Vegas to LA: rent a car or fly?

Old Sep 3rd, 2017, 09:12 PM
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Vegas to LA: rent a car or fly?

My husband and I need to be in LA from Vegas. Do we rent a car or just fly? Ive heard of excessive one-way drop off fees for car, so maybe a flight is better? I do have to say we will be renting a car while we're still in Vegas while we explore Hoover Dam and the GC so we will already have a car when we need to leave for LA.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2017, 09:21 PM
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We once drove our Vegas rental car home to southern California when I developed bronchitis and wanted to go to my own doctor. We dropped the car at Ontario Airport and did not have to pay much for that. Check some one-way rental prices and see if some of the smaller airports or various local offices are cheaper than dropping at LAX.

We no longer drive to Vegas but fly from Ontario Airport. It's much easier to access than LAX.
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Old Sep 4th, 2017, 06:01 AM
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We get good deals from Thrifty and Dollar picking up in Las Vegas and dropping off at LAX. Check retailmenot.com for discounts.

HTtY
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Old Sep 4th, 2017, 06:21 AM
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Partly depends on day of the week. I would NOT drive from Vegas to LA on a Sunday afternoon if my life depended on it (well if it REALLY depended on it - maybe).

But the traffic back on the end of a weekend is usually awful (same as LA > LV on a Friday)

Also depends on your plans in LA. Are you simply going to LAX to fly home? Or are you staying in LA for a few days?
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Old Sep 4th, 2017, 07:49 AM
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Well, it all depends on your definition of "better" and how you value your time.

If time is the major factor in your definition of "better" then perhaps this will help. Depending on where in LA you want to go it's going to take you 4.5 to to 5.5 hours to make the drive. Flight time is about 1 hour plus some "airport time" (say 2 hours total). So it comes down to spending about 3 hours to fly vs. say 5 hours to drive.

If overall cost is the major factor in your definition of "better" then you have to compare the extra cost (including gas & tools) of dropping your car off in LA vs. the cost of airfare if you fly. Since you didn't give us any of those numbers we can't advise you.

In my experience, there is no right or wrong answer here - just two different options.

If it were me, I'd fly and, if necessary rent a car on both ends. To me my "time" is valuable and, if need be, I'm willing to pay "extra" for the convenience. Others don't mind what they perceive as a minor inconvenience and prefer to save a few dollars. Your decision depends on where you fall into those two strategies.
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Old Sep 4th, 2017, 07:57 AM
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Janisj is so right about those traffic patterns. The 15 freeway is only 2 lanes wide across much of the desert and if one lane is closed to an accident it is a nightmare any day of the week. We have also found McCarran Airport to be challenging on Sunday afternoons.
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Old Sep 4th, 2017, 08:57 AM
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I used to live in LA and when I went to/from LV, I did both. Because the drive time is fairly close to what you spend with the airport rigmarole. The idea of a total of only 2 hrs on airport time in total including both ends is unbelievable to me, just not my experience even if doing carryon. I always get to the airport at least 1.5 hrs in advance, for one thing. Just getting off the plane after landing takes about 15 minutes sometimes.

Partly this would depend where you are going in LA, also. I don't mind driving, and hate airports/flying, so it's not an obvious decision for me. As for the dropoff fees, that is simply an empirical question, just go to rental websites and find out. And renting a car at some airports can be a lot more expensive than other sites, also (I think cars at LAX can be fairly expensive when I've compared to some other airports, like Burbank). I just did a test example on Hertz for a random week in October and the charge was $517 a week total to get at McCarran and return at LAX versus $568 total to get and return to McCarran. Dollar was only about half that rate but also charged more to return to LAS compared to LAX.

If the only reason for choosing a flight is the car rental dropoff fee, just find out the facts on that one to decide.
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Old Sep 4th, 2017, 09:35 AM
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I'm one of the people that enjoy the drive to Vegas.
There's some beautiful desert scenery. We stop in Barstow for Filipino food or The Mad Greek in Baker for gyros.
Living in Southern California the fligh versus drive time is not that different.
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Old Sep 4th, 2017, 11:57 AM
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I enjoy the drive to Vegas too. If you drive to Vegas on a Friday, leave by 10am. Coming back on Sunday is sometimes unavoidable. It's better to wait until mid-afternoon as most people dash off in the morning to beat the rush. I did that once and was stuck in a back up for an hour and a half from the State line. Once you crossed into California the traffic instantly speeded up. I wonder if they'll ever build a third lane each way? "Just" extend the ones there are on the long grades.
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Old Sep 4th, 2017, 12:55 PM
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What Barbara said. Avoid at all cost driving out on a Friday or back on Sunday.
It's depressing to sit in bumper to bumper traffic in the middle of the desert when you are normally driving 75mph on that road.
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Old Sep 4th, 2017, 02:57 PM
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We are all advising in a vacuum. The OP has not given enough info. WHERE are they going - to tour around SoCal, or to fly out of LAX, or something else? If they need to get to an LA area airport, driving makes little sense. If they need a care to get around LA, flying makes no sense.
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Old Sep 4th, 2017, 02:58 PM
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>>If they need a CAR to get around LA, flying makes no sense.
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