How many countries are there in the world? That is the question different travelers ask themselves, both people on holiday, elite travelers and explorers. So how many countries are there in the world? In my opinion there is a total of 198 countries in the world. I count the 193 member states of the United Nations, 2 that has observatory status (Palestine and the Vatican) and 3 that is recognized by most other countries (Kosovo, Taiwan and Western Sahara).
Of course there are others that think differently, there are several Travel Clubs around the world that count in island groups, exclaves, enclaves, territories, autonomous regions, geographically separated island groups and provinces.
Why is the number of countries 198? Well, lets just say the history and time did it.
There is of course politics and diplomatic issues around land and ownership. Conflicts and wars have been started and fought, and many millions of people have died for what they have believed in or others have believed in throughout history.
It still goes on and probably it will never stop. It is sadly too much too gain from the wealth that is underground to stop warlords stepping down. New research shows that the Englishmen have invaded all but 22 countries in the world in its long and colourful history. But enough with politics.
What is a Travel Club?
Travel clubs are where people unit with their hobby, meet people from different countries around the world and share their goals to travel everywhere.
The 3 biggest and most known travel clubs are:
Travelers Century Club
The Travelers Century Club is a club for people who have visited 100 or more of the world’s countries and territories. Their list includes 321 countries and territories. The organization was founded in California in 1954 and now has more than 2,000 members throughout the world.
Most Traveled People
Most Traveled People is a club for travelers who aspire to go everywhere. Their list includes 875 countries and territories. The club was founded by Charles Veley in 2005, who was number 1 on the list until recently. He is still the worlds second most traveled by his website. The club has 12.000.members around the world.
The Best Travelled
The Best Travelled is a travel website who aims to become the leading interactive travel website for competitive travellers and the general public in terms of web design, travel stories, photo and travel experiences on every region in the world. The list includes 1281 countries and territories. The idea came from Harry Mitsidis who owns the site, a greek world traveler ranked the 10th best travelled in the world.
The club has 6344 members around the world.
How do you count your visits?
We all know that travel is fun, interesting, excite us and that we expand our horizons while doing so. But what is the criteria for counting a place or a country? In my opinion it doesn’t count when you only have been to the airport, for instance when you are in a transit zone between A and B. But what if you stay the night at the airport hotel nearby to catch the morning flight, what then?
Physically your there and should count it. But personally I would not count that. Why? Because I haven’t really seen anything or done anything. In other words, you haven’t explored or experienced the country. You can’t have a conversation about that specific place to another traveler who has been there.
In 2001 me and a friend travelled to Ibiza, we had to change planes in Zurich, Switzerland, I went out from the airport to say I had been to Switzerland, to count it. After a while I figured out that I couldn’t have a conversation about the city sights of Zurich, and could not say that I had been there.
How many people have been to all the countries in the world?
It is difficult to find the exact number, but statistics from Harry Mitsidis club, The Best Travelled Company, says that 98 people have been to every country so far. To travel to all the countries in the world you need 2 things, money and time.
There are several cases where the top travellers in the world have had sufficient funds from good paid jobs, own companies or just been lucky. Roman Bruehwhiler from Switzerland, ranked top 6 on The Most Traveled People page, sold his travel agency and set up a team of travel agents to make a world record of visiting all the countries in the world in 365 days, that’s only 1 year. Charles Veley, the creator of Most Traveled People, spent 72 days at sea to check off Bouvet Island to claim that he was the most travelled person in the world by Guiness World Records. Bouvet Island isn’t an easy target, it’s an uninhabited sub Antarctic volcanic island and dependency of Norway located in the sub Antarctic ocean. But there are also the ones that just use everything they have to travel the world. My friend, Harry Mitsidis from Greece, who is one of the 10 best travelled, said to me that he worked for 6 to 7 months as a teacher and then he travelled. Of course while travelling on a budget you can’t spend on everything you want along the way, but that doesn’t matter to these people. To be out there and to be among all the nice people, good food, experiences and different culture is what matter.