I make no bones about it, I love Fiji. I’ve been going for over 20 years.
I’ve seen many changes over that time, but there are a few things that stay consistent. Get these right and you’re enjoyment will go up ten-fold, I promise you.
Here then are my essential travel tips for getting the best out of your next Fijian adventure.
When to go
Anytime outside school holidays is best. It’s less crowded and there are usually great specials to be found. Remember though, you are on a tropical island, and while the weather is a pretty standard 30 degrees and sunny most days, you can get rain. The wet season starts from December and goes until March.
Buy your own snacks at home and take with you. If you are staying at a resort, things like crackers, nuts, sweet treats, muesli bars, protein bars etc will be expensive. I always take snacks with me; it saves a ton of money.
If you can get out and about, or into a local market do it, because you can get the most beautiful fresh fruits for a bargain. Just ask the hotel for a knife, or ask if the kitchen can cut up the fruit for you. Most resorts will do this, if they don’t, ask for a knife and a chopping board and do it yourself.
Also, don’t forget to get breakfast included in your package. It will save you money.
Most resorts are charge back. You don’t pay cash, but pay at the end of your stay. If you are on a budget, make sure you keep a tally of what you are spending. There is nothing like a shock bill at the end of the holiday. Those delicious cocktails can add up!
Oh, and take a heap of insect repellent and a lot of sunscreen.
Get out and about
Head to an island, especially if you are staying on the mainland. The water at the outer islands is sensational. There are so many day trips. South Seas is the largest island day trip provider, but if you head to Denarau Marina, there are others too.
Try and get out of your resort, experience the real Fiji. Take a day trip to villages.
Try Ecotrax. It’s an eco-friendly, substantial businesses owned by Kiwis, so run tours along the old sugar cane tracks. It is a wonderful way to see a bit of the real Fiji, while getting a lovely lunch and going to a private beach. The scenery is incredible.
Switch to Fiji time
Be nice to the staff. Wages in Fiji are extremely low and resort staff work very long hours. Fijians are amongst some of the friendliest people on earth. Please return the favour.
Remember you are on Fiji time; nothing will happen fast. You are on holiday, chill out and go with the flow. If you don’t like a slow pace of life, don’t go. Part of the charm of Fiji is it does slow you down, that’s what is so appealing about it.
What to pack
Wear loose, comfortable clothing. It’s hot and it’s sticky. Bring a big hat, that sun is vicious. Protect your skin at all times and remember to reapply after swimming. It sounds simple but after a few cocktails many forget, and their holiday is ruined by sunstroke or bad burns.
I take small travel size products, especially my facial products. It saves room in my luggage and is easier than lugging around large cosmetics. I use the travel packs by Ultraceuticals. I also put my liquid products in small bags and I tape the lids closed – there is nothing worse than arriving with your face products leaking all over your clothes.
It sounds anal, but if I am travelling in winter, I always layer so when I arrive, I can get ‘climate ready’. By this I mean that I’ll wear a slip dress, sneakers and a jacket, blazer or sweater on the flight, then get changed into slides and take the jacket off when I arrive, so I’m ready to go. Nothing worse than arriving in 30-degree heat in your winter woollies.
Take a few pairs of swimming togs, there is nothing worse than lying around in wet swimwear.
Before you go
Definitely get insurance. I got sick while in Fiji and a doctor had to be called in the middle of the night as I couldn’t breathe. It was an expensive call out – well over $600 for less than 30 minutes and then a prescription on top of that. But eventually I got all of it back with my travel insurance.
Flight times are important. If you arrive early, changes are you won’t be able to check in until two or three in the afternoon. I always work my arrival time to coincide with check in. If I do arrive earlier, I arrange for an early check in.
If I am telling you to suck eggs, I apologise, but if you are new to the islands, I hope these tips help.
Most importantly, enjoy your holiday. It really is paradise, and the Fijians are wonderful, friendly beautiful people.