Underrated and affordable destinations

Leave the crowds behind and explore these less-frequented destinations.

myanmar

London, Bali, the US. Sure they’re all great destinations in their own right. I’ve got nothing against them. But don’t you sometimes crave going away, way away, from the crowds? Don’t you want to explore a new city or country without the masses? Without having to fork out a fortune?

If you answered “yes”, “yes” and “yes”, read on for our top picks of the most underrated and affordable destinations.

Myanmar
The country formerly known as Burma is in transition. Having held democratic elections in 2015 after decades of rule by a military junta, Myanmar is increasingly opening for foreign business and tourism. With a culture less diluted by mass tourism than many other South-East Asian countries (ahem, Thailand), Myanmar offers a far more authentic and rewarding experience. Marvel at the thousands of temples in Bagan (or Pagan), see the contrast between colonial British architecture and traditional Buddhist pagodas in Yangon, and cruise the Ayeyarwady River spotting the famed pink dolphins.

New Zealand
The land of sheep, Lord of the Rings and the All Blacks consistently features high on travellers’ wish lists. While it may not be short on tourists, its sheer beauty and broad appeal can’t be over-exaggerated. The country’s calm character is hard to match. Get lost in Fiordland, admire a city rebuilt in Christchurch, enjoy fine wine in vineyards throughout the country, and let nature overwhelm you pretty much everywhere you go.

Poland
Often overlooked in favour of Germany, Austria or the Czech Republic, Poland is a big country with a big heart. There’s no shortage of pretty cities to explore (Krakow, Warsaw, Gdansk), hearty food to enjoy (pierogi, rosot, goulash) and local brews to sip (vodka, beer). Not to mention a vast amount of wilderness (including the Tatra Mountains), should you wish to go even further off the beaten track. History buffs will have no trouble finding food for thought in Poland, though much of it is very sombre.

Uruguay
One of the smallest South American nations, Uruguay still packs a lot of punch. This Spanish-speaking country shares many of the same attractions as its more popular neighbour, Argentina – namely great steak, a strong wine industry and ‘gaucho’ heritage – but without the crowds. Uruguayan beaches are arguably some of the best in South America, while charming towns such as Colonia del Sacramento invite lazy afternoons strolling along cobblestoned streets.

Namibia
Namibia, located on Africa’s south-western coast, is a great introduction to the continent for first-time visitors. Etosha National Park provides a prime opportunity for viewing the country’s wildlife (elephants, black rhinos, cheetahs) in their natural environment. Another major drawcard for nature lovers is the Namib Desert, which is said to be the world’s oldest. Lose yourself among the sand dunes and solitude. The Skeleton Coast is also hauntingly beautiful with whale bones and shipwrecks strewn along the edge of the country. The German colonial architecture in many of Namibia’s towns points to the nation’s recent history and makes it unique in Southern Africa.

Canada
While Canada is a popular destination, certain cities and provinces in the country are definitely overlooked in favour of others. Travellers tend to flock to British Columbia and jump on the Rocky Mountaineer, but there is much more to Canada than this Western province. As with the five countries mentioned above, the natural environment is beyond stunning. From the Gold Rush history in the Yukon to the rugged beauty of the Maritime provinces, you’ll be drawn in. Canadians are often said to be welcoming, warm and laid back – what more could you want when visiting a foreign country?

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    COMMENTS

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    Kathleen
    24th Jul 2017
    1:16pm
    Why not holiday in Australia? Few people have seen every bit of Australia! Small towns especially would benefit from people spending their dollars at home rather than abroad.
    Holidaying in Australia could save airfares as well.
    Pensioners would not have a lot of money to allocate for holidays and some may find it hard to travel long distances by plane.
    We drive to Canberra to see grandchildren so we go inland on the way and back along the coast on the way home. This is our holiday twice a year. We enjoy it and we can manage it physically.
    Maybe put up some road trips around our beautiful country.
    KSS
    24th Jul 2017
    1:47pm
    "Why not holiday in Australia?"

    Simple! It's cheaper to go somewhere else!
    Kathleen
    24th Jul 2017
    4:28pm
    KSS, no it is not. Exclude airfares for a start. Some people own a van and they can go long distances. Travel to family and friends so some accommodation is included. Along the way see new places.
    There is so much competition with accommodation you can budget $100 or less per day. Self cater as well. You can fit everything into your car.
    Or public transport is free for pensioners to a degree. You have a budget then work within that.
    No, overseas holidays are not cheaper. People use that as an excuse.
    bob
    24th Jul 2017
    3:25pm
    having watched Border Patrol on tv it made me worry about Canada ,all those seemingly senseless questions about how much you spent and how much did this cost.It seemed like bureaucracy gone mad.and if I want great scenery and cold I just head for Tassie.
    bob
    24th Jul 2017
    3:25pm
    having watched Border Patrol on tv it made me worry about Canada ,all those seemingly senseless questions about how much you spent and how much did this cost.It seemed like bureaucracy gone mad.and if I want great scenery and cold I just head for Tassie.
    tactful
    27th Oct 2017
    12:19am
    If you subscribe to websites like luxury escapes, deals.com.au, cudo.com.au you can get some holidays in Australia or overseas that are cheap enough to be able to afford the flights.


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