Which U.S. cities charge travelers the most taxes

Perhaps you’ve been one of those folks to receive your hotel bill and you clutch your chest in dismay. “My word! How can this be?” you exclaim.

You didn’t touch your mini-bar. You didn’t use the phone. You didn’t slip so much as a washcloth into your luggage. Still, your bill is well over what you expected. What you thought was a bargain vacation has turned into more than you counted on. How come? Taxes, my friend.

The National Business Travel Association recently released information from its study that ranks cities according to the ones that charge the most in taxes and those that charge the least. Taxes on hotels, restaurant meals and gasoline are a handy way for cities to generate revenue. How much revenue depends upon the city. Some cities are a bargain where taxes are concerned. It doesn’t mean they are cheap cities. Their expensive factor is not due to taxes.

Would you guess that Honolulu is the least expensive city tax wise? Three of the other four cheapest tax cities are in Florida. Maybe there is enough revenue generated by tourism in each of them.

The most expensive city for taxes is Chicago.

Here are the top five cities in each category. To read the report on the other 50 cities, click here. A warning, though. Reading the report can make your head swim.


  1. Honolulu
  2. Portland, Oregon
  3. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  4. Fort Myers, Florida
  5. West Palm Beach, Florida


  1. Chicago, Illinois
  2. Nashville, Tennessee
  3. Charlotte, North Carolina
  4. Seattle, Washington
  5. Houston, Texas

Thanks to Steve Stephen’s recent article in the Columbus Dispatch for this heads up on travel costs that can sneak up on you when you’re trying to budget.