Car Rental at San Diego Airport
San Diego International Airport (SAN) is one of the busiest single runway airports in the world and serves the Greater San Diego metropolitan area in California, United States. Formerly known as San Diego Municipal Airport – Lindbergh Field, it is situated 3 miles northwest of downtown San Diego, and connects ‘America’s Finest City’ to over 75 destinations across North America, Europe, and Asia. At present, the airport has 2 terminals and 51 gates. However, it is currently working on a redevelopment and expansion plan which is expected to be completed around 2035. The most popular domestic and international destinations from San Diego Airport are Denver, Colorado, and San José del Cabo, Mexico, respectively.
Many first-time and repeat visitors to San Diego opt to rent a car at the airport for a smooth and stress-free trip to the SoCal metropolis. There are different ways to reach the Consolidated Rental Car Center. There are free dedicated shuttle buses that run continually to ferry customers between the airport terminals and the Rental Car Center. These facilitate both pick-ups and drop-offs of rental cars. The car rental agencies housed at the Center are Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, E-Z, Fox, Hertz, National, Payless, Sixt, Thrifty, and ZipCar. The Center is open 24/7; however, the individual agencies’ timings may vary so pre-booking your vehicle is highly recommended. You can book your San Jose car rental in advance with our trusted partners, Enjoy Travel.
The address of the Rental Car Center at San Diego Airport is 3355 Admiral Boland Way, San Diego, CA 92101.
Downtown Car Rental at San Diego
If you didn't rent a car at the airport facility, don’t worry, as the city consists of various car rental outlets. If you are planning on visiting San Diego for a few days, consider renting a budget-friendly economy car like a Toyota Corolla. 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 Dodge Journey 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 around Midway District and Mission Valley.
Driving in San Diego
The city's rush hour extends from 6.30 am to 8.30 am and 4 pm to 6.30 pm. Friday evenings and weekends are usually extra busy. The busiest highway in San Diego is the northern segment of the San Diego Freeway, also known as the I-405, the major north-south auxiliary Interstate Highway in Southern California. Take care when joining or leaving the interstate highways.
Keep a note of the following while driving through California:
● 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 the SpotAngels or ParkMobile app to find your nearest public or private parking lot. You can also pay for your parking spot through the app.
Car Rental Agencies in San Diego
Numerous car rental companies serve San Diego, including Enterprise, Alamo, Budget, Hertz, Sixt, Dollar, Thrifty, and National, among others. Besides renting your vehicle from the airport car rental facility, you can also visit any of the offices of these companies in downtown San Diego. The most frequently rented cars include standard economy vehicles like Subaru Impreza and large SUVs like Dodge Journey. If you want the best deals and discounts, pre-book your vehicle with our trusted partners, Enjoy Travel, prior to your arrival in San Diego.
Top Road Trips from San Diego
Just 50 minutes from San Diego is Carlsbad, best known for being the home of Legoland California, the first Legoland outside of Denmark, the birthplace of Legos. Legoland California is a fun day trip to take with kids, indulge in fun rides, and tour a miniature village containing the world’s most famous monuments made out of Legos at 1/20th the size. If Legos don’t interest you, don’t worry, the small town of Carlsbad also contains a top-notch aquarium (Sea Life Aquarium), gorgeous beaches, and a quaint town center.
Just across the Mexican border is the charming town of Valle de Guadalupe. It takes less than 2 hours to reach this gem from San Diego and it’s absolutely worth it. Valle de Guadalupe is famous for its vineyards and delicious wine made with grapes ripened in the balmy Baja California sun. From San Diego, drive east to Tecate and take Federal Highway 3 to take you straight to the vineyards.
Joshua Tree National Park is one of California’s foremost attractions and just a 3-hour drive from San Diego. Named after the uniquely shaped trees, remindful of an upright person, Joshua Tree is unlike any other park you might have ever visited. Even though it’s one of the hottest desert national parks in the US, millions of people visit it every year to witness this magical place. To escape the worst of the scorching summers, we recommend visiting in March or April, when many of the desert plants bloom, and clear days mean that you can see as far as Mexico standing on top of Keys View.
FAQS about San Diego car rental
Q: Cost of renting a car in San Diego?
A: The average cost per day of renting a car in San Diego is just $37.07 USD.
Q: What’s the cheapest car rental in San Diego?
A: Prices for San Diego car rentals start from just $17 USD when booking in advance with our partners Enjoy Travel.
Q: What’s the minimum age to rent a car in San Diego?
A: To rent a car in San Diego you must be at least 21.
Q: Can I have additional drivers on the rental agreement in San Diego?
A: Additional drivers can be added to your San Diego car rental agreement upon request.
Q: What’s the best car for getting around San Diego?
A: We recommend opting for a compact vehicle while in San Diego because of its small parking spaces.