Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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Although Los Angeles has good public transportation, it is easier to visit all of its attractions with a rental car. You’ll also have the flexibility to take road trips from the city to nearby Santa Barbara, Joshua Tree National Park, Palm Springs, or Napa Valley. Consider rush hour before setting off, as it can get jam-packed around the city, and do your research when it comes to parking to avoid excessive fees.
There are a few different options when it comes to renting a car in Los Angeles. We’ve looked at renting from the airport and neighborhood offices and whether it’s best to book direct with the rental company or with an online travel agent.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) doesn’t have an on-site car rental facility (yet) with 1 due to open in 2023. In the meantime, car rental offices are dotted around the area surrounding the airport, with some agencies permitted to operate courtesy shuttle buses to and from the terminals.
Other agencies are permitted to operate shuttle buses from the Remote Rental Car Depot, which is located at the corner of Century and Airport Boulevards. To access the shuttle pick up point, passengers must ride the Metro green line shuttle that operates from near the pink LAX shuttle signs on the lower level.
We’ve compared prices for agencies with shuttles to/from the terminals and the Remote Rental Car Depot, to see which offer the most competitive rates for LAX.
We searched for a 7-day rental for a standard vehicle to compare rates between agencies.
|Rental Company||Prepay Rate||Pay on Arrival Rate|
Advantage Rent-A-Car and E-Z Rent-A-Car were excluded from the price comparison as searches returned no results across multiple dates.
Fox offered the cheapest prepaid and pay on arrival rates compared to other agencies that operate shuttles from the terminals.
|Rental Company||Prepay Rate||Pay on Arrival Rate|
|Ace Rent A Car||N/A||$233|
|Next Car of Los Angeles||$250.56||$267.87|
|NU Car Rentals||$186.83||N/A|
|U-Save Car & Truck Rental||$206.02||$236.31|
Advantage Rent-A-Car, E-Z Rent-A-Car, Priceless, and Allied Rent A Car were excluded from the price comparison as searches returned no results across multiple dates.
The rates offered across the agencies at the Remote Rental Car Depot were mostly cheaper than those that provide shuttle buses directly from the terminal. U-Save Car & Truck Rental offered the cheapest prepay rate ($206.02) and Ace Rent A Car offered the lowest pay on arrival ($233) rate.
Los Angeles has a convenient metro train system to get around the city, but if you’re looking to go further afield, renting a car is a wise decision. Los Angeles has plenty of neighborhood offices for renting midway through your trip. Rates can be cheaper than renting from the airport.
|Rental Company||Prepay Rate||Pay on Arrival Rate|
|California Rent A Car||N/A||$210.88|
When running searches with the same criteria, we found Budget to be $126 cheaper than the airport rate, and Enterprise was $213 cheaper.
Hot Tip: Don’t let your hard-earned points go to waste — our guide details the 10 best hotels in L.A. to book with points for maximum value!
If you’re after the lowest price, you may not get this by booking directly with the car rental agency. To find the best price, you can use one of the travel websites featured below. Cheaper rental agencies will offer excellent rates, but they may fall short in some areas such as customer service or quality of vehicles.
If you rent regularly, you may want to find a consistent and reliable rental agency that ticks all the boxes. Take a look at our article on the best car rental companies to help you decide.
Nearly all rental agencies have loyalty programs to incentivize customers to become repeat bookers. Some reward customers with points that can be redeemed against free rentals and others have elite tier statuses that give additional benefits such as free vehicle upgrades or free use of a GPS or car seat.
Using an online travel agent is an easy way to compare the best rates available across multiple rental agencies. Car rental comparison sites allow customers to streamline their searches using various criteria, such as rental agency, vehicle type, fuel policies, and agency ratings.
The lowest price for a standard vehicle with Rentalcars.com was $279.86, renting with Thrifty. Not only was the rate $196 cheaper than booking direct, but the deal also included a guaranteed vehicle upgrade, priority service at the counter, and free additional drivers aged over 25.
Within the search results, Rentalcars.com displays the customer rating for the specific office, which is useful, considering customer service can vary from branch to branch. The rates with Rentalcars.com are always “Book now, pay later,” so you have flexibility with most rentals for free cancellation.
Hot Tip: You won’t find search results for Fox or SIXT with Rentalcars.com, so be sure to check direct rates with these companies to get a full comparison of what’s available from LAX.
Orbitz offered a prepaid rate of $187 for NU Car Rentals, which is the same rate to book direct with the rental agency.
If you plan to book through Orbitz, it’s worth signing up to Orbitz Rewards, where you’ll benefit from special insider prices for hotels and car rentals. Members can also earn Orbucks on eligible bookings, including accommodation, flights, and vacation packages. Car rentals do not qualify for Orbucks unless they are booked as a package deal.
Kayak is a metasearch website that searches and displays hundreds of deals from rental agencies and online travel agencies. Most of the time, the user is directed to the third-party website to complete the booking, with the only exclusion being for private deals. These deals usually require the booking to be completed on the Kayak website.
Kayak displayed a rate of $192 when renting from LAX. The price was through Priceline when renting with Fox and was the same rate available as booking direct. Unfortunately, Kayak doesn’t offer a loyalty program, so there is no real incentive to book with Kayak, but it is an excellent website for comparing offers.
As Expedia Group owns Expedia and Orbitz, Expedia also offered a prepaid rate of $187 for NU Car Rentals. Although this is the same rate available as booking directly with the agency, Expedia has a loyalty program that rewards members with points for booking. Members receive 2 points per dollar spent on car rental, hotels, and vacations, with a lower-earning rate for flights.
These points can be redeemed against future travel with 140 points equalling $1 off. It’s not a fantastic earning rate, but if you use Expedia to book all your travel needs, then the points would soon rack up.
Hotwire provided the cheapest rate available ($182) when renting a standard car from Los Angeles International Airport. The offer was an opaque Hot Rate Car, where the rental agency is not confirmed until the booking is complete. The possible brands included Ace Rent A Car or NU Car Rentals, and the offer was cheaper than going direct to either agency.
Hot Rate Car deals cannot be canceled or amended but can provide excellent savings if you’re confident that your situation won’t change. Hotwire doesn’t offer a loyalty program but is a great option if the price is the deciding factor for your booking.
|Website||Pay Later Rate|
The best platform to book your Los Angeles car rental depends on your circumstances. If you’re planning a one-off rental, then it is likely that price will be the most important factor, in which case, use online travel agents to compare prices and sign up to price alerts to wait for a reduction in pricing.
If you’re a frequent renter, you may want to consider trying a few different rental agencies and choosing 1 to stick with. Car rental loyalty programs often provide more favorable earning rates and benefits that could outweigh the few extra dollars you could save booking via an online travel agent.
Kayak states that the average daily rate for a standard car in Los Angeles is $24 per day. The rate can vary depending on several factors, including the agency, time of year, and specification of the vehicle.
This depends on how much traveling you plan to do while in Los Angeles. If you’re looking to take the occasional trip, then Uber could be more cost-effective, but if you’re looking to travel regularly to different attractions, a rental car would likely be cheaper.
Most rental agencies will rent to customers 21 and over, but if you’re under 25, it’s likely you’ll be charged a young renters fee.
Although Los Angeles has good public transportation, it is easier to get around all of its attractions with a rental car. You’ll also have the flexibility to take road trips from the city to nearby Santa Barbara, Joshua Tree National Park, or Palm Springs.
Car rentals are available at Los Angeles International Airport with some agencies picking up from the terminals and some from the Remote Rental Car Depot. There are also lots of neighborhood offices throughout the city that often provide cheaper rates than renting at the airport.
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