How to Plan a Budget Trip to Fiji

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Fiji is often considered a dream destination for travelers. This 300 island archipelago located in the South Pacific Ocean doesn’t need a lengthy introduction, especially to those of you who have seen the film Blue Lagoon.

A common misconception that many travelers have is that a trip to Fiji is way beyond their budget.

After my spontaneous budget trip to Fiji, I can confidently say that you can organize your trip to Fiji on a budget. I enjoyed my trip and would definitely go again. Here I’ll explain how I did it and show you my budget guide to Fiji, whether you’re backpacking in Fiji or trying to do it on a tight budget.Budget Guide to Fiji Islands


DOs and DONTs – Budget Fiji Trip

If you’re thinking of going to Fiji you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to book everything, especially if you’re in Australia. Unlike some great last-minute deals that can be found to the Galapagos or Antarctica, hastily planned trips to Fiji are often much more expensive.

On a tight budget you shouldn’t try to visit as many islands as you can by purchasing an island hopping adventure. Fiji is beautiful, but you don’t have to visit all the islands to get the real Fijian experience.

When you’re island hopping don’t get surprised that you can’t stop at a majority of the islands due to a landing fee of 70 FJD per person. But I did manage to stay for a bit at the Plantation Island Resort. It’s an expensive place, but as a backpacker you can spend a day there.

Our guide informed us that ‘it’s amazing because it has a mini supermarket!” – I guess when you live in Fiji you can get extremely excited over simple pleasures we take for granted such as chocolate or yogurt.

My boat stopped Robinson Crusoe Island where the film Cast Away with Tom Hanks was filmed and Honeymoon Island where many couples have romantic getaways together.
Fiji


Map of Fiji

Fiji islands are the name indicates are islands and you need to plan your trip accordingly. Similar to the Philippines the distances are often large. Make sure you take a look at a Fiji map before.

fiji-map


Cheap Flights to Fiji

The cheapest way to visit Fiji is via a stopover from the Round-the-world ticket. However, if you’re not planning on doing that, you should try to visit Fiji while in Australia. Fiji has various local airports and one international airport in Nadi, so either way you have to fly to Nadi first.

I’m not a big fan of super cheap airlines, because I usually end up losing money due to delays or simply wanting to reschedule. Although this time in order to save money, I considered taking Jetstar – an Australian Ryanair-like airline that I booked through Momondo.budget Fiji trip

As expected, hidden luggage fees ended up making the cost unreasonable. I instead opted to fly with Virgin Australia International (which is apparently different from Virgin Australia), but I booked via HanhAir – a German consultant airline, for approximately 350 AUD round-trip from Sydney.

Unfortunately, Virgin Australia wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. Entertainment cost $20 and the only freebie was a bottle of still water for a 4 hour flight.


Where to go in Fiji?

Fiji has over 20 islands, divided into two regions – Mamanuca and Yasawa, and as I mentioned before it’s not necessary to see all the islands. Island hopping is nice because you’re being taken everywhere, but this comfort comes at quite a price. I decided to organize my own ‘hopping’ in the Mamanuca region instead.budget Fiji trip


Transportation between the islands in Fiji

Visiting Fiji for only 5 days on a budget, I had to plan things properly in order to avoid any costly surprises. As a first time visitor in Fiji, I had no idea where to go or what to see. Following a recommendation from a friend, I opted to stay in Mana Island and visit other islands during the day.

There is absolutely no problem with using boats to get around the various islands in Fiji. You can simply go to the port and get on board there or you can call and organize a pick up in advance. Either way, the price is the same. For example, a round trip from Nadi to Mana Island costs 140 Fijian dollars (75 USD)


Finding accommodation in Fiji

Fiji has accommodation options ranging from exclusive 5-star resorts to backpackers dorms. Hostel prices begin at $9 per night in a dorm on the islands and $4 on the mainland in Nadi. Here are a few options for an affordable accommodation and hostels in Fiji:

  • Nadi

There is no reason to stay in Nadi, but the majority of travelers have to spend the first and the night there there due to a late flight and the lack of boat transfers in the afternoon.

I recommend Smugglers Cove Backpackers for only $5 for a bed in a dorm. It’s a nice and clean place with beds that offer a lot of privacy. Unusual for Fiji the hostel has unlimited free wifi, affordable restaurant and free airport pick-up. In the evening there is a show with traditional Fijian dances.

  • Mana Island

I recommend staying in Mana Island, because it’s only 3h from Nadi. Mana Island was as beautiful and picturesque as one would expect. This small island with only two hostels and a village had everything a backpacker would want in Fiji. White powder beaches, palm trees, and crystal clear blue waters made it ideal for swimming, diving, snorkeling, or just relaxing.

There are only 2 hostels on the island offering a similar rates for less than $20 a night. I stayed at Ratu Kini Dive Resort, that as a name suggests offers PADI courses and introductory diving sections.

I was picked up by their mini van and taken to the port where I boarded the boat to Mana Island. Upon arrival, I was welcomed with a warm ‘Bula!’ and a lei around my neck. For those who don’t know it’s an islander tradition to put a wreath of flowers around one’s neck.

For a few extra $15 a day you can get a meal package with simple lunch and dinner, but fresh and tasty. If you prefer to choose your own meals you can get a dish from a la carte menu available at their restaurant. The hostel organized evening activities such as Cava making or limbo.

Ratu Kini also organized plenty of activities at night such as Cava making. Cava is a traditional Fijian alcohol made from seeds. Although I don’t think it tastes very good, I believe everyone should try it at least once.

  • Beachcomber Island

Another option for a backpacker stay in Fiji is a beachcomber island. It’s great for partying and meeting other travelers, but it’s a bit more expensive than Mana Island. A good option to stay is Beachcomber Island Resort for as little as $12 a night. But you have to pay additional 80 Fijian dollars ($40) for a meal plan including 3 meals a day for each day you stay at the resort.fiji beach

 


Other practical information

If you’d like to be connected to the internet while lounging on the beach, you should purchase a sim card at the airport. For $5 you can get 1gb of internet on your smartphone. While Wi-Fi (if even available), costs around $5 per hour.

You need to remember to get cash in Nadi or any other location on the main island. Most of the smaller islands don’t have ATMs, and card readers aren’t very popular.


Trick for saving on water:  If you want to save money on water get a LifeStraw Water Bottle. It’s a water bottle with special filter that will allow you to drink tap water. Or even some from the pond, puddle or waterfall – everywhere!

Interested in joining a group of travelers instead? Check out some day tours:


Arrange your travel insurance

Don’t forget to arrange a health insure before heading to Fiji. The easiest and the most reliable travel insurance is World Nomads Travel Insurance. Get it before your trip to avoid unnecessary troubles that might ruin your holidays!


Suggested guides for visiting Fiji:

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46 Comments

  1. Apr 15, 2014 / 6:32 am

    Great tips. We’re going to be in Fiji this summer. From the US, we’re flying Fiji Airways to Brisbane which allowed us a free stopover in Fiji for a few days. Thanks for the tip on the sim cards. I was hoping I didn’t have to wait until I got hotel wifi to start posting amazing Fiji photos. 🙂

    • Apr 4, 2015 / 10:16 pm

      I hope you’re gonna have a great time!

    • Apr 4, 2015 / 10:13 pm

      Let me know if you need any further advice!

  2. Apr 18, 2014 / 1:23 am

    Wow, this is super good to know!

  3. Foster
    Jun 20, 2014 / 7:47 pm

    I delight in, lead to I discovered exactly what I used to
    be looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt!
    God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  4. Sanna
    Jan 27, 2015 / 2:11 pm

    Hi! Awesome advice! I just have a question, witch islands had 15$ meal deal? I just found deals at the hostels for 89 dollars…

    • Jan 27, 2015 / 2:25 pm

      Hi Sanna! It was on Mana Island – there are 2 backpackers resorts there. i stayed at Ratu Kini.

  5. Ashley Evans
    May 9, 2015 / 2:17 pm

    Nice – thanks! I’m going to be visiting Fiji as part of my #nandosworldtour – looks like some pretty useful tips here!

    • May 9, 2015 / 4:03 pm

      Enjoy! It’s a beautiful place 🙂

  6. Sophie
    Jul 21, 2015 / 9:04 am

    Hey Anna, im currently trying to plan a trip to fiji from new Zealand. If you could email me I would love to ask you a few more questions about it all. Trying to do it on a low budget!
    Thanks! 🙂

  7. Aug 27, 2015 / 2:54 pm

    Great Tips! I shall keep this in mind

  8. Aug 28, 2015 / 12:27 am

    As a budget traveller I see where you are coming from and appreciate the tips!

    It looks beautiful!

  9. Aug 28, 2015 / 12:56 am

    I found Fiji to be quite expensive, but I’m not a budget traveler, so finding affordable luxury accommodations was very difficult, and like you said, it got harder the longer we waited. We also found the boat out to the island was really expensive. Maybe we just did something wrong. I don’t know.

  10. Aug 28, 2015 / 1:18 am

    Great advice!! I was thinking about going from Fiji from Australia

    • Oct 9, 2016 / 5:28 pm

      You definitely should pay Fiji a visit – it’s just a short flight away from Australia! 🙂

  11. Aug 28, 2015 / 8:15 am

    This is great info, Anna! I’d love to hit up Fiji before I leave Asia! Never knew it could be done on a budget.

    • Aug 28, 2015 / 2:34 pm

      Go! 🙂 And let me know what you think 🙂

  12. Aug 28, 2015 / 2:51 pm

    These are exactly the kind of tips I love to find ! thanks for sharing …
    *added to my bookmarks* 🙂

  13. Stacey Valle
    Aug 29, 2015 / 10:49 am

    I honestly have to say Fiji isn’t on the top of my list yet due to being on budget but these are great tips! I know there are ways to stay on budget 🙂

    • Aug 29, 2015 / 2:19 pm

      Definitely! Go if you have a chance 😉

  14. Aug 29, 2015 / 6:07 pm

    I’ve thought about going to Fiji for a while, but the flight from Boston would be so long. Hawaii took us the greater part of a day because of the 2 6 hour flights and a very long wait in LA. However, if I ever find myself in Australia or New Zealand, it would become a lot more tempting 🙂

  15. Aug 30, 2015 / 2:13 am

    Good tips. I visited Fiji a long time ago but I found there were lots of hostels and other backpacker resources. I ended up staying with Fijians in a mountain town — if you can get an experience like that, you’ll find it’s a lot more memorable than a few days on the beach.

    • Aug 30, 2015 / 11:02 am

      Do you remember which town was it?

  16. Aug 30, 2015 / 1:44 pm

    Some tips to remember! Great 🙂 See some great pics of Fiji passing by always, so it’s definately on the must visit list 🙂

  17. Aug 30, 2015 / 5:47 pm

    We have always fancied Fiji but it would be really expensive, these are great tips and really helpful!

  18. Sep 1, 2015 / 1:41 am

    I’d always thought Fiji would be such a beautiful place to visit but the cost of just traveling there always turned me off. It’s great to know it’s a lot more affordable when traveling from Australia… it’s two things I could knock off my list! Thanks for the tips, I’m sure I’ll put them to use coming up!

    • Sep 1, 2015 / 8:05 am

      Let me know how ig goes if you decide to head that way!

  19. Emma
    Oct 7, 2015 / 1:03 pm

    Hi we are heading over there in December. Wondering is it possible to go to the marina and catch a ferry to an island for the day just to snorkel without actually staying on that island or going via a day tour?

    • Oct 7, 2015 / 9:30 pm

      The first boat leaves at 8 or 9am – not sure and it immiediately comes back after dropping off passengers and taking new ones on board, so I don’t think it’s possible.

  20. Joey
    Jul 23, 2016 / 7:38 pm

    Anna, online, some of the resorts your talking about are very expensive…is it because the prices on the internet are more expensive then if you go in person. and try and get a deal?

    • Jul 24, 2016 / 4:48 pm

      Big resorts will be expensive, but there’s no point of staying in them. You can easily stay in a guesthouse 🙂

  21. Clarence Carson
    Aug 15, 2016 / 6:26 pm

    Just took a trip to the Fiji Islands and it was incredible. The people were amazing and the weather was perfect. The cooler dry season is from April through October and the warm, wetter and more humid season is from November to March. Air temperatures range from the mid 70’s to mid 80’s year round, with water temperatures hovering in the same range, year around just a heads up.

  22. Dec 14, 2016 / 7:04 am

    when i travel, i sweat a lot and get thirsty easily too. anyone else who have used LifeStraw Water Bottle?

    @Anna: thanks for sharing this. considering on giving this a try. but just curious, did you encounter any health prob when using this to get water?

    • Dec 15, 2016 / 3:34 pm

      Never. I actually have my Lifestraw bottle with me here in Costa Rica at the moment 🙂

  23. Gareth
    Dec 26, 2016 / 4:41 am

    Great info! thanks! Any recent details on getting the boats to get from Nadi to Mana Island? Do we just walk there from the airport? Is it hard to find the boats? Are there scammers there?
    Thanks!

    • Dec 26, 2016 / 3:07 pm

      I haven’t encountered any spammers. You can either get to the port and ask (they have on boat per day leaving Nadi at 8:30am) or ask your accommodation to send you a boat.

  24. wijnen guido
    Jan 31, 2017 / 1:19 pm

    has anybody experience with stayng with the locals?? Gie

  25. Agness of a TukTuk
    Feb 12, 2017 / 8:14 pm

    Great tips you have here! I’m definitely taking notes, Fiji is a great destination!

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