Planning a trip to Fiji? We recently just returned from our fourth trip to Fiji. Yes, it’s fair to say we are in love with the place! So, we thought we would share some insights and tips to help fellow travellers who may not have been to this amazing country (yet) to plan and enjoy their holiday in Fiji.
HERE ARE Our top ten tips for Planning and holidaying in Fiji:
- Check-in – We flew Fiji Airways both legs of the trip. Online check-in opens 24 hours before the flight and closes 4 hours prior to departure. Bag Check-in opens 3 hours before the flight and closes an hour before the departure of the flight.
- Passport – You are required to have a valid passport with at least 6 months beyond your intended period of stay in Fiji. You will also need to have a return or onward travel ticket. (When checking in they may ask to see your return or onward ticket).
- Cash & Credit cards – It’s worth checking if your hotel is cashless or not. It will make a huge difference to how much cash you may initially need. Depending where you stay, larger shops, hotels, restaurants and tour companies will have credit card facilities. This means that you will only need cash if you are going to the smaller shops, markets or local stalls or if you are tipping.
- Be aware of the upfront bond – Many of the larger resorts charge a bond at check in. Bond amounts vary but can be in the vicinity of F$100-$150 per night. It’s usually just ‘held’ against your credit card but you still need to have the funds available on the card. (On our recent trip this meant they held F$1500.00 as a bond) Most resorts are cashless, so everything is charged back to your room. You can use that bond towards paying your account on check out or if you pay cash, the money is released back onto your card (it can take a few days though).
- Credit Card Fees – As I said earlier, we stayed in a cashless hotel which meant we finalised our bill at the end of our stay. Paying with a credit card does attract a 3% surcharge. Credit card surcharges are common, for example we got hit with between 2-2.5% surcharges when buying from big chained stores like Jacks, Tapoo and Prouds and also when we did Duty Free shopping at the airport.
- VAT refund scheme – VAT is a 9% Government Value Added Tax (VAT) and is applicable to all goods and services in Fiji. The Fiji VAT refund scheme allows tourists to claim a refund of VAT paid on goods purchased in Fiji and taken out of Fiji at the International Airport. In essence, to be eligible you need to spend a minimum of F$500 (VAT Inclusive) in any of the approved licensed retailer outlets during your stay and take the goods with you when you leave Fiji. Examples of approved licence retailers connected with the scheme are Jacks, Tapoo, Prouds etc. When purchasing the items you will need to ask the retailer for a refund form and a tax invoice(s) for the goods purchased. You will also need to show your passport so that they can fill in all the relevant details on the form.
- Electricity/ power plugs – Fiji use a 240V with a 3 pin outlet (identical to Australia & New Zealand), a nice little bonus for us!
- Sim Cards – We had our international roaming on and our mobile data turned off before arriving in Fiji and just used the airport and hotel’s wifi which worked fine for us. If you are wondering about sim cards the two that seem to be used a lot in Fiji are Vodaphone & Digicel. Both are available at the Nadi International Airport when you arrive.
- Tipping, Gifts & Donations – Tipping is not expected but always gratefully accepted. Some hotels will ask that you donate to the staff Christmas Fund as opposed to individual tipping. Although many tourists will tip individually, they will just do it very discreetly. Other options to cash tips are gifts such as chocolate, items that represent your home country, sporting goods or stationery for the family or village etc.
For example, some great gift ideas include:
|Sporting equipment||Items for Children||Items for Adults|
- Expensive Items in Fiji – There are always items in every country that are more expensive than your home country. If you are Australian, here are a few that you may want to bring from home. Sun-cream, Vegemite, Nutella, pool toys and floating devices, bucket & spade or chocolate. To give you an idea; the price of 5 blocks of 200gm Cadbury chocolate (bundled up) costs F$40.00 and that is in duty-free. This is why some people like to gift chocolate to the locals because it is too expensive for them to buy themselves. The other side to this argument is that there is not a great dental health care system in Fiji. So it’s much better to give a tooth-brush and tooth paste and non sugary treats to the locals.
So, there you have 10 quick tips about Fiji. What would you add to the list?
Stay tuned next week we will dive into our stay at the Outrigger Fiji on the Coral Coast, what we got up to and how we saved money with a few simple travel hacks.
In the meantime, want some more travel tips? Click over and see what 14 essential things that you need to pack when travelling with kids or to what to pack in Hand Luggage when heading overseas.