What To Pack In Your Suitcase

 
Travel light because as you travel from one island to the next, it will be more pleasant to have less cumbersome luggage to carry around.

Remember to bring:  

  • plastic shoes to walk in the water on the reef
  • mosquito repellents
  • the whole set of sun protection: sunscreens, sunglasses, hats
  • a small flashlight can sometimes be useful to walk around at night
  • as to pareos: you'll have a wide choice when you get here.  

 Keep cool and bring only comfortable and light clothes, such as cotton dresses, skirts, shorts and T-shirts for the day. Dependnig of the time of the year, bring a sweater for star gazing nights, especially in altitude where temperature drops quickly, or on the ocean aboard sailboats, etc. In the islands, swimming trunks and pareos are musts. In the hotels, evening dresses sometimes show up after dark. Bring a raincoat or a Kway which could prove very useful for those tropical rain showers. As to neckties, forget it! They are definitely out of place!... 

Plastic sandals
Plastic sandals are indispensable to walk on the reef and on some beaches where rocks are present.

Tanning
The whole kit for smart tanning is recommended:  sunglasses, adequat hat or cap and sun screens.
Be careful, the Tropics are unforgiving for city folks coming from cooler countries. And if it is cloudy, be even more careful as it makes sunburns even sneakier.

Topless:  Many European ladies do sunbathe bare-breasted, unaware that they are following the 18th century local fashions, before the missionaries arrived, that is!

      Mosquitoes: Mosquito repellent lotions are often needed in some islands. At dusk, mosquitoes attack in mass and they easily spot the tourists' milky skin. Use repellent products before and soothing creams after. Once night has really fallen, mosquitoes fortunately make themselves more rare, but bring (or buy locally) mosquito coils to light, or the more efficient electrical repellent diffusers to plug in an electrical outlet.

       First aid kit: Bring  the usual kit to take care of small wounds with particular care for cuts and scratches from coral.  There are pharmacies in each island.

CLICK to enlarge.        Electricity: Electrical power in French Polynesia is 220Volts - 60Hz. Electric outlets are the same as in Continental Europe  with two round holes. Most hotels have 110 Volts outlets for electrical shavers and adapters for US plugs with flat jacks. If your appliances work only with 110V, they will need a transformer. Ask before plugging in anything, otherwise... Wooosh!  

       Mobile phones / Internet:
Tikiphone is the only provider of mobile telephone communications in French Polynesia. Its network, called VINI, operates a GSM 900 MHZ network in the Society Islands, Tuamotu, Australs and Marquesas islands.
So, bring your own usual GSM mobile phone along ! Before leaving your country, call your Customer Service to make sure you have the International option. Upon your arrival in Tahiti, you will just need to switch on your mobile phone : you will see the "F VINI" displaid on the screen which means you are connected to Vini network. If your operator is not in the list of Vini's international partners, you'll just have to purchase a local temporary prepaid VINI CARD (sold at the Tahiti Faa'a airport or in Papeete) which you will insert inside your mobile phone. You can renew this card by buying a VINI CARD recharge card among the 150 retailing shops in French Polynesia. This subscription will assign you a temporary phone number (valid 3 months), supply you with voice mail and let you call anywhere. Be aware however that given the rates to call abroad, it is better to receive calls than to make them. It is anyway an ideal way to keep in touch with your friends and family back home,... but use it cautiously.

       Traditional and digital photography: Even if you are not a shutter bug, it will be difficult to resist being tempted to take many snapshots and videos of the breath-taking scenery, not to mention the many blue shades, from turquoise to opal, of the lagoons. For fans of digital photography, remember to bring extra storage medias (cassette, memory cards, etc.) as to the others, we can only advise them to take more film than first planned, especially since the nearest photo shop could be on the other side of the island. A UV filter may also be very useful to decrease the mirror effect of water surface.

      Quck inventory: Bandana, Hat, Sunglasses (bring an extra pair), Books, Pen, Swimsuits, Sun screen lotion, After-sun lotion, Lip balm, Cameras and film, Electrical adapters, Alarm clock,  Mobile GSM 900/1800 telephone (see above), Mosquito Repellent and insect bite soothing cream, light Boat Shoes, Plastic Sandals, Long Sleeve Shirt (to protect yourself from the sun), Shorts, Belt, Skirt, Light dress, Socks, Sweatshirt, Kway light raincoat, Beach towels, Waterproof beach bag, Diving masks, snorkels and Fins (unless you stay in a hotel or are on a cruise), Sewing kit,  Flashlight, Watch, Swiss Army knife, Comb, Toothbrush and tooth paste, Contact lenses and lens cleaner (plus a spare pair), Medical prescriptions and common medications, Headache medicine, etc.

       And obviously: Passport, plane tickets, reservations faxes and vouchers, driver's license, International credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, or Amex), some Euros or US Dollars.

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