Advice on Choosing Budget Accommodation in Tonga
Cruising the South Pacific Islands isn’t just a holiday reserved for the wealthy. You can essentially backpack around Tonga by staying in local guest houses or even get the Robinson Crusoe experience by staying in a simple hut on the beach! However, there needs to be some thought into choosing the right budget accommodation in Tonga, so we’ll guide you through it…
Quick Things You Need to Know About Staying in Budget Accommodation in Tonga
- Accommodations in Tonga are known to change their services without updating listings on websites, brochures, etc, especially budget accommodation. It’s a good idea to double-check listings and even contact the host to confirm essential amenities you may need are available
- When budget accommodation says it has “free WiFi”, it’s usually only in the communal areas
- Most budget accommodation in Tonga only accept cash as a payment method
- Check out some examples of budget accommodation in the 10 Best Budget Accommodation in Tonga.
Types (and Cost) of Budget Accommodation in Tonga
Tonga has a variety of accommodations when it comes to budget stays, with backpacker-style accommodation in the larger towns, guest house accommodation is in more abundance, and budget fales/resorts are in the holiday destinations like ‘Eua, Ha’apai and Vava’u.
There are a few backpacker hostels and guesthouses with dorm rooms, especially in Nuku’alofa. These typically have dorm rooms and private rooms with shared bathroom facilities and either a kitchen or canteen. Camping is occasionally available. The cost of a night in a dorm bed is TOP$19-$30. Check out this style of accommodation in the 10 Best Backpacker Accommodation in Tonga A201.
A guest house is typically a large former family home with separate private guest rooms, some with ensuites and some with shared bathrooms. They have communal kitchens and lounges. Guesthouses typically have private double rooms and triple rooms and the occasional dorm, single room and family room. Examples of the cost are as follows:
- Guesthouse single room/night – TOP$50-$70
- Guesthouse double room/night – TOP$60-$90
- Guesthouse double ensuite/night – TOP$100-$120
Check out the 10 Best Guesthouses in Tonga for examples of this style of accommodation.
You can still get the island holiday experience without the expensive resort accommodation that comes with it. There are budget resorts or beach fales where accommodation is usually a simple beach hut with limited facilities, i.e. cold water in shared bathroom block, a mattress on the floor in a traditional fale, etc. Prices for this type of accommodation range from TOP$45-$80. Check out this style of accommodation in the 10 Best Budget Resorts in Tonga.
Location, How to Get There and What is Nearby?
A major consideration for travellers on a budget is the location. Being within walking distance of shops, services and attractions is a sure-fire way to save money throughout your trip, while staying at one of the remote budget fales/resorts have associated flight and boat transfer and more expensive food costs.
Where is the Budget Accommodation Located and How Do You Get There?
Although backpacker and guest house accommodations are located in the main towns of Tonga, you will still need to choose an island group. Tongatapu and ‘Eua have the least expensive travel costs while Ha’apai and Vava’u are more expensive to get to. Compare the prices of interisland flights and ferries in What is the Cost of Transport in Tonga?
On top of the cost of getting to the right island group, there may be additional costs to consider, such as food and airport/wharf transfers. More remote accommodations such as the beach fales in Ha’apai or the budget accommodation in ‘Eua only have the option to accept paid meal with your hosts. Beach fales in Ha’apai and Vava’u also have the added cost of boat transfers to their remote islands. Choosing a backpacker hostel or guesthouse in the town will eliminate these extra costs.
What is There Nearby?
You came to Tonga to experience the place you are in, not to simply stay at your accommodation, so consider what attractions you can get to from your accommodation. From a town like Nuku’alofa, it might be the historical and natural sights around the island (which you can take a tour or hire a car to discover). From a beach fale on Uoleva Island in Ha’apai, however, your main attractions are the beach, snorkelling and kayaking.
What’s Included in Your Stay?
Any savvy budget traveller knows that choosing good budget accommodation isn’t just about finding the cheapest. Good value is often in the facilities and services included in your stay. Of course, everyone’s needs are different so take a look at the lists below to get an idea of what is typically included and what extra facilities to look out for or enquire about.
Typical Budget Accommodation Inclusions
- Kitchen facilities with stovetop, microwave, fridge, cooking pots, crockery and utensils, toaster and kettle
- Shared bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet
- Insect screened windows or a mosquito net
- Gardens or beach
Additional Services and Inclusions
- Additional kitchen facilities, such as an oven, tea and coffee, toastie grill, rice cooker, etc.
- Ensuite shower and toilet
- WiFi (either paid or included)
- Bicycle hire (either paid or included)
- Car rental (for a fee)
- Airport transfers (either paid or included)
- Watersports hire (usually included if available)
- Meals (for a fee)
- Air conditioning
- Hot water
- Outside deck or verandah
- Washing machine
- Car parking
- In-house tours or cultural activities for guests.