I traveled to 7 countries this year. Here are 3 places I'd love to return to in 2024.

  • I traveled to seven countries this year, and some experiences convinced me to book a return trip.

  • Thailand had delicious cuisine, kind locals, and great activities, like scuba diving and snorkeling.

  • Laos was an affordable spot with fun activities that exceeded my expectations.

I traveled solo to seven countries this year. Each was unique and enjoyable, but some destinations were so great that they made me consider planning another trip.

Here are the three countries I'd love to visit again in 2024.

Thailand felt like a perfect mix of tradition and modernity

Dominique Mills in Thailand.
Thailand offered great cuisine and locals that created memorable experiences. Dominique Mills

From the lively streets of Bangkok to the peaceful shores of Krabi, my three-month trip to Thailand kept me longing for more.

The locals were warm and friendly, the cuisine was delectable, and the cultural immersion was eye-opening.

In Northern Thailand, I learned to cook famous Thai dishes and went river-tubing before heading south. I even visited eastern Islands like Koh Tao and Koh Samui, where I went snorkeling and scuba diving in reefs to see sharks and turtles.

I ended up staying on one island for over two weeks because of how much I enjoyed its scenery and activities.

Returning to Thailand in 2024 would help me build better connections with locals and explore even more.

Portugal had a timeless charm and breathtaking views

I was lucky enough to visit Portugal this year and experience the country's city and coastal elements.

The highlight of my time in the north was visiting Porto, the country's second-largest city. I climbed the massive, concrete Arrábida Bridge, took in stunning views, and toured the city in a vintage Volkswagen van.

I met some amazing people in the process.

I also visited smaller, southern towns where I learned to sail and lived on a catamaran just off the coast. I'd never sailed before, and it was one of the best challenges I'd taken on all year.

Slow and peaceful living felt encouraged, which I enjoyed thoroughly.

Next year I hope to surf the southwest coast, visit Lisbon, and possibly begin walking the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage from Portugal to Spain.

Laos exceeded my expectations, making it one of my favorite countries to date

Dominique Mills in Laos.
Laos was even better than I expected, and I hope to return in 2024.Dominique Mills

Laos was beautiful and affordable, which is perfect for a traveler on a budget like me.

My journey started in Luang Prabang, a northern town with tranquil attractions like the famous Kuang Si Waterfall. One of my favorite memories was visiting a local silversmith's home, where I designed and made silver rings from scratch.

Then I took a high-speed train to Vang Vieng. Affordable adventures there included hot-air ballooning, paragliding above the mountains at sunrise, and ziplining over different lagoons.

My final stop in Laos was its capital, Vientiane. I found it to be quiet, calm, and culture-rich, which I loved.

If I were to return to Laos next year, I'd extend my travels to less-explored cities that were highly recommended to me, like Pakse, Thakhek, and Don Det.

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