A friend of mine claims to have been in 100 countries now -- he's in some kind of contest with his business associates -- but several of those countries have been stop-overs only. In other words, he never left the airport.
How do you guys define this?
For me, it is if both feet actually touch the ground...excluding runways!
Always a good topic for discussion on a travel forum
We've had the discussion before as it came up regarding the 'how many countries have you visited' thread. I'd say, strictly speaking, that you have to have gotten off the plane. On the other hand, a lot of stopovers mean getting off the plane but never leaving the airport. I would have a hard time in my own mind justifying that as actually having 'visited' a country....
For me to justify having visited a country in my own definition, I think I'd have to have spent at least a night there, although that still doesn't really count as knowing the country of course!
Anyway, my vote goes to having 'left' the airport at the very minimum!
On the other end of the scale-
What about those people who think you haven't really visited a country until you've been there three months living with local people with no english in the middle of nowhere and got every illness. Don't they drive you mad?
I've been in Africa... I were in the plane, over 10.000 feet high in my way to Spain. Does it count?
Does flying past the airspace of a country constitute visiting the country? Hey, I visited from above!!!
According to the Traveller's Century Club, "After consideration as to how long one must have stayed in a country or island group to qualify, it was decided that even the shortest visit would suffice — even if only a port-of-call, or a plane fuel stop." The TCC is a club of people who have "visited" 100 "countries." They also define countries a different way then most of us would. According to them, I have visited 22 countries.
For me, I define getting out of the airport as having visited a country. Therefore, my 6 hour lay-over in Amsterdam when I took the train into the city counts as visiting Netherlands, but my 4 hours in Sao Paolo doesn't count, because I couldn't leave the airport.
I am, of course, having trouble with deciding if I have "visited" Germany, Poland and Belarus. I took a train from one side of each of those countries to the other, but wasn't allowed to get off the train. I saw the country side, but didn't get to put my feet down on the soil.
So, depending on how you count visited, I can say I have been to between 16 and 22 countries.
I've "visited" from several airport bars and having to step outside the airport for their smoking section... (Still airport property there, though.)
I define "been to" and "visited" as two different things. I've been to several airports, but only visited a few places, off airport property.
My view is that if i am able to relate to others about my trip, then i consider myself as having visited that country..."airport hopping" is an insult to my .....