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round trip or one way with rental car

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arizona
posts: 128
reviews: 38
round trip or one way with rental car

We are planning to drive from SF to LA, down the coast highway. We would like to spend a few days in each city. My research is showing that to drop off a car in a different city costs more. But thats a long drive back just to drop off the car and save a few dollars. My DH and I are going back and forth on this -what do you experienced travelers think?

BTW I will be picking up the car after our stay in SF, and we'll be doing the coast drive in 5 days, then staying in LA a few days . We also have not set our airline tickets up yet, but round trip SF is cheaper than trying to go from Phx to SF to LA.

Edited: 12:52 pm, February 23, 2013
Limerick...
posts: 1,484
reviews: 92
1. Re: round trip or one way with rental car

Google maps show it to be10 hours round trip?

May be more with traffic plus fuel cost.

Not my idea of a vacation.

Save money if u have a AAA card

Limerick...
posts: 1,484
reviews: 92
2. Re: round trip or one way with rental car

Should have said save money on car rental with AAA card

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Borrego Springs, San Francisco, Solana Beach
posts: 29,614
reviews: 26
3. Re: round trip or one way with rental car

Driving LA-SF in a day just to drop off a rental car is a long, boring, tiring 7-8 hour trip.

If you can swing the extra $$, do it as as one-way. Having to face the drive at the end of the trip would put a damper on an otherwise great trip.

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
posts: 35,138
reviews: 343
4. Re: round trip or one way with rental car

I would just run the numbers on the cost of drop off vs your other options.

If you are renting from someplace in The City vs at SFO you have to add in that time, but driving from LAX to SFO is really only a five hour drive or so at best (if you avoid leaving LAX at peak traffic hours).

On the stretch of the 5 Freeway from the end of the Grapevine (just south of Bakersfield) until you make the "left turn" towards SFO you can really go at max freeway speeds and then some. While in no way would I ever advocate something so heinous as exceeding the speed limit, if you are going the speed limit of 70mph, cars will be passing you.... heck, trucks and mopeds and people on Segways will be passing you..... I'm just sayin'.......

Edited: 3:08 pm, February 23, 2013
New York City, New...
posts: 4,079
reviews: 36
5. Re: round trip or one way with rental car

Sometimes the car rentals going in the opposite direction are half the price if you want to start your trip in L.A. and finish in S.F. And actually, there should be little difference in airfares, not sure why you've found otherwise except maybe choosing a more expensive day of the week to fly?

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 8,033
reviews: 53
6. Re: round trip or one way with rental car

Scott...the OP said they are driving down the coast...not on I-5.

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
posts: 35,138
reviews: 343
7. Re: round trip or one way with rental car

>>>Scott...the OP said they are driving down the coast...not on I-5.<<<

Yes, DOWN the coast to LA, spending a few days in LA and then they would drive UP the 5 Freeway to return the car and fly out of SFO (or OAK or SJC, do check all three airports ash).

That is the "round trip" part of the question.

arizona
posts: 128
reviews: 38
8. Re: round trip or one way with rental car

I liked that idea Scott. However we realized a time crunch that we didn't see before, and so we cut back the SF portion of the trip. We are just going to rent a car when we fly in to LAX and return it when we finish up at Carmel. We've seen the SF area many many times, so its not painful to miss it this time around.

Thanks for your help as always!

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 22,876
reviews: 114
9. Re: round trip or one way with rental car

I don't know how many days you have in LA before you drive North. One option which works well is to rent a car for the la portion of your vacation, return it and rent one for the drive north. You can do the math and see if the price difference is a lot and also if it is worth the hassle How are you going home from Carmel ?

10. Re: round trip or one way with rental car

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