Humans have been on the move since the dawn of time. Now more than any time in history, it’s easy to travel – both in our own backyards and halfway across the planet. But, not every person is the same and some people like to travel more than others. Who do you think travels more? Indians or Colombians? Australians or Egyptians? The numbers might surprise you. In this list, we group people together by nationality to see who travels most often. A few general trends emerge: people from smaller countries are more likely to travel abroad than citizens of larger countries; more affluent countries tend to have populations which travel more frequently; and, maybe surprisingly, people from island countries are not more likely to travel abroad than they are to travel domestically. So, where do you think the most well traveled people come from? (Travel data is sourced from Timetric’s study on 2013 travel habits across the world. For a trip to count, it must include an overnight stop, but it could be leisure, business, or otherwise.) Do you consider yourself an avid traveler? Find out if your country made the cut in this list of the 25 Most Well-Traveled Peoples In The World
The archipelago of Indonesia starts off our list of the world’s most well-traveled people. Though they are the 25th most traveled nationality on the planet, Indonesians aren’t necessarily travelling the world. More than any other nationality on this list, Indonesians travel more within their country than abroad with only 0.03 outbound trips per domestic trip. Living in a country of 17,508 islands which is also one of 25 global biodiversity hotspots in the world, it’s not hard to see why Indonesians stay close to home.
The Chinese are legendary travelers, whether it be Chinese traders who plied the seas in their junk boats or today’s 50-person strong tourist groups which show up and leave in a flash on their chartered tour buses. Despite the amount of Chinese tourists seen around the world, most journeys are domestic – 15 times more in fact. With mega-cities, ancient monuments, and almost every type of climate, who can blame them?
Like the Indonesians and Chinese, Brazilians are much more likely to travel within their own country – 25 times in fact. Citizens of a BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) country, Brazil’s rapidly developing middle class are hungry to travel. Couple that with ever-more Brazilians going abroad to learn English and these people are major travelers. Despite its size and natural wonder, Brazil only brings in about as many international tourists as Argentina.
This fact may surprise you – for such a small country, Belgians are not one of the nationalities which travel the most. Relegated to #22, Belgians are, though, much more likely to visit foreign countries rather than travelling in their own, a trait common to smaller nations. (They’re three times more likely as the average Belgian takes 0.9 outbound and 0.3 domestic trips each year.)
Despite the high disposable incomes of many Saudis, they aren’t the biggest travelers on our list. On average, each Saudi citizen takes just under one domestic and international trip annually. Despite being largely barren desert and wastelands, Saudi Arabia has made use of its oil wealth to build vast cities, including the two holiest spots in Islam – Mecca and Medina.
Asia’s most influential city according to Forbes, Singapore is a city-state group of islands and one of Asia’s most economically prosperous and important zones. One of the smallest countries on Earth, Singapore sees its citizens travel abroad 80 times more than they do domestically, the second largest imbalance on this list. Due to the country’s role as one of the primary Asian business hubs, many Singaporeans (who often have generous incomes) frequently travel for business to other countries in Asia and to the Middle East and Europe.
Italy: the country most people dream of visiting. Its bright blue Mediterranean shores, legendary gastronomy, and rich history has shaped the boot-country. With such diversity, Italians are the 19th most traveled people in the world. Most trips are domestic – likely to visit large extended families or religious monuments – but Italians, like other higher-income Europeans, are often seen on the move around the continent as well.
Mexicans travel more domestically than any other country so far on our list. Large extended families, like in Italy, and the country’s long cultural history as the founder of multiple civilizations (including the Olmec, Toltec, Zapotec, Maya, and Aztec) play a major role in high domestic travel. Other nationalities have recognized the vivacity of Mexican culture and the numerous important cultural sites which bring in nearly 30 million tourists each year, making Mexico the tenth most visited country in the world.
The Dutch are the most charitable nationality in the world, giving more money per capita to charity than any other country. Most Dutch people (and nearly all Dutch people under 30 years old) speak fluent English, making them more comfortable to travel. Despite being from such a small country, the Dutch travel inwards as much as outwards with each person taking, on average, at least one inward and outward-bound trip per year.
The Japanese are similar travelers to #2 on our list in terms of travel habits. Coming from a country with a rich history (and possibly due in part to its history of isolationism), the Japanese much prefer to travel within the country than abroad. Though each person generally takes 2.3 trips per year, 2.2 of those are within the country. With volcanoes, mountains, beaches, and massive metropolises, Japan has plenty for its citizens to visit.
Austria is home to one of the most travelling nationalities in the world. Among Europeans, Austrians book the farthest in advance, about 72 days before a holiday. Whereas other cold country-living people enjoy beach getaways, Austrians prefer to go on social vacations or visit family and friends.
The country famous for timepieces and chocolate is no stranger to taking trips afield. The Swiss are some of Europe’s most frequent travelers with each person taking 1.6 jaunts abroad on average every year. Despite the breathtaking Alpine lakes and skiing opportunities, Switzerland brings in less than 2% of visitors to Europe.