Tax refund vacations: 8 alluring trips

PHOTO: A boat anchors at the port on April 16, 2016 in Mykonos, Greece.PlayKaveh Kazemi/Getty Images
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Are you getting a tax refund this year and are eager to spend that cash? According to the IRS, the average individual income tax refund for 2016 was $3,050.

Depending on where you start, that money can take you far, far away. Here are seven vacations to destinations where airfare and a hotel stay will cost less than the average refund.

Island hopping in the Aegean Sea

Spend nearly two weeks soaking up the sun on some of Greece's most beautiful islands for just $1,499. A trip from Go-Today begins with two nights in Athens, where travelers can visit the Parthenon and the Temple of Poseidon. The next nine nights are spread across the relaxing islands of Mykonos, Crete and Santorini. The cost includes airfare, hotel accommodations and daily breakfast.

A taste of Ireland

Get the full Irish experience with a two-week trip from Friendly Planet, starting at $2,699, that features visits to classic destinations like Dublin, Killarney, Galway and Belfast. The cost includes round-trip flights, all ground transportation and transfers, accommodations, 15 meals and a guide to help get the the most out of the charming country.

Experience Ecuador

An eight-day trip from LivingSocial takes travelers to enticing Ecuador, including the Galapagos Islands, for just $1,399. The fee includes round-trip international and local flights, six breakfasts and accommodations. For even more adventure, activities like snorkeling with sea lions and observing giant sea turtles are available for small extra fees.

Mamma mia!

Also from Go-Today is the Italian Adventure package, priced from $1,099. The cheapest prices are found in October; plan to pay $100 to $1,000 more for high season departures in July. The trip includes round-trip airfare from New York (other gateways available), accommodations in Rome, Florence and Venice, with rail transfers in between. The 10-day trip is a good option for travelers who want the ease of a fully booked tour but want to primarily explore on their own. Breakfast, hotel taxes and surcharges are included.

Arrive before the crowds

We’re talking about Cuba. The hottest hotspot is tops on many Americans' must-see list, so do yourself a favor and get there before everyone else does. Included in the price of $2,818 from Apple Vacations is a four-night Havana tour with multiple summer departure dates. Round-trip airfare from Miami, hotel accommodations, tours, private workshops, a salsa lesson, antique car rides and more are included.

Get away from it all

Dreaming of white sand beaches, a tropical drink and nothing on the agenda but rest and relaxation? Consider the Cook Islands, an island nation in the South Pacific roughly halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. A trip from Pleasant Holidays will cost $1,165 for a five-night vacation, depending on hotel class and departure city. Round-trip airfare on Air New Zealand is included, as are hotel accommodations and taxes.

2 Asia 'taxperience' options

STA Travel, famous for catering to student travelers, has created two “taxperience” vacations for those interested in Asia. An eight-day trip to northern Thailand is priced from $1,296 per person, with New York and Los Angeles departures, and includes flights and hotels, with travel from Bangkok to Chang Mai. There’s also a Vietnam and Cambodia trip, priced from $1,653 from New York (slightly less from Los Angeles), that takes in Angkor Wat and Ho Chi Min City. The nine-day trip touches down in Bangkok, so you’ll get three countries for one price.