Tips For Traveling Tahiti On A Budget

tahiti sunset

Tahiti sunset. Photo courtesy of jonrawlinson.

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.

2 Comments

  1. Another tip to cut down on transportation costs is to hitchhike. I know, I know – not always the safest bet, but when I was in Moorea and needed to get back to the ferry dock, some locals told me that it’s not uncommon to hitchhike in Tahiti. Fortunately, the guy who picked us up was actually a tour guide at one of the local resorts and we didn’t get picked up by some psycho!

    1. @Dana: Good to know! I feel like some places are safer than others to hitchhike. From what you’re saying it sounds like Tahiti is much safer for it than, say, the United States. I’ve never done it but I know a lot of travelers who do and really enjoy it.

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