“Hey Jenny, how many countries have you been to?”
It’s a question I get a lot.
And truth be told, there was a time (not so long ago) when I didn’t have an exact answer.
I mean, sure, I could ballpark it. But I’d never actually taken the time to sit down and make a complete list.
So after getting the question on a regular basis, a few years ago I finally sat down – world map in hand – to make a list of all the countries I’ve visited.
The answer isn’t so simple
It turned out to be a lot more complicated than I anticipated.
Simple question, convoluted answer.
For example, does Vatican City count as a separate country? What about Gibraltar or Puerto Rico?
And what if I only connect through a country and never leave the airport? That shouldn’t count…or should it?
I needed answers.
I wanted my list to be thorough, honest, and accurate. And after doing a little research on the subject, I discovered the Traveler’s Century Club (TCC).
The Traveler’s Century Club
The TCC is an exclusive club only for those intrepid travelers who have visited 100 or more countries.
And since they take their membership requirements very seriously, they have developed an official list of 320 countries or destinations that are politically, technologically, or geographically different enough to merit inclusion.
Since TCC’s list is recognized as the world standard on the subject, that’s good enough for me. (If you would like to read more about how they determine country/territory status and what it takes to qualify as a member, complete info can be found here.)
Why not just use the United Nations list of countries?
Sure, you could keep it simple and just base your country count on the United Nations “official” list of member states (193). And many avid travelers do.
But, let’s be honest, the TCC list is just more fun. Plus, it’s more detailed. And to me, more accurate.
Easter Island is a perfect example. Technically, it’s part of Chile. Yet, it’s an incredibly remote and unique place to visit. And the Rapa Nui culture and history are entirely different from mainland Chile.
So, in my opinion (and TCC’s), visiting Chile and visiting Easter Island are two very different things.
The bottom line: The TCC list accounts for territories that are unique culturally, geographically, or politically. The UN list does not.
Becoming a Traveler’s Century Club Member
When I did that first count in 2008, according to the Traveler’s Century Club country list I was at 63 countries.
Today, after 10 trips around the globe, my wanderlust is still in full swing and my country count continues to grow.
Perhaps someday I will reach 200 countries. But for now, based on the Traveler’s Century Club Country List…
My current country count is: 176
Here’s the breakdown (I’ve linked to some of my favorite posts from each country):
- Cayman Islands
- Dominican Republic
- Leeward Islands, French (St. Martin)
- Puerto Rico
- St. Kitts
- St. Lucia
- St. Maarten
- St. Vincent & the Grenadines
- Turks & Caicos Islands
- Virgin Islands, British (Tortola, Jost Van Dyke)
- Virgin Islands, U.S. (St. John, St. Thomas)
- Cook Islands
- Easter Island
- Fiji Islands
- French Polynesia
- Galapagos Islands
- Hawaiian Islands
- New Caledonia
- New Zealand
- Yap (Micronesia)
Europe & Mediterranean
- Balearic Islands (Mallorca)
- Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Cyprus, Republic
- Cyprus, Turkish Fed. State
- Czech Republic
- Dodecanese Is. (Rhodes)
- Guernsey & Deps (Channel Islands)
- Ionian Islands (Corfu)
- Northern Ireland (Ulster)
- Jersey (Channel Islands)
- San Marino
- Turkey (Europe – Istanbul)
- Vatican City
- China, People’s Republic
- Hainan Island
- Hong Kong
- Indonesia (Java)
- Jeju Island (S. Korea)
- Lesser Sunda Islands (Bali, Indonesia)
- Sabah (Northern Borneo)
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
- Sulawesi (Celebes, Indonesia)
- Sumatra (Indonesia)
- Taiwan, R.O.C.
- Turkey (Asia – Ankara, Izmir)
Well, that’s it! As of 2021, this is my current list of countries visited according to the Traveler’s Century Club list. Now, what’s YOUR number?