Travel Tips

Tahiti

TIME DIFFERENCE

Tahiti and her islands are two hours behind Pacific Standard Time and in the same time zone as Hawaii. During Daylight-Saving Time (March to late October) the time is three hours behind.

ENTRY AND VISA REQUIREMENTS

Every visitor must have:

  • A passport valid for three months beyond date of arrival.
  • A return airline ticket to their resident country or to at least two more continuing destinations.
  • Sufficient funds to cover the planned stay.

US and Canada:

For stays of up to 90 days, there are no visa requirements for citizens of the U.S. or Canada carrying a US or Canadian Passport. A foreigner with a residence card for the U.S. is not exempt from the above requirements and should consult the French Consulate based in the U.S. for information.

Entry requirements are subject to change without notice and it is advisable to check with your Islands in the Sun specialist before departure. For more information on French Polynesia entry and visa requirements, please contact the French Polynesian Embassy and Consulates in the United States or Canada.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

No vaccines or certifications are required from North America. Regardless of the traveler's nationality, entry from high risk areas of the world as defined by the World Health Organization requires certifications (please check with your airline).

WEATHER

Tahiti enjoys a tropical climate with the average yearly air and water temperature of 80°F. The summer months run from November through April, when the climate is slightly warmer and more humid. Winter is from the months of May through to October, when the climate is slightly cooler and dryer.

LANGUAUGE

The official language is French and native languages such as Tahitian are widely spoken. English is spoken and understood in tourist areas. A few basic French phrases and Tahitian greetings are appreciated by locals.

CURRENCY AND TIPPING

The currency is the French Pacific Franc (XPF). Upon arrival most visitors exchange some money at the airport or at their hotels. Since most credit cards are readily accepted in all tourist areas, it is not necessary to exchange large amounts. Tipping is not customary or expected in Polynesian culture. However, tipping is welcomed for exemplary service.

BARGAINING

Bargaining and haggling over prices in markets and stores is not customary.

WATER AND ELECTRICITY

Water: tap water is safe to drink in most hotels and restaurants. If in doubt, inquire with your hotel or drink bottled.

Electricity: 110 or 220 volts depending on the island. Islands in the Sun recommend bringing a universal adapter.

POSTAL AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Postal: Papeete's Central Post office is located near the yacht wharf and Bougainvillea Park, open weekdays from 7am to 6pm and on Saturdays from 8am to 11am.

Telecommunications: Direct dialing international calls is available in most hotels and phone booths. Phone cards are easily purchased in Tahiti. When calling from the U.S. to Tahiti, dial 011 and then the country code of 689 along with the local number. Cell phone roaming is available for many telecommunications service providers; however it is recommended to check with your service provider before you leave as to whether their services are available on roaming.

ESSENTIAL ITEMS TO PACK

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hats
  • Swimsuits
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera
  • Reef walking shoes - while the color of the lagoon in French Polynesia is magnificent, you will find the beach a little bit rocky with corals. Reef shoes will protect your feet.

Fiji

TIME DIFFERENCE

Fiji is 20 hours ahead of US Pacific Standard Time (e.g. 10:00am Tuesday = 2:00pm Monday PST).

ENTRY AND VISA REQUIREMENTS

Every visitor must have:

  • A valid passport is required for entry for at least six (6 ) months beyond the intended period of stay.
  • A ticket for return or onward travel to another country, which he/she is authorized to enter.
  • Sufficient funds to cover the planned stay.

Entry visas are granted on arrival for a stay of 4 months or less for nationals of US and Canada. Entry requirements are subject to change without notice and it is advisable to check with your Islands in the Sun specialist before departure. For more information on Fiji entry and visa requirements or nationals of other countries, please contact one of the Fiji Embassy offices in United States or Canada.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

No vaccines or certifications are required from North America. If originating from an infected area designated by World Health Organization you will require Yellow Fever and Cholera vaccinations. Regardless of the traveler's nationality, entry from high risk areas of the world as defined by the W.H.O requires certifications (please check with your airline).

WEATHER

Due to the prevailing southeast trade winds and the surrounding seas, Fiji's humid, tropical climate is moderated during most of the year, eliminating extreme heat and humidity.

Dry - winter season: May - November: 66°-88°F (days are fine and warm).
Wet - summer season: December - April: 72°-96°F (humidity is higher and nights and days are warmer).

LANGUAUGE

The official language is English and native languages such as Fijian and Hindustani are also spoken.

CURRENCY AND TIPPING

The Fijian Dollar is the currency of Fiji. Visitors can change traveler's cheques and foreign currency at banks and larger hotels/resorts. Credit cards are widely accepted. Banking hours in Fiji are from 9:30am to 3:00pm Mondays to Thursdays and until 4pm on Fridays, and 09:30am to 12noon on Saturdays at selected areas.

There is an ANZ currency exchange service at the arrivals concourse at Nadi Airport, which is open 24 hours. ATM machines are located around the country and larger resorts and hotels for convenience.

Tipping is not encouraged. Some resorts may offer a staff "fund" where tips for exceptional service can be made and are shared by the staff.

BARGAINING

Bargaining and haggling over prices in markets and stores is not customary.

DEPARTURE TAX

Visitors to Fiji are required to pay $30.00 departure tax in Fijian currency following check-in if not already included in their international tickets. Children under 12 are exempt.

WATER AND ELECTRICITY

Water: tap water is safe to drink in most hotels and restaurants. If in doubt, inquire with your hotel or drink bottled.

Electricity: 240 volts, if your applications are 110 volts, check for a 110/220volt switch. If there is none, you will need a converter. Fiji uses 3 pin outlets. Leading hotels and resorts may offer universal outlets for 240 volts or 110 volts shavers, hair dryers, etc. Islands in the Sun recommend bringing a universal adapter.

INTERNET AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Internet access is readily available on most islands and at many hotels and resorts.

The country code is +679. Fiji does not have area codes. Most hotels and resorts have direct dialing facilities (IDD). Card phones are also available in urban centers and can be bought from any shop that has the Telecom Call card signage. Cell phone coverage on most islands is readily available. Vodafone Fiji Ltd operates a GSM digital mobile communications service. Please check with your home cell network providers for roaming status before traveling to Fiji, otherwise cell phones and/or sim cards are also available for hire or for purchase upon arrival from any Vodafone outlet.

VILLAGE ETIQUETTE

As advised by Tourism Fiji, The Fijian people have their own customs and culture that are an integral part of their everyday life. To enter a Fijian village, one should seek permission from a Village Elder or be invited by one of the villagers. When entering a village there are some do's and don'ts that are more in keeping with good taste than with custom:

  • Do dress modestly and comfortably.
  • You may want to bring some Kava plant native to the Pacific islands also known as Yaqona (it symbolizes the giving of life) to present to the village. This is always appreciated.
  • When entering a bure (house) you should take your shoes off at the door to help keep the bure clean.
  • Fijians are very giving people, and this sometimes can work to their disadvantage - use common sense in taking food or family possessions. A good rule of thumb - it is better to give than to receive.

ESSENTIAL ITEMS TO PACK

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Brimmed hats
  • Swimsuits
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera

Cook Islands

TIME DIFFERENCE

Cooks Islands is -3:00 hours difference from Los Angeles. It is in the same time zone as Hawaii (e.g. when it is 9:00 am in Rarotonga, it is 12:00pm in Los Angeles.

ENTRY AND VISA REQUIREMENTS

For a stay of up to 31 days all visitors must have:

  • A valid passport.
  • Evidence of onward/return travel.

Entry requirements are subject to change without notice and we advise that you check with your Islands in the Sun specialist before departure. More information can be found by contacting Cooks Islands Tourism.

DEPARTURE TAX

Upon departure every visitor over 12 years old must pay a tax of $NZ55. This can be done at Westpac Bank or at the International Terminal in the airport.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

There are no required vaccinations for entering Cook Islands.

WEATHER

The Cook Islands are always warm and sunny but a warmer season runs from November to March, with temperatures ranging from 22° Celsius to 30° Celsius. A more humid or wet season is from December to March where temperatures reach a maximum of 30° Celsius. Whenever you decide to travel, the air and water will be more and harsh weather is very rare.

LANGUAGE

English is spoken everywhere in the Cook Islands, however the local language is Maori. A few native words or phrases are always welcomed by the locals. Try "Kia Orana" to "Hello!"

CURRENCY AND TIPPING

The currency is the New Zealand Dollar. Most major foreign currency and travelers checks are exchanged at hotels, money changers, and at the airport. Major credit card are accepted but may charge a usage fee as well as additional fees for foreign transactions. Tipping is not customary in Cook Islands. ANZ and Westpac have branches on the islands and ATMs are available.

WATER AND ELECTRICITY

Water: it is not recommended that you drink the tap water in Cook Islands. Instead drink bottled water which is available everywhere.

Electricity: electric current is 220 volts and three pronged plugs are used. It is recommended that you bring a universal adapter. to ensure that all your small electronics operate properly. On Rarotonga and Aitutaki electricity is on 24 hours a day but service varies on the more remote islands.

INTERNET AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Upscale hotels will offer Wi-Fi connections complimentary or at an additional cost. Internet is provided by Telecom Cook Islands. Internet access is also available in internet lounges, tourist centers, and some restaurants.

International phone and mobile phone services are also provided by Telecom Cook Islands. You may wish to bring an international Sim card with you or purchase one once you arrive.

ESSENTIAL ITEMS TO PACK

  • Loose or breathable clothing made from natural fabrics
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hats
  • Swimsuits
  • Camera

Maldives

TIME DIFFERENCE

The Maldives is 12 hours ahead of Los Angeles, in the MVT time zone.

ENTRY AND VISA REQUIREMENTS

A free thirty day visa is issued upon arrival to persons of any nationality provided they:

  • Possess a valid passport with at least 6 months validity.
  • Have a valid ticket to continue the journey out of Maldives.
  • Have enough funds to cover the expenses for duration of the stay in Maldives (US$100 + $50 dollars per day) or a confirmation of reservation in a Tourist Resort or a Hotel.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

Vaccinations for yellow fever are required if arriving from an infected area.

DEPARTURE TAX

A US$12 departure tax is generally included in your airline ticket. Please contact your airline to confirm.

LANGUAGE

The national language is Maldivian, also known as Dhivehi or Divehi. English is also widely spoken and recognized as the country's second main language.

WEATHER

The islands receive lots of sunshine due to their proximity to the equator, but their monsoonal climate means that rain can occur at any time and often without the slightest warning. Daily temperature ranges from around 88°F during the day to around 73°F at night. Humidity is relatively high, but is made tolerable by the sea breeze.

CURRENCY AND TIPPING

The national currency of the Maldives is Rufiyaa. Most resorts and many local islands will accept the US dollar. Credit cards are not widely accepted outside the resorts, so be sure to carry enough cash for purchases at smaller local stores.

Tipping is not compulsory as a 10% service charge is included in pricing, but it is considered a nice gesture in recognition of excellent service.

WATER AND ELECTRICITY

Water: tap water may not be drinkable at all resorts. Inquire locally.

Electricity: electricity supply is 220V to 240V, 50Hz AC. The standard socket is the UK-style three-pin, although there can be variations, so an international adapter. is advised.

INTERNET AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS

All resorts offer internet access, but check prior to arrival as access fees can be high. Many offer free Wi-Fi, but some will charge hourly access fees.

The international country code for the Maldives is 960. All Maldives numbers have seven digits and there are no area codes. To make an international call, dial 00. Local SIM cards are available for around US$10 and can be used in carrier-unlocked phones.

LOCAL ETIQUETTE

Muslim is the predominant religion in the Maldives. Locals do not eat pork, and alcohol is only available within the resorts. Attire is generally casual throughout the country, but beachwear is frowned upon in restaurants and away from the resorts. Visitors should dress respectfully when visiting a mosque or local village by keeping arms, shoulders and legs covered.

ESSENTIAL ITEMS TO PACK

  • Lightweight cotton or linen clothing
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Brimmed hats
  • Swimsuits
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera

Australia

TIME DIFFERENCE

Australia has three different time zones. Eastern Standard Time in the eastern states is +17 hours from Los Angeles (PST). Central Standard time in the Northern Territory and South Australia is +16.5 hours from PST and Western Standard Time in Western Australia is +15 hours from PST.

ENTRY AND VISA REQUIREMENTS

  • Every Visitor who is not a citizen of Australia or New Zealand must have a visa to enter the country.
  • Visas must be applied for before leaving your home country and this can be done online or at an Australian Consulate.
  • A wide range of visas may be applied for including tourist and working holiday visas.

CUSTOMS

You may not bring drugs, steroids, weapons, firearms, or protected wildlife into Australia. Certain food, fruit, meat, plants, seeds, skins, and feathers are also prohibited from entry. Any currency amount over $10,000 must also be declared upon entry.

INSURANCE

Travel insurance is highly recommended for any person planning on adventure sports during their vacation. A policy covering theft, loss, accident, and medical issues is strongly encouraged.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

No vaccinations or certifications are required unless you have visited a yellow fever infected country within six days of arrival.

CURRENCY

Australia uses the Australian Dollar (AUD) and accepts major North American credit cars including American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Bankcard, and Diner's Club. Currency exchange is available at international airports, banks, and hotels.

CLIMATE

Climate varies among region and over seasons. Seasons are opposite of North America so plan accordingly. The Great Barrier Reef and Southern Queensland Islands are tropical and warm while southern areas experience more seasonal variation in climate.

ESSENTIAL ITEMS TO PACK

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hats
  • Swimsuits
  • Camera
  • Reef walking shoes
  • Insect repellent

New Zealand

TIME DIFFERENCE

New Zealand is in the Pacific/Auckland time zone, which is 19 hours ahead of Los Angeles (PST).

ENTRY AND VISA REQUIREMENTS

To enter New Zealand you will need a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond you intended departure date. If you are from a Visa-Waiver country, which includes the United States, you do not need a visa, but you will require the following:

  • Travel tickets or evidence of onward travel arrangements.
  • Evidence that you can support yourself monetarily while in New Zealand (approximately NZ$1000 per month).

If you are not from a Visa-waiver country, you must apply for a visa before you travel.

CUSTOMS

Upon entering New Zealand you must declare food of any kind, plants, animals, or any form of biological specimens.

Drugs, chewing tobacco, chemical weapons and chemicals that can be used in the manufacture of chemical weapons are prohibited. For a complete list of prohibited items please go to the New Zealand Customs website.

INSURANCE

Travel insurance is highly recommended for any person planning on adventure sports during their vacation. A policy covering theft, loss, accident, and medical issues is strongly encouraged.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

No vaccinations are required to enter New Zealand. Visitors traveling with large quantities of medication are advised to carry a doctor's certificate to avoid any issues with New Zealand Customs.

CURRENCY

New Zealand's currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZ$). Most major North American credit cards are accepted including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

CLIMATE

New Zealand enjoys a temperate climate with relatively high rainfall. The seasons are opposite of North America so January and February are the warmest months, while July is the coldest. The northern areas of the country have subtropical weather during the summer and the South has cooler, alpine weather during the winter. Temperatures range from 70-90°F in the summer and between 50-60°F in the winter.

ESSENTIAL ITEMS TO PACK

  • Sunscreen
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Rainproof jacket
  • Umbrella
  • Camera
  • Layers of clothing, as weather varies greatly
  • Insect repellent


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