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San Francisco Car Rental Question

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May 10th, 2014, 04:51 PM
  #1
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San Francisco Car Rental Question

Hi all,

Booking my California trip for September.
I am renting an economy car for 10 days. Pickup San Francisco and drop off LAX. We will be starting our trip by staying in Sausalito for 3 nights and want the convenience of a car.

So……heres' the question
Alamo Pickup from San Francisco AIRPORT will cost $99 a day (total $900)
Alamo Pickup IN THE CITY on Offarrell st or Folsom St only costs $34 a day (total $310!!) Savings of almost $700!! Hard to believe.

We will be staying in Sausalito and either pickup location looks on the way. How difficult and expensive will it be to get from the airport to Folsom St or Offarrell St at noon on a Thursday? How would we do it the easiest way? Cab, subway, etc? My husband is not one to deal with "a hassle", so I want to be sure its not going to be a nightmare.

Thanks so much!!
steviegene is offline  
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May 10th, 2014, 05:03 PM
  #2
 
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BART plus a short cab ride or just a cab all the way into the city. Easy peasy.
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May 10th, 2014, 05:33 PM
  #3
 
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I suggest you keep looking for a better price on the car. Look through your airline site, Travelocity, etc., through the sites of organizations such as AAA, AARP, through your credit card to their shopping links for often excellent discounts. I think you've quit too soon and picking up at the airport may still be your best bet.
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May 10th, 2014, 05:36 PM
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And try RentalCarMomma for discount codes:
http://www.rentalcarmomma.com/
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May 10th, 2014, 06:01 PM
  #5
 
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Check Dollar site. They often have City Specials and don't charge a drop off fee for one way rentals.

O'Farrell is easier to get to than Folsom. Take BART and exit at Powell St. A short walk.

Costco has good rates, if you are a member.

Also, book now [something that can be canceled] and keep checking prices as they do vary and drop. Often I can find some great prices just before a trip.
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May 11th, 2014, 11:59 AM
  #6
 
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I just checked dollar, avis and hertz and for some reason the pickup in SFO and dropoff in LAX is VERY expensive, but not the other way around.
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May 11th, 2014, 01:11 PM
  #7
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I know! Its weird.
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May 11th, 2014, 01:25 PM
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It is supply and demand, how many vehicles are in one city vs. the other. Plus [airport] fees at SFO are steep!
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May 12th, 2014, 05:47 AM
  #9
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I got these prices off of Kayak.com which I thought was a good place to find prices. I am not a member of AAA or AARP so that is out for discounts.

$300 for a 10 day rental sounds like a fabulous bargain, as long as getting to the agency in the city isn't too much of a hassle.
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May 12th, 2014, 05:58 AM
  #10
 
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We stayed at a hotel very near O'Farrell St last trip. We flew into SFO, each had a 20" carry on roller bag and a personal bag. We took BART to Powell St and then walked to our hotel. Did the same going home. It was painless. It would be the exact same thing for you to do. We actually walked pass the car rental garages! Unless you are brings LOTS of luggage, it will be fine.
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May 12th, 2014, 06:21 AM
  #11
 
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Wow, that is an amazing savings between the airport and in-town pickup.
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May 12th, 2014, 08:02 AM
  #12
 
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Debitnm gives good advice. I live in the city and rent frequently; 99 percent of the time the savings for renting downtown are significant. Last month the opposite was true, so I took BART to the airport to pick up the car (approx. $8). Go with the lower cost--it's not a hassle.

If you are coming back into SF from Sausalito by car, be sure to prepay your bridge fare online. No toll takers, but there is still a fee.
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May 12th, 2014, 10:04 AM
  #13
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Great, thanks all!
Can someone give me the website for the toll?
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May 12th, 2014, 10:50 AM
  #14
 
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Goldengate.org/tolls

What you want is probably a license plate account, but you'll have to wait until you get your rental car to register and to enter the plate number. Make it valid only through the last day you'll have the car, so you aren't paying for the next renter's toll. You can also do a one time single payment but I'm not sure exactly how that works.
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May 12th, 2014, 11:05 AM
  #15
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Thanks for the toll info….
When I rent through Alamo in florida the "fast pass" tolls are usually included or somehow billed to me later. I guess I will call to see if this is the case in California
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May 12th, 2014, 02:44 PM
  #17
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Thanks Debit!
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May 12th, 2014, 02:47 PM
  #18
 
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Just beware that the queue for picking up the car can be really long. From memory Alamo in SFO opened around 0900 but the queue was already going down the street at 0830. Very slow procedure as the agents try to sell you extras.
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May 12th, 2014, 02:49 PM
  #19
 
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Further to the above, we were travelling with my sister who was driving and she arrived later on - was very pleased myself and friend were in the queue already or our day would have started quite late. As it was, it was just after 10 before we left Alamo.
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May 12th, 2014, 02:57 PM
  #20
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Im taking the risk. I just signed up for alamo insider and got an even better deal in the city pickup. We were able to upgrade to a mid-size car for only $300! The airport rental would have been $850. The savings will pay for a night's hotel! So glad I have this forum!!
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