Will You Get "Taxed Out the Wazoo" on Your Next Golf Vacation?

With Tax Day coming up this week, we figured we'd ask:

When you estimate how much your golf vacations are going to cost, do you factor in the "occupancy" taxes at hotels and the "airport" or "recovery" fees for rental cars?

With estimates that some U.S. cities are collecting as much as $35-$40 per day in these taxes and general sales tax, you almost have to budget for it if you're traveling to these places, be it on a golf vacation or a business trip.

Something I read a couple years ago really put things in perspective. It was a Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) study that examined the tax practices of, "the top 50 U.S. travel destination cities."

According to the most recent GBTA study, at just over $41 per day (a combination of hotel, car rental and other travel-related taxes), Chicago tops the list of U.S. cities that impose the highest overall taxes on travelers.

Other hotel-tax-happy American cities include Seattle, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston, each costing upwards of $35 or more per day.

For example, If you want to stay at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country and play golf at TPC San Antonio, where the PGA Tour plays the Valero Texas Open every year, the $319-per night "starting at" rate for golf packages functionally becomes a $360+ proposition per night.

Another study found Portland, Oregon, to levy the highest daily travel tax rate, but that is offset by Oregon's lack of sales tax.

And get this: Cook County in Illinois, near Chicago, proposed an "amusement tax" on golf last year. Luckily it was shot down, but as an alternative, the county proposed... an even higher hotel tax.

On the other side of the coin, here are the American cities where you'll pay the least amount of overall tax on your golf vacations:


  • Fort Myers, Fla ($23/day)
  • Fort Lauderdale, Fla. ($23/day)
  • West Palm Beach, Fla. ($23/day)
  • Honolulu ($25/day)

Still "part" of the U.S. but an exotic golf travel destination is Puerto Rico, whose struggling economy is driven in large part by tourism. But in terms of pure hotel taxes, Puerto Rico's are actually quite low compared to the rest of the U.S., hovering around 9%, versus a national average closer to 14%.

The U.S. is not the only place where you can get taxed out the wazoo on a golf vacation. If you're a fan of the Mexican Riviera around Cancùn, you'll pay a premium (at least in tax) to enjoy it, as the total hotel taxes across the state of Quintana Roo tip the scales at 19%, which doesn't take into account Mexico's value-added tax on food, drink and other services.

By the way, the Scottish government is currently mulling over whether to introduce a tourism tax itself, and the potentially affected area includes Fife, where St. Andrews is located. This means that already pricey travel around the Auld Sod could get even steeper. Luckily, it looks as if the tax, if approved, will only about £1 per room, per night.

But even before these deliberations over Scottish tourism taxes, the United Kingdom was found to have the second-highest total tourism-related taxes of any country in the world, with only Switzerland's being higher.

This is mostly due to the Air Passenger Duty, which is a tax of some £70 on every passenger who flies from an airport in the UK. British Airways and other airlines have lobbied in favor of the tax's removal, but have not been successful yet.

Have you found yourself taxed a lot (or a little) based on where you've taken your golf vacations?

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine, USAToday.com, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
0 Comments
Default User Image
Now Reading
Will You Get "Taxed Out the Wazoo" on Your Next Golf Vacation?
New Cookie Policy
WE AND OUR PARTNERS USE COOKIES ON THIS SITE TO IMPROVE OUR SERVICE, PERFORM ANALYTICS, PERSONALIZE ADVERTISING, MEASURE ADVERTISING PERFORMANCE, AND REMEMBER WEBSITE PREFERENCES. BY USING THE SITE, YOU CONSENT TO THESE COOKIES. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON COOKIES INCLUDING HOW TO MANAGE YOUR CONSENT VISIT OUR COOKIE POLICY.
CONTINUE