The Year 2019 in Travel – 40 New countries

The year 2019 is now over and what an adventure it has been! We travelled across four continents and explored 40 new countries.

Here is a short recap of what we’ve been up to on our journey. 

The Year 2019 in Travel – 40 New countries

The year 2019 is now over and what an adventure it has been! We travelled across four continents and explored 40 new countries.

Here is a short recap of what we’ve been up to on our journey. 

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

We may earn affiliate commissions from websites we link to, at no cost to you. Click here for details.

The Year 2019 – The Big Recap

TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN JANUARY 2019 

We rolled into 2019 in Ghana, Africa. What a place to celebrate the New Year.

Accra has some cool bars and is super trendy. People are friendly here and we loved being able to use Uber to get around and check out some highlights of Accra.

RELATED POST – Travelling through Ghana – Why you’re Ghana love it

Sao Tome and Principe – This is an island nation we knew so little about, yet it won us over instantly.

Tropical, lush and green, we explored the island with a rental jeep and found a degustation menu inspired by the local produce. A food experience to remember!

RELATED POST – What to do and where to stay in Sao Tome

The Year 2019 in Travel - Benin
The Year 2019 in Travel – Benin

Togo and Benin were explored on public transport (hello shared taxis). From waterfalls, voodoo culture, and floating villages to some great local dishes – we enjoyed the diversity in these countries.

Nigeria – Our Nigerian visa turned out to be a huge challenge but we got there in the end. The border crossing was full of adventures and frustration.

Lagos is a huge city and we might’ve spent more time trying to get to places than enjoying Lagos, but for a city of 21 million, there will be LOTS of traffic.

RELATED POST – Is it safe to walk around in Lagos, Nigeria?

Cameroon – From Lagos, we flew into Cameroon (as it wasn’t safe to travel overland) and officially started our journey in the Central Africa region.

More visas had to be done, but we also got to chill at the beach and eat some great seafood. Cameroon was a pleasant surprise.

We liked the city of Yaounde, very green, and rainy and had some remarkable architecture. Douala was busy, but we met some great people and Kribi Beach definitely helped to recharge our batteries for the next leg of our travels. 

TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN FEBRUARY 2019

This month was all about visiting countries in Central Africa!  We’re talking about the countries that our mums would rather us not visit…the ones where our travel insurance ‘doesn’t apply’ and governments advise against visiting for any reason at all.

However, we’re on a mission to visit every country, so they’re on our travel list to see.

Central African Republic #visiteverycountry

Central African Republic (CAR) – This was just a brief visit to the capital city, Bangui.

This was not only because it’s a total red zone, but to stay in a hotel with good security, we had to pay the most that we’ve ever paid for a hotel in our lifetime.

RELATED POST – Visiting the Central African Republic

Chad #visiteverycountry
The Year 2019 in Travel – Enjoying fresh fish in N’Djamena, Chad

Chad – We couch-surfed here in the capital, N’Djamena.

Our hosts knew that we loved to eat local food, so they showed us the best parts of this city and took us for some fantastic food including fresh fish from the lake and grilled camel meat.

RELATED POST – Where to Eat in N’Djamena, Chad

Equatorial Guinea was a weird little country – but we expected as much. The only Spanish-speaking country in Africa – obtaining the visa to visit wasn’t an easy task.

The capital felt kind of empty.…not so many people around. When other travellers are planning how to visit every country in the world, this country always turns up as one of the more difficult nations to visit.

The Year 2019 in Travel - Gabon
The Year 2019 in Travel – Gabon

Gabon – A super green little country with tons of potential to be the next up-and-coming country in Africa.

The only thing stopping them is the poor infrastructure. It’s very tough to get around the country, which makes independent travel a challenge.

Republic of Congo – This is the ‘safe’ Congo as people often refer to it and the capital of Brazzaville was cool.

Good food, interesting architecture and it was nice to be able to explore the city on foot.

RELATED POST – Brazzaville to Kinshasa river crossing – How to do it and what it costs

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – We had plans to go trekking with mountain gorillas in DRC, but the National Park closed because of trouble in that region of the country.

We crossed the river from the Republic of Congo to the Democratic Rep of Congo (DRC) on a very interesting ferry ride.

Our arrival in Kinshasa, known as one of the most dangerous cities in the world was OK. Corruption and bribes are a way of life here and the streets of Kinshasa aren’t for the faint-hearted.

Angola – At this point, we’d been sticking ‘post-it’ notes into our passports to try and save pages for this visa. We almost didn’t make it through customs because we didn’t have the required three blank pages in our passports to qualify.

With a bit of negotiation and our best manners, we eventually won over the official.

We stayed with a friend in Luanda, ate very well here and then flew back to Europe.

RELATED POST – Travelling in Central Africa – Why are we moving faster?

TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN MARCH 2019

March was a month of beaches and sun. We flew to the Caribbean to travel around the islands and to reach our final three countries in South America.

Barbados – What an introduction to the Caribbean. Perfect beaches, rum, fresh tuna and our lovely Airbnb host Elise made our stay here even better. 

How to visit Barbados on a budget

Kaieteur Falls in Guyana
Kaieteur Falls in Guyana – one of the unknown world’s wonders

Guyana – We explored the capital Georgetown with its very cool architecture and waited for a flight to fill up to see the famous Kaieteur Falls. Finally, on the last day, we got to fly!

It was a tiny propeller plane, half of the fun was getting to the waterfalls. Once we got there, we were blown away. Put this one on the bucket list.

Suriname #visiteverycountry
In downtown Paramaribo, Suriname

Suriname – Once again, we travelled overland, this time to the neighbouring country of Suriname. Suriname is a former colony of The Netherlands so people speak Dutch here and the capital city has very Dutch-looking buildings.

We were shown around by a lovely woman named Lily, as a friend put us in contact with her. She could certainly be an ambassador for Suriname. 

RELATED POST – How to get a visa for Suriname in Guyana

Trinidad & Tobago – It was time to hit the Caribbean again, and we heard T&T had some fantastic street food – hello doubles for lunch!

The rain decided to pour down, but we went for an excellent hike to some waterfalls with our friend Clive. 

best things to do in grenada

Grenada was our final country in March. It has one of the loveliest ports, with its colourful buildings and Azur waters.

We joined a food tour of Grenada, and it was terrific. And let’s not forget the beaches in Grenada – simply incredible.

We honestly considered working on a yacht or boats and sailing our way across the Caribbean, but after meeting a girl who was stuck in Grenada doing the same for two months, we decided to fly.

We loved this island – here are 10 things you shouldn’t miss in Grenada.

TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN APRIL 2019

Our travels continued in the Caribbean. We loved exploring here! What’s not to love? Beaches, sun, surf and warm weather are a bunch of our favourite things.

St Vincent & the Grenadines – Mountains, lush green landscapes and colourful houses. Our highlight was taking the ferry to the small island of Bequia for the day. Bliss!

St Lucia – We rented a fabulous little apartment in St Lucia and enjoyed sunny days, home-cooked meals and lots of tropical fruit.

Dominica – We can’t wait to return to this slice of paradise! By far, it is our favourite island in the Caribbean. Maybe it’s the focus on eco-tourism, the tropical lush surroundings or the fact that this island doesn’t have the hordes of tourists here yet (but that won’t take long), and it felt very relaxed.

We could easily have stayed much longer on this very affordable, gorgeous island.

St Kitts & Nevis – St Kitt’s was nice. Beach visits, hiking and relaxing, were on the agenda here.

Antigua & Barbuda – We enjoyed Antigua in our little rented car. We packed a lot in the time we spent there. Our Airbnb host was fantastic, and we enjoyed some excellent local food here too.

The Bahamas – White beaches, turquoise water and seafood. We especially enjoyed our Airbnb here, a room in a big old house, complete with rocking chairs and rum on the balcony in the evening. 

Cayman Islands – We didn’t have to visit the Caymans, but a friend we hadn’t seen for many years invited us for a relaxing break. This is precisely what we did.

It was such a great week of swimming, snorkelling, eating out and enjoying time with good friends.

Oh, and Grand Caymans is up there with some of the best beaches in the world.

Jamaica – We saw so much in the time we had here! Our rented car took us everywhere..and we were happy to give it back in one piece. The Jamaicans are crazy drivers!

We ate jerk chicken, enjoyed cold beers on the beach, visited Bob Marley’s home in Kingston and enjoyed the mellow nature of the Jamaican people.

TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN MAY 2019

May was a month of milestones for us! We visited our last few remaining countries in the Caribbean, and we also got to finally see Venezuela, our final country left to visit in the Americas.

why is the dominican republic and haiti so different

Dominican Republic – What a beautiful island! This was also one of our favourite countries in the Caribbean.

We loved the Spanish vibes in the capital city of Santo Domingo, and the beaches and food here were perfect.

The Year 2019 in Travel - Haiti
The Year 2019 in Travel – Haiti

Haiti – There is something special about this country, which shares the same island (Hispaniola) with the Dominican Republic, yet these two countries are very different. Find out the reasons why in this post.

Once we arrived in Haiti, we felt transported back to some of the countries we’d recently visited in West Africa.

We spent most of our time in Cap Haitien, and the huge fortress here was epic.

– What to see and where to stay in Cap Haitien, Haiti

Street mosaics in Caracas, Venezuela
Street mosaics in Caracas, Venezuela

Venezuela – Our time in Venezuela was brief, but we packed a lot in! At the time of our visit, the country was at the time, unstable, and we had travelled here with the help of a guide – as you need to know where NOT to go.

The capital city of Caracas blew us away. And even more so, the people of Venezuela.

We managed to see some highlights, but we were most interested to see and learn more about the country and life here. Venezuela has so much to offer for travellers, and we certainly will be returning here when things are more stable. 

Sweden #visiteverycountry
In Gamla stan Old Town Stockholm

Denmark and Sweden – We returned to Berlin to take a group of tourists on a month-long trip through Scandinavia and Northern Europe.

We especially enjoyed returning to Copenhagen in Denmark and Stockholm in Sweden.

These two cities are beautiful, with outstanding food and coffee culture.

TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN JUNE, JULY & AUGUST 2019

Work, Save, Travel …. REPEAT! This is pretty much the mantra that we’ve both lived by for as long as we can remember.

It’s simple…If you want to achieve anything in life, you must work for it. And we’re always working towards the opportunity to do more travel.

Learn more about how we manage to keep going – Our best travel tips from 20+ years of travel.

Visiting every country in the world costs money, there’s no way around it. Also – we’re not sponsored to travel. Everywhere you see us travel on this crazy adventure, we’ve paid our own way.

We spent a few months working as Road Crew for a Coach Tour company in Europe. If you didn’t know already, we used to do this for many years (summer seasons in Europe) before we decided to embark on the adventure to visit all the countries in the world.

Don’t miss our EUROPE CITY GUIDES

TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN SEPTEMBER 2019

Skogafoss waterfall
Skogafoss Waterfall – Our favourite one of them all!

Iceland – This wasn’t a new country to visit for us, but we returned for a relaxing week before heading back to the Middle East/Africa again.

Iceland has to be one of the most stunning places in the world, and we enjoyed it all from the comforts of our rented campervan. We especially loved having our bed in the back and cooking for ourselves.

Renting a car or campervan is recommended in Iceland, here are some important tips for renting a vehicle in Iceland.

RELATED POST – How to visit Iceland on a budget – Our best money-saving tips

Lebanon #visiteverycountry
Exploring the ancient city of Baalbek

Lebanon – There is just something about the fabulous city of Beirut: its hipster bars, old French-style architecture and incredible Lebanese food.

Lebanon was the gateway for our upcoming trip to visit Syria.

We visited the incredible Roman ruins at Baalbek before we left, and it was awesome.

Syria #visiteverycountry
In Damascus, Syria

Syria – This was a week of learning, Syria blew our minds: historical sights, food, culture and people.

The country is slowly getting back on its feet, and while we were uncertain about visiting at present, the reaction of the Syrian people put us at ease straight away.

When they saw visitors returning, they were full of joy as, in some way, it was a sign of the normal life returning. We will be back to spend more time here in the future.

RELATED POSTS –

The beach on the main island of Grand Comore

Comoros – This island nation is up there with some of the least visited countries in the world. We spent a few days here meeting friendly people, taking public buses around the island to check out some pretty beaches and enjoying French-style cooking.

RELATED POST – Comoros in a nutshell

Avenue of the baobabs madagascar
The Year 2019 in Travel – Madagascar

Madagascar – We LOVED this country, and we sure packed a lot in! Stunning beaches, friendly people, epic landscapes, unique wildlife, fantastic food, and the list keeps going.

Let’s be honest, getting around wasn’t always easy (as this island is huge), but the adventure was undoubtedly there.

RELATED POST – Madagascar in two weeks – The perfect itinerary

Get Connected with eSIM

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Mauritius – We took it easy in Mauritius. It was all about soaking up the pretty beaches and tasty food in Port Louis.

An excellent finish to a massive month of travel.

RELATED POST – What to Eat in Mauritius – 9 Foods You Must Try

TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN OCTOBER 2019

Yes, we’re still looking back on what was a fantastic year of travel. Let’s recap our highlights from October 2019.

Mozambique – What a beautiful country! With a coastline stretching almost 2500km long, it’s no secret that we were excited to enjoy the beaches here. We spent most of our time in Tofo Beach, a sleepy little beach town with fantastic surf and gorgeous sunsets.

The food in Mozambique is something to talk about, too, it’s delicious. Then again, from our travels all over Africa, any country that was a former Portuguese colony has terrific cuisine.

RELATED POST – Best places to Stay in Tofo Beach, Mozambique

The Year 2019 in Travel - Mozambique
The Year 2019 in Travel – Mozambique

South Africa – This wasn’t a new country for us, but we were very keen to return—any excuse to spend more time here before visiting the smaller nations of Eswatini and Lesotho.

We hired a car and explored Kruger National Park on a self-drive adventure – and we loved it! We also got to explore Johannesburg and Soweto.

Eswatini #visiteverycountry
Near the Execution Rock in Eswatini

Eswatini – This tiny country changed its name from Swaziland to Eswatini. We loved our time here and found the people to be very warm and friendly. The landscape is super green here.

Our visit to a cultural village was interesting and we loved seeing a local show of singing and traditional dancing. Eswatini also produces glassware from recycled materials at their superb glass-blowing factory.

Lesotho #visiteverycountry
Hanging out at the cultural village in Lesotho

Lesotho – A country that is entirely landlocked by South Africa is known as the Kingdom in the Sky, as the entire country sits above 1000 metres.

We missed seeing a waterfall due to the dry season but visited the Thaba-Bosiu National Monument and the nearby cultural village to learn more about the Basotho people.

TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN NOVEMBER 2019

Uganda – We finally ticked off a significant bucket-list experience in November – Trekking with mountain gorillas! Not only was this an incredible experience, but we also loved the natural beauty and people in Uganda.

RELATED POST – Gorilla Trekking in Uganda – How to Book It

Rwanda – We really enjoyed our time here. Kigali, the capital city, is super clean and well-organised and lots of great food and coffee on offer here.

Again, the landscape here is beautiful, and we especially loved getting away for a relaxing break at Lake Kivu.

READ MORE – A brief introduction to the genocide in Rwanda

Burundi – If you were following our adventure, you’d have noticed that getting our visa for Burundi (in Kigali) wasn’t as easy as we had expected. It took much longer than we had hoped, which cut short our time to spend here before we had to move on.

RELATED POST – Getting to Burundi…finally!

Burundi was very green, the people were friendly, and we had a nice couple of days here.

Pakistan #visiteverycountry
In Lahore, Pakistan

Pakistan – We did an excellent food tour in Karachi and saw much of the city via rickshaws. The impressive architecture and sights in Lahore were very cool, yet we had to spend more time indoors than we would have preferred due to the terrible pollution here during our visit.

We want to return to the Northern part of Pakistan to see the mountains and incredible natural beauty. When the weather is warmer and we have more time to explore – it’s definitely on the cards.

TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN DECEMBER 2019

Our final month of 2019, and we got to visit three new countries. This means we visited 40 new countries this year and have now 16 countries left to #visiteverycountry in the world. Bring on 2020!

Yemen – We spent a week exploring Socotra Island – one of the most unique places we’ve ever seen.

Our time was spent camping, hiking, swimming, eating fresh fish, drinking lots of Yemeni tea and immersing ourselves in the culture. The landscapes here are simply surreal.

RELATED POSTS –

South Sudan – It was just a brief visit to Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

South Sudan is the newest country in the world, and most foreigners that come and visit are either diplomats, UN workers or employees of many NGOs.

RELATED POST – Is it Safe to Visit South Sudan?

Sudan – If you’ve ever heard someone say that Sudanese people are one of the friendliest nations in the world, they’re absolutely correct.

Travelling in Sudan felt much easier than in other African nations. We loved visiting the Meroe pyramids and eating some excellent food during our time there.

RELATED POSTS –

Slovakia – Christmas was fast approaching, and we decided to fly back to Slovakia to spend it with Marty’s family—best decision ever, and so lovely to enjoy home comforts and home-cooked meals to finish the year.

RELATED POST – Best places to Visit in Slovakia

There you go! As you can see, 2019 was a massive year of travel for us.

We can’t wait to hit the road again to complete the final 16 countries (Pacific Islands coming up) and to reach our goal of visiting every country in the world.

More Travel Tips

We have so many tips to help you travel more!

These 21 cheapest countries to visit will help you stretch your hard-earned dollars further.

Read our top 6 travel hacks to save money and the 20 best travel apps to make travel easier! 

For food lovers, don’t miss our top 10 best countries for foodies. And, if history is your thing, these 30 amazing historical places worldwide will fascinate you!

We have many tips to save money for travel and consider these 20 jobs that PAY YOU to travel the world to help you travel longer.

If you become a trusted housesitter, you can also get FREE accommodation worldwide. Read more about how this works.

Check out our ultimate packing list for travellers, and remember to pack travel insurance! We recommend these two travel insurance companies for excellent coverage.

Our 12 essential tips for safe travel in any country are worth a read. 

You’ll need to stay connected while travelling the world. We recommend eSIM. It’s easy, reliable and affordable. View eSIMs for individual countries, or consider a Global eSIM if you travel to multiple countries or regions. This eSIM connects you in 124 countries, offering data-only eSIM and data/call/text eSIM.

The Global eSIM has been a game-changer; we couldn’t imagine travelling without it now.

If you want to travel with like-minded travellers, consider joining a group tour. Get the best deals on worldwide group tours with Tourradar.

Check out our best-ever travel tips compiled from more than twenty years of experience.

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Travel Planning Resources

✈️ Flights: We use Skyscanner to book cheap flights worldwide.

🏨 AccommodationBooking.com is our preferred platform for booking hotels and accommodation. We use Vrbo to book apartments and long-term stays.

🏥 Travel Insurance: We recommend Heymondo (Get 5% off Heymondo) & SafetyWing

🚌 Transportation: Trainline is the best website to reserve trains. We use Omio to book transport worldwide. For travel in Asia, we use 12Go. 

🚘 Car Rental: We use DiscoverCars to book rental cars worldwide.

👫 Group ToursG Adventures OR compare multi-day tours worldwide with Tourradar.

📸 Day Tours & TripsGetYourGuide & Viator are the only two platforms you need.

📚 Lonely Planet: The Best Range of Travel Guides & Ebooks, and FREE Shipping! (use code RACHELDAVEY10 for a 10% discount)

🎒 LuggageOsprey Farpoint 40L Backpack or Samsonite Luggage Range.

🛄 What to Pack: Don’t forget your Universal charger and a good power bank.  To help you pack the essentials, here is our ULTIMATE Packing List for all Travellers.

🐶 Become a House Sitter: Join Trusted Housesitters and enjoy FREE accommodation worldwide. Use our invite to receive 25% off your new membership.

💰 Send Money Anywhere: WISE & Revolut are the best online accounts that let you send money, get paid, and spend money internationally. Both are so easy to use and way cheaper than any bank transfer.

📶 Stay Connected: Airalo eSIM allows you to get connected the moment you land at your destination, and you can avoid those expensive data roaming charges. We LOVE this product! Use promo code NOMAD15 for 15% off ALL eSIMs (new Airalo users only) OR use NOMAD10 for 10% off ALL eSIMs (for existing Airalo users)

✅ Check out our Travel Gear and Travel Resources for more valuable tips to save you money!

Tasty Food Adventures

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