List of people by number of countries visited
This is a list of people by number of countries visited.
There are a number of people claiming to have visited every country in the world, though there is great debate as to how many countries there are in the world. The most commonly agreed base number is the number of United Nations member states, of which there are 193. According to the United Nations, "The recognition of a new State or Government is an act that only other States and Governments may grant or withhold." As a result, the membership of some countries to the United Nations is blocked by one or more other members, such as Taiwan and Kosovo, and there are also two observer states, the Holy See and the State of Palestine.
Additionally, there are various dependencies and territories that maintain autonomy, their own government, immigration, and/or print their own currency, and can be widely held as de facto countries by travellers. ISO 3166 is maintained by ISO as an updated list of the aforementioned derived from United Nations sources (Terminology Bulletin Country Names and the Country and Region Codes for Statistical Use maintained by the United Nations Statistics Divisions), and lists 249 countries.
The Travelers' Century Club, whose membership is limited to those travellers who have visited one hundred or more territories of the world, maintains its own official list of countries and territories, a total of 327 as of January 1, 2018, which includes geographically separated areas, such as Hawaii and other areas of cultural interest. The Best Travelled is an on-line travel club with personal rankings which divides the world into 1,281 regions, and has a verification process to check on travellers' claims.
Definition of visit
There are no official criteria of what constitutes a visit. The Travelers' Century Club considers even the shortest stops, including port-of-call or a plane fuel stops, valid visits. However, most seasoned travellers advocate that transiting in an airport does not qualify as visiting a country, for example, on a question posed on TravelBlog, "How do you count the countries you have been in?", 91% of the respondents who expressed an opinion on this common question stated that to visit a country a person must clear immigration and exit the airport.
Some travellers propose that actions such as staying one night in a hotel, or buying a meal, are essential, yet others note that countries and territories such as the Vatican City or Antarctica do not have hotels or restaurants. Based on the opinions on traveller's blogs it is wise to focus on a core set of criteria where there is agreement by the majority as follows:
Generally Accepted Criteria for Visiting a Country
- Clearing immigration (where available) and exiting the airport or vessel terminal
- Immigration arrival stamp in passport (where available)
Generally NOT Accepted Criteria for Visiting a Country
- Transiting in an airport or seaport
- Overflying airspace
- Skirting a coastline in a boat or ship
- Skirmishing across a border without passing through immigration (where available)
Handling of former states
Where a country splits into independent states, such as the USSR, then travellers CAN count the new states if they had formerly travelled in them, but NOT count states they had not physically visited prior to disintegration. For example, if a traveller had visited Kiev and Moscow in the former USSR, they could count the new independent states of Ukraine and Russia, but not Armenia.
|Benny Prasad||2004-2010||194+||Indian||Benny Prasad traveled to over 194 sovereign countries and 51 dependent countries (including Antarctica) in 6 years, 6 months and 22 days (from 1 May 2004 to 22 November 2010). He has the fastest time for visiting all 257 countries in the world.|
|Sascha Grabow||1987–2016||207||German||Sascha Grabow is a Getty photographer and former ATP tennis player. He is the founder of the website GreatestGlobetrotters.com. His final country was Somalia where he arrived on 2 June 2016. Visited: 207 (193 UN members + Taiwan + Vatican City + Antarctica + Gagauzia + Kosovo + Northern Cyprus + Palestine + Transnistria + Western Sahara + Scotland + Wales + Northern Ireland + South Ossetia + Abkhazia). He has visited 304 TCC countries.|
|Artemy Lebedev||1987–2015||202||Russian||First person in Russia (even more precisely - among all the inhabitants of the former USSR and Eastern Europe) to visit every country in the world. His final country was Saudi Arabia (17 September 2015), where he was trying to get for five years. Visited: 202 (193 UN members + Taiwan + Vatican City + Antarctica + Kosovo + Palestine + Western Sahara + Scotland + Wales + Northern Ireland). He has visited 292 TCC countries.|
Albert Podell, a former editor of Playboy magazine. (193 UN members + Taiwan + Vatican City + Kosovo + Scotland + Wales + Northern Ireland + [Somaliland] + Palestine + Transnistria). and Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth by Albert Podell.
|Sal Lavallo||2004-2017||196||American||Visited every country in the world by age of 27. |
|Graham Hughes||January 2009–December 2012||201||British||Guinness certified him for 193 UN member countries, while TheBestTravelled.com certified him for 192 UN member countries only, for merely stepping over the DMZ (Korea). He visited all Countries without using any aircraft and the first person to do so. Target: 193. Visited: 201 (193 UN members + Taiwan + Vatican City + Kosovo + Palestine + Western Sahara + Scotland + Wales + Northern Ireland).|
|Gunnar Garfors||2000–2013||198||Norwegian||Gunnar decided to make it his mission to travel to every single country in the world. He accomplished his goal on May 8, 2013, earning him the title of the youngest person to travel to every country, while maintaining a full-time job. He was 37 years old. (193 UN members + Taiwan + Vatican City + Kosovo + Palestine + Western Sahara).|
|Johnny Ward||2006–2017||197||Irish||Ward is an Irish entrepreneur and travel blogger who has visited every country in the course of his blogging efforts.|
|James Asquith||2008–2013||196||British||A British traveller who is the official Guinness World Record holder for being the youngest person to visit every country in the world. Target: 196 (193 UN members + Taiwan + Vatican City + Kosovo).|
|Cassandra DePecol||2015–2017||196||American||She visited 196 sovereign countries from July 24, 2015, to February 2, 2017; she thus obtained the Guinness World Record for "Fastest Person (Female) to Travel to All Sovereign Nations".|
|Audrey Walsworth||1969–2013||193||American||Walsworth has visited all 193 United Nations member states, including all 324 territories listed by the Travelers' Century Club (an organization for the world’s most widely travelled people), which counts separately regions that are geographically, politically, or ethnologically removed from their parent country. She is one of only 24 people who have completed the Travelers' Century Club list according to their official history.|
|Chris Guillebeau||2002–April 2013||193||American||Chris Guillebeau writes books and travels. Over the past ten years he has visited every country in the world.|
|Anthony Asael||2005–2009||193||Belgian||Anthony Asael is an international photographer who works for the Corbis/Getty agency. He is also the founder of the not-for-profit organization Art in All of Us. He photographed and organised creative programs in schools in each of the 193 UN countries.|
|Mike Spencer Bown||1990–2013||193||Canadian||Canadian Adventurer|
|John Bougen and
|28 August 2002 – 12 February 2003||191||New Zealander||Two New Zealanders who attempted to visit all the world's sovereign countries in existence at the time in six months, raising money for charity. They visited all but two countries: Afghanistan and São Tomé and Príncipe.|
|Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh||1939–2017||143||British||Prince Philip accompanied Her Majesty The Queen around the world, on Commonwealth tours, state visits and trips across the UK. That globetrotting has seen him visit 143 countries in an official capacity in the decades that followed |
|Pope John Paul II||1978–2005||129||Polish, Vatican||In his 26 years of travel, the Pope John Paul II made 104 pastoral trips outside Italy. In all, he visited 129 countries.|
|Queen Elizabeth II||1952–present||120||British||The Queen has travelled the equivalent of 42 circumnavigations of the Earth, visiting 120 countries, according to royal historian Kate Williams|
|Hillary Clinton||2009–2013||112||American||During her tenure as the US Secretary of state, she visited 112 countries covering a total of 956,733 air miles making her the most widely travelled secretary of state in history.|
|Simon Reeve (British TV presenter)||2002–present||110||British||TV presenter who has travelled to more than 110 countries making series for the BBC.|
|Michael Palin||1980–present||96||British||As part of numerous travel documentaries.|
|Matt Harding||2003–present||93+||American||He has filmed several videos with his travels that have become quite popular. See details in Where the Hell is Matt?|
|Recep Tayyip Erdoğan||2003–present||93||Turkish||Erdogan visited 93 countries during his time as prime-minister and president. (Including: Vatican City + Kosovo + Palestine + Wales + Monaco)|
|Richard Birrer||1976–2015||193||American||Claims visits to 203 countries (193 UN members + Antarctica + Vatican City + Greenland + Taiwan + Wales + Scotland + Northern Ireland + Kosovo + Palestine + Western Sahara) and climbed all 7 continental summits.|
|Dumitru Dan||1910–1923||76||Romanian||He crossed five continents over three oceans, through 76 countries and over 1,500 cities.|
- List of sovereign states
- List of pedestrian circumnavigators
- ISO 3166
- Dependent Territory
- Travelers' Century Club
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