One gem of a debate that frequently comes up in traveler circles is what constitutes “visiting” a country. Do you have to spend the night there? Drink a beer? Clear customs? YPT puts its line in the sand on what constitutes visiting a country.
Does a layover count?
Whether you spend 2, or 200 hours in an airport it does not count, unless you clear customs and immigration. If you stay in the airport it does not count. One grey area exception is the Singapore Day tour from the airport, where you only stay on the bus. This would count.
Countries and territories
If you visit an external colony you have not visited the parent country. Going to Gibraltar does not mean you have been to the UK, but going to Tibet counts as China. Hong Kong does not count as China, and visa versa.
Stepping over the border
I have heard of country collectors that count stepping over the line at the DMZ as visiting North Korea. It does not, although when Kumgang was open as a special tourist zone, this would have counted.
Illegally Crossing the border
This is a grey one, and would depend on how long and how deep you went into the country. I think we could insist on an hour here, merely putting your foot over for a few seconds would not count.
We lean towards the unrecognized on this one. If you go to Abkhazia, you can’t claim you’ve been to Georgia and visa versa.
Visiting an embassy
There is a common myth that visiting an embassy is like stepping onto sovereign territory of that country. It isn’t and if you count this you are stupid. That being said with the Sovereign Military order of Malta, we would accept an embassy.
Whilst you might not clear customs (you would have been pre-approved) and might not stay overnight, cruise ship stops resoundingly count!