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Affordable destinations to visit NOW

Nine destinations that will soon explode in popularity - and price.


Sabina, Italy (© On Foot Holidays)

Visit the hills of Sabina, Italy, before it's discovered by the masses.

"Go now while there's still time". It's a familiar slogan in travel, designed to get desperate holidaymakers hurrying for a destination before the masses arrive and a McDonald's opens. But, in the following cases, the message is true: these 10 undiscovered wonders won't stay undiscovered - or affordable - for much longer:

1. Alentejo, Portugal
A long-suffering invalid in the bulging eurozone hospital, poor Portugal consequently offers extremely cheap ground costs to visiting tourists. But where to go? The hot newcomer is the Alentejo region: despite occupying a third of Portugal, few foreigners know of it. But all this is changing, and the Alentejo's open spaces, wineries, deserted coastline, medieval hilltop towns and just-inaugurated Rota Vicentina walking route are rapidly opening up to the first clued-up crowds.

COST: The Hotel M'ar de Ar Muralhas has double rooms from £72 per night. Sunvil Discovery has a week for two with flights, transfers and B&B at the hotel from £802 per person.

2. Sabina, Italy
Located less than an hour (by train) north of Rome, Sabina is scarcely known to other Italians, let alone foreigners. Heaven knows why: prime walking country, this verdant paradise boasts hill towns to rival Umbria, food as good as Tuscany and olive oil superior to Sicily. And, when you've walked your last, it's deliciously easy to add on a few days' stay in the Italian capital.

COST: The gorgeous La Torretta in Casperia has double rooms from £65 per night. Including a stop at La Torretta, On Foot Holidays has a week's self-guided for two with daily luggage transfer, B&B and six other meals from £695 per person, available April-October. Flights to Rome start from £47 per person return with easyJet.

3. Cambodia's coast
The 2012 opening of Song Saa, a super-luxury island resort, jolted Cambodia's tropical coastline into tourist awareness. Alas, much of the small coastline is already in the hands of rich international magnates, and headed for Thai-style privatisation, but a few bargain-priced independent jewels remain. For instance, Koh Rong Samloem island, and its small Lazy Beach resort, home to virgin beach, snorkelling heaven and a sundowner bar serving unexpectedly great nosh.

COST: Lazy Beach has bungalows sleeping up to four from £26 per night. Boat transfers cost £13 per person return. ABOUTAsia Travel has a 10-day trip for two combining Siem Reap and Lazy Beach from £601 per person with all transfers, B&B and guiding at Angkor. Flights start from £550 per person return with Air France.

4. Pinar Del Rio, Cuba
This claim is almost travel lore, so common is it: America will soon lift restrictions on its citizens visiting Cuba, and the quirky Caribbean gem will be overrun by noisy, camera-wielding tourists wearing shorts with socks. Throw in its increasing concessions to capitalism, and Cuba's surely set to lose its timelost air sooner than later. The place most at risk of change is the western province of Pinar del Rio, an idyll of tobacco plantations, eco-tourism, secret beaches and scuba diving.

COST: Hotel Cayo Levisa has Cabana rooms from £71 per night on half board. Holidaysplease.co.uk has a week for two with flights, car hire and full board in a Cabana room at the hotel from £1,387 per person.

5. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is no travel secret, but less publicised is the city's Winter Invitation promotion (October-March), which involves free hotel nights, complimentary entry into one of the Hungarian capital's legendary spas and discounted 'Budapest Cards', passes equating to free transport and tours. Who knows how long such crazy generosity can last in our credit-crunched world; best to take advantage now, then, and see those art-nouveau buildings and trendy Jewish Quarter on the (euro-free) cheap.

COST: The three-star Erzsebet Hotel City Center has double rooms from £29 per night. It normally features in the Winter Invitation promotion; the 2012-3 hotels have yet to be announced. Flights start from £71 per person return with easyJet.

6. Bansko, Bulgaria
Bulgaria's another country free of the euro - but not for too much longer, as it plans to have adopted the crippled currency by 2015. That doesn't leave long to get to the ski resort Bansko while it remains a brilliant budget option. TripAdvisor's TripIndex Ski ranks Bansko as having Europe's most affordable pistes, with an average daily cost, including accommodation, ski pass and meals, of £108. That compares to St Moritz - the most expensive - which comes in at £405.

COST: The White Fir Resort has double rooms from £27 per night. Cheap Ski Holidays has a week for two with flights, transfers and B&B at the resort from £234 per person.

7. Paraty, Brazil
The jewel on Brazil's beautiful Costa Verde, Paraty's a chic city known for jazz, cobblestone streets, seafood and Flip, a literary festival that Ian McEwan has previously attended. At the moment there are only elegant pousadas, but a luxury Maisons des Rêves hotel is coming to the harbour in 2013, and other big-name hoteliers will surely follow. Throw in the fact that there's the 2014 World Cup on the busy horizon, and the time to visit Brazil - and particularly Paraty - is very much now.

COST: Hire of a suite at the stylish Vivenda Paraty pousada costs from £88 per night for two.

8. Glencoe, Scotland
The locations in James Bond films always stand out and, in Skyfall, due out this October, Glencoe may well outshine all the rest. Why? Because that's the setting for 'Skyfall Lodge', aka the Bond family's home. Filming took place in Glencoe either side of the A82, and you can expect the area's spectacular hills and lake to rival Daniel Craig in the rugged looks department. Go before everyone else has the same idea...

COST: The cosy Clachaig Inn in Glencoe has double rooms from £45 per night.

9. Lamai Wedge & Kogatende, Serengeti, Tanzania
This one ain't exactly affordable - but it's as cheap as it ever will be. Despite lying inside the Serengeti and beside the Maasai Mara - e.g two African tourism behemoths - and having excellent game, Lamai Wedge and Kogatende are largely untapped. That's because under a decade ago they were dangerous and unregulated, and thus tourism is a new arrival. But it's growing: there are now half-a-dozen camps here, and the likelihood is we haven't seen anything yet. You know what to do...

COST: The Serengeti Mara has double rooms from £351 per night. Tanzania specialist Expert Africa has a week for two with flights, transfers, full board, park fees and safari activities from £3,931 per person.

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