Fiji travel guide: what you need to do


Visas, vaccinations, phone and internet, power, money, travel insurance, handy apps and more.

Fiji planning and preparation


Get the best cash rate, phone rates, phone apps for maps and currency conversions, and why you should thank Steven Spielberg when your phone works in Fiji - download the Fiji travel guide.

Visas and passports

Australian passport holders do not need to apply in advance for a visa to visit Fiji for up to four months. You can get a visa on arrival in the country, provided you:

  • have a passport with at least six months validity
  • have a return or onward ticket.

Visa rules may change. For up-to-date information check with the Fiji High Commission: fijihighcom.com.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations may be necessary before you travel to Fiji. The Travel Doctor recommends you make sure your routine vaccinations are up to date, and consider shots for typhoid and hepatitis A and B. See their Fiji health planner for more information, or speak to your doctor.

Tip: Some vaccinations need to be given four to six weeks before departure, so get in early.

Phone and internet

Global roaming and coverage

Australian phones that operate on a 900Mhz frequency will work on Fiji's GSM network, but coverage is likely to be patchy in remote areas and on outlying islands. The Mamanuca Islands, however, have quite extensive coverage thanks to Steven Spielberg, who paid for mobile towers to be installed while he was there filming the movie Castaway!

Mobile phone bills can skyrocket easily when you go overseas so check the rates with your telco before you leave and find out what you need to do to minimise bill shock:

Tip: Switch off data roaming on your phone before you leave Australia. Likewise, switch off your voicemail and ask friends and family to text you rather than calling (you'll be charged if you answer incoming calls).

Local SIM

A pre-paid Fijian SIM is a cheaper option if you're planning to use your phone often. You can buy a SIM pre-loaded with credit, or even rent a SIM or phone for the duration of your stay. You'll find phone shops at the airports and in the towns. Credit can be topped up online or bought at phone shops and convenience stores.

Vodafone, Digicel and Inkk Mobile are on the GSM network, so they'll be compatible with Australian phones. Avoid SIMs from TFL (Telecom Fiji Limited), they operate on the CDMA network so they won't work with your phone.

Tip: The Vodafone store at Nadi Airport sells SIM card starter packs which they will set up and register for you.

Vodafone is one of Fiji's major telcos, but you'll still pay international rates if you use your Australian Vodafone SIM there. Likewise, phones locked to the Vodafone Australia network won't accept Vodafone Fiji SIMs.

Travel SIM

If you'd prefer to be organised before you go, a travel SIM is an easy option, though the rates probably won't be as cheap as with a local SIM. Travel SIMs are available online and from some travel agents and post offices. Check that the SIM you're buying has coverage for Fiji.

Remember: Your phone will need to be unlocked to accept a SIM from another network.

Beat global roaming shock - our guide to using your phone overseas. 

Wi-Fi

Most hotels offer internet access, either free or paid, and with varying degrees of speed and signal strength. Internet cafes and Wi-Fi hotspots can be found in the major cities and some towns, but the further off the beaten track you go, the harder it will be to find.

Power plugs

Standard voltage: 240V

Frequency: 50Hz

Power sockets:

Fiji's frequency and power sockets are the same as Australia's, and the voltage is only slightly higher than Australia's 230V, so you'll be able to use your Australian appliances without needing a transformer or adapter.

Money

Currency: Fijian dollar ($FJD)

Check xe.com for the latest exchange rates.

Important: Tell your bank about your travel plans two weeks before you leave. Card activity in a foreign country could be mistaken for fraud and you could find your account frozen.

ATMs

Available at the airports and in major towns and cities, as well as at some hotels. If you're travelling somewhere remote, particularly to a small or outlying island, stock up on cash (and hide it well). Remember you'll be charged a transaction fee and conversion fee every time you withdraw money.

Tip: Westpac and ANZ have ATMs throughout Fiji. Australian Westpac customers pay no ATM withdrawal fee at Westpac Pacific ATMs, just a conversion fee.

Credit cards

Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, high-end restaurants and tourist shops (again, you'll be charged a conversion fee) but expect to pay cash on the street and in taxis.

Money changers

Exchange booths be found at the airports, ferry ports, and in tourist areas and some hotels. You'll get a better rate if you wait until you're in Fiji to change your dollars, although exchange rates will likely be higher at the airport and in hotels than in banks or booths in town.

Travellers' cheques

Travellers' cheques are not so common these days, but many banks and hotels in Fiji will still cash them. If you're travelling to a remote area or an island, ask your hotel in advance whether there's anywhere to cash travellers cheques, or whether there's an ATM in the area.

Travel money cards

Travel money cards give you the security of travellers' cheques with the versatility of a debit card. They can be pre-loaded with foreign currencies, however finder.com.au warns that there are currently no Australian travel cards that accept Fijian dollars. You can still load your card with Australian dollars and wear the foreign transaction fees.

Tip: Carry at least two cards and more than one cash currency (Australian and Fijian). Split your money and cards between separate bags. That way if you lose one, you have a back-up.

Tax

VAT (Value Added Tax) of 15% applies to many goods and services. When you leave the country you may be able to reclaim the VAT paid on some purchases. Hotels and resorts charge a 5% Hotel Turnover Tax (HTT).

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is essential. Fiji has limited medical care, so if the worst happens you need to be covered for the cost of evacuation to an Australian hospital.

Buy insurance at the same time as you book your trip, that way you'll be covered if you have to cancel for some reason before you go.

For more information read our buying guide and to choose the best cover, see CHOICE's travel insurance reviews and comparisons.

Ask your insurer about exclusions that may affect you, including scuba diving, snorkelling and surfing, as well as pre-existing medical conditions.

Be aware that anything that happens to you while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is unlikely to be covered by insurance.

Tips:

  • Keep a print-out of your travel insurance details with you at all times while on your trip.
  • Share your insurance details with family or friends before you leave.

Handy links and apps

Consider adding these links and apps to your phone, tablet or laptop before you go.

Tip: Try to choose apps that work offline, so they won't chew up your mobile data or stop working when you're in remote places.

Tip: To save a map onto your mobile device for offline use, select the area on Google Maps then select 'Save offline map' from the menu and follow the directions on the screen. Your GPS positioning will still work on the saved map, even when you don't have access to the internet. Alternatively, download the Google Maps app, go to 'Offline maps' in the menu and select a city.

Got a travel tip about Fiji? Or spotted something in our guide that needs updating? Please add a comment below.


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