It’s estimated that there are well over 100,000 people of Samoan heritage living overseas, so it’s no surprise that Samoa plays host to thousands of VFR travellers every single year as friends and relatives come together to reconnect and celebrate their culture. If you’ve got friends and family living in Samoa and you’re thinking about planning a visit, here are some tips to help you get organised.
Whether you’re travelling alone or as part of a larger group, being able to get around easily will probably be very important to you, especially if you’ve got plenty of people to see and places to visit during your stay.
There’s a wide selection of vehicle hire companies in Samoa offering competitive rates on cars, four-wheel drives, scooters, and even vans up to 16 seats, so you’ll always find something suitable no matter how small or large your group will be. But before you arrive in Samoa, don’t forget to obtain your temporary drivers’ license from the Transport Control Board.
Co-ordinating meetups and activities with friends and family living around the islands means you’ll need to be well connected during your stay in Samoa. If you don’t have an international roaming plan on your phone, you can pick up a prepaid local SIM card to use in your phone from either Faleolo International Airport, a local convenience store or online.
The main telecommunications operators in Samoa are Bluesky Samoa and Digicel. Alternatively, most resorts and hotels in Samoa offer free WiFi for use at your accommodation.
There are many different types of accommodation options in Samoa, so you’ll always find something to suit your length of stay, budget, and group size. If you’re planning to travel around a lot and you just need a place to sleep, there’s a huge selection of affordable hotels and bed and breakfast style accommodation around the islands which are ideal for both short and long stays.
Alternatively, if you plan on spending some quality time relaxing with friends and family or you’re travelling with a larger group, you might find one of Samoa’s holiday homes, which come in all shapes and sizes, more suitable for your needs.
Before you leave Samoa, you’ll probably want to stock up on a few souvenirs and treats you can’t get at home. Plan to spend some time in central Apia where you’ll find shops selling all kinds of locally made gifts and crafts, clothing and jewellery, and other Samoan made products.
A visit to any of the food markets around Apia and Salelologa is also an absolute must to get yourself reacquainted with the comforting flavours of Samoa, from fresh fruits and vegetables to fish, meats and ready-to-eat local dishes.
As part of your trip planning, find out whether there are any upcoming events that you might wish to observe or be a part of, either by yourself or with the people you’re visiting. While Samoa has many religious holidays and observances scattered throughout the year, there’s also an exciting range of annual events which take place including international sporting events, the iconic Teuila Festival, the Miss Samoa competition, and musical events.