24 Amazing Budget Vacations You Can Actually Afford


At some point in life, I became allergic to being average. I was born left-handed and with a strong case of ADD. So it’s no surprise that when I finally had the chance to study abroad in college, I settled for nothing less than somewhere I wasn’t technically allowed to go: Cuba.


Traveling to the forbidden island is allowed for a variety reasons, including education. So in May 2013, I jumped on a plane with fellow Washington State University students for a backpack journalism project.




Visiting Cuba was a personal and professional game-changer, and now you can experience it too! Budget Travel announced their Where to Go 2016 list, including the Budget Travel Top 10 Where to Go 2016 list!


In 2016, Iceland—popular for its beautiful glaciers, volcanoes and hot springs—tops the annual Where to Go list.  Following Iceland at #1 are San Antonio, Cuba, Los Angeles, Greece, Vietnam, Martinique, Galapagos Islands, Portugal, and Mexico’s Isla Holbox.

“Budget Travel editors keep an eye on culture, cuisine, and hotel trends around the world; monitor currency fluctuations, airfare, and room rates; and draw on their own experience and passion to deliver a list of 24 exciting destinations that can and should be on every traveler’s list,” Robert Firpo-Cappiello, editor in chief of Budget Travel, said in announcing the list.

Budget Travel is also offering a sweepstakes for a trip to Iceland from Trafalgar travel, and a “Where Should You Go in 2016” quiz matches each reader’s “travel personalities” with perfect destinations from this year’s list.

Where to Go 2016 Top Ten locations:

  1.  Iceland is for everyone – long known among elite travelers for its exotic landscapes of icecaps and glaciers punctuated by steaming springs, it’s suddenly also become more accessible since Iceland Air instituted free layovers for American travelers on their way to and from Europe.
  2.  San Antonio’s Spanish Colonial heritage recognized – Now the whole world will remember The Alamo and the city’s Spanish Colonial architecture, as they were recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  3.  Cuba is now open for visitors – It’s no longer a question of “if,” but “when” and “how” you’re going to visit Cuba! With U.S. travel restrictions easing, this once off-limits Caribbean island is ready for its close-up.
  4.  Los Angeles is becoming a “get around” city – The capital of California sun and surf also has some of America’s greatest art collections, the most diverse cuisine anywhere in North America, and, of course, all those famous movie locations!
  5.  Greece gets back its vibe – While the country’s well-publicized economic woes are getting better, the Mediterranean’s sunniest destination is still a tremendous value for American travelers who want an incredibly luxe vacation on a reasonable budget.
  6.  Vietnam has become Southeast Asia’s friendliest face – The world changes, and so has Vietnam.  The once war-town country, with its beautiful miles of Pacific coastline, exotic mountain interiors, and charming cities, is now one of the friendliest destinations on the globe.
  7.  Martinique has become a weekend destination, although you will want to linger –The dream of a three-day escape to Martinique is about to come true! Nonstop flights from the East Coast will begin soon, making this Caribbean island more accessible than ever.
  8.  Galapagos Islands are still ‘evolving’ in their accessibility – Another of our once-remote recommendations is now within reach of nature-loving Budget Travelers, thanks to amazing package tours to Ecuador and the Galapagos.
  9.  Portugal still has more undiscovered charms – Once Western Europe’s most-remote country, new air routes and super-highways have opened up both old wine regions within easy access of cosmopolitan Lisbon.
  10.  Isla Holbox is the one part of Mexico’s famed Yucatan you still haven’t seen – Isla Holbox is a fantastic Mexican-Caribbean escape in its own right, nestled into the shoreline less than an hour north of Cancun.

Want more?  For the full “Where to Go 2016” list of 24 destinations, please visit BudgetTravel.com.

Can’t decide where to go? Visit Budget Travel’s website for a quiz to determine where YOU should go in 2016. I’ve got my tickets booked for a fall vacation in London, Paris and Rome (because carbs and history). Where are you traveling this year? Share in the comments!

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