Last Minute SFO Rental Car Question

Apr 5th, 2013, 07:46 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 179
Last Minute SFO Rental Car Question

Hi All,
Thanks so much with all of your help planning our Carmel-Napa Valley-SF Itinerary. I have a lasy minute question (we leave tomorrow!). We booked a rental car through Dollar, picking up at SFO and returning at O'Farrell Street in downtown SF on Wed morning before we check int our hotel, which is our last full day of the trip and our only full day to explore SF (we have already been and it was not the focus of this trip). This costs a total of $170 for four days rental. I just checked and we only pay $93 total with advantage car rental if we pick the car up and drop it back off at SFO.

Is it worth the $60 savings (once you factor in two BART tickets from SFO to Union Square) to drive all the way to SFO on Wednesday morning and drop the car off there instead of at the downtown location? I am trying to decide how much time this would add to the drive/take away from our time in SF. Google Maps says it only adds 10 minutes, but taking traffic into consideration as well.

Any thoughts?
nspotz is offline  
Apr 5th, 2013, 08:03 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 12,144
It would work if you were driving up from Carmel, but the other way not so well. Especially depends on the time of day regarding traffic.

Advantage's thing is long lines while they bully people into buying gas, buying insurance etc. If you rent with them, always click the box to join the frequent renters club so that you can go to the front of the line. But you'll still spend 15 minutes checking in and repeating "thanks but I really don't need that, just the keys please!"
clarkgriswold is online now  
Apr 5th, 2013, 08:12 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 179
Thanks for the info... do you have any experience with Dollar? We have to turn in the car in by 2:00 but ideally would like to get there as soon as possible so we could maximize our time in the city, but without hitting rush our traffic.
nspotz is offline  
Apr 5th, 2013, 08:14 AM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 25,503
DebitNM always rents from and recommends the O'Farrell location of Dollar.
sf7307 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2013, 08:17 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 10,556
Do you have to go to SFO anyway, to catch a plane? How would you get there without a car?

We rented last weekend from Budget @ SFO, and the rental return process was speedy. You take the AirTran to the terminals.
PeaceOut is offline  
Apr 5th, 2013, 08:18 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 179
Ok, thanks! That's good to know... renting a car can be tricky.
nspotz is offline  
Apr 5th, 2013, 08:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 179
@PeaceOut: We are staying in the city on Wed night and aren't flying home until Thurs morning. We plan to take BART to the airport... we have done this before and it's fairly simple to do.
nspotz is offline  
Apr 5th, 2013, 09:58 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 12,144
Another way to do it would be to take the $123 for 5-days Advantage car. You'd have to pay to park it one night in SF so your total would be +- the same as the 4 day Dollar rental, but no need to worry about getting to the in town return by the 2pm deadline, then getting to your hotel, then Bart on return day etc. Just pick up SFO and return SFO and no other worries. (ps, DC3130 is a promo code for Advantage car, listed on

Might depend on what time you leave the airport Thursday morning, if it's high traffic time better to use BART.
clarkgriswold is online now  
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