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Best, worst cities for travel taxes

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Chicago is the top city for taxing travelers, according to a study. (iStock)

Spending the night in Chicago? Get ready to pay more in taxes than you would if you had opted for a trip to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

A new study by the Global Business Travel Association or GBTA Foundation found that taxes on travel-related services like hotel stays, car rentals and restaurant meals were an average of 57 percent higher than general sales taxes. 

The study, which took the country's top 50 domestic destinations and looked at "discriminatory taxes" --or taxes unfairly aimed at travel-related services above and beyond any general sales, found that visitors to Chicago will pay an about $40.31 in combined taxes in a single day.  That is an average of 81 percent more in taxes than a visit to Fort Lauderdale said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation’s vice president of research.

Fort Lauderdale, for the second year in a row, grabbed the top place for the lowest combined travel-related taxes, while other Florida cities also had a strong showing.  Tied with Fort Lauderdale for the No. 1 spot were West Palm Beach and Fort Myers, while Orlando ranked No. 10 and Miami No. 16 with combined taxes of $24.50 and $27.58 respectively.  

Boston joined Chicago and New York to round out the top three highest overall tax cities for visitors. Specifically, the GBTA found Boston visitors can expect to spend $34.83 a day in overall taxes, trailing only Chicago ($40.31) and New York ($37.98), and in tourist taxes, $19.17 a day, exceeded only by Portland, Oregon, at $22.45.

The GBTA Foundation, the research and education arm of the Alexandria, Va.-based Global Business Travel Association, released its annual list on Monday. The cities were ranked by both their overall travel tax burden and by the discriminatory taxes.

Lowest combined single day travel taxes
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.    $22.21
Fort Myers, Fla.    $22.21
West Palm Beach, Fla.  $22.21
Detroit    $22.37
Portland, Ore.    $22.45

Highest combined single day travel taxes
Chicago    $40.31
New York    $37.98
Boston    $34.83
Kansas City, Mo.    $34.58
Seattle    $34.43

Lowest discriminatory increase over general sales tax
Burbank, Calif.    $1.81
Orange County, Calif.    $3.36
Ontario, Calif.    $4.66
San Diego    $5.43
Los Angeles    $5.95

Highest discriminatory increase over general sales tax
Portland, Ore.    $22.45
Boston    $19.17
Chicago    $16.49
New York    $15.74
Minneapolis    $15.45

For the complete list, check out the GBTA Foundation