Car Rentals, Los Angeles
Most people come to Los Angeles through LAX. And, unfortunately, our public transportation system is not that great. The best alternative to getting around is renting a car. Please be aware that here and any state in the US, the car rental daily charge is significantly more expensive if you do not return the rental to the same location you rented from. This charge is applicable for each day you rent no matter where you are going.
So, if you plan to rent a car in LA and want to hang out for 3-4 days before driving down to San Diego or up to San Francisco and dropping the car off, I suggest making two separate reservations. One for just staying in LA and return it to the same rental office. And, second reservation at a different rental office to drive to your next destination where you will be dropping off your car. If you plan to stay in the next town for 3-4 days, I suggest a third reservation and rent the car for the same location return for those days.
The expense is almost double and in some cases even more than double during holiday weekends.
In LA I rented a car for 11 days. Couldn't have made a better choice. Driving in and around the city wasn't hard at all and neither was finding parking space. On top of that, parking was in general much cheaper than in Belgium.
Want to know more about driving and parking in LA?
- on the road
- using GPS
- traffic jams
- about the freeways
- the rules
- what about public transit?
Check out my detailed post on http://wonderfulwanderings.com/driving-and-parking-in-los-angeles/
The attractions in Los Angeles are very spread out, unlike New York, Chicago or Washington DC where most of the sights that visitors want to see are in the central area or easily reachable by public transportation. LA has a limited metro and buses but you will want to rent a car to get around LA.
My most recent rental in December, 2010 was $12 per day from Thrifty, booked via American Airlines after I booked my flight, for an intermediate size. We got a 4 door Ford Fusion, at Thrifty they let you pick your car from the remaining pool of cars in the class your reserved. I had to play a bit with the times on the rental, by returning it an hour earlier, the price dropped from $26 to $12 per day!
I have used both Priceline and Hotwire several times to get cars in LA, always check though to make sure it's enough of a savings as the rental is nonrefundable with both, you can check Bidding For Travel to see what the going rates are on Priceline and Expedia, Travelocity or Orbitz to see what the prevailing rates are.
Most of the big car rental agencies have a location at LAX, other places to look include Expedia and Travelocity . Unless you are booking through Priceline or Hotwire, car rentals are usually cancellable.
I have used Dollar, Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Budget and Thrifty and all of them have been fine. All of the car rental locations are offsite at LAX requiring a short ride in a shuttle bus which you can pick up outside the baggage claim area.
A lot of the vehicles at LAX are larger vehicles such as vans and SUVs, a couple of times they've upgraded me, the first time it was a welcome upgrade to a van since we had 4-5 people traveling but the 2nd time I really wanted an intermediate car and they upgraded me first to a small SUV and then when I asked for something smaller I got a PT Cruiser which I did eventually get used to although it didn't get very good gas mileage.
While I was there I saw ads for metro/bus passes for $3 a day, but they won’t take you everywhere you want to go. What everyone says is true—you do need a car to get around. I waited a good 30 minutes for the #20 bus outside LACMA, then had a very long ride back to my hotel downtown.
Seems to be mainly tourist, the ones that drive convertible, or at least the shrisley seabling LOL.. as we saw many of them
The best way to move along Los Angeles is a car.
We begna to look for cars, and we both agreed we wanted a convertible. First we had booked a Ford Mustang, but in the last minute we changed the company and we were offered a Christler ....
Make sure you rent a car if you did not drive here. L.A. is very spread out. Then get your self a very detailed street map of L.A. and map your travels before you leave so you don't get lost. Also the number one rule.
GIVE YOURSELF PLENTY OF TIME TO GO ANYWHERE. If mapquest says it will take 15 minutes to go from LAX to Santa Monica on the 405, and you're leaving at 9am. Plan on 1hour.
If you're coming to Los Angeles, you need to rent a car. I know it's expensive, but there's just no other way to see the city properly.
Los Angeles has no efficient public transportation... the subway only covers a very small portion of the city-- and probably none of the places you want to see. There are buses, but you'll need to make multiple connections to get places and it's going to take a long time. There are taxis, but you need to call for them in advance because you won't see them just driving down the street. This isn't New York... taxis don't do big business here.
Renting a car is really the only reasonable way to get around. It's the best way to see this sprawling, spread-out city and all that it has to offer. I highly suggest that you bite the bullet and just do it. You'll be glad you did!
All the major car rental agencies (including Hertz, Alamo, Budget, Avis, etc...) have locations at the airport.
In LA, everything is so spread apart that you really need a car! Our public transportation system is spotty at best and is not really convenient to use, unlike the subway systems in place like New York or Chicago or anywhere else in the world for that matter! You can either rent a car from the plethora of places by the airport like Hertz or Budget or Enterprise, to name a few. Of course, you can style like we do in a limo....... ;-)
AAA membership is a must-have in case your car is disabled otherwise you are in for a heckuva hassle geting road service. The freeways have call boxes which automatically connect to AAA. Of course, if you have a rentacar, road service is included.
Rent a car. Preferably one with unlimited miles e.g. from priceline.com . You Must Avoid all forms of public transportation. You must listen to traffic reports (AM 980, 1070) to find out which freeway to take.
Public Transit in LA sucks! It is very difficult and long, boring and time consuming to get around LA by public transit. It can take you hours just to do a simple trip from Santa Monica to Hollywood. Forget about the subway except for the most useless of trips. Add to that the fact that the subway can take you for no reason to a connection in a very sketchy part of town where you'll be standing around for an hour, and you'll see why LA is public transits disaster poster child. A trip from Manhattan Beach to Staples Center Arena for example can take you hours and drop you in deserted and threatening spots. Get a car.
International airport. Plane, train, bus car, any type of transportationl.
A car is a huge convience. You can go on guided tours, but a car gives you much more freedom. LA is to big to bicycle around effectivly.
You can fly into the international airport (most people get to know it as LAX) from many places round the world, quite often non-stop as it's a major hub. It's quite pleasant inside, but I made the mistake of trying to sort out a place to stay after I'd got there, and between extremely unfriendly security guards and a major lack of phones where I was, it started to get quite tricky, but at least it worked out in the end. LA is definitely a place you should sort out your arrangements in advance. For more information on the airport, click on this link to the LAX website.
You should strongly consider renting a car. However, it does look like public transport in LA is slowly improving. There's lots more info at the LA County Metro Transport Authority website. Do check that public transport goes exactly where you want to go - there are places in LA they make it physically impossible to walk to!
Get a Rental Car...but not from AllState Rental Cars. They are crap!..and they will sell you a car that has a good chance of falling apart...even though it may look flash. The Bus services around Santa Monica and Venice Beach are cheap and well worth the $.50 you pay. Make sure you have the right change! They won't let you on without it. Stick to Freeways, it'll take 2 hours to cross LA otherwise! The Traffic is out of this world.
When you're here, you will NEED a car. Unfortunately, we don't have a decent public transit system, and everything is pretty spread out. The typical saying is that everything in L.A. is 20 minutes away. Be prepared for traffic, especially around rush hour, but all the time if you are on the 101 or 405 freeway. Just relax and realize we're a bit nuts on the road. Tailgating is a way of life out here.