Best Passports

PassportsEarlier this week, a study was published purportedly stating which countries had the best passport.

What do they mean by “best passport?” The criteria was simple: which country’s passport could get their citizens into the most countries without a visa.

Okay, that seems really silly, especially since it’s not as if we get to choose which country’s passport we want to use. But I’ll play along.

Best countries to have a passport from

1. UK, Finland, Sweden (number of visa-free countries 173)

2. Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, USA (172)

3. Belgium, Italy, Netherlands (171)

4. Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Spain (170)

5. New Zealand, Switzerland, Austria (168)

6. Australia, Greece, Singapore (167)

7. South Korea (166)

8. Iceland (165)

9. Malaysia, Malta (163)

10. Liechtenstein (159)

… and the worst

Afghanistan (28)

Iraq (31)

Pakistan, Somalia (32)

What was more interesting to me was not the countries I could get into without a visa, but which ones still required me to get one. I understand places like North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the like…..but Australia? Makes no sense. (Yes, I know we require a visa from the Aussies but you would think we’d have done away with this by now.)

And then there were the countries that don’t require a visa from us but we still require a visa from them. Argentina and Chile are two examples. And neither one of those governments is thrilled with the lopsidedness.

Rather than requiring U.S. Citizens to get a visa, they are charged an entrance fee  of $160. This is exactly what a U.S. visa costs for them. Australians and Canadians also have to pay but different rates.

This, of course, has sparked lots of discussions on how to get around the fee. In Argentina, the fee is only collected at the Buenos Aires airports. So, if visitor flies to say Paraguay, then takes a 10-12 hour bus ride into Argentina,  he won’t have to pay the $160.

If my choice is a 12 hour bus ride, or paying $160, I’ll pay the fee.

As I plan “The Adventure,” I realize that a few of the countries I had hoped to visit require a difficult to get visa. In some cases I have to mail in my passport to the country’s embassy or consulate and wait weeks for an answer.

That means no passport and limited travel.

I guess some of those countries will either be bypassed all together or postponed to a more opportune time.

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7 Responses to Best Passports

  1. Paula Bag Lass says:

    It’s like a flipping game of chess!
    Not only do you have to pre-plan your visas, you also need vaccines for some countries…..or are you visiting tropical-disease free countries?
    At least I have the best of two worlds by holding UK and Canadian passports, but I can honestly say, at the age I’m at now, my bucket list countries don’t require visas (or vaccines).

    Take a headache pill, some deep breaths, keep calm and carry on. 😉

  2. Frank@OBOW says:

    When deciding where to go, I heed the following rules:

    1) No big bugs.
    2) No tropical diseases.
    3) If the most common English language phrase used by the locals is “Death to America,” I’m not gong there.
    4) If the country is better known for its pirates, kidnappers, terrorists, or fanatical dictators, I’m probably not going there.

    In reality, I’m not a big fan of the tropics and will probably skip most of that area. I prefer a more termperate cimate. .

  3. Paula Bag Lass says:

    >>>4) If the country is better known for its pirates, kidnappers, terrorists, or fanatical dictators, I’m probably not going there.<<<

    Ah, that rules out Britain then!!! 😉

    I must confess, as much as I'd like to visit Australia, their fauna tends to put me off, most of it wants to kill us and one arachnid in particular, (called the huntsman), may not be dangerous (unless you're allergic), but is just too friggin' big for my comfort.
    A friend from the UK lived in Sydney for a short time, eating dinner out in their back yard, up pops one of these beasties on the wall beside them. This was two years ago, my arachnophobic friend still hasn't recovered from the shock…..and lives back in London.

  4. Frank@OBOW says:

    Well, Sydney WAS on my list of places to visit…..:)

    Sydney has spiders, Brazil has Anacondas, Japan has Godzilla……I’ll guess I’ll have to risk it in London. At least there, the only thing I have to be concerned about, and I’m constantly reminded of it, is to “mind the gap.”

  5. Maggie says:

    Don’t let the fauna put you off visiting Australia! It’s a place I love to visit, although for me it’s a relatively short flight (just overnight) there. And if you take the train from Sydney airport, be glad you’re a one-bagger. There’s a high step from the platform to the carriage and you see passengers struggling to lift their heavy suitcases onto the train. Also, there is a tendency to weigh carry-ons in Australia, so pack light!

  6. Greg says:

    I agree that the US/ Australia visa thing is very anachronistic. Australia and the US have an awful lot in common and the restrictions seem unwarranted.

  7. Greg says:

    PS
    The risks from spiders and snakes in Australia are very low. What you need to worry about the sharks and the crocodiles.

    Seriously though. If you look at the stats you are far more likely to die in a car crash or other travel accident that getting harmed by the fauna.

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