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Car Rental in San Jose
Car rental locations in San Jose
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Car Rental in San Jose: visiting the Capital of Silicon Valley
While most seasoned travelers are more familiar with San Jose’s nearby sister city, San Francisco, San Jose—or “The Capital of Silicon Valley”—is nestled between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the South Bay. The 10th largest city in the United States, it is also ranked the 6th safest; the city has some excellent views, fine dining, and adventure-park and shopping opportunities alike. Make the most of your visit to San Jose by staying mobile with a rental car. Book your car today!
San Jose has something to offer visitors all year round, but you’re likely to see the best weather between April and November each year.
The de facto national language of the United States is English, which is also the native language of most residents of San Jose, though about 24% of the population speaks native Spanish and another 10% speaks native Vietnamese. The original inhabitants of the Bay Area were the Tamyen, and various languages of their Ohlone language family are still spoken in the area today.
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.
San Jose is in the Pacific Time Zone, UTC-8.
Automobile hire is available in 18 locations throughout San Jose, including the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) and downtown.
While any visitor to San Jose will likely want to take a quick trip north to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, travellers should also consider taking the gorgeous drive to Carmel-by-the-Sea or venturing into Napa Valley for some excellent views and wine tastings.
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 Jose
While you can certainly navigate San Jose’s downtown by foot, you’ll want a car to see any other part of the city, and we definitely recommend a drive beyond the city limits as well! Just avoid driving during rush hour.
- Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road throughout the USA.
- In the city: 25 mph (40 km/h)
- On urban highways: 45-55 mph (72-88 km/h)
- On rural highways: 65 to 70 mph (104 to 112 km/h)
- Rush hours are quite long in Silicon Valley. You can expect increased traffic congestion between 6:45 and 9:30 in the morning and between 3 and 7 in the afternoon and evening.
- Parking is typically quite available in downtown San Jose, but you will have to pay for it. Street parking costs between $1 and $2 an hour from 9 am to 6 pm Monday through Saturday.
- Your domestic driver’s license is valid for driving in California.
- The only tolled road in the direct vicinity of San Jose is the I-680 Express Lane, but do note that most of the bridges in and around San Francisco are tolled. Ask your rental company if your car has been outfitted with a FasTrak transponder to ease your navigation of these tolled areas.
- 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 San Jose
Automobile hire in San Jose typically starts at around $28 a day. Here are some of the best deals in San Jose:
- Kia Rio or similar (economy class) – $28/day
- Nissan Note or similar (compact class) – $29/day
- Hyundai Elantra or similar (intermediate class) – $30/day
- Toyota Corollat or similar (standard class) – $31/day
- Ford Fusion or similar (fullsize class) – $32/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 Jose
There is very little seasonal variation in price for car rentals in San Jose. Instead, save the most money by either booking 12 months in advance or within 2 months of your arrival date. This is the best way to get deals that sink the price below $46 a day, which is Dollar’s standard price for automobile hire from the San Jose International Airport.
For the most availability, book your rental car from the airport. Keep your eye out for discounts of 15% or more!
You can also typically save between $10 and $25 a day by extending your rental period to over a week!