Moving to Fiji as an Expat? What to bring/not to bring

Expat in Fiji

In February 2016 I moved to Fiji and had no idea what to bring with me! 23kg of baggage and 7kg of carry on does not seem much when it comes to moving your entire life abroad.

Here’s what I learnt about what to pack/not to pack when moving overseas to Fiji and how to get it over here.

 

What I bought and used

  1. Work clothes.

In Fiji the workplace can be quiet conservative, particularly if you are working in the public sector. Clothes that cover the shoulders, chest and knees might be important in your work place. Even though I worked in a professional office workplace at home, very few of my clothes were appropriate for Suva. I should have left half of them behind and invested in long black skirts and bula shirts when I got here.

  1. Some casual clothes

It’s good to bring some summer clothes for the heat however, strappy tops and shorts are not really appropriate for spending time in the community. They are best left for wearing around the house which limits the number of times you use them. I could have left half of my 25 outfits at home.

  1. Underwear

Apparently it’s difficult to buy ladies cotton underwear that people are happy with so bring a good supply of these from home.

  1. Sneakers/trekking clothes

There are plenty of waterfalls to see and mountains to climb, but only if you have appropriate shoes!

  1. A raincoat and umbrella

Are non-negotiable!

  1. Snorkeling gear

Snorkeling gear can be expensive to buy here but is also offered for free at some resorts. It depends how often you like to snorkel that would determine if you bring these.

  1. A hard-drive

To back up your work and photos

  1. First Aid Kit

Including anti-itch cream for mosquito bites.

  1. Sunscreen

Sunscreen is expensive here. I guess because not many people need to use it! I have asked all my visitors to bring me sunscreen.

  1. Covering swimwear

It is so easy to get burnt here even with multiple applications of sunscreen. I recommend a swim shirt or clothes you’re willing to wear in the water.

IMG_6993

  1. Warm clothes

It can get cold here. Apparently last year there were expats wearing huge jackets to try and stay warm.

  1. Your camera of course!
  2. The things you know you can’t live without

Everyone has their own personal needs. My husband and I bought an xBox, nutri-bullet, laptop and ukulele because we decided we couldn’t live without these! They were all bought over as hand luggage (except for the nutri-bullet blade which was stored in the packed baggage).

  1. A hat

It’s hot.

  1. Cooking ware

Because our initial contract is only 12 months, we bought one good saucepan, fry pan and knife to ease the cooking process.

 

Note: You can buy almost all of these things in Suva city. I have found most of them however to be more expensive and therefore it’s easier for me to bring things over from Australia.

 

My major mistakes

  1. Towels

It is really hard to buy towels that don’t feel like sandpaper after a month of use. Good towels can also be quiet expensive (over $30 FJD). I ended up asking a friend to bring my towels over during her vacation. I hear Motram, just out of Suva city has some good towels but I haven’t checked that out yet.

  1. Modem

We bought a modem so that we didn’t need to buy one when we got here but the internet providers here will only use their own modems. So that was pointless and we had to send it back.

  1. Damp rid

I was recommended to bring damp rid to protect my clothes from humidity but you can just buy it in the supermarkets.

  1. Surge Resistant Power board

Due to regular electricity outages, they are important to have. I had to get one sent over for me.

  1. Make up

I really enjoy make-up and have quite a lot of it, but you sweat so much here that you are unlikely to be wearing any of it.

 

What I had to buy when I got here

  1. Long black skirts and bula shirts for work. I just got them from Jack’s Fiji (which is everywhere).
  2. Fabric and a tailor to make appropriate dresses and outfits for work.
  3. I ended up ordering a waterproof phone case online. The water is so beautiful that I would like to take lots of pictures and keep those memories!
  4. Kitchen utensils such as containers, can openers, etc.

 

Shipping

I squeezed everything I bought into the 23kg baggage, 7kg hand luggage limit that Fiji Airways restricts you to.

When I got here I was told the best way to get extra luggage is to call +679 672 0888 and request that you are allowed more luggage on the plane for something like $50.

Otherwise, get your family and friends to pack and bring over.

 

Anyway – all personal opinion! If this helps in your packing – please let me know! Or let me know if you think I’ve missed something that might help someone else.

Follow my adventures!

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Dave
    June 14, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Firstly, this blog is fantastic. Had found it very difficult to find useful information when moving here. One of the thing that I always bring back here is antibacterial hand sanitiser(the larger bottle). These can be hard to find at supermarkets or pharmacies here in Suva. I also see it as a must to use and apply it every time I come back to my desk. Hygiene standards is not very high here.

  • Reply
    Emma Margaret
    June 14, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Great suggestion! Especially at the moment post Cyclone! Thanks Dave for adding to the list!

  • Reply
    Loretta Hepburn
    July 3, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    This has some great info,thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    David
    July 10, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Great post, we are off t oFiji in a few weeks. We will be spending just over 4 weeks showcasing adventures in Fiji.

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