The question of how many countries there are in the world and what constitutes a well travelled person are known issues without an answer. The existing lists are unsatisfactory...
a. The UN standard of 193 countries is not sufficient - not including places like Taiwan or Abkhazia, not to mention the 50-odd territories in the world. Can you be well travelled if all you have seen of the US is, say, Guam?
b. Counting the wikipedia list of UN countries plus territories and 10 de facto independent countries (leading to about 250 total) is still insufficient. If you go to Tijuana, you can count Mexico as done. The same with a visit to London, you have done the UK. Is this enough?
c. The TCC (Traveler Century Club) is on the right track, and has 324 pieces at the moment, But the problems listed in (b) above remain. A quick visit to Buenos Aires or a transit stopover in Cape Town and you have ticked off their respective countries.
d. MTP (Most Traveled People) currently has 874 pieces. It deals with some of the problems listed above, but some of its choices are very arbitrary. Large countries like Kazakhstan or DR Congo are just one point, while tiny Switzerkland is divided by cantons to make 26 points. Surely this is too enthnocentric and leads to an imbalance. Not to mention the inclusion of some uninhabited rocks (like Rockall) which seems pointless and leads to no cultural (or other type of) understanding.
e. The adapted SISO considers every administrative division and leads to more than 4000 pieces, although uninhabited rocks are not considered. In my opinion, this is just too broad. This again is random though, even if it seems fair. Tiny Slovenia has more than 200 pieces, while Serbia only 3. This doesn't make sense. I have also seen similar lists which use ISO or a variation therefore, all of which are just not fair to the countries involved.
And so, I present to you TBT1281, a Rationalised List of regions. which considers nearly all of TCC's divisions but divides countries by considering their population and size. So for someone to be really well travelled means they go to more places on a fair, equal basis per country. The list is the standard of the website thebesttravelled.com, one of the leading sites of the kind.
There are 1281 pieces to the puzzle.. On the excel file below you will find them, . You can download the file and see how many of the pieces you have visited by filling in the year you first visited a region or, alternatively, with an x if you have visited it . Or, just go to thebesttravelled.com and do it all online! Have fun and please send your feedback with suggestions for explansion...