It took 1,458 flights and 1,117 buses and trains for Drew Binsky to reach his goal of traveling to every country in the world. And it did so in less than a decade. CNBC spoke to Binsky nine hours after he made landfall in his last country, Saudi Arabia, about how he financed his 10-year travel spree. Jessica Nabongo traveled to all 195 nations and became the first black woman to document this feat.
Alford in the United Arab Emirates, where she also traveled with her parents as a child. Alford wasn't originally trying to break a record; she was just an intrepid traveler. Honestly, at first, I just wanted to push the limits of what I thought I could do with my life and see as much of the world as possible in the process,” he says. It wasn't until things started to get really difficult that I realized that I was inspiring the people around me, especially young women.
Feeling that support meant that I couldn't give up when things got tough. I was determined to show everyone that the world is not as scary as the media says it is and that there is kindness everywhere. The money she saved kept her going for the first year and a half of her trips. From there, she has been working as a travel consultant at her family's agency when she's at home in Nevada City, California, and also doing photography and blogging while she's traveling.
“I do a lot of research ahead of time to find the best deals, use points and miles for my flights, stay in cheap accommodations such as hostels, or create content for hotels in exchange for accommodation,” says Alford. I've also made sure to keep my monthly overheads as low as possible by living at home with my parents, I don't have a car payment or student debt, and I don't spend my money on unnecessary material possessions. Alford says the highlight of his travels was going to unexpected and often dangerous countries. “The countries that have such a bad reputation that people dare not go are the places that arouse my curiosity,” he says.
I experienced much more kindness and natural beauty in places like Pakistan and Venezuela than I have ever found in typical tourist destinations. Going somewhere without expectations and being absolutely impressed by what you find there has been the most satisfying part of this project. She was the one who fought the most in West and Central Africa, due to difficult visas, poor infrastructure for tourism, language barriers and the high cost of traveling safely. There aren't many English-speaking flights, hotels or guides, so operators have the market completely cornered, he explains.
They can practically set any outrageous price they want because there aren't many other options (besides perhaps exhausting and potentially dangerous bus trips). Traveling around this area of the world thickened my skin more than anything else in my life. Some people criticized Cassie De Pecol, the quickest person to visit every country, for not experiencing each country deeply enough. While Alford, 21, is likely to receive similar comments to achieve her goal so quickly and young in life, she is not worried.
At the end of the day, we all prefer to travel in different ways, says Alford. Some people prefer to spend months or years alone in a few countries and others want to have a source of samples of the world. No matter what you prefer, there will always be someone who disagrees. Alford says he took his time in most places.
“I love getting away from capitals, trying local food, photographing culture and nature and staying as long as I can afford,” he says. But there were countries where Alford felt uncomfortable traveling alone as a woman. To be honest, spending weeks in each country wasn't in my budget. The minimum amount of time I spent in a country was two to three days.
South Sudan, Somalia, the Central African Republic, Mali, Chad and Papua New Guinea are some of the countries where I didn't spend much time because I didn't have the means for adequate security. “I would love to come back and explore more of them one day,” he says. I still feel like I've only scratched the surface of how much there is to see. Alford says he hasn't yet figured out his biggest takeaway from this whole experience.
“This is the question that will take me the longest to unpack,” he says. But these are some of the lessons he learned while traveling the world. This is a tip that anyone can use, whether you are traveling the world or just want to go on a great vacation. .