Renting a Car in San Diego

June 6, 2022

If you’re planning a trip to San Diego — or you’ve just landed at San Diego International Airport — you probably need to rent a car. Or, perhaps you’ve been to one of our fabulous car and auto shows, and want to rent a car like the one you loved at the event. Whatever reason for renting a car in San Diego, here’s everything you should know.

How do I get to and from San Diego International?

There are a number of ways that you could obtain transportation to or from San Diego’s airport. For one, you could simply have a friend or family member pick you up. There’s plenty of short- and long-term parking at the airport itself.

If that isn’t an option, then a decent alternative would be to take a ride-share or taxi to the location you need to get to. There are dedicated lanes outside of San Diego International’s terminals that allow for quick pick up or drop off by ride-sharing companies and taxi cabs.

Of course, for many people, the best option will be to rent a car. You really need your own reliable transportation to experience all that San Diego has to offer. If your destination isn’t as close to the airport, then you might even save money by renting a car instead of using a ride-share.

Renting a Car in San Diego
San Diego International Airport has many car rental options. Image courtesy of San Diego Union-Tribune

Tips for Renting a Car in San Diego

Most airports have a rental car center, and San Diego International is no different. However, the Consolidated Rental Car Center at San Diego International is not located in the actual airport. Instead, it’s at an off-site location. That’s good to know before you plan on walking.

There’s also the issue of parking. As with most metropolitan areas, San Diego doesn’t have an abundance of free parking. You can use the paid lots spread throughout the city, or just try to find street meter parking. Pro tip: metered parking is free throughout San Diego on Sundays.

It’s also helpful to know the location of nearby gas stations before you rent a car — you don’t want to try and find a station when you’re in a hurry to catch your return flight. Driving a Tesla or another electric vehicle? Go ahead and check out the location of Tesla charging stations in San Diego.

List of San Diego Rental Car Vendors

Now that you know what renting a car at San Diego International Airport entails, here’s how to actually get to the rental center.

Although there are many different rental car companies at San Diego’s airport, they’re all located at the exact same address. The address of the rental center at San Diego Airport is:

  • 3355 Admiral Boland Way
  • San Diego, CA 92101

San Diego International Airport offers a 24/7 shuttle service to and from the Consolidated Rental Center. The shuttle area should be clearly marked.

You can find the following popular car rental vendors at the Consolidated Rental Center. Many of them offer very similar or identical services, so it helps to shop around to see which specific location has the type of vehicle or rate that you’re looking for.

Alamo Rent a Car

  • Phone: (619) 763-1741
  • Hours: 4:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Avis Rent a Car

  • Phone: (619) 688-5000
  • Hours: Open 24 hours

Budget Rent a Car

  • Phone: (619) 680-4949
  • Hours: Open 24 hours

Dollar Car Rental

  • Phone: (866) 434-2226
  • Hours: 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily

Enterprise Rent a Car

  • Phone: (855) 266-9289
  • Hours: 4:30 a.m. to 12 a.m. daily

Fox Rent-A-Car

  • Phone: (855) 571-8410
  • Hours: Open 24 hours

Hertz Rent-A-Car

  • Phone: (619) 767-5700
  • Hours: 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily

National Car Rental

  • Phone: (833) 763-1740
  • Hours: Open 24 hours

Payless Car Rental

  • Phone: (619) 296-4966
  • Hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily

Sixt Rent-a-Car

  • Phone: (858) 764-9338
  • Hours: 7 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Thrifty Car Rental

  • Phone: (800) 847-4389
  • Hours: 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily

ZipCar

  • Phone: (866) 494-7227
  • Hours: Open 24 hours

Are There Other Rental Car Services in San Diego?

Beyond the rental car companies listed above, San Diego also has various rental services spread throughout its city — and county — limits.

Many of them are located near hotels or dealerships. So, if you don’t want to rent a car from the airport’s rental center, just search for the closest rental car service to the place that you’re staying.