Airfare, hotel accommodations, and rental cars may be the holy trinity of travel preparation, but nailing down these aspects of your vacation is only the beginning of the trip planning process. Here are the 10 most popular cities of 2018 and “things to do” guides in those cities.
Excursions in the 10 Most Popular Cities of 2018
1. Bangkok, Thailand
Number of overnight visitors: 20.05 million
For the third year running, Bangkok is the most popular city for international travelers, thanks in large part to its appealing mix of historical sites and modern hot spots: the gilded Grand Palace complex, the luxurious Mandarin Oriental, the canals and alleys filled with street food vendors—and that’s just the start.
2. London, U.K.
Number of overnight visitors: 19.83 million
There’s so much to do in London, it bears repeat visits. An efficient transportation system means you won’t have to blow your budget on transportation here, which frees you up to spend your dollars at the city’s new prosecco-only bar and latest Jacques Garcia-designed hotel—and maybe pick up a bespoke suit while you’re at it.
3. Paris, France
Number of overnight visitors: 17.44 million
It’s nearly impossible to resist the charms of France’s capital—and more than 17 million travelers obviously agree. The city is known for its chic hotels and inimitable restaurants, which might explain why it’s second only to Dubai in terms of dollars spent per day ($301). Totally worth it.
4. Dubai, U.A.E.
Number of overnight visitors: 15.79 million
It seems like Dubai will never stop trying to outdo itself. Within the past year, the city successfully tested a flying drone taxi and broke its own record for the world’s tallest hotel. But all that pomp seems to be paying off—quite literally. Tourists spent an incredible $537 per day there in 2017.
6. New York City
Number of overnight visitors: 13.13 million
From the Italian restaurants of the Lower East Side to the sky-high hotels of Midtown, there’s no city on earth quite as energetic (or caffeinated) as New York City. We can’t blame overnight visitors for spending an average of $147 per day here, though that’s nothing compared to what they spend in Dubai.
7. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Number of overnight visitors: 12.58 million
One of the world’s best cities for street food has also proven to be an all-around holiday destination. Visitors spend an average of 5.5 nights in the Malaysian capital, but with so many great hotels to stay in (we’re looking at you, Grand Hyatt and Shangri-La), we suggest you go ahead and stay a full week.
8. Tokyo, Japan
9. Istanbul, Turkey
Number of overnight visitors: 10.70 million
Despite a State Department warning and political instability, people aren’t hiding from Istanbul. The city continues to attract visitors with its historic architecture, gorgeous boutiques, and inventive restaurants. In fact, of all the cities studied in this survey, Mastercard expects Istanbul to see the largest uptick in visitors over the next year (a whopping 19.7 percent increase).
10. Seoul, South Korea
Number of overnight visitors in 2017: 9.54 million
Though South Korea hosted the Winter Olympics in early 2018, Seoul, the country’s capital saw a slight dip in visitors over the past year. It still landed in the top ten list, however—perhaps due to its travel-worthy spa scene and after-hours scenes in trendy neighborhoods.