Sri Lanka
Credit: Dhammika Heenpella / Getty Images

Home to spectacular national parks, ancient Buddhist temples, mountainsides terraced with tea and miles of surf-rich coastline, this island off the southeast coast of India has been on all the "go here now" lists for years. Still, Sri Lanka has managed to stay affordable and friendly despite its renown. Head north of the capital, Colombo, to visit ecotourism hotspots on the country's west coast in Kalpitiya, and hit the Puttalam lagoon for kayaking in the mangroves and kitesurfing adventures. Winds blow between 18 and 20 knots from May to October, and premium bungalows with ocean views from Kite Surfing Lanka start from less than $80 per night (all meals included). Leave on whale watching tours in the Laccadive Sea from Mirissa, on the country's white sand beaches and one of the world's best locales for spotting Blue Whales.