Once upon a time in a far away land… I was curious to know how many countries and territories I’d visited. Whilst I don’t visit countries simply to tick them off a checklist, after visiting so many lands I needed a way to keep track of where I’d been. I searched high and low for an editable, electronic list but found nothing suitable so I created my own excel file and built in some basic functionality, sparing me the onerous task of always updating my ‘total’ count.
Once I started researching, I realised that there are many different types of ‘country’ lists. One of the more popular is the United Nations list of 195 independent sovereign states, however this list excludes all the interesting dependent territories which are scattered around the globe and are such a pleasure to visit.
Once you include dependent territories, you have a choice of including the many uninhabited territories (small islands in the middle of nowhere which are home to a few birds) or just the inhabited ones – I chose to include only the latter. Of the territories, there are those which are internationally recognised and those which are not (e.g. Christiania: a self-proclaimed autonomous anarchist district of Copenhagen). I chose to include only the former. There are also territories which are off-limits to visitors (e.g. British Indian Ocean Territory – a restricted military base in the Indian Ocean), these have also been excluded.
Then there is the case of the truly bizarre Sovereign Military Order of Malta (the Wikipedia page makes for interesting reading) which has its own military, currency, postage stamps and passports, and which has permanent observer status at the UN…but doesn’t have any land. Headquartered in Palazzo Malta in Rome, its mission is summed up in its motto: Tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum, “Defence of the (Catholic) faith and assistance to the poor”. The order is led by an elected Prince and Grand Master. I have not included the Order in my list.
Then there’s the 327 destinations listed by the Travelers’ Century Club, a paid subscription club. Their list is for those who wish to visit every rock on the planet. The TCC claims that their list “has widespread recognition as the standard of countries and territories that are of significant interest, as distinct destinations, to serious travelers”.
Finally, Mosttraveledpeople.com (MTP) is a free club for travelers who aspire to go “everywhere.” Where is everywhere? MTP’s master-list includes 874 destinations for you to tick-off, with many countries broken down into separate states/ provinces/ counties etc. Enough to keep you busy for a lifetime or two! You can then view your ranking among other members and possibly make the ‘Hall of Fame’. The website includes news on the latest exploits of enthusiastic adventurers who risk life and limb on their quest to reach every remote outpost on the planet.
My list contains 248 countries and dependent territories and since creating it, I’ve been asked by many fellow travelers for a copy, so I’ve decided to share it with a wider audience by making it available for download here on taste2travel. To make this list your own – simply click on the ‘Download‘ link below then copy and paste the top-line ‘X‘ next to those destinations you’ve visited. Your total count will be displayed at the bottom of the list.
Author: Darren McLean
Owner of taste2travel.com – an avid traveler, photographer, travel writer and adventurer.
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