“You’re going to Fiji? Its sooooo expensive there” is a phrase I heard a lot when I told my Kiwi friends I was planning a holiday in Fiji to get away from Wellington and get some much needed sunshine. I was worried when they told me this, but was super happy to prove them wrong by spending a budget week in Fiji for only $500 (not including flights) and want to share how this can be done!
Fiji is made up of a group of hundreds of beautiful little sandy islands that can be remote and hard to get to. It becomes easy to spend a lot of money getting boats/flights to islands and staying in hotels where you have to buy a meal plan as there are no other options. Although these islands are said to be some of the most amazing and beautiful in the world, because I was on a budget i chose to stay for the whole trip on the main island Vita Levu which was, by no means less beautiful.
I had an amazing week, I was travelling alone and absolutely loved Fiji, it was so friendly, so beautiful, so easy to get around and uncrowded. It was made all the better by the fact that it cost me hardly anything. Here is how:
How to have a budget week in Fiji
I took a 5pm flight from Wellington to Nadi with Air New Zealand. I haven’t included flights in the budget for this $500 trip because flight prices can vary so much. This is especially if you are coming from New Zealand where there can be crazy specials for certain flights at different times of the year. Interestingly enough, my flight out and my flight back were full of spare seats.
I also met a girl from Auckland while in Fiji who had bought flights for $200 return! Crazy. Anyway, I always use Momondo to check flight prices as I find the bar graph toggle at the top a really easy way to be flexible with days and find the cheapest option.
Another tip, when taking a taxi to the airport in Wellington, I always use Uber and have them drop me off at the Burger King and then walk into the terminal as it seems to be a saving of like $5!
Another way I save money on flights is that I only take hand luggage. On Air NZ, your fare will be cheaper if you don’t check in baggage/. I have a 45L Osprey backpack that is super light and perfect for hand luggage and fits everything I need for a week. I am planning a blog post with a packing list for a hand luggage only trip to Fiji (or any other tropical country) so watch out for that post soon.
Accommodation – Fiji Beach House ♥♥♥♥♥
This is such a huge part of how I ended up having a fantastic budget trip in Fiji. I spent the major middle chunk of my trip at a place called Fiji Beachhouse on the Coral Coast, the south coast of Fiji. This place was nothing short of amazing, especially for a lone traveler.
Fiji Beachhouse is somewhere you can feel at home. It is super clean and well run and the staff are lovely but it also has that amazing desert island chilled out vibe so you can completely switch off. They have private rooms and bungalows and also dorms (which I stayed in) so its suited to different types of travelers. I paid for my 5 nights there before I traveled to Fiji and I paid a total of $125 for the Bula Special. This was an amazing price and the dorms were only 6 bed and I was lucky to have a maximum of 3 others in the room at any one time.
Included in this price was also breakfast, YOGA EVERY DAY, scones in the afternoon and free use of the Kayaks and some other activities. To me this was amazing, it meant I had 5 days where all I had to pay for was my lunch and dinner and I was able to lounge around at their beautiful beach. A 1 hour massage was only $40 Fiji! I can’t recommend this place enough. I met loads of lovely people and it was exactly the place I wanted/needed fot my trip. Loads of surfers stayed here too if thats your thing.
If you want to get away from a resort style holiday, support the locals and get into the local villages, you can check out what is offered in terms of accommodation on Air BnB in Fiji.
Accommodation near the airport
Most people when traveling to Fiji will have to spend either a night or two close to the airport in Nadi. This is because buses and boats may not connect directly with your flight. I chose to stay in a dorm at Oasis Palms.
I would recommend this place as it is really clean and chilled with good food but I probably wouldn’t stay for more than one night because there is no beach and very little to do.
A dorm room was $33 and this included breakfast and they also provided a free shuttle to my flight which was great.
Take the Local Bus
Getting taxi’s is pretty cheap in Fiji but watch out if you are going long distances as the prices increases rapidly. In this instance, I highly recommend taking the local bus. I took the local bus too and from Fiji Beach house to Nadi and it was only FIJI$10 each way. I believe if you take a taxi it will be about $120.
The local bus is also super easy and not scary at all. I have taken buses in some countries (*Sri Lanka) where I have never been more scared for my life but in Fiji the roads are super quiet and there is one main road that follows the coast so there is only really one bus in each direction. My advice, save some dollars, head to the bus station and jump on the bus. Its a great way to experience some of the real life of the country and save some dollars.
Food in Fiji was the biggest expense. When I was staying at the Beachhouse, although the breakfast was included and scones at 3 o’clock, everything else had to be purchased. There were not really any other restaurants in walking distance so it was really just their own food on offer unless you ventured further afield. The food was OK and reasonably priced but not cheap and amazing so became the biggest expense. A soup was $14 and a main around $20, a portion of chips was $9.
It would a good idea to stock up on snacks and fruit on your way to the Beachhouse at the farmers market in Sigatoka where the bus stops on the way.
For snacks on the road, you can also pick up some great little local Indian snacks (Fiji has a huge Indian population), like samosas and other fried goodies for about 20c each. Try the little cafes on the outside of the market in Sigatoka where the locals eat.
One thing you have to try when in Fiji is the Kava, the traditional drink made as a tea from the root of the Kava plant. This is non addictive and not a ‘drug’ but it has a calming effect and is said to remove anxiety. Some people say they don’t feel these effects but I definitely felt more relaxed when I tried it. And to experience this at the Beachhouse you don’t pay a thing so make sure you ask the guys if they running a Kava ceremony while you are there.
Before I went to Fiji, people told me that booze was going to be soooo expensive. Now I can only vouch for the main island but it really wasn’t that bad at all. A small beer was around $5 – $7 and a large $10-$12. At the Beachhouse I drank a lot of G+Ts (classic, i know) and they were $7.50 and this is Fiji dollars which are less than NZ dollars so I’d say that was pretty good!
I have heard stories of people being in Fiji where a Heineken is $20, but I’m guessing that would be in the ritzy resorts, so steer clear of these for a cheap trip (obviously!)
Some people buy duty free alcohol and bring it into the country, but I met a few people who had done this and ended up not drinking any of it. So work out whether this will actually be useful.
Take Metered Taxis
Its inevitable that you will probably have to take a taxi at some point while you are in Fiji. My advice is to take the metered taxis. While I was in Nadi I took a taxi too and from the same place: 0n the way there, the hotel arranged it and I was charged a flat rate of $10, whereas on the way back I took a local metered taxi and it was $7, so if I calculate correctly, you will save 30% on a meter!
Trips and Tours and Islands
I am afraid I am not the best with advice for this as I pretty much just lay on the beach and read books while I was in Fiji. But I would say shop around. Find out what tour you fancy doing, or the island you want to go to and look online to find the best price.
Although I missed out on the islands I plan to head back with boyfriend in tow to check out some of little islands. For inspo on how to get to the islands on a budget, I suggest checking out this blog post: Anna Everywhere as she did much more of this than me. It is also possible to do day trips, so look out for good deals!
Have a great trip!
The main thing is to enjoy your trip. Holidays are once in a lifetime these days. So if you want to do the shark diving or the island trip and it costs a bit, go for it! But by keeping the main costs, travel, accommodation and food down, you can afford to splash on the memories.
That was my lil guide for a week in Fiji for $500. I know, I didn’t do a lot, but I kept the costs down and had a beautiful relaxed, down to earth week. . It was the perfect break for me and made even better by my budget spend. I can’t wait to go back. Maybe next time I will be posting about how to have a luxury week in Fiji. Ya never know!
Thanks for reading and come back soon!
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