If The Islands of Tahiti have long been on your someday list, it's time to stop dreaming and start experiencing those azure waters for yourself. Contrary to what you might think, a family vacation to The Islands of Tahiti doesn't have to break the bank. A getaway to this Polynesian paradise doesn't have to include pricey overwater bungalows or wildly high airfare costs. You and the kids can experience all the magic these islands have to offer at a price you're comfortable with. Here's how to take a family vacation to Tahiti on a budget.
Kick off your vacation to Tahiti on a budget with cheap airfare that can't be beat. While United, Air Tahiti Nui and Air France all offer direct flights to Papeete on the main island of Tahiti, you'll snag by far the best deal with budget airline French Bee. The airline offers direct flights from San Francisco that start as low as $329. Choose from three types of fare classes (Basic, Smart and Premium) to suit your needs, all while getting a pretty spectacular deal.
Sure, the classic accommodation that springs to mind when you picture The Islands of Tahiti are those iconic overwater bungalows, but opting to stay in a Tahiti Homes villa will take your dollars a lot further. Not only will it be more affordable, but you'll also get significantly more space so everyone can have their own room. Tahiti Homes offers a wide selection of houses and villas to choose from and many of the accommodations offer direct beach access and stunning island views. Tahiti Homes selects only the best rental properties and offer a concierge service to provide a comfortable and customized stay. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on your patio or let the kids take a dip in your own private pool. You'll feel so at home you'll want to move in permanently.
If you do want that resort feel, look for Tahitian Guesthouses instead of traditional hotels. These hidden gems are usually family-operated lodgings that give you the best of both worlds, allowing you to experience top-notch service along with a more authentic stay. From a remote all-inclusive resort off of Tikehau to a surf inn on Moorea, there's a style to fit your family on just about any island you're looking to visit.
If experiencing some of the islands' most famous hotels and resorts is a must for you, you don't necessarily have to shell out for a room. Head over to the InterContinental Resort Tahiti on Sundays to chow down on one of the most popular brunches in town while watching a dazzling Polynesian show. On Bora Bora, find serious inner bliss spending a few hours at the spa at the Four Seasons. Splurging on a nice lunch is also an option at almost all of the top hotels, even if you aren't an overnight guest, where you can savor fresh fish dishes while enjoying overwater views.
One of the best ways to cut down on costs on any vacation is by finding ways to spend less on food. In Papeete, skip the fancy dining options and instead opt for a fun night at the roulottes (food trucks). Kids will love getting to choose from the vast array of trucks all clustered together and serving up everything from Chinese to poke. Tables scattered throughout the area make it easy to enjoy your meal together as a family even if you all choose food from different trucks. Another simple way to save on food is by cooking. An extra reason to choose a Tahiti Homes villa over a hotel is that you'll have your own kitchen so you won't have to eat out for every meal or be at the mercy of hotel restaurant prices.
While getting a helicopter tour of The Islands of Tahiti is admittedly amazing, it's far from necessary to have an epic vacation here. The islands are full of unbelievable adventures that are relatively low cost. Rent kayaks or paddleboards for a day out on the water, rent bikes and explore, go for a scenic hike, discover a colorful new underwater world while snorkeling or zoom up and down the mountainsides on an ATV tour. Of course, there's also always the totally free option of finding complete relaxation lounging on a pristine beach and soaking up the sunshine before taking a dip in the crystal clear waves.
And the lasting memories you'll make with your family along the way? Priceless.
By Hannah Freedman