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Chicago visitors pay the most travel taxes

I'm still recovering from a recent business trip, but I spent most of the morning making arrangements for more out-of-town travel.

John Hancock Center and Oak Street Beach courtesy Choose ChicagoAmid all the hassle of searching for convenient and cheap airfare, not to mention sorting through hotel options, my only consolation is that I'm not headed to Chicago.

Chill, Chicagoans. I've been to many conferences in your city and I love it.

But according to the 2012 survey of travel-related taxes by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation, Chicago is the costliest destination for visitors.

Every year, GBTA analyzes taxes on hotel stays, car rentals and restaurant meals in America's 50 largest travel markets. The Windy City has topped the highest tax list for five straight years.

In addition to calculating the 50 locations' basic sales tax rates, GBTA researchers looked at any discriminatory travel taxes. These are special charges tacked on above and beyond a jurisdiction's general sales tax.

These special taxes usually go to pay for local projects not related to tourism or business travel. This year, says GBTA, the charges have added on average another 57 percent in tax costs to a visitor's travel expenses. That's one percentage point higher than last year.

Highest travel taxes: So when should travelers pack a few extra dollars to cover more taxes? The table below shows the cities that joined Chicago as having the highest travel-related taxes.

City with Highest
Total Tax Burden
Combined Single-Day
Travel Taxes
Chicago, Ill. $40.31
New York, N.Y. $37.98
Boston, Mass. $34.83
Kansas City, Mo. $34.58
Seattle, Wash. $34.43
Minneapolis, Minn. $34.32
Cleveland, Ohio $34.22
Indianapolis, Ind. $34.19
Nashville, Tenn. $34.13
Houston, Texas $33.51

Lowest travel taxes: At the other end of travel tax spectrum, cities in the Sunshine State, where tourism is key to its economy, once again tend to tax visitors the least. Four Florida cities made the 2012 list.

City with Lowest
Total Tax Burden
Combined Single-Day
Travel Taxes
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. $22.21
Fort Myers, Fla. $22.21
West Palm Beach, Fla. $22.21
Detroit, Mich. $22.37
Portland, Ore. $22.45
Orange County, Calif. $22.79
Burbank, Calif. $23.74
Ontario, Calif. $24.08
Honolulu, Hawaii $24.38
Orlando, Fla. $24.50

Wherever your next business or personal trip might take you, happy and safe travels.

And be sure to double check your destination's taxes beforehand so that you're not caught short of cash.

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Ian Johnson

Excellent post!!! Blogging has certainly helped me to became a better travel.. & creative, unique & quiet brilliant..thanks and keep up the good work

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