There's off the beaten track, and then there are places where tracks don't go anywhere near. The thrill in going somewhere hardly anyone you know has been to is a big one, but some people take it to extremes. Most Traveled People (mosttraveledpeople.com ) is a club for people who want to see as many of the world's territories as they can. There are 875 on the club's official list, some of which have only been visited by a select few.
Most of these territories are obscure parts of Antarctica or specks in the Pacific Ocean. But, going region by region based on how many Most Traveled People have got there, these are the trickiest to get to …
Antarctic – Marie Byrd Land
MTP visitors: 11 (world ranking: Joint 1st)
One chunk of Antarctica is so far away from anywhere else that no country has claimed it. Marie Byrd Land is part of this, next to the vast Ross Ice Shelf. It wasn't explored in any depth until 1971, and while a series of short-lived bases have been set up there, none are permanently manned. If you want to go, you need to get pally with some seriously rich scientists.
See also: Australia's most remote territories
Pacific Ocean – Kure Island, US
MTP visitors: 10 (world ranking: Joint 1st)
About 160 east of the International Date Line, Kure has the dubious distinction of being the world's most northerly coral atoll. Formally part of Honolulu, it has an unmaintained runway, and is blessed with relatively regular visits from the Division of Forestry and Wildlife. Otherwise, it's just turtles, birds, and the odd amateur radio expedition that turns up every few years.
Africa – Annobon, Equatorial Guinea
MTP visitors: 39 (world ranking: 34th)
Uninhabited until the Portuguese dropped by in the 15th century, Annobon is well away from the mainland, lying south-west of Sao Tome and the Gulf of Guinea. It has a population of just more than 5000 people, most of whom are fishermen or in the timber industry. High volcanic mountains and lush green valleys make it relatively picturesque – and a new airport that opened in 2013 means it probably won't remain quite so unvisited for long.
Indian Ocean – Tromelin Island, France
MTP visitors: 14 (world ranking: 6th)
450km east of Madagascar, and home to little but a weather station plus booby and turtle nesting sites. Aside from the meteorologists taking on something of a hardship posting, the only way of getting there seems to be begging amateur radio enthusiasts for a place on one of their expeditions. And they are rarely granted permits.
North and Central America – Navassa Island, US
MTP visitors: 16 (world ranking: 8th)
At just 5.4 square kilometres, with no easy landing site and no inhabitants, Navassa is a staggeringly unloved patch of the Caribbean. Haiti claims it, but the US controls it as an unincorporated territory managed by the Fish & Wildlife Service. Special permits are required to visit, and they're rarely granted. If you do make it, there is a no-longer operational lighthouse, some remnants of guano extraction and a few lizards to see.
See also: Italy's best hidden beaches
In 1504, Christopher Columbus, stranded on Jamaica during his fourth voyage, sent some crew members by canoe to Hispaniola for help. They ran into this small island on the way, but it had no water. They called it Navaza (from "nava-" meaning plain, or field), and it was avoided by mariners for the next 350 years. Today this island is called Navassa island and while owned by the US is claimed by Haiti. The lighthouse was operated by the USCG until 1996 #uscg #navassaisland #haiti #carribean #lighthouse #columbus #middleofnowhere
Asia – Paracel Islands, China
MTP visitors: 22 (world ranking: 16th)
Occupied by China, but claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan, these South China Sea islands and reefs are rapidly getting developed in a bid to boost the legitimacy of China's claims. Cruises from the Chinese mainland were launched in 2013, but they're essentially off-limits to non-Chinese nationals. You could try to get there in a yacht, but don't be surprised if the Chinese Navy gets unnervingly tetchy about this.
South America – Desventuradas Islands, Chile
MTP visitors: 39 (world ranking: 34th)
They've been known about since 1574, but no one has ever tried to make a home on the Desventuradas. About the size of Monaco, but split over four islands 850km west of the South American mainland, the rudimentary Naval station and runway are the major signs of human impact. Otherwise, it's squawking birds – and the largest marine protected area in the Americas, which was proclaimed in the surrounding waters last year.
Europe – Nenetsia, Russia
MTP visitors: 40 (world ranking: 36th)
Almost all above the Arctic Circle, Nenetsia is a patch of far northern Russia where there are very few roads. Transport is generally an icebreaker or a snowmobile, while the locals are mostly reindeer herders or oil and gas drillers.
The huge island of Novaya Zemlya – the last major land mass on Earth to be explored – is part of Nenetsia and home to lots of polar bears. Victory Cruises (www.victory-cruises.com) runs low-on-luxuries cruises there.
Atlantic Ocean – St Peter and St Paul Rocks, Brazil
MTP visitors: 53 (world ranking: 50th)
In the middle of the Atlantic, due east from the far north of Brazil, this barren archipelago is used by scientists hosted in a Brazilian Navy base and tuna fishermen. In 1832, Charles Darwin passed by on the Beagle, noting that he couldn't find a single plant growing on the barren outcrops. Ernest Shackleton also stopped on his way to Antarctica.
To get there nowadays – and there's not much to see – you need to chum up with the Brazilian researchers or get on the very occasional trans-Atlantic cruise that passes by. Silversea (www.silversea.com) has done so in the past.