Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Getting Packed for Vinaka Fiji Volunteering

Vinaka Fiji volunteers are based at Barefoot Island Lodge on tiny Drawaqa Island in the Yasawas. As soon as you arrive at this picture perfect Island, you realise that its seclusion from the hustle and bustle of modern life makes it extra special. However there are no convenience stores nearby so this also means that it's a good idea to make sure that you’re well prepared before you arrive.

To make things easy and to ensure that when you’re not volunteering, you have some time for R&R, your meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are prepared for you. Water, non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks are available for purchase by cash or credit card at Barefoot. The milkshakes are pretty good too!

Along with your packing essentials and toiletries, here are some other items that we recommend packing.


If you’ve got a camera, underwater camera or even just a camera phone, bring it along. The number of great photo opportunities will blow you away. If you’re taking photos of individuals or small groups, it’s a good idea to ask their permission first. To help us in building Vinaka Fiji awareness, we encourage you to share your photos online and we’d love you to tag us in #vinakafiji #voluntour.

Medical Kit

We take health and safety seriously and have a medical evaluation policy in place as well as 24 hour in-country support. Travel insurance is an absolute must have and we recommend that you pack a personal medical kit to cater to your specific medical needs.


Pack your bathers because Barefoot’s known for its great snorkelling, diving, swimming, kayaking and swimming with Manta Rays (seasonal). There’s no better way to cool off than having an ocean dip at the end of a hard days work.


Also called Sarong and Lava Lava in other cultures, these are great for tying around your bathing suit and wrapping around your shoulders if it gets a little cooler. You’ll also need to wear a Sulu below the knee when you visit the village, kindergarten and school (men and women).

T-shirt’s and Shirts that Cover the Shoulders

Women and men are expected to cover their shoulders when visiting the village, kindergarten and school. We provide a Vinaka Fiji T-shirt but it’s always a good idea to pack some alternative options too. Choose fabrics that will keep you cool especially during the summer months when it gets extra hot.

Tropical Strength Mosquito Repellent

Mozzies are to be expected in the tropics and whilst the number of mozzies will vary at different times of the year, it’s always a good idea to protect yourself from insect bites by applying mosquito repellent frequently (daytime and night time).

School Resources, Tools and Materials 


We fundraise to provide tools and materials for our programs but the Yasawan communities are always in great need. You’re not obligated to assist in any way, but if you want to provide resources, tools or materials please do bring them along. For example, those doing the Education program could bring some age appropriate reading materials and coloured pencils.


Coverall Rain Proof Jacket

It’s a 30 to 60 minute longboat transfer from Barefoot to the Yasawa schools and villages. Sea spray can be a bit of a problem whilst onboard. Therefore we recommend packing a light coverall rainproof jacket for the journey.

A Little Bit About You

Vinaka Fiji volunteering becomes extra rewarding when you get to know the Fijian people your working with. It’s even better when they get to know you too. It might be nice to bring along some family photos to share. This will help to build your relationship and it’s also a great opportunity for the Fijians to learn about a different culture from their own.

Power Adapter

You may need to purchase a plug converter or voltage converter. The current in Fiji is 240 volts AC 50Hz with three-pin power points - the same as in Australia and New Zealand.

Digital or Paperback Journal

If you like to keep a record of your thoughts and travel experiences, bring along a Paperback journal or keep an online journal or blog. No doubt you’ll have plenty to write about. If you feel like it, share it with us too. We’d love to publish your Vinaka Fiji volunteering story.

Water Flask or Cooler

These are great and you’ll be so grateful to have cold water at your fingertips. Simply transfer your bottled water to your cooler at the start of the day.