How to Travel on Your Tax RefundBy Shannon Morgan
That tax refund is burning a hole in your pocket. Why not spend it by feeding your insatiable wanderlust? We have a few ideas, depending on how kind the IRS was to you this year.
Channel your inner Rocky on your trip to Lonely Planet’s #1 U.S. city to see in 2016. Take the celebrated run up the stairs of The Philadelphia Museum of Art or order a classic pastrami at the Famous 4th Street Delicatessen where the Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington flick “Philadelphia” was filmed. Fulfill more Philly film fantasies at more spots where Philadelphia inspired pop culture.
Eat Your Way Through Portland, Oregon
Each month in food-focused Portland sees the opening of a not insignificant number of new restaurants, pop-ups and must-try food carts. Locals favorites include Kachka’s narrow storefront, where you’ll step into a dining room filled with Soviet-era tchotchkes and posters. Start with zakuski — Russian appetizers/small plates, then move on to the marvelously named Herring Under a Fur Coat.
$1,000 to $4,000:
Pair your ride on the London Eye with champagne and see the landmarks in 60 minutes. Another thought: Imagine you’re an MI6 agent and follow London’s shadowy, spy-studded past with visits to Scotland Yard, the Tower of London and the historic St. Ermin’s Hotel.
Go Green in Costa Rica
If you’d like to spend your newfound cash on an eco-adventure in lush environs, Costa Rica won’t disappoint. The country’s national parks are home to abundant hot springs. Start inside the Rincón de la Vieja National Park where you’ll find Tizate, or Vandara hot springs, before heading to Tenorio National Park, home of the famous crystal blue river that flows over the Río Celeste Waterfalls and is home to a small natural hot spring at the far south end of the trail.
Costa Rica is also serious about protecting its wildlife and has dedicated 25% of the country’s land area to national parks and reserves. Check out Corcovado National Park, on the Osa Peninsula; it’s the largest national park in Costa Rica and is considered the most biodiverse region of its size in the world. Your best chance to see the resplendent quetzal is in Los Quetzales National Park in the cloud forest of the Talamanca Mountains.
Tour the city by boat and hit up high-end shops and 5-star restaurants in The Bund. You could also find unexpected ways to slack off in Shanghai and get in touch with your zen spirit by taking a day trip to the Anji Bamboo Forest, the backdrop for the international blockbuster “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”
Fall in Love With Bali
You don’t have to embark on an “Eat Pray Love”-style journey to find yourself smitten with Bali. The Indonesian island is resplendent and lush, with ample opportunities to seek spiritual serenity, trek through jungles, unwind on a beach, or seek a culture fix at many of the islands exquisite temples.
Pay a visit to Seminyak, whose unofficial motto is ‘swim, eat, drink, repeat.’ The town houses Bali’s most sophisticated restaurant scene, plus some of the most stylish hotels on the island. An hour north of Seminyak and away from the coast is Ubud, famous for its green hills, Hindu temples, and terraced rice paddies, as well as a booming yoga scene.