Monday 16 December 2013

Travel Tax Squeeze: Best and Worst USA Cities

Here's interesting news if your travels take you to major cities in the USA.

This past week, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) released its annual travel tax report on car rentals, hotels and restaurants in 50 top USA cities. Of most interest to travellers are what the GBTA calls "discriminatory travel taxes", which are taxes imposed specifically on travel services, above and beyond general sales taxes. Here are a few highlights.

Worst USA Cities for Travel Taxes

Rental car back-up
Rental car return backup at Portland Airport - the USA city with the highest
discriminatory travel tax rate - that will effect your rental car bill
The top 10 U.S. cities with the highest discriminatory travel tax rates are:

2013 RankCity$ over general sales tax
1 Portland (OR) $22.86
2 Boston $19.34
3 Indianapolis $18.10
4 Minneapolis $17.46
5 Chicago $17.39
6 New York $15.96
7 Washington, D.C. $15.61
8 Kansas City $15.26
9 Charlotte $15.16
10 Milwaukee $15.04

Minneapolis jumped up two spots over 2012 (from 6 to 4), and Washington D.C. jumped up four spots (from 11 to 7).

Best USA Cities for Travel Taxes
Mazda 6 in Death Valley California
Enjoy your rental car in California, the taxes won't break the bank

You may be interested to know that California and Florida are among the states with the lowest discriminatory travel tax rates in the country, making them tourist friendly.

The top 10 U.S. cities with the lowest discriminatory travel tax rates are:

2013 RankCity$ over general sales tax
1 Burbank $1.58
2 Orange County $3.16
3 Ontario (CA) $4.48
4 San Diego $5.27
5 Oakland $5.79
6 * Tampa $7.27
7* Fort Lauderdale  $7.27
8* Fort Myers $7.27
9* West Palm Beach $7.27
10 Los Angeles $7.37
* tie

The biggest change since 2012 was Los Angeles, which dropped from 5th to 10th.


The information gathered by the GBTA is helpful, and we are appreciative of the level of detail the organization shares in its press releases, allowing us to share it with you. You may also be interested in the total travel tax burden rankings - just refer to the references below for more.

All information in this blog post is from the following Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) press releases:

Thursday 5 December 2013

Los Angeles Airports: Which is best? (BUR, LAX, LGB, ONT, SNA)

The Greater Los Angeles region relies on a multiple airport system because of its vast size. Many of the area's most popular attractions are closest to alternative airports. Here we examine five LA airports, to help you determine the best one for your trip.

→ Frequently hated, and much maligned, here are some things you may not know about LAX.

I'm stuck with a valuable friend
The distinctive LAX Theme Building

Los Angeles Airport transportation tips:
  • There is a free shuttle that runs between all terminals [learn more]
  • Parking? Try this: park at the small Van Nuys Airport (VNY)  , then take the LAX FlyAway direct shuttle to LAX (cheap parking + arrive stress free) [learn more]
  • No, there is no LAX Airport train, but it's still pretty easy to take the subway: the airport runs a free shuttle to the closest metro station [learn more]

We love LAX for:
  • Jetson inspired layover dining in the Encounter Restaurant in the LAX Theme Building [learn more]
  • Free weekend viewing at the Observation Deck [learn more]
  • OK, love is a bit of an oxymoron here, but these are redeeming factors...

LAX quick links:

→ Closest to: Hollywood, Rosebowl Statium and Griffith Park
Bob Hope Airport Amtrak
Burbank Bob Hope Airport has its own train station!

Burbank Airport transport tips:
  • It's easy to get into downtown Los Angeles by train!
  • The airport's train station (walking distance) is served by Metrolink and Amtrak [learn more]
  • A free shuttle runs between the terminal and 2 metro stations [learn more]
  • Hop the Burbank Bus at BUR to transfer to Universal Studios [learn more]

We love BUR for:
  • The awesome train connections!
  • Their new loyalty program
  • Initiatives to acknowledge contributions of former Lockheed employees

BUR quick links:

Long Beach Airport (LGB)

→ Closest to: Palos Verdes and Huntington Beach

Zeppelin Eureka coming into land Long Beach Airport
Look up: you might see a blimp over Long Beach Airport

Long Beach Airport transport tips:
  • A taxi from LGB to downtown LA is expensive [learn more]
  • For not much more, you can take a LGB Airport limo [learn more]
  • A taxi to the nearest Metro Rail station is USD 13.35 [learn more]
  • Bus service is available into Long Beach, but is infrequent [learn more]

We love LGB it for:
  • Fantastic airfield view, good for planespotting banner-towing aircraft and blimps
  • Wine bar with comfy outside seating and a fire pit (!)
  • The 1941 Streamline Moderne architecture and mosaics [learn more]

LGB quick links:

LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT)

→ Closest to: Riverside and San Bernardino
LA / Ontario Airport from above

LA / Ontario Airport transportation tips:
  • There is no airport train, but there is good bus service
  • Note: LAX flights due to weather usually land at ONT

We love ONT for:
  • The handy trip calculator comparing the time you'll save vs BUR, LAX, LGB and SNA
  • Walking distance to Ontario or the Ontario Mills Mall in about 25 minutes

ONT quick links:

Orange County John Wayne Airport (SNA)

→  Closest to Disneyland, Honda Center and Angel Stadium

Orange County Airport postcard, 1970s
Fabulous vintage postcard of Orange County Airport
 Orange County Airport transportation tips:
  • The Disneyland Resort Express runs from the SNA to the Anaheim/Disneyland     area
  • There is no train service, but bus service is pretty good, some connecting to Metrolink
  • The airport is sometimes referred to as Santa Ana Airport

We love SNA for:

SNA quick links:

mr wayne
John Wayne statue outside his namesake airport