20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต
20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต

© SamoaPocketGuide.com

How to Save Money on Your Trip to Samoa

Holidaying in the gorgeous tropical islands of Samoa isn’t something reserved for the wealthy. In fact, Samoa can offer a very affordable getaway as long as you do a little bit of research so you’re savvier about where to stay, how to get around, and what to do in the most cost-effective ways. Luckily, we’ve put together just the list of ways to save money in Samoa.

Have a scroll! Your bank account will certainly thank you for it.

1. Visit in the Low Season to Save Money on Accommodation and Car Rental

The low season is the time when Samoa experiences the least amount of tourists in the year. With that, accommodations, especially resorts, are eager to entice with “low season” rates or deals. Although we consider the real low season is between February and March, most accommodations’ low season rates run from September to mid-December and from mid-January to April where some stays have a difference of up to ST$400 per night between low and high season rates! Other accommodations have “Stay seven, pay for six” deals in the low season instead, so be flexible with your holiday dates and visit in the low season to save money in Samoa!

On a similar note, car rental deals like “Rent for seven days, pay for six” are typically retracted during the high season from mid-December to mid-January, so avoid the high season to make the most of these deals.

For more low-season benefits, check out the 10 Reasons to Travel in the Low Season in Samoa.

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

2. Stay in Budget Accommodation

Speaking of accommodation, no resort low-season deal beats the money that you’ll save by staying in budget accommodation! Samoa is a very budget traveller-friendly country with plenty of cheap accommodations to choose from, including the iconic “beach fale” stay. What’s more, these cheaper accommodations, like budget hotels and guesthouses in Apia and beach fales scattered along the beaches, are run by locals providing a truly authentic Samoan experience.

Start browsing some of the country’s cheapest gems in the 25 Best Budget Accommodations in Samoa. Plus, get more tips from How to Find Cheap Accommodation in Samoa.

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

3. Choose Beach Fale Rates with Breakfast and Dinner Included

It is pretty standard for beach fales to have breakfast and dinner included in their already inexpensive rates. Not only that, these meals are substantial, and you might find that you only need a quick snack for lunch. More on that in the next point…

Learn more about how beach fales work in Staying in a Beach Fale in Samoa + 10 Essential Tips!

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

4. Pick Up Samoan Baked Goods and Fruit for Lunch Instead of a Full Meal

Considering a large breakfast and dinner is the standard experience in Samoa, whether you’re staying at a beach fale or a resort, perhaps you don’t have to have such a substantial lunch? What’s more, the only restaurants that tend to be available when you’re out exploring are resort restaurants, which charge a premium for meals. Instead, convenience stores with their own bakeries are much easier to come by, selling all sorts of Samoan snacks like keke saiga, keke pua’a, paifala, banana chips, taro chips and more! Learn more about these snacks in our guide, Traditional Samoan Food: 20 Foods to Try in Samoa.

And you don’t have to neglect your vitamin intake either, as local fruit is sold for very cheap at markets and roadside stalls. Some beach fale hosts can even point you to a nearby banana or papaya tree, which can be found in abundance in the islands! Check out fruits to sample in 10 Exotic Fruits in Samoa You Have to Try!

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

5. Pay Cash to Avoid Credit Card Fees

When it comes to paying your way in Samoa, we not only recommend paying with cash, as it’s often the only accepted form of payment, but to also avoid card fees. Vendors charge an extra 3-5% on all purchases made by foreign bank cards, which certainly adds up after a few purchases! Bring some cash to Samoa with you to start your first few days then exchange it in Samoa (see the point below) on arrival. When you start to get low on funds, withdraw as much Samoan Tala as you feel comfortable carrying from an ATM to see you through a few days after. Make sure you secure your cash, however, as petty theft does happen in Samoa.

Learn more about paying your way through the islands using What is the Best Way to Pay in Samoa? and keep your cash safe following our Samoa Safety Tips.

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

6. Exchange Currency at Samoa’s Banks

Better exchange rates, therefore cheaper currency conversions to Samoan Tala, can usually be found in Samoa compared to overseas. This is often due to overseas currency exchange bureaus and banks having to buy in Samoan Tala themselves before selling it to customers. Where is the best place to exchange currency in Samoa? Samoa’s banks like BSP tend to have better exchange rates for swapping foreign currency for Samoan Tala compared to currency exchange bureaus like No 1 Currency, which tend to cater more toward the local market.

For more on currency exchange, take a look at our tips in The Best Place to Exchange Currency in Samoa.

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

7. Eat Local Food

Local staples, like fruit, vegetables, fish and anything made with coconut cream, are typically much cheaper than dining on international dishes, especially European cuisine. Some of the cheapest meals and produce can be found at local markets in Apia and Salelologa, as well as at roadside fruit and BBQ stalls. The more you stick local, the more money you’ll save!

Oh, and Asian and deep-fried food is also very cheap in Samoa.  Check out more cheap eats listed in The Top Cheap Eats in Samoa.

For more tips on saving the dough on food, check out the 10 Ways to Save Money on Food in Samoa.

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

8. Cook Your Own Meals

Admittedly, accommodations with kitchen facilities are very hard to come by in Samoa unless you’re staying in Apia. For the limited resorts and accommodations with self-catering facilities, however, buying local groceries and cooking for yourself will save you a ton compared to eating out continuously. So, stay in these accommodations with cooking facilities and follow the advice in A Guide to Supermarkets & Food Shopping in Samoa to learn about where to shop.

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

9. Take the Bus…

Samoa’s buses are an iconic part of the landscape, suited up in vibrant colours and blasting reggae remixes as they chug along the island roads. What’s more, they are incredibly cheap, costing only a few tala. While buses are regular, they don’t run on any particular schedule, so they are not always the most reliable form of transport. But if you’ve got the time but not got the money, taking the bus in Samoa is a surefire way to save some cash.

Learn more about taking the bus in our Samoa Bus Guide: Bus Fares, Routes & More.

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

10. … Or Choose the Right Vehicle to Rent

If you would rather be in charge of your own schedule, then rent a vehicle. The largest percentage of a Samoan vehicle rental fleet are SUVs, pickup trucks (utes) and minivans. While some of these are ideal for larger groups and families, note that gas-guzzling 4WD pickup trucks that come at a premium rental rate are not exactly the most cost-effective. If you’re planning on sticking to the well-maintained sealed roads of Samoa, then a compact car or even a scooter is a much cheaper option for solo travellers or couples.

Otherwise, some of Samoa’s most iconic attractions, like Aganoa Beach, Alofaaga Blowholes and the Coastal Walk, are down unsealed roads that are much better suited to SUVs (sports utility vehicles) with high clearance. Vehicles like a Toyota Rav4 are the cost-effective choice for solo travellers and couples in this case, while models like a Hyundai Tucson or similar are perhaps the best option for groups of 3-5 or families.

In short, don’t overpay for a vehicle type that you don’t need! We have more budgeting tips for vehicle rentals in the 10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Samoa.

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

11. Consider Transporting Your Rental Vehicle on the Ferry if You Want to Explore Savai’i by Car

If Savai’i is also on your wishlist and you’re renting a vehicle long-term (at least a week), you may find it cheaper to keep the same rental car hired on Upolu and transport it on the ferry than renting a different car on Savai’i. And yes, Upolu car rental companies do allow you to transport their rental car on the ferry! Considering the cost of rental delivery or a taxi to Mulifanua Wharf (Upolu) is more expensive than transporting a vehicle on the ferry, you might as well!

Otherwise, there are limited car rental companies on Savai’i, one of which boasts very reasonable rates, so check them out if you have other plans.

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

12. If You Plan on Using the Internet a Lot, Buy a Local SIM Card

Internet is not something to take for granted in Samoa; this is a place that still has internet cafes! Apart from a few limited situations that we list in the 10 Places with Free WiFi in Samoa, you almost always have to pay for WiFi. Most of the time, it isn’t good and it isn’t cheap. If you plan on keeping connected for your whole trip, you’ll save money and have a more reliable connection if you connect to the internet using a local SIM card. The local phone networks also hire out portable modems if you need to connect alternative devices or your phone isn’t compatible with the local frequency.

Learn more about using the internet with our complete guide, How to Get Internet & WiFi in Samoa.

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

13. Bring Your Own Snorkelling Gear

Ok, so if you don’t already have a mask and snorkel, this can be a bit of an investment at the beginning of your trip. But trust us, it will pay off. Snorkelling gear is not typically free to hire in Samoa, costing anywhere between ST$5 to $25 per day, even if you’re staying at a resort. What’s more, these masks and snorkels are not usually in a good state. In order to enhance the snorkelling experience tenfold, buy yourself a good-fitting mask and snorkel that you can use for years to come.

We have recommendations in the 20 Essentials You Need to Pack for Samoa.

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

14. Make the Most of Samoa’s Free and Cheap Attractions

The highlights of Samoa are not helicopter rides, skydiving or spa treatments (although the latter is actually quite cheap in Apia), but its natural wonders. Discovering waterfalls, freshwater springs, historical sites and coastal formations doesn’t demand too much from your wallet, even if you need to pay an entry fee most of the time, as is customary in Samoa. Fill up your time sightseeing instead of doing costly activities and you’re sure to save big!

For a list of affordable attractions and experiences, in which we state what’s free and what’s not, take a look a the 50 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Samoa.

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

15. Ask Prices for Natural Attractions Before You Set Off

One caveat to checking out some of Samoa’s natural attractions, however, is that there is the odd attraction that charges per the size of your vehicle – which can feel pretty expensive if you are, in fact, just one or two people in the vehicle! Particularly, some beach access fees can cost up to ST$40 compared to the usual ST$5-$20 per person. So that you don’t get a shock when (and if) you arrive, ask what the entry fee is for the attraction you’re visiting before setting off. You can ask reception at your accommodation or at the Samoa Tourism Information Centre, for example.

For a complete list of typical prices, take a look at Samoa Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Samoa Cost?

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

16. Refill Your Water Purification Bottle

Whatever you do, don’t waste money (and kill the environment) by buying bottles of water throughout your trip. If you know you’re staying at a resort with filtered drinking water, have a few reusable water bottles to refill at the resort before you head out. Alternatively, we highly recommend using a water purification bottle, such as Lifestraw, which removes 99.999999% of bacteria and 99.999% of parasites from water. That way, you can refill the bottle from any tap water you come across. We’ve used ours right across the South Pacific with no issues!

For more tips on having access to water, check out Is the Water Safe to Drink in Samoa?

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

17. Pack Right!

We’ve touched on packing your own snorkelling gear, but extending that to making sure you’ve packed everything that you’ll need for your entire time in Samoa is also a good idea if you want to save money. Imported goods are likely more expensive in Samoa than they are at home, such as sunscreen, insect repellent or even your usual snacks or food staples that you can’t live without. What’s more, items like “reef-safe sunscreen” are rarely available in Samoa, so you’ll certainly want to bring enough to last your entire trip – unless you want to: 1) get burnt and 2) kill the coral you’re snorkelling with.

Make sure you don’t miss a thing by checking out What to Pack for Samoa: A Full Samoa Packing List.

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

18. Travel with Friends or Family to Split the Costs

The more people you travel with, the more savings you’re likely to make! Whether it’s splitting the cost of a holiday home rental, car rental, taxi fares/hiring a driver or visiting beaches that charge “per vehicle” rather than “per person”, there are certainly more savings to be made as a tribe.

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

19. Predeparture Tip: Compare Flights and Airport Parking

Before we conclude this list of money-saving tips, we can’t forget to mention how you can save money on your trip to Samoa by saving on your flight to Samoa! There are multiple airlines and routes for getting to the islands, so be sure to compare all of your options following the advice in How to Book a Cheap Flight to Samoa.

As an extra tip for those that are parking at the airport before departing to Samoa, be sure to compare third-party park-and-ride companies rather than just paying at the official airport car park. They are usually significantly cheaper!

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

20. Do Your Research

If you’ve made it all the way to point #20 on this list of tips to save money in Samoa, then you probably don’t need this tip but we’ll tell you anyway… Doing your research about Samoa before you travel ensures that you’re staying in the best-value accommodation, getting the best deals on activities, and making your dollars stretch further thanks to the money-saving tips we offer here at Samoa Pocket Guide!

Head to The Backpacking & Budget Travel Guide to Samoa for more ways to shave the costs.

20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa ๐Ÿ’ต© SamoaPocketGuide.com

More Ways to Save Money in Samoa

That’s it for our top tips to save money in Samoa, but that’s by no means the end of our money-saving advice! Check out the following guides for more ways to shave off the cents:

Finally, be sure to check out The Backpacking & Budget Travel Guide to Samoa for a complete guide on travelling Samoa frugally!


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Samoa Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with the Samoa Tourism Authority, a local government body representing the tourism industry. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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