Packing Guide - Holidaying in Fiji
The excitement of an overseas holiday, especially one where the destination is brand new, can easily lead us to overindulge and pack suitcases too heavy to even lug around the Airport, not to mention filled with totally useless items that won't see the light of day once you've landed. I have to admit I am an over-packer. But I am getting better (a little!). Here is our handy packing list for holiday-makers travelling to Fiji. This is very different to the Packing Guide for expats moving to Fiji - look for my post describing this.
Before I start, I do want to be clear that if you hopped on a plane now without anything but yourself and passport, you would be okay. Fiji has almost everything you need (whether it is your preferred brand or style is another question!) The mainland (and in particular where all flights will land - Nadi) has everything you may need, including beach wear, light cotton shirts and thongs, sunscreen and make up! But the prices for some of the well-known brands that you are used to, will scare your credit card into hiding.
TO ORGANISE WELL BEFORE TRAVEL
Passport (with at least 6 months validity)
Travel documentation (at least an electronic copy saved on your phone or ipad)
Visa requirements (return ticket, or a ticket for onward travel, within the time-frame - Australians get a four month tourist visa upon arrival)
Travel Insurance (this is so important!!)
Banking (inform your bank you will travelling overseas so that your credit card isn't restricted - yes, this happened to me!)
Prescriptions (make sure any regular medication you will need to take is in it's original packaging and has a copy of the prescription with it)
Consider preparing an Emergency contact document - detailing where you are staying and the resort phone number, a copy of your passports and travel documentation. Leave it with someone at home (true story - I put my passport in a box accidentally, and shipped it back to Australia two days before we were flying out of Fiji, we didn't realise until on the way to the Airport - it was my emergency contact document with a photocopy of my passport (plus a hefty customs fee, and a 4 hour drive of uncertainty!) which enabled me to actually get on the plane without my passport
WHAT TO PACK
Sarong or modest clothing (sarongs are readily available in Fiji at the markets, and shops on the mainland - use it to cover up when on village tours or when culturally necessary)
Light jumper/cardigan - surprisingly it can get cool in Fiji, especially in the Winter months and in the evenings. Most resort rooms will operate with air-conditioning - in many resorts you will have no choice but to use the air-con as there are no windows, just sliding doors which you will need to lock at night for security. Plus you will likely need it on the plane trip over
Bathers/Swimmers/Togs - please don't wear in the Villages
Sunglasses - again don't wear in Village
Hat - it's hot!
Casual clothing - you won't need anything too fancy, unless you wish to dress up for dinners etc - light, cool clothing is fine
Reef shoes - the coral can be unforgiving and hurt a lot!
Phone/Camera/Laptop chargers - the good news is that Australian cords will work in Fiji without any adaptors.
Torch - handy when walking back from late night drinks/dinner - walking across grass a torch will help you avoid the toads
Minimal make up - on holidays in Fiji you won't need your full kit! I take my straightener and never end up using it (unsure why I keep doing it really??!) The heat melts make up off your face, and if you are prone to frizzy hair - good luck!
Book/reading material - books and magazines are expensive in resort shops, and magazines are generally a few months behind anyway!
Sunscreen with a high SPF - the Fijian sun is harsh
After sun lotion
Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer - take it to the buffet or to the Village tour, you'll need it
Toiletries (whilst shampoo/conditioner will be in your resort room - if you don't like it or you run out - it is expensive to buy)
Small packet of laundry powder (if you will be doing your own washing)
Prescription medications (read above)
Over the counter medication - most common pain relief and antibiotics are readily available in Chemist stores in the main towns (Sigatoka, Suva, Nadi, Lautoka) - but I like to take a small supply for middle-of-the night issues etc.
Kids pain relief
Some form of antiseptic like Betadine- lots of mozzie bites get infected in the tropical weather
Aqua Ear (or something to prevent ear infections - we got held back from travelling on one trip due to my daughter's particularly bad earache -thank goodness for travel insurance!)
Bandaids / Bandage
Stomach bug tablets - try not to drink tap water but in case.... better to be prepared
Anti-bacterial wipes - good to keep in your hand bag when going out and about, take a small pack of tissues too (to substitute any lack of toilet pape
Small snack foods especially for the kids (crackers, chips, lollies) - can be a God send and will save you a lot of hassle and money to buy comparable items
Light rain jacket/small umbrella (unless you are travelling to Suva and then this becomes an essential item - it rains a lot in Suva!)
Whilst not essential on your packing list, it is a kind idea to pack some small gifts to give to your new friends who will appreciate anything you offer. Some ideas:
Rugby balls/sporting equipment - you will be a Hero!! Fijians love their Rugby.
Rugby jersey from your home team - this will also be a hit!
Bras (village ladies will love them - but be discrete)
Dolls and small toys
Skip the electronics - its unlikely replacement parts/chargers will be readily available and even if they are their cost will be prohibitive
At the end of your holiday, leave your half-used toiletries behind for the ladies who cleaned your room each day. You could also consider taking over a small bag of your good quality hand-me-downs - your new friends will love these too!
Enjoy packing! I always love the excitement of planning a trip, but not so much the pile of laundry when we get home!