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By Casey Carr

May 14, 2020

This time of year means two things… that’s right, the Tulips are blooming in Holland!  Oh, and taxes.  If you are one of the lucky ones getting a tax refund, why not put the Pinterest projects aside this year and invest in yourself with a memorable vacation instead?  Here are 5 reasons to put this year’s tax refund towards a trip!

New Experiences Make us Happier Than New Things

It’s just Science.  We buy things to make us happy, we get used to them, something more exciting inevitably comes along, and the enjoyment we got from the old thing gets replaced by boredom and longing for something new.

Experiences on the other hand, stay with you forever.  They become a part of your identity, you are the accumulation of everything you’ve ever seen or done – the places you’ve been, the people you met, the lessons you learned.  Those things are truly valuable.

Travel broadens your horizons, grows your sense of empathy and understanding of different cultures.  It offers challenges and opportunities and adventure and, most importantly, a mind full of memories and experiences that can be recalled instantly, and that’s something no material object could ever give you.

When was the last time you sat back on a quiet evening reflecting on your lawnmower?  Buying the newest gadget will not change who you are.  A journey South of the Equator for an African Safari most definitely will.  So will a quick trip to Mexico for that matter.

So think of it as an investment in yourself.  The happiest people I know, the most well-rounded, adaptable, thoughtful and interesting people – all are lifelong travelers.

You can afford it

According to the IRS, the average tax refund is around $3000.  That kind of cabbage can carry you a long way if you’re smart about it, but let’s play it safe and assume you’re getting a $2000 Tax Refund.  You might be saying, “Casey maybe that’ll get me 3 days in Mexico, but how is someone like me supposed to take that European Vacation I’ve always dreamed of?”

Well here are 6 Amazing Trips available right now that fit that general budget, all include flights from DFW:

And there’s more where they came from.  The perception that bucket list travel is just too expensive, is often quite different from the reality.  With a nice hefty refund to offset the cost, something you may have thought was out of budget, is suddenly attainable.  Maybe you’ve been looking in the wrong places, or maybe… {cringe}… you didn’t use a travel agent.

Use a Travel Agent and Save

Want to stretch that Tax Refund as far as it will go?  Travel agents can often find deals through our direct relationships that the big online retailers can’t, or added values like shipboard cruise credits, upgrades, free tours & more.  And if something goes wrong, you have a person to talk to, not just whomever happens to pick up the phone at Orbitz or Expedia call centers in India (after your 30 minute minimum oh-hold wait).

But beyond dogged determination to find you the right package at the best price, our availability in a crisis, and our vibrant smiles, us travel agents are most valuable for our expertise.  In my office alone, we all have at least 20 years of destination knowledge, product knowledge & experience, and it doesn’t cost anything to use a travel agent!

Grow Your Travel Fund

“Casey…. I’ve done Mexico, I’ve done Alaska, I’ve done Europe, I want a long, exotic, luxury trip of a lifetime, and $2000 – $3000 isn’t going to get me there.”  So set your refund aside this year in a “travel savings” account, and save up for that trip of a lifetime.  It might only take you 2 or 3 years to get there, after all our Luxury African Safari’s are just in the $4-$6000 range including flights.  New Zealand & Australia?  Our 15 Day, 5-Star All-Inclusive Azamara Cruise from Aukland to Sydney will only run you $5899 including flights and a hotel in Auckland.

Nowhere in the rule book does it say “thou shalt spendeth thy refund immediately.”  Just put off the instant gratification of spending your new money for one or two more years, and you’ve got yourself a Bucket List Trip.

Tis the Season

Now is the time to book travel, but be patient and plan to travel in a few months.  To heck with “last minute deals”, great discounts for last minute travel are few & far between, and getting even fewer & far betweener (?).  Not to mention that if you do find something, is it really going to be what you want?  Booking last minute, you end up chipping away at what should be a great experience with things like bad flight schedules, bad room locations, no availability for optional excursions, bad food… I could go on.

Believe it or not the best time to book your Spring Break Cruise for next year is right now, while the availability may be wide open still.  It’s first quarter, all of the cruise & tour itineraries are out for 2017 and most of 2018, there are early booking discounts to be had.  Later season sailings and tour departures sit relatively empty, leaving revenue managers nervously pacing the floor watching their numbers, fingers hovering over the discount trigger.

Let your travel agent take advantage of this leverage to stretch your tax refund and find you a vacation that suits you perfectly, and still fits within your budget.  A few years of “Uncle Sam Vacations” and you’ll be wishing people a Happy Tax Season!

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