COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Stay up to date with the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.   Learn More >

Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

One way car rental from Oakland to San Diego big surcharge?

One way car rental from Oakland to San Diego big surcharge?

Old Apr 25th, 2012, 02:21 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 108
One way car rental from Oakland to San Diego big surcharge?

We are renting a car from the Oakland Airport for 11 days in June and would like to drop it off in San Diego. (Initially at beginning of trip, we fly into SFO but Oakland has 30% cheaper rental rate and as we land at 6pm no one else is open in Oakland but airport.) Without doing any discounts but AAA, the fee for a full size (Chevy Malibu) is about $50 day or $850 after all fees are added to return it to Oakland. Dropping it off in San Diego doubles the daily rate to over $100/day making total fee $1,800.00

I was about to buy our $85 southwest tickets to fly back to SF from San Diego to catch our flight home but if we will really have to pay $1,000 more for our rental car to do that, we will just have to drive back.

Are there any tips or suggestions anyone could give to figure out a cheaper way to drop in San Diego? I can try Priceline's name your own price. My only fear is if I wait too late to find out for sure on the rental car, I may miss out on a good price or open seats for us to fly back to SF.
Thanks for your help and I hope I am not driving the California helpers too crazy with questions.
richmond706 is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2012, 02:37 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,051
Try all the rental car Co not just the one you are booked with: ask for a Supervisor and tell them their competitor is charging for a drop off and ask if the new rental co can do better...I've has good luck with Hertz in the Yellowstone area...
1JAR is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2012, 02:42 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,649
It depends on what you want to see between Oakland and San Diego. What I would do-your mileage may vary:
Fly to Oakland, rent the car, see what you want to see in the San Francisco area as far south as Monterey or Yosemite Valley.
Return the car to Oakland and then take the Amtrak Coast Starlight from Jack London (OAK) south all the way to Los Angeles and rent a car there. You will miss a part of the coast but will have seen the best parts. If you want to rent the second car in San Diego, Amtrak goes there too from LAX.
Have you checked the rental rates or fares to Sacramento?
There are also Amtrak buses which tale you from Los Angeles to connect with the San Joaquin trains which also go through Martinez or Sacramento to Oakland.
The San Joaquin trains have a good record of being on time compared to some other Amtrak routes.
tomfuller is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2012, 03:57 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 867
Apparently you are doing your own planning. Since you are an AAA member, have you considered having your AAA office do it for you? Here in our area they do this for $25 a ticket and will make the car reservations as part of the package. I would think they would search for the best car rate if you ask.
dbdurand is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2012, 05:59 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 108
Thanks guys our plane tix are already bought and itenerary is mostly done except getting back to SF from San Diego the last day, but I will check in with AAA on the car.
Tomfuller I know you are big on Amtrak but it just won't work for us on this trip. We talked before

In case any other families are wrestling with a one-way car rental in California ( I hear them recommended a lot) here is what I found out so far...
Enterprise seems to be the only top tier company without huge penalties for one-way routes. 2nd tier companies with good rates are Thrifty, Dollar, and Fox.
Rates on Hotwire, Expedia, Orbitz, and Priceline, Carrental are similar to the companies' own websites.
Enterprise full size car (Nissan Altima, Dodge Charger, or Chevy Imapla) is $915 for 11 days which includes the $205 drop off fee.
Thrifty full size car similar to above is only $670 for same time including their $213 drop off fee. This seems too good to be true; I am looking for the fine print.

Do people like Thrifty more than Dollar of Fox? I have read some bad reports on Dollar and Fox having older cars and worse customer service. Is Thrifty any better?

The other big companies like Hertz, Avis, Budget and Alamo etc. have costs of $1,600 -$2,000 or more-big difference! I checked a lot of different places and they were always that much. Those companies don't do a specified drop fee; they just double the daily rate which wouldn't be as big a deal with them if it was a weekend rental or only a few days.

I will just reserve one of these deals if I can canel without penalty and try Priceline "name your own price" as the date approaches. I am just scared to get locked into name your own price 2 months ahead in case something comes up and we have to cancel or mess up trip.
richmond706 is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2012, 07:11 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,649
It is 500 miles from San Diego to Oakland-8 hours.
I think I would drive all night from SD to Oakland to save $200+
Please don't use Fox. Twice I have used them and there was a problem with tire pressures. They don't check before they send you out with low pressure in 1 tire and 90psi in another.
I never had any problems with Thrifty, Alamo/National.
tomfuller is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2012, 07:12 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,867
I might suggest [not sure if it would work with your plans] that you don't rent at airport in OAK but rather rent from downtown [Union Sq] office of Dollar on O'Farrell St. They do one ways without drop off and often have City Specials. Also, there are fewer taxes when you rent off airport. If you are going to spend any time in San Francisco at the start of the trip, it would also save you $$ to rent from SF location, so you don't have to pay to park the car while in SF. You don't need a car in SF.
DebitNM is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2012, 07:41 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 108
Thanks guys,
My only issue is our plane lands at 6:00 and it seemed as if no car rental offices are open past 6:00 except the airports, but am I wrong? We are heading out of town next morning at 7 a.m. but maybe I could do it the next morning?
richmond706 is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2012, 07:48 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,867
The Dollar on O'Farrell opens at 7 am. It may just be worth your while to do get the car the next morning. Run the numbers and see.
DebitNM is offline  
Old May 7th, 2012, 10:55 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 108
Well, to update in case any families are in same predicament...
Some car rental companies will only do one-way rentals from airports and not even all airports. ie Enterprise. Avis is a company I have done a one-way with before without using airports.
The price for a non-airport location in San Fran is still $1,000.00 for 10 days for a standard car. Luckily Avis has a location that opens at 6 a.m. Sunday morning away from the airport. I was hoping to rent at the airport and save the ordeal of trying to get 5 people with 10 bags on an airport shuttle or Bart Saturday night, but oh well...we've done it before.
Priceline will only let you do "name your own price" one-way car rentals FOR CERTAIN AIRPORTS,NOT OFF-AIRPORT and SFO or OAK to San Diego aren't included.
I just found out that the weekend we arrive, June 23rd is the big Gay Pride weekend/Parades etc. in San Fran so that sure doesn't help my getting a deal. I also read that some public transportation is closed during that weekend for festivities so that just adds to my dilemma. Who knew the car rental would be the hardest part of my California trip?
I would be interested to hear other families' success in one-way car rentals in California for the summer.
richmond706 is offline  
Old May 7th, 2012, 11:14 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4,238
I just ran a check through Hertz, both out of OAK and SFO. It was cheaper out of SFO.

In both intstances, there are the usual local fees, but no dropoff fee.

Also, note that the SFO Hertz location is open 24 hours a day, as is San Diego.

tomfuller - The Coast Starlight is notoriously late. If you're taking Amtrak, a better bet is to take the Amtrak bus to San Luis Obispo, and the Pacific Surfliner from there. It does run several times a day.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Old May 7th, 2012, 11:48 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 108
Thanks Rastaguytoday
I am worried about trying to get downtown Sunday morning to pick up a car with the main Gay Pride parade starting at 10:30 a.m. Also with hundreds of thousands of people coming into town, the downtown hotels are at their highest rates and I panic about the car rental place saying "sorry we don't have any cars left in the category you requested." I am not sure saving a few hundred to go to the Union Square location would be worth it on such a crowded weekend. (That is where I found the $1,000 rate).
I had budgeted $750 for the car rental but may have to pay $1,200 or more after all and just stay out near the airport before we head south to Big Sur. We'll just have to eat crackers for some lunches haha.
My kids would like to ride on a train again but I don't want to spend 12 more hours in a seat than I have to and don't want to waste a whole day of sightseeing sitting on a train instead (in addition to the stress of worrying about delays getting back.)
richmond706 is offline  
Old May 7th, 2012, 11:49 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 108
Oh I forgot to say, most companies don't have a drop-off fee exactly they just charge twice as much daily rates for one- ways.
richmond706 is offline  
Old May 8th, 2012, 05:36 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 651
The $670 Thrifty deal sounds great, grab it, I doubt you will be able to to top it. But, just in case, check often as the car rates seem to change daily, if not hourly. Also do a search for "Thrifty (or whatever car company is cheapest)deals, coupons or promo codes" you can apply to your rental. One last thing, if you are a Costco member, check their rates as most times they seem to have the cheapest.

FYI, it is usually cheaper to rent going south to north because most car companies need to get their cars back up north from the majority of rentals that go north to south. I know this does not help you but may help someone who has not yet booked airfare.

You are so right not to waste an entire day driving back up north to return the car. Also, by driving the entire coast you will see the prettiest part - that between Carmel and Hearst Castle. The one way rental may cost more but is a wise investment when considering the overall cost of your trip. Not to mention the boring all day return drive would be a vacation buzz kill.

Have fun!
Barblab is offline  
Old May 8th, 2012, 01:58 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4,238
I just checked, through Hertz, about a rental in Burlingame at the Marriot there. Burlingame is very close to the airport, The Marriot is less than 3 1/2 miles from SFO.

The price is using my AAA discount only.

Total fees for a Nissan Maxima were $861 ttc.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Old May 8th, 2012, 02:00 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4,238
I should add that the Marriott should have a shuttle bus to/from the airport.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Old May 8th, 2012, 09:11 PM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 108
Thanks a bunch y'all. If the $861 is for a drop off in San Diego that is great. I will look into it.
richmond706 is offline  
Old May 9th, 2012, 06:01 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,649
Rastaguytoday: My last post had no mention of the Coast Starlight-late or not.
I said I would drive all night with the rental car to return it where I rented it to save $200 or more.
tomfuller is offline  
Old May 9th, 2012, 08:19 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 25,854
According to the website, the Marriott does have a complimentary shuttle (I just checked). Great idea Rastaguy.
sf7307 is online now  
Old May 9th, 2012, 08:22 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,653
You can sometimes find good one-way prices by breaking up the rental. Coming south we once switched from Hertz to Avis in Santa Maria California and the 30 min hassle saved us $350.
So, you might check one-way rental rates from say, San Francisco to Santa Barbara and then SB to San Diego......or SFO to downtown Burbank then downtown Burbank to San Diego. Probably would want to avoid, though, airports that are a hassle to get in and out of such as LAX.
joesorce is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO