Although we’re already one month into 2024, I couldn’t skip the chance to reminisce on a wonderful travel year in 2023. Our travel year did not go exactly as planned (when does life ever?), but it was definitely adventure-filled and left us very excited about our 2024 plans.
My Top Five Travel Highlights in 2023
Here are five top travel experiences I enjoyed in 2023 (plus a surprising bonus one I want more of in coming years):
Traveling with My Husband
Travel was high on our list of things to prioritize in our marriage. We both thrive on new experiences and enjoy getting away from the routines of life every now and again. In the past year, I’ve enjoyed watching us get better and better at traveling together. Like everything else, the more you travel, the more efficient you are at it, the less often you get sick on trips, and the faster you get through security. That has been true for us. Traveling more has made us want to do it more and more. As we’ve tried new stays and experiences, we’re also discovering what we like when we travel, which is key to having better travel experiences.
Staying at My First All-Inclusive Resort
I’d always been curious about all-inclusive resorts but never experienced them until 2023 when we stayed at the RIU Baobab resort in Pointe Sarene, Senegal. This property is gorgeous and we stayed for what I think is the perfect number of days for all-inclusive resorts (5 days).
While I do not always want to stay at an all-inclusive, I like knowing that when I’m worn out, have no desire to explore much, and want to feel entirely taken care of, I can check into an all-inclusive resort (or pay for a full board plan at a regular hotel — which is never the same as a proper resort).
Visiting East Africa for the First Time
We live in West Africa, so although we were excited about visiting Ghana and Senegal, both felt a lot like home in terms of food, culture, and even the weather. So traveling to East Africa felt extra exciting and farther away from home. There’s also far more wildlife-related tourism in East Africa, so it’s been thrilling to experience this side of the continent.
We’ve especially fallen in love with Kenya and visited twice in 2023, once for a safari and the second time to see Nairobi and Lamu. Kenya is such an excellent destination whether you like city escapes, safari adventures, or beach stays.
Experiencing Our First African Safari
This was a truly bucket list experience (one I didn’t think I’d have in my lifetime)! But so much is possible if you have the budget (let’s be honest) and are willing to take the leap. We went to Amboseli National Park for four days to spend time with the elephants and we ended up seeing several members of the Big Five. I have a whole post about planning for an African safari, what we did, and how it went.
Paying for Our First Stay with Points
Finally, I’ve really gotten into travel hacking and after a year of traveling, I was thrilled to get to stay for free twice in 2023 by using our points. The key is using the same hotel chain and racking up points. Even with less than 10 nights a year, you can get enough points to pay for one or two nights with points. It’s worth looking into and I’d be happy to do a post about it if you’re interested.
And that’s it! One year of travel adventures close to home. In 2024, we’re hoping to check out a couple of continents outside Africa. Any guesses what they’ll be? Do you have any travel goals for 2024? I’d love to hear!