Budget Travel In Fiji
If you are on your way to visit New Zealand or Australia, then you may have a very good opportunity of being offered a stop over in Fiji. And if you are currently in New Zealand or Australia, then a flight to Fiji will only take a few hours of your time, making it very accessible to people on this side of the world.
Fiji has been a major player in the tourist industry for quite some time now, and is easily the most visited of all the Pacific Islands. This is both a blessing and a cure. The tourist infrastructure is very well developed in Fiji, which means that it can be a lot easier than you may have originally expected to find yourself parted from your cash.
Transportation costs in Fiji can vary widely depending on how and where you want to travel. Public busses around the main island of Viti Levu run frequently and are reasonably priced. You can go from Nadi (the main airport city) to Suva (the capital) for between 15 – 20 FJD.
If you decide to visit some of the islands (and really, this is what a trip to Fiji is really about), your transportation costs will greatly increase. Almost all the tourists who come into Nadi are planning a trip to the Yasawa or Mamanuca islands, and the ferry prices reflect this demand.
If you want to visit several islands, you may want to consider getting a hop on, hop off ferry pass. If you only want to visit one or two, it may work out cheaper to buy your tickets individually. If the ferry prices are too overwhelming for you, but you still want to visit a beautiful beach, you may want to consider visiting the Coral Coast instead, at the southern end of Viti Levu which is accessible by public bus.
When I first thought about visiting Fiji, I had a quick look at hostel prices in Nadi and was amazed at how cheap they were. My mistake was thinking that these prices would be repeated in other areas of the country.
In Nadi, you can easily get a hostel for 12 – 20 FJD which usually also includes airport pickup and breakfast. However in the rest of the country, expect to pay 20 – 50 FJD for a dorm room, and if you go to the Yasawas, the price for a dorm can easily sky rocket to 75 – 110 FJD. However, it is important to remember that the hostels on the islands usually include all three meals in addition to your room.
There is no simple rule for finding the best budget accommodation in Fiji. For some of the dorms I saw, the price on the hostel booking websites were substantially more than the walk in prices, sometimes as much as 10 FJD more per night. Often, you can also obtain a better price if you are staying multiple nights, and you negotiate this directly with the hostel.
If you know exactly where you plan to stay before your trip, and if you intend to stay in one place for a longer period of time, it may be worthwhile to try to contact the hostel directly, and you may be able to save yourself some money.
The prices of food amazed me in Fiji. The prices in restaurants were often comparable to in Australia. However, the portions are about double the size as in Australia. If you are travelling in a group, you could probably easily share one plate of food between two people, which would definitely help cut costs.
Another option for eating on a budget in Fiji is self catering. Make sure you check if your hostel has shared kitchen facilities available, as many do not. However, by shopping in the local stores and markets, you can save yourself a lot of money.
If you are going to the islands, the majority of your food will be included in your accommodation price. However, if you want anything extra (like snacks or booze), it will be a lot cheaper for you to buy it ahead of time in Nadi, before you set out on the ferry.
Your main expenses in Fiji will be accommodation and transportation. Most other things, like souvenirs, mobile phone credit, and internet access is available at very competitive prices. Souvenir shops, especially in Nadi, are fiercely competitive, making it easy to barter for a better price.
The mobile phone companies in Fiji include digicel and vodaphone. You can get a sim card from vodaphone for free at the Nadi airport. Internet is also very reasonable. An hour of internet in the towns (the hostels charge much more) ranges from 1 FJD – 4 FJD an hour. The internet speeds are also generally quite good, and wifi is also usually available at these internet cafes.
Budget Travel in Fiji
I was surprised by the cost of travelling in Fiji. Before I left for the islands, I had assumed that Fiji would be cheaper than Samoa. However, I found Samoa to be much more of a budget destination. In Fiji’s defence, the extra costs are often directly related to the extra things available to do.
If you would like to see a breakdown of the costs of my trip to Fiji, you can view them here. In the end, I spent about 100 FJD (60 Australian Dollars) per day, which is about 20 dollars more per day than I spent in Samoa.