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For many travelers, ticking off bucket-list destinations and experiences is a personal mission. Take for instance: Hitting 30 countries before turning the big 3-0. And while any adventure warrants Facebook posting, Instagram double-taps and, of course, post-vacay bragging rights, there are some travelers who have taken their global trekking to the extreme. We’ve rounded up some of their craziest achievements, as chronicled in the Guinness Book of World Records. Take a look at these extreme travel records listed below and ask yourself if you, too, have what it takes to go big or stay home.

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Most Countries Visited by Bicycle
When you’re killin’ time in Europe on your honeymoon or a vacation with your best pals, you probably weigh the cost of trains vs. planes. But what if you loaded up that cutesy basket and traveled via two wheels? In 2013, U.K. resident Glen Burmeister became the person to visit the most countries via bicycle (eleven!) in one week. Burmeister made his way from Breclav, Czech Republic to Shkoder, Albania from April 29 to May 5. We hope he toasted the end of his trip with the biggest pint he could find!

Most Countries Visited by Car
You’ve likely considered packing up your car National Lampoon-style (minus the late grandmother, of course) and high-tailing it cross-country. Not only will you see many sites, but it can be a cost-effective way to travel. One German man had the same idea, but rather than zipping past state lines, he covered countries. In fact, between December 18, 1988 and October 18, 2014, Gunther Holtorf drove his Mercedes Benz G-wagon—which he nicknamed “Otto”—around the world, seeing 180 countries, non-consecutively. If only car miles were like airline miles, right?

Most Countries Visited on a Single Charge
Have you hopped on the plug-and-go car trend yet? Better for the environment and for your wallet, electric cars are trending toward the norm, especially in Europe and certain parts of the Western United States. Because they’re #cool, they’re definitely going to attract the attention of world-record-seekers, like ironically-named, Frederik Van Overloop from Belgium. Using his Tesla Model S, Van Overloop was able to visit seven countries on a single charge in July of 2016. Talk about battery-powered traveling.

Most Countries Visited in 24 Hours via Public Transportation
If you rely heavily on public transportation to make that 9am budget meeting, then you know the true anxiety that comes with catching the right train at the preferred time. But imagine if you were seeking to break the world record for the most countries visited in 24 hours only using public transportation? U.K.-based Adam Leyton pulled off this impressive feat on May 25–26, 2016, making it to 12 countries (Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria) in a 24-hour period. Is your jaw dropped yet?

Most Landings at an Airport in 24 Hours
Even if you love traveling and are pretty even-keel on airplanes, most travelers struggle with takeoffs and landings, as they rely the most on human expertise. That’s why we have to hand it to Thomas Bishop, an American who landed his Pilatus Porter aircraft 442 times in a 24-hour period, May 18–19, 2001. Over this exciting day, he was up in the air for a collective 21 hours.

ALSO: Want to break the record for most Orbucks accumulated in a single year? Sign up for Orbitz Rewards and start traveling!

Steepest Runway at an International Airport
Fair warning: If you’re headed to the French Alps, you might want to pack some zen vibes. The Courchevel International Airport takes home the world record for the steepest runway, and is likely not a landing or takeoff for the faint of heart—make that stomach. At just 1,722 feet long, the landing strip is angles at 18.5 degrees.

World’s Largest Airport
Being an airport connoisseur means you get to know which ones have the best lounges. But have you ever touched down in the largest airport in the world? Think it’s LAX? Or maybe London’s Heathrow? Nope. According to the world records team, the biggest airport in the world is King Fahd International, near Dammam, Saudi Arabia. It’s an impressive 780 km²—that’s bigger than O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

College Park Airport | Flickr CC: Elvert Barnes

The Oldest Operating Airport
Considering North Carolina was first in flight (thanks to Orville and Wilbur Wright), you might think the oldest operating airport is in the Tar Heel State. You’re close; the oldest continuously operating airport in the world is actually in Washington. The College Park Airport has been flying the friendly skies since 1909!

The Most Airlines Flown in a Year
These days, airline loyalty isn’t quite as common as it used to be. For those of us who want to see as much of the world as we can without robbing our savings account blind, the cheapest deal often gets the booking. Think about it: can you even list every single airline you’ve ever flown? Probably not, unless you are John Bougen and James Irving from New Zealand. They hold the world’s record for the most airlines flown in one year—104. They started their journey in August 2002 via the All Nations Quest, traveling through 191 countries and setting yet another world record for the most sovereign countries visited in six months.

 

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Lindsay Tigar

Lindsay Tigar

Lindsay is a lifestyle and travel writer, and content strategist. She is a passport stamp collector with an affinity for great wine, coffee and conversation. You can find a full collection of her work at lindsaytigar.com.
Lindsay Tigar

@lindsaytigar

Writer. Traveler. Editorial Director at ClassPass. Avid boxer and yogi. New Yorker. Lover.
Watch out for these, newlyweds!... https://t.co/h1ZEGroF2f - 1 day ago
Lindsay Tigar

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