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Travelling every single country in the world

As soon as one receives one’s first passport, dreams of filling it with stamps start drifting into one’s mind. With about 190 nations in the world, there is no dearth of places to visit. But how long would it take to visit every single country? And how much would it cost?

Creating a plan

For many people in the world, it may be impossible to visit every country. For instance, American nationals are banned from entering North Korea and Iran. Despite these restrictions, the first step in any adventure is to set a detailed plan. Transportation, accommodations, and food are in your daily budget during the big trip. Of course, the prices for meals every day and a bed at night will change based on the place. 

Although travelling from country-to-country is expensive, it does not have to be out of reach. There are many ways to reduce costs and go efficiently from country to country. 

First, minimize your air travel since air travel is much more expensive compared to other modalities when travelling overseas. Trains and busses are not only cheaper, but allow you to maximize your ability to visit more and more countries. Second, contemplate how to save money when searching for accommodation in foreign places. For instance, hotels can be expensive, but websites like Airbnb and Homestay can offer lower cost alternatives. But what if you are travelling to places where these options are not available? If that is the case, hostels can offer a budget-friendly option. Lastly, consider any hotel points, airline miles, or cash back you have earned from credit card spending. Specifically, hotel loyalty points can be used to get free hotel nights and frequent flyer miles can reduce the costs that you have to pay for a plane ticket.

Time and money

Below in Table 1 you can find the part of the world and the time needed to travel through the countries there. The time includes international travel and sightseeing. Moreover, it includes regular breaks you may need to rest and just relax once in a while. The time and costs are based on the adventures of Dane Henrik Jeppesen, the youngest person to have been to every country in the world.

Where?Time needed
AfricaTwo months
Europe (including United Kingdom)Three months
Russia (including Iceland and Far North)Two months 
Middle East and Central AsiaTwo months
India, Nepal and ChinaTwo months 
JapanOne month
South East AsiaTwo months
Australia and New ZealandOne month
AntarcticaOne month
South AmericaTwo months
North America and CanadaTwo months
Table 1: Time needed for part of the world (The Lost Backpack, 2020)

The months above exclude the time you will be spending volunteering in India, living with monks, trekking to Everest Base Camp I in Nepal, learning MMA in Thailand, taking an advanced scuba diving course in Spain, et cetera. Hence, assume such long breaks will add another 12-14 months to your trip. Note that you must assume some emergency halts due to visas, border crossings, political conditions, personal health et cetera. When you travel far, you are bound to feel sick. So, let’s add another two months for such contingencies. You will end up with a time of around three years if you add up all the months. 

It is obvious that there is no direct and simple formula to calculate the total costs of your long trip. As mentioned earlier, some places will be more expensive compared to others. Therefore, we should take an average here. Europe, Australia, the United States and Russia are expensive, let’s say $100 per day per person. On the other hand, South America, Central Asia, Middle East, Africa, India and South East Asia are cheap, on average $50 per day per person. The total comes to around $83,000 for three years.

Furthermore, add up major air fares, visa fees et cetera; another $25,000. And of course popular activities: skydiving, trekking, martial arts courses, motorcycle tours, luxury train travel, posh cruises, exclusive beach parties et cetera. How can you miss such fun? Add another $25,000. Moreover, let’s add $17,000 for all that is left. You will also need good travel and health insurance and some emergency cash and an emergency credit card, plus some amount to be kept with a family member who can wire you funds in case you are robbed of everything. You will also need some money to buy stuff (backpack, gadgets et cetera) before you set off.

Thus, you will need around $150,000 and three years to tour the world solo! Save for a moment and you can do this great trip after you have worked a few years or immediately after your study!

Reference:

[1] The Lost Backpack (2020). How long would it take to travel to every country in the world? From https://thelostbackpack.com/how-long-would-it-take-to-travel-to-every-country-in-the-world/


This article is written by Moesen Tajik

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