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Silly not to rent a car in LA?

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Mar 17th, 2014, 04:39 PM
  #1
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Silly not to rent a car in LA?

My husband, daughter and I will be visiting the LA area for a week and were all set to rent a car, but after speaking with a friend who goes every year, i'm having second thoughts. She said that every year her family rented a car and would argue each time as they got lost/got stuck in traffic and finally just went with cabs every where and now have a much saner experience. When i think about the cost of the rental car, gas, nightly valet at about $38 per night, it's starting to make sense to me not to get a car. Never been to LA- any thoughts?
emcash is offline  
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Mar 17th, 2014, 04:47 PM
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Thoughts? Your friends must have more $$$$ than sense of direction.

The LA basin is ENORMOUS. Relying on taxis to get around will add hundreds of dollars to your week's budget. There is some public transport but it still is MUCH easier to rent a car and drive. Take a GPS if you are 'getting lost' sorts . . .
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Mar 17th, 2014, 04:51 PM
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Um, is it possible your friends are really bad map readers? Have no bump of direction? Hate to drive? Just are not comfortable in traffic?

For some people I would think a cab is necessary. Only you know how comfortable you are driving under those conditions. If you get lost easily, are not used to heavy traffic and/or are a timid driver - then go for cabs. If you can cope with city traffic I would think a rental car makes more sense both in terms of costs and convenience.
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Mar 17th, 2014, 05:11 PM
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It depends on what part of L.A. you're staying in and what you plan to see and do. For instance, it's a $50 cab ride to the Beverly Hilton to and from the airport, and there's no metro service nearby, just bus. Those cab fares could add up. From Hollywood it's a bit different scenario. From Santa Monica....well, you've got a $60 cab ride just too and from Griffith Observatory.
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Mar 17th, 2014, 05:15 PM
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Most of LA is trying to get somewhere in a hurry, so most of LA drives on freeways where they may or may not get somewhere in a hurry.

You will be tourists, so by definition you don't need to be anywhere in a hurry. Skip the freeways. LA is fascinating on its surface streets. You actually get to see the city.

If you need to go somewhere way off like Pasadena or Anaheim, take the freeway, but do it during working hours.

It is easier to drive in LA than Boston or New York, but don't tell the locals. It hurts their feelings.
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Mar 17th, 2014, 05:55 PM
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I could see using cabs for a day or so . . . But you'll bee there a week. Count on at least $100 per day in cab fares unless you don't go anywhere. . .
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Mar 18th, 2014, 01:00 AM
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I can't imagine it ever making sense to not rent a car in LA. We rent one even if it is just for half a day for example between flights. Use GPS to navigate & leave plenty of time to get back to the airport. The nightly valet seems expensive.
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Mar 18th, 2014, 04:57 AM
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"I can't imagine it ever making sense to not rent a car in LA."

Well that would be true for ME too, but on the other hand if I were one of those people the OP describes above -- in a family that can't manage to drive down a street without screaming at each other -- then I CAN understand why they might not want to rent a car. Not a great way to spend a vacation. Of course a better option if I were in a family like that would be to simply go off on my OWN vacation and avoid those people all together.
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Mar 18th, 2014, 09:45 AM
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Cabs in LA are not easy to find. You don't just walk out to the curb and catch one. They are few and far between. So, no, not a good idea.

If you have a smart phone, download the free app WAZE, which is a great GPS system. It will get you where you're going, and help avoid traffic jams.

Do not rent a car from FOX. They are notoriously 'cheap' on-line, and then you pay for it when you deal with them and added fees. IMHO, Enterprise is the all-around best rental car agency.

It's really not that bad driving in LA. Use good sense, and avoid freeways if you can.
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Mar 18th, 2014, 12:31 PM
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Rent the car. As the others have stated cabs are expensive and public transit, although much better than it used to be, still takes a long time in many instances. Also there are some places that are difficult or impossible to get to. Griffith Park and the Observatory, public transit is only on the weekends and Six Flags Magic Mountain involves 3 buses and a taxi or a long walk.
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Mar 18th, 2014, 06:26 PM
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OP - I guess some of this answer depends on how far away from L.A. you live, and whether the daughter is "13", or "33", relating to how awe-struck said daughter is likely to BE, about L.A. and surrounds.

If you live in New Jersey, then I'd say go against your instincts and rent the car for sure... but if you live in Phoenix, or Albuquerque, you might get back to L.A. soon enough.

Most critical about the whole trip is just how many spots of major (yet superficial) interest can be covered for/by the daughter.

The freedom to see the beaches, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and multiple other attractions in a single day just can't be matched without a car. Now sure rush hour is HELL there, but that's why you, as tourists, can plant yourselves in stationary spots during rush hours, and move about before/after.

Now maybe you strategize a bit, what with going from airport to hotel via hired transport, and then renting the car off-airport, and MAY-be even after a day or two, to limit your costs, but you really should have a car to cover those highlights which really aren't worth much, in practical terms, yet which may be 'priceless' to your daughter.

I'm sure there are some Real Housewives SOMEwhere amid the local scene which are simply a must... (LOL)
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Mar 18th, 2014, 08:50 PM
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Not renting a car in LA is crazy talk, pure and simple.

If you choose to go without a car, even if just for dinner so you can drink, download Uber and Lyft to your smartphone as hailing a cab on the street is not easy.
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Mar 18th, 2014, 09:25 PM
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I have been to LA on business and pleasure many times and not having a car is insane. Because you take a taxi, you think the roads will be better?
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Mar 19th, 2014, 11:33 AM
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I'm from L.A. and have had a car since a teen. I have also had to take public transportation to work for months, when the car went out and have had to occasionally use a cab.

I can't imagine not having a car here and spending a week taking cabs. If you want to sit in traffic, with a meter ticking, then take cabs. And I totally don't get how anyone could get REALLY lost here when driving. It's a car culture city and I find it very easy to get around in. Go to AAA before you leave home and get a good map and study it before getting here to familiarize yourself with the freeways, streets, and areas.

Happy Travels!
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Mar 19th, 2014, 02:21 PM
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Forgot to add, L.A. County is 500 square miles big. Not a cab-fare county, unless one plans to not really go out and experience a wide part of the county.

Happy Travels!
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Mar 19th, 2014, 04:03 PM
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"Not having a car is insane".

But thank goodness, most of the 45 million people who visit L.A. each year don't rent a car!
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Mar 19th, 2014, 04:28 PM
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"But thank goodness, most of the 45 million people who visit L.A. each year don't rent a car!"

I'll bet you're wrong, and the reverse is true.
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Mar 19th, 2014, 06:49 PM
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Rent a car. Use the GPS on your smartphone. Really, it couldn't be easier.
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Mar 19th, 2014, 07:04 PM
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I like Patrick's answer best
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Mar 20th, 2014, 12:48 PM
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If you are all adults and just planning on sticking around one neighborhood then use cabs. If you are going to branch out and have a broader experience then you have to rent a
car with GPS. Give yourselves plenty of time to drive someplace and try not to give yourselves too tight of a schedule. Rush hour is really rush day with no true times any longer. It does get worse after four in the afternoon until about seven. In the morning it is better after ten.

I agree about using surface streets if you are not traveling far. Listen to AM 1070 and 790 for traffic reports on the road, every 10 minutes. But you will need a wide map to navigate alternative routes which may be given on air.

Good luck.
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