Fun Facts: Presidents and Travel

Posted in Travel Talk

Presidents get to travel to all sorts of interesting places during their White House days. Read on for some fun president travel facts:

  • Barack Obama’s 2016 visit to Cuba was the second time any sitting U.S. president visited the country. Calvin Coolidge attended the Pan American Conference in Havana in 1928.
  • Theodore Roosevelt was the first to travel abroad when he went to Puerto Rico and Panama in 1906.
  • Woodrow Wilson became the first president to go to Europe when he sailed to Paris in the SS George Washington in 1918. He went to visit the World War I peace conference.
  • In 1943, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first incumbent U.S. president to travel overseas when he set foot on African soil. He flew in a Boeing 314 Flying Boat from Miami to Morocco, where he secretly met with Winston Churchill in Casablanca to discuss WWII strategy. It took him three days to get there.
  • Jimmy Carter’s 1978 visit to Nigeria and Liberia was the first time a sitting U.S. president went to sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In 1959, Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first U.S. president to visit an Asian country when he visited India.
  • In 1972, Richard Nixon arrived in China — the first president to visit any country not diplomatically recognized by Washington. It also paved the way for improved relations between the communist government of China and the United States.
  • In his eight years in office, Bill Clinton made 133 visits to foreign nations — more than presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon combined.
  • John F. Kennedy was the first president to use Air Force One when he flew to Europe in 1962. It was the first time a president flew in a jet specifically created for presidential use.
  • President Donald Trump embarked in November on the longest trip to Asia by an American president in more than a quarter-century. It included tours of Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.
  • Among the first ladies, Eleanor Roosevelt was the first to fly in an airplane. In 1933, after a dinner at the White House with a group that included Amelia Earhart, she flew from D.C. to Baltimore aboard the Eastern Air Transport plane.
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