After travelling around the world for 380 days, my next plan is to visit all 193 UN countries and the 5 observer countries. Why am I doing this? Besides the fact that I love travelling, really, it’s because I want to end the current stage of my life with a “bang”. Before I get married and have kids, I want to do something big. Something that I will have great difficulty to do once I am locked down with family responsibilities. And that “something big” is to visit all 193 UN countries no later than April 2022.
How I plan on achieving the goal of visiting all 193 UN countries and the 5 observer countries
Phase 1: Save money
I’m back to square one again. Since returning back home after travelling for 380 days, I am currently flat broke. Actually, I am more than broke, I owe money to my girlfriend who helped me cover the last month of my 380 days of travel, and my youngest sister who sold me her car as soon as I came back to Canada.
How much money will I need to achieve this goal
It’s hard for me to tell how much money it will actually cost to complete this journey. After doing my research of people who has accomplished this feat, it seems the cost of visiting all 193 UN countries is roughly the following:
- First 100 countries = $30,000 USD – this one sounds about right, I did spend roughly $30,000 CAD to visit 70+ countries (including my pre-trip expenses)
- Last 93 countries = $80,000-$120,000 USD – this one sounds like a huge amount of money. However, after doing my research, it seems quite accurate unless you do some overland backpacking to save money on flights. The last 93 countries is more expensive because of the pricey cost of obtaining visas. Many of the first 100 countries were either VISA free or had cheaper VISA prices.
How much money can I realistically save in 2 years?
If I saved up the same way that I did prior to my previous 380 days of travel around the world, I would say, I can realistically save up about 35,000 CAD or roughly $30,000 USD. And if my online business plan pays off, you can add another $1000 USD per month which can potentially total to about $12,000 USD per year or $24,000 USD on top of the $30,000 USD I could potentially save up. This brings us to a total amount of $54,000 USD.
$54,000 USD is roughly half the amount of money required to finish this mission. And this is being generous because making that additional $1000 USD per month from my online business is an uncertainty at the moment. As of now now, I am not making consistent online income yet and I am still in the process of setting up several online revenue streams.
How can I offset the cost of travel to realistically achieve the goal of visiting all 193 UN countries?
The most realistic way to offset the cost of travelling to all 193 UN countries is to travel budget backpack style. This means staying in couchsurfing or staying in hostels, and taking local transportation (or hitchhiking worst case scenario).
However, one big problem with this method is that it’s a young person’s strategy. As of writing this article, I am 33 years of age and will be turning 34 in a few months. When I finally set off to travel again, I will be 35 closing in to 36. What I hate about aging is how fast I become fatigued from constantly moving.
Travelling rough is quite draining. Sadly, this type of travel takes a toll on your health. And honestly, I’m not quite sure if my body will be able to handle it.
Regardless, I did meet one 37 year old Japanese backpacker during my 380 days of travel. He, himself has travelled overland to over 150 countries. How he overcame burnout and fatigue is by staying in each country for 2 weeks at a time.
I tend to travel fast and this might be a good way to offset the cost of travel and keep my health in check is to go slower between countries.
Phase 2: Build up points and miles again
One of the best way I can think of to save money during this mission is to build up massive amounts of points and miles again. To accomplish this, I need to utilize tons of travel hacking strategies in Canada and the US.
At the moment, I am working on getting American credit cards by getting my ITIN number. I am hoping that before I leave to travel, I will have tons of points and miles from American credit cards.
If you didn’t know, using points and miles is the cheapest way to fly between countries. Through travel hacking, you can get international flights for under $100.
Phase 3: Tick off as many difficult countries or regions as possible prior to travelling
By difficult countries and regions, I really mean Africa and the Middle East.
Here is a list of dangerous countries that I’d like to tick off as fast as possible:
- South Sudan
- Democratic Republic of Congo
Here is a list of difficult countries to visit:
- Saudi Arabia
- North Korea (though I heard you can visit the DMZ relatively easy but I prefer seeing Pyongyang)
So while I work and save up money, I am hoping I can travel at least twice before the big departure date and check off some of the difficult or sketchy countries mentioned above.
My game plan to hit each of the 193 UN countries and which ones I’ve already visited:
Israel Jordan Palestine
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirites
Middle East game plan
The toughest countries to visit in this list would be Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Syria, Yemen, and Iraq are war zones and obtaining a tourist visa would be difficult. However, after doing some research, there are companies like Soviet Tours that can take you to Syria and Yemen! With dangerous places like these, I will opt to join a tour instead of doing it myself for safety reasons. Plus I heard they can help you acquire a VISA to such places.
I also heard that the island of Socotra in Yemen can be accessible by tourist and they fly out of Dubai. Flying from Dubai to Socotra might be the path I take to enter Yemen.
Erbil is located in Northern Iraq and is apparently quite safe to visit which is my plan when it comes to visiting this country.
Saudi Arabia is also tough and I will do my best to acquire a transit VISA so I can at least step foot in the country for 24 hours.
As for the rest of the Middle East countries, they seem easy enough to enter without too much problems.
Must see in the Middle East:
- Damascus in Syria
- Socotra in Yemen
- Dubai in United Arab Emirites
- Baalbek (Temple of Bacchus), and Jeita Grotto in Lebanon
Egypt South Africa Lesotho Swaziland Zambia Zimbabwe Botswana Namibia
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Ivory Coast
- Republic of Congo
- Sao Tome and Principe
- Sierra Leone
- South Sudan
- The Gambia
- Western Sahara
Africa game plan
Hands down the most difficult continent to complete will be Africa. I fully plan on completing Africa before any other continent.
First, Africa is the continent with the most countries at 54. Many of the African countries are quite sketchy according to many governments.
The dangerous countries I need to visit in Africa would be: South Sudan (I heard North Sudan is actually quite safe despite what many western government says), Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Mali (because of Boko Haram), and Libya.
Besides the dangerous countries, there are also difficult to obtain VISA countries such as Angola, and Eritrea.
“Dangerous” African countries
For South Sudan, my game plan is to quickly get in and get out. I simply want to check off the country and I won’t be exploring it further unlike the other African countries. This way, I can stay safe as I visit this country.
Democratic Republic of Congo is apparently quite safe from the eastern side. Therefore, my plan is to join a tour and do some gorilla trekking from the Eastern side to see the beauty of this country instead of the despair in the capital city of Kinshasa.
I’m not really sure what to see in Nigeria so it will be one of those quick enter and exit countries. However, Niger is a different story. Agadez and Zinder both look amazing and I definitely want to spend time checking both places out. I just need to figure out how I can maximize my safety while visiting the country.
Chad falls in the same category as Nigeria, I’m not really sure what to see there so it will be a quick get in and get out kind of deal. Next, there is Mali with the famous Timbuktu. I definitely want to see Timbuktu, so hopefully, it’s safe enough to visit when I’m around the area.
Finally, there is Libya from the list of sketchy countries in Africa. Libya is the one I am very excited to visit. After watching the Canadian travel TV show departures, I am convinced that Libya is an amazing travel destination. In Libya, I would like to see Leptis Magna, and Ghadames. I heard it’s possible to visit the country if you can acquire a business VISA. I’ll have to do my research to find out how to get one of those. I also heard you can join tour groups going to Libya.
Difficult to obtain a VISA African countries
Now for countries where it’s hard to get a tourist VISA, here is my plan:
For Angola, I heard getting a transit VISA is quite realistic. My plan then is to get a transit VISA to Angola, get in, then get out. Getting a VISA to Eritrea is even more difficult from what I heard; however, there are many tour companies that can help you with this as long as you join their tour. Sounds good to me, Eritrea sounds like an interesting place to visit!
Must see in Africa:
- Djenne, Timbuktu, Bandiagara Dogon Country in Mali
- Gorilla trekking in Democratic Republic of Congo
- Ngorongoro Crater, Wildebeest migration, Zanzibar in Tanzania
- Avenue of the Baobabs. Tsingy Rouge National Park in Madagascar
- Leptis Magna, Ghadames in Libya
- Agadez and Zinder in Niger
- Maasai Mara in Kenya
- Debre Damo Monastery in Ethiopia
Australia Papua New Guinea Indonesia
- New Zealand
- Marshall Islands
- Solomon Islands
Oceania game plan
The hardest VISA to get in Oceania is Nauru. To be honest, I haven’t done much research on how I will reach this country yet.
As for the other ones like Kiribati, I’m lucky that Canada is one of the countries that can go there VISA free.
I am very excited to visit all the Oceania countries. Definitely, I find this region to be fascinating and would like to stay longer at several of these destinations.
Must see in Oceania
- Road trip in New Zealand
- Solomon Islands
Singapore Brunei Malaysia Myanmar Hong Kong Philippines Laos Cambodia Thailand India Vietnam South Korea China Taiwan
- North Korea
- Sri Lanka
Asia game plan
I think the hardest country to visit in Asia is North Korea. Thankfully, lots of tours can take you to North Korea these days so it’s just a matter of saving up money for it.
Afghanistan is another difficult and dangerous country to visit. After reading other travellers who managed to visit this beautiful country, it seems the best way to enter safely is from Tajikistan through the Wakhan Corridor.
Must see in Asia
- Over the water bungalow in Maldives
- Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan
- Overlanding the 5-stans in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan
- Annapurna Circuit in Nepal
North and Central America
Canada USA Jamaica Mexico
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Game plan for North America
I live in this continent so it shouldn’t be too difficult to navigate. Most of the 193 UN countries can be reached by taking a heavily discounted cruise ship.
I’ll probably save this area for last just because it’s the easiest to complete compared to the other continents.
Must see in North America
- Costa Rica
- Panama Canal in Panama
Bolivia Peru Ecuador Colombia Argentina Brazil, Venezuela Guyana, Suriname French Guiana
Game plan for South America
I’ve travelled to most of the 193 UN countries in South America during my 380 days of travel so there’s only three countries left to complete. Paraguay and Uruguay will just be quick stops to tick them off. I might go back to Brazil and Argentina to check out Lençóis Maranhenses National Park and Perito Moreno Glacier because I missed them during my first around the world trip. (I also missed Galapagos Island during my first around the world trip so I may backtrack and visit it)
As for Easter Island, I am working out a plan to use Avios Miles to fly to the country. Reportedly, British Airways Avios is not releasing as much availability for this. In that case, I may resort to purchasing an around the world ticket with the One World airline alliance to offset the cost.
Must see in South America
- Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in Brazil
- Patagonia and Easter Island in Chile
- Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina
- Galapagos Island in Ecuador
Portugal Poland Hungary Slovakia Austria Switzerland France Luxembourg Belgium The Netherlands Germany Italy Vatican City San Marino Liechtenstein Spain Andorra Monaco Denmark Sweden Norway Finland England Scotland Czech Republic Slovenia Serbia Bosnia and Herzegovina Montenegro Albania Kosovo Macedonia Bulgaria Greece Croatia Ukraine Belarus Lithuania Latvia Estonia
Europe game plan
I’m almost finished visiting Europe as well. This is because I went crazy when I got the Eurail pass during my first around the world trip. I literally zoomed all over Europe visiting as many of the 193 UN countries as I possibly can. It was exhausting but I was very happy with my journey. Mainly because train travel in Europe is very fun.
It’s easy to offset the cost of travel in Europe by doing volunteer work. Often times, you can do volunteer work in countries such as Malta which I plan on doing.
I will probably visit Cyprus when I visit Turkey and Lebanon since they’re in the same area.
Iceland is an expensive place to visit and you need to rent a car to really enjoy it. As usual, the biggest obstacle with Europe is price. Most likely, I will travel with Karen and my sisters to offset the cost of the journey here.
Must see in Europe
- Turkey (the entire country)
- Ring road in Iceland
- Saint Petersburg and Moscow (Kremlin) in Russia
What if I am unable to visit all 193 UN countries by April 2022?
I realize that because the level of funds I might be able to realistically save up may not be enough, I need to have a back up plan.
Therefore, my goal is to at least clear off the entire African continent as well as the Middle East, Asia, and Oceania. In that specific order. If I don’t complete North and South America, that’s kind of okay because it’s relatively close to Canada where I live and not to difficult to complete.
However, I am determined to complete all 193 UN countries so failing in this mission is the last thing I want to happen.
Got any tips or suggestions for me in this upcoming trip to visit all 193 UN countries by April 2022? Feel free to comment below, I’d be more than happy to receive some advice!