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The U.S. may be a big country with a lot for domestic vacationers to experience, yet Americans like to venture abroad, too.
More than 40% of U.S. citizens hold passports and, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office in Washington, D.C., some 93.04 million of them traveled outside U.S. borders in 2018.
For example, about 8.7 million Americans flew or cruised to the Caribbean last year, while 17.74 million-plus made tracks for Europe, over 6.25 million headed to Asia and more than 2.44 million vacationed in the Middle East.
Heading so far outside U.S. borders often comes at considerable cost. The Los Angeles Times reported in 2016 that overseas trips can cost up to five times more than domestic ones, so it’s no surprise many of those planning a foreign vacation opt to purchase travel insurance. Whether or insurance is a good fit for one’s own trip, however, depends on individual circumstances, CNBC has reported.
Geopolitical or personal safety concerns can also come into play with trips to certain destinations. For example, Warwick, Rhode Island-based online travel insurance emporium InsureMyTrip has noted a rise in policies sold for trips to the Dominican Republic after reports of Americans falling ill there, according to a spokesperson. In fact, 3 out of 10 calls to its insurance agents are from travelers with questions about or cancellation requests for the country.
Here’s a look at the top 10 foreign countries (excluding cruise destinations) that vacationers who have opted to buy travel insurance have headed to over the past 18 months, according to InsureMyTrip.com, along with figures for the total number of Americans, insured and not, who visited these nations in 2017 or 2018.
Sources: InsureMyTrip.com, National Travel and Tourism Office
The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland.
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About 2.4 million Americans and Canadians visited the Emerald Isle in 2018, according to Ireland’s Central Statistics Office. (The CSO does not break out U.S. arrivals separately from Canadian ones.)
Mount Fuji, Japan.
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More than 1.53 million Americans vacationed in the Land of the Rising Sun in 2018, according to the Japan National Tourist Office.
Oktoberfest tent, Bavaria.
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Americans racked up 6.7 million overnight stays in Germany in 2018, an increase of 7.1% over 2017, according to the German National Tourist Board (which releases data on overnights instead of arrivals).
Western Wall and Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem.
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Some 897,000 Americans visited the Holy Land in 2018, according to the Israeli tourism ministry. InsureMyTrip has sold “a high number of policies” for trips to Israel since 2012, according to the company. The firm notes that the U.S. State Department encourages Americans to get travel insurance with medical evacuation coverage prior to visiting Israel. That, plus the age of typical U.S. visitors, is likely why Israel, not an overall Top 10 destination for Americans, is No. 7 on this list. “Our records indicate that the majority of travelers heading to Israel are over 60 years old and purchase comprehensive travel insurance plans,” said Danny DeMello, InsureMyTrip travel insurance data analyst.
Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.
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Destination Canada reports that 14.44 million Americans crossed the border for a visit to the Great White North in 2018. That’s the highest level since 2004.
Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain.
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Almost 2.95 million Americans arrived on Spanish shores in 2018, according to the country’s National Institute of Statistics.
Eiffel Tower, Paris.
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French tourism body Atout France reports that 4.8 million Americans were welcomed in France in 2018, making the U.S. the country’s most important long-haul source of visitors.
3. United Kingdom
Big Ben, London.
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Some 3.88 million Yanks vacationed in the U.K. in 2018, according to VisitBritain.
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Nearly 4.5 million Americans visited Italy in 2017, according to ENIT, Italy’s national tourism agency.
Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico.
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Last year, almost 10.1 million Americans arrived by air in Mexico, according to the NTTO, and nearly 37 million, in total, crossed our southern border. In addition to the sheer volume of cross-border trips booked, geopolitical and perceived personal safety concerns about Mexico might play a role in its topping this travel insurance ranking. However, an InsureMyTrip spokesperson described Mexico as a “top place for our travelers to visit” and added that “our data does not specify whether ongoing politics or safety concerns are leading these travelers to purchase travel insurance.”