Why Vanuatu Changed My Travel Philosophy

I’ve come up against a new category of travel that I had never thought of.

It’s all because of Vanuatu. Jacob met people from Vanuatu on his mission to New Caledonia. We visited them again, 10 years later.


Many a time I’ve heard him imitate Bislama, the local pidgin language, and rave about how cool the people were. It’s the least visited of any country we’ve ever been to.

And we loved it.

The people are so genuine, the culture is so unique, and we felt like celebrities. Especially our baby, who got passed around by friendly strangers all day long.

It’s now driving me a little crazy to know that we have not been to even one of the 25 least visited countries in the world (I know, I’m weird). We stopped on the ferry at Dominica in the Caribbean on the way to Guadeloupe, but we didn’t disembark. I seriously considered going to Tonga, but instead we skipped it. I looked into Djibouti when we were in Ethiopia, but decided the internet situation would be too difficult.

And tickets to Solomon Islands from Port Vila are very cheap…but it would require Ryder to be on malaria medication and I don’t want that for him just yet.

One of the questions we get asked most frequently is:

 How do you choose where to go next?

I’m now more aware that in the past, sometimes we chose where to go next based on where most tourists have said to go…the most famous places.

Other ways I’ve chosen where we go next include visiting each area of the world (Caribbean, South Pacific, North, East, West, and South Africa, etc), the book 1000 Places to see Before you Die, and language-specific (learning French in Guadeloupe.)

Thanks to our excellent experience in Vanuatu, I now want to visit more lesser known lands now: they weren’t on my radar before. So often, the most popular destinations are so westernized that they become similar to one another. When you travel enough, you start to crave originality.


Visiting Mele Village with a friend from the Kava Shop

This website has a list of tourist arrivals by country:


Most of the least visited are in West Africa and the South Pacific.

All of the following have less than 100,000 tourist arrivals a year:

Least visited by area of the world:

South Pacific: Nauru, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Micronesia                            

East Africa: Somalia, Djibouti, Comoros

Central Africa: Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Chad

West Africa: Sao Tome & Principe, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone

Middle East: Libya

Central Asia: Turkmenistan, Afghanistan

Asia: North Korea, Bhutan, East Timor

Europe: Liechtenstein

Caribbean: Dominica

Runners up:

St Vincent and the Grenadines, Palau, Niger, New Caledonia, Moldova, The Gambia, Eritrea, The Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, American Samoa, Vanuatu, Belarus

Have you been to any of these lesser-known countries? Are you interested in visiting any of them, as I am? Which ones?


Sunset over a kava hut in calm, quiet Port Vila

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 371 awesome articles for us.

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