By Jackie Ward


SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — So many of us want to explore, discover and visit new places in the new year. The hottest destinations in 2020 range from Southeast Asia to Eastern Europe.

One popular location is Tokyo, home of this summer’s Olympic Games. The city is expected to have an influx of travelers from around the globe to see the games in person.

“I think Japan is an enigma,” explained Irene Arbiv owner, of the San Francisco-based travel luxury firm Travel Darlings. “I think traveling to Japan is akin to traveling to Mars. It is so unknown and sort of misunderstood, but still really glamorous and there’s something really evocative about it.”

In Asia’s Southeastern region, countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand are on many people’s itineraries, but it’s not for what you think.

“Thailand is not just a place for the beaches,” said Arbiv. “People are thinking about Chiang Mai and the elephants.”

In 2020, many are looking to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Israel. Arbiv credited the Eurovision Song Contest for piquing many people’s interest in the country.

“Beyond the Jewish heritage groups or the religious groups, people are like ‘what lies beneath?’ Is it just the history or is it that we’re discovering it has the most beautiful beaches?” Arbiv said some have questioned.

For those looking to travel to Europe, Arbiv predicted Hungary, Czech Republic and Austria will be more popular than the obvious countries like Italy and France.

Lastly, if you’re looking to take a trip down to South America, Arbiv anticipated Argentina and Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands and Amazon will top the list for many headed to that region.

If you’re looking to head abroad this year, Arbiv provided some practical tips to remember during your travels:

Taxis- In case of a language barrier, Arbiv suggested taking a few business card at each hotel you stay at upon check-in, in case you need to grab a cab out and about. The card may help eliminate confusion when you’re trying to get back to your room.

Tipping- Research tipping customs in each country you’re visiting beforehand, as it is not customary in some countries Arbiv advised.

Money- Arbiv advised to notify your credit card company of your travel plans beforehand, as they will likely block your card if you don’t. Arbiv said for the best exchange rates, use ATMs abroad as you would in the U.S., as opposed to currency exchanges or getting foreign currency while still in the United States.  When presented with the option to charge your credit card in local currency or USD, always opt for local currency. Arbiv said if you choose U.S. dollars, you’ll end up with an undesirable exchange rate and currency conversion fee.

Passport- Passports must have at least six months of validity beyond your actual travel date. Arbvi suggested making copies of the main page of your passport to leave at home with someone who’s an emergency contact for you, and tuck more in different corners of your bag. According to Arbiv, in the event you need to replace your passport abroad, it’s easier if you have a copy to show your embassy.

 

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