PEER INTO OUR CRYSTAL BALL…

Top Budget Destinations for 2009

  1. Austin has an economy that's more diversified than many, which will help insulate it from the national recession. So it should be full speed ahead on free and affordable cultural events in 2009. (Robert Glusic/Corbis)
  2. The weather is gorgeous in Austin eight months of the year. Try golfing at the Horseshoe Bay Resort, with its gorgeous Slick Rock Course. (Courtesy Horseshoe Bay Resort)
  3. Washington, D.C., is a perennial choice for an affordable family vacation. There's free access to world-class museums, monuments, and the National Zoo, for example, and you could stay for several days without paying a single admission fee. (Courtesy the Mandarin Oriental)
  4. On April 12 in Washington, D.C., the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth will be commemorated with a re-creation of contralto Marian Anderson's famous 1939 open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial. (lincolnindc.com, free, not ticketed). (Philip Coblentz/Brand X/Corbis)
  5. Hawaii saw a 10 percent drop in visitors in 2008. Tour operators are responding by aggressively discounting rooms and car rentals and bundling them into packages. (Robert Glusic/Getty)
  6. The Aloha State will celebrate its 50th anniversary of statehood this year with a party at the Capitol planned for March 18 (free, hawaii.gov/statehood). Obama watchers may wish to take a do-it-yourself tour of the president's childhood haunts by using a map from ObamasNeighborhood.com. (Mark Karrass/Corbis)
  7. Enjoy a Vienna-style weekend without the high prices by visiting Budapest, Hungary. Explore art nouveau buildings along the Danube, shop in the well-preserved Great Market Hall, tour miles of caves under Castle Hill, and then catch a show at the Hungarian State Opera House. (Kevin Burke/Corbis)
  8. The recent collapse of Iceland's currency, the kronur, has hung a half-off sign on virtually everything for American tourists. Soak in one of the city's seven hot pots—outdoor thermal pools. Or take a dip in the island's astonishing Blue Lagoon. (Jon Arnold/JAI/Corbis)
  9. Mexico has always been affordable, but the U.S. dollar's exchange rate with the Mexican peso is now at its most favorable point in 15 years. (MedioImages/Photodisc)
  10. Our Web tool can help you pinpoint the Mexican resort towns that are linked to your nearest airport by nonstop flights (budgettravel.com/nonstopmexico). (Kristi J. Black/Corbis)
  11. Berlin has one of the world's most dynamic skylines thanks to recent innovative additions. Even the city's signature building, the nineteenth-century Reichstag (national parliament house), is now capped with a transparent, glazed cupola. visitBerlin.de)
  12. Berlin's main train station showcases a modern design, also evident in much of the city's skyline. And throughout 2009, the fall of the Berlin Wall will be marked with concerts, memorials, and an open-air-exhibition in Alexanderplatz. visitBerlin.de)
  13. Americans heading to Canada have the dollar on their side, with the exchange rate the best it's been since 2005. And fares into Vancouver for the first three months of 2009 are down 24 percent from a year earlier, says Farecast. (Martin Tessler)
  14. Vancouver is unveiling cutting-edge architecture in advance of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The Richmond Oval, for instance, is a new 8,000-seat sports arena with a glass façade that gives clear, expansive views of the North Shore Mountains. Polycarbonate in shades of blue wraps around the venue's three other sides. (Martin Tessler)
  15. Safe and politically stable, Cambodia is no longer a backpacker's secret. The sprawling Angkor complex and its magnificent Hindu and Buddhist temples will always be the star attractions here. (Michele Falzone/JAI/Corbis)
  16. Panama has led Central and South American countries in tourism growth for two years running, posting back-to-back 20- and 30-percent gains in 2007 and 2008. It's becoming famous for eco-tourism. (Image Source Pink/Getty)

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