Lonely Planet Writer

Join this exclusive club if you can prove you have travelled to 100 countries

If you are one of the lucky people who has travelled to 100 or more territories of the world, an exclusive club is happy to have you as a member.

Polynesian women perform a traditional dance in Tahiti Papeete. Image: ©sarayuth3390/Getty Images

The Travelers’ Century Club, based in Los Angeles, was founded in 1954 by a group of the world’s most widely-travelled people, and now has 1500 members and 26 chapters located in key locations throughout the world. It offers them the opportunity to share experiences with other travellers and holds social events such as lunches, dinners and receptions. Members can expand their travel knowledge by listening to interesting and educational speakers and seeing presentations about unique destinations. “Our members are true travellers, and seek to truly experience and appreciate the people and cultures around the world,” Travelers’ Century Club Board Member Gloria McCoy told Lonely Planet Travel News.

Travelers' Century Club Board Pam Barras, Steve Fuller, Gloria McCoy, Mike Sholer, Chris Hudson, Kevin Hughes and Ron Endeman.
Travelers’ Century Club Board Pam Barras, Steve Fuller, Gloria McCoy, Mike Sholer, Chris Hudson, Kevin Hughes and Ron Endeman. Image by Travelers’ Century Club

Members can browse ‘exclusive info’ files, written by other members based on their own experiences, and these contain helpful information, especially about difficult-to-reach or unusual destinations. “Typical social occasions do not provide the opportunity to share how you arranged travel to Papua New Guinea on the Sepik River to visit isolated tribes. Typically the reply would be, ‘Why would you want to go there?’ In TCC we know why. Membership also allows the opportunity to identify members who may wish to join you in your travels. Meetings will usually include a fascinating travelogue by a member recalling their experiences and the logistics that made the trip possible,” Gloria said.

Simple houses made of straw, wood and bamboo surrounded by greenery in Palembe, Sepik river in Papua New Guinea.
Houses made of straw, wood and bamboo surrounded by greenery in Palembe, Sepik river in Papua New Guinea. Image by ©Michal Knitl/Shutterstock

While the US Department of State has defined only 195 sovereign countries in the world, prospective members are required to have visited 100 of 325 territories contained on the Travelers’ Century Club official list.

Cote d’Azur in France. Image: Valery Bareta/Getty Images

Other bonuses of membership include the opportunity to travel with other members to exotic places, perhaps arranging charter transportation to the destination. The organisation believes that the sharing of travel knowledge leads to a better understanding of worldwide cultures, history and people and provides inspiration for growth and self-fulfilment.

Bringing down the cattle from the mountain pasture in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria. Image by Hans Huber/Getty Images

To join the club, prospective members must fill out an application form, tick off each of the 100 countries they’ve visited, and pay the $100 initiation fee. After that, according to the club, they get ‘worldwide recognition or “bragging rights’ since only a few people in the world have visited 100 territories. Beyond that however, members say that the best part of the club is the sense of camaraderie that they experience. “I have learned to ask questions of members and listen. They are excited about their travel experiences and want to share.  It is not always about me wanting to share my stories.  Of all the social situations I find myself in, my absolute favourite is being with fellow TCC members,” Gloria said.