Tips for renting a car in San Francisco

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Pau Monfort
@paumonfort
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Renting a car in San Francisco is quite simple and inexpensive. But where to rent the car? How to find the best offers and rates? Is it better to rent a car at the airport or in the city? The answer to this question varies according to the needs and type of trip.

To move around the city, the best solution is public transport or a bicycle. Therefore, if the trip includes the visit of the city of San Francisco alone, car rental is not convenient. While if you have to do a tour of California or the West, the car is practically essential.



Where to rent the car

It is recommended to rent the car at the most important car rental companies, which in addition to offering the best prices, also offer the best guarantees and adequate assistance.

Le best car rental agencies in San Francisco are: Dollar, Hertz, Enterprise, Alamo, Europcar, Avis, Budget, National and Thrifty. These are present both at the airport and in the city.

How to find the best deals

As in any major tourist city, there is a large choice of rental agencies, with obviously different prices. The best way to find the best offer is to rely on search engines.

One of the most used search engines for car rental is Skyscanner. This search engine, in addition to finding the best flight deals and hotel rates, is also the best for finding the lowest car rental rates.

An excellent search engine, especially for American cities is AutoEurope. This in addition to offering a quick summary table of the prices charged by the various rental agencies, from the lowest to the highest based on the category, also offers the possibility of evaluating prices based on the location of the collection.



RentalCars it's also a great way to find the best rates. This search engine shows the best offers among all the rental agencies we mentioned before, to find the best price.

When you collect the car

If you need to tour California, car rental is practically essential. But when to rent a car to avoid unnecessary expenses?

If your tour does not include a visit to the city of San Francisco, the best solution is to collect the car directly upon arrival at the San Francisco airport.

If the tour also includes a visit to San Francisco, there are two solutions.

  • The first is to rent the car immediately either at the San Francisco airport or in an agency in the city, and immediately start the tour of California. After the tour, deliver the car to the location where you picked it up and visit the city.
  • Or start the tour with a visit to the city and then rent the car either in the city or at the airport. In this case, perhaps it is better to prefer the airport, so on the way back the delivery of the car will be faster and you will not risk losing the return plane.

In these two ways you will save money compared to a longer car rental, and since most hotels in San Francisco don't have parking, you will also save on parking costs, which are certainly not cheap in San Francisco.


To know

The documents required for the collection of the car are the Spanish driving license, for an valid passport for the United States and one credit card in the name of the driver. Attention debit cards, prepaid cards, postepay and ATM cards are not valid.



In regards to the international driving license, the topic is unclear. Official documents also recommend having an international driving license as well as a driving license. However, there are no reports of Spaniards having problems during the trip due to not having an international driving license.

Almost all cars in the US, especially rental cars, have the automatic change. If you have never driven an automatic gearbox before, it would be best to practice or read how it works before you leave.


One last thing, but not least, is to inquire about how to do it driving in the USA. Many signs and road rules are like in Spain, but many are also different. Therefore, read and inform yourself well before leaving.

Alamo one of the best car rental companies for the United States and America
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