By Stacey Leasca/Travel + Leisure
October 7, 2018

A record number of Americans are traveling abroad. That’s wonderful news when you consider just two decades ago only 20 percent of Americans possessed a passport.

Yes, we are all collecting those tiny little passport stamps left and right, but where exactly are international travelers going? According to Mastercard’s 2018 Global Destination Cities Index, everyone’s all about Bangkok.

“In a world of rising nationalism, international travel takes on greater importance—breaking down barriers, broadening our horizons and driving economic impact felt throughout the world’s cities,” Mastercard shared in a statement about its index.

For 10 years, the credit card company has analyzed the travel habits and destination choices of its users. According to its 2018 findings, after looking at 162 cities around the globe the top destination travelers are flocking to is Bangkok, followed closely by London and Paris.

“With roughly 20 million international overnight visitors, Bangkok remains in the top spot this year and is unlikely to be bested due to a strong projected growth of 9.6 percent for 2018,” the analysis noted. “Interestingly, visitors tend to stay in Bangkok 4.7 nights and spend $173 per day, on average.”

The other top 10 cities include Dubai, Singapore, New York, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Istanbul, and Seoul.

Though Bangkok has the most visitors, other places enjoy a higher spend per visit. According to Mastercard, Dubai continues to be the top ranking destination city based on overnight visitor spend. There, visitors spend $537 per day on average.

“International travel is crucial to many urban economies, enriching the lives of both residents and tourists. The bar is rising for cities to innovate to provide both a memorable and authentic experience,” Miguel Gamiño Jr., executive vice president, global cities for Mastercard, shared in a statement. “We’re partnering closely with cities around the world to ensure they have insights and technologies to improve how they attract and cater to tourists while preserving what makes them so special in the first place.”

If you’re planning to travel to one of these ultra-popular destinations, make sure to read up on how to beat the crowds at the world’s most popular tourist spots. Or, avoid them altogether and vacation in one of these eight places to find peace and quite instead.

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