How long would it take to travel to every country in the world?
The short answer?
Close to a year and a half if everything goes fine and you just stepped in every country for a short amount of time.
But, if you’d like to enjoy every site you visit, every amazing view, every different smell, and enjoy the sunrise of every country on Earth, that time will get closer to… 5 years or more.
Let me explain:
In this couple of minutes I´ll take you through some very simple things to take into consideration while planning your worldwide trip, like: How much would it take? What are the benefits, aside from the cute Instagrameable places to visit? Did anyone even manage to do this?
Let’s start from the beginning:
Is it even possible to travel to every country in the world?
Generally, yes, but you’d need to have a good passport. If you’re from a country with not such a good passport, it might not be possible. Some countries were better at making friends than others, and this can be reflected in the “power” behind their passport.
- The best passport to hold in 2020 is the Japanese one, which would let you travel to a total of 191 different countries. This would allow you to get to more than 97% of all recognized countries on the planet!
- Singapore comes second with 190.
- South Korea and Germany share third place with 189.
- Italy, Finland, Spain, Luxembourg, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, Ireland, France, and a couple of others are close behind with +180 to visit.
And what about the countries that have the worst passport?
Well, according to their national relations, these are some that might not help you achieve your goal that easily:
- North Korea´s passport would allow you to travel to 39 countries! Not too bad considering the circumstances
- Pakistan´s passport is a little below, at only 32 countries.
- Syria comes third with 29, Iraq second with 28, and the official worst passport is from Afghanistan, which would only let you visit a mere 26 countries without getting into trouble.
How many countries are there in the world?
This is a tricky one, I´ll give you the data from the United Nations, but I´ll come back to it later:
There are, at the moment, 195 countries in the world today that have representation on the UN. 193 recognized individual countries and two non-members, which are the Vatican and Palestine.
But that’s not the definitive answer. There are 195 recognized countries, but there are a lot of disputes in some of them that elevate the number a little bit further. A country is a physical territory, some land, that has a permanent population in it that can govern itself and form relations with other countries, like trading.
Taking that into consideration, we would have to add 54 sovereign countries and around 90 countries that do not have any recognition, or very little recognition, from UN members. And you can go even further including micronations, microstates… But let’s focus on the territories to make it a little simpler.
Here are a couple of them:
- Taiwan. Taiwan is the most famous non-recognized territory, because of the history behind them and China not getting along and both stating that they are the “real” China
- Northern Cyprus. An island cut in half, officially it goes by the name of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, but it’s only recognized by Turkey itself, as for the rest of the world is just… the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus.
- Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, or more easily the Western Sahara, once was a Spanish colony before WW1 and after that… things got complicated. Currently, not a single UN nation recognizes it as a sovereign land, BUT the country does have relations with 40 UN members, most of them in Africa.
- Somewhat in the same situation, but way more functional than Western Sahara, is Somaliland. Also, it’s not recognized by anyone at the UN even though it has signed its independence way back on the 18 of May 1991. This territory has close to 4 million inhabitants and one of the more modern governments on the continent of Africa.
Estimations on how long would it take to travel to every country in the world
Now that we laid out everything, let’s dream a little.
We have to take into consideration travel time and…I’ll be naïve and think that not one single plane will get delayed, nor will we lose any flight and that everything will go as planned. If you were to spend just one day in every country, it would take something like…
195 days (recognized)
~90 days (unrecognized) (Not every unrecognized country is neither safe to visit nor very welcoming to tourists. There are some that are in an ongoing civil war, or that are controlled by terrorist groups.)
(195 + 90) / 4 (Travel time, I am going to say something like 6 hours per flight, because we will have to take transcontinental planes sometimes and short 2 hours ones later)
356! This is the magic num… Not really. Let me explain it better below.
How long would it take if you were to take it easy? Such as spending between 1 and 2 weeks per country?
Well, as I said in the beginning, in this case, I hope you are really dedicated because you can expect to take 4, 5, or up to eight years to visit every country in the world. Quite a long time, but very rewarding as well.
Such a trip might also drain your whole bank account unless you are very creative and manage to get a job that you can do online. If not, you can try your luck being very charismatic and hoping to get something to do in every country you step in and fund your next ticket that way like some people already do, and that you may cross paths with if you decide to take off.
What are some of the fastest times someone managed to visit all countries in the world?
The world is very big, remember that.
As I write this, the current holder of the Guinness record of fastest travel between all UN-recognized countries is held by Taylor Demonbreun, she managed to do this at only 22 years. That’s even more impressive!
And she needed a total of 554 days to accomplish this.
Why is that? Couldn’t she have managed it in less time? Sure, if she had a private plane and the permission of every control tower in the world she might have. But she decided to truly VISIT them all, and not just step in every airport and ruuuuuuuuuuun to the next one. She lived it!
She’s the new holder, but she wasn’t the first one.
Let me show you who else managed to do this:
Thor Pedersen (What a cool name!) is currently stranded in Hong Kong, waiting to continue his journey. What makes it worth mentioning? That he hasn’t stepped on a plane in his whole mission. He’s just 8 countries away from achieving his goal of visiting 203 countries and territories in total, and he has been on it since 2013 and on a budget of only 20 dollars per day. This is his blog if you’d like to see what was it like http://www.onceuponasaga.dk/
Gunnar Garfors was the first person to have visited every country in the world at least twice, and the madman has 10 travel-related world records behind his back. He spent at least a week in every country and recently said that he’s thinking about doing a third way around the planet. And he’s 45, damn, I wish I had that youth.
And some weird facts for you:
- The largest number of countries visited on a SINGLE tank of fuel is 14. On a single trip of 28 hours of length, with 73 liters of fuel thanks to an Audi campaign.
- Metallica became the first band to perform in every continent, including Antarctica, in 2013. Not only that, but they played on every continent in the same year! The penguins must have loved it.
Pros and Cons of traveling to all countries in the world
- Quite the story to tell
- You´ll learn to handle yourself on a lot of situations
- You can start your own blog and inspire more people to follow your steps
- You will get to enjoy nature, and at the same time to wander in the illuminated and sleepless streets of the big cities
- Meeting, quite literally, any kind of people on Earth
- Experiencing all cultures and lifestyles the Earth has to offer
- Do you like beaches? There are beaches for you to see, white sand, dirt, gravel, stone beaches. Do you like the mountains? There are snowy ones, there are volcanoes for you to see, and want to know something better? The world will surprise you many, many times over.
- And, my favorite: Food. A LOT of food
- Quite expensive
- You have to take precautions in many countries
- Leave mostly everything behind for a long time
- You will surely feel lost and overwhelmed a lot of the time until you get used to it
- Unless you discover your personal paradise, it may get hard to decide where to settle afterward
- A lot of mosquitoes are going to bite you. Like, a lot.I´ll let you decide if it´s worth it.
I´ll let you decide if it´s worth it.