There is so much to do in Fiji, from lying on golden sand beaches to exploring the lush tropical forests, to snorkeling in crystal-clear waters. Because there are so many things to do, you may be wondering what you need to bring on your holiday. Here’s the ultimate guide on what to pack for Fiji, what not to pack and what to bring back home with you.
I’ll admit – when I moved to Fiji, I brought all the wrong stuff with me. Most of what I wear on a daily basis has been bought since I arrived here. And although it’s nice to have an excuse to buy a whole new wardrobe, it’s not practical. So here’s the ultimate guide to packing right for Fiji, from someone who initially did it all wrong.
Packing for Fiji’s climate
The weather in Fiji is warm throughout pretty much the entire year, making it a fantastic getaway for anyone who wants to experience an escape from cold winter temperatures. The best time to visit Fiji is during the winter months, between May and October. This is the driest time of the year in most of the country, and it’s also the time when the heat is the mildest, with temperatures usually averaging around 25ºc.
The wet season runs from November to April, and is when the temperatures get the highest (often over 30ºc), with the highest level of humidity. Though you can still enjoy a holiday during this time, you will have to be aware that outdoor activities, particularly in direct sunlight, may put you at risk of heat stroke. You should also look for any weather warnings during this time, as the risk of cyclones is the highest during the rainy season.
Generally, Nadi is located in the driest part of the main island. If you’re traveling to the Coral Coast or Suva during the winter, you will probably want to pack some rainy day clothes, just in case. If you’re going to be in any part of the country during the summer, expect to get wet at some point – tropical rain can hit unexpectedly and it can be pretty intense.
What to wear in Fiji’s cities
Though you will see people in business attire if you’re in Suva, people in the other “big” cities like Nadi and Lautoka usually dress quite casual. The standard outfit for most Fiji residents usually consists of shorts and “Bula Shirts”, which are simple button-up shirts with floral designs in bright colors. Local women usually wear dresses in the same patterns, or a skirt and matching shirt. Fijian women dress modestly, with shirts hiding shoulders and cleavage and skirts reaching below the knees.
Crime in Fiji’s cities is also something you should be aware of. While you probably won’t run into any problems, I recommend leaving jewelry at home and avoiding obvious designer clothing. Unless you look Fijian or Indian, you will automatically be pegged as a tourist in Fiji (I still am after living here over a year), but dressing more like the locals will help you avoid being a target for opportunists. You’ll also want to keep watch of valuables, including purses and wallets, while walking on busy streets.
Generally you can get away with wearing pretty much anything when you’re in town, as long as it’s not super revealing (aka leave the bikini for the beach). Maxi dresses, sundresses, rompers, or just shorts and a tshirt are probably your best options. If you’re traveling during the winter months, you’ll probably want to pack a light sweater just in case it gets a bit chilly in the evening.
What shoes to pack for your trip
A pair of waterproof sandals is a must for Fiji. You may also want to bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes to wear for a walk through the forest or a tour like Ecotrax. If you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking, you’ll want to bring along some hiking boots. There isn’t ever any need to wear heels in Fiji – you’ll just look out of place. If you want to dress up for a nice dinner out, just bring a pair of nice flats or sandals.
There are a lot of sources that suggest bringing reef shoes to Fiji – I personally feel they do more harm than good, and would recommend you leave them at home. The reefs here are fragile, and stepping on them will harm them. If you have sensitive feet and want to bring them anyway, make sure you try as much as you can to avoid stepping on coral to help protect the reefs.
What to pack for a village visit
If you’re going to be visiting a village or attending a church service, you’ll need to have a more conservative outfit to wear. Shoulders and knees should be covered for both women and men, which means that items such as sarongs or light cardigans can be very useful. Hats and sunglasses should be removed from your head when you visit a Fijian village, as the head is considered sacred.
If you’re visiting a Fijian village, you’ll also want to bring a gift of Kava (called Yaqona in Fijian), which can be bought at most local markets. Gifts such as school supplies, toys or medical equipment are also very welcome. You can find more information, such as examples on what’s needed in my post about how to make a difference on your trip to Fiji.
What to wear at your resort
Even the nicest resorts in Fiji are still fairly casual. You’ll likely be spending lots of time at the beach or the pool, so a swimsuit is a must. You’ll probably also want a beach cover up, which you can throw over your swimsuit to wear around the property.
Most hotel restaurants have a casual dress code, which will require you to wear footwear (usually sandals are fine) and something over your swimsuit. This advice comes from experience, as we were once asked to go back and grab our sandals before dining at a resort on the Coral Coast. There is no restaurant I know of in Fiji where heels or any fancy dress would would be necessary – if you do want to dress up a bit, consider a nice pair of sandals and a flowy sundress.
Shop Resort wear
What kind of swimwear to pack
Many resorts will offer a selection of watersports that you can enjoy for free, or for an added cost. This can rage from paddleboard rentals to snorkeling excursions to boat trips. Keep this in mind when packing swimwear – a string bikini may be fine for lounging on the beach, but you’ll probably want something a little more secure if you plan to learn how to surf. A cover up like a sarong or kafkan is also great to bring along on any trip that requires you to sit in the sun for an extended amount of time, like a boat ride to a snorkeling spot.
What should men pack for Fiji?
Most men in Fiji wear casual button-down shirts, tanks with rugby team logos, and plain cotton t-shirts. Native Fijians sometimes wear a traditional sulu, which is similar to a sarong, often as part of a uniform. Non-Fijians mostly wear shorts and sandals. Casual attire is really all you’ll need for your trip to Fiji, though try to avoid any expensive-looking jewelry or watches and anything with designer logos to avoid the risk of being robbed. Brightly-coloured Hawaiian shirts are very popular here, and you can fit in even more by picking up a Bula shirt when you arrive.
Buying clothes in Fiji
If you’d rather travel super light and buy most of what you need here, there are plenty of places to do it. Keep in mind though, that anything you buy in Fiji will likely be more expensive than buying it at home, especially in resort shops and boutiques. In cities like Nadi, there are many small shops selling locally-made Bula shirts and dresses. Jack’s Of Fiji has many locations around the country and is a good place to find a variety of clothing options. Port Denarau near Nadi also has some great options, though these are usually more on the pricey side.
Non-clothing items to pack
Once you’ve sorted out what you’re going to wear, there are some other items you’ll want to pack for your trip to Fiji:
Documents. Every traveller needs to bring their passport with them to Fiji. You may also need to apply in advance for a visa, depending on which country has issued your passport and the purpose of your visit to Fiji. You will most likely also be asked to show evidence of an onward ticket out of Fiji. If you’re traveling from (including transiting through) a country that has Yellow Fever, you’ll also need to show proof that you’ve been given a Yellow Fever vaccine.
Sunscreen. This sun is quite strong in this part of the world, so you’ll want a good sunscreen to keep you from burning. If you plan to spend any time in the ocean, I recommend a “reef-safe” sunscreen (aka anything that doesn’t include oxybenzone and octinoxate in the ingredients list) to protect your skin, as well as the local marine life.
Hat. In addition to sunscreen, you’ll probably want a sunhat to protect your head when you’re in the sun. Keep in mind that hats should not be worn on village tours, as they’re considered disrespectful.
Insect Repellant. The only creatures that can really hurt you in Fiji are the mosquitoes. While your chances of contracting a tropical disease like Dengue or Zika are quite low, there are still outbreaks every year, so it’s best to play it safe, especially if you’re travelling during the rainy season. Tropical-strength insect repellant is available in many drug stores and supermarkets around Fiji, as are some more natural types.
Filtered water bottle. The water in main cities and on some islands is generally considered safe to drink, though you might have some tummy trouble if you aren’t used to it. To avoid single-use plastic, I suggest investing in a filtered water bottle. This will allow you to drink the water anywhere, without having to worry about getting sick from it.
First Aid Kit. There is always a chance of getting sick from food you eat when travelling, especially in tropical developing countries like Fiji. I’ve unfortunately been hit with a stomach bug more than once myself. That’s why I highly recommend bringing immodium and rehydration salts. It may also be helpful to read my post on how to avoid food poisoning when you travel. You may also want to bring motion sickness medications or wristbands if you get a bit queasy in the air or on the water. Bandaids and an antibiotic ointment are also good to have for any minor cuts or scrapes. Hand sanitizer is also something you should have within easy access.
Power adapter. Power outlets in Fiji are the same as in Australia and New Zealand. If you’re bringing electronics from another part of the world, you will need to also bring a power adapter. If any of your electronic items are meant for a different current than 240v AC 50Hz, you will need to use a voltage convertor. Be aware that many parts of Fiji experience power cuts, even within the cities.
Camera. You’ll want to make sure you bring a camera to capture all the amazing moments of your holiday in Fiji. If you plan on doing any water-based activities, you may want to bring a waterproof camera or GoPro, as the water in most parts of the country is super clear with a variety of marine life.
Other packing tips for Fiji
I recommend packing light for your trip to Fiji, especially if you’re traveling to one of the islands, in which case you’ll need to be careful about the weight of your luggage. The climate does, thankfully, make it easy to do this, and it also helps to have a suitcase that is light on its’ own.
Packing cubes are a very helpful resource for any trip. Alternatively, you can use small bags from places like Daiso, Typo or Forever 21 as small compartments for miscellaneous items. I personally prefer to do this, as it gives me the ability to easily find what I’m looking for, instead of looking through my standard packing cubes, which all look the same.
A suitcase with a lock is also useful, as there is always the chance items can go missing from your hotel room when you’re out enjoying yourself. This is something that can happen anywhere, not just Fiji. You can read my post on hotel safety and hygiene tips for more ways to protect yourself, particularly when traveling solo.
Things you don’t need to pack
Jeans. Denim shorts are fine, but I suggest leaving any long denim pants at home. Not only do very few people wear jeans here, it’s simply too hot most of the time.
High heels. As mentioned, heels aren’t necessary in Fiji. A pair of nice flats or sandals will be fine for any special occasions at nice restaurants around the resort.
Designer handbags & jewelry. Again, you’ll look out of place if you wear anything super fancy. You’ll also stand out as a target for thieves. Best to leave any flashy items at home.
Fijian Phrasebooks. While I suggest that any language lovers pick up a Fijian phrasebook as a souvenir, the main language spoken everywhere is English, so you won’t need to know any Fijian words (except for “Bula”, which is the Fijian hello). If you do want to learn some Fijian out of respect for the culture, I’ve written a post on some basic Fijian words and phrases you can use.
What to bring home with you
Make sure you keep some extra space in your luggage because there are some amazing souvenirs that you can bring home from Fiji with you! These might include:
Books. Places like Tappoos usually have a small selection of local books for both adults and children that will provide more information about Fijian culture and language.
Chocolate. Fijian chocolate is delicious, and makes a great gift for any friend or family member back home that has a sweet tooth. My favourite is Vanua Chocolate’s dark chocolate bar with chili.
Coffee. In addition to cacao beans for chocolate, Fiji also produces its own coffee beans. Fiji Coffee and Bula Coffee are two of our favourites. Keep in mind that you may need to declare any food items, especially if your next stop is in Australia or New Zealand.
Clothing. There are some lovely boutiques in Fiji where you can find locally-made clothing items – my favourite is Pineapple Boutique at Denarau Marina.
Kava bowl. These come in different sizes and designs, and can be a unique souvenir to help you remember your holiday. They can also be used for many different things, such as holding fruit, flowers or keys.
Sarong. You might want to pick up a sarong as soon as you arrive in Fiji, since it’s a useful item for covering up at the beach or on a village visit. They also make fantastic gifts for friends.
Ready for your trip?
Make sure to download my Fiji packing list so you can make sure you have everything you need for your tropical vacation. It is available as a free instant digital download in the Onwards + Upwards shop.
If diving with sharks is on your Fiji bucket list, you can check out my post on what you should know about shark diving in Fiji. I detail where you can go shark diving or snorkelling, how safe it is, and what alternative dive options there are if you don’t feel comfortable with the ethics of shark diving.
The Momi Bay guns are a relatively unknown attraction located less than an hour drive from Nadi. This unique spot is where you can see two of the big guns that were put in place to protect the South Pacific during World War II. Read all about why you should visit the Momi Bay guns.