How to Get a Cheaper Car or Scooter Hire in the Cook Islands
Stretch your New Zealand Dollars or Cook Islands coins a little further by saving money on your car or scooter rental! Saving money on car rental can only be a good thing, so you can spend more on the things that matter like swimming with turtles, a luxurious spa treatment or another cocktail? From where you pick up your vehicle to how you get your scooter license, there are a few easy ways to save money on car and scooter rental in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands. 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 Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for all the costs to consider when making your car rental budget.
1. Get Your Car Delivered to Your Accommodation and Start Your Rental When You’re Ready
Only consider renting a vehicle for part of your trip. Car rental pick-ups are very costly for Rarotonga International Airport, usually NZ$25-$50, which is about the same to much more expensive than an airport transfer to your accommodation – see The Cheapest Airport Transfers in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for more details. Considering most car rental companies deliver vehicles to your accommodation for free, you might as well just rent when you’re ready.
2. Rates Get Cheaper the Longer You Rent on Rarotonga
Note that vehicle rentals on Rarotonga have reduced daily rates the longer you rent, starting from three days, so it’s sometimes more cost-effective to have the vehicle for a few days, rather than just one then paying for alternative transport methods. If you only need a vehicle for one day, however, opt for a car; we’ll tell you why in the next point…
See the typical daily rates for renting a car on Rarotonga in our guide, The Cost of Renting a Car in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
3. Only Consider Renting a Scooter if You Want it for a Few Days
With cheaper daily rates and using much less fuel than cars, the local way to get around the Cook Islands by scooter is worth considering if you want to rent your own vehicle. Note, however, that for renting a scooter on Rarotonga, you need to obtain a scooter license which comes at NZ$40 plus the cost of renting a scooter for your practical test. With this in mind, renting a scooter just for a day or two is not really that cost-effective.
For more tips on hiring a scooter, check out the 10 Tips for Riding a Scooter in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands. We also have a full scooter cost breakdown in Scooter Hire on Rarotonga: Where to Rent, Cost & More.
4. Get Your Scooter License in Aitutaki Instead
If you want to ride a scooter and you happen to be visiting Aitutaki, get your scooter license from Aitutaki instead! You don’t have to go through a theory and practical test. Just bring your overseas driver’s license to the Arutanga Police Station and pay the NZ$2.50! This license is also valid for riding scooters on Rarotonga.
For a full cost breakdown for hiring a scooter in Aitutaki, check out Scooter Hire in Aitutaki: Where to Rent, Cost & More.
5. Rent an Electric Car or Scooter
Eliminate the cost of fuel by hiring an electric vehicle! Becoming more and more popular across Rarotonga and Aitutaki, electric cars and scooters are available to hire or are included in eco-friendly accommodations. Check out 6 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Renting a Car in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for more advice.
5. Visit in the Low Season
Throughout various months of the low season (between November to March), some car and scooter rental companies have reduced rates. We’ve seen this especially on Aitutaki. So consider being flexible with your travel dates to perhaps receive a discount.
See more benefits of travelling in the low season in the 10 Reasons to Travel in the Low Season in the Cook Islands, as well as in The Best Time to Visit the Cook Islands: Best Months to Visit.
6. Choose a Small Car
Considering the longest road in the Cook Islands is the main road (Ara Tapu) on Rarotonga at 32km (20 miles) long and the speed limit is only 40kph in most places, there’s not much reason to overspend on premium car rentals in the Cook Islands other than, to put it frankly, “show off”. Small cars, such as a Toyota Yaris, Suzuki Swift, Toyota Passo etc. are the cheapest type of vehicles to rent in the Cook Islands and are really all that solo travellers or couples need to enjoy a road trip around Rarotonga and Aitutaki. For families, budget medium cars and people-movers are also available at only a slightly higher cost than small cars.
See an example of what vehicles companies hire out in the 10 Best Car Rentals in the Cook Islands: The Top Cook Islands Car Hires.
7. Rent with Rarotonga Rentals if You Want the Cheapest Airport Pick-Up
Sometimes, just having your car rental available to pick up from the airport is the most convenient thing. For free airport pick-up (i.e. picking up a car rental literally just across the road from the airport car park), choose Rarotonga Rentals. Their office is conveniently within easy walking distance of the airport arrivals area, even if you’re lugging suitcases. They are also one of The Cheapest Car Rentals in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
8. Compare All of the Cook Islands’ Car Rental Companies (For the Island You Are Visiting, Obviously)
Car and scooter rental companies are especially abundant on Rarotonga and a little less so on Aitutaki. We’ve compiled lists and comparisons of all of the car rental companies on the islands in the Cook Islands where you have a choice, otherwise, car rental only tends to be available through your accommodation on the other outer islands. Compare inclusions, vehicles and insurances in the following guides, then reach out to companies for quotes on their ever-fluctuating prices (the latter is more of a case on Rarotonga):
- 8 Best Car Rentals in Rarotonga: The Top Car Rental Companies
- The Best Car Rentals in Aitutaki: The Top Car Rental Companies
- The Best Car Rentals on Atiu: The Top Atiu Car Rental Companies
- The Cheapest Car Rentals in the Cook Islands – This states the prices of car rentals in the outer islands.
9. Go Through the Vehicle Inspection Thoroughly (And Watch Out for Other Additional Charges)
It’s true, some budget car rentals are a little beat-up! 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.
10. Travel with Friends or Family to Split the Cost
It’s a simple one, but the more people you travel with, the more savings you’re likely to make! Instead of renting a car all to yourself or as a couple, consider travelling with friends or another couple to split the cost of car rental! If you’re two families, for instance, renting a minivan or a people-mover works out cheaper per person than hiring two cars individually.
For more “generic” ways to save money like this, check out the 20 Tips to Save Money in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
More Ways to Save Money on Car and Scooter Rental in the Cook Islands
That’s it for our list of ways to save money on car and scooter rental in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands. For more tips to save money, check out the following guides:
- What You Need to Hire a Car in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- 10 Tips for Riding a Scooter in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- How to Drive in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands + 10 Road Rules
Finally, plan more of your travel budget using How Much Does a Trip to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Cost?