A British tourist has become the world’s most travelled man after clocking up a staggering 15 million miles and 718 Concorde flights – to 139 COUNTRIES.
Wealthy Fred Finn, 70, holds the official record for the most miles travelled by a passenger after visiting an incredible 70 per cent of the world’s 196 nations.
He caught the travelling bug at 18 when he took his first flight from an airfield in Hampshire to New York.
Fred has since spent 52 years travelling the globe, during which he has covered 15million miles – the equivalent of travelling to the moon and back 31 times.
He has kept a detailed log of every flight and train journey he has taken, which he had counter-signed by each driver and pilot to verify his achievement.
Fred also holds the record for the most trips aboard Concorde, having notched up an impressive 718 flights – on which he always sat in the same seat.
Today Fred said he has no intention of slowing down – and plans to visit THE MOON.
He said: ”Seeing as I’ve travelled to most of the earth, I have started looking further afield.
”I signed on for the Pan American trip to the Moon when they launched passenger services but sadly Pan American are no longer with us.
”But it’s still something I’d be really keen to explore as soon as the opportunity arises.”
Retired international licence manager Fred, who lives with in the Ukrainian village of Komsomolsk with wife Alla, 35, boarded his first flight aged 18.
He travelled from from the then-named Blackbushe Airfield, Hants., and spent 18 hours travelling to New York via Scotland and Iceland.
Fred went on to work for an American licencing company and travelled the world building international relations.
During that time, he regularly flew to South America, including Brazil, Argentina and Chile, Japan, Hong Kong, Dubai and Nigeria, and travelled to and from New York at least twice a week.
Aged 34, he boarded the return leg of the maiden Concorde flight on May 26 1976 which travelled from Washington back to London.
The nature of his job meant he continued to travel extensively and preferred Concorde as his favoured mode of transport due to its speed.
”If I caught Concorde in New York in the morning I could connect in London in the afternoon for the Kenya flight and be at my desk in Nairobi for breakfast,” he added.
”I also hold the record of three flights on Concorde in one day.
”It was for a genuine reason, I had to get the contract signed on both sides of the Atlantic, so I had breakfast in both London and New York and got back to London office with the signatures.
”I always sat in seat 9a because I realised that is the one which they start serving the food and drink from.”
Since then, Fred estimates that his overall travel bill – much of which has been footed by companies he has worked for – has smashed the #2million barrier, having boarded thousands of flights.
During his travels, he has met Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow and London as well as Paul McCartney, John Major and Tim Rice.
He has also travelled from London to Nashville with Dolly Parton and met Johnny Cash and wife, June Carter Cash, having had dinner with them in New York.
Fred was awarded the Guinness World Record for ‘the most miles travelled as a passenger” in 1983, when he had clocked up over seven million miles.
Since then, no-one has come close to matching his incredible feat and Fred has more than doubled his tally over the last 27 years.
He continued to board Concorde flights and was on the last flight from New York to London on October 25, 2003.
His fastest transatlantic flight was 2 hours 59 minutes in the early 1980s and in 1981 he boarded three separate transatlantic flights between London and New York.
Fred estimates he has flown across the Atlantic over 2,000 times and visited Africa on 600 occasions.
Hesays the worst country he has visited is Nigeria, due to its ”lawless nature” and his favourite is Kenya, where he manages an orphanage.
”Kenya has everything, including 15,000ft mountains on the equator with snow all year round and the people are brilliant,” he said.
”It also has lakes like Lake Victoria which have brilliant fishing.
”Nigeria is full of conmen, I don’t like the dry climate and there are rip-offs everywhere.”
Fred retired from selling international licences five years ago and has since set up his own business endorsing multinational companies, which continues to satisfy his thirst for travel.
He thinks nothing of travelling 1,714 from Ukraine to Exmouth, Devon, where he grew up, to stock up on 6kg of his favourite cheese, cheddar, to take back home.
Fred added: ”I have no desire to visit any new counties now. I’ve been to more places than I could ever dream of and don’t really want to visit the remaining ones.”
* Fred’s top ten travel tips:
1. Always set your watch to local time as soon as you step off the plane.
2. Drink plenty of water to avoid jet lag
3. Always eat at local meal times
4. Use hard suitcases – they can be dropped without anything breaking if packed correctly.
5. Pack clothes in bags like you get from the dry cleaners so your clothes won’t crease.
6. Have a length of twine or string to repair your suitcase handle when it breaks.
7. Carry a travel adaptor that fits all plugs.
8. I always take some antibiotics, plasters, and a copy of my prescription for any special medication that I have, in case you get asked what you are carrying.
9. Don’t forget contact numbers for your family in all cases.
10. Notify your embassy if you’re going to be in a foreign country for some time.