Island Hopping in the South Pacific on a Budget

With so many islands in Polynesia, it’s impossible to settle for just one. Island hopping is so popular that you don’t have to limit yourself. It involves a lot of travel, however, so be smart about your planning.

Hop Around in the Off-Season

Traveling to Polynesia during the off-season is a much cheaper alternative, and you won’t notice much of a difference because the temperatures are warm through both the dry season and the wet season. The wet season is when you want to head out on your Polynesian holiday. It begins in November and lasts until March, corresponding with the winter months above the equator. If you live in the United States, for instance, then a winter holiday to a warm place is perfect. 

You don’t have to worry about rain ruining your vacation, either. It doesn’t rain all the time, and the water from the sky is as warm as the ocean. The wet season also represents cyclone season, but if you keep toward the east (nearer to French Polynesia), you have little to fear. 

Choose Your Destination Wisely

Image via Flickr by kckellner

You have to think about your itinerary first. Island hopping can get expensive in no time. You don’t want to get your heart set on a particular string of islands only to discover that there’s no practical way to get from one place to the next. Sketch out an island-hopping adventure that includes effortless transportation. Many islands have ferry connections, plus there’s the possibility of renting your own boat. Do it right, and you shouldn’t have to rely on planes to get from one atoll to another.

Pick a Center

Even though jumping from one island to the next is your aim, it’s smart to center yourself in a particular place. Check out HotelPlanner to find hotels in Bora Bora, for example, and make the populous island your headquarters. While you visit other islands, you can seek cheaper options. For example, many islands have campsites where you can settle for a few days at an inexpensive rate. There are also tourist-friendly hostels that provide an affordable place to stay.

Do What the Locals Do

Once you arrive at your destinations, pay attention to the people who live there. Where do they shop? Where do they eat? What areas do they favor? Follow the residents, and you’ll find the best prices, the most delicious food, and the most authentic experiences in general. 

Barter for Transportation

The barter system is alive and well in many parts of Polynesia, which gives you the chance to island hop on the cheap. It’s possible to negotiate passage on cargo ships, for instance, as long as they’re headed where you’re going. You can barter for air passes as well. Any charter planes or cargo planes in the area are up for grabs, too.

Keep an eye toward saving money and opportunities will present themselves. You don’t have to sacrifice a fun vacation, either. It’s easy to experience the Polynesian islands without spending much at all, particularly when you save on accommodations and travel costs.

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