Fiji Travel Tips: How to Plan an Affordable Trip

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.

I don’t blame them. Some of the hotels in Fiji are the most luxurious in the world. Tony Robbins owns an island where he hosts super pricy retreats and other resorts might cost you a couple of thousand dollars per night.

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.

Fiji Travel Tips


Is Fiji Expensive?

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 in 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. My 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 and know where you’re heading.

map of Fiji


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 low-cost airlines, because I usually end up losing money due to delays or simply wanting to reschedule. To save money, I considered booking a flight with Jetstar – an Australian budget airline that I found 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 a cheaper provider HanhAir – a German consultant airline, for approximately 350 AUD round-trip from Sydney.


READ MORE: How to Find Cheap Flights


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 and I didn’t regret it. There’s no point in joining an organized island hopping trip unless you have a lot of money to spare.

budget Fiji trip


Transportation Between the Islands in Fiji

Boat rides to the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands are notoriously expensive, as many resorts require you to book transport through them. However, there are local boats you can use.

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).

Fiji travel tips


Where to Stay 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 affordable accommodation and hostels in Fiji:

Overwater Bungalows in Fiji

There weren’t many options of overwater bungalows in Fiji until recently. While Fiji still doesn’t have ‘futuristic water villas’ like those in the Maldives, here are a few options of fantastic spots:


Where to Stay in Nadi

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

Luxury to mid-range travelers will be satisfied by staying at Ramada Suites. It’s a beachfront hotel with pools and tropical gardens. 

For budget travelers, 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 pickup. 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 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 minivan and taken to the port where I boarded the boat to Mana Island. Upon arrival, I was greeted 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 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 (Mamanuca Islands)

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 an additional 80 Fijian dollars ($40) for a meal plan including 3 meals a day for each day you stay at the resort.fiji beach


What to Know Before Visiting Fiji

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 the 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.

Bring some conservative clothing. While you’ll be fine in touristy spots, locals tend to cover up so if you try to blend it, you might want to put something on your shoulders.

Kava Ceremony

Be ready to be offered Kava, a national drink that’s made of roots. Kava ceremonies traditionally occur within local tribes, but many hotels offer ceremonies as well. Kava ceremonies take place on the floor while everyone is sitting in a circle.

To accept the kava, clap three times and drink the entire bowl in its entirety. Then clap three times to show appreciation for the kava. I’ll be honest, I didn’t like the taste very much, but the whole experience is a must!


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


Arrange your Travel Insurance

Don’t forget to arrange health insurance 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!


Fiji on a budget

Suggested Guide for visiting Fiji:


Alternative Options of Tropical Islands Around the World:

Budget Guide to Fiji Islands
traveling to Fiji

Any questions about traveling to Fiji? Let me know, I’m usually friendly and try to respond quickly 😉

71 thoughts on “Fiji Travel Tips: How to Plan an Affordable Trip”

  1. 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. 🙂

    Reply
  2. 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

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

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

    Reply
  5. 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! 🙂

    Reply
  6. 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.

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  7. 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 🙂

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  8. 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 🙂

    Reply
  9. 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.

    Reply
  10. 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!

    Reply
  11. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  12. 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?

    Reply
  13. 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.

    Reply
  14. 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?

    Reply
  15. 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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  16. Hello, thanks a lot for your tips!!
    I was checking the accommodation places that you recommended, however the prices are much expensive. What website did you use to book you ?
    We are a family of 4 (2 adults + 2kids: 3yrs and 14yrs) traveling very budget. Is there anything that you can recommend us? I hear that there are small local accommodation options which includes 3 meals a day. Do you know any of these? I was searching but I only found information for big resorts and a couple of backpackers.
    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Hi Ursula,

      When I checked just now places had the same prices +/- $10 on random dates, but if you’re looking into going during the high season it’s going to be more expensive. It also might be the fact that these are prices for a bed in a dorm, where kids are not allowed normally. I’d message Ratu Kini and ask if they have a bungalow where kids can stay (they have the 3 meal a day option), and also look into Bounty Island Resort.

      Reply
  17. Hi,

    Thanks for the tips, really helpful! If we make a base on Mana Island, is it possible to then just do day trips from there to a few other islands?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  18. Hi Anna,
    Thank you for all the great tips about Fiji.
    If I can have your email address. I’d love to help. Thank you.

    Reply
  19. great info! also a traveler like u, counting countries visited and soaking up life….
    Was wondering if you have any insight on chartering a sail boat/catamaran with captain/cook to sail the area, on a budget.
    I did that in Ionian islands in Greece, found an amazing deal 1600 usd for a week for a room on 4-room boat, 2 meals included, plus drinks etc. Just came back, was such an amazing adventure. Would love to do Fiji like that 😉

    Reply
  20. Hi, I’m currently in Australia and looking at going to Fiji, The Philippines and SE Asia in January. I’m hoping to go for around 3 months with about 2 weeks spent in Fiji. How much AUD realistically do you think I need for Fiji on a backpacker budget?

    Hope you can give advise!!

    Meg x

    Reply
    • It depends on what do you want to do. If you want to dive, that’s surely going to increase your budget by a LOT, but it’s also totally worth it. I’d count approx. $500-700 for a bed in hostels for 2 weeks in a regular season (most are usually full board), plus expenses. $1000 should be enough with transportation but without diving, I’d say.

      Reply
      • I think I would dive once but not interested in getting any certificates etc! Thanks so much for your reply I hear so many different things about Fiji! I want to budget around 1200 AUD. I’m hoping it will be enough. Do you have any suggested routes to take or things to do? Completely clueless when it comes to Fiji! x

        Reply
        • To keep it on a budget I’d suggest sticking to Mamanuca Islands only unless you find a discounted island hopping package. You can do day tours, but probably stick to max. 4 places and use public boats or from hostels rather than charter ones.

          Reply
  21. This guide was awesome. Me and my hubby are debating between Fiji and the Maldives for our honeymoon. Any insight of which destination you’d choose?

    Reply
  22. Your post a truly amazing for anyone who’s looking for a budget-friendly vacation trip to Fiji. Thanks for sharing!!!
    Big Love Big Support!

    Reply
  23. I went on an around the world trip when I visited Fiji in 1993. I stayed on Beachcomber Island and it was like paradise for me. Earlier on that trip I had visited Hawaii and that had been really pricey. In 2002 I managed to visit French Polynesia which was expensive and the Cook Islands. I had more visits to tropical islands after that. I visited three islands in the Seychelles in 2004 and in 2005 I visited the Maldives. Both of those places were pricey. My best trip was in 2006 when I discovered Caye Caulker in Belize.

    Reply
  24. Such an amazing article I really want to come there your blog is informative I like your blog and I spend my holidays in Fiji next month.

    Reply
  25. Thanks for sharing this much of information. i am a travel blogger and visited many times to fiji. I always find some hotels are charging some extra but after some effort i’m able to manage few cheap resorts. You shared a good information and is pretty helpful for the new travelers who are visiting fiji.

    Reply
  26. Hi Anna,

    Thanks for the tips, people like you make life lot easier!!

    Your trip sounds amazing and I’d love to do something similar.

    Me and my girlfriend are looking to go next year for around the same amount of time you went. Over the 5 days, how much AUD did it cost? We would be flying from New Zealand so don’t worry about including info on the flights.

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  27. Hey Anna!
    I really liked your article, I live in Sydney and visiting Fiji is long on my bucket list… However, I think Jetstar is so much better than Virgin! Virgin still has got hidden charges for luggage and on the 3,5 hour flight from Auckland we didn’t even get water for free… if we flew with Jetstar the price for the ticket would be probably half even with 1pc luggage included… anyway, that is just my negative experience… I like Jetstar, we’re flying with them everywhere not only around Australia… 😉

    Reply
  28. Thanks Anna for this introduction to visiting Fiji on a budget. We are going to be in Oz for six months and thought that including Fiji in our itinerary might be fun. Although you did present some budget options, we are an older couple and no longer are comfortable in hostels. It would be nice to find some lodging options that are in between hostels and luxury resorts, but perhaps Fiji is too much a tourist destination to have many of those. Your outline of the various islands and where the airports are was very helpful. I also learned what I needed to know about moving from island to island. Have fun!

    Reply
  29. Thanks for the amazing Fiji travel budget tips! I know one of the best private resort named Raiwasa. And also one of the budget luxury accommodation in Fiji.

    Reply
  30. Hello Anna 🙂

    Of course, over time the prices change drastically. Just a little info for future travellers: We also stayed in Ratu Kini on Mana Island and the meal plans are now around 42 Fiji dollar per person. Transport to Mana Island is FJD180 return per person from Nadi.

    Reply
  31. Outstanding images that are included here. Many thanks to you for spending your time here to make a beautiful content and for sharing your gathered experience. Traveling is always more enjoyable and educative. This must be a perfect place for removing monotony. These given images are very much pretty and so much professional and inspirational.

    Reply

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