Opulent, balmy and deluxe; the islands of Tahiti and Bora Bora truly are extraordinary. Straight out of a fantasy of the stereotypical tropical paradise, and also expensive beyond your imagination, you may have thought these French Polynesian beauty queens were firmly out of your reach. With just a little creativity here and there, however, you can find yourself enjoying the destination of your dreams - on a budget. Okay, so let's get cracking...

The very first thing to consider is the fact that prices for everything: flight tickets, accommodations, a salad; will absolutely soar in the July-August high season, and from Christmas to New Year's Day. Since it is tropical, the seasons do not really differ from one another in weather. Planning your trip from April to June is not only a better deal, but you won't be faced with peak season mobs ruining your tropical state of mind. The outright off-season is November to April, excepting the Christmas holiday. 

You can count on the little homework involved to save you enough money to give you a little goose. Start out by looking at sites like skyscanner and skypicker first up, because flight tickets are a big one. You could sign up to be notified of a sale with the airlines that service Polynesia, too ( Air Tahiti Nui, Air France, Hawaiian Airlines specialize here, as do others you might not have thought of, such as Air New Zealand and Qantas ). After that, when you have your dates, then set up a park and fly on stay123 or hotelnparking, because the car is safer with 24-hr  hotel security, and you save some more right there. Its good to use an app for international phone calls, but you can also check what plans your cell carrier has for your trip- because  the cost of even one phone call from a hotel room could have bought you dinner at a fine restaurant.

When you pick your actual destination, you don't have to restrict yourself to Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea. There are 30-something islands here with tourist facilities, and because they are not in the glossy brochure, will give you the island paradise experience ( even more so, minus the tacky crowds ) for very much less.

Even though the famed overwater bungalows run about $1000 - a night, there are plenty of other really affordable options . A stay at a pension, which is like a bed and breakfast will run about $120 a night for the extra amenities tier, and can get you at the most gorgeously scenic spot imaginable, right on a lagoon. (There are also bare-bones cold-water bungalows for $75 or so.) Some bungalows come with a small kitchenette, so you can shop at the local grocery and prepare your own food, at least some nights. You can also get half-board at many pensions for around $25 per person, which will give you breakfast plus a later  meal. Smaller hotels and hostels will let you use their kayaks and bikes for free, too. A bike really helps you beat the almost astronomical cost of cabs or even car rental here, and nothing is very far or hilly, so go for it. Instead of air travel between the islands, consider a breezy and enjoyable $15/half hour boat ride instead.