We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Fly into LA ???

Which San Diego hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Morris County, New...
posts: 286
reviews: 18
Fly into LA ???

Wife and I are going to San Diego in August - spending some time there then driving up coast to San Francisco. Today arifares are $150 per person if we fly into LA as oppsed to flying in to San Diego. Will fly out of San Francisco. I realize car rental will cost more - pick up one place and drop at another - but we are doing that anyway since we are flying out of SF. I can get into LA around 10 or 11 a.m. on a Thursday. How long would it take me to drive to SD from the LA airport? (NOT scenic route - fastest route - will do scenic route when we go south to north)


Chula Vista...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 2,576
reviews: 102
1. Re: Fly into LA ???


Under perfect conditions, the 125 miles should take you about 2 hours to get to downtown San Diego. However, traffic in LA can be fickle and you could easily add an hour or two to that. (In January, it took me 2 hours to drive the 40 miles between Anaheim and Santa Monica around 1 PM on a Saturday.) You just never know.

Traveling midday will certainly be better than traveling at rush hour.


Morris County, New...
posts: 286
reviews: 18
2. Re: Fly into LA ???

should say "$150 per person CHEAPER..."

San Diego, CA
posts: 924
reviews: 21
3. Re: Fly into LA ???

zed1958: I had to smile when I read what you wrote about "Under perfect conditions ..." As if LA freeways ever have perfect conditions! lol

But of course, we shall remain optimists for you, bogey2020 -- and you are hitting the road at a good time of day on Thursday ... just don't dilly-dally too much or you will get caught in our "North County" rush hour on I-5 from about Del Mar through the Sorrento Valley where I-5 and I-805 split ... that gets wonky around 3pm or so.

One thing I do when going to/from that part of LA is take the toll road (73) instead of staying on 405. It costs about $5-6 but it's worth it to me just to have a break from constantly being on my guard with the traffic. (It may not save a huge amount of time).

West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 25,760
reviews: 55
4. Re: Fly into LA ???

Have you considered driving in the opposite direction -- fly into SFO, drive down the coast and fly home from San Diego? I glanced at such an itinerary and there doesn't appear to be the $150 premium associated with flying via San Diego.

United States
posts: 2,194
reviews: 131
5. Re: Fly into LA ???

You could take the train to San Diego from LA. We enjoyed the view.

Casper, Wyoming
posts: 11
6. Re: Fly into LA ???

take the Amtrak train. It's cheap and really nice

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 15,157
reviews: 58
7. Re: Fly into LA ???

Best case, you're looking at at least 4 or 5 hours if you take Amtrak to San Diego from LA. You can taxi to Union Station (about $50) from LAX, or take the FlyAway bus there (runs every 30 minutes during the day, $7 per person) - figure 30-45 minutes of actual transit time getting there. Then depending on the train schedule, you may have an hour or two to wait for the train. Then you're looking at about 3 hours transit time on the train. Then time to rent a car in SD or taxi to your hotel there. If you rent a car, you're probably looking at more like 3 1/2 hours - time to get shuttled to the rental company, stand in line if needed, pick up the car, then the drive itself. Hopefully at mid-day traffic won't be bad, but it can be. If its not bad, figure 2 1/4 hours or so to drive. If traffic is bad, you could easily add 1-2 hours to that. So with luck driving will be quicker, but not necessarily so - the train has all the other logistical delays associated with it, but once the train's moving, it doesn't get impacted by traffic.

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 47,339
reviews: 61
8. Re: Fly into LA ???

I hate backtracking so I'd try reversing the trip as mentioned above. Price flying into SFO and out of SAN.

You might also price a closer airport like SNA in Orange County rather than LAX if you must start in southern California.

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
posts: 38,003
reviews: 363
9. Re: Fly into LA ???

Hey.... you can pick almost any airport in SoCal (LGB, LAX, SNA & ONT) to get to San Diego. If John Wayne and Long Beach are too expensive, Ontario is a MUCH better airport than LAX for San Diego. It is closer than LAX and has less traffic.

But I really like Riff's idea of SFO first, then SAN.

Morris County, New...
posts: 286
reviews: 18
10. Re: Fly into LA ???

SF to SD does not work for me as we have to be in SD for a wedding - and due to timing issues can't make the trip down the coast before the wedding - have to make it after the wedding. I'll try the other airports - but flying across country - would there be connections into thsmaller airports? I'll definitely check it out