Budget Tips for Fiji
Fiji might seem like an extremely expensive place to travel to, but that’s only at first glance. Be savvy in your accommodation, ways of getting around, meals and a few simply other things, and you can reduce your Fiji holiday budget tremendously. We’ll share some of our money-saving advice on this list of tips for travelling Fiji on a budget.
While you’re here, you might also be interested in What is the Cost of Travelling in Fiji?
1. Travel in the Low Season, Starting Mid-Week
If you’re looking for the best airfares combined with the best resort rates, then the magic time of the year would be between November and May, starting your trip on a Tuesday or Wednesday. That’s with the exception of the December Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The low season in Fiji is during the wet season/summer season. Learn more about travelling in the low season in The Best Time to Visit Fiji.
2. Know Your Transport Options
Don’t just get in a taxi or jump on a flight to the outer islands without doing your research. The most frugal of travellers will find that public transport in Fiji is extremely cheap if using the right ones. Public buses within cities are usually a mere FJ$2 while getting between islands by cargo ferry is only FJ$25-$60 depending on where you’re heading. Inter-city buses in Fiji are also extremely reasonable, being around FJ$25 to get from one side of Viti Levu to the other. Be sure to do your research in our Transport section, so you are aware of all your options.
3. Make Your Own Meals or Eat at Independent Restaurants
The best way to save money on food in Fiji is to eat at independent restaurants (i.e. outside of your resort) or by making your own meals. Restaurants in the cities have mains for as little as FJ$6-$15, while produce markets allow you to spruce up healthy meals with affordable local produce. However, these methods of eating are only really available on Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Elsewhere, you will have no choice but to eat at the resort. Learn more about the cost of food in Fiji here.
4. Consider Homestays and Holiday Home Accommodation
Staying in a resort might seem like the only option in Fiji, but budget travellers really do have an array of options when it comes to accommodation. Aside from dorm rooms in some resorts, budget travellers also have the choice of homestays. Locals in certain areas around the islands of Fiji open up their spare rooms for travellers on platforms like Booking.com and Airbnb.com, which are considerably cheaper than staying at resorts: usually around FJ$30-$100 per person per night. The experience also combines with cultural activities. Holiday homes are also a good option for the traveller or group who prefer their privacy at a cheaper rate than what resorts can offer. Browse homestays here and holiday homes here.
5. Do Free Activities and Sightseeing
Don’t worry, Fiji isn’t too demanding on the wallet once you get here and you’re looking for things to do. If you’re staying in a resort, most of the time your entertainment is sorted for you between the pool, the beach, and the array of free activities that are often on offer. Typically, resorts offer free use of kayaks, snorkelling gear, nearby walking trails, and may put on some nightly entertainment like Fijian meke dancing, crab racing or kava ceremonies. Sightseeing is also a way to keep the cost low, as accessing national parks, seeing city centre attractions or seeing caves is usually extremely affordable – less than FJ$10!
6. Get Some Supplies for the Outer Islands
For those of you staying at one of the remoter islands, like the Yasawas, Mamanucas, Lomaivitis, etc, take some supplies with you. Anything you buy on the outer islands will be at least 20% more than if you were to buy it on the mainland. Plus, knowing that the island resort’s restaurants are often the only option when it comes to food, you might want to have a few snacks available to see you through until the evening. Bottled water will also be priced at a premium, so we recommend getting a Lifestraw bottle, or something similar, to filter water so it’s safe to drink while saving money (and the planet).
7. Pay With Cash
While carrying a debit or credit card has more secure than cash, paying with a card in Fiji incurs some hefty fees. Not only is it likely that you’ll receive an exchange fee from your bank, but Fijian businesses will often have a surcharge of 1-5% for each transaction with a credit card. What’s more, credit cards are only accepted in the most populated areas of Fiji or at the larger resorts, so are not even a payment option everywhere. We recommend paying with cash as much as you can to keep the payment fees to a minimum. See What is the Best Way to Pay in Fiji? for more advice.
8. Be Tax-Savvy
As a tourist, you will be paying a few taxes throughout your trip to Fiji. First, there is a Departure Tax, which is included in your air ticket. Next, the VAT is a goods and services tax applied universally at 9%, which should be included in all stated prices. Finally, using goods and services from Fiji’s largest businesses, i.e. large hotels, resorts and the airport, will incur an added STT and ECAL tax of a combined 16%. Learn more about the taxes in Fiji, and what you can do to minimise your taxes, in the Fiji Tax Guide for Travellers.
9. Use a Local SIM
Ok, we strongly recommend keeping your phone use to an absolute minimum in Fiji to really put your mind into your holiday that you’ve probably paid so much for. But if you absolutely need to use your phone, then pick up a local SIM card. Because free WiFi is difficult to come by in Fiji, you’ll have a better time using a data bundle of a local phone network. What’s more, certain phone networks have the first 1.5Gb for free! Check out What is the Best SIM Card in Fiji for more details.
10. Book Activities in Fiji
While we’ve touched on the free activities, it’s likely there will be the odd paid activity on your Fiji bucket list. However, we recommend booking your activities once you arrive in Fiji rather than booking them from overseas through a travel agent. We have seen some huge differences in the prices advertised in Fiji compared to overseas.