San Jose to San Francisco

Mar 11th, 2004, 05:08 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 3
San Jose to San Francisco

We're flying into San Jose airport, getting a rental car and driving around Monterey area for 2 nights and then ending up in downtown SF for 4 nights. How do we best get from San Jose to SF? Drop car back off in San Jose? Drive it back into downtown and drop it off? What is shuttle/limo/train situation to travel from SJ airport to downtown?
SaintLou is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 07:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I've done this several times. The best by far is to drop your car off in downtown SF. The taxi or shuttle situation from San Jose to SF is miserable and/or expensive. You just need to check with all the rental agencies for one that won't charge you a lot for leaving it downtown, but most won't. The second alternative would be to drop it off at San Francisco airport on your way into SF, as transportation from there to downtown would be far cheaper and easier than from San Jose airport.
Patrick is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 07:23 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Forgive me, but I'm a bit confused by your question:

You are flying into San Jose and getting a car in San Jose, proceeding by car to Monterey, then proceeding by car to San Francisco. So, now you are in San Francisco, having arrived by car via Monterey.

Why do you need to know how to get from San Jose to San Francisco? Shouldn't it be the other way around? This is on the assumption that you are dropping off the cr in San Francisco - or are you dropping off the car in San Francisco?

Is it just me? Too early in the morning, without my coffee?
easytraveler is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 07:43 AM
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Like easytraveler, I am a little confused as well. If you are in San Jose with no car, and need to get to San Francisco, take Caltrain up to 4th and King station in San Francisco (last stop) and outside catch one of the millions of cabs to get to your SF hotel.
kikahead is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 08:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Do you also have to get back to SJ to fly home? Because transport from SF to SJ is no easier than SJ to SF.

Can you revise your plan - instead of the CalTrain/cab route twice (to and from SF) you could do it once. Spend the first 4 nights in SF, pick up a car and drive down to Monterey and then drop the car back at SJ before flying out.

janis is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Maybe I thought I understood it, but didn't. My understanding was that they fly into San Jose where they will pick up a car to drive to Monterey and are then going to San Francisco. They were wondering whether to drive the car to SF to drop it off, or if the rental would require or favor them to drop it off where they picked it up at San Jose airport, which would leave them with the problem of getting to SF from San Jose. Did I get it right, SaintLou?
Patrick is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 07:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 236
SaintLou, do take the time to clarify your question. It will be worth it. From looking at the names above, I can tell you that something about the title of your post seems to have attracted a select group of some of the most perceptive, conscientious, and alert Fodorites here, wanting to make sure you get good help.
johncharles is offline  
Mar 12th, 2004, 01:21 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 3
It was early for me, too; sorry for the confusion. We have tickets in & out of San Jose. That can't change. We're arriving and spending a Saturday night in Monterey and then next 5 nights downtown. We're driving from SJ to Monterey. My question was - better to drop the rental back at SJ airport where it was rented or to drive it on in to downtown. Seems like dropping it is the thing to do. So now my question has changed: On the return leg, how do I get from Union Square area to the San Jose airport on the Friday that begins the Memorial Day weekend? We don't actually fly out until early Sat am, so I'm not trying to make a Friday night plane.
SaintLou is offline  
Mar 12th, 2004, 05:03 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 17,106
Ok, I think I gotcha!

By "downtown" you mean downtown San Francisco.

OK, so you're going to get a car in San Jose when you arrive, then you are driving to Monterey, spend a night, then you drive to San Francisco, spend 5 nights, then you want to get back to San Jose for your flight back.

This is what I would suggest you do. You have essentially two options:

a) keep the car throughout the whole period. This would be feasible if you are getting a gosh-darn good weekly rate.

The only problem you will have here is parking. However, if this is your option, tell us, and we can guide you to places in San Francisco where you can park the car for free for several days.

b) The moment you get to San Francisco, you give up the car. Make sure that when you reserve the car that you reserve with a company that will allow you to pick up in San Jose and drop off in San Francisco AT NO ADDITIONAL COST. You then spend several days touring around San Francisco without car.

Now you have to get from Union Square to San Jose. The best way is by Caltrain.

Take a taxi from your hotel to the San Francisco Caltrain station at Townsend and 4th.

Take Caltrain until the Caltrain station at SANTA CLARA (this is the CLOSEST stop to San Jose Airport). Cost about $5.50/person.

Either have your hotel shuttle pick you up or get a taxi to your hotel in San Jose. Try and stay overnight in San Jose the night before.

The best hotel is the Doubletree near San Jose Airport which you can get on Priceline for about $35/room/night.

There is a third option:
c) You can rent a car in San Francisco that gives you no drop-off charge. That way, you can drive to San Jose without having to pay additional fees for dropping off in a different location than your pickup location.

If you can't keep you car the whole time in San Francisco, I would suggest getting a car a couple of days before you leave San Francisco. This way you will have a way to get to San Jose, but you will also have a car to go North of San Francisco to Muir Woods and Sausalito. Five nights may be a bit much for San Francisco, and you may want to explore further into the north, to Marin County.

Hope this helps! Don't hesitate to keep asking. Fodorites are wonderfully helpful people!

easytraveler is offline  
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