Rental cars are not cheap these days, and LA is no exception. But when you’re looking at weekend car rentals, whether it’s for a short trip through the city or a romantic getaway to the desert, you’ll find some deals and really get the most out of a weekend car rental in LA.
Lots of renters need vehicles for business purposes during the week, so rental car agencies often discount the prices over the weekend to boost sales. But you should pay attention to the details in order to take full advantage of every minute you’re on the road and every dollar you’re spending. Here’s our two cents on how to get the most out of a weekend car rental in LA.
Rent for Three Days
Rental companies often offer certain weekend discounts on rentals. The trick is you’ll need three days to fake full advantage. Here’s what happens: they offer you a “free” third day on your two-day rental, which can actually make just a two-day rental even more expensive than taking that free third day. In other words, plan for a long weekend if you’re going to rent a car. Pick it up on Thursday night, and turn it on Sunday night, for example.
Pick Up Your Car Thursday Afternoon
Like we mentioned, you should pick your car up on Thursday for the best price. But you’ll definitely want to make sure you pick it up in the afternoon. Lots of rental car companies consider the weekend to start Thursday and end on Monday, and that weekend also starts at a specific time. Often that’s noon, meaning if you pick the car up beforehand, you won’t get the deal.
Pick Up and Drop Off at the Same Time
You may be looking to pick up your car on Friday afternoon and turn it in on Sunday morning. Though it’s probably the most convenient for your trip, it’s not the best way to get the most out of a weekend car rental in LA. You’ll probably get charged the full three days, even though you’re essentially only using it for 48 hours.
Try to avoid this mistake by picking up and dropping off your rental car at the same time. If you’re flying into LA on Friday, take public transportation into town and then rent your car the next morning. Otherwise, you’ll get charged for time you’re not even using the vehicle.
Skip the Airport Rental
If you decide to head into town first, this will save you even more money. Airport rentals often pay special fees and taxes, and they pass those on to the consumer. To avoid these surcharges, rent your vehicle from a car rental office in town.
Stick with One Driver
It’s a quick weekend trip you’re taking, right? So if you can stick with just one driver, do it. Rental companies usually charge extra for an additional driver, which can jack up the fees fast. If you’re driving across the country for a week, adding another driver is definitely recommended for safety purposes. But if it’s just a weekend, you’ll be fine with just one driver.
Maximize Your LA Weekend
Once you’ve got your rental car savings squared away, it’s time to take advantage of it! LA is a big city that definitely necessitates a car, so go get the most out of it.
See the Stars
You can’t visit LA without driving through Hollywood. Make your way down Hollywood Boulevard and put your hand in the handprints of your favorite stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Snap a pic of the famous Hollywood sign and keep your eyes peeled for celebrities walking around town during the rest of your stay.
Shop and Eat in Different Neighborhoods
Fun and interesting neighborhoods abound in LA, which means so does the food and shopping. Stay with the Hollywood theme and cruise down Rodeo Drive to, well, probably watch other people shop (this is Beverly Hills). Drive down Abbot Kinney in Venice for boho-chic everything, craft coffee shops, and farm to table eateries. And for a mix of all sorts of food, check out the downtown Grand Central Market.
Visit the Theme Parks
Pay tribute to your inner child and visit LA’s world-famous theme parks. Even adults can have a good time at Disneyland these days, and Universal Studios has tons of stuff for grownups. Did someone say the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Grab a butter beer and pay tribute to your favorite childhood wizards and witches.
Head to the Beach
If you’re venturing to Santa Monica Pier or Venice to shop, eat, and sight-see, you might as well grab your towel, hop in your rental car, and drive to the beach. Santa Monica is great for a stroll, or you can spend the morning soaking up the California sunshine. At Venice Beach, you’ll get some excellent people watching and can buy some funky art from local artists. You can also catch some waves or watch the surfers do their thing.
Drive to the Desert
You can find serious relaxation and rejuvenation just over a 100 miles from LA in Palm Springs. Set in the Sonoran Desert, the area has all sorts of fantastic spas, beautiful hot springs, and cool hotels. Or, take your car to the hiking or horseback riding areas not far from the main stretch of town in the Coachella Valley.
For even more wilderness adventures, drive over to Joshua Tree National Park for the day. Hike through the vast Mojave and Colorado Deserts, or check out some of the world-class rock climbing in the area. And if you want to see the real stars, pitch your tent for some fantastic car camping.
Get the Most with Avail
You can follow these steps, or, ditch the rental car altogether and borrow a car with Avail. With Avail, you can pick your car up from LAX and drive straight into the city. You won’t waste time finding the right car rental, you’ll save money (no additional driver fees, for example!), and you’ll get the most out of your precious weekend in LA. See and do more in this fantastic city by choosing seriously affordable car sharing.