And today, we’ll look at the newest and most ambitious of the big scorecard sites, TheBestTravelled.com!
Our Mission: The Best Travelled is a community of people interested in travel, who dare to explore the 1281 regions of the world, to discover their gems and to share their experiences with fellow Travellers.
1281, whew! They’ve been around since 2012; we signed up when they were brand new and still going through some rocky launch bits, and, well, never actually got around to filling anything out — until now! As we begin writing this post, it gives us a rank of 9759, so we deduce that they have 9758 members who have actually entered anything. But now we’ll join for real and see how we rank — particularly as TBT is, far as we know, the only place on the web that keeps a scorecard of Tentative WHS (currently 1707), so unless/until we get around to setting up a tracking system of our own here, we’ll take their list as authoritative. They also have a great deal of other lists — cities, islands, airports, festivals … enough to satisfy the most compulsive counters, no doubt.
For this series of introductory posts we’re focusing on how the various lists count geographical regions. So how did TBT come up with 1281?
Most medium-sized countries are divided into three parts which reflect geographical or ethnic elements within them. Larger countries are divided by their existing administrative divisions, though in some cases (like Western Australia, most Chinese provinces, some US states), there has been further subdivision to reflect extremely large territories. In most cases uninhabited rocks have not been considered unless they span a very large territory (like Australia’s Coral Sea Islands) or they are administratively important (Clipperton Island, Bouvet). The main focus has been on considering what parts of the world really offer travellers interesting things to see and do, and increase their knowledge and scope of the globe.
So, completely arbitrary then. Well, we agree that the point is “interesting things to see and do” — we just define that unambiguously as “every inscribed and tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site!” But hey, we’ll play their game too, the more the merrier right?
Two things make TBT stand out among travel clubs. Firstly, they have a more restrictive than most definition of what counts as a visit
In the case of international border crossings where there is a border control, clearance of immigration authorities is required, and a visit to the area immediately beyond the immigration area itself is accepted. In the case where there is no border control between nations, standing in an area belonging to a region is accepted.
In the case of regional border crossings, standing beyond the demarcation line between two regions is accepted.
In the case of airport stopovers, standing with both feet in an area beyond the airport area is accepted. In other words, a traveller must be beyond the entrance of the airport area itself or in an area which is clearly not part of the airport per se.
In the case of train transits, standing with both feet in an area beyond the train platform and train station is accepted. In other words, a traveller must be beyond the entrance of the train station itself or in an area which is clearly not part of the train station per se.
In the case of road (bus, car, motorbike) transits, beyond what has already been mentioned regarding international border crossings, standing with both feet within the region is accepted. In the case of bus stations, a traveller must be beyond the entrance of the bus station itself or in an area which is clearly not part of the bus station per se.
In the case of visits to areas by ship/vessel, beyond what has already been mentioned regarding international border crossings, standing with both feet in the region in question is accepted. However, for regions which are uninhabited and do not have any permanently manned stations (Coral Sea Islands, Ashmore and Cartier, Heard and McDonald, Bouvet Island, Clipperton Island), a clear sighting of the land in the region within the territorial waters is accepted.
Personally, there’s a few — dozen, maybe? — places we’ve transited on the MTP/TCC lists that wouldn’t count under those rules, but … there wasn’t really anything interesting to see there and far as we’re concerned looking out the train window was enough of an idea what the place is like we don’t feel any pressing need to spend more time there. Which is, of course, why this is everywhs.com and not everyplaceinthe.world or whatever.
Secondly, TBT is the only place that takes verification of claims seriously. Some tidbits from their latest newsletter:
It is compulsory for members with more than 500 regions for UN countries and more than 600 regions for our TBT1281 Masterlist. … Nevertheless, as we have developed into a respected travel club, we feel that membership and ranking at the top of the list now comes as a privilege but also a responsibility – a responsibility that can be backed up by going through verification…
TBT has become the very first and only travel website to seriously introduce a verification process for both the 193 UN countries, as well as the 1281 regions we have listed on the website. As of today, we have successfully verified and given the corresponding badges to 85 members on the UN country level and to 27 members for passing the territory test.
The time invested into the whole verification process is enormous; an average 60 regions test can take a week or longer, if the sort of proof I get is not acceptable…
Uh… right then. Personally, we don’t really have any use for this process. If you want to cheat, who cares? Doesn’t hurt me in any way, and if it makes you feel good to claim a visit with little or no justification, go ahead, make yourself feel good!
However, sure we can see that there’s a place for people who take their competitive travelling seriously enough to want external validation, so hey why not play that game too; certainly we should be able to come up with sufficient proof for the TBT people of anywhere we’ve been the last decade at least. For starters we put in our 2017 trips so far, and that’s good for a score of 18 places and a rank of 6589. When/if we ever get around to putting in enough of our trip history to merit a visit from the Verification Police, we’ll be sure to keep you updated on how that goes!