Packing Guide for expats - Moving to Fiji
If you've made the big decision to move to Fiji as an expat, you may be wondering what you should pack. Moving to a tropical island is not your average move, so this is not your average packing list.
Packing is such a personal thing, and what one person may consider important, may not even appear on another's radar. So this is our personal opinion, and what we have found helpful to bring to Fiji. Before I start, if you are travelling to Fiji on holidays - try this List instead.
Clothing - Essential Day-to-Day
Light weight and modest clothing is best. It gets very hot and humid so you don't want to be wearing denim or fleece. Fijians are very modest, so be mindful of this. Bring plenty of underwear and bras - these are hard to find and when you do, they're expensive. Bring your exercise clothing/active wear, and black leggings - you won't find them in Fiji (quality or price wise), and socks.
Clothing - Work
You won't need the fancy threads, and three piece suits you are used to in Sydney City. Long (ish) skirts and light tops will work fine. Make sure the length of your skirt is appropriate (below knees is best) and that it is loose enough to enable you to sit on the floor. You will not need pantyhose - so leave them at home! For the gents, trousers are fine and you can pair them with a Fijian Bula Shirt (very easy and cheap to buy when you get to Fiji).
Clothing - Accessories
If you are living in Suva, you will need waterproof 'everything'. It rains a lot, and then some more! So it is wise to invest in a waterproof bag, a handbag made of oilcloth has served me well over the years. Leave your expensive leathers at home - they will just mould-up and ruin. If you could get yourself a waterproof watch and wallet, that would be a bonus too. Be sure to bring a good-quality rain jacket, but make sure it is light-weight. Whilst it rains a lot (and then some more!) it is still really humid. Bring all of this with you - you won't find it easily once in Fiji.
Clothing - Shoes
Bring waterproof sandals to walk around in. You will likely be walking a lot in Suva - I'm not sure why, but we tend to walk a lot there. And because it rains a lot, it gets slippery, so sturdy shoes are important, and your leathers will be ruined.
Bring a doona (it does get cool at night sometimes!) and a doona cover. You can purchase hotel-quality sheets, pillows, tea-towels and bath/pool towels from hotel supplier Motiram (in Nadi and Suva), but the concept of doonas and doona covers hasn't quite hit Fiji yet. There is no 'Spotlight' or 'Kmart' so if your kids must sleep with 'Frozen' or 'Dora' sheets, be sure to bring them with you. Curtains can be found in a few shops, and can be made-to-measure in a few stores too, but it will come down to your taste in fabric. If you are used to IKEA, you will need to get accustomed to life without it.
Mostly everything can be found in Suva, including electrical items. However, often they are very expensive. Bring your Nespresso machine (and plenty of pods), your Nutri-bullet blender, your X-Box or gaming machine, and sewing machine. There are cheap(er) versions for toasters, kettles, electric frypans etc.
For the kids, bring their lunch boxes, and drink bottles, as well as frozen bricks for their lunch boxes. Bring zip lock bags if you like to use them, as well as your good quality Tupperware type containers. There are plenty of plastic-wear shops, but I found the lids don't stay on like Sistema or Lock'n'lock.
You will find almost everything in Suva, however, if you like a particular brand of make-up or shampoo/conditioner, bring a stockpile with you. Supermarkets are limited to brands like Dove and Palmolive, and there is no such thing as a beauty products counter like we find at Kmart or Target. Bring hair bands/elastics because the ones we find in Fiji have lost their elasticity before we even open them.
If you have a favourite brand of chocolate/coffee/packet soup/biscuits that you really don't think you can live without- it's best to bring a stock-pile with you. If you are a Nutella fan, bring it. You can bring most things in your suitcase, as long as it is unopened. But check with Fiji Revenue & Customs Authority to be sure.
Some things we always bought to Fiji are:
John West flavoured tins of salmon (tuna is plentiful there, not so much salmon) Customs will often ask us about this, but when we say it is Salmon and not Tuna, they are okay with it
cereals like muesli (weet-bix are easy to buy and cheap)
nespresso pods (a lot!);
good quality dark chocolate;
cup of soups;
decent instant coffee;
protein powders and health foods (available more readily now, but not all brands and still very expensive)
Have you moved to Fiji and have anything else to add to this list? Please let me know so I can keep it current and updated.
Are you still in decision mode as to whether you should move to Fiji? Have a read of "So You're Moving to Fiji - A Bit About Your New Island" and "3 Things to Understand before you're a Suva Expat" it may give you some help in your decision making process.
Until we chat again, SJ xx
SJ here - did you enjoy reading this post? Or find it helpful? If so, I would appreciate it so much if you could share it on your Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest by clicking one of the buttons just below this... And even better - please leave me a comment below - I love love love reading your comments and knowing your thoughts about this topic. Or you could Email Me if you prefer. Vinaka Vakalevu - Thank you! And thanks for stopping by my Blog xx