Where to Enjoy the Least Taxing Vacations

Photo (cc) by paraflyer

Call it the happiness tax. Even when you go on vacation, the government is going to make you pay for your pleasure.

The latest version of an annual survey by the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) has just been released, and it lists the cities that charge both vacationers and business travelers the most in taxes for items like meals, hotels, and car rentals.

The five cities with the least tax burden are…

  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Fort Myers, FL
  • Portland, OR
  • Detroit, MI
  • Honolulu, HI

Those are the same five cities from last year’s survey, just with their order tweaked. And the worst?

  • Chicago, IL
  • New York, NY
  • Boston, MA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Minneapolis, MN

The big surprise was New York City, which didn’t even make last year’s Top 5 but comes in at No. 2 this year. Dropping off the 2010 list was Dallas.

The NTBA especially loathes what it calls “discriminatory travel taxes” – fees charged to travelers for items that have nothing to do with travel. Sports arenas, for instance, are often built with taxes on travelers because they can’t vote against the politicians who want to build their pet projects.

“It is unacceptable that visitors, whose general tax dollars can help to keep a community afloat in difficult economic times, are forced to pay so much more taxes and fees to fund projects unrelated to the services they purchase,” says NBTA Executive Director Michael W. McCormick. “On average, the fees targeting travel services increase the tax burden by more than half, and in the worst cases, by up to 144 percent.”

It’s no surprise that local governments are hiking taxes on travelers during a recession. But that could come back to hurt them later.

“Tax rates increased and more were implemented across the United States to make up for government revenue shortfalls during the recession,” Fay Beauchine, NBTA’s Foundation chair, said after last year’s survey. “So when the economy recovers, travelers will take a double hit of rising prices and exploding taxes due to tax rate increases enacted during this downturn.”

And that could entice business travelers and vacationers to look elsewhere when booking their trips.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Stop Overpaying for These 10 Common Purchases
Stop Overpaying for These 10 Common Purchases

The best price for many of these items is “free.”

This Is the Best Age to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance
This Is the Best Age to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance

If you wait too long to apply for coverage, you could be denied. So, when’s the sweet spot to apply?

11 Small Money Moves That Will Make a Big Difference
11 Small Money Moves That Will Make a Big Difference

These small money moves will pay off big in the long run.

Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security
Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security

Growing numbers of seniors are paying taxes on their Social Security benefits, but you might be able to avoid this fate.

10 Things You Should Never Buy on Amazon
10 Things You Should Never Buy on Amazon

Just because you can purchase something on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco
9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco

Are you missing out on serious savings at your favorite warehouse club?

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50
7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50

As we age, our bodies wear down. Here is how to cut costs associated with some common ailments.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.