Advertisements and brochures lead you to believe Tahiti is one of the most expensive destinations in the world, and it can be. That being said, there are many ways to make a trip to French Polynesia more budget-friendly. To help you plan your itinerary, here are tips for traveling Tahiti on a budget.
1. Stay At Pensions
Pensions are simple accommodations run by families and locals that can help you save money while also getting to stay with a family (essentially, it’s a homestay). Although basic, you can still get a waterfront room, private bungalows and delicious communal meals served family-style so you can meet other travelers.
2. Take Advantage Of Free Activities
Whether you stay at a pension or resort there are usually certain free activities included, like kayaking, cycling, hiking, snorkeling and certain cultural experiences. Check beforehand what accommodations include to compare and contrast what you’d enjoy doing.
3. Skip The Luxury Resort Restaurants
Luxury resort restaurants tend to be the most expensive. Instead, if you’re n Tahiti head to Vai’ete Square on the waterfront to check out the mobile food trucks (an especially lively area after 6pm) or the small mom and pop establishments serving local favorites for a cheap price across almost all the islands.
4. Skip The Taxis
Especially if you’re backpacking solo, taxis can be expensive. Skip the taxis altogether and opt for Le Truck, a colorful open-air vehicle that costs about $2 per person. Bikes are another popular mode of transportation that can save you money while helping you to really feel the beat of the island.
5. Travel During Shoulder Season
For French Polynesia, shoulder season is April through June and September through November. During this time, you’ll be able to snag cheaper flights, hotels, tours and packages.
6. Choose Lesser-Known Islands
Traveling to Bora Bora, Tahiti and Moorea will typically be more expensive than the other islands as they are the most touristy. Keep in mind there are other islands with much to offer visitors that are less frequented and less expensive.
7. Opt For An Island Hopping Flight Ticket
If you’ll be traveling to a number of islands on your trip, opt for Air Tahiti’s flight hopping passes — good for up to six islands — which can save you about 30% on domestic flights.
8. Book A Package Deal
Do some digging and see what kinds of packages you can find that include air, accommodation and meals. As French Polynesia tends to be an expensive destination, this can often help you save money in the long run.