If you've traveled enough, you've probably heard the old joke that people in the rest of the world like to tell about us: "What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual. What do you call someone who speaks one language? American."
Yes, we famously speak less languages than people from countries who don't speak English as a first language. And yes, a famously low percentage of us hold passports. But in recent years, a record number of Americans are applying for that little blue book, and more of us are traveling abroad than ever before.
While we might suffer language barriers and long flights, our passports open a lot more borders for us than most passports from the rest of the world.
In a collaboration with the International Air Transport Association, global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners recently released its Visa Restriction Index, which ranks the world's passports based on the number of countries passport-holders can get into without a visa. Only seven countries had stronger passports than the US, and just barely – citizens of Germany, the top country, can get into 177 countries without a visa and Americans can get into 174.
We made the map below that illustrates just how powerful each passport is, not just so you can appreciate the fact that you don't have to deal with all the paperwork, bureaucracy and general hassle of a traveler who comes from Afghanistan (25 countries visa-free) or even South Africa (97), but because, as Henley & Partners says, visa requirements are an "expression of the relationships between individual nations, and generally reflect the relations and status of a country within the international community of nations."
So in a way, this map illustrates how friendly individual countries are with the rest of the world. Countries are color-coded according to ranked groupings, but you can drag your mouse over a country to see exactly how it stacks up.