Is it Best to Book Fiji Tours with a Travel Agent, Online or Direct?
If you’ve found your way onto this article, then no doubt you have realised the amazing array of activities on offer in Fiji. Shark diving, scenic cruises, fishing, surfing, jet boat rides, river rafting adventures, ziplining over tropical forests, dolphin watching, island excursions and so much more! You just need to take a look at the 10 Must-Do Tours in Fiji to get an idea of what amazing experiences you could be having on these paradise islands. However, the least fun aspect of any tour is having to plan and book it. That’s why in this article, we’re going through where to book tours in Fiji through giving you four different ways!
With some quick research, you’re bound to make the right choice for you! So take a look around Fiji Pocket Guide and read What is the Cost of Travelling in Fiji and 30 Tips for Travelling in Fiji for more helpful tips.
5 Tips for Booking Tours in Fiji
- You’re more likely to get a better deal by booking through travel agents and resorts based in Fiji, rather than from overseas.
- Booking through a travel agent or resort is the least stressful way to organise your trip – by far!
- Can’t find Wifi for searching for tours online? Take a look at Where to Find Wifi in Fiji.
- Remember that many tour companies and activities in Fiji will not have a website, so search for phone numbers too if booking directly.
- See a cheaper price elsewhere, contact tour companies directly and they will almost always match it!
See How to Get a Good Deal on a Tour in Fiji for more tips!
Through a Travel Agent
Travel agents are companies that specialise in planning and booking travel itineraries for travellers. You’ll find travel agent offices in your home country, as well as offices in Fiji. Think of companies like Flight Centre, STA, House of Travel, Fiji Vacations and Travel Express.
The Pros of Booking Tours Through a Travel Agent
- They do the whole planning and booking for you, relieving you of any stress.
- Travel agents have often experienced the tours and activities themselves so can advise from personal experience. However, they will have done free trips, which is often slightly different to the paying customer experience.
- You only have to deal with one person, so if there are any changes or cancellations the travel agent can do it for you, rather than contacting tours one-by-one.
- Travel agents may be able to offer you good combination deals.
- They can help you with some of the logistics of organising your trips, such as visas, transport and other things you might not have thought about.
The Cons of Booking Tours Through a Travel Agent
- Booking through a travel agent may work out more expensive than other methods of booking tours, as tour prices may be pricier considering extra commission is given to the travel agent. There also may be a service fee for the planning your trip.
- Using travel agents outside of Fiji means that money is going out of the Fiji economy. Try using travel agents based in Fiji for an ethical alternative.
- Travel agents can only offer you the select tours that they sell, meaning you’ll have less choice in activities than if you were to book tours yourself.
- They often cannot price-match on cheap tour deals due to them not making enough commission from the sale.
- Overseas travel agents are known for charging high prices on tours to customers who don’t know any better until they arrive in Fiji, by which time it’s too late!
Through Resorts & Hotels
Go to the reception or travel desk in your accommodation in Fiji and they will be more than happy to book you onto local activities and tours. On check-in, the receptionist will usually give you an overview of the types of tours the resort offers. You can return anytime to start booking your activities with the resort.
Pros of Booking Tours Through a Resort
- It’s super convenient! Reception is open 24 hours in all major resorts and hotels, so you can book a tour anytime while you’re staying at the resort.
- Let the resort staff make the phone calls so you don’t have to pay the high phone network roaming charges.
- It allows you to be more spontaneous.
- They will only offer you the activities that are easy to do from the resort, making for a smooth experience. For activities that are a bit further away, they will usually book transport for you too.
- Like travel agents (see above), resort staff have often experienced the tours and activities themselves so can advise from personal experience. Again, they will have done free trips, which is often slightly different to the paying customer experience.
Cons of Booking Tours Through a Resort
- You will almost always be offered the activity at full price, not leaving much room to get a good deal.
- Some resorts will only offer you the activities that make them the highest commission. However, if you have a specific activity in mind, they still may be able to book it for you.
- Resorts will push hard for you to book activities within the resort, meaning you will have to do your own research if you want to do other activities.
Through Online Travel Agents
Online travel agents, or OTAs, are websites used to compare and book activities, tours, flights accommodation and more. There are online travel agents for all things travel, including tours and activities, such as BookMe, Expedia, Viator, TripAdvisor and much more!
The Pros of Booking Tours Through Online Travel Agents
- They are at your fingertips! As long as you have an Internet connection, you’ll find booking with an online booking website super convenient.
Online travel agents make it easier to compare activities and prices, by listing everything together and offering the ability to filter to your specific needs.
- Many of the booking websites are worldwide, so you can use the same website to book your next holiday and the next.
- Booking websites often have relaxed cancellation policies, where activity and tour providers must offer a full refund or all cancellations up to 24 hours before in order to be listed on the website. For you, this gives you more flexibility.
- The reviews and ratings section of booking websites means that you get a more trustworthy representation of what the activity is like, compared to the positive reviews that activity providers will post on their own websites.
- Tours and activity providers often list their cheapest deals on booking websites, giving you a better deal than what you might get with a resort or travel agent.
The Cons of Booking Tours Through Online Travel Agents
- Many OTAs charge extra fees for booking with them, which you usually don’t find out about until you are about to input your credit card details.
- Tour operators use these booking websites to fill up spaces on less popular tours, so you might only be able to book tours for the unpopular times of day, for instance.
- Some booking websites can be misleading saying there are only “two spaces left on this tour”. What that really means is that there are only two spaces left to book through that specific website, there are probably a lot more spaces if you book directly with the tour company.
- Most online booking websites are based overseas, which can have a negative economic impact on local businesses.
- Relying on booking websites while in Fiji might be a little costly when using roaming data on your phone. However, if you use your data on your phone a lot while in Fiji, consider getting local sim card. For more advice, see What are the Best Phone Networks in Fiji.
Booking Directly with the Tour Company
With any activity provider or tour company in Fiji, you have the option to book direct. This can mean booking with the company over the phone, in-person or through their website (if they have one).
The Pros of Booking Direct
- All the money you are paying for the tour goes directly to the company, as they do not need to pay commission to anyone else.
- It’s possible to get the cheapest deals by booking direct. By cutting out the middleman of travel agents, no commission needs to be paid therefore they don’t need to raise their prices in order to make a profit.
- If you find a cheaper deal elsewhere, the tour company will almost always match it or offer you a cheaper price.
- Booking direct makes you a more independent traveller, which means you’re more likely to stick to your budget, rather than being tempted by add-ons that travel agents might offer.
The Cons of Booking Direct
- It’s more time-consuming and stressful to book everything yourself. It’s up to you to do the price comparisons, contact the companies, and make sure everything is booked on the right date at the right time.
- In many cases, tour companies have strict cancellation policies where you probably will not get a full refund if you have to cancel the trip.
Which Booking Method to Choose for Booking Tours in Fiji
There’s no “best” booking method when it comes to booking tours in Fiji – it’s more like whatever booking method suits your needs. For instance, if you are a newbie to organising your own trip or saving money is not an issue for your holiday in Fiji, then booking through a travel agent or through your resort will probably be the best option. On the other hand, seasoned travels might prefer to have more control over their own itinerary and save a few bucks along the way by booking directly with the tour company. If you want to be really crafty, use online travel agent websites to compare tours and activities, then book directly with the company to ensure you’ll get the best deal possible.
For more ways to save money in Fiji, head to 17 Ways to Save Money When Travelling in Fiji.