Fiji Service Trip Overview
Fiji, the Land of Smiles, is the unbelievable island destination you never knew you needed to explore. Earn up to 20 hours of service credit when you help improve the facilities of a local island school. Your hard work has a direct positive impact on the lives of the school children you’ll see as little brothers and sisters.
This rewarding experience is complemented by unforgettable adventures through the best parts of this idyllic Pacific island nation. You’ll dive into the crystal clear blue waters to swim with manta rays, reef sharks, exotic fish, and vibrant corals. Feel like a local as you explore limestone caves, cook a lovo, savor kava and visit local villages. Our Fiji service trip is the perfect mix of relaxation, adventure, and cultural immersion that makes for an unconventional worldly experience in an off-the-beaten-path destination.
During this program, you will…
- Make rewarding bonds with local Fijian students as you work to improve their elementary school and earn up to 20 hours of service credit
- Snorkel and scuba dive* vibrant coral reefs alongside exotic marine life
- Prepare a traditional lovo, a banquet feast slow cooked in an earth oven, and learn how to weave palm frond baskets with Fijians.
- Hike to capture incredible sunrise and sunset views of the Yasawa Islands, a volcanic archipelago in turquoise waters.
- Swim into sacred underwater limestone caves and learn about their centuries-old local legends
- Zip line through jungles, mountain tops, and cave systems
*This is an optional excursion
If your teen plans on diving, it is mandatory for you to purchase dive insurance in advance of the program. Please review our FAQ section for more information.
DAY 1: DEPART FROM LOS ANGELES (LAX)
DAY 2: CROSS THE INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE
DAY 3: NADI, VITI LEVU
During the first day on the largest of the islands in the Fijian Archipelago, Viti Levu, we’ll spend the afternoon at Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park. The grey, windswept dunes have been formed over millions of years at the mouth of the Sigatoka River. We’ll shake off jet lag with a leisurely walk along the trails where it’s not uncommon to stumble across pieces of the past—archaeological excavations have uncovered pottery more than 2,600 years old! The walking trails lead to a beautiful beach where we’ll relax, swim, and get acquainted with slow island life. That evening, we’ll head back to our beautiful resort right on the beach to capture our first incredible South Pacific sunset.
DAYS 4 – 11: YASAWA ISLANDS
Next is Nacula Island, one of the northern-most destinations in the Yasawa Island chain. Here, over the next several days, we’ll come to know the true meaning of Yasawa which means “heaven in Fijian and settle into “Fiji time,” a point of local pride. According to natives, Fiji time is a wonderful sensation of minutes turning into hours and hours feeling like days—of slowing down and living in the present moment.
We’ll complete important community restoration projects. You’ll create rewarding bonds with the Fijian students as you coordinate playground games, swap stories, and teach each other about your different cultures. In addition to service, immerse yourself in the Fijian lifestyle: prepare an authentic lovo ( a delicious Fijian feast cooked in an earthen oven), participate in a traditional kava ceremony to prepare the country’s national drink, and learn Fijian songs and dances.
Once our service projects are finished, we’ll travel to Drawaqa Island or Barefoot Island. This idyllic isle is one of the best places in the world to snorkel among coral gardens with majestic, graceful manta rays. Listen for the village drum which announces the return of the mantas during high tides. After a day of manta safaris, relax on the perfect white sand, listen to the gentle sound of the waves lapping the shore and soak in the sunset.
Our final Yasawa Island destination, Waya Lai Lai, has the tallest peak of any of the islands we will visit. An early morning wake up call for a sunrise hike to the second-tallest peak reaps huge rewards when you take in the 30-mile panoramic view. After breakfast, experts will guide us off-shore to swim with reef sharks—the ultimate adrenaline-pumping adventure!
DAYS 12 – 13: NADI, VITI LEVU
We complete our adventure in Fiji at Nadi where the final two days of our trip is filled with exciting activities. Get your heart racing on a thrilling zip-line adventure through jungles, caves, and mountaintops. Enjoy a day at the mud baths where we’ll slather ourselves head-to-toe in nutrient-rich mud then rinse off and relax in the invigorating natural hot springs.
After over two incredible weeks together it will be time to say goodbye to the friendly Fijians, but the memories we made together will last a lifetime!
DAY 13: RETURN FLIGHT TO THE USA
Authenticity is engrained in everything we do. Eat, stay, and travel like a local.
Check out what past travelers have to say about TFT and discover why we are consistently awarded “Top Youth Travel Organization” year after year.
"I have traveled with TFT for four summers now, exploring Costa Rica, Croatia, Fiji and Greece. These trips have been the highlight of my summers. They have broadened my horizons and strengthened my confidence. Going on these trips and meeting new people changed how I view the world. I love having conversations with locals and people I meet along the way. The small TFT groups and the knowledgeable and enthusiastic group leaders make for a fun and eye-opening experience. What sets TFT apart is that we immerse ourselves in the culture and we are not just tourists. We meet locals, hear stories about their lives, and it is truly invigorating. Travel For Teens has given me so much more than fun memories over the summer. They have given me the ability to be comfortable talking to anyone, being in new places, having a widened perspective on other cultures, and to be independent. On my Costa Rica and Fiji trips, we volunteered with school children. In a very short time we made deep connections that I will always cherish. I feel so fortunate to have had my eyes opened through TFT to so many beautiful places and memorable people."
"Wow. Where do I even start, I had the absolute time of my life on this trip, best experience ever. I recommend it to everyone. Fiji is such a special place and to work with the community and locals there was one of the best parts. The food was amazing and had lots of choices surprisingly since it is such a small island. The TFT staff was absolutely great, they were friendly, kind, helpful, and everything you'd ever need in a counselor. this trip really couldn't of been any better for me. I had the opportunity to go on such an amazing adventure and it was very much worth every penny. Don't miss out on it. GO TFT"
"I went on the Fiji Service and Adventure trip this summer and I can honestly say it was the best summer of my life. From playing with children at a local school, to just relaxing on the beach, I enjoyed every moment of my trip. The most rewarding part may have been building the trash incinerator at the local school, it was so cool seeing that we physically made a difference on the island, and it was so fun playing with the kids when our work was finished. I would totally recommend this trip to anyone who’s looking for a perfect island getaway, as well as incredible activities and community service projects! :)"
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of teen typically participates in this program? What are the requirements to join?
Teens from all over the world join this program! Typically, our participants are culturally curious individuals who are excited to make new friends, experience something unique, and interested in stepping out of their comfort zones and expanding their horizons.
This program is exclusively for students who are currently in grades 9th through 12th and approximately 14 to 18 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are chosen specifically in safe areas and are well suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. We do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities; we prefer to select smaller, family-run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
On the mainland we stay in Nadi Bay at a beachfront resort with great facilities for enjoying this idyllic setting. In the Yasawa Islands we stay at three local rustic resorts, each situated on the water and selected for the amazing activities and famous Fijian hospitality on offer.
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for the program.
Do most travelers go on their own?
Yes! In fact, over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that form along the way. When we travel by ourselves, we are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new friends on another TFT program the next summer!
If you are thinking about joining a TFT program by yourself but you are feeling unsure, please let us know! We have plenty of references from solo travelers who had great experiences and would be happy to chat with you about it.
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We ask that if you do come with a friend, you and your friend(s) maintain openness to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students like most about this program?
Every year students fall in love with the tropical paradise that is Fiji. Picturesque white sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters, a huge array of adventure activities both in and out of the water and the legendary Fijian hospitality leave such an impression on the teens they often wish they could stay just one more day!
What is unique about this program?
The community service program with the local school is something we are very proud of, having formed a wonderful relationship after returning to volunteer there for years. This gives the teens an exclusive all-access pass to form amazing bonds with the students. Year after year there are tears as the teens have to bid fond farewells to their new-found friends.
What is included?
Tuition cost includes ground transportation; accommodation; chaperones and guides; program-related activities and admissions; taxes and tips; all breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
Not included (this is not intended to be an exhaustive list): airfare; visas and visa application fees; personal and medical expenses; activities and admissions that are not program-related or referenced in the itinerary; beverages other than filtered water at meals; participant expenses that are outside of the program description, such as excess baggage fees and damage to hotels; expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss the program’s flight details. There is no requirement to take the group flight, but there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is usually chaperoned by a TFT staff member, and it also offers an opportunity for the students to get to know one another prior to the start of the program. Parents are responsible for coordinating transport to the departure airport – however, the logistics team will send out instructions detailing the exact meeting spot and airport point person. For additional information about flights, visit our dedicated flight page.
What is the average group size?
We pride ourselves on small group sizes to create a more authentic and personalized experience. Our group sizes fall between 14 and 21 students – the perfect size to facilitate new friendships without feeling lost in a crowd! We believe smaller groups eliminate the likelihood of cliques, and allows for a well-rounded, healthy group dynamic.
Who leads the program?
Our staff is a cut above the rest! We seek out two main characteristics in our counselors – extensive knowledge of and experience in our destinations, and a passion for working with teens. Our staff’s backgrounds include living abroad and working in summer camps or other educational settings. Team members are proven leaders and role models, who connect easily with others and form genuine friendships with each student – all while bringing each destination to life.
We celebrate diversity! Our staff represents 49 different nationalities, speak a combined total of 21 languages, and visited 142 countries. Additionally, 80% of our staff lived or worked abroad in their lives. With so many unique experiences to share, you are sure to gain a global perspective.
Our average minimum ratios are one staff member to every seven participants. Each program has one Trip Director with several support staff, depending on the group size. Directors must be at least 25 years old and have prior experience working with TFT.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
Our staff members undergo a rigorous hiring process. They receive the same background check as school educators, an extensive training process to go over all safety precautions and protocols, and are required to be certified in CPR and First Aid. We exclusively hire responsible, multi-talented individuals who are safety-minded and are as passionate about teen travel as we are.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Our program dates are designed specifically so that participants can opt to combine trips throughout the summer. When connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the program and assist you in meeting your next group at your new destination.
Families who sign up for more than one program will also receive a 15% discount on the lesser-priced program.
What is the food like on this program?
In a word – delicious! At TFT, we believe food is an integral aspect of the travel experience, and we make an effort to eat at authentic establishments whenever possible. There is no better way to immerse ourselves in the culture of a place then through sampling the local delicacies. We stray away from westernized restaurants and chains that cater to tourists, because every true traveler knows the best food is found where the locals are eating!
Fijians are amazing chefs, so during the program there is delicious array of dishes, and lots of it! Try a TFT favorite, the local fish and coconut delicacy kokoda, as well as taro and cassava, straight from the steaming lovo, which is a traditional earth oven used for centuries.
Of course, we are always willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do we ever get time to go off on our own?
Our staff and teens are nearly always together, but we do provide the opportunity to break up into smaller groups to allow for flexibility and customization within the itinerary.
We offer free time in defined safe areas – for example, shopping in a market or exploring a museum. During these times, students remain in groups of at least two and are given no more than an hour. Of course, the counselors remain nearby and available. Additionally, a lifeguard-certified counselor supervises the campers any time they are involved in water activities.
Do I need to bring anything special for the community service portion of the program?
Due to the nature of our service work in the local village, all you’ll need are clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
A more detailed packing list will be provided upon registration.
Do I need anything special for the scuba diving portion of the program?
All students participating in dives during our Fiji programs are required to have dive insurance. Many health insurance policies already cover this and so do some homeowners policies. We recommend that you check with these first in case you already have coverage.
We recommend using this website to find the best insurance policy for your teen.
Do I need any vaccinations for this program?
We recommend checking with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the destination you are visiting. For more information, please check the World Health Organization’s website. Upon registration, we provide a list of recommended vaccinations that can be discussed further with your doctor.
What kind of visa do you need for this trip?
Any US citizen that enters Fiji is automatically granted a free four-month tourist visa.
When joining a TFT trip from outside of the US, please be sure to check your country’s specific visa requirements.
Do I need to speak the language?
No, our skilled staff members will help you get around and even teach you a few fun phrases!