Helpful Suggestions & Resources
- If you find that rental cars are unavailable at the airport upon your arrival, consider taking an airport shuttle or taxi service to your destination. Alternatively, you can use local public transportation.
- Refer to the arrivals and departures information to determine which baggage carousel your flight has been assigned to.
- Easily navigate to the rental car facility like a pro by utilizing the interactive terminal maps.
- If you have some time to spare before your flight's departure, take a look at these interesting layover ideas.
- If you are arriving from an international destination and need to exchange pounds or euros, locate the in-terminal currency exchangers or automated teller machines.
Car Rental at San Jose Airport
Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) - more commonly referred to as simply San Jose International Airport - serves the Californian city of San Jose and connects it to over 50 domestic and international destinations. The airport is located around 3 miles northwest of downtown San Jose and the two most popular airlines here are Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines, with the former carrying nearly half of the passengers that passed through San Jose Airport in 2018. As the second-busiest airport in the Bay Area - only behind San Francisco International Airport (SFO) - San Jose welcomes millions of visitors every year.
Many first-time and repeat visitors to San Jose opt to rent a car at the airport for a smooth and stress-free trip to the Bay Area. There are two ways to reach the Rental Car Center, depending on which terminal you arrive at. Terminal A passengers can take any Airport blue shuttle to reach the Rental Car Center, while Terminal B passengers need to walk across Airport Drive at the crosswalks from the baggage claim. The car rental agencies housed at the Center are Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Fox, Hertz, National, Payless, Sixt, Thrifty, and Zipcar. Pre-booking your vehicle is highly recommended as each rental car agency has different opening hours, so call your car rental company in advance to ensure that they will have a representative available to serve you. You can book your San Jose car rental in advance with our trusted partners Enjoy Travel.
Downtown Car Rental at San Jose
If you didn't rent a car at the airport facility, don’t worry, as the city of San Jose consists of various car rental outlets. If you are planning on visiting San Jose for a few days, consider renting a budget-friendly economy car like a Kia Rio Hatchback. They are also more fuel-efficient and you will probably find them a lot easier to park. If you are traveling with friends or family and need more space on the road, an SUV like a Toyota Highlander is a good option. Many rental companies also provide one-way rental services, so you can drop off your car at your final destination - perfect for longer road trips. Although car rental companies are spread all over the city, you will find many of their branches concentrated between Autumn Montgomery and East Campus in Downtown San Jose.
Driving in San Jose
The city's rush hour extends from 6 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 7 pm. Friday evenings and weekends are usually extra busy. The busiest highway in the San Jose area is US 101 / I-80, which runs from San Francisco to Teaneck in New Jersey. Take care when joining or leaving the interstate expressways.
Keep a note of the following while driving through San Jose:
● The speed limit in California is 65 mph on multi lane freeways (70 mph in some select expressways), 55 mph on two-lane highways, 35 mph on city streets, and 25 mph in residential areas and near schools.
● The use of cellular devices is completely prohibited. You can use hands-free devices.
● To drive in the carpool lane, you must have at least two people in your car.
● Everyone in a vehicle - front or back - must wear a seatbelt.
● California’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) cutoff currently stands at 0.08%, however, this drops to 0.04% for commercial drivers and 0.01% for those under 21.
● In case of an emergency while driving, pull over and call 911.
San Jose has a lot of free street parking spots available. We recommend using SpotAngels to find your nearest public or private parking lot. Here is a map of all the free parking spots closest to you: https://www.spotangels.com/san-jose-parking
Car Rental Agencies in San Jose
Numerous car rental companies serve San Jose, including Enterprise, Alamo, Budget, Hertz, Sixt, Dollar, Thrifty, and National, among others. As well as renting your vehicle from the airport car rental facility itself, you can also visit rental offices in downtown San Jose. The most frequently rented cars include standard economy vehicles like Hyundai Santa Fe and large SUVs like Lexus RX. If you want the best deals and discounts, pre-book your vehicle with our trusted partners, Enjoy Travel.
Top Road Trips from San Jose
Take the CA-17 from San Jose to reach the lovely beach town of Santa Cruz, a popular day trip for city folk looking for sun, sand, and swim holes. Make sure to visit the vibrant promenade that is always buzzing with exciting pop-up shops, Instagrammable cafes, top-notch restaurants, and tons of other entertainment options. The Wilder Ranch State Park next door offers gorgeous hiking trails offering incredible views across the Santa Cruz coastline.
If history and culture are more your cup of tea, the charming town of Alameda is not too far from San Jose. The quaint streets boast mid-century architecture that gives the town a distinctly vintage feel. Antique shopping is a popular activity among tourists here. If you decide to join in on the hullabaloo, we caution you to verify that the curio which has captured your heart is indeed vintage before shelling out the big bucks.
For all you introverted wine-lovers out there, we’ve got good news. It is no surprise Napa Valley is one of the most famous wine destinations in the Bay Area but it is often inundated with tourist crowds. Instead, we’d like to suggest Livermore, Napa’s lesser-known cousin that houses a thriving community of wineries producing world-class wines. Located just 35 minutes from San Jose, Livermore is the perfect day trip for those looking to enjoy their wine - and the scenery - in peace.
FAQS about San Jose car rental
Q: Cost of renting a car in San Jose?
A: The average cost per day of renting a car in San Jose is just $56 USD per day.
Q: What’s the cheapest airport car rental in San Jose?
A: Prices for San Jose car rentals start from just $24 USD per day when booking in advance with our partners Enjoy Travel.
Q: What’s the minimum age to rent a car in San Jose?
A: To rent a car in San Jose you must be at least 21.
Q: Can I have additional drivers on the rental agreement in San Jose?
A: Additional drivers can be added to your San Jose car rental agreement upon request.
Q: What’s the best car for getting around San Jose?
A: We recommend opting for an economic vehicle such as a Toyota Camry while in San Jose because of its fuel efficiency.