Vacation Tips For Burned Out Tax Pros
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. In just 30 days or less, tax season will end for 2014 and you will join 111,000 other tax professionals in looking for a vacation spot to put the whole season behind you.
If you have had a really good year as a Drake customer, Virgin Galactic will sell you a seat on their space vehicle for a mere $250,000 (Refundable). In truth, there are so many options that it may be difficult to winnow them down while you are still in the midst of the season. But there are four general tips that can help, and ten specific destinations that should appeal to the eclectic tastes of preparers.
First, the four tips:
- Use a travel agent. You tell people every day not to prepare their own taxes, but to trust a professional. Why would you ignore that same advice to book your own travel? If you do not want to use a travel agent, check into the discount vacations offered by your insurance company, airlines and others you do business with. Are you a retired veteran? There are terrific deals through the military morale and welfare departments.
- Stay local. You would be amazed at how many really outstanding resorts and destinations exist within your own state. Wine trails. History trails. Parks and grand old hotels. Railroads. Bike Trails and Races. Beaches and Mountains. A single call to the state department of tourism will yield a complete package of ideas…and give your family something to research while you are still busy doing taxes.
- Get involved in Scottish Heritage. If your family is Scots-Irish, there are games and festivals all over the nation on almost every weekend starting in April of each year. If you are not Scots-Irish, you are welcome to become honorary members of any clan. The games are fun, the music thrilling, and the weekend inexpensive.
- Check into college. Many colleges and universities open their dorms during the spring and summer to adults who want to learn something new. Strictly for the academic set, of course, but remember that there are also spring sports camps, fantasy camps, NASCAR racing camps, space camps and all manner of special adventures. The dorm rooms are like hotel rooms, the campus is friendly, and learning is fun.
Of course, there are always places that you should visit at least once in your lifetime. The easy ones are New York City (unless you live near there) and Hollywood (unless you live near there). But there are ten more places that need to be on your list:
- Bright Angel Lodge, on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, AZ. If you can’t de-stress here, you can’t anywhere. Majestic vistas, culture, good food, burro rides, hiking. Bright Angel is the best of the hotels on the south rim (For a cabin, that is. If you want room service, book the El Tovar instead.) The meteor crater at Winslow is about an hour and a half away, and the wonderful town of Williams, AZ just an hour away. And worth the trip.
- Key West, Florida. You can fly directly to the island, but the better bet is to fly into Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, rent a car and drive the 90 miles down the keys to Key West, which is also known as the Conch Republic. There are hotels, B&Bs, and lots of casual food joints. Do the tourist thing here, and watch out for the free-ranging chickens that run on the island (Hint! It is against the law to harm one of the chickens!).
- San Antonio and the River Walk. A project of former first lady Lady Bird Johnson, this is a world-class river walk with shops, restaurants and cowboy culture. It is also home to the Alamo, the iconic birthplace of the Republic of Texas.
- The Biltmore Estates. Looking to be pampered? Stay on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Built by George Vanderbilt II back in the late 1800s, it is the largest privately owned house in the United States. Since 1895, Biltmore has had the natural beauty of the mountains and the majestic house and gardens to beguile, inspire, and allow you to escape from the everyday. Still family owned, it is the crown jewel of Asheville. And, Drake Software headquarters is only an hour away in Franklin – stop by and see us!
- Hotel Hershey, PA. More luxury to the north in the center of Pennsylvania, with a five-star hotel adjacent to the Hershey factory and the famed Hershey Park amusement park. Golf and fine dining abound.
- Colorado Dude Ranches. Horse rides and roughing it more your style? Check into one of the many real ranches in Colorado. Rope, ride, eat camp food on the trail or live in the bunkhouse. Plenty of family cabins to be had.
- Boston, MA -- Come spring, the gaze of international sports fans – if not the world in general – will turn to the Boston Marathon. Despite concern that the bombings in 2013 would deter entrants from the 2014 race, this will be the second-biggest Boston Marathon ever, with 36,000 runners flooding the course. And once summer hits, the city’s usual festivities are in full swing: all sorts of festivals abound, restaurant patios overflow, and a thriving arts and entertainment scene keep Bostonians content as the humidity yields to stunning, vibrantly colored autumn. Year-round, the past is very much alive here: follow in America’s revolutionary founders’ footsteps on the Freedom Trail, stopping to imbibe a bit of history at the Bell in Hand Tavern, the oldest tavern in the USA.
- Kansas City. Over 100 barbecue joints feed the city’s grateful denizens (and tourists), and the jazz and blues scenes serve as an anchor for a vibrant community. Kansas City’s intriguing and walkable neighborhoods warrant exploration, from the 1920s shopping district of Country Club Plaza to the Crossroads Arts District, which lives up to its name, and Westport’s alluring locally owned restaurants and bars. Particularly appealing to World War I history buffs: Kansas City is home to the National WWI Museum. As 2014 marks the war’s centennial, major celebrations and events will ensue, and the museum’s adjacent Liberty Memorial is getting a $5 million renovation for the festivities.
- Mississippi River Cruises. Crave a slower pace and more relaxation? Try a cruise down America’s river, the mighty Mississippi. Here’s a place to start planning.
- Hawaii. There are no bad destinations in Hawaii, though a favorite spot is Kailua, on the western coast of the Big Island. Here you will find active volcanos, whale watching, Kona coffee plantations and more.
The list doesn’t stop here, of course. There is still Italy. Australia. An African safari, or just a week at the beach. But the time to start dreaming – and planning – officially begins today.