Car Rental in San DiegoWhere to pick up
Car Rental in San Diego
Car rental locations in San Diego
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Car Rental in San Diego: a city known both for its party life and relaxation
Though a large city, San Diego is a great place to visit if you want to balance party life with relaxation. Increasingly popular with outdoor adventurers, San Diego is also the site of booming bio and communication technologies. Make the most of your visit by staying mobile with a rental car.
San Diego is a great city to visit year round, as the temperature doesn’t vary much above or below room temperature. Winter lows hover around 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) and summer highs around 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit).
While the de facto national language of the US is English, about 25% of San Diegans are native-Spanish speakers. San Diego was originally home to the Kumeyaay people, and Kumeyaay is still spoken in the area today. Due to migration, many Oaxacan indigenous languages are spoken as well, such as Mixtec and Zapotec.
San Diego is in the Pacific Time Zone, UTC-8.
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.
Automobile hire is available in over 25 locations throughout San Diego, including the San Diego International Airport (SAN), downtown, and at Cross Border Xpress.
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 San Diego
Renting a car is highly recommended for seeing San Diego and its surroundings, such as the wine country of nearby Temecula. Particularly because public transportation is unreliable, automobile hire greatly improves your comfort and mobility for travel in the area, though do expect roads to be busy throughout the day.
- Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road throughout the USA.
- In the city: 25 mph (40 km/h)
- On urban highways: 55 mph (88 km/h)
- On rural highways: 65 to 70 mph (104 to 112 km/h)
- Roads are typically fairly busy throughout San Diego, so avoid morning (from 6:30 to 10 am) and afternoon (3:30 to 6:30 pm) rush hours, when roads are truly packed.
- While parking is typically available in downtown San Diego, it can be quite pricy. Expect to pay around $3 for one hour and between $10 and $30 for 24 hours.
- Your domestic driver’s license is sufficient for driving in California.
- State Route 125 or the South Bay Expressway is the only toll road in the San Diego area, though you shouldn’t expect to depend on this route, as you can easily drive to Los Angeles without paying any tolls.
- 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.
- If you’re interested in travelling to Baja California, Mexico, talk to your rental company. Your agency will need to provide you documentation to ease border travel, including providing car insurance that is also valid in Mexico. If Tijuana is your primary Mexican destination, avoid these hassles by taking the Blue Tram Line to the border and walking for 20 minutes or taking a cab once in Mexico.
Cheap Car Rental in San Diego
Automobile hire in San Diego typically starts at around $30 a day. Here are some of the best deals in San Diego:
- Kia Rio or similar (economy class) – $26/day
- Nissan Note or similar (compact class) – $27/day
- Hyundai Elantra or similar (intermediate class) – $28/day
- Volkswagen Jetta or similar (standard class) – $29/day
- Ford Fusion or similar (fullsize class) – $29/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 San Diego
There is very little seasonal variation in the price of rental cars in San Diego. Instead, make the most of your budget by booking your car at the San Diego International Airport just north of the city or at Cross Border Xpress near the International Airport of Tijuana. Green Motion and Dollar offer the best prices at the San Diego Airport, though Mex Rent-A-Car at Cross Border Xpress can often beat these prices by $2 to $8 with ongoing discounts.
You can also typically save at least $7 a day by extending your rental period to over a week.
For people who are booking in the months just before their arrival date, keep your eye out for discounts of around 17% throughout the city.