San Diego Car Rental
Follow the airport signs to San Diego car rental and shuttle-bus services.
If you arrive by plane, then a San Diego car rental is easy! There are quite a few rent-a-car agencies at the San Diego airport
(just to name a few: Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise Hertz, Thrifty, and more). You can also choose an off-site car rental agency and ask to be picked up at the airport. Please note: you need a credit card, and be at least 25 years old to rent a car (in some rental agencies, the minimum age is 21).
What to do
It is best to reserve a car a head of time. This way, you will have a better chance of getting the car that you want. As well, planning ahead will allow you to shop for better prices. Before you travel, call a few San Diego car rental agencies and get a quote from a
sales representative. Alternatively, check the internet for the best prices and reserve a car online. Be sure to check their cancellation policy in case your travel plans change unexpectedly.
Upon arrival into San Diego, follow the signs to the rent-a-car courtesy shuttle buses. These will take you to the car rental parking lot. If a courtesy shuttle bus is not available, use one of the courtesy telephones and ask them to come pick you up at the airport. [Photo: courtesy shuttle buses take you to the car rental parking lot.]
Cost Saving Tips
- ask for a cheaper weekly rate or a discount for extended rentals
- ask for free maps or promotional fliers for local attractions
- ask if you are eligible for a discount due to AAA membership
- An off-site rental agency may be cheaper than one at the airport. Find one that offers free shuttle (pick up) service to/from the airport.
- Don't pay for other people's damages. Inspect the car and report any scratches & dents to the sales rep immediately. If you have a camera, photograph the damages as proof that they were there before you rented the car.
- reserve a car early so you are not paying elevated prices due to high demand with low supply (especially during high travel season).
Tricks of the Trade
There are many ways in which a car rental agency can extract more money from you, so be aware of these tricks of the trade.
- Some sales reps will encourage you to rent a car that is one notch up from what you requested. If you reserved a mid-size car, they will praise the spaciousness of a full-size car. If you look like you're ready for some fun-in-the-sun, they will entice you with a convertible. Be wary and rent only what you really need.
- Almost all car rental agency will sell you car insurance. In California, you are required by law to have car insurance in order to drive. However, it may be that your current insurance carrier covers your trip to San Diego and you do not need to buy more insurance. Similarly, some credit cards or club memberships include car insurance during travels away from home.
- The sales rep may give you the option to return the car without refilling the gas tank. This may be convenient but it will cost you a pretty penny. The establishment will charge you for the gas plus a service charge for refilling on your behalf.
- Some agencies will allow you to return the car at a different location. Think carefully whether you need this option or not. The fee for returning a car at a second location may be significant.
- Often you can find rent-a-cars that seem much cheaper than its competitors. This may be true, but it is likely that you will end up with an older car model.
Type in "cheap San Diego car rental" for a google search
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