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7 Things You Need to Know When Renting a Car in Los Angeles

When you're planning a trip to Los Angeles, one of the things you'll need to consider is transportation. Renting a car in Los Angeles is an excellent option if you want the freedom to explore the city at your own pace.

Here are a few things to consider as you begin your research.

Car Rental Tips

Driving in Venice, CA (photo: Emanuel Ekstrom)
Driving in Venice, CA (photo: Emanuel Ekstrom)

1. Price is a significant factor

Most travelers look for the best deals when they need a car. This means price comparison websites like AutoWeb and BestRates will be essential tools.

You can compare prices to find the cheapest rental cars. These sites also make it easier to compare services, add-ons, and companies that can offer car rentals for young people, if that's you.

For example, you can search for “car rental LAX under 25” if you're under 25 years of age and seeking a car rental at Los Angeles International Airport. 

These sites allow you to compare all available rental cars in Los Angeles.

2. Decide what type of car you want

Los Angeles is a massive city with many different districts and neighborhoods, each with its distinct feel.

If you'll be doing a lot of driving, then a spacious SUV or minivan rented at a local service, such as one at LAX, may be best. A small sedan or hybrid might be better if you'll spend a lot of time hiking outdoors.

No matter what, research the different types of cars available before renting. This ensures that you get a vehicle that fits your needs and isn't just one that looks nice.

Woman hiking to the Hollywood sign (photo: Roberto Nickson)
Woman hiking to the Hollywood sign (photo: Roberto Nickson)

3. Where you want to go is also important

If you're under 25 and planning on going to Hollywood or Universal Studios, it may make more sense to rent a car in Burbank or Van Nuys instead of downtown LA.

You'll spend less time in traffic and have more parking options. The same can be said for going to the Getty Museum or Santa Monica Beach — renting a car in Burbank, or Van Nuys will make your trip easier.

4. Parking can be an issue

If you live in Los Angeles, chances are you already know all good parking spots are free for those drivers who use car rental services.

So if you need to get around the city, then it may be worth it to rent a car just for parking purposes.

Many great spots throughout Los Angeles have free parking for anyone with a rental car. These include Santa Monica Beach, Hollywood Boulevard, Universal Studios, and more.

The interchange between the 110 and 105 Freeways in Los Angeles, California (photo: Chris Linnett)
An interchange between the 110 and 105 Freeways (photo: Chris Linnett)

5. Driving in LA can be difficult

If you plan to drive, practice before leaving home to prepare for the roads.

Driving in LA can be a challenge even for those living there; it's essential to know how to merge into traffic, on/off highways, etc.

If you don't have much experience driving or are under 25, paying extra for a driver when renting a car may be worthwhile.

6. Traffic can make or break your trip 

Avoid renting a car altogether if you must drive a lot during rush hour on your trip.

For example, the traffic from LAX to Los Angeles is some of the worst in the country and can take hours out of your day if you're not careful.

If you decide to rent a car, plan your trip around when there are fewer traffic jams, such as in the early morning or late at night.

When renting a car in Los Angeles, consider which neighborhoods you'll be in most of the time. (photo: Jeremy Bishop)
Downtown LA at night (photo: Jeremy Bishop)

7. Consider safety as an essential factor when renting a car in LA

Some neighborhoods have much higher crime rates than others, so knowing which ones are safe for driving around is vital.

For example, if you're going to Hollywood, it's best to avoid the area around Highland Avenue, where there are many gangs and drug dealers.

Renting a car is a great way to explore Los Angeles and its surrounding areas. With just a little bit of planning, you'll be able to find the right car at the right price!


This story is brought to you in partnership with CARNGO.

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