We’re on the move!…Final expenses for four months on two Fijian islands, separately and combined…

Sunset at the Uprising Resort in Pacific Harbour where we dined.

We’re on our way to Sydney today to spend one night in a hotel. While in the hotel Tom will watch the Minnesota Vikings game on his laptop while I work on the next day’s post. The following day we’ll board the Celebrity Solstice for a 14-day cruise, one of six cruises we’ve booked in the South Pacific, enabling us to circumvent Australia. (This doesn’t include the Mekong River cruise in July 2016).

By the time we board the final of these cruises, we’ll be on our way to the US in May 2017.  Upon arrival in Seattle we’ll head to Vancouver for a two-day stay, then board a nine-night Alaskan cruise. After that cruise, we’ll drive across the northern tier of the US to head to Minnesota for a visit. From there, we’ll fly to Nevada to visit more family members, renew our driver’s license and take care of a few business items. 

Then, on August 1st, we’ll make our way to the fabulous property, we booked in Costa Rica for a three months stay. Then…South America, here we come!  It’s all exciting to us, every single aspect including the time with family and friends.

Now, as we wrap up the four months we’ve spent in the Fiji islands, on both Vanua Levu and Viti Levu, the two largest of the 330 plus islands in the archipelago it’s time to wrap up the total expenses during this period. 

We’ve copied the figures for the first three months from the last day’s post in Savusavu as shown below. Further down, we’ve shown the expenses for the 28 days spent in Pacific Harbor. At the end of both of these, you’ll find the grand totals.

Bollywood Dancing at the Uprising Resort on a Saturday night.

Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji
September 8, 2015 to December 6, 2015
88 days
Rent:      USD $6,000, FJD $12,832
Airfare:   USD $2,758, FJD $5,899  (This total includes five flights to get us here from Cairns, Australia and back to Sydney, Australia).
Food:      USD $2,293, FJD $4,904  (includes all groceries and household supplies)
Dining:    USD $165, FJD $353
Taxi:       USD $393, FJD $841
Tips:       USD $200, FJD $428
Postage:  USD $213, FJD $456
ATM fees:USD $234 FJD $500
Vodafone USD $495, FJD $1,059

Grand Total:  USD $12,751, FJD $27,271
Monthly Avg: USD$  4,250,  FJD $  9,090

Pacific Harbour, Viti Levu, Fiji
December 6, 2015 to January 4, 2016
28 days
Rent:      USD $2,800, FJD $5986
Airfare:   USD $0, FJD $0  (This total is included above in the cost of the five flights from Cairns, Australia, Fiji flights and back to Sydney, Australia on January 4th).

Excess Baggage Fees: USD $105 FJD $225
Food:       USD $667, FJD $1426  (includes all groceries and household supplies)
Dining:     USD $367, FJD $785
Taxi:        USD $177, FJD $378
Tips & Cleaning: USD $167, FJD $356
Postage:   USD $0 FJD $0
ATM fees: USD $17.50 FJD $37
Vodafone: USD $0, FJD $0  (Data was included in rental.  Hotspot we’d brought with us with many remaining gigs from Savusavu didn’t work well in Pacific Harbour).

Grand Total:  USD $ 4,300,  FJD $ 9,193
Monthly Avg:  USD$ 4,607 , FJD $ 9,849 (based on 30 days)

Fiji, four-month totals
Grand total:   USD $17,051 FJD $36,454
Monthly Avg:  USD $4,410  FJD $ 9,428 (based on a 30 days)
Daily Avg: USD $147 FJD $314 (actual cost per day for 116 days)

The vegetable stand where we purchased most of our produce during the 28-day stay.

We couldn’t be more pleased with these totals. Although it would cost considerably more to visit Fiji to stay in a resort/hotel at no less than USD $200, FJD $428 per day plus the cost of airfare, meals, tips, excursions, and transportation, an economically minded traveler preferring to stay in a hotel, could easily expect to spend an average of USD $571, FJD $1,021 per day.

For a two week holiday/vacation the cost may easily end up at a minimum of USD $8,000, FJD $17,105 which would not include shopping and miscellaneous expenses such as spa services, wifi fees, purchasing trinkets, excess baggage and fees for sports equipment. Of course, staying in vacation homes as we’ve done, considerably reduces the cost.

With many similar vacations requiring less travel time and lower expenses, many Americans and others may choose to travel to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, most of which are more readily accessible on shorter, less expensive flights.

Is Fiji worth a visit? We’ve enjoyed it very much under the circumstances by which we’ve traveled, arriving from Australia as opposed to traveling from the US and, in staying in vacation homes, purchasing groceries, using low cost taxi service as opposed to renting a car which is very expensive on most islands. 

For a luxury hotel experience, the cost will easily be two to three times or more than our estimates. As I prepare this post, Tom researched the cost of round trip flights from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA to Fiji, staying on only the main island of Viti Levu. 

Papaya growing in the backyard reachable from the wraparound veranda.

With three layovers, the RT cost per person at today’s rates for next September (as an example since we arrived in September) is USD $1,784 FJD $3,814 per person, taking a total of 31.5 hours from takeoff to final landing providing there are no delays. 

This airfare was the lowest rate Tom could find, however there are shorter travels times at higher rates cutting the travel time by as much as 12 hours. Also, consideration must be made for an additional fare for a satisfactory return flight which can bump up the cost considerably. 

In all, for those traveling to Fiji from as far away as the US, it’s wise to consider almost three days of travel and recovery time. Plus, one must consider the loss of one day when arriving and then regaining the day should they commence their travel while crossing the International Dateline.

Whew!  For those with more time than two weeks, also visiting Australia, New Zealand, and other nearby countries, Fiji may make a lot more sense economically.

We have no regrets about visiting Fiji and are actually grateful for the experience. It further “toughened us” in being more tolerant with 10% of our time in power outages, near-constant heat and humidity, lots of mosquito bites, and the ants, many ants, many, many ants.

One must also consider the weather which while we’ve been living in Fiji has been cloudy and rainy no less than 80% of the total time. The rainy season in Fiji is as follows (which apparently has been higher this year per this chart):

Suva, Fiji Weather
Temperature (Fahrenheit)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
High 86 86 86 84 82 80 79 79 80 81 83 85
Low 74 74 74 73 71 69 68 68 69 70 71 73
Average 80 80 80
76 74 73 73 74 75 77 79
Temperature (Celsius)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
High 30 30 30 29 28 27 26 26 27 27 28 29
Low 23 23 23 23 22 21 20 20 21 21 22 23
Average 27 27 27 26 24 23 23 23 23 24 25 26
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Inches 11 11 15 12 10 7 5 8 8 8 10 13
Centimeters 28 28 38 30 25 18 13 20 20 20 25 33
Precipitation Days
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Days 16 16 18 17 16 13 11 15 15 15 16 17
On the flip side, we’ve loved the local people we’ve met along the way, the availability of fresh organic food, the high level of friendliness, the beautiful scenery and the reasonable cost of living.

As for the two houses we’ve lived in, by far, we’ve preferred the house here in Pacific Harbour with many more amenities, considerably larger with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a larger refrigerator, AC in the bedroom (which eventually we had to use), is in better overall condition with easy access to the pool outside the backdoor. As shown above, the rent differential was well worth it. 

For the link to this property, please click here. Susan, the owner, is a breeze to work with and extremely helpful.

The river bridge we crossed many times on our neighborhood walks.

Vinaka, Fiji. We’ve enjoyed our time in your country and although we doubt we’d ever return for a long  stay, we have good memories to carry in our hearts always.

Next time, we’ll “see” you, will be the post I’ll prepare for the following (Monday for some, Tuesdays for us) from our hotel in Sydney, Australia while Tom’s wrapped up the Minnesota Viking football game. Hopefully, the playoff games will be broadcast aboard the ship. Thanks to all of our readers for sharing Fiji with us! Stay tuned for lots more!

Photo from one year ago today, January 4, 2015:

One year ago today, we moved from the second house we rented back to the first house as the last of our family member left the Hawaiian Islands. Moving was time consuming and challenging and we were relieved to be settled with a remaining 10 days until we’d depart for Kauai for a remaining four months.  For more details, please click here.

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