How to Spend A Long Layover in Fiji

Friday, 31 May 2019
How many of you have ever had a long layover somewhere? It happens more frequently than not. Years ago, I would have been content to sit in the airport, spend WAY too much money on crappy airport food, and count down the minutes until my connecting flight was due to board. Now, I hate not making the most of my time and try to get out of the airport and explore.

Many countries actually have transit visas that allow you to leave the airport as long as your flight leaves within 24-48 hours. On my flight back from the states, I saw I had an 18-hour layover in Fiji and knew I'd be a fool to pass up exploring the island. If you have a long layover in Fiji, here are some tips to help make the most of your time. 

1. Getting Through Customs
Depending on the passport you hold, you may not need a visa to exit the airport and explore (always check visa requirements beforehand). If you hold an American or Australian passport, you'll get a free visa on arrival that allows you to explore Nadi island. The Fiji International Airport is relatively small so getting through customs is easy, breezy. All up, it shouldn't take more than 30 minutes. 

2. Storing Your Bags
There are a couple different options for bag storage depending on the length of your layover. There is an area you can store your bags within the airport. Price does vary pending the size of your baggage. But when I travelled through it cost me roughly $16USD to store two bags. 

Another option is to go across the street to the Raffles Gateway Hotel. For approximately $40USD you can book a room so that you're able to store your valuables and shower off everything from the flight. You're also able to book a whole bunch of tours to see the island. If you just want to relax, there are a couple of pools, a spa, a lovely bar, and a restaurant in the hotel. 

3. What to See
Depending on how long your layover is will probably dictate what you see during your layover. There is a short tour that takes you to the Sleeping Giant Gardens, the Mud Baths, Nadi City Centre Markets, and a Hindu temple. This is a good option if you're limited on time. Other layover options include touring one of Fiji's cultural villages, chasing waterfalls and caves, island hopping, or exploring the sand dunes. There definitely is plenty to do whilst you're in Nadi. 

4. How to Get Around
Again, how your travel around the island will massively depend on how long your layover is. There is a bus system that goes throughout the island but if you don't have a lot of time, whilst the cheapest option, you may not get to see much. 

Taxis are another option for getting around the island. If you're only planning on going to one area, this is probably the way to go. If you want to explore a lot more of the island, you may be better off hiring a car. In the long run, it will work out cheaper than taxiing around everywhere. 

If you've booked a tour, transport is usually provided. This makes it super easy to get from one spot to the next. It takes the stress away from you, eliminating the risk of getting lost. The only downside, they often pick up other people from other hotels or areas. This can add extra time to your trips which mean not getting to do everything you wish. 

5. Allocating Enough Time
Depending on what time of year you're travelling to Fiji, the weather can be quite unpredictable. As the roads can flood quite quickly, you need to factor weather into any of your trips. During a long layover in Fiji, I got stuck at the Mud Baths as the roads flooded from the rain. We had to wait to be towed out of the water (praying we weren't about to get swept away) before making it back to the city centre. Don't miss your flight because you tried to push for one more sight.  

Long layovers don't need to be dreaded, especially in Fiji. There is so much to do and see so don't allow yourself to sit and be bored at the airport. Have you visited Fiji? What was your favourite sight?

And until next time...
Stay curious!

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