“With amazing food, glorious public spaces and unparalleled museums, theme parks and beaches, the only thing ‘budget’ about these world-class vacation spots is the price tag!”

You had me at “budget,” but that’s what I love about the online (formerly also in print and worth finding back issues in your used bookstores) publication Budget Travel (www.budgettravelcom), and why I read it religiously for the best of the best of everything the world of travel has to offer with low-price style!

So when one of their writers started their article “10 Best Budget Destinations for 2014” with the verbiage above, I knew I had to dive right in. So hold onto your passport, ’cause here we go!

Dominican Republic

Great minds think alike, in that not only did I share with you our wonderful family vacation and group trip in the Dominican Republic a few of years ago, but we also stayed at the five-star all-inclusive Majestic Colonial Beach Resort in Punta Cana, which Budget Travel says is “surprisingly affordable, at about $212 per night for two people.” Local sojourns in Los Haitises National Park and in a little-known former fishing village called Las Terrenas were among their other recommendations.


I’m not a huge amusement park fan like I was as a young adult, so Orlando, Fla., would not have been on my radar at all. However, Budget Travel says, “The ‘big three’—Disney, Universal and SeaWorld—are just the beginning.” Their reasons include a bevy of brand–new attractions at each of the theme parks, and the Rosen Inn International—new, budget-oriented, family-friendly hotels offering free buffet meals to kids under 9 and free shuttle rides back and forth to the amusement parks.

South Africa

Everyone I know who has traveled to South Africa absolutely loves it, and with the recent passing of Nelson Mandela and a movie about his life and legacy coming out, I can only imagine what a hot spot this will be. The Nelson Mandela and Apartheid Museums in Johannesburg, Kruger National Park and Cape Town’s beaches are among their recommendations. And according to the publication, hotel rates are down 8 percent across the country.


Where the heck is Riga? The mere fact that I never heard of this city in Latvia situated on the coast of the Baltic Sea, coupled with the fact that this year the European Union will officially recognize it as the “European Capital of Culture,” makes me curious to check it out. If you like architecture, Budget Travel says the beauty of St. Peter’s Church and Riga Cathedral—famous for its 6,718-pipe organ—plus its beaches makes it one to note.


OK. Because Budget Travel couldn’t resist saying it, I will repeat it: “Travel Gangnam Style by visiting Korea in 2014.” This is just the beginning, and really only a sliver of what Seoul has to offer visitors this year. Top picks include a two-hour class at the Han Sangsu Embroidery Museum, the 14th Century Geongbok Palace, the National Folk Museum of Korea and a stay at Hotel Amare, apparently one of Seoul’s many small “love hotels.”


My one and only visit to Philadelphia many years ago was just for the day and included running up the museum steps like Rocky Balboa. But again, great minds think alike, and I have already been in conversation with the folks of the “City of Brotherly Love” for a visit this year. About it, Budget Travel says, “Alexander Inn is a small but well-appointed boutique hotel in Center City within walking distance of both Independence Hall and the Avenue of the Arts.” From this home away from home, they suggest the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the new digs of the legendary Barnes Foundation art collection and to soak up the food scene, which has burgeoned over the past few years.


The Venice in Italy (not Los Angeles) has been in the throes of a worldwide tourism resurgence over the past several years, and hotel rates are down 7 percent from last year. Budget Travel likes the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, a Murano traditional glass blowing tour and, of course, a gondola ride down a picturesque Venetian canal, among other activities in this captivating city. It’s been over 30 years since my last visit, so sign me up!

Buenos Aires

Oh yeah! Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been on my bucket list for a looong time, and Budget Travel says, “The ‘Paris of South America’ invites you to tango, shop, eat—and then tango some more.” This is another city from where my friends have come home raving and caouldn’t wait to go back. Historic Teatro Colon, home of the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra; Recoleta Cemetery; and the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires are among their recommendations during your stay.

Atlantic Canada

Why not a whole coast at once? That’s what Budget Travel recommends with Atlantic Canada, encompassing New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The abundance and low price of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a profusion of outstanding fresh seafood and “always-low prices” are among the many attributes.


“Hotel stays cost a full 20 percent less this year,” says Budget Travel about Warsaw, Poland. But that’s only the beginning, as this European capital offers a wealth of history, including the resurrection of Old Town—reportedly the oldest and most historic part of the city—from complete annihilation during WWII to UNESCO World Heritage status, the Palace on the Island and Royal Baths Park for starters.

Lysa Allman-Baldwin writes for numerous online and print publications, including as the cultural travel writer for www.Examiner.com and as a senior travel writer for SoulOfAmerica.com, an Afrocentric travel website. Lysa can be reached at lallmanbaldwin@kc.rr.com.