Kerala, India – The tranquil and welcoming South-West has never been so accessible
Reason: Gentle Kerala, one of India’s most prosperous states is a beguiling entry point to the incredible Subcontinent. Laid back riverside villages, tropical beaches, and verdant jungle in the foothills of the mighty Western Ghats offer a truly diverse experience. India has long been an affordable travel destination, but with the rupee falling fast against the dollar, there’s never been better value on offer, from spice tours to beach side yoga vacations to chic houseboat trips along the famed backwaters. And of course, there’s the South Indian cuisine - a rich infusion of coconuts and spices that grow in abundance blended to perfection in mouth-watering dishes.
Tip: The beaches are hard to leave, but don’t miss the lush attractions inland. A visit to the fragrant tea plantations around the former hill station of Munnar can be combined with a tour of the Rajamala Wildlife Sanctuary. After the scenic, yet bumpy ride, indulge your body in a miraculous Ayurvedic massage.
When: Kerala's large Christian community makes Christmas a particularly festive time to experience the region's cultural mix. From July to October you'll find heavily discounted 'monsoon tourism' deals and the weather is better than you might expect.
Ethiopia – Enjoy Africa's most famous historical and natural sites without breaking the bank
Reason: With nine UNESCO world heritage sites and known as one of the oldest locations of human life, Ethiopia is a cultural and historical treasure chest just waiting to be explored. Flights along the country's Historic Route offer tourists an easy and wallet-friendly way of seeing Ethiopia's most incredible sites. From the capital city, Addis Ababa, to the famous churches of Lalibela, one of the most important holy cities in the country (dubbed "the second Jerusalem"), to the colorful Lake Tana Monasteries and the extraordinary Blue Nile Falls.
Tip: Service on Ethiopia's public transport system can be erratic for travel and usually offers only one bus per day between destinations. So if travelling by road, to save time hire a 4-wheel drive vehicle for the more remote areas, because the chance of being potholed, jagged, or mainly unpaved is higher.
When: Try and avoid the rainy season (mid-June to mid-September). It makes travelling by many of the remote roads difficult and often unfeasible.