Lonely Planet Writer

See this beautiful world map created from travellers' journeys

A good map can tell you everything you need to know; now a company has taken thousands of travellers’ itineraries and created a world map of journeys.

This is what the world map would look like if was drawn by travellers. Image by TripHappy
This is what the world map would look like if was drawn by travellers. Image by TripHappy

The map was created by the company TripHappy using 17,000 itineraries in 184 countries. It doesn’t feature any geographic borders and the team behind say it visualises “what the world looks like when created by travellers.” Each circle on the map represents a stop on the itinerary and countries that are usually visited in the one trip have the same colour. The itineraries are a combination of trips already taken and ones people are planning or perhaps just dreaming about.

The average trip itinerary is jam-packed with ten cities over the course of 12 days, covering 2223 kilometres in total. The United States came up as the most popular country, though TripHappy say this is probably down to the fact that more than 63% of their users are based there and are famous for favouring domestic trips. China and Japan and the second and third most popular countries respectively.

Japan comes up top for most-wanted cities with three cities making into the top five slots; perhaps no surprise as tourism is booming there. Tokyo and Kyoto came in the top two, followed by Bangkok, Delhi and Osaka.

This globe visualises how connected each country is. The thicker the line, the more connections in itineraries. Image by TripHappy
This globe visualises how connected each country is. The thicker the line, the more connections in itineraries. Image by TripHappy

The team also made a visualisation of how connected each country was and adjusted the location of the countries on the map accordingly. While many countries naturally ended up clustered to their close neighbours, there were some surprises here. Calvin Hawkes of TripHappy told Lonely Planet the team were surprised that India is more closely connected to Western Europe than it is with other parts of Asia. There were also far more connections between Scandinavian countries and Eastern Europe than there was with Western Europe.

Given that the map is created by user data, there are obviously some gaps. “In our opinion, we feel Mexico and Colombia are the most underrepresented countries”, Hawkes said. “In our experience, those countries are incredible, vibrant, and friendly towards travellers. Unfortunately they have an outdated reputation for being dangerous.”

You can learn more about the visualisation method and data on the TripHappy blog.