12 Places to Travel on Your Tax Refund

From Charleston to the Dominican Republic, Iceland to Washington, DC, here are our top picks for where to go with your tax refund.

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Thailand is home to many affordable attractions, including jungle treks, ancient temples, flour-soft beaches and an entire island of ravers. While 2010 saw civil unrest in Bangkok, the effect on tourists was minimal, if not advantageous, as businesses tried to woo tourists with discounts. New direct flights into the Trat Islands near Cambodia, and several new resort developments, opened up this once inaccessible area. 960 1280

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In the last few years, Marrakech has seen an explosion of small Riads or boutique hotels around the ancient city, catering to niche markets, including luxe, gay and family travelers. In November La Mamounia, the grand dame of Marrakech hotels, reopened after a five-year, $176-million redesign by Parisian designer Jacques Garcia. 960 1280

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South Africa took advantage of the 2010 World Cup to build new stadiums, hotels and safari lodges. Cape Town, already famous for spectacular beaches, upscale nightlife and food, added several new hotels, including the Taj Cape Town. Luxe travelers can splurge on a safari trip to Richard Branson's Cliff Lodge, a new luxury hotel at Ulusaba, the billionaire's private game reserve. 960 1280

  

Vancouver was host to many winter-sports enthusiasts during February's Olympic festivities. The city and surrounding areas had a ton to offer fans of the Winter Games as well as regular travelers. There's world-class skiing at Whistler-Blackcomb, one of the best destination ski resorts in the world. At nearby Ucluetet on Nanaimo Island, the new Wild Pacific Trail follows a rugged shoreline. Kayakers love the area for beauty and a chance to spot gray whales during their annual migration. 960 1280

  

Los Angeles is a hot spot for art and museum hounds. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) celebrated its 30th birthday in 2010 with special exhibitions. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art unveiled a Renzo Piano-designed addition to its campus. Several prominent galleries have opened outposts in LA. 960 1280

  

The dramatic collapse of Iceland's economy over the last couple of years has been a boon for budget travelers in 2010. The value of the kroner plunged against numerous currencies, and the once expensive destination became much more affordable. 960 1280

  

Once a shunned country for travelers, Colombia is Latin America's affordable, new hot spot. The capital of Bogota has been slowly transforming since the late 1990s, adding bike paths, a new bus system and sidewalk cafes. The coastal city of Caragena experienced a renaissance, sprouting stylish new boutique hotels and spas. JetBlue's new nonstop daily service to Bogota from Orlando made a trip here even more affordable. 960 1280

  

Bike paths line Copenhagen's streets where locals and tourists ride the free bikes available around the city center. The Danish capital also boasts new cultural buildings ' an opera house, library and concert hall ' as well as a booming arts district. A public bath is the newest addition to the harbor district, the city's burgeoning summertime center. 960 1280

  

Las Vegas was hit hard by US economic woes as business travel and group bookings evaporated, so hotels went into overdrive to attract budget-conscious travelers with discounts and deals galore. On the other end of the spectrum, several developers amped up the luxury despite the downturn, including MGM's massive resort complex, CityCenter. 960 1280

  

Savvy travelers knew that 2010 was the year to see the town's once-every-decade performance of the Passion Play. More than 2,000 actors, singers, instrumentalists and technicians, all residents of the village, brought the story of Jesus of Nazareth to life in an extraordinary community event. The Oberammergau Passion Play was first performed in 1634. 960 1280

  

"Now this is a fan...and an awesome story of why she got it...WOW" - Zak Bagans 960 1280

  

"@GACsAngel thank u. So cool. Love it." - Aaron Goodwin 960 1280

  

"Time to hunt with everyone." - Aaron Goodwin 960 1280

  

"This is after the spirit called him out...I love Mansfield Reformatory!!!!" - Zak Bagans 960 1280

  

"@DarknessRadio @Tara_GACGenMgr @billchapp @THEJeffBelanger eating b4 leaving mansfield. What a great event." - Aaron Goodwin 960 1280

  

"It is possible to visit heaven when ur alive..." - Zak Bagans 960 1280

  

"Time to go home. Had a blast with all of u at mansfield. Now time to pass out on the plain." - Aaron Goodwin 960 1280

  

"Passover homage of Chopped liver." - Andrew Zimmern 960 1280

  

"Chicken and egg, hamhock waffle." - Andrew Zimmern 960 1280

  

"Lamb with fennel grapes molasses." - Andrew Zimmern 960 1280

  

- Anthony Bourdain 960 1280

  

"I got you a very romantic anniversary present." - Anthony Bourdain 960 1280

  

"Last course in Spain." - Anthony Bourdain 960 1280

  

"@chefjoseandres Demonstrates an egg-free aioli prior to El Bulli dinner." - ANthony Bourdain 960 1280

  

- Anthony Bourdain 960 1280

  

"Alberto sends his love." - Anthony Bourdain 960 1280

  

"@Leeper_Gal up and at 'em...already on the plane." - Bert Kreischer 960 1280

  

"Hot chicks alway come with a lap dog." - Bert Kreischer 960 1280

  

"My favorite pic of me and @SamChampion." - Bert Kreischer 960 1280

  

"Still at work...might not be back intime for the LIVE CHAT...I'll keep you posted." - Bert Kreischer 960 1280

  

"Having our own memorial day BBQ...grateful for all the sacrifices the men & women in the armed services have made." - Bert Kreischer 960 1280

  

"If it's good enough for @andrewzimmern to eat, it's good enough for me!" - Bert Kreischer 960 1280

  

"Just wrapped filming time for me and my girl to go to Disneyland!" - Zak Bagans 960 1280

  

"Wonderful....severe storms moving in getting nervous." - Zak Bagans 960 1280

  

"My name is Zak Bagans and I am addicted to the Butterball Turkey dinner at Perkins." - Zak Bagans 960 1280

  

"I just moved & now have to pack up my old garage. Just thought i would show u it b4 i take it all down." - Aaron Goodwin 960 1280

  

- Aaron Goodwin 960 1280

  

"Bigsteppin with my little buddy's." - Aaron Goodwin 960 1280

  

"Yup. 6 yrs old and already driving." - Andrew Zimmern 960 1280

  

"Pretzel asleep on my leg." - Andrew Zimmern 960 1280

  

"Cloudy sunset but gramps went fishing." Andrew Zimmern 960 1280

  

"In green room before b&n signing, taking questions on here for q&a, ask away!" - Anthony Bourdain 960 1280