The Travellers’ Century Club (TCC) might be one of the world’s most exclusive clubs.
This international society of jet setters may only have one entry requirement, but it’s a tough one: TCC members must have visited at least 100 countries.
According to the US Department of State, there are 195 sovereign nations on earth — that’s quite a few stamps for your passport.
However, the TCC expanded that list to include
324 eligible destinations, which include territories like Prince Edward Island (a province in Canada) and Alaska (technically a US state).
The current 324 territories as defined by the TCC are grouped into 12 regions, and the TCC acknowledges that many of them aren’t actual countries — they define them as geographically or politically distinct. For example, the club sees Sicily as separate from Italy and the Easter Islands as distinct from Chile.
The club is also flexible in that it allows members to count a layover or stop at a port of call as an official visit.
The TCC has over 2,100 members today, some of whom have been to the minimum 100 countries and others who have travelled to over 300 destinations. Members get access to various meetings, presentations and seminars, organised trips, and activities across the 21 TCC chapters worldwide, as well as a membership card, certificate and a pin.
Of course, a little healthy competition between members never hurt anyone either, so there are various levels among members: 150 countries is silver, 200 is gold, 250 is platinum, and 300 is diamond. Those who visit all 324 territories receive a revolving crystal globe — 15 members have made that distinction to date,
and many more have been to 300+ destinations.
The club claims to be for travellers rather than tourists, and encourages members to go on once-in-a-lifetime adventures, and to seek out some of the most remote and obscure places on earth, from Abkhazia to Zimbabwe.
Most of the club’s members are retired, others are racking up countries while holding down jobs and families. Often, members get together to access some of the most remote spots as a group to share the expenses, like those who chartered a boat from the Seychelles to the British Indian Ocean Territory, which many consider the most difficult destination to reach because there’s no commercial transportation. It took them five days each way.
The American “country collecting” organisation was founded in Los Angeles 1954, back when country hopping was a lot more difficult than it is today. Still, the club boasted 43 members by 1960. Their slogan? World travel — the passport to peace through understanding.
Have you been to 100 places? Then all you need to do is fill out the application form, name each of the 100 countries you’ve been to, and pay a $US100 initiation fee. Once accepted, you will have to pay an annual $US85 fee ($US95 if you live abroad).
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