Kicking off your 2024 travel year right 🎉✔

Happy 1st Thursday of 2024 Hidden Gem Travel community! I hope the new year is off to a great start for you. Did you set a resolution or assign a key word for 2024? If so, how do you keep yourself accountable since often the best intentions in January are deprioritized or forgotten by the end of the month? My top resolution is to get more regular exercise and key word is ‘energize,’ because my daily life, when not traveling, is spent sitting in front of my computer. With sitting being considered the new smoking in terms of health risk, this is a priority for me for the days I’m in the office. Let’s hope by putting this in writing that I’ll feel some accountability!

The new year is on my mind with business and personal goals paramount. Like you may be, I’m thinking about where I want to check off my travel bucket list. So, I began the process by taking stock of where I traveled in 2023 and where Hidden Gem Travel clients ventured.

Last week’s newsletter covered my 2023 year in review for travel.  This week I’m sharing an overview from our clients’ trips – all with the purpose of inspiring you.

Read on for the Hidden Gem Travel’s client year in review for 2023 which hopefully will inspire you to work with me for your next bucket list trip…

Italy, Portugal, Greece, Austria – Top European Destinations 2023

It comes as no surprise that Italy was the top destination for Hidden Gem Travel clients experiencing Europe. My clients traveled ‘tip to toe’ in the country from Lake Como in the north down to Sicily in the south. This experience allows me to customize Italy trips for each client or find a guided tour or cruise if that’s their preferred mode of travel. Personally this year, I enjoyed some of Italy’s main ports of call and traveled on a custom itinerary as well.

Portugal was a close second along with Greece and Austria. All these countries are an excellent choice for a European vacation, and my partners that live in these countries excel at providing on-the-ground support for clients as needed. There are so many choices when it comes to designing an itinerary in Portugal, Greece, or Austria/Germany; working with travel professionals provides an upleveled experience rather than trusting the internet yourself. In addition to being a Europe specialist, I’ve recently been to all of these countries which also is a game-changer for insider intel.

Where in Europe is at the top of your 2024 travel bucket list?

💎Hidden Gem TipFrance was also a top destination and is looking to be a contender for the top spot in 2024. With the Olympics and Paralympics this year, plan now for the best availability! Or let’s talk about more off-the-beaten-path places in Europe for this year like Scandinavia. OR if you love Europe, Buenos Aires, Argentina and Cape Town, South Africa are alternate cities you need to experience.

Africa, Asia, Australia/NZ

Having recently been on an African safari, I’m always thrilled to plan these trips for clients. If you haven’t been on safari or to Africa. I HIGHLY recommend it and encourage you to schedule a consultation call to discuss what your ideal trip might look like. Your trip will certainly exceed your expectations as mine and Hidden Gem Travel clients’ did in 2023.

Asia is growing in demand with the pandemic in the rearview mirror. Hidden Gem Travel clients went to Thailand, Japan, and South Korea this year, and if you’re willing to look at more remote destinations let me know. I work with an incredible partner for luxury Asia beyond the usual countries. I also have a terrific partner for the usual suspects – premium budgets (4-star) who deliver 5-star experiences.

Australia is one of my favorite countries for a longer trip further afar, and I’m looking forward to planning trips using my personal expertise (having been there twice) in 2024. New Zealand too!

💎Hidden Gem Tip: 2024 is a great year for traveling to South America. Clients who went to Argentina & Chile found terrific rates and experiences. Patagonia+Antarctica is an amazing combination if you love the outdoors and adventure travel.

Alaska, Hawaii, and the Caribbean

In the USA, Alaska and Hawaii were the favorites for my clients. Cruises to Alaska and custom itineraries to Hawaii were most common. Either make an excellent vacation for families in particular. No passport required 😊

For sun and sand close to home the Caribbean and Mexico are always popular destinations. If you have a premium (4.5 star +) to luxury (5-star) budget, I can help you sort through the many resort and island/country options and find the best match for your trip! And you will receive valuable perks and upgrades from my network partners to boot.

Looking to 2024

I’m looking forward to another incredible year helping my current clients and new ones travel to incredible places with their family and friends. If you (or someone you know) would be interested in my professional travel planning services, I invite you/them to schedule a complimentary consultation with me.

Most of my business is through referral so you can rest assured that I take excellent care of my clients if it’s your first time working with a travel advisor.

My specialty services are outlined below:

  • International travel for clients with budgets ranging from premium (4-star) to luxury (5-star+).
  • Custom land itineraries, ocean/river cruises, small group guided tours, safaris, and resort/hotel/villa bookings.
  • Custom small group trips for multi-generational families and friend groups, especially celebration trips. Special interest group custom trips are also available (wine/food lovers, sports enthusiasts, you name it – it’s more fun to travel with others who have shared interests).
  • Hotel/resort bookings with my preferred partners who offer my clients valuable perks (scroll down to see the extensive list which includes big names like Hyatt, Marriott, and Accor). 

Inspired? Reach out to me now to get your questions answered and begin the planning process.

Wishing you amazing travel adventures,


NEW Section: Travel News You Can Use

💎 Hidden Gem Tip:  Travel Insurance

While listening to the news this weekend, I was reminded about the extreme weather we’ve been experiencing in recent years.  The forecast for 2024 was more of the same which immediately brought me to thinking about the importance of travel insurance and protecting your trip investment.  

Insurance of any type is tricky to navigate, so I offer clients who travel internationally the opportunity to receive a quote from a preferred partner that offers a robust policy for international travel.  It covers things like trip delay/interruption, medical expenses, and other unexpected unfortunately events.  

Travel insurance is an important part of of the trip planning process; be sure to purchase it as soon as you place a deposit on a trip.  There are often time-sensitive components.


Follow my Facebook/Instagram pages this week for more travel inspiration: or Instagram:

Make your own Wanderlist for 2024! As a reminder, Wanderlist is an online portal where you can research, explore, and create shareable lists of destinations and experiences. Share your list with me so I can make it happen for you. Check it out here:  

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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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