The island bungalows receive visitors once in a while and may not be well equipped. It helps to bring:
- Enough cash, budget for a minimum 3000 VT per day for accommodation, food and island transport. Airfares and departure tax are extra. Always have some 1000 Vatu notes because you might not get change on local transport and in small island stores
- An up-to-date Air Vanuatu domestic timetable (handy for island hopping).
- Water bottle.
- Anti-malaria tablets (some islands/areas).
- Torch light.
- Spare batteries. Alkaline batteries for digital devices are rarely available on the islands
- Antiseptic ointment or cream (take good care of cuts and scratches). Antibiotics will be required sooner or later if you spend any length of time on the islands.
- Antifungal powder or cream.
- Bath towel (usually provided).
- Toilet paper (usually provided).
- Snorkelling gear (only if you need it)
- Telecom Vanuatu phone card.
- Digicel Vanuatu has a pretty decent mobile phone coverage on the islands and you should be able to buy a prepaid SIM in Port Vila or Luganville.
You'll be traveling in the tropics so there are too many details to cover here. If this is your first time to travel unescorted off the beaten track then — this is where you will need this travel guide book to serve as your passport in your travel to explore our outer islands.Responsible Travel tips
Responsible tourism simply means experiences that care about local communities and their culture, and environmental preservation. All holidays and experiences have a negative and positive impact, however make the most of your time in Vanuatu and experience authentic culture and village life. It is possible to visit the beautiful islands of Vanuatu and have a positive benefit on local families, communities and their environments through safe and considerate travelling.
Ni-Vanuatu people have limited access to share in the tourism industry, the Vanuatu Island Bungalows Association aims to address this by encouraging travellers to visit the outer islands of Vanuatu where most Ni-Vanuatu can participate through accommodation and tours in the islands off Efate. Due to the slow development of this industry in the outer islands there are many products not up to the standard enjoyed in a developed country, therefore this information is to provide travellers some advice when considering a trip to an outer island and to enjoy being responsible travellers. The key thing to remember is to support locals in their endeavors to enhance their tourism products, to behave responsibly and respectfully of local culture and customs. One of the most exciting things about outer island tourism in Vanuatu is being able to experience cultures that are different from your own, we hope this information makes it possible for you to avoid any upsets and to make the most of your experience.
Before you Travel
- Find out as much as you can about the indigenous people and customs of Vanuatu. There are over 120 distinct languages of Vanuatu, as well as French, English and Bislama (a pidgin English). Learn a few words of the local Bislama language – this will be appreciated and encouraged by Ni-Vanuatu.
- Pack light and remove any excess packaging amongst your luggage. Waste management in Vanuatu is difficult and more so in the outer islands.
- Consider taking a few treats for some of the local school children, like pencils and exercise books or sports balls. The Ni-Vanuatu children are always friendly and love playing football (soccer). Solar lamps are also well received by the village women.
While you on Holiday
- You will get more out of your holiday be getting closer to Ni-Vanautu to experience their culture and customs. If you want to take a tour ask for a local guide and do not be afraid to ask about their life in the village and their customs, they are happy to share and show you their way of life. This is also an opportunity to find out about local traditions and tabu’s (taboos), please respect their local traditions.
- Find out if there are local community projects that you could visit and how you could help support them. Vanuatu communities are just learning to implement Marine Protection Areas which need support from tourism for long-term sustainability – find out if there is one in the area that you are visiting.
- Support local businesses; there are small grocery stores on every island – make an effort to purchase something small from them as this is usually their only form of income. Ask about other local industries on the island that you visit and see if there is some way you can purchase locally produced goods. Please note that bargaining or haggling over the price of goods is not acceptable in Vanuatu.
- Use water sparingly! On most islands there isn’t adequate water supply infrastructure and during the dry season water can become extremely precious – if you can take your own drinking water from the main land then please do so.
- Remember that you are in the islands and that the local people have a different emphasis on ‘being on time’. This is nothing to be overly worried about, just ensure that your host is aware if there are particular timings that you need to adhere to.