A question I get asked often is “How many countries have you visited?” Since many people have different definitions of visiting a country, I thought I would share my 4 ‘criteria’ for counting a country as one visited – your opinion might differ.
Some people will count physically being in a country as having visited a country, but I do not. For example, if you are using airlines like Emirates or Ethiopian Airlines to get from one place to another via their hubs, you will most likely spend a few hours transiting from one aircraft to the next in the UAE or Ethiopia. You will physically be in those countries, but you aren’t visiting the countries.
1) Pass through immigration. In the past, you would receive a passport stamp every time you went through immigration. More & more countries are choosing not to use passport stamps anymore so you might not receive that mark in your travel document, but you do need to pass immigration.
2) Have a local meal or beverage. This is because what we eat & drink is so closely linked to our heritage & culture. By having something local, you’re embracing the country you are in.
3) Learn something about the country. If you’ve visited a place & learned absolutely nothing, you’ve sorely wasted an opportunity. Travel is such an amazing opportunity to learn even the simplest things & I’ve always felt that it broadens my mindset. Many of my viewpoints have been altered based on things I’ve learned while traveling.
4) Talk to a local. This usually goes hand in hand with point number 3, although not always. Speaking to a local is interesting on so many levels – it all begins with listening to their accents & their stories.
There you have my criteria for counting a country as visited. These do differ from time to time because passing through immigration in Europe is much more relaxed than other parts of the world & finding locals in countries like Vatican City or Qatar can be challenging, but generally this is how I count.
What do you say? How do you count a country as visited?
Keep traveling, keep safe.