Want to use your tax refund to do some traveling? Booking engine Expedia has come up with a tool that it claims can offer inspiration, although with limitations.
The “Take a Trip” feature allows people to plug in the amount of their refund (or the part of it they want to spend), enter a few other parameters and then get some suitably priced air-plus-hotel packages.
The average refund so far this year, according to the IRS, is $3,034. I figured that was a good amount to use in giving the website a test drive.
I sought information on a four-night trip for two people to “anywhere,” departing 12 weeks from now and staying in a three-star hotel.
Only three results appeared on my computer screen.
A visit to New York City (flying from LAX to Newark, N.J.), staying at the Carlyle near Central Park, totaled $3,028.
Even when a specific destination is entered, “Take a Trip” can be less than inspiring. I wrongly assumed that entering a $1,000 price tag for a one-night escape to a four-star hotel in Las Vegas – again with flights for two from LAX – would generate plenty of offers.
The response on the screen: “Now showing 0 of our best deals.” I tried again with the same result.
Really? When I went to Expedia’s home page and requested the same, one night air-and-hotel getaway, I got 17 results. They included the five-star Bellagio at $686 and the even-posher Wynn Las Vegas at $840.
My test run is a good example of an adage for the modern age: Shop around for the best deal.