Fiji

Fiji flag

Packing Guidance

This guidance is designed to describe appropriate clothing, the cultural context where you will be living and working, and the professional expectations of your workplace.

As you decide what to bring, keep in mind there is a 100-pound weight limit on checked baggage.


Overview

In general, most items you will need are available in country and locally acquired items are often the best at helping you integrate into your community. However, locally available items may not be the brands, quality, prices, or sizes you are used to. Bringing some key items from home might make your transition to service more comfortable.

This guidance has been compiled by Peace Corps staff and Volunteers and is based on their experience. Use this information as an informal guide as you make your own packing list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect packing list!

This packing guidance is designed to help you think through different categories of items and consider what you might want to bring, considering work expectations, cultural considerations, and your own personal preferences.

Climate

Fiji has a sub-tropical climate that is characterized by two seasons: Summer is hot and humid with almost daily showers. Winter is drier with slightly cooler temperatures and a nice breeze.

  • Summer (the wet season) runs from November through April. These months have longer, warm days and bursts of rainstorms. Daily temperatures can reach as high as 90 degrees, and the average temperature is 80 degrees. January and February are the warmest months.
  • Winter (the dry season) runs from May through October and sees shorter, sunnier days. The coastal regions get a bit cool in the evening, although the average temperature ranges from 75 to 77 degrees. July and August are the coolest months, and the average rainfall drops between 50 and 75 percent compared to the winter months.

Raincoats and umbrellas are available in Fiji, but may not be the quality you are used to. We recommend bringing a lightweight, but breathable rain jacket and sturdy, practical rainboots to manage the mud you experience during your service in the village. Strong and collapsible umbrellas are handy for blocking both rain and shading you from sun. Purchasable locally, be sure to also bring or acquire a water bottle to stay hydrated.

Items provided in-country

In general, most items you will need are available in country and locally acquired items are often the best at helping you integrate into your community. However, locally available items may not be the brands, quality, prices, or sizes you are used to.

During pre-service training and prior to Volunteers moving to their permanant host iTaukei villages, Peace Corps Fiji provides Volunteers with the following essential items:

  • Medical/first aid kit
  • Smoke alarm
  • Solar panels (to charge phones in an emergency) and lantern
  • Mosquito net
  • Personal alarm device
  • SIM card (incoming Volunteers should bring their own unlocked phones)
  • Work-related books and novels: The Volunteer Resource Center at the Peace Corps office in Suva has a lending library.

Peace Corps Volunteers are provided with a “settling in allowance” to support their purchase of items that they may need to get settled into their new house after pre-service training. We ask host communities to ensure provided Volunteer homes have a bedframe, table, and two chairs at a minimum. Volunteers often use their settling-in allowance to purchase items such as:

  • Mattress
  • Bedding
  • Pots, pans, utensils, plates, bowls, cups, and other kitchen supplies
  • Small stove
  • Large plastic storage containers
  • Water bottle
  • Yoga mat, hand weights, exercise bands
Prohibited items

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take:

  • Pets
  • Weapons
  • Explosives
  • Radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted)
  • Drones
  • Automobiles or motorcycles
  • Flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers
  • Valuables such as precious jewelry or family heirlooms
Drugs

Do not bring any drug that has not been authorized by the Peace Corps for medical purposes without prior consultation with Office of Health Services Pre-Service. This includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Illicit drugs, including marijuana and related products such as CBD and herbal substances such as kratom, are prohibited during Peace Corps service, even if they are legal in your home of residence. If you use, possess, or distribute illicit drugs, you will be administratively separated from service.

Clothing
Volunteer with community members
Example of appropriate attire for iTaukei Communities

Below is guidance on clothing expectations and cultural norms for work as well as leisure and recreation. Keep in mind that you will be hand-washing your own clothes and hanging them to dry on a clothesline. In humid weather, thicker material may take a long time to dry. It is highly recommended to prioritize lightweight and durable clothes. More packing specifics will be discussed during the pre-departure calls (attendance is encouraged).

There are numerous secondhand (thrift) shops in all the major towns of Fiji that sell a wide range of clothes at a reasonable price for both work and leisure. It is also easy to find an affordable and skilled tailor to make traditional clothing.

Pre-service training and work clothing

Pre-service training is a good time to practice wearing and getting used to work-appropriate attire in Fiji. While Fiji dress code may be seen as more informal, clothes worn to work should be neat and clean. In a Fijian village, the community dress more modestly, thus nothing worn is tight fitting. As such, we recommend the following:

  • Short-sleeved shirts (polo or button-down)
  • Casual, short sleeve blouses (not sleeveless or shoulder-baring)
  • Lightweight and loose-fitting pants
  • Casual, loose-fitting (full) long skirts or dresses

Volunteers often have outfits made from local fabric for both formal occasions (weddings, church services) and work settings.

Leisure and recreational clothing

When staying with host families and in informal settings in the community, Volunteers usually wear:

  • Light weight pants
  • Long shorts
  • Leggings (to wear under skirts and/or sulus)
  • Calf-length or longer skirts or sulu (sarong)
  • T-shirts (not sleeveless)
  • Exercise clothing made of technical fabric

Culturally appropriate swimwear consists of the following, which are also readily available at low cost in local secondhand stores:

  • Knee-length board shorts
  • Rash-guard T-shirt (or regular T-shirt)
  • One or two-piece swimsuit for vacation or when visiting a resort
  • A sulu (sarong) for a cover-up before and after swimming

Other clothes packing tips

  • Light hoodie or light fleece/sweater and joggers (or similar) for slightly chilly nights
  • Lightweight and loose fitting long sleeve shirts and/or pants to protect against mosquitos in the evenings
  • Breathable, light rain jacket
  • Hat for sun protection
  • Sports bras made of technical fabric/wicking material
  • Bike shorts (or similar), which are often worn underneath skirts or sulus
  • Underwear and bras: Consider bringing enough for the two years of service as you may not be able to get your preferred style, size, or quality in country.
Trainees dressed to attend church with their host community
Shoes

Good quality footwear is not widely available in Fiji. You will be doing a lot of walking over different terrain from rocky coral beaches to muddy jungle paths. We recommend you bring the following:

  • High quality flip flops (not appropriate for work)
  • Sports sandals (for longer walks and for work)
  • Reef or water shoes
  • Running shoes, sneakers or trail running shoes
  • A pair of closed-toed shoes for more official meetings and events
  • Rain boots (can be found in Fiji)
Two pairs of locally purchased men's professional Fijian shoes
Professional Men's Work Sandals
Toiletries and medications

You should bring a three-month supply of any prescription and/or over the counter medications you use that are authorized/approved by the Peace Corps.

Note: Prior to service, Peace Corps supplies all volunteers with a medical kit containing basic, over-the-counter medications, as well as multivitamins.

See a detailed list of items included in the medical kit.

The medical unit will replenish prescriptions after the initial three-month training.

If you wear eyeglasses, bring two pairs (of the current prescription) with you. Contact lens use will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

See additional guidance from the Office of Medical Services.

Additional guidance for Peace Corps Fiji:

Most toiletries (e.g., shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, lotion, razors) are easily found in Fiji. These items can be heavy considering the traveling weight limits. However, do think about bringing brands that you might not find here to support yourself during service (e.g. favorite brand of sunscreen or lotion for sensitive skin).

Electronics
Example of a Fiji Plug
Type 1 - Fiji Plug

Voltage/plug type

Fiji runs on 220-240V, and the voltage frequency is 50 Hz. If your device is only made for 100-120V (as is the case in the U.S.), we recommend you do not bring it. If you choose to bring a small electronic that is 100-120V, bring the appropriate adapter and converter. Note that most mobile phones and laptops run on both 100-120V and 220-240V.

The majority of electrical sockets, outlets, and plugs are Type I. You may wish to bring a few plug adapters with you, though these are also available locally.

Access to electricity

Most rural communities in Fiji have electricity, but also use solar panels. While Peace Corps provides solar panels and lantern, a flashlight or headlamp is also useful while at site. Rechargeable batteries (AA and AAA) are helpful, but batteries can be purchased in Fiji.

Access to electronics in Fiji

While you can purchase electronics in-country, they range in quality and are very expensive. There are a number of electronics stores in Suva. Volunteers who have brought their own unlocked smart phones, laptops, or tablets (kindles), external hard drives, back up chargers, bluetooth speaker, and headphones have found them to be helpful and Peace Corps Fiji encourages it.

Other items to consider

Based on your interests and personal preferences there may be additional items you will want to consider bringing with you. Below are a list of items Volunteers shared they enjoyed having that might be more difficult to find in-country. Note: these items are not required for a successful service, but they may be nice to have.

Household items

  • Lightweight, 100% cotton sheets in a dark color
  • Mattress and pillow hypoallergenic covers
  • Heavy-duty duct tape
  • Rehydration tablets or powder
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Solar charging options
  • Silica gel packs (helps keep things dry)
  • Headlamp
  • Small, portable speaker
  • Laptop, charger (solar) plug adapters
  • French press and coffee (beans can be more expensive here, but instant coffee is available)
  • Active library card to access e-books and movies from your home library

Visiting other Volunteers

Volunteers like to visit each other and visit other islands when on vacation. In these cases, Volunteers find it helpful to have:

  • Backpack or duffel for short trips
  • Micro-fiber travel towel or Turkish towel
  • Lightweight sleeping bag
  • Earplugs

Personal interests

During your free time (there's more than you think), you may consider bringing:

  • Packable games, cards
  • Coloring books or other creative outlets (easy to pack)
  • Musical instrument (guitar, ukelele)
  • Sports or yoga equipment (mat, running belt, jump rope, resistance bands)
  • Snorkeling gear
  • Your favorite snacks (nothing liquid and you need to report it at immigration)
  • Anything specific to where you are from to share with friends and family during training and at your site (e.g. family photos, favorite knickknacks, a calendar with photos of U.S., stickers, postcards, coloring books).