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Cheapest way from LAX to San Diego.

Rome, Italy
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Cheapest way from LAX to San Diego.

Hi to all,

I have to travel from LAX to San Diego and I'm trying to find alternatives instead of spending over $200 for just a day of car rental.

We staying 3 months in SD and found a wonderful company that rents car for $299 a month. Our only problem is getting there. Any suggestions? Thank you very much!

Cheers!

Anaheim, California
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1. Re: Cheapest way from LAX to San Diego.

While not the cheapest, it is the most common and fairly inexpensive way of travel, and that is using the Amtrak Train.

There are plenty of stops in the Los Angeles Area, and many trains a day that travel the route.

amtrak.com/servlet/…1237405732511

If you truly want the cheapest, that would be a combination of Public Transit, mainly buses, but dealing with luggage would be a pain, it would take all day, and you would use multiple Transit systems. I wouldn't want to do it, and would be willing to pay a bit more to have a lot less hassles.

San Diego
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2. Re: Cheapest way from LAX to San Diego.

I am surprised that a 1 day car rental is that expensive?

The train is probably the best idea. You might also look into adding on a short flight from LAX to SAN(airport). If you are flying on Alitalia's non stop into LAX then perhaps see if you can add on a Delta commuter flight into SAN.

Delta is a partner with Alitalia. IF you change your ticket to FCO/SAN instead of FCO/LAX it would be less expensive than buying just the LAX /SAN leg of the trip.

Rome, Italy
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3. Re: Cheapest way from LAX to San Diego.

Thank you very much for the suggestion. I'll check it out immediately. Cheers :)

Rome, Italy
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4. Re: Cheapest way from LAX to San Diego.

Unfortunately I have to stop for a week in Los Angeles and then go down to San Diego but my return flight is from LAX. But I can't find decent prices for rentals in LA. it definitely doesn't beat the $299/month in SD. Thanks anyway!

San Diego...
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5. Re: Cheapest way from LAX to San Diego.

As Darkbeer described, the public buses would be the cheapest way, though inconvenient and time-consuming. There was an article about 20 years ago in the Los Angeles Times about a writer who went from Los Angeles to San Diego using only the public transit system (buses) and the cost was much lower than any other method, even the Greyhound bus which is typically the cheapest way to go. But it took him all day long to get from LA to SD. It's possible to fly from LAX to San Diego International Airport on commuter flights, but those have become much more expensive lately. I think the best way is the Amtrak train. You have to first get to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, but once you get on the train it's a relaxing 3-hour ride to downtown San Diego, and there is a cafe car on the train where you can get a snack or drink. If you sit on the west side of the train (right side if you are facing south, the direction the train is going from LA to SD) you will have views of the ocean two times during the trip, once at San Clemente and again briefly at Del Mar.

Anaheim, California
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6. Re: Cheapest way from LAX to San Diego.

OK, played around with the Google Maps Transit option.

The trip would be about 10 hours, and you would have to leave in the morning, since otherwise you run out of time, as there are not many late buses.

You would take a combination of bus and the Metro Light Rail to catch the OCTA Route 1 bus. This would cost you $5 per person for the LA Metro one day pass. OCTA will honor the transfer to the 1 bus.

When you get to the Orange County/San Diego County border, you transfer to the MTS system, which is the NCTD in Northern San Diego County. So another $5 for a day pass. Another 3 buses gets you to Downtown San Diego.

So you are looking at 9 different buses (well, one is a light rail) and over 10 hours and $10 in fares.

The Amtrak is $36 from Union Station in Downtown LA to the Santa Fe Station in Downtown San Diego. Trip is just under 3 hours.

One more option is the Greyhound Bus, it is $19 one way and takes about 3 hours.

Edited: 11:12 am, October 27, 2011
Rome, Italy
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7. Re: Cheapest way from LAX to San Diego.

Views of the ocean sound beautiful! Thank you for all the feedback. I think the The Amtrak train sounds the most convenient. If I didn't have any luggage I would immediately try what Darkbeer suggested but we'll have 2 big luggages, 2 carry-ons and 2 personal bags. Mammamia! :)

We used the greyhound in 2001 in Florida and I promised myself I'll never take it again. It scared us a lotttt!

From Santa Fe Station in Downtown San Diego we'll then rent our car then drive to Carlsbad where we might have found a nice rental apartment.

Hoping for the best but very excited! Ciao:)

Anaheim, California
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8. Re: Cheapest way from LAX to San Diego.

FYI, do a web search of Amtrak Discount codes prior to your trip, you might save a few bucks.

Rome, Italy
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9. Re: Cheapest way from LAX to San Diego.

Cool! Thank you very much Darkbeer!

Anaheim, California
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10. Re: Cheapest way from LAX to San Diego.

Also, one more point, only selected Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Trains offer checked baggage, so make sure there is a small luggage icon by the departure time of the specific train you plan to take.