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.

Photos

13 Photos
On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

The elite men cross the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, MA. Hopkinton has been the starting point for the nation’s oldest marathon since it was moved from a neighboring town in 1925. 960 1280

Yoon S. Byun/The Boston Globe via Getty Images  

Running Through Boston

Running Through Boston

Each year 25,000 runners attempt to complete the winding and hilly 26.2-mile route. 960 1280

Aram Boghosian;Boston Globe, Getty Images  

Framingham to Natick

Framingham to Natick

From Ashland, the runners make their way through the nearby towns of Framingham and Natick. Around 500,000 spectators turn out to watch the race each year, making the marathon the biggest sporting event in New England. 960 1280

Al Bello, Getty Images  

Racing Through Natick

Racing Through Natick

The runners pass a residential area of Natick. If you know someone in the race, be sure to track their progress so you don’t miss them. 960 1280

Reuters  

Running Together

Running Together

Dick Hoyt pushes his son Rick as they compete in the Boston Marathon. Rick -- a Boston University grad -- was born with cerebral palsy, and his father (now 71!) has pushed him all the way to the finish line in 29 Boston Marathons. Dick and Rick -- who have become local celebrities -- run to raise money for the Team Hoyt Foundation, whose catch phrase appropriately is “Yes, You Can!” 960 1280

Getty Images  

Halfway Done!

Halfway Done!

Downtown Wellesley marks the marathon’s halfway point, but before the runners reach the 13-mile mark, they get a significant boost in morale from the students at Wellesley College (pictured here). Thousands of Wellesley women pack the streets by the campus, creating the famous “Scream Tunnel.” Runners have claimed that they can hear the women’s screams of support a mile away. 960 1280

Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images  

Brookline

Brookline

From Newton, runners pass Boston’s Brighton neighborhood and enter the city of Brookline. Cleveland Circle, where the runners turn a sharp left onto Beacon Street (pictured here), is a particularly loud, but exciting place to watch the race. 960 1280

Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau   

Heartbreak Hill

Heartbreak Hill

The aptly named “Heartbreak Hill,” in the city of Newton, is one of the most daunting challenges for runners. The infamous hill is the last of 7 that the runners must climb in the quaint suburb. The hills span from miles 16 to 21 on the route. 960 1280

Stewart Dawson, flickr   

Coolidge Corner

Coolidge Corner

Spectators cheer on the marathoners as they make their way through Coolidge Corner, a popular shopping and dining area in Brookline. 960 1280

FayFoto.com  

Beacon Street

Beacon Street

As the runners continue down Beacon Street they approach Kenmore Square, where the famous Citgo sign greets them, heading into downtown Boston. 960 1280

Soe Lin, flickr  

Marathon Monday

Marathon Monday

Each year on “Marathon Monday,” Fenway Park hosts a Red Sox home game -- the only morning game in all of Major League Baseball. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Wheelchair Race

Wheelchair Race

Since 1975, disabled athletes have participated in the marathon’s wheelchair race. The Boston Marathon has become the most famous and elite wheelchair race in the world, with strict qualifying standards. 960 1280

Stewart Dawson, flickr   

The Finish Line

The Finish Line

Hundreds of runners make their way to the marathon’s finish line on Boylston Street in downtown Boston. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Thunder Over Louisville Fireworks

Thunder Over Louisville Fireworks

The Kentucky Derby Festival is kicked off by Thunder Over Louisville, the largest fireworks show in North America. Other attractions that take place during the 2-week event leading up to the race are the Great Balloon Race, the Pegasus Parade, the Great Steamboat Race and the Derby Marathon. 960 1280

Stephen J. Cohen / Getty Images  

Churchill Downs Annual Gathering

Churchill Downs Annual Gathering

Fans gather at the entrance to the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. 
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Jeff Gentner / Getty Images  

Grandstand Fans

Grandstand Fans

Race fans watch the derby in the grandstand in between the twin spires. 960 1280

Jay Fuller / Getty Images  

Early-Morning Prep

Early-Morning Prep

A blacksmith shoes a horse during an early-morning workout to prepare for the derby.
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Andy Lyons / Getty Images  

Morning Workout

Morning Workout

The sun rises as horses and their jockeys prepare for an early morning ride. 960 1280

Jamie Squire / Getty Images  

Mint Julep

Mint Julep

The official drink of the derby, the Mint Julep is presented in the specially made Kentucky Derby collectible glass. The Mint Julep is an iced drink consisting of bourbon, mint and sweet syrup.
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Dylan Buell / Getty Images  

Kentucky Oaks Day

Kentucky Oaks Day

A race fan watches the 6th race while sipping on a Mint Julep on Kentucky Oaks Day, grade 1 stakes races for 3-year-old thoroughbred fillies held the friday before the derby. 960 1280

Jamie Squire / Getty Images  

Picking the Winner

Picking the Winner

Fans make their picks during the morning workouts in preparation for the 140th Kentucky Derby.
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Jamie Squire / Getty Images  

Jockey Dress Up

Jockey Dress Up

Kentucky Derby fans dressed as jockeys sip on their Mint Juleps and pose for a picture before the start of the race.
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NBC / Getty Images  

Where It All Begins

Where It All Begins

A panoramic view of the starting gate as the horses and their jockeys take off. 960 1280

Matthew Stockman / Getty Images  

Around the Bend

Around the Bend

Horses make their way around turn 4 during the 140th running of the derby. 960 1280

Andy Lyons / Getty Images  

Derby Hat Parade

Derby Hat Parade

The Derby Hat Parade, which takes place inside Churchill Downs, shows off the elegant hats worn by women and men during the Kentucky Derby.  This fan is decked out in classic headwear prior to the race.
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Chris Graythen / Getty Images  

Race to the Finish

Race to the Finish

Jockeys vie for position on their way to the finish line during the 140th running.
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Charles Bertram / Getty Images  

Casual Infield Gathering

Casual Infield Gathering

No fancy hats and Mint Juleps necessary here. A different scene then you would find in the grandstand, fans gather within the infield of Churchill Downs. 960 1280

Bloomberg / Getty Images  

And the Winner is ...

And the Winner is ...

A garland of roses, a blanket of 554 roses, is draped across the winning horse. 960 1280

Horsephotos / Getty Images  

Kentucky Derby Trophy

Kentucky Derby Trophy

The Kentucky Derby Trophy is presented to the owner of the winning horse. 960 1280

Horsephotos / Getty Images  

Born to Wander

Born to Wander

I was lucky to grow up in a family where I was encouraged to explore. So, when I decided to quit my job in 2008 to roam around the country with my dog, it wasn’t something I feared. I get many questions from people on how to do it. Truth is, I really had no idea what I was doing or what my purpose would be on the road. I just had this idea that I wanted to roam around and see the country. I had a teardrop trailer at the time and spent the majority of the year living in it. It was quite the learning experience and to this day, I consider the first year the most challenging. The following year, I sold the teardrop and traveled with a tent. About four years ago, I upgraded to a camper van. During these years, I have learned a lot about myself and being on the road. Here are a few tips that I wanted to share if you’re thinking of hitting the road solo, too. 960 1280

Alison Turner  

How to Budget

How to Budget

Take half the amount of clothes you think you’ll need and budget twice the amount of money. On my first year, I took almost my entire wardrobe and ended up wearing the same shorts, pants and jacket. It was a waste to fill up all of the extra space I had with clothes. Take only the essentials and invest in a warm jacket, rain jacket, quick drying pants, good socks and comfortable shoes. Everything else you can pick up anywhere. Budget more than you think because you will be surprised on how much it adds up and having some padding helps in case you have unexpected problems with your vehicle, get sick, or just want to treat yourself to something. 960 1280

Alison Turner  

Follow Your Instincts

Follow Your Instincts

Trust your gut. I usually make up the trip as I go along so most of the days that I travel, I don’t have plans on where I will be sleeping that night. I don’t make reservations until the last minute, if at all. That helps me to be free to go wherever I want and not be on a schedule. The downside is that I might be turned away at popular spots but I am happier when it’s not overrun with people anyway so it works out. Because I travel this way, I have stopped to camp at some places that didn’t feel safe. Early on, I would camp anyway and be up all night wondering ifsomething bad will happen. Now I just move along if something isn’t quite right. A good night’s sleep is worth the extra drive. 960 1280

Alison Turner  

Share Your Plans

Share Your Plans

Tell someone where you plan to go. Better yet, let your close friends track you on your iPhone so they can see where you are. 960 1280

Alison Turner  

Protect Yourself

Protect Yourself

Buy bear spray. Don’t just buy it and pack it away. Learn to use it and take it with you on hikes when you’re in bear country. 960 1280

Alison Turner  

Be Assertive

Be Assertive

If assertive is not your style, fake it. Don’t be nice to strangers if you feel uneasy or threatened, just move along. Women are told to be nice and say “sorry” way too much. If you don’t want to talk to someone, don’t.

 

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Alison Turner  

Protect Your Stuff

Protect Your Stuff

Keep your valuables with you. If you want to keep it, keep it with you. I had everything stolen in New Zealand and all I was left with was what I was carrying when I went into the restroom at a gas station. 960 1280

Alison Turner  

Do Your Research

Do Your Research

Know what to expect. If you are going somewhere, do a little bit of research to know if you will be staying at a camp without facilities, or if there have been problems in the area in the past. Google the campsite, town name, or general area to get a better sense of what to expect. If you know you won’t have reception, plan on it and let someone know that you’ll be there without reception. 960 1280

Alison Turner  

Keep Style Simple

Keep Style Simple

Leave vanity at home. I wear the same puffy vest, pants, shorts, jacket, shoes, and beanie hats. Think about putting all of your clothes in a bag that you will have to put on your back for the entire trip. It will change what you pack. Nobody cares how you look or what you’re wearing. Traveling is about seeing what is out there and experiencing the moment. That is what you will remember. 960 1280

Alison Turner  

Document Your Trip

Document Your Trip

Journal and take photographs. It won’t last forever. That is so true when it comes to traveling. Soak up the moment but remember to snap a photo and write down some notes of what you love the most about each day. Being thankful and in the moment helps to keep your mind on the positive.
Remember, you will be traveling with you. Get to love your travel companion before you set out.
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Alison Turner  

Treat Yourself

Treat Yourself

This time is for YOU. If you want to go out and have a meal, do it. If you want to veer offcourse and go somewhere different, it’s all up to you! Don’t wait for a travel partner to come in your life before you travel. Be your own partner and experience it now ... you will be so thankful that you did. Traveling is the most important investment you can make in yourself. 960 1280

Alison Turner  

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