Car Rental in CaliforniaWhere to pick up
Car Rental in California
Popular car rental cities in USA California
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Car Rental in California: Driving a Stunning Array of Landscapes
California has a stunning array of landscapes and cultural communities for visitors to explore, from mountain peaks and redwood forests to the hottest desert in the world; from counterculture and Hollywood to huge varieties of Hispanic communities. While cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles are infamous for drawing in and retaining their visitors, don’t make the mistake of staying put while you visit California. Book your rental car today and make plans to visit the bulk of this great state in all its natural and cultural diversity!
Late summer to early winter is a great time to visit southern California (August through December), while early summer is a great time to tour northern California.
The de facto national language of the United States is English, but California should truly be considered a multilingual state. California was Mexican territory until 1848, and many inhabitants still speak Spanish as their mother tongue. Before the Spanish arrived, over 200 indigenous languages were also spoken here, including Mojave and Wintu, and many more recent immigrants speak indigenous Mexican languages such as Mixtec and Zapotec. Many immigrant communities to the United States also retain their multilingualism, and you are likely to find Japanese and Chinese speakers, among others, throughout the state.
The currency throughout the United States is the dollar. Currency exchange is highly available at airports and popular tourist destinations, and credit cards are accepted at the vast majority of businesses.
Road trips in California are unforgettable. By all means consider meandering to and from your major destinations. San Francisco is located 380 miles north of Los Angeles, but rather than taking the direct route along Interstate 5, meander west onto coastal highways or inland to some of the most spectacular national parks in the world.
Automobile hire is available in virtually every Californian city and town. The most popular cities in which to pick up a rental car include: Los Angeles, its surrounding cities, such as Anaheim and Ontario, and San Diego in southern California; and San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose in northern California.
38 nationalities can enter the United States as tourists without applying for a visa, though if you are among these nationalities, you are still required to fill out the ESTA in advance. Visit esta.us for more information. Visitors to the United States will be fingerprinted and biometrically photographed upon entry. If your nationality is not included in the visa-waiver program, you will be required to apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa in advance of your arrival.
Driving in California
Roads are well maintained and infrastructure is good throughout rural California, making driving the state a true joy – once you manage to get out of city traffic.
- Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road throughout the USA.
- In cities and towns: 25 miles per hour (40 km/h)
- On single carriage highways: 55 mph (88 km/h)
- On highways: 65 to 70 mph (104 to 112 km/h)
- A number of California’s cities (especially LA) can claim some of the worst traffic in the entire USA, so avoid adding hours to your travel time by navigating cities outside of morning and evening rush hours.
- While parking in small, rural Californian cities is easy, you’ll definitely want to book a hotel with complementary off-street parking in any major cities.
- Your domestic driver’s license is sufficient for driving in California.
- Many roads are tolled in and around San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
- Californians can legally drive as young as 16 (with driver’s education), but most rental agencies will require you to be at least 21, and you can expect to pay young-driver surcharges until the age of 25.
Cheap Car Rental in California
Automobile hire in California typically starts at around $24 a day. Here are some of the best deals:
- Hyundai Accent or similar (economy class) – $24/day
- Nissan Versa or similar (compact class) – $25/day
- Hyundai Elantra or similar (intermediate class) – $26/day
- Chrysler 200 or similar (standard class) – $27/day
- Ford Fusion or similar (fullsize class) – $28/day
Note that prices vary depending on the availability of each specific car and the season in which you rent. For the most accurate offers, use the search bar above.
Tips for Renting a Car Inexpensively in California
There is only slight seasonal variation in price for rental cars depending on the region in California that you intend to visit. Prices can go up by around $8 in and around Los Angeles during peak travel time in August and September, though you’re likely to find that prices remain low at the Los Angeles Airport while they are going up in nearby Anaheim, Burbank, or Ontario.
Airports are routinely the most inexpensive places to pick up rental cars, and you’ll likely find that Alamo can offer cars at the cheapest rate.
You can also typically save more than $8 a day by extending your rental agreement to over a week!