Total Number of Independent Countries Visited in:
2011: 35 (and 3 autonomous territories)
2010: 49 (and 11 autonomous territories)
2009: 41 (and 12 autonomous territories)
2008: 38 (and 6 autonomous territories)
Total Number of Flights: 1821
Total Number of Flights in:
2011: 161 (87 of which were domestic, an annual record for domestic flights)
2010: 216 (personal annual record)
2009: 1562008: 85
Most frequently crossed borders:
Most frequently used airlines:
This is a list of all countries where I have taken a domestic flight, and the routes I have flown. These are included even when the domestic flight was a connection on with an international one.
These places teach you not to expect too much...in alphabetical order:
The UN standard
The problem of defining 'what is a country' is quite a complex one really because there is no standard definition of what constitutes a country. Is it control of borders? Foreign policy? Recognition by some or all other countries? Whatever the standard, the answer will be different...
The 'easiest' way to solve the problem would be to take the standard of the United Nations. As of today, there are 192 members in the UN plus the
The wikipedia standard
If you type 'list of countries' in wikipedia, you will come up with a list more extensive that the UN list. This includes not only the standard UN members, but also self-governing territories like French Caledonia, Gibraltar, Falklands, Greenland etc, as well as de facto independent countries, which may have not been recognised generally, but behave as if they were independent. This is quite a good measure really, but there are some weaknesses here too.
The TCC standard
The Travel Century Club is a group of those who have been to more than 100 countries - as defined by the TCC. Their list includes 321 countries with a lot of emphasis on islands as separate territories. For example, their list includes
The Charles Veley standard
Charles Veley has come up with his own website: www.mosttraveledpeople.com which is fun and informative, and basically has 872 'countries'. I am, as of today (November 8, 2011) 15th on their list of most travelled people based on their criteria, (although one of only 14 in the UN Hall of Fame, who have been to all official UN countries) but the problem is that as a country you find, among other things, abandoned rocks and the most insane of enclaves. Why do the
The Jeff Shea standard
I like Jeff Shea, he has class and an attitude. He has come up with what he calls an ISO 3166-2 list that has 3978 provinces. He is careful not to name these countries, nor does he open a competition for going there. Nor am I clear exactly what is included in the list, but it seems that he takes into account all national provinces too. So do you think we should go with this? Almost 4000 bits of the world to see? Could be reasonable, but again sounds a bit too exaggerated both culturally and practically. Plus certain countries (like Slovenia) have more than 100 provinces while others, like Serbia, have none! Provinces are often marked for administrative reasons, and that is their only use sometimes within a country. I don't know if a global traveller should be aiming at all of these...
Things to consider
a. Does a country have its own flag? This, nevertheless, is not an adequate standard. Many of the French colonies have the same flag as
b. Does a country have its own phone code? Yet, US and
c. Does a country issue its own stamps? But here we must consider that stamp issuing is not necessarily a government activity.
d. Does a country have its own currency? With currencies like the euro or the African CFA, clearly this is not an adequate standard...
e. Does a country have or did it ever have control of its own borders? This may be the closest we can get to the definition of a country...but again zones like Schengen will blur this standard in the future...
Harry's triple standardWell, you will love my standards which are complicated and never simplistic. I have decided on a three-tier system, inspired by, but not corresponding to, any of the above...
a. 200 countries. This comes from the 193 of the UN plus
b. 260 countries. This starts from the wikipedia standard mentioned above (245) but subtracts the army base of Akrotiri and Dekeleia as a territory. Then, we add the following:
c. 1281 'regions' in 27 megaregions. After extensive exchange of emails with Artur Anuszewski of Poland, we agreed on a standard of a reasonable 1281 regions that could be a new standard for world travellers. This is the version which is uploaded in my site as World1281 (currently under construction) under the section 'List of Countries' and is being launched as www.thebesttravelled.com. It includes all administrative divisions of the world's 10 largest countries, dividing all countries apart from the very smallest at least once, considers major islands, major cultural divides and generally only inhabited areas with few exceptions. We believe that, though no perfect list exists, this is as fair as it can get. There was a lot of compromise involved with Mr Anuszewski on both sides before we agreed on the final version.