GOAL: To visit every country in the world by April 7, 2013.
CURRENT STATUS: 193/193
Mission Accomplished! I completed the journey with 120 friends and readers in Oslo, Norway on April 7, 2013—eleven years after setting the goal. Thanks to everyone who followed along or participated.
Update for everyone coming over from the NBC article: travel hacking is not dead! In fact, it’s better than ever. You can do much, much better than mileage-running on Delta. Most miles are earned on the ground, especially through big credit card bonuses. Visit our partner site, CardsforTravel.com, to learn more.
In my quest to visit every country in the world, here’s where I’ve been so far. Each of these countries will eventually have an article or short entry associated with it in the AONC archives. Click the image, or here to see the detailed infographic breakdown.
Image: Lemon.ly (thanks, guys!)
How Many Countries Are There?
I am working with the list of 193 United Nations member states. I don’t necessarily think this list is 100% reflective of every geopolitical country—places like Palestine and Taiwan should probably be on the list, for example—but when you set a goal you need to have some kind of measuring stick.
The Traveler’s Century Club (TCC), an organization for crazy people like me who collect countries instead of pursuing a more conventional hobby, lists more than 300 countries, but many of these are islands, territories, or colonies. Using the TCC standard, I have currently visited about 250 countries… but to be consistent, my goal will be measured by the standard of U.N. countries.
How It Works
I am a travel hacker. I use Round-the-World plane tickets and a hefty stash of Frequent Flyer Miles to visit more than 25 countries each year. I also like to mix things up a little—sometimes I fly First Class before checking into a $9 a night hostel in Southeast Asia. Sometimes I fly on airlines like Air Moldova and JetStar Asia before sleeping on the floor of the airport. Nothing is constant except the goal: to visit every country in the world before my 35th birthday in April 2013.
For more info on the logistics of how it works, read this early Travel FAQ and a few other posts that are linked from that page. You can also check out the Travel Hacking Cartel, which has helped more than 15,000 members (and counting!) travel to anywhere in the world.