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10 Places I’m Dying To Visit In 2024
I get excited about writing this list every year! It gets my trip planning juices flowing with all sorts of inspiration for where to go next…what destinations are trending, what’s going to jump way up the list for me, and where we can find some “under the radar” gems. So let’s get that process started again with 10 amazing ideas for where to travel in 2024!
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10 awesome 2024 travel destinations to consider
Where my 2022 was full of roadtrips, I had a packed year of travel in 2023 that instead focused more on specific destinations like Helsinki and Tallin, Charleston, Prague, and the Arenal area of Costa Rica (though I did manage one meandering week-long Azores island-hopping roadtrip).
While *everything* in life is more expensive right now, thankfully flight prices have at least normalized somewhat and there are a lot of flight deals you can take advantage of (particularly during off-season). This was the first year that travel truly felt normal again, though there did still seem to be more “hot mess” issues around delays and lost baggage than pre-COVID (check out my tips for avoiding and surviving air travel woes…and throw one of these to in your bag).
The destinations on my 2024 travel destinations list have a lot in common—stunning scenery, amazing food and drink, fascinating cultures, and interesting architecture. But each brings something unique to the table…whether it’s a towering fortress rising out of the ocean, colorful lighthouses standing guard on rocky cliffs, or a return to epic multi-day luxury train rides.
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10 ideas for where to travel in 2024
#1 – South Africa
THIS IS MY YEAR! South Africa has been #2 on my personal travel bucket list for years now, and it’s hard to know where to start on why it’s so awesome. Maybe it’s the sweeping landscapes? The luxury safaris getting up close and personal with amazing animals? Delicious wine? PENGUINS ON BEACHES?!
You could easily spend a month here and barely scratch the surface, and I recommend at least two weeks for your first visit. I’m thumbing my nose at my own reco with only 10 days, but will be exploring Cape Town and the famous penguin beach, briefly dancing to wine country, and then doing two separate bougie safaris.
If it wasn’t already, South Africa should be super high on your list! And now there are more direct flights from the States than ever (keep an eye out for Delta miles deals…I nabbed my ticket for just 155,000 miles!).
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#2 – Guatemala
Guatemala had flown under the radar a bit as Central American countries go…until recently, when it seems the whole of the internet fell in love with the country’s colorful historic capital, volcanoes and rainforests, ancient Mayan sites, delicious food, and super cool crater lake (Atitlan).
It kind of feels like (itinerary-wise) it’s combining some of the best bits from Belize, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Uruguay into one fairly compact area for you to explore.
Generally it’s a reasonably safe destination for tourists (Guatemala has some cartel activity so there’s always a “wrong place wrong time” possibility, but also is a big tourist destination) but before booking make sure to check out the political situation to make sure there aren’t protests and such happening before you book your trip (which could throw a wrench in your itinerary).
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#3 – Maine (USA)
I’ve had a bit of a blind spot where New England is concerned for a while. I’m not sure why, but it’s time to rectify that—starting with the northernmost state in the bunch.
Boasting rocky coastal landscapes and tiny islands, charming lighthouses, an impressive foodie scene, forested mountains, and one of (to me) the most appealing and least-crowded national parks (Acadia NP), this small state has a lot to recommend it.
Personally, I’d come in early summer to enjoy sunshine, rocky coasts and crashing waves, maybe a spot of sailing, explore the national park, walk around Portland, and hopefully beat the real summer crowds.
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#4 – Brittany, France
This pocket of France seems kind of mythical. That might be its association with King Arthur legends, or might just be because of its wild, moody coastlines, neolithic standing stones, medieval walled port cities, unique culture, and general air of mystery to most tourists.
Add in maybe-the-world’s-best butter and unique regional pastries (like kouign amann), and you have a winner. I’ve also been a bit obsessed with visiting Mont Sant Michel (the pic below) for years…and I just realized it might be because it gives off a strong Hogwarts-ian vibe.
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#5 – The Azores
This small cluster of islands is UNREAL! Often called the “Hawaii of Europe”, the autonomous Portuguese archipelago sits practically smack-dab between North America and Europe. And the best way to see it is a combination of island-hopping flights and roadtripping around, exploring all the nooks and crannies.
The volcanic islands are at turns lush and stark, full of vividly-colored crater lakes, tiny towns, mercurial weather changes, hiking trails, the islands’ iconic blue hydrangeas, whale watching, UNESCO World Heritage vineyards, pineapple and tea plantations, and so much more.
It’s gotten easier and cheaper to visit the Azores from the U.S. recently, as there are now a number of direct flight options to Sao Miguel or Terceira, removing the need to connect through the European mainland first.
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#6 – Franklin, TN (USA)
Love the idea of Nashville’s music, Southern food, and nightlife, but want something a bit…simpler?
I saw someone describe Franklin as “the more chilled out, adult version” of Nashville, and that feels about right (and really appeals to *me* more). It’s got a great live music scene without the marauding bachelorette parties and NYE feel.
You’ll find amazing down-home Southern cooking, Civil War battle history, Tennessee whiskey distilleries, the Natchez Trace Parkway, beautiful surrounding landscapes, and much more. Basically, it’s the perfect grown-up girls’ weekend—and absolutely deserves a spot on my list of where to travel in 2024!
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#7 – Phillippines
This one is for the explorers….well over a decade ago, a friend described to me the time she’d spent in the Phillippines and I just remember being kind of awed.
In particular the thousands of islands with absolutely gorgeous beaches stood out to me. And the Phllippines has that in spades—over 7,000 islands, in fact, and some of the world’s best beaches—but also so much more.
Not only do you have a stunning array of beaches, but also turquoise waterfalls, the mesmerizing rice terraces typical of Southeast Asia, volcanoes, world-class diving and snorkeling, and unique wildlife encounters. English is widely spoken, the culture and food are fascinatingly diverse due to the country’s rocky history of various occupations, and you’ll find great weather mostly year-round.
Because the country doesn’t primarily focus on the tourism industry, it’s an amazing off-the-beaten path option if you’re wanting to skip the more touristy spots like Bali, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, etc. You will need to be willing to put up with more inconveniences for it (in particular I’ve heard the airport is a real pain to travel through), but the rewards are worth the effort. Here’s a starter itinerary as inspiration!
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#8 – Andalucia (Southern Spain)
I’ll admit that Spain has been a bit of a blind spot for me, which is a bit weird given my general European obsession and deep love of next-door Portugal. But as I’ve been planning a brief visit to southern Spain with my sister, it’s smashed that blind spot to smithereens. Y’ALL, this place is amazing!
From Romans to Visigoths to Muslims to Christians, Anadalucia has been a true melting pot culturally. The impact of the Muslim (Moorish) occupation is unique to this part of Europe, and a big part of what makes Andalucia so fascinating to me—the gorgeous intricate architecture in particular. There are no less than seven UNESCO World Heritage sites in this area, including the iconic Alhambra fortress-palace.
The natural landscape diversity is also pretty compelling, from the sun-drenched beaches to the imposing Sierra Nevada mountains. Breathe in the subtle scent of orange trees as you wander through narrow whitewashed villages. Fall under the sway of the flamenco dancers’ movement. And for many people the food is a major draw (as someone who doesn’t eat pork or shellfish, I find it a bit more challenging).
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#9 – New Mexico
I have no idea how New Mexico managed to fly under my radar for so many years, but it’s taken up residence in my brain the past few years and I’m dying to plan a super cool roadtrip in the Land of Enchantment.
Picking the time of year is tricky, since each season has something to brag about. I definitely want to do some dark sky stargazing, visit White Sands National Park, explore ancient Native American ruins, and spend some time in quirky Albuquerque and cute Taos (though avoid busy ski season).
From glamping to luxury spas to skiing to geothermal springs to modern art and a great up-and-coming foodie scene, there’s a ton more as well depending on your interests.
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#10 – An epic train trip
Epic train trips feel like a relic of a bygone era. Don’t get me wrong, trains are still a transportation staple in many parts of the world, but it’s very usually just functional—get me from point A to point B. What’s exciting is that train travel as an EXPERIENCE is really making a comeback, and I am dying to try it out.
Whether the journey is focused on mind-blowing scenery (like Switzerland’s Glacier Express or the newer “Rockies to Red Rocks” train), recreating the opulence of the past (like Europe’s Northern Belle, South Africa’s Blue Train, or India’s Maharajas’ Express), or connecting you to a cultural experience (like Japan’s Seven Stars), there’s a whole new wave of train travel options out there for us to fall in love with.
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I’ve already started booking trips (including Andalucia and South Africa)…I’d love to hear what’s on your “must” list for where to travel in 2024 (let me know in the comments)!!
Other awesome destinations to inspire you:
- A Two-Week Roadtrip Itinerary for New Zealand
- Planning the Ultimate 7-Day Argentina Itinerary
- How To Plan An Epic 7-Day (Or 10-Day) Turkey Itinerary
- 9 Tips For A Perfect DIY Vacay In Aruba
- Planning the Ultimate Florida Keys Roadtrip
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