How to Save Money in Fiji
Fiji is a land of paradise islands, crystal clear waters, once-in-a-lifetime activities, and of course, gorgeous weather. But many wrongly believe that Fiji is a holiday for the rich and famous. Let us tell you, it’s completely possible to enjoy a blissful holiday in Fiji without spending all your savings away! In fact, there are so many ways to save money when travelling in Fiji!
While staying in one of the budget accommodations in Fiji is the obvious way to save money, there are other ways to save money in Fiji that can apply to any type of traveller or holidaymaker. Here are some of our top 17 ways to save money in Fiji!
1. Compare Hotels and Resorts to Get Discounted Rooms
When you want to book a quick getaway, it’s easy to go for the first deal you find. However, it’s always worth doing a hotel and resort room comparison before securing your spot. Comparison websites like Booking.com and Expedia make accommodation comparison super easy! Bonus tip: if a hotel is out of rooms on Booking.com, give them a call or an email and ask for the same price, as they’ll almost certainly have rooms that they haven’t listed on booking websites!
2. Haggle for a Good Deal
Yes, in many circumstances, haggling is acceptable in Fiji. In fact, sometimes you will have to do it to truly get a fair deal! For instance, when taking a taxi, make sure you agree on a price before you get into the taxi, not when you arrive at your destination. On that note, make sure that the price that is agreed is for you to go straight to your destination – not waiting around to fill up the taxi. Other situations where it may be acceptable to haggle is at markets and some souvenir stores. Give it a go – you have nothing to lose!
3. Eat at Local Restaurants; Not Resorts
This one’s a biggie! Resort food prices are incredibly expensive compared to what you can find in restaurants in Fiji’s towns and cities. For instance, resort mains on the dinner menu often start from FJ$30, whereas you’ll find plenty of restaurants in places like Nadi, Lautoka, Suva, etc. with full mains starting from just FJ$6! Eat where the locals eat and you’ll save a ton!
4. Eat from the Lunch Menu, Rather Than the Dinner Menu
In some circumstances, the resort restaurant is all that’s available when it comes to food. That’s especially if you are staying on an island resort. In this instance, it might be worth having a late lunch/early dinner to save some money on resort meals. Resort restaurants are usually open all day with their dinner menus not starting until 5pm or 6pm, so have your dinner around 4pm from the lunch menu and you’ll be paying around FJ$18 for a meal. And don’t worry, even the lunch portions are pretty huge.
5. Use Fijian Dollars More Than Your Credit Card
Each time you use your overseas credit or debit card in Fiji, you’ll be charged 2-5%! For this reason alone, using Fijian dollars as much as possible will save you a ton of money. What’s more, there are quite a few situations where you can only use cash, such as when spending time on one of the outer islands, when visiting a Fijian village or when visiting more remote areas of the country.
6. Withdraw a Lot of Money at Once to Save on Fees
On the subject of money, when you are withdrawing money from an ATM or exchanging currency at a currency exchange bureau, try to withdraw as much money as you’ll reasonably need. While it won’t save you on percentage fees, you will save money on one-off withdrawal fees. For more information on ATMs and banking in Fiji, see our What is the Currency in Fiji article.
7. Double and Triple Check Your Luggage Weight
The popular airlines flying into Fiji are not forgiving. You’ll almost always get charged for having overweight luggage or even doing any mistakes on the information given during your online booking. So don’t over-pack, book your flight carefully, and you shouldn’t have any nasty surprises.
8. Consider Using Different Airlines
On the subject of flying to Fiji, a good way to lower the cost of travel to Fiji is to use a couple of different airlines to get here. If your flight requires a stopover, you don’t necessarily need to take the same airline all the way to Fiji. You also don’t need to do a return flight with the same airline: take an airline like Fiji Airways to get here and say, Qantas, to return. See which airlines have the cheapest prices on the days you wish to travel!
9. Travel During the Low Season
This is a general rule for saving money in any touristic country, but it certainly applies to Fiji too! During the low season, which is between March and November, resort and hotel prices are lower, flights are cheaper, and you often find some sweet deals on holiday packages too!
10. Use WiFi; Not Roaming Data
While it’s fun to stay connected and make your mates jealous on Instagram, it’s not so fun getting the bill for how much data you’ve used overseas. If your phone network provider hasn’t got a good roaming rate then keep an eye out for free WiFi! Most of the major hotels and resorts have good Wifi spots, as well as many cafes in Fiji’s major cities. Alternatively, you might want to consider getting a Fiji SIM card, which you can learn more about in Best Phone Networks in Fiji.
11. Buy from the Liquor Store
When you’re on vacation, of course, you want to treat yourself to a few drinks! However, you can end up spending an obscene amount of money on beer and cocktails in resorts if you let things get out of hand. In resorts, beer is around FJ$8-$10, while cocktails are FJ$10-20 each! Head to the liquor store or supermarket, stock up on a few drinks for half the price of what you would pay in a resort and enjoy a relaxing Fiji beer in your resort or hotel room. That way, you won’t drink as much at the restaurant.
12. Hire a Driver for the Day
A cab or taxi from here to there will usually cost around FJ$50-$60 a time while renting a car is around FJ$100-$300 per day depending on the type of car. Hiring a driver, however, is far more cost-effective. Driver rates are usually around FJ$100 (remember, you can haggle). Drivers will take you anywhere you want to go for the entire day, working out to be a lot cheaper than paying for a taxi for each trip or renting a vehicle (and stressing about the driving). Check out our Guide to Hiring a Driver in Fiji for more details.
13. Plan and Book Your Activities Independently
Rather than booking whatever your resort offers you, plan your own activities. Of course, your resort will only offer you a select few activities (usually the ones where they will make the most commission), so you could be missing out on other activities that you’d rather do at lower prices. Resorts will also offer to book your transport to activities, but most activities offer pick-ups or just add the activity to the itinerary that you give to your driver (see above).
14. Book Activities Once You Arrive in Fiji
For those of you that love to plan ahead, this tip might sound like a nightmare to you! Nevertheless, many of the activities and transport, such as island ferries, are advertised at a much higher price to people overseas than to people already in Fiji. It’s a pretty common thing for websites to track what country you are browsing from and change their prices. You’ll be kicking yourself when you see the activity and transport deals available once you arrive in Fiji!
15. Don’t Book Anything on Your Cruise; Book at Port
The same point two points above also apply to cruise ships! Cruise ships are notorious for charging much more for activities in Fiji that otherwise would be almost half the price on land. For more tips, see our How to Save Money on a Cruise to Fiji.
16. Use the VAT Refund Scheme
VAT is a tax applied to all goods purchased in Fiji. If you buy from souvenir and duty-free retailers like Jacks, Tappoo and others, you might be able to claim the VAT tax back when you are about to leave Fiji. Mind you, it’s only if you are spending more than FJ$500 at these stores, nevertheless, refunding your VAT will be a huge saving. Find out more about the VAT Refund Scheme here.
17. Be Prepared; Read Fiji Pocket Guide
Did you know it is customary to bring kava root during a village visit (and super expensive to buy once you are at the village compared to picking some up from the market)? Did you know that locals list their homes on Airbnb and Booking.com as accommodation for less than FJ$50 a night?! There are loads more ways to save money when travelling in Fiji that we share with you throughout our online travel guide to Fiji! Keep on browsing Fiji Pocket Guide for more tips that will save you money in Fiji!