While traveling to new destinations can be fun and exciting it's also important to know what to expect and to be prepared before you arrive. This allows you to pack, plan and prepare accordingly...ensuring you can enjoy every last moment of your vacation.
Here are our top 7 Things to Know before you go to Fiji:
1. Know the Meaning of Bula and Vinaka
You'll hear this a lot in Fiji, and we mean A LOT! And although most Fijians speak English these local words will make their way into each conversation. Bula is similar to hello in English and is the Fijian greeting while Vinaka means thank you. When you arrive saying these words you will already seem like a seasoned Fiji traveler!
2. Pack a few Conservative Clothing Items
If you plan to visit local villages, schools or attend a local church service it is important that you respect the conservative culture and cover up a bit more than you might at the resort. For women plan to pack items that cover your shoulders and avoid wearing things like short skirts or shorts while men should plan to pack a few button down shirts and longer length shorts. In addition you should always remove your hat and take your sunglasses off your head when entering a church or village.
One of the many things that makes traveling to Fiji so appealing is the exchange rate. If you are traveling from the United States (and most other large countries) to Fiji the currency will of course change –but unlike most International travel it will actually be in your favor. In fact, on average the value of the American dollar doubles when converted to the Fijian dollar (FJD).
Most hotels and resorts will tell you that tipping is not necessary, and on paper Fiji is a non-tipping country. However, we suggest to bring or set aside some extra cash for tipping staff members that go above and beyond. Alternatively some resorts offer the option to give money to local charities and causes in lieu of tipping which gives you a chance to really give back to the Fijian people collectively.
5. Sunday is Church Day
In Fiji most people are of the Christian faith and take Sundays very seriously. You will find that almost all of the locals go to church on Sundays and that many restaurants and shops are closed on Sundays as well. We suggest that if you are planning activities in town over the weekend to take this into consideration and perhaps do your town or village trip on a Saturday or weekday to make the most of your time and enjoy as much culture as possible. That being said, attending a church service on a Sunday with the locals is always an option as well and most of the hotels and resorts can arrange this for you.
6. Go Ahead and try the Kava
It might look and smell a bit different than what you are used to, but while in Fiji you really must enjoy a cup of Kava, or at the very least a sip of Kava. What is Kava you ask? Well it's a traditional Fijian drink that contains ground pepper plant and (not to scare you...) is actually a mildly narcotic drink which results in a numb feeling around the mouth, lips and tongue and an overall sensation of relaxation. After a long day exploring it's a perfect drink to have before or after dinner.
7. Buy Local
Although your hotel or resort is bound to have a lovely gift shop, we suggest that you try to buy at least a few things from local vendors, stores or villages. Most resorts offer a day each week where they invite local villages to the property to sell their handmade goods and products or if you want to experience the culture a bit more authentically you can head into the local towns or villages to visit their shops and farmers markets. You are certain to get a more unique souvenir to take home with you this way as well as the satisfaction of supporting the local Fijians and all of their hard work.
8. Pack Light
If you are an over-packer you may want to think twice before getting your luggage together for your trip to Fiji. Like many island destinations there are quite a few restrictions on not only the number of pieces that you can have but also on the weight of the baggage. Below we have outlined general baggage outlines for most airlines coming into Fiji:
Weight of Baggage: Kg (15lbs)
Number of Pieces Allowed: 1 piece
Maximum Dimension: 55x40x23cm
Weight of Baggage: Kg (15lbs)
Number of Pieces Allowed: 2 pieces
Maximum Dimension: 56x45x25cm
By following these tips you are certain to be well prepared for your vacation to Fiji...now all that's left to do is packing your bags and hopping aboard a plane to what we like to call the most magical islands in the South Pacific.