Matt and I have been on the move this past month. Over the last 26 days we’ve only spent 9 of them in our lovely state of Michigan. While we enjoyed a 5 day trip to Tuscan, the biggest portion of our travels were spent abroad in the French Polynesian islands for our honeymoon. Even though we’re getting ready to celebrate our 5 month anniversary of marriage (and still going strong!), with the weather only being nice in Michigan for a few short summer months, we thought a delayed honeymoon was a great idea.
Between the two of us, Matt and I are pretty well traveled. We’ve both been to Europe and down south to the Florida Keyes and Bahamas, Belize, Grand Cayman, and Mexico. Anywho, for our honeymoon we really wanted to go somewhere unlike any of the places either of us have ever experienced before. We knew we wanted to stay in one of the iconic overwater bungalows, have mountain views, turquoise waters, and plenty of activities. On the list? Fiji, Maldives, and Bora Bora. Of the three, Bora Bora is the closest, and since Matt has a big boy job that doesn’t allow him to take three consecutive weeks off, and neither of us wanted to spend 48 hours just in travel time, Bora Bora it was.
While we wouldn’t have changed much if we could go back for a repeat (and we will because it was freakin’ awesome), here are a few tips for all you when it comes time check this one off your bucket list.
10 TIPS FOR VACATIONING IN BORA BORA
1). Wear. Bloody. Sunscreen. – My mother has probably died and gone to heaven hearing these words out of my mouth. The sun is much more intense in French Polynesia than anywhere in the U.S. Don’t ruin your vacation because of a bad burn. Plus, looking like a lobster is never in style unless it’s Halloween.
2). Get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees – Most cards that don’t have foreign transaction fees are travel-incentive cards too. Chances are if you open one, you’ll get other perks for your trip like double points on hotel and travel purchases, trip insurance, and maybe even a free checked bag or two. Typically these cards also have an annual fee, however it’s normally waived the first year. Book your trip, take your trip, rack up points, redeem, close your card!
3). Bring an underwater camera & fish guide – The snorkeling is unreal. Don’t miss the opportunity to photograph Nemo in his natural habitat. Not to mention it’s always a good idea to get a picture of your travel companion in goggles and a snorkel in the event you ever need it for blackmail.
4). Book excursions through the company, not your hotel – No matter what island you’re on, the economy thrives on tourism. French Polynesia is a hot spot for honeymooners, cruises, and families. The hotel will provide you with a list of different activities. If you book directly with the company you can save yourself at least 10% that would’ve been paid to the hotel as a commission.
5). Go grocery shopping – One of the first days on your trip head into the local market and pick up some groceries. On average, meals cost $100, cut a big expense by eating lunch on your own so you can spend your bucks on making memories.
6). Bring something to do in case it rains – The TV is limited on the islands. Even if you’re fluent in French it’s slim pickin’. Some hotels have movies and games you can “check out”, but it’ll cost ya. About $18 per rental! Stash a few DVDs and a deck of cards in your carry-on. Even if your weather is beautiful, it’ll give you something to do in the evenings.
7). Book direct flights when possible – Coming from Michigan it’s quite the travel schedule to fly to French Polynesia. We flew from Michigan to North Carolina to Los Angeles to Tahiti. Total travel time: 27 hours. No thanks. It’s worth the extra $200 bucks to fly direct when you can.
8). Don’t be afraid to splurge – There are some things that are worth every penny of the hefty price tag. When you’re flying halfway around the world take the opportunity to do things you may never have the chance to experience again. Snorkel with sharks, feed the stingrays, swim with the dolphins. If it means eating PB & Js for lunch a few days, it’s worth it!
9). When in Rome…- The French Polynesian isn’t known for it’s culinary art. The food is really mediocre, which is hard to swallow (no pun intended) when you’re forking over around $100 bucks a meal. The best entrees are the ones with fish. Even those of you who aren’t big on seafood, try it. The shellfish are delicious, and there are so many fish options you’ll be able to find one mild enough to please even the pickiest pescé eater.
10). Go for at least 7 days – When the travel time is so long, you have to stay for at least a week to truly feel like you’ve had a vacation.
Hopefully these few tips help you experience Bora Bora and the other French Polynesian islands at their finest (regardless, it’s really hard to go wrong), and make sure to check back with me soon! I’m in full Christmas mode now that we’ve returned to 30 degree weather and can’t wait to share some holiday cheer with you!
X’s & O’s