By Car, San Diego
Hi i did a road trip to san diego from tuscon the scenery was nothing short of breath taking from desert to the mountains coming into california is awsome , id have to recomend hiring or buying a car for most american travelling, ill doing that when i go back and petrols very cheap,about $1.40a gallon u.s. very reasonable.
If you are the type of person who likes to put on a great image, this is not the car rental place for you. If you are the type of person who wants to save on the cost of a vacation, then this may be an answer for you.
State law requires that you carry car insurance and Car rental companies hold you responsible for any damage done to their cars so car insurance is a must. This company Bargin Auto Rentals is about the least expensive in the county of San Diego and the price of renting the car and being fully insured is about the same as, or in some cases less than just renting a car from one of the major companies before paying the insurance premiums. In other words, you car rental expenses are cut in half. Another advantage is that this company allows you to take their cars in to Mexico and they offer Mexican Insurance as well. Also, they offer free local pick up, so no matter where in San Diego City you're staying, even at the airport, they'll pick you up to rent the car.
Their cars are older and show signs of wear, but are basically reliable and not so expensive.
We usually rely on public transportation when we travel, but the best advice I could give to anyone traveling to San Diego for the first time would be to rent a car. The city is pretty spread out and there are several attractions that can only be reached by car. Driving in the city is fairly easy since traffic is relatively light and there is plenty of free parking available (SeaWorld is the only place where we had to pay for parking). There are plenty of car rental companies located near the airport, and we got the best deal from Enterprise.
I don't know anything about these taxi's, except that they are extremely unusual, and very cute! They didn't look particularly safe, being open like that, but I suppose they'd be fine for a lark!
If this isn't your ideal way of getting around, you could choose to travel in a pedi-cab, or in a horse-drawn carriage, or take the trolley.
Do you need a car in San Diego? NO, public transportation is efficient.
I finally rented Buick Century in Budget rent a car agency not to drive around San Diego but... over 11,500 miles around the West and the Southwest of the USA.
Why just at Budget? Hmmm... Linda's son helped me a lot. He called to many rent a car agencies and I finally chose Budget because of the best price (they gave me a good discount). I was looking for a comfortable midsize car with unlimited mileage with possible driving to Canada (I was going to drive at least to Vancouver).
I've rented a car each of the three times I've headed to San Diego from Los Angeles, it's the easiest and most direct way to get there and should you time it right, it takes only about 2 hours by taking the major highways, the 405 and 5. But should you find that you want to take a more leisurely scenic drive along the coast, you can take highway 1 most of the way from LA to San Diego (I think it turns into historic highway 101 at some point).
On my 2nd visit I headed north on highway 1 or 101, starting at Solana Beach and taking it up to Carlsbad and then reconnecting with the 5, it's a pretty drive with some interesting beach towns along the way. On our 3rd visit we took 1 or 101 all the way up to Long Beach before heading back over to the 405. With all the towns and stop lights, it obviously takes a lot longer to drive this route than the freeways. Lonely Planet's Los Angeles and Southern California has a decent section on what to see on San Diego's North Coast from Del Mar up to Oceanside.
You could even make this a couple day drive with stops at some of the beach towns, San Juan Capistrano and Long Beach.
We then met Sean at his National City office where his customer, Mr. Gary Cooper, was waiting with a limousine to take Sean, Debbie, several colleagues or Sean's from work, to Qualcomm Park for the ball game. This was the first time I had ever been in anything like a limousine in my life without somebody important dying first. The limo was a black Lincoln Continental. It could seat as many as 9 people comfortably and still have room for a bar and 2 T.V.'s. It was easily 30 ft. (9 m.) long.
The best way to get around would be to rent a car if you're not driving into the city. Many of the things to do in San Diego are spread out, and there's no way you'd be able to walk from.. lets say the Zoo to Sea World. The only place you'll run into any problems with parking would be downtown (there are pay lots, but it can get pricey), or by the beach.
It isn't too complicated to drive in SD - the streets are mostly laid out in rough grid fashion (no round abouts or anything like that) and you have left turn arrows at stoplights (not left turn yields like in LA - those always stress me out when I'm up there!). There are 4 way stops in many communities - just make sure you fully stop and don't do a "California Rolling Stop" lest a police officer sees you and gives you a ticket for failing to stop. The freeways are also close to everything you would want to visit.
511 is a free service that was launched in San Diego County this year (2007) that provides up to date information on traffic accidents and conditions on the major highways. If you find yourself stuck in traffic, you can just call 511 from your cell phone and tell the voice activated system what freeway you want information for, and the up to date recording will tell you if there's an accident up ahead. The system can also estimate driving times based on the current traffic conditions between major points in the County. If you can't get the voice activated system to work (which happens if it can't understand what you're saying), the system also uses a touch tone system to access the same information.
Unfortunately, much of San Diego's traffic congestion is due to construction on some of our major freeways, plus, drivers tend to slow down to see the non-accidents (like a driver with a flat tire)on the side of the road.
Parking in the Gaslamp tends to be overpriced. If there is a Padres game in town - plan your visit to the Gaslamp for a different night! Otherwise, the best deal is to park at Horton Plaza. It is a large, secure parking garage. TAKE YOUR TICKET WITH YOU. Enjoy the Gaslamp, then buy something really cheap in any store (even just a pack of gum - I prefer a cup of coffee.) Ask the store to "validate" your ticket and parking is free for 2 or 3 hours.
For directions, see the website. There are a lot of reviews under "Things to do" for Horton Plaza itself.
Taxi was the best option for us on our last visit to SD. We arrived late on a Friday night with a decent amount of luggage so a Taxi was the best way to get to the hotel. After we arrived back in SD from our Hawaiian cruise we again opted for a Taxi as we had added more belongings from our Hawaiian adventure that we didn't want to lugg on public transport.
That would depend on where you're coming from, of course!
Get a car - please! :-)
San Diego is a very big city, and to be able to get around you really need a car. While there is some public transportation, it's not very convenient.
I had a car and I had no problems getting around. Not beacause I am an excellent driver, but because it is very difficult to get lost. There is one main highway (No. 5) that goes from Tijuana through downtown in direction of L.A. and it is one orientation. The other one is ocean. I was also impressed by quality of roads, how easy is to find what you are looking for. They have great signs.
I only had to pay for parking in downtown, and it was around $5 - whole day.
You can drive to San Diego and throughout California but it is best to fly there and then rent a car.
It is a 'driving culture place' and if you don't
have a car....you won't be able to get around as easily if at all!
The best way to get around would be by car. It is definately a 'driving culture' place. They have a trolley system but it is not very extensive. The buses take hours to get places that take only 15 minutes by car! Rent a car and you can go anywhere!
Ok, San Diego does not have good public transport. Unless you're staying with friends or family, I highly recommend renting a vehicle. If you have an ok budget, try the major rental car companies
Or if you want to save money and don't mind driving a beater, try Rent-A-Wreck. 4400 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115. (619)223-3300