If it’s Tuesday it’s Belgium Society (ITIBS)

This excerpt is from the book entitled 40 Strange Groups. Little is known about these organisations, hence the shortness of the book and the low price of less than a dollar. But, if you twisted my arm, I would admit that I’d make them up.


Membership of this society is confined to North American travellers who’ve been on three or more holidays where the number of countries visited has exceeded the number of days the trip lasted. These holidays can include cruises although ‘international waters’ can only be counted once per cruise. The society produces a newsletter and hosts a website where member’s questions can be answered. Recent enquiries have included suggestions for places to visit on a day trip from Andorra to Monte Carlo and just how many countries do you pass through when driving from Glasgow to Plymouth via Cardiff in a day – 3, 4, or 5?


ITIBS is based in Philadelphia and its staff are given a very generous vacation allowance of three weeks per year, allowing them to journey around the world and experience a fast-paced travel environment, which will prepare them for the questions of their members. Recent trips included a three-day visit to all 365 beaches on Antigua, so that cruise ship passengers can be advised on which beach will suit their needs for the two hours they will spend there.


Another recent traveller was Wendell Wombach who spent two weeks going around Northern Europe on all the Inter City and Euro City express trains, so he can talk expertly regarding these services: “I spent around 200 hours on trains in that period and I enjoyed every minute; you don’t see much because the trains are so fast, but if you’re looking to visit 8 countries in 6 days they’re ideal. My best advice would be to do the longer journeys later in the day and earlier in the morning, so you can sleep on the train and then look around the cities at night and perhaps save on a hotel, before heading to the next city, sleep on that train, see the city, sleep again etc.”


Published by Julian Worker

Julian was born in Leicester, attended school in Yorkshire, and university in Liverpool. He has been to 94 countries and territories and intends to make the 100 when travel is easier. He writes travel books, murder / mysteries and absurd fiction. His sense of humour is distilled from The Marx Brothers, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Midsomer Murders. His latest book is about a Buddhist cat who tries to help his squirrel friend fly further from a children's slide.

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