Last year, for my 30th birthday, I decided to set myself the goal of seeing 100 countries before I’m 40. I calculated that I needed to visit at almost eight countries a year for the ten years. Well, I’m eight months into this project and I haven’t visited a single new country. Actually, I haven’t even left New Zealand in the last eight months. While we’re about to embark on a long term, slow travel, round the world adventure (mouthful), we’re starting in a country that I’ve been to before. So, I’m still not closer to my 100 country goal. In order to reach my goal I’ve been thinking about how to visit multiple countries in a short amount of time.
Here are some ideas I had for quickly increasing the amount of countries you’ve visited:
Take a Cruise
Cruising is the ultimate way of visiting a series of countries in quick succession. Caribbean cruises in particular give you access to countries that are much harder to visit independently unless you’re just flying in and flying out for a resort vacation. A typical 10-night Caribbean cruise will take you through five to seven countries. On top of that, cruises are actually a really affordable way to travel. The general rule for cruises is that anything under $50 per person per night is a bargain.
Look for Interesting Stop Overs
Uncheck the box in flight search engines that looks for direct flights only and you might be able to find yourself an interesting stop over in a country you’d never otherwise have visited. If you’re travelling between Europe and Asia, the Middle Eastern airlines often have the best prices anyway. When else are you going to get the chance to visit Kuwait, Qatar or Saudi Arabia? If you’re travelling between America and Europe, it’s often much cheaper to book a flight with a stopover in a European city than it is to fly direct. Iceland and Ireland are interesting options.
Travelling overland, while slower, is the ultimate way of seeing more countries than you would by flying. For short journeys in Europe, travelling by car or train instead of plane will allow you to trek through a few new countries. Instead of whizzing through, take the time to stop in each country you’ll pass through. If you’re not scared of long journeys, instead of flying from Europe to Asia, you could tackle it by train. The Man in Seat 61 has plenty of info on how to reach Asia by train from Europe.
Travel in Europe
There are 50 countries in Europe but the whole continent is only just bigger than the United States. That means there are lots of countries in close proximity to one another. All the little principalities and city states mean Europe offers more bang for your buck. San Marino and Vatican City both sit inside Italy, Monaco hovers on the edge of France and tiny Andorra is squished between Spain and France. This makes it easy to tack on visits to smaller countries.