4 more for your list 💎

Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community! Did you celebrate Valentine’s (or Galentine’s) Day this week? There’s nothing more fun than looking forward to a special getaway with your loved one(s) or close friends. I’ve just planned such a trip with my family – stay tuned for where we’re going and what we’re doing (it’s been on our travel bucket list for years).

This week’s newsletter offers a few more ideas for some big, special trips and perhaps places you hadn’t yet considered. Travel to Europe is incredibly brisk for 2023, so if you’d like to bypass the masses you might consider some of these destinations which would all be impressive checks off your travel bucket list. Read on for the scoop…

Colombia, South America

Colombia is considered the gateway to South America as it shares a border with Panama, Central America. Geographically, it’s a very diverse country offering snow-topped volcanoes, Andes Mountains, deserts, and tropical beaches.

You may not have Cartagena, Colombia on your radar or travel bucket list but you really should. A hidden gem, it’s a fantastic alternative to Mexico and only a four-hour flight from New York City.

My partners at Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena love to show off their beautiful walled city to Americans. Why is the city walled? To protect it from pirates, back in the day of course. The hotel is a 400-year-old convent built in 1621 with the largest pool in the city. It’s truly gorgeous!

There is a sister property on the beach that’s only a short boat ride away. I can design your itinerary to include both experiences; first city and then the beach is a win-win!

💎 Hidden Gem Tip: Hidden Gem Travel guests receive daily breakfast for two and other VIP perks! More info here: Best Of The Best Hotels and Experiences.

Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abu Dhabi is an ideal choice for an unconventional, adventurous, amazing vacation. It offers white sand beaches, a cosmopolitan city, desert adventures like sandboarding and fat biking, and jaw-dropping architecture. Love cars? The Ferrari World Theme Park is for all ages.

Believe it or not, Abu Dhabi is easy to get to from JFK – fly non-stop on Etihad, the national airline for the UAE, and a Jet Blue and American Airlines codeshare. My partner at Etihad knows many of my clients fly out of JFK so passed this tip on to me. Have some points to use? I’ll plan your time on land, and you book the air!

💎 Hidden Gem Tip: You can combine your Abu Dhabi visit with Dubai (only a bit over an hour’s drive away) or the Seychelles or Maldives for that bucket list beach experience.


Geographically, Turkey is unique as it lies partly in Asia and partly in Europe. Throughout its history, it has been both a barrier and a bridge between the two continents.

April through October, Turkey is alive for tourism. Ten days in Turkey is a good amount of time for first-time visits. School-aged children and history buffs will be amazed by what they learn and see in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul where the east meets west.

For the adventurous, a trip to Cappadocia for a hot air balloon ride over the unique moon-like landscape is a major bucket list experience. Shoppers will relish in the bazaars, and foodies can take cooking classes with a chef and will learn to make traditional Turkish dishes after purchasing the ingredients at a local market.

And this trip will be seamless thanks to my local travel partner who has been supporting American tourists who visit Turkey for the last 20 years!


The travel rebound to Singapore has been picking up! The international airport may be the most incredible in the world and is an oft-requested layover when traveling in Asia.

Amazing hotels and resorts provide travelers with a unique and ultra-special home base. Examples are the incredible Sky Park that sits on top of the Marina Sands Resort, and the historic and iconic Raffles Hotel Singapore dating to the late 1800s.

There are hidden gem experiences that can be included in any classic itinerary. For families with kids, the night safari is a big hit. Also, the fascinating culinary scene in Chinatown – heard of Hakka? Or taking a private tour of the Formula One racetrack. Or the Intan Museum which is in someone’s private home (by appointment only of course).

Inspired? Here’s the link to schedule a vacation consultation.

💎 Hidden Gem Tip: Follow my Facebook or Instagram pages for more travel inspiration!

Wishing you and your family continued good health,


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Hi, I'm Susan Wilson

I’m the founder of Hidden Gem Travel Consulting. As your personal travel advisor, I craft custom worldwide itineraries that astound and inspire you.


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