10Best Readers' Choice is out to disprove the idea that you get what you pay for, at least when it comes to travel. Some of the best attractions in the USA are completely free, and it's possible to find a hotel room on the cheap while still staying in style. Rental car? Skip it by visiting a destination with alternative transportation options.
10Best editors enlisted a panel of travel experts to help us select 20 nominees in the budget travel categories of Best Free Attraction, Best Free Museum, Best Hotel Under $150, Best City to Go Car-Free and Best Budget Travel Blog. For the past four weeks, our readers have been voting daily for their favorites, and the results are in!
Best Free Attraction: St. Louis Zoo
The 90-acre St. Louis Zoo exhibits 600 species of animals representing every continent and major biome on the planet. It's also one of the nation's few zoos that offers free entry, though some exhibits and shows charge smaller admission fees. The zoo's Penguin & Puffin Coast exhibit is one of the best penguin habitats in the country, with four species of penguins and two species of puffins on display.
RESULTS: 10 Best Free Attractions
Best Free Museum: National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center
Free immersive exhibits at the National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center in Columbus, Georgia take visitors through 240 years of U.S. history through the lens of what it means to be a U.S. soldier. It's one of the world's top military museums and one of the top rated attractions in Columbus.
RESULTS: 10 Best Free Museums
Best City to Go Car-Free: Cleveland
A light rail connects the Cleveland Airport to downtown, and once there, it's easy to get around on foot, by bike (UH Bikes pre-launched in July 2016) or free trolley. Rail routes and city buses provide transportation to and from Cleveland's surrounding neighborhoods and inner-ring suburbs.
RESULTS: 10 Best Cities to Go Car-Free
Best Hotel Under $150: The Vagabond Hotel
The Vagabond Hotel opened its doors in 1953 and soon became a hangout for Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and the rest of the Rat Pack. A property-wide restoration has returned the property to its glamorous best. Guests enjoy rooms with retro-luxe interiors, free WiFi, an outdoor heated pool, gym and tech-savvy hook ups for keeping gadgets charged.
RESULTS: 10 Best Hotels Under $150
Best Budget Travel Blog: The Poor Traveler
Yoshke Dimen and Vins Carlos, the pair who write The Poor Traveler, set out to prove that traveling isn't just for the rich, physically strong or socially savvy. The blog is particularly helpful for those planning budget travel through Asia.
RESULTS: 10 Best Budget Travel Blogs
Congratulations to all our budget travel winners. Remember to visit 10Best daily to vote in other Readers' Choice categories.