Fiji Vacation On A Budget

A great way to tour Fiji on a budget is to get an apartment at one of the many resorts that are on offer. A lot of these resorts provide transportation, activities, restaurants as well as a place to sleep. This means you will be able to save money and enjoy yourself without having to rent a car or go out to restaurants every night. Fiji has been the destination of many travelers, but it is a compact destination that can be fully experienced without spending too much money. However, there are some things you should plan in advance. You can actually save up to 80 percent of your money by using some little tricks and tips. Many people go on a vacation or to see their favorite star, but they spend a lot of money because they don’t know how to travel smart.

The Fiji Islands are a beautiful and remote paradise that can be found 1,600 miles off the coast of the western Pacific in Oceania. Everyone has heard of a tropical island vacation; they are one of the most popular getaways in the world. There is a good reason why so many tourists keep returning to this location. Whether you only have a few hundred dollars or ten thousand, you will always be able to find an affordable vacation package to fulfill your dreams. “Fiji.com” screamed out of the screen as she clicked on the link to a travel website. She anxiously waited for the page to load, her mouse hovering over the browser’s back button. It was no secret that she wanted to visit an island paradise before she grew too old. As pictures of tropical beaches filled the space on her computer screen, her mouth watered just thinking about taking a dip in crystal clear waters.

Fiji Vacation On A Budget

Fiji is not a cheap destination to travel. In fact, it is surprisingly expensive with lots of prices being similar to those in New Zealand or Australia! However, there are a few tips that I discovered on my recent trip to Fiji that will help you save some money while in Fiji.

If you’re smart and careful, you can still see and do all of the best things to do in Fiji without breaking the bank!

These tips are things I wish I would’ve known before my trip to Fiji! So here we go, my top 10 tips for traveling Fiji on a budget!

1. Sleep on the main island of Viti Levu

Main island of Viti Levu in Fiji beautiful white sandy beach
You don’t need to go to a remote island to see beautiful beaches in Fiji. This photo is on the Pacific Coast of the main island.

Fiji is an island nation composed of over 300 islands! Deciding where to stay in Fiji is a big factor when trying to stay on budget during your travels.

The largest island, or what many call the “main island”, Viti Levu, is where the international airports are and the majority of main facilities.

Although staying a few nights on one of the many tiny remote islands in Fiji is tempting, if you are traveling Fiji on a budget, then this might be something you need to give a miss. First of all, the ferries to get to the islands are very expensive and cost from $100-200 FJN each way!

Also, the hotels on the remote islands are more expensive than the ones on Viti Levu. Not to mention, because of their isolated location, food and drink prices are also inflated.

If you book your accommodation on Viti Levu in Fiji, then you’ll have access to local restaurants and grocery stores. You can also do a day trip out to a remote island for as little as $100 FJN including activities and transport! Visiting these remote islands on a day trip as opposed to spending a few nights is a huge budget-saver and definitely an important option to consider if you’re traveling Fiji on a budget!

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With all of that said, there are a couple of places where you can stay for pretty affordable prices on the Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands (keep reading for my suggested hotels in the next section.)

Where to Stay in Fiji on a Budget

view from room at Smugglers Cove in Wailoaloa Beach in Nadi, Fiji
The ocean view from our room at Smugglers Cove hotel at Wailoaloa Beach in Nadi.

To help you out, I’ve included a few really great budget-friendly places to stay both on Viti Levu, and on the Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands. This way, you can easily book cheap accommodation for your trip!

  • Bamboo Backpackers – Located in Nadi, this hostel offers dorms for as little as $15 FJD a night and private rooms from $55 FJD. They are right on Wailoaloa Beach and also have a pool and onsire restaurant and bar (that’s always really lively!)
  • Smugglers Cove Hotel – Located right on Wailoaloa Beach in Nadi, this small boutique hotel is the perfect combination of comfort and affordability. It features an on-site restaurant with delicious food and cheap drinks! I’ve personally stayed here and really enjoyed it. Standard rooms with airconditioing and a private ensuite start from around $100 FJD a night.
  • White Sandy Beach Lodge – Budget options are hard to find on the Yasawa Islands, but luckily White Sandy Beach Lodge exists! For less than $40 FJD a night you can get a dorm bed here. You’ll have to take the Yasawa Flyer ferry from Port Denarau to get here, the ride should take about 3.5 hours and cost about $180 FJD for a one-way trip.
  • Beachcomber Island Resort – This reosrt is located in the Mamanuca Islands. Here, dorm beds go for as little as $85 FJD per night. The resort is located on its own private island and is within a marine sanctuary, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling or diving.

Hot tip: If you decide to spend a couple of nights on one of the remote islands around Fiji, beware of costly food and beverage packages! Many of the island hotels make you purchase their food package as there is nowhere else to buy food around – and it isn’t cheap! Before booking, be sure to find out if a food package is mandatory as they can cost around $135 USD per person per day on top of the hotel cost! The hotels that I recommended above do not have these meal packages, but you will have to eat at their restaurants. Bring some snacks with you to avoid paying for three meals a day.

2. Pay with cash

buying fresh coconut water in nadi fiji
A roadside vendor selling fresh coconut juice in Fiji. You can only pay with cash here!

In Fiji, cash speaks! Credit card and EFTPOS machines are frequent but they often incur a 3-5% charge.

When at local shops it’s also easier to negotiate prices with cash as the locals prefer to take cash.

My best advice is to bring FJD cash with you (exchange your money at home before leaving or at the airport) or to exchange some when you arrive. Alternatively, you can withdraw some cash at ATMs but this also has a surcharge and they are not always readily available.

Arriving in Fiji with cash is often an underestimated tip, but if I had been prepared, I would’ve saved hundreds on credit card surcharges and ATM fees!

3. Take local transport

two women riding in a local bus in Fiji
My mom and I, catching a local bus in Fiji.

Taxis are pricey in Fiji! Yellow taxis start at $5 FJN and the meter goes up very quickly. The less official taxis are a little bit cheaper and fares are negotiated as a set price. However, they are still extremely expensive in comparison to local transport.

The local buses in Fiji cost only a couple of dollars and go all around the island of Viti Levu! I got all the way from Nadi Airport to Pacific Harbour (a 3.5-hour ride) for only $12 FJN!

Do be aware though, the local buses can be slow and often run late. They do have a schedule but don’t seem to follow it very well. You know how it is, “Fiji time” is a real thing!

I also must give you the heads up that the local buses don’t have air conditioning and can be very full. Try and get a window seat if you can, and also be prepared for a sweaty ride.

Other than that, the local buses are safe and the best option for traveling around Fiji on a budget. Plus, the locals are very friendly and I actually met a couple of very friendly people while on local buses!

4. Shop at local markets and grocery stores

entrance to the Suva markets
The Suva markets are huge, and sometimes very busy! But…it is the cheapest place to buy groceries in Fiji and one of the best things to do in Suva!

Buying snacks, water, and alcohol at the local grocery stores will save you a ton! Hotels and small grocery stores in tourist areas overcharge for these items.

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