So in our last post, What is a World Heritage Site?, we mentioned ”typical travel scorecards” that count political and/or geographic divisions of the planet, and that we think that World Heritage Sites are a better way to score how much you’ve actually learned on your travels — as opposed to just having been at a place, which doesn’t really prove that you got anything out of the experience. Trying to make the typical scorecard prove that leads to endless bitter wrangling over what exactly counts as a visit. And one that will never end, because someone will always say that X hours/days/weeks isn’t enough and Y is the minimum acceptable number, no matter what.
Personally we think that argument’s pretty much pointless. No matter how long the minimum you set is, there’ll be people who spend it all at a 5 star hotel and see nothing outside their comfort zone. But if you visit a WHS, then you can’t really help but see and learn something, amirite?
That said, it’s always fun to keep score as many places as possible, so for the next few posts we’ll go through the various places that maintain scorecards more interesting than ‘United Nations members visited’ which you may recall is the most universally agreed on definition of how many countries there are in the world. But when you get into the world of competitive traveling, things get more complicated!
First up, the granddaddy of all travel clubs: the Travelers’ Century Club
Membership in the Travelers’ Century Club (TCC) is limited to those travelers who have visited one hundred or more territories of the world. It was first organized in Los Angeles in 1954 by a group of the world’s most widely traveled people…
Back then, having visited 100 places was really something. These days what with jet airplanes and the Internet and all, it’s not all that exclusive of a club, there’s a couple thousand members; to be really cool, you have to have gotten to all of the 327 territories on their list:
This is the Travelers’ Century Club’s official list of countries and territories, a total of 327 as of Jan. 1, 2018. Although some are not actually countries in their own right, they have been included because they are removed from the parent country, either geographically, politically or ethnologically (see the Territory Status page for detailed criteria). After consideration as to how long one must have stayed in a country or territory to qualify, it was decided that even the shortest visit would suffice — even if only a port-of-call, or a plane fuel stop. This greatly widens the field and will give the traveler a better chance to qualify for one of the most unusual clubs in the world. Anyone who has visited 100 or more of the places listed below is eligible to join.
Their most lately added territory [EDIT: in 2017 when we first wrote this] is Socotra Island, which as it happens is also a World Heritage Site so we’re all in favour of that one! It’s not immediately obvious how many people have ticked off all the places on the current list, although Donald Parrish who’s on anybody’s short list of winners at competitive travelling definitely has. Personally, we’re at Silver level, and we’ll keep track of how we’re doing on their list, but we won’t spend any great time ticking off places that do not, in fact, actually contain any World Heritage Sites. At least not until there’s no more WHS left to visit!
On January 1, 2018 the TCC list grew to 327 places; the two new ones are both British Overseas Territories
- Akrotiri and Dhekelia, aka MTP’s Sovereign Base Areas (Cyprus)
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which MTP splits into South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands