The San Diego area is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States for an excellent reason --- there are so many things to do and see. If you're planning a vacation to the sun-filled city, be sure to also include a car rental as it's not all walkable. Having a vehicle will make it easier to visit world-class attractions like SeaWorld and Balboa Park, as well as cruise miles of scenic coastline. You’ll be able to easily get from one end of town to another without having to worry about public transportation or taxi fares.
Avoid Airport Rentals to Save Money
You can rent a car at the San Diego International Airport if you're flying in, but you can also get one from off-airport rental agencies. To compare the prices of on-airport and off-airport agencies, use a comparison site. However, be aware that some rental agencies do not participate, such as Avis and E-Z Rent-A-Car.
Check Out Weekly Rental Rates
When planning to stay in San Diego for more than a few days, consider renting a car for the week rather than just a few days. You may be surprised at how much cheaper it is to tack on those extra few days. In fact, weekly rental rates are often about the same price as renting for just a few days.
Where to Find Car Rental Discounts
You can find discounts for car rentals in travel magazines, online, or by calling the rental agency directly. Some companies offer cost savings to AAA or AARP members. Many hotels also offer discounts on car rentals if you book directly with them. Additionally, check with any membership organizations you belong to and see if they have deals you can take advantage of.
Pick the Right Car Size
You can save gas money by choosing an economical car if you have a small family. However, if you have a large group, you'll need a more spacious vehicle that can accommodate more passengers if you intend to drive long distances. You may want to consider renting a larger car to enjoy or get a vehicle with 4x4 capability to travel in rough terrain.
As you read reviews and select a company that has a high customer satisfaction rating. Also, book ahead because the price increases the closer you book to your trip's start date. If you need to cancel your reservation, many agencies allow you to do so for free but be sure to check their terms and conditions before booking. Incidentally, it's common for car rental agencies to ask for a deposit when you pick up your vehicle, so be sure your credit card is sufficient to cover it.