A New Travel Record: 17 Countries in 24 Hours

17 countries in 24 hours

Here's the team's driving route, strategically designed to hit as many countries as possible.

I consider my personal travel style to be “rushed” at best. It’s rare that I spend more than three or four days at a destination. I never seem to have enough time to see all that I want to and my mantra is “I guess I’ll have just have to see that [museum, site, neighborhood, etc.] next time.” I wish I could slow down, but time is always seems to be an issue and I love the thrill of seeing new places. Even if I had an extra day to spend in a city, I bet I’d use it by taking a day trip to see somewhere else.

Well it turns out that I travel at a glacial pace compared to the “17 in 24” team of Yvo Kuhling, Liselott Martynenko Agerlid, Philomena O’Brien and Todd Hepworth. They visited 17 countries in 24 hours. Starting in Bosnia and Herzegovina, they drove through Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Belgium finally arriving in The Netherlands.

liechtenstein border sign

Here's some proof: The "17 in 24" team at the Liechtenstein border.

Actually, it only took the speed demons 23 hours and 30 minutes, to be precise. And being precise is very important to RecordSetter, a newish website that bills itself as the New Home for World Records (move over Guinness!) and believes that everyone can set a record at something as long as they’re creative enough about it. But records are made to be broken… The original record was 13 countries in 24 hours, set by Andy Lelean and Paddy Halliwell in 2008. Departing from England, they drove through the Eurotunnel to France, and then on to Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The first RecordSetter determines the rules and in this case the rules are that the participants must physically stand in each country,must complete visits within any consecutive 24-hour period and must provide media evidence. Here’s some media evidence: a video of the jubilant team arriving at their final destination in Maastricht, Holland.

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17 Responses to A New Travel Record: 17 Countries in 24 Hours

  1. Annette | Bucket List Journey
    Twitter: luckyannette
    June 10, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    Wow! I am a traveler like you, I usually spend no more than 4 days in one city. I can’t even imagine how quickly you would have to go to make it to 17 countries!
    Annette | Bucket List Journey recently posted..Harrod’s Food Hall & the ₤30 Bottle of Water

  2. Anita Mac
    Twitter: wheretogoam
    June 11, 2012 at 12:02 am #

    I think I prefer the opposite – spend more time, get to know the place and get a feel for where I am at. We spend a decadent 10 days in Prague, only leaving town once to visit the birthplace of beer. Ten days may be more than we needed, but we expected more closures over Christmas and New Years – really didn’t see to be a problem. I don’t think I will be going for the new travel record any time soon! I am happy with the slower experience.

    • Liz Borod Wright
      June 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

      Hmmm… Maybe you could set some kind of slow travel record? I think that is very admirable that you will spend up to 10 days in 1 city before moving on.

  3. John June 12, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    That is unbelievable. Good thing they don’t have to show their passport at every border!
    John recently posted..Exploring The Ruins of The Old Los Angeles Zoo

    • Liz Borod Wright
      June 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

      You’re right — in the “old days” this would have been impossible!

      • Todd Hepworth November 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

        Yep thank goodness for Schengen.

        For those interested we had border controls at Bosnia-Croatia, Croatia-Serbia, Serbia-Hungary, Hungary-Romania and Romania back to Hungary. Then it was smooth sailing!!!

  4. Jeremy June 13, 2012 at 2:34 am #

    I would like to equate this to the guy who had the quest to visit every country in the world, but only spent 3 days in each capital city, stayed at expensive hotels, and frequently ate at McDonalds. The only difference is that I hope these people were purely doing it for the sake of doing it and not being their only trip abroad ever whereas the other was a lifestyle in EVERY country.
    Jeremy recently posted..Contest – Show Us Your Sunny Days and Win!

    • Liz Borod Wright
      June 20, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      Jeremy, I think they hatched this crazy plan specifically to beat the last record… Although since I’m a bit of a country-counter myself (despite my count not really being that high!), I think I would include these 17 countries as countries I had been to! Although I do wonder if they’re going to go back to all 17 and give them their due.

      • Todd Hepworth November 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

        Liz and Jeremy,

        Yes we saw the previous records – 13 by Andy and 16 by a Norwegian couple so it was specifically done to beat the record.

        I had been to all 17 previously, but I’ll admit my total time in Liechtenstein both this time and last is less than a day!…

  5. Vi@Travel Tips
    Twitter: ShortTravelTips
    June 13, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    Does rules say anything about driving speed limit? I don’t think it is possible to do without breaking rules of the road.
    Vi@Travel Tips recently posted..Top 5 largest aquariums in the world to see whale sharks

  6. Andy Lelean June 15, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    Hi Andy here, the original record holder with 13.
    Congratulations to you all
    Paddy & I had been looking at a possible route to go back and try for 17, so I guess you have saved us the trouble.

    Well done


    • Liz Borod Wright
      June 20, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

      Andy, thanks for stopping by! They saved you the trouble of going for 17, so now it’s up to you to go for 18…

      • andy lelean June 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

        Yes 18 is obviously the next target, I have already joked with Todd that that’s what we’ll have to do. Although I just can’t see how to do it. Paddy and I had thought that 17 was tough (but possible), the problem is that to add the one extra will mean hundreds of km extra.
        So really need to try to find some time from somewhere – but where?

        • Liz Borod Wright
          June 28, 2012 at 3:33 am #

          Or perhaps a flying car?

          • Todd Hepworth November 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

            Hi Todd here, one of the 4 travellers!

            The other way to get 18 is for a country to separate!!! So promote Belgium splitting in two!!! hahahaha

  7. Matthew Hutchins June 20, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    Damn that’s a lot of countries in a short amount of time, I might try and beat it next time I head to Europe.
    Matthew Hutchins recently posted..Exploring National Parks of the Kimberley

  8. Bicultural Mama
    Twitter: BiculturalMama
    July 21, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    Wow, that’s quite a trip! Probably exhausting, but thrilling at the same time.

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