10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Samoa
10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Samoa

10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Samoa

© SamoaPocketGuide.com

How to Get Cheaper Car Hire in Samoa

Stretch your Samoan Tala a little further by saving money on your car rental! Saving money on car rental can only be a good thing, so you can spend more on the things that matter like marvelling at another waterfall, a luxurious spa treatment or another cocktail? From where you pick up your vehicle to how you pay for the rental, there are a few easy ways to save money on car rental in Samoa. We’ll show you how in the list below…

Before we begin, make sure you also open up The Cost of Renting a Car in Samoa: Full Car Rental Cost Breakdown for all the costs to consider when making your car rental budget.

1. Look Out for “Rent 7 Get 1 Day Free” Deals

Renting a vehicle in Samoa for seven days or more often comes with benefits. The most common car rental deal you’ll find is “rent for seven days and get one day free”. In other words, only pay for six days when hiring for seven. Even if a vehicle rental company doesn’t advertise the deal, it’s always worth inquiring. Similarly, some rental companies will throw in a few freebies for weekly rentals, such as free airport delivery, baby seat hire or even a T-shirt! In many instances, it makes more financial sense to hire a vehicle for seven days rather than, say, five.

10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Samoa© SamoaPocketGuide.com

2. Rent and Return Your Vehicle in Apia

We don’t know a car rental company on Samoa’s main island, Upolu, that doesn’t offer free vehicle delivery to anywhere in the Apia area. Picking up and returning your vehicle in Apia will save you approximately ST$120-$160 compared to picking it up from the airport or your accommodation. Saying that, rental car delivery to the airport is comparable to airport transfer fees with resorts, shuttles and taxis, so it shouldn’t be ruled out if you prefer to hire a vehicle for the full duration of your trip to Samoa.

10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Samoa© SamoaPocketGuide.com

3. 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.

10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Samoa© SamoaPocketGuide.com

4. Don’t Book the Ferry Through Your Rental Company

Speaking of ferry transport, although some car rental companies on Upolu offer the useful service of booking the ferry to Savai’i on your behalf, note that this adds an additional ST$25-$50 to the ferry cost that you otherwise would not have to pay if you booked it yourself.

See how to book the ferry for a vehicle in our guide, How to Take a Ferry to Savai’i.

10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Samoa© SamoaPocketGuide.com

5. Fuel Up on Upolu

We don’t mean to hate on Savai’i, but understandably, fuel costs are a little more expensive on this lesser-inhabited island with fewer importing connections and competition than Upolu. If you want to shave off the tala, aim to fuel up on Upolu instead of Savai’i.

10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Samoa© SamoaPocketGuide.com

6. Be Careful Who You Hire With if the Driver is Under 25

All of Samoa’s car rental companies hire vehicles to drivers that are 21 years and over. However, some companies like Blue Pacific Car Hire charge an ST$500 fee for drivers under the age of 25, while companies like Avis won’t hire to anyone under 25 at all! Ask your chosen rental companies if there are any fees for drivers under 25 years old.

10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Samoa© Samoa Tourism Authority

7. Don’t Pay with a Credit Card

The universal rule of hiring a vehicle is to have a credit card available to pre-authorise in case you do any damage to the car or incur any extra fees (more on that later). However, in Samoa, almost all car rentals allow you to pay a bond by cash instead (ST$500 is the standard) which is refundable upon return of the vehicle. In fact, paying by credit card (or any Visa/MasterCard) is likely to incur an extra fee, whether it’s 3-5% of the total payment or ST$5 additional fee added to your daily hire rate. If you can avoid it, pay with cash instead of credit card to save on the cost of car rental in Samoa.

10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Samoa© SamoaPocketGuide.com

8. Avoid Travelling in December and January

Although not exactly the peak season for tourists, the holiday season of December and January sees an onslaught of overseas Samoans returning to the islands to spend time with family. In turn, car rentals are in their highest demand and that’s why you’ll see that many car rental companies retract their “weekly deals” or even increase their daily rates during this period. Avoid travelling during December and January if you want to avoid paying a premium.

For more advantages to travelling outside of the peak season, take a look at the 10 Reasons to Travel in the Low Season in Samoa.

10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Samoa© SamoaPocketGuide.com

9. Choose the Right Vehicle Model

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 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.

10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Samoa© SamoaPocketGuide.com

10. Go Through the Vehicle Inspection Thoroughly (And Watch Out for Other Additional Charges)

It’s true, some car rentals are a little beat up in Samoa! Therefore, the car inspection on pick-up is not something to rush through. In order to avoid any unexpected fines for damage to the vehicle that you didn’t cause, we recommend going through the vehicle inspection thoroughly. This means walking around the vehicle with the car rental staff and pointing out any visible dents, scratches and other damage you can see – don’t be shy! Make sure that the staff record the damages to the car on their paperwork and take photos of the vehicle yourself if you want to be super thorough.

On the point of paying additional fees when you drop off your vehicle, make sure that you return your vehicle on time and with a full gas tank, as per your rental agreement.

Oh, and don’t return your vehicle dirty! There will be a cleaning fee if you return the vehicle excessively dirty, such as leaving rubbish in the car, spilt food or drink, or a whole beach’s worth of sand, for example.

10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Samoa© SamoaPocketGuide.com

Finally, Compare All of Samoa’s Car Rental Companies

Car rental companies are especially abundant on Upolu and a little less so on Savai’i. We’ve compiled lists and comparisons of all of the car rental companies on the islands of Samoa where you have a choice. Compare inclusions, vehicles and insurances in the following guides, then reach out to companies for quotes:

And if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in What You Need to Hire a Car in Samoa.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Samoa Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Samoa. She knows the islands inside out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Upolu and Savai’i’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also the editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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