Around the world in a day
November 30, 2008 8:13 PM   Subscribe

How many different countries could you visit in 24 hours?

If we define "visit" as crossing the border, either on foot or in some sort of land or water vehicle. Crossing the border of a country while in the air doesn't count. Assume that money is no object and you can freely enter any country in the world.
posted by Miss Otis' Egrets to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I assume flying from one location to another is OK?

If so, I'd start in San Marino, then fly to the Italy/Austria/Slovenia triborder area (+3), then fly to the Croatia/Bosnia/Serbia triborder area (+3), then fly to pick up Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, the Ukraine, and Russia in turn.

16 or so?
posted by troy at 8:23 PM on November 30, 2008

This might be considered cheating, but embassies enjoy some weird status where they're treated as being part of the country that sent the diplomats.

So, unless you consider this cheating, the answer is probably "a lot", which is accomplished by something like "start in Washington, D.C., and go to a lot of embassies".
posted by Flunkie at 8:48 PM on November 30, 2008

Oh, and then hop a flight to Cuba.
posted by Flunkie at 8:50 PM on November 30, 2008

If I were trying to do it, I'd do it with a speed boat along the west coast of Africa, hitting the beach every once in a while:

Beginning with Gambia, then Senegal, Guinea-Bisseau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria -- where I'd probably be taken out by pirates.

That's about 2800 kilometers, which you might be able to do with a hovercraft.

That part of the African coast has the highest density of nations I know of on the planet.
posted by Class Goat at 8:56 PM on November 30, 2008

Here's a route on Google Maps that gets you through 12 countries in 27 hours by car. I'm sure if you maximized the route for speed and were willing to break the speed limit a little you could get that under 24 hours. Gets you from the Czech Republic to Greece via Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:58 PM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

If money is no object and you're willing to spend billions, you could probably visit all of them with a combination of supersonic aircraft and spacecraft.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:31 PM on November 30, 2008

Are we taking into account time zones? 24 personal hours, or international date line to international dateline? I would say a dozen no problem by car in Europe, but I think Class Goat is probably on to something with the boat idea. More if you allow "territorial waters". (But I wouldn't since you're not counting air space.)

You could waltz around the south poll and cross 8 territorial claims in a few minutes. Does that count?
posted by Ookseer at 12:12 AM on December 1, 2008

Building on troy's idea, there's also a tri-border point for the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.
posted by winston at 12:30 AM on December 1, 2008

Rock Steady, you are not taking into account the queues of cars that form at customs in non-EU countries. Waiting to cross some borders might take a rather substantial amount of time.
posted by halogen at 1:08 AM on December 1, 2008

I'll join the Mefi 24hr Rally! Here's my route. Netherlands to Poland via Belgium, Germany, Luxemburg, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Slowakia, and Czech Republic. Of course, on this magical day there will be no traffic jams or customs queues!
posted by Psychnic at 3:14 AM on December 1, 2008

halogen, that's a good point. Money is no object, however, so presumably you could arrange for a dedicated lane at those crossings, or a police/UN escort maybe?
posted by Rock Steady at 3:25 AM on December 1, 2008

Without even thinking, it should be dead easy to cover 8 countries in western Europe with a reasonably functioning car in a day. Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands.

I've come close to that myself without intending to.

With money as no object, hiring a private jet and arranging arrivals within the Shenghen zones at smaller airfields, I could imagine it's possible to hit every country in western Europe within 24 hours. I would probably work my way from South to North up the eastern side and then back down along the western edge.

Not sure if all these countries are Shengen, but possibly something like: Greece, Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Scotland, England, Portugal, Spain. I'd need a map in front of me right now to recollect some of the closer border regions. They'd all most likely have airstrips that could handle a private jet.

Getting to the Nordics and back down is probably the biggest challenge. You could also build Monaco or the Vatican into the mix by including them as starting points for the expedition.
posted by michswiss at 7:17 AM on December 1, 2008

Class Goat nailed it - that's one of the most densely-populated (nation-wise) collection of nations anywhere on the planet. The roads there are all shit so don't even think about doing it with a car (not to mention the fact that you'd only be able to do about 3-4 countries if you were stopping at the traditional border-crossings to get your passport stamped). You'd want either a helicopter or a boat, hoping the seas were calm in your 24 hour period.
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:59 AM on December 1, 2008

I should clarify a few points: embassies don't count, the time period is 24 personal hours (no date line trickery), there are no delays at borders and for this magical period of time the roads, flight paths and water ways are clear and navigable.
posted by Miss Otis' Egrets at 11:49 AM on December 1, 2008

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