Packing for a Tahiti Trip

What to Bring to Tahiti

••• And so the journey begins... © Air Tahiti Nui.

Visiting Tahiti, whether on your honeymoon or a romantic getaway, is certain to be the trip of a lifetime for the two of you. So use the time leading up to it to consider what to pack in your luggage so that you have everything you need while you're on the islands.

Dressing on a Tahitian Trip 

Focus on packing casual, comfortable, warm weather clothing. In even the best restaurants, the dress code is island casual.

Sandals and espadrilles are acceptable everywhere, and men can leave their ties home.

For women, sundresses or shorts are always suitable. Local residents really do wear pareos (sarongs) as everyday dress. Men wear shorts and T-shirts or short-sleeved shirts.

Because so much of a Tahiti trip will center around water activities, pack at least two bathing suits, along with amphibious, or water shoes, since some parts of the ocean floor are covered in coral. Flip flops are fine for the beach.

Beware of the Tropical Sun

On a trip to Tahiti, never underestimate the power of the tropical sun. Everywhere visitors will spot tourists who failed to appreciate the dangers of being in the tropics, as proven by their bright crimson cheeks and shoulders.

To keep from becoming one of the red-skinned tourists you’ll see everywhere, bring plenty of sun block, a sun hat, and a sun-proof shirt that will shield you from the merciless rays.

Bringing Necessities

While luminescent pearls and colorful pareos are available at every turn, finding necessities on Tahiti and the other islands of French Polynesia can be a challenge. Since nearly everything on the islands is imported, even the most common items are expensive and hard to find.

When packing for Tahiti, visitors should therefore bring everything they need with them, from combs to condoms and other personal items.

Hotels are often located in remote areas, and while they generally have a shop on site, their inventory tends to be minimal — mainly handicrafts, T-shirts, postcards, and a few sundries.

Villages tend to consist of just a few buildings, which include pearl shops, souvenir shops, and services for local residents like banks and, occasionally, small grocery stores. They may be too far from hotels to make shopping for necessities practical, and taking a taxi will increase the cost.

Dining at restaurants on Tahiti and the other islands is also expensive, especially in hotel restaurants. Breakfast buffets may run $30 per person or more, a hamburger or baguette can cost over $20, and scrambled eggs (without toast) can cost $10.

Visitors might therefore consider packing snacks, such as power bars, crackers, cereal, or nuts. When you encounter a small market, stock up on baguettes, cheese, jam, locally grown pineapples or mangos, and a good bottle of French wine, creating a romantic picnic.

A decent-sized Champion Supermarket is on the edge of Papeete, within walking distance from the Marché Municipale. Vacationers with a rented car might check out the large Carrefours, a branch of the French supermarket chain, on the outskirts of Papeete.

On the other islands, small grocery stores stock basics. Prices are high but not unreasonable, and picking up the makings for breakfast or lunch to eat on the deck of your hotel room can ease a budget. To leave this option open, when packing for Tahiti, include a bottle opener and plastic cutlery.

Laptop Computers: To Bring or Not To Bring?

Some hotels, like Le Meridien Bora Bora, have a computer in a public space, but they are sometimes occupied by other hotel guests. Wi-fi is free on those PCs as well as in the guest rooms. So feel free to bring your smartphone, tablets, and/or laptops — it's a long flight and you may want to entertain yourselves with hand-picked videos rather than relying on what the airline makes available.

Once you arrive, you'll want to share the beauty of the islands and your experiences on social media.

Go ahead and brag a little!

Written by Cynthia Blair.