Car Rentals, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/
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.
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!
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.
Fly, drive, levitate. Just get here!
Convertible, for sure. Or if you know how, ride a Harley, be VERY careful though as traffic might be a bit more intense than in other countries. You can check rentals out at: http://www.route66riders.com/
I flew into LA with Laker and out to Tahiti with UTA and flew Back to LA with them. I eventually flew back to the UK with PAM. LA has one of the largest International Airports in the world.
Not by foot as I quickly learned. I realised really quickly you cant get around unless you use a bus or hire a car, As I didnt have my driving Licence I got to use the bus :-)
If you can, driving to LA is a good idea since you're going to need a car once you get there. However, flying is probably more practical if you don't live on the West Coast, although you'll have to cough up all that money for a rental.
LA does have a bus system, but it's best avoided at all cost. The city has been trying to put a subway in place, but Angelinos so far have been resisting (as public transportation is about as un-Californian as they come). In short, having a car in LA will make your stay so much easier. It isn't absolutely necessary, but I wouldn't particularly want to be there without one.
You can get here by plane, boat, bus or train, whichever you choose.
I would not recommend taking the bus or taxis in L.A.. The busses can be overcrowded and have long waits, and taxis are very expensive. The best way to get around is by renting or borrowing a car/van/motorhome.
From holland; best is to take a plane..(obvious..)
Rent a car at LAX,there are a lot of car rental agencies who try to out-price eachother when thre's not much business-travel going on (weekend,holidays).
I've only flown in. It's about a 5-6 hour flight from Baltimore and the stop over is usally in Phoenix or Las Vegas for us. But the lay over can be fun in Vegas. You can play the slots while you wait.
You need a car to get around LA. There's a lot of little things that make LA unique and they're spread over a big city. The city is just too big to try to see it any other way.
Here's one building you might see just driving around. It was on the Disney lot. Do you know all the dwarfs?