The coast of Netanya, Israel The coast of Netanya, Israel The coast of Netanya, Israel (Photo: vvvita / Shutterstock)

5 vacations you should spend your tax refund on

Buenos Aires, Maui and Netanya are affordable destinations.

According to the IRS, the average tax refund Americans can expect this year is about $2,800. Party up!

Ahem, what was that? Your refund doesn't amount to that? You'll be lucky to afford a cup of coffee with the refund you're expecting?

Maybe you're not getting the windfall you were hoping for. But chances are, you're getting something. And it might be just enough to help you take that special vacation you've always wanted.

Here are five unforgettable destinations you might want to consider spending your tax refund on.


1. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Nighttime traffic flows across the Alsina Uriburu bridge in Buenos Aires.Nighttime traffic flows across the Alsina Uriburu bridge in Buenos Aires. (Photo: Gabriele Mattos/Shutterstock)

It's widely known as the birthplace of the tango, but Buenos Aires is much more than a dancing haven. It's also a vibrant, energetic South American city that's oozing with atmosphere, youthful pizzazz and European throwback aesthetic. The nightlife will keep you on your toes with stops like Cafe Tortoni, Buenos Aires' oldest bar. And you won't break the bank traversing through town, either. The entire city is designed in a grid, so getting around on foot is often easier and faster than trying to navigate its traffic-laden streets by car or public transportation.

If you're a sports fan, you'll jump at the chance to attend games featuring one of the city's two revered football teams, Boca Juniors and River Plate. Even if soccer isn't your thing, just sitting in the stands, feeling the energy of the fans, and listening to the heartfelt chants and cheers is an experience you'll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the world.


2. Maui, Hawaii

The Garden of Eden in Maui.The Garden of Eden in Maui. (Photo: RuthChoi/Shutterstock)

You know what's great about Hawaii? You hardly ever have to be indoors. Save for those pesky rainstorms that seem to appear out of nowhere, you'll find yourself out in that breezy, aromatic island air, breathing in the vibrant aromas of its array of vegetation. There's even more magic below the surface of that clear, blue water, so don't forget to pack your snorkeling gear. 

If a good dose of R&R is your goal, with Maui's 81 beaches and 120 miles of coastline, you're sure to find a perfect spot to set up your chaise lounge and bask in that hot, shimmering sun. And the best part? It usually costs nothing to go to the beach.


3. Netanya, Israel

Deck chairs line the shore in Netanya, Israel.Deck chairs line the shore in Netanya, Israel. (Photo: Dance60/Shutterstock)

Whereas "beach" and "Hawaii" are synonymous, not everyone knows that there are  miles of beaches in Israel. Guess what else? One beach, in the coastal city of Netanya overlooking the Mediterranean, even has its own beach elevator! In the southern end of the city lies a beach called Sironit, with a glass-walled elevator that allows pedestrians to get from the city center to the beach in no time. Above the beach is a ridge of rugged cliffs with a long promenade overlooking the sea.

If you've had enough beach time, venture into the city center, where there's a food bazaar with colorful stalls and hunger-inducing scents wafting from them. Also worth checking out is the Diamond Center Museum, featuring an exquisite exhibition of diamonds and a miniature model of a diamond mine.


4. The high seas

A family swims in front of large cruise ship.A family swims in front of large cruise ship. (Photo: Noel Powell/Shutterstock)

Ask someone if they've ever been on a cruise, and they'll likely give you one of two answers: "Oh yes, it was amazing! I can't wait to go again!" or "Oh heavens no, I would get seasick, and I would feel too claustrophobic!" 

If you're an experienced cruiser, you know there's a reason you keep coming back. One of the biggest draws is value – you pay one reasonable fare, and you have everything you need for the duration of your trip, including food, accommodations, entertainment and transportation between destinations. Carnival and Disney cruises cover all the bases for cost-conscious families, with waterslides and jungle gyms aplenty. But it's not just multigenerational groups flocking to the high seas – travelers of all ages revel in the ease, convenience and beauty of a vacation on the water.


5. Paris and London

Paris and London skylinesParis and London skylines (Photo: Tupungato and S. Borisov/Shutterstock)

Many Americans can list the states they've been to, the cities they've checked off their road trip list, and show you the miniature license plate souvenirs they've collected at each rest stop along the way. But venture across the Atlantic? No way, too expensive, too lofty. But there's something you don't know – some of the best places to see, do and experience in Europe are absolutely free. All you need is a little cash set aside for airfare – those European hoppers are easy to navigate between major cities. 

Then, settle in to do some stress-free, awe-inspiring sightseeing. The British Museum and Tate Modern in London? Free! Paris' Louvre? Free sometimes – check the website for details. A stroll down the Thames, attending a Parliament session, or watching the sun set over Paris from the steps of the Sacre Coeur – all free, and perfectly priceless.

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5 vacations you should spend your tax refund on
Buenos Aires, Maui and Netanya are affordable destinations.