The world of travel is constantly evolving and countries that used to be no-go zones are now tourist havens boasting unspoilt scenery and budget friendly price tags. By visiting these places before they become popular you'll have the rare opportunity to enjoy them before they become overly commercial and lose some of their charm. Get your trips booked and see these beautiful countries while they're still at their best.
So where should you be going this year?
When planning a holiday most people won't think of the Philippines. Not only is it incredibly far away, there's a much better reason why it's not on many people's radar. Almost all Filipino Airlines (excluding two) are banned from entering EU airspace which means that direct flights to the region are not readily available. The country is also unlikely to be featured in all inclusive holiday packages seeing as KLM are the only European airline to service the country. This is largely down to air safety concerns as well as high airline taxes and has meant that much of the scenery in the region has remained unspoilt.
Whilst getting there might not be simple, the arduous trip will be worth it. Harbouring some of the best beaches, cheapest alcohol and friendliest locals in the world, this county will not disappoint. You'll also discover that almost everyone speaks English making for a really easy travel experience.
Formerly known as Burma this country is most famous for hosting the Word's longest running civil war. Whilst political tensions still exist there have also been a large number of ceasefire agreements signed which has bought the country closer to peace and along with the lifting of international sanctions has encouraged the growth of tourism in the region. Myanmar only recently opened its doors to tourists after years of being closed off from the world and so the impact of excessive travel has not yet made its mark on this unexplored gem.
Like all of South East Asia, Myanmar is a very affordable country to visit and flights are now easy to come by. Whether you visit the breath-taking temples in Yangon and Bagan, take a relaxing boat ride on Lake Inle or simply soak up the sun on the famous Ngapali beach, you'll never regret taking this trip of a lifetime.
To ensure a safe trip make sure you avoid overland crossings where political violence is more likely.
Whilst there is definitely an Asian theme emerging, it's for good reason. Largely undiscovered Taiwan is the secret that backpackers don't want you to know about. Bursting with friendly locals, delicious cuisine and a unique mix of cultures it's the country we all travel to but rarely write about for fear of spoiling it.
The only downside is that Taiwan is not an especially cheap country to visit. It has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is quickly becoming the new Singapore, but budget travel here is possible. Try using homestays, hostels or AirBnb to secure affordable accommodation and take advantage of all of the free attractions offered. Why not pair it with a trip to the Philippines and tick two countries off the list?
The Middle East is not widely explored due to the constant and ongoing conflicts which makes it too dangerous to visit. Stepping out of the shadows following a thawing of its hostile relationship with the West, Iran has seen a huge increase in tourism and visitors are reporting good things.
Whilst it's true that you'll need to abide by its strict rules such as ensuring that your hair is covered if you are a woman and avoiding all alcohol which is strictly banned, this is a small price to pay for the opportunity to explore a country whose people will welcome you with open arms and are just dying to show you their country.
If nothing else you'll get to form your own opinion of a region that is rarely talked about. Everything else is just a bonus (but don't watch Argo before you go).
For something a little closer to home why not visit Greece this year? This country has something to offer every traveller with capital city Athens demonstrating its stunning contrast of old and new in one magnificent place, its beautiful islands being easily reachable from the mainland making you want to stay forever (just ask Shirley Valentine) and with it being home to some of the most delicious food in the world you'll be sure to be left wanting more.
As Greece continues to suffer financial woe over its debt crisis travel to the region is likely to continue to be easy on the wallet. A little goes a long way here and when you factor in cheap flights from London plus affordable accommodation, you're onto a winner. You'll also be helping out a struggling economy just by going there. The only downside is that strikes have become more common as the population fights back against harsh austerity measures and so if you are unlucky you may get caught up.
Have you visited any of these places? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below.