Recently, international relocation firm MoveHub conducted a study to determine which countries boast the most well-traveled residents. Did America crack the top ten? Uh… no. We were actually reported to be among the least internationally traveled, with a mere 0.2 trips per year per person. Womp womp. In fairness, as of 2017, only 46 percent of us have passports, and we are granted considerably less annual leave time than citizens of other countries. However, there are among us, people who are anomalies, traversing the globe with abandon and racking up passport stamps.
For the lucky few who have visited over 100 countries, there is an exclusive club of fellow travelers — the Travelers’ Century Club. Talk about bragging rights.
Right now, the US Department of State considers only 195 regions sovereign countries, but the TCC is actually pretty forgiving on this front. They use a broad definition, and consider 325 locales, including Alaska. Alaska? Whatever. The TCC will accept plane fuel stopovers, so you might be able to fudge your way into the ranks. When you only have roughly 2000 members, relaxing the rules is a kindness you can afford.
It’s all a damn sight kinder than the club was when it was founded in 1954 and traveling to 100 countries was HUGE. Hell, by 1960, the club only had 27 members. In my imagination, it was a heady time when two dozen swinging travelers held meetings and dated each other, but that’s because I recently watched some Melrose Place while waiting for a tire to be changed and my view of the world warped.
Other than the chance to pair off with other seasoned travelers in dramatic love triangles and the extreme bragging rights, perks include social events, organized travel excursions, a membership card, a certificate, a pin, and access to exclusive guides that cover some of the more difficult to access destinations. Plus, you get to connect with fellow travelers, who know really obscure information to help you in your adventures.
If you are down to join, get that app filled out and pay the club a $100 initiation fee. If there isn’t a real initiation with cloaks and chanting and a globe, I question the legitimacy of the fee, but I’m not part of the club so no one cares. If you just want your own personal map showing where you have been because you like visuals and data, play with the Travelbuddy Word Travel Map. It’s decidedly low tech, but it’s fun.