While some experts recommend that it’s not the best idea to rent a car in San Francisco, some travelers simply cannot do without their own vehicle. If you’d rather not use the city’s extensive public transportation system, there are plenty of affordable rental opportunities from all of the companies, both major and small.
There are three main hubs for renting vehicles in SF: the SFO airport, Union Square, and Fisherman’s Wharf. The office hours for pickups and drop-offs at SFO are usually longer than the other two locations. Also, you are not required to return the vehicle at the same destination as the pickup. It’s not uncommon for visitors to rent a vehicle in San Francisco and drive to places like Vegas, LA, Laughlin, and other areas in the west. You might or might not be charged a one-way fee, depending on which rental company you use and the drop-off location.
If you do want to explore San Francisco, there are plenty of sites that you must see and experience. No trip to the city is complete without a visit to Chinatown and a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. The Chinatown in SF is the oldest Chinatown in North America.
If you’re traveling during peak season (which is usually during summer months and whenever there is a convention held in the area), beware of long pickup lines. One way to avoid waiting in line all day for a rental car is to sign up for a free frequent renter program with your favorite rental company. When booking the car, there will be a place for you to enter your membership number. When you arrive to the pickup site, you can wait in shorter express lines.
Extra Charges When You Renta a Car in San Francisco
Some extra charges you might want to be on the lookout for are extra insurance products, fees for drivers under 25 or 21, (depending on the company), GPS units, prepaid gas, automatic toll transponders, etc. Some of these you might actually need anyway. If there are any you don’t need, tell the rental car representative before you book.
Which company should you choose from to rent a car in San Francisco? You have a dozen or so options, including Dollar (5 locations), Enterprise (26 locations), Budget (11 locations), Hertz (23 locations), National (6 locations), Avis (10 locations), and so forth. Just compare all of the rates on the days for which you’ll need a car and choose the one that is right for you.
Use Expedia’s user-friendly booking tools to help you select the dates and perfect vehicle match. It’s very easy to rent a car in San Francisco when you use these search / comparison tools. You can also save money by grabbing an Expedia discount code and using it when you book.