Destinations

The 10 budget places to travel in 2019

Here are some smartest ways to see exciting places (affordable hotels, bargain restaurants), and some money-saving ways to visit otherwise expensive locations in 2019. The money-saving, exciting list of 38 places was curated by Laura Begley Bloom for The Forbes. This list of 10 inexpensive places in hand, you’ll be able to travel for less.

New Orleans

Red trolley streetcar on rail in New Orleans French Quarter

Located along the Mississippi River, New Orleans is a mojor port and is world-renowned for its distinct music, Creole cuisine, unique dialect, and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras. The historic heart of the city is the French Quarter, known for its French and Spanish Creole architecture and vibrant nightlife along Bourbon Street. Founded in 1718 by French colonists, New Orleans has been described as the “most unique” in the United States. “Check in to the Catahoula Hotel, a chic boutique design hotel in the Central Business District with rooms starting at a mere $100 a night,” says Alexandra Baackes, founder of Alex in Wanderland and Wander Women Retreats and the author of the Wanderland Guide to Koh Tao.

Jamaica

“Though Jamaica is a legendary beach destination, 2019 will be the year to discover Kingston, an untapped, culturally rich capital of the Caribbean. Still rough around the edges but with a soul that is impossible to resist, Kingston is the place to experience the heartbeat of Jamaica,” says Meagan Drillinger, a freelance travel writer and lifestyle writer based in New York City. In 2018 Kingston opened the Peter Tosh Museum, which rounds out the city’s musical offerings, in addition to the Bob Marley Museum and the Jamaica Music Museum. With the recently opened high-speed highway that connects Kingston to Ocho Rios, visitors can easily make the trip north to weave together a city and beach vacation in one trip, especially with the new S Hotel in Montego Bay, a sleek-and-sexy, South Beach-style spot that will open in January. End your jaunt with a ride through reggae music history as you depart from Sangster International Airport. VP Records, the world’s largest independent reggae music label and publisher, is kicking off its 40th anniversary with an installation chronicling its indelible contribution to reggae music.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is the affordable European city you’ve been dreaming of visiting. It offers a rich history, incredible architecture and delicious local cuisine and wines, all without the high price tag of Paris and London. Bargains abound around every corner. Indulge in the city’s decadent custard-filled pastel de nata for just 1€ at the historic Pasteis de Belém café. A Lisbon city pass is 19€ and gives you 24 hours of admission to everything from modern museums to historic monasteries, as well as all transportation, including rides on the Lisbon’s scenic tram cars and stunning elevators that lift passengers up the steep city hills. Local wine bars charge less than 3€ per glass of wine; even swanky restaurants offer bottles for under 10€.  Lisbon is great for families. There’s a fabulous aquarium and science museum on the waterfront, not to mention a real castle to explore. Centrally located, family-friendly Martinhal Chiado offers full-service apartments with kitchens starting at around $150 a night. Included in the reasonable rate are free use of baby equipment, including everything from bottle warmers to strollers; a complimentary kids club that runs late so parents can go out for dinner on their own; and a free breakfast that includes made-to-order pancakes and those amazing nata tarts, says Melissa Klurman, a travel expert, writer and editor and contributor at Reader’s Digest, Frommer’s Travel Guides and Parents, among other publications.

Atlanta

Golden Eagle and Kimball House are personal favorite dinner spots, carving out an accessible middle ground between genteel Southern dining and locals-only joints. This capital city offers plenty to do between meals. I recommend Ponce City Market’s rooftop amusement park, which offers games, mini golf and a stunning view of the city with affordable $10 admission or The High Museum with free admission the second Sunday of each month. To top it all off, finding a cheap flight is easy: Atlanta is Delta’s largest hub, recommends Rachel Martino, a fashion, beauty and travel blogger based in Brooklyn, New York.

Tallinn, Estonia

Lucie Josma, a native New Yorker, who is a world travel photographer and social media manager working with some of the top brands in travel and tourism recommends Tallinn in Estonia to the list. Only a short ferry ride away from Finland, Tallinn is a cheap alternative to visiting Northern European cities such as Helsinki or Stockholm. Accommodations run for a fraction of the price compared to most of Europe, and public transportation is easy to navigate, as well as cost efficient. Make sure to pay a visit to Tallinn’s UNESCO-protected medieval old town, a preserved walled area with many restaurants and shops. For an exceptionally special experience head to the restaurant Olde Hansa, located in the old town’s center. Providing medieval musicians performing nightly, meals prepared using 15th century recipes and authentic medieval attire, this restaurant is reason enough to pay Tallinn a visit. To learn more about Estonian folk culture and art, make sure to add both the Estonian Open Air Museum and Kumu Art Museum to your itinerary.

Cooperstown, New York

Although this charming town may be internationally known for being home to the iconic National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown has more up to bat than just baseball. Strolling down the historic main street you’ll find an array of cute shops, antique stores, cafes and my favorite — the bountiful Cooperstown Farmers Market, where you can find affordable (and incredibly delicious) bites made locally. During the day, you can find plenty of inexpensive fun, like a tasting at Ommegang brewery ($10 for a tour and tasting), a visit to Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard (complimentary tastings), a tour of the Farmer’s Museum ($12 entry) or a stroll around the Fenimore Art Museum ($12 daily pass). Cooperstown being situated in prime farming country, this town is home to some very tasty restaurants. Head to the greenhouse-chic Origins Cafe (entrees around $12) or splurge on dinner at the lakeside Blue Mingo Grill (entrees around $30). For an inexpensive yet historical hotel, stay at the Railroad Inn (rates starting at $85 a night), says Blakely Trettenero, owner of the popular travel website Hungry for Travels.

Barga, Italy

Tucked within the mountainous Serchio Valley is Tuscany’s best kept secret. Not yet overrun by tourists, Barga is a quiet medieval town that takes you back to old-world Italy where mama cooks for all and wineries are still run by families. The art scene is alive and well, the Duomo di San Cristoforo atop the town is worth the walk and the food, well, that goes without saying. A local highlight is the lunchtime tour at Podere Concori, a biodynamic winery with a passion for cultivating the purest of products. Winter season here is ideal for budget travelers; rates at the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa are as low as €112 per night. With views of the entire valley from your balcony, you might even catch snow falling as you marvel at the watercolor-like sunsets. Located just over an hour from Florence, you get the best of both worlds when you fly into the city for a stopover before heading to the countryside for mountain biking, hiking and thermal pools, too, says Harmony Walton, writer and founder of The Bridal Bar and host of the talk radio show, Bridal Bar Radio, on America’s Talk and iHeartRadio.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Not only are there lots of innovative yet affordable restaurants in town (shout out to Vintage Wine Bar and Glacier Chocolates), but Tulsa is also home to the Gathering Place, the coolest public park I’ve ever been to. The Gathering Place is more like Disneyland than a normal park — but it’s completely free. There are so many incredible play structures (a castle, a pirate ship, a slide in the shape of a banana), interactive art installations, free concerts and performances, a lake you can take free boat rides on and sports courts and skateparks for every activity you could imagine, bike paths and so much more, says Kaitlin Orr, a Los Angeles native with a well-stamped passport and an appetite for adventure

Valparaiso, Chile

Valparaiso, Chile is known as the “Jewel of the Pacific.” Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this lively city displays street art with a bohemian beat on every corner. Highlights include exploring local life in the lovely parks and plazas, such as Italia, De La Victoria and Sotomayor. After walking a few of the city’s 42 hills, you may want to consider taking one of the eight funiculars to the top, with panoramic views from Pleasant Hills, Cerro Concepcion or Cerro Alegre, where musicians, artists and poets flock. Visit La Sebastiana, the home of legendary Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Or take a walk — on the Ruben Dario and the Carvallo, you can stroll the beach and see fishermen reel in the catch of the day at the fishing cove Caleta Portales. Hungry or thirsty? The iconic Bar Cinzano offers a fun setting with Latin American music, dancing porteñas cuecas and Creole food. Where to stay? You can find great deals at inns in Valparaiso for as low as $54 per night. Or drive north along the Pacific Coast to the small beach towns of Concon or Reñaca, where you can find charming inns for as low as $35 per night. There are also wine valleys within a 30-minute drive from town. How to get around? In Valparaiso, you can take the old buses or funiculars or rent a car. If you prefer a tour company, contact South Excursions, which offers day tour of Valparaiso and the nearby Casablanca Valley. This destination was suggested by Patricia Stone, founder of Global Adventuress.

Montreal, Canada

From the romantic cobblestone streets of Montreal’s Old Port to its modern downtown core, Montreal is a city caught between two different moments in time. Montrealers are people who love to celebrate and preserve their French heritage while also continuing to welcome immigrants and embrace the youth who contribute to the city’s vibrant tapestry. When it comes to experiencing pure Canadiana, Montreal is where it’s at. With deep roots in rich French cooking, Montreal offers a dynamic culinary scene (their love for foie gras is just as strong as their love of maple syrup). You don’t have to go far to find a great restaurant in Montreal and dining out is surprisingly affordable. Adorned in murals, Montreal also loves to celebrate culture, with numerous art, comedy (the largest in the world) and music festivals happening throughout the year — most of which offer free activities. With a huge student population, the Airbnb options are a plentiful and cheap. If you are willing to pay slightly more, there are small simple yet stylish boutique hotels like Maison & Co and Boxotel (I’ve seen rooms starting around $75-150 a night). Montreal, most of all, is a city that celebrates all that is good in life and its people sprinkle joie de vivre like fairy dust, captivating the hearts of all who visit, says Soheila Hakimi, a lifestyle content creator and international travel writer from Toronto, Canada.