It took 29-year-old travel blogger Henrik Jeppesen eight years to visit every country on Earth — and a lot of creativity.  

Jeppesen estimates that he’s hitchhiked more than 1,000 times and slept on hundreds of couches and spare beds. He got food poisoning so bad in the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal that he was ill for nearly six months, and once had to sleep in a bus station in Niger. “I would pay a lot to delete that trip from my memory,” he says.

Port Blair in the Andamans. (DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP/Getty Images)

But at times it’s been glamorous — he’s visited dozens of private islands and five-star hotels (often these sponsor him for free because of his travel-writing blog and large social media following) — and ultimately life-changing. “I’m more open, I know people in every country in the world,” he says.

With 193 countries, 96 territories, 850 flights and more than 3,000 days of travel under his belt, Jeppesen offers his picks for places to visit and dine. (This interview has been edited for clarity and space.)

The one place everyone should visit before they die: Socotra Island in the Indian Ocean. It’s like stepping into a movie — with world-class beaches and very few tourists. You go here if you want a real adventure, there is little in the way of luxury here.

Jeppesen on Socotra Island. (Hernrik Jeppesen)

The place you can’t believe remains undiscovered by travelers: Principe, an island off the west coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea. This spot combines great resorts like Roca Belo Monte plus beautiful beaches.

The city or town travelers shouldn’t miss:  There are two: Positano, Italy on the Amalfi Coast — the colors here are incredible — and Queenstown, New Zealand, which has some of the nicest people in the world.

Positano, Italy (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

If you had $5 to spend anywhere on earth, what would you buy: Pizza from Gusta Pizza in Florence.

If you had $100 to spend anywhere on earth, what would you buy: A night at Meson Panza Verde, a hotel in Antigua, Guatemala. The value for money makes it special. [Uniquely decorated suites, a central garden with fountain and well-rated restaurant are among the perks.]

Antigua, Guatemala (local4motion / iStock)


The best hotel on earth: Singita Grumeti Reserves in Tanzania: Unique design with food (imagine eating Michelin-worthy food in the middle of nowhere) and service a level or two above other African safari lodges I’ve stayed.

The best hotel in America: Glenmere Mansion in Chester, New York: beautiful setting, world-class spa and outstanding design.

The best restaurant on earth: Samhoud Places in Amsterdam http://www.samhoudplaces.com/;  do the tasting menu. The menu changes all the time.

Best place to visit if you’re on a budget: South Africa. It’s inexpensive and has a lot to do — cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg, world-class beaches, wineries, seeing the Big 5.

The beach and Twelve Apostles mountain near Cape Town in South Africa. (spooh / iStock)

Best place to visit if you’re not worried about money: Greenland. The scenery is stunning.

A place people dream of going and think they can’t afford (but really can): The Maldives. Go in July and you can get deals on five-star hotels (I saw one recently for $56 a night) because they have trouble filling rooms then.