antique car rides and more are included in the price.

Get away from it all

Dreaming of white-sand beaches, a tropical drink and nothing on the agenda but rest and relaxation? Consider the Cook Islands, an island nation in the South Pacific roughly halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. A trip from Pleasant Holidays will cost $1,165 for a five-night vacation depending on hotel class and departure city. Round-trip airfare on Air New Zealand is included, as are hotel accommodations and taxes.

Asia “taxperience”

STA Travel, famous for catering to student travelers, has created two “taxperience” vacations for those interested in Asia. An 8-day trip to northern Thailand is priced from $1,296 per person with New York and Los Angeles departures and includes flight and hotel with travel from Bangkok to Chang Mei. There’s also a Vietnam and Cambodia trip priced from $1,653 from New York (slightly less from Los Angeles) and takes in Angor Wat and Ho Chi Min City. The 9-day trip touches down in Bangkok, so you’ll get three countries for one price.

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