Upcoming payments for vacation homes and cruises…How much is the rent here in Vanua Levu and the upcoming rentals?

Junior, the thoughtful head maintenance and landscaping guy on the property explained how he nurtures the orchids by adding coconuts as the ” parasitic” to enhance the growth of the orchids.  See photo below.

Yesterday, we paid the balance of the payment due for the next house, when we move to Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji in a little over two months.  The USD $1,800, FJD $3,919 was the balance due on a total rent for one month of USD $2800, FJD $6,096. 

At the time we booked the second house, we hesitated a little over the price, higher than the rent for the house here in Vanua Levu at USD $2,000, FJD $4,354 per month for a grand total of US $6,000, FJD $13,063 for the entire three month period.

Based on the fact that we stay in most locations longer than the average traveler’s one or two weeks, we’re often given a discounted rate.  Although the owner may not bring in as much income from our rental period, they can’t ever count on having the property rented 100% of the time.  Also, there are additional expenses accrued in the turnover process.

It wasn’t easy finding a good house at an affordable rate near the ocean yet far from the hustle and bustle of Nadi, the capital city.  Once we arrive we’ll rent a car for the 95 mile drive from the airport.

We posted this photo earlier when we weren’t sure of its species.  Yesterday, when Junior stopped by to see if we needed anything, he explained that he’d tied this coconut to the orchid tree which enhances the growth and beauty of the orchids via the nutrients of the coconut. 

With the house a short distance to a beach we can walk at our leisure with hotels on either end it will be quite different than this house in Savusavu where its impossible to walk on the beach in the mountainous region, although there are beaches in other areas.

Also, the house in Viti Levu it has a pool and patio furniture outside the living room door. The pool here, although adequate for swimming, has no space for lawn chairs or chaise lounges, making it less appealing for us.  There’s nothing like a swim in the pool followed up by a drying-off while sitting in a chaise basking in the sun for a short period.

Every location has its pluses and minuses and the minuses are often only a matter of perception and lifestyle.  Undoubtedly, we have peculiarities and preferences that may not matter to the next visitor.  In essence, this house in Savusavu is ideal for many travelers who prefer a quiet location.

As for upcoming payments due by the end of 2015, having just paid the above mentioned balance, we only have two more payments due:

1.  USD $3,871, FJD $8,428 – 14 day cruise on the Celebrity Solstice – Sydney to Auckland (Total fare USD $4771, FJD $10,387
2.  USD $4,616, FJD  $10,050 – 3 month (88 days) rental for the alpaca farm in New Zealand (Total rent USD $5,615, FJD $12,225)

Badal, Sewak’s dog has been visiting us almost every evening.  We’d love to give him affection but in the pouring rain he’s been quite a mess.  Once it clears we’ll happily spend time with him.  He lives entirely outdoors but is well fed and cared for.  With Sewak and his wife vegetarians, we wonder what Badal eats. 

The thought of only having to pay out USD $8,487, FJD $18,478 by December 31st gives us a little peace of mind.  Also, the way my little brain works inspires me to figure out the daily rental (per se for the cruise fare, too) for the above mentioned 14 days and 88 days, respectively, which translates to USD $83 a day for “rent.”  Not too bad by our standards.

Of course, once January arrives, we’ll have a ton of expenses to shell out for several upcoming cruises and rentals in 2016.  We’ll get back to those costs in the new year.  I can’t think about that now.  We’ve carefully budgeted all of these expenses resulting in no need for worry or concern.

The rent itself is only a part of the expenses we bear each month:  groceries, dining out, transportation (car rental and driver as applicable), airfare, excess baggage fees, entertainment, shipping fees, insurance for health and belongings in our possession and a glob of miscellaneous items as we continue to replenish supplies and products we regularly use.

Keeping track of these expenses in quite a task that only works without stress when handled as the expenses occur.  Letting them pile up, which we don’t do, would certainly be instrumental is causing angst and frustration. 

As the rains continue, flowers are blooming throughout the yard.

If our website and travel writing small business weren’t subject to a small (and I mean, small) write-off each year, we’d still keep track of every expense.  How easy expenses could get out of control, beyond one’s means, putting a fast end to the affordability of continuing on?

With our careful and diligent planning and documenting of every last expenditure, we’re always at ease knowing we can afford the next month, the next leg and the next year.  That type of worrying wouldn’t fit well into our motto of “stress free” living. 

As a result, we have no option but to be frugal by our own self-determined standards; avoiding wastefulness, not choosing luxury over peace of mind, selecting affordable rentals and at times, forgoing convenience.

Beautiful colors.

For example, we could have rented a four wheel drive vehicle while in Savusavu which is required to make it up this mountain from the main road.  The rental fees for such a vehicle made no sense at all.  Were such a vehicle available the monthly rental fee would be in excess of USD $3,000, FJD $6,531. 

With Ratnesh’s hourly rates at USD $13.78, FJD $30 for driving to sightsee as opposed to USD $9.19, FJD $20, for round trips to the village, we could use his services for three hours a day for USD $41, FJD $90 and still get nowhere near the cost of a monthly car rental.  Plus, Vanua Levu is a small relatively low population island, not warrantying that amount of travel by any stretch of the imagination.

Thus, a sensible decision was made, especially since we’d would have hardly used a rental during these past three rainy weeks.  As we’ve mentioned in the past, we don’t feel trapped having been without a car on many occasions either walking (where applicable) or utilizing the services of a taxi or driver as needed.

Bananas growing in the yard.

Are we “tightwads” in the truest sense of the word?  Not at all.  We purchase any food items our tastes so desire when cooking or dining out (where possible), we generously tip the support staff and driver at the end of each stay, we pay substantial shipping and excess baggage fees (now with less cringing) and, we continue to book balcony cabins on every cruise our hearts so desires. 

These expenditures certainly don’t fall into the category of “tightwad.”  For us, these “extras” are a way of life that contribute to the ease of travel and above all, the degree of enjoyment we glean as we continue on.

Keeping track of all of this seems to add an another element of pleasure, one that we derive from knowing where we stand and the accompanying peace of mind that comes with it. 


Photo from one year ago today, September 29, 2014:

One year ago, we were fast approaching the Hawaiian Islands, where we lived for a total of eight months during which our family visited us on the Big Island.  Its hard to believe in a few days, we’ll be sharing photos of Honolulu when our cruise ended on October 5, 2014. Where has the time gone?  For more details, please click here.


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