How to Get Cheap Airfares for Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands
For many of us, the airfare is one of the most significant costs of a getaway to the Cook Islands. While seeing the clouds pass by and watching bad movies on the back of the seat in front is charming, we’d rather be spending less on a flight ticket and more on a turtle swimming tour or at least an extra cocktail! In this guide, we’ll show you how to shave off the cents on expensive airfares and teach you how to book a cheap flight to Rarotonga and the Cook Islands.
Not sure how to get to the Cook Islands? Maybe you should start with our guide, Getting Here: How to Get to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands?
10 Ways to Save Money on Your Flight to Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Across the web, you’ll find tons of nifty tricks and hacks to save money on airfares for just about anywhere in the world. While the advice we give in the sections below is more concrete for saving money on a flight to Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, here are some other quick tips that are worth trying:
- Use private browsing to stop airfares from increasing as you browse
- If your flight involves a stopover, consider using two different airlines
- Check the airfares from all of your possible departure cities
- Check the price of connecting flights when booked separately – including flights to Aitutaki
- Find and compare flights on comparison websites (then see if your airline offers a price-beat guarantee)
- Use your frequent flyer points
- Be aware of extra fees while you are booking, such as seat selection and meals
- Fly on a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday
- Fly in the Cook Islands’ low season – late-January to March – or in the shoulder season – September to November or March to May
- Don’t leave your booking last minute nor book your flight too early – keep an eye on prices starting 2.5 months before your desired departure and book if/when you see a dip in price. Some say the sweet spot is to book 47 days before departure.
For additional money-saving tips for your trip, check out the 20 Tips to Save Money in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Fly Direct or Include New Zealand in Your Itinerary if You’re Coming from Afar
When looking for the cheapest flights to the Cook Islands, it’s helpful to know who flies directly to its one international airport, Rarotonga International Airport (RAR). You’ll find that most flights come directly from New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii and French Polynesia – see Which Airlines Fly Directly to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands?
If you’re coming from elsewhere in the world, you will probably be aware that flights to New Zealand and Australia are not cheap. With this in mind, you’re likely to get more bang for your buck if you include one of these countries in your trip itinerary.
Learn about planning a trip to New Zealand, for instance, on NZPocketGuide.com – it might seem familiar, but we hear that it’s pretty darn good.
The Cheapest Time of Year to Fly to the Cook Islands
The best months for cheap Rarotonga airfares: From the Southern Hemisphere, late-January to March. From the Northern Hemisphere, September to November or March to May.
When is the best time to fly to the Cook Islands to save money on the airfare? This depends on where in the world you are coming from.
If you are taking a direct flight to the Cook Islands, from New Zealand or Australia, for example, the cheapest airfares are usually available during the Cook Islands’ wet season skipping the Christmas and New Year’s holidays (late-January to March). Learn more about direct flights in Which Airlines Fly Directly to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands?
If you’re coming from the Northern Hemisphere, from destinations like the US, Europe or Asia, then airfares are more likely to be influenced by factors from your departure country and stopover country. For example, the tourist high season for New Zealand is between December and February, so your flight to New Zealand may be more expensive at this time of year. In this case, you might want to aim for the Cook Islands’ shoulder seasons for cheaper airfares, such as September to November or March to May.
Learn more about the benefits of travelling in the shoulder season in the 10 Reasons to Travel in the Low Season in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
The Cheapest Day to Fly to the Cook Islands
The best days for cheap Rarotonga airfares: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
Airfares for Rarotonga and the Cook Islands fluctuate between the days of the week. The most expensive days to fly to Rarotonga are typically Friday, Saturday and Sunday, while the cheapest days tend to be on a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
The facts behind the best days to book a flight to the Cook Islands: According to a study of flight prices using flight metadata for a 5-year period, flights that depart on a Monday and Wednesday are the cheapest. It is on average 12% cheaper to book international flights to the Cook Islands on a Monday and Tuesday than over a weekend flight for instance. When it comes to domestic flights the difference is minimal as the capacity of domestic planes is usually extremely limited.
In short, look for mid-week flights to find the best deals on airfares for Rarotonga!
The Cheapest Place to Book Flights to the Cook Islands
The best websites for cheap airfares to Rarotonga: Flight comparison websites and direct via the airline website.
Now that you know what time of year to search for cheap flights to Rarotonga and the Cook Islands and what day of the week, now you can start finding and comparing flights on flight comparison websites.
Flight comparison websites are a good place to start when searching for cheap flights to Rarotonga. They give you an idea of the possible routes to take from your departure airport, as well as prices.
Once you have found the desired route with the cheapest airlines used, we recommend going directly to the airline to see if they can beat the price of the comparison website. Jetstar, for instance, offers a 10% price-beat guarantee on comparable flights. Any airline, however, is usually happy to beat or match the price in order to save on the commission they would have to pay to the flight comparison website.
Top Tip: Use Private Browsing
More About Saving Money and Flights to the Cook Islands
Now that you know some ways to get a cheap flight to Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, get more budget tips and advice on flying to the Cook Islands from our guides:
- Rarotonga & Cook Islands Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to the Cook Islands Cost?
- Arriving at Rarotonga Airport, Cook Islands: A Step-by-Step Guide
- The Cheapest Airport Transfers in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
Finally, plan the rest of the ins and outs of a trip to the Cook Islands using The Best Cook Islands Travel Guide and the 30 Tips for Travelling in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.