The World's 10 Most-Visited Cities (And What It Costs to Spend a Day There)

iStock
iStock

Not everyone wants to stay off the beaten path when they’re traveling. Sometimes, you want to see what all the fuss is about. If that's you, look no further than MasterCard's annual Global Destination Cities Index, a ranking of the 162 most-visited cities across the entire world. This year's list, spotted by Lonely Planet, also includes data on how much the average overnight visitor to places like Bangkok (this year's No. 1 destination) and London (No. 2) spends there per day of their trip.

Below are the top 10 most-visited destinations according to the rankings, including how many people visited for at least a night in 2017 and the average money they spent per day they were there. (Despite its origins, the rankings are based on tourism numbers, not data from MasterCard transactions.)

1. Bangkok: 20 million visitors a year ($173 per day)
2. London: 19.8 million visitors a year ($153 per day)
3. Paris: 17.4 million visitors a year ($301 per day)
4. Dubai: 15.8 million visitors a year ($537 per day)
5. Singapore: 13.9 million visitors a year ($286 per day)
6. New York: 13.1 million visitors a year ($147 per day)
7. Kuala Lumpur: 12.6 million visitors a year ($124 per day)
8. Tokyo: 11.9 million visitors a year ($154 per day)
9. Istanbul: 10.7 million visitors a year ($108 per day)
10. Seoul: 9.5 million visitors a year ($181 per day)

Five of the top destination cities are located in East Asia, two in the Middle East, two in Europe, and one in the United States. Cost doesn't seem to be a deciding factor in many visits—Paris, Dubai, and Singapore all make the top five, though they're also the most expensive cities among the top 10.

The fact that Asian destinations see so much visitor traffic isn't terribly surprising considering that East Asia has the fastest-growing tourism industry in the world. According to The Economist, a quarter of the world's tourists head to Asia and the Pacific each year. A good portion of the world's tourists come from within Asia, too—thanks in part to rising incomes, Chinese tourists in particular spend more money traveling the world than anyone else, and account for 21 percent of the world's outbound tourists.

If any of these destinations pique your interest, check out some of our travel-planning tips to help get your itinerary settled. And if your heart is set on heading to Dubai, by all means, check out our guide to putting together an affordable vacation.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

The Isle of Sark Needs a New Dairy Farmer, But You'll Have to Bring Your Own Cows

Philipp Guelland/Getty Images
Philipp Guelland/Getty Images

If you've ever dreamed of moving to a secluded island to become a farmer, the Isle of Sark is giving you the opportunity. Sark, located in England's Channel Islands, is seeking a dairy farmer to supply milk to the island's population of 500. The only catch is that job candidates must be ready to move there with their own herd of 25 to 35 cows, Atlas Obscura reports.

Sark is a 3-mile long, mile-and-a-half wide island with green pastures, rocky cliffs, and no cars or street lamps. The only way to get there is by boat or one of the ferries that leaves from the nearby Jersey and Guernsey islands.

The last time the island had a dairy farmer was 2017. That year, farmer Christopher Nightingale shut down his business due to issues with costs and land instability. The Isle of Sark held onto feudalism long after the rest of Europe abandoned it, and though the practice technically ended in 2008, it hasn't died completely. Sometimes this works to the community's advantage, like when Nazis invaded in 1940, but it also means that farmers must lease their land for short periods rather than own it.

If you're willing to trade your right to own property for idyllic island living, Sark's dairy farmer gig maybe the perfect fit for you. The island is looking for someone, or a couple, with lots of dairy farming experience, and a herd of Jersey or Guernsey cows, which are native to the Channel Islands. You can reach out to Caragh Couldridge at info@caraghchocolates.com for information on how to apply.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

Finland's New Tourism Campaign Wants to Show You Why It's the Happiest Country in the World

Visit Finland
Visit Finland

Finland has been named the happiest country on Earth for the second year in a row, according to the United Nations World Happiness Report for 2019. Recent government and health care reform issues notwithstanding, the Nordic nation has a lot to be pleased about, including a high GDP, strong school system, and long life spans.

Finns are eager to share the keys to their contentedness with the rest of the world. That’s why the country’s travel promotion organization, Visit Finland, is hosting a contest to bring international guests to Finland for a three-day tour this summer.

Dubbed “Rent a Finn,” the initiative will set guests up with a local host family in Helsinki, Lapland, Lakeland, or another part of the country. One guest will stay with Linda and Niko, a couple who live with their chihuahua, Helmi, on a Finnish island in the Baltic Sea. Another will stay with Esko, the mayor of Rovaniemi, which bills itself as “the hometown of Santa Claus.”

These “Happiness Guides” will help visitors connect to nature—one of the ways that Finns relieve stress. To apply, just film a short video introducing yourself and explaining your connection to nature and why you want to visit Finland. You can apply as an individual or as a group with friends or family. Then fill out an online application, upload your video, and submit it before the April 21 deadline.

Eight applicants (plus their friends and family) will be selected for the trip, with the cost of travel and accommodation covered. Guests who want to extend their stay are welcome to do so, but it would be at their own expense.

According to Visit Finland, there have been four times as many applicants from the U.S. than any other country. This isn’t entirely surprising, considering that the U.S. ranked 19th in the World Happiness Report—down five spots from 2017.

You don’t necessarily have to travel to Finland to improve your outlook on life, though. Here are 23 science-backed ways to feel happier without boarding a plane.

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