Tax Relief: Seven Trip Tips for that Hefty Refund Check
The average American’s tax refund is approximately $3,120. While some may suggest paying off debt or saving it for a rainy day, in fact there may be no better use for a tax payout than a tax-funded vacation! Here are seven top tax trip tips to consider for those ready to take a break from the rat race and start traveling.
- Explore Thailand: Discover Bangkok, including the Grand Palace and floating markets. Experience Chiang Mai and northern Thai culture, connect with elephants, and spend time on the beaches of Phuket for some relaxation time at the end of the trip. This 10-day tour is a fantastic introduction to natural and cultural wonders of the country. Prices with Adventure Life start at $1,525.
- Experience Louisiana’s Cajun Country: Take Cajun cooking lessons with a private chef, bust a move at a local zydeco dancehall, explore the Whitney Plantation (America’s first slavery museum), kayak Bayou Teche, tour the Tabasco factory, visit a legendary zydeco music studio, tour an organic pecan farm, partake in a private seafood boil with chef, and sample an array of Louisiana cocktails and cuisine. Prices with Gondwana EcoTours start at $1,499.
- “Glamp” at a Luxury Ranch: Hike, ride horses, fly fish, and play cowboy at the 25,000-acre Red Reflet Ranch in Wyoming. The ranch is both working ranch and luxury resort. Gourmet dining offers ingredients from the ranch’s butcher shop, organic greenhouse and gardens. From cattle drives to branding, the true western lifestyle thrives at Red Reflet Ranch. Prices start at $1,813.
- Ride a Train from Moscow to Mongolia: If you feel like splurging, take Trans-Siberian trains over a dramatic and variegated route that offers limitless opportunities to meet the diverse local people – Mongol, Buryat and Russian. Experience the rolling green hills and nomadic traditions of Mongolia, Siberia’s UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal and endless taiga forest on your way to the booming capital, Moscow. Prices with MIR Corporation start at $7,695.
- Cycle the Mediterranean: Join a cycling tour at the crossroads of the Mediterranean: Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily. Split into three week-long stages, the “3 Islands Tour” is a journey through the history, food, architecture and traditions of these Mediterranean jewels. Prices with Ride & Seek start at $3,345.
- Go Fishing in Alaska: Unalakleet River Lodge comprises all the warmth and charm of a true Alaskan lodge. Located 140 air miles south of Nome on Norton Sound, the main lodge was built from hand-hewn logs on a hill overlooking the Unalakleet River. It offers very productive fishing for salmon, dollies, char, and grayling. Prices with Frontiers International Travel start at $5,300.
- Bike from Toronto to Quebec: In celebration of the bicentennial of the bicycle and Canada’s 150th anniversary, join this Oh, Canada! tour from Toronto to Quebec City. Pedal through Prince Edward County – the country’s newest wine region – as well as the capital city of Ottawa, French-speaking Montreal and along the vehicle-free cycling paths known as La Route Verte to Quebec City. For those with a larger tax return, ride all the way from Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, to St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Prices with TDA Global Cycling start at $1,925.
Grand Hyatt Baha Mar Opens in Bahamas
Bringing a significant impact to the Bahamas, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar officially opened its doors this month and announced that reservations are bookable for arrivals beginning May 29, 2017. As the first property to open in the luxe-minded Baha Mar Resort, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar will manage The Baha Mar Convention, Art and Entertainment Center, the destination’s 200,000 square foot indoor and outdoor convention facility.
The resort presents hints of modern, pastel and Bahamian hues, with 1,800 ocean, fountain and island-view guestrooms, including 230 luxury suites.
- Direct beach access to the resort’s Beach Sanctuary
- Water sports and seven pools
- Bahamian art featuring local artists
- Upscale retail shops
- Nightly live entertainment
- More than 20 food and dining outlets, including a conch shack, French pastry shop and Pan-Asian noodle bar to Flamingo Deck overlooking a pink flamingo habitat.
Other resort venues:
- The 30,000 sq. ft. ESPA spa
- The largest casino in the Caribbean (100,000 sq ft. casino that features 1,140 slots, 119 game tables, and ocean views)
- A Jack Nicklaus Signature Design golf course and top court tennis facilities
- The Baha Mar Convention, Art, and Entertainment Center.
Rates: Starting around $350 per night (single occupancy).
(242) 778 1234
Sea Pines in Hilton Head Celebrates Summer with Escape Packages
Through Sept. 9, the family-friendly The Sea Pines Resort has a sizzling family fun Escape Vacation Package that starts at $136 per night for a two-bedroom villa. It also includes a complimentary $100 resort credit (redeemable for golf, dining and activities), free golf for kids 12 and younger, and more.
Sea Pines Resort has more than 300 villas and 100 rental homes to chose from and throws in a bunch of extras:
- A gratis beach family portrait session
- 10% off spa treatments at LeSpa of Sea
- Complimentary access for two at the Harbour Town Lighthouse
Choice of one complimentary Eco-Adventure, resort activity for two people, or a visit to the Coastal Discovery Museum at Historic Honey Horn.
- Unlimited use of the resort’s fitness center
- Two hours of complimentary tennis per day at the racquet club
Free wireless internet service
The resort has a 25,000-square-foot Sea Pines Beach Club opening onto the Atlantic Ocean. Other resort venues include Coast, a casual beachside restaurant; Ocean Lounge, a second-floor bar and lounge area with panoramic ocean views; Surfside Market with express concessions; and Surf Shop offering a full complement of beach supplies.
California Road Trip: Hilton-Style
In California, Summer starts in April but no matter what the season it is time for the “California Road Trip,” a destination package that inspires thrill-seekers and value-minded explorers. These are adventures and authentic experiences with rates starting at $149 per night. These Hilton property packages highlight premier destination cities such as San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Anaheim and San Diego with special rates available through Labor Day Weekend 2017. To book, visit California Road Trip Package.
Participating properties include: Parc 55 San Francisco, Hilton San Francisco Union Square, The Fess Parker in Santa Barbara, Hilton Anaheim, Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines and Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Packages features saving of more than $125 per night, with exclusive discounts up to 15 percent on Enterprise/Alamo and National Car Rentals, $25 food and beverage credit (available in MIX Restaurant only), complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, unlimited access to the hotel’s Health Club & Spa and a California Road Trip Road Kit with discounts on local entertainment and attractions. Room rates start at $149 per night, tax not included.
California Road Trip packages at a Glance:
Parc 55 San Francisco and Hilton San Francisco Union Square package (Rates starting at $265):
- The San Francisco CityPASS®program which covers unlimited cable car rides, admission to four top attractions, priced 42 percent less than the same tickets purchased separately. CityPASS® ticket book contains helpful information, including insider tips, an attraction location map, attraction and transportation details, directions and money-saving coupons. Books are valid for nine consecutive days, beginning with the first day of use. Includes:
o 3-Day Muni Cable Car and Bus Passport
o California Academy of Sciences tickets
o Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure tickets
o Aquarium of the Bay tickets
o Option Ticket: Exploratorium OR de Young Museum + Legion of Honor tickets
The Fess Parker (a DoubleTree by Hilton Resort starting at $249):
- Tote bag, Visitors Guide, Vintners Association and Urban Wine Trail Maps, Downtown Organization Map of Shopping and Cultural Attractions, Waterfront Map, Two for One Santa Barbara Sightseeing Trolley Passes, a Santa Barbara Organic Granola Bar and bag of Santa Barbara Pistachio Co. organic pistachios.
Hilton Anaheim (Rates starting at $149):
- Tote bag, bottled water, granola bars, $10 Starbucks gift card, Visit Anaheim drawstring bag, visitors guide and map, Visit Anaheim postcard with exclusive deals and discounts on local attractions and dining.
Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines and Hilton San Diego Bayfront packages (Rates starting at $249):
- Branded bag, San Diego Magazine Spring Visitors Guide w/ coupons, Where Map, Brewers Guild map, sunglasses and mints.
Rocky Mountain Highs: Nature Vacations in Bachelor Gulch
For those seeking a rejuvenating ritual in a luxury mountain retreat, The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch is an ideal destination for spring cleaning, Colorado-style. With re-invigorating yoga among the Aspen trees, mindful meditation surrounded by wildflowers, eco-friendly cooking classes on the mountainside, immersive spa and wellness packages, and more, guests can exhale their winter worries and breathe in positive mountain energy for awhile.
Art in Nature
Led by the resort’s Resident Naturalists, guests can learn about and capture the magnificent scenery through interactive arts and crafts classes for grown-ups. Offerings include:
- Lager and Leatherworking – Guests can learn to stamp leather using a variety of lettering fonts and designs while enjoying a flight of Colorado microbrews. Create a key fob, luggage tag, or bookmark to commemorate the trip. $40 per person; includes flight of Colorado microbrew beers and all craft supplies. Available for guests 21+.
- Whiskey and Woodburning – Guests can create a one-of-a-kind souvenir using a wood burning tool to etch a unique design into their choice of a wooden cheese board or coaster set. $25 per person; includes signature whiskey drink and all craft supplies. Available for guests 21+.
- Painting and Pinot – Inspired by the majestic surrounding Rockies, guests can spend the afternoon sipping wine and painting a rustic rendition of the gorgeous alpine scenery by following step-by-step instructions. $40 per person; includes glass of wine and all craft supplies. Available for guests 21+.
- Private Art in Nature Classes – Groups small and large will love spending time together relaxing and getting crafty with one of the resort’s unique naturalist classes (Painting and Pinot; Lager and Leatherworking; Whiskey and Woodburning). $200 for up to 4 guests and $50 for each additional guest.
Fitness and Wellness Offerings
With the stunning Rocky Mountains as its backyard, The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch takes advantage of “nature’s gym” to provide enriching outdoor adventures that stimulate all five senses and connect guests with the resort’s beautiful surroundings. Featured offerings include:
- Mountain Spa Morning – This package combines three wellness experiences into the perfect retreat. A guided hike connects guests to the natural world; a private yoga class awakens the body and quiets the mind; and a massage leaves guests in a state of blissful relaxation. This series can be booked with ample time for lunch and a leisurely soak in the spa to create a day-long retreat. $600 for up to 2 guests and $250 for each additional guest. Package includes a 90-minute guided hike; 50-minute private yoga class; 60-minute signature massage for each guest; 20-minute session at the spa’s oxygen bar for each guest; healthy fruit juice for each guest; and use of the spa’s hydrotherapy pools. Available starting June 1.
- Peaceful Practice – Guests hike to a peaceful spot for a yoga and meditation aspens and wildflowers. Afterward, they herbal teas or pressed juice with fresh fruits and panoramic views of the valley. $250 for up to 4 guests and $30 for each additional guest. Meditation/yoga sessions can be customized for families, including stories, games, and kid-friendly animal poses to cater to yogis and explorers of all ages. Available starting June 1.
- Perfectly Paired Picnic –Naturalist-guided hikes head to scenic and secluded Anderson’s Cabin, adjacent to the resort. Once there, guests indulge in a nutritious and satisfying lunch while taking in the breathtaking views of the Eagle River Valley. $250 for up to 2 guests and $40 for each additional guest. 2+ hours. Includes an appetizer, salad or sandwich, fresh fruit, dessert, sparkling water, and choice of white wine, red wine, bubbly, or Colorado microbrews. Dietary preferences and ability levels can be accommodated to create a truly personalized alpine adventure. Available starting June 1.
- Eco Cooking Class –Guests begin by mixing a pitcher of fresh squeezed lemonade, then assemble personal pizzas and cook them outside in a solar powered oven. The final step is to make a delicious batch of organic, custom-flavor ice cream. $200 for up to 4 guests and $30 for each additional guest. Dietary preferences can be accommodated to create a meal everyone in the family can enjoy. Available starting June 1.
- Guided Hikes – Guests can soak up the majestic views from Bachelor Gulch while learning about the plants and animals that thrive around the resort. From daily morning group hikes, to Early Bird hikes on Sundays, to Private Treasure Hunt Expeditions, Sunset Strolls, and Village-to-Village Tours, the resort offers a hike for every type of outdoor adventurer. Private hikes are available at $160 for up to 4 guests and $20 for each additional guest. Includes water, sunscreen, ponchos if needed, and light trail snacks. Well-mannered pets are welcome at all nature programs.
Rates: Starting at $166 per night for two.