Geography of International Travel by U.S. Presidents

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It wasn’t until Theodore Roosevelt took the first trip abroad in November of 1906 to inspect the construction of the Panama Canal, that a sitting U.S. president visited another country.  In the 19th century, the American public, while welcoming domestic travel, felt that U.S. presidents should stay within the United States. [1] Since that first trip, twenty presidents have made at least one international trip abroad to 119 different countries in conjunction with their position as U.S. president.  So where have these presidents traveled?  This article explores the geography of international travel by U.S. presidents.  All of the data cited in this article has been summarized from the Travels of the President information provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State and includes presidential travel up to November 2017.

How many countries have been visited by a sitting U.S. president?

In total, 119 countries have been visited by a sitting president or by a president-elect.

Which U.S. president has traveled to the most countries?

George W. Bush has traveled to the most countries, having logged visits to 140 countries during his two terms in office.  William Clinton is the second most traveled president, having traveled to 133 countries during his eight years in office.  Barrack Obama is the third most traveled president, with visits to 120 countries during his two terms.  These three presidents are the only three presidents to have visited over one hundred countries during their tenures.

Who are the least traveled U.S. presidents

While Herbert Hoover visited ten countries in Central and South America, they were all done as part of a goodwill tour as a president elect.  Hoover made no international trips as a U.S. president. In addition to Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge also only visited one country (Cuba) as either president-elect or president.  As president, Harding and Taft also only visited one country although both presidents made additional trips as president-elects.


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First president to travel by plane

Early international trips where often by boat.  Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first president to travel by plane when he flew to Casablanca in 1943 to see with British Prime Minister Churchill.  This visit also marked the first visit to North Africa by a sitting U.S. president.

First round-the-world presidential trip

Lyndon B. Johnson made the first round-the-world presidential trip starting on December 21, 1967,  traveling 26,959 miles in only 112.5 hours (4.7 days).  Starting with a trip to Australia to attend the funeral of Prime Minister Holt, the trip included stops in Honolulu, Pago Pago, Canberra, Melbourne, Vietnam, Karachi, and Rome.

Most Visited Countries by a U.S. President

The United Kingdom (including its territories) has been visited the most, with 58 presidential visits (plus two visits from presidential-elects).  France is the second most visited country with 47 visits, followed by Canada with 39.

Map of International Travel by U.S. Presidents

You can browse the geographic locations traveled by U.S. presidents since 1906.  Filter the table by presidents, geographic location, and year of travel. You can sort any of the fields in ascending or descending order by clicking on the column name.


References

Data from:

[1] Ellis, Richard J. (2008). Presidential Travel: The Journey from George Washington to George W. Bush. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-7006-1580-3.