The credit card company Mastercard keeps track every year of the cities worldwide that receive the most tourists. This index is a great way to figure out where you might want to take your next vacation, but it doesn’t tell you when you should travel. Below, the top five global destinations for 2016 are listed as well as the best–and worst–times to visit.
1. Bangkok, Thailand: Thailand’s capital welcomed 21.47 million overnight visitors in 2016, most of whom arrived to tour Bangkok’s bustling street markets and ornate temples. If beautiful weather is high on your list, then travel to Bangkok in the dry season: November through March. Then again, if it’s deals on hotels and tours you’re after, go during the rainy season, April to October, when tourists are rare and prices are low.
2. London, UK: Once the summer crowds thin out around mid-September, London shimmers with autumn color, crisp and clear weather, and a host of local festivals and street fairs. Prices are low in the fall as well, both for flights and for hotels, making it the best time to visit London. That’s true from January through March too, but those months bring London’s worst weather; dark and chilly rainy days are the norm.
3. Paris, France
Of course, everyone loves Paris in the springtime, but tourists in the know visit the City of Lights over the holidays. Even if it is a bit rainy and chilly, seasonal lights twinkle everywhere and every café is warmed from the steam of hot chocolates, mulled wines, and delicious cassoulets. The worst time to go to Paris is in August, when many Parisians take their long summer vacations away from the heat and crowds of the city. Quite a few of the small shops and restaurants that make Paris special will be closed during this time.
4. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
It’s hot no matter when you visit Dubai, but during their winter, November through March, the heat is bearable, even welcome on one of the region’s fabulous beaches. In July through September, however, average highs are in the high 90s, and outdoor activities are unbearable. Of course, many of Dubai’s most famous shopping and tourist attractions are inside and air-conditioned.
5. New York, New York
New York is the only American city to make the top five global tourist destinations, and maybe that’s because it’s always a good time to visit New York. The city that never sleeps offers attractions, sights, walks, and shows all year long, with each seasonal special offering glitzier than the last.
Knowing when to travel to the top global tourist destinations is key to enjoying the best these popular spots have to offer.