Car rental LAX or Palm Springs
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Oct 30, 2012 12:31 AM Last Post By: willysnoutredux
Oct 28, 2012 3:50 PM
Car rental LAX or Palm SpringsHi,
What's cheapest? Renting a car in LAX or Palm Springs or same price??
We have plans to do a road trip starting from either LAX or Palm Springs and heading east towards Williams/Flagstaff, north towards the Grand Canyon, and circling back towards LAX/Palm Springs stopping in las Vegas and visiting Death Valley etc. We have 12 nights so I want to leave Los Angeles til last to make sure we have plenty of time out east. We arrive from New Zealand about 2pm and I was kind of hoping there might be a train or bus from the airport to Palm Springs. I thought it might be easier adjusting to traffic from Palm Springs than LAX?
My original idea was to spend a night or two in Palm Springs then hire a car and head east but I'm starting to think it might be easier to just hire a car at LAX. Do you think driving from LAX to Palm Springs at around 330-4ish will be a problem or maybe just stay the night at LAX and leave early in the morning?
Oct 28, 2012 4:16 PM
There is no set "cheapest car rental." Any agency may be the cheapest at any time, dependent on dates, routes, age, etc.
kayak.com, priceline, expedia, travelocity, orbitz, hotwire, the individual agencies, etc., etc., etc. Sometimes foreign versions of these sites or other foreign brokers will include one-way fees, mandatory insurance fees, etc. in the rate.
Make sure you compare prices like for like (some show subtotals, others totals). Also, be aware that sometimes one-way fees, etc. are hidden in the base rate (i.e. a company may not charge a one-way fee, but may raise the daily rate accordingly).
It will take a lot of effort on your part.
See FAQ 146.
I say find a place for dinner, enjoy yourselves for a couple hours while waiting for rush hour to subside, then make the drive.
Oct 28, 2012 6:50 PM
Oct 28, 2012 7:29 PM
31. There is no such thing as "LAX/Palm Springs." Those places are about 125 miles apart, which entails roughly $20 in gas at today's prices, using a typical rental car.
2. Yes, there are trains, shuttles, and buses, some of which will require you to go to downtown L.A. to catch. Google is your friend. Any transit alternative will cost you more than the gas to drive to Palm Springs yourself. I see that you wrote "we." If there is more than one of you, it'll cost a lot more to take transit to Palm Springs than to drive there yourself.
3. It's impossible to say for certain whether the rental car rate will be cheaper in Palm Springs than it will be at LAX. However, because LAX is a huge airport with lots of competition while Palm Springs is small and serves an affluent clientele, it's a good guess that car rentals would usually cost more in Palm Springs than at LAX. But even if the Palm Springs car rental rates are cheaper, any difference will be more than offset by your transit costs.
4. Generally speaking, I have found it easiest and cheapest to pick up and drop off at the same location, which in your case would be LAX, presuming this is where you land. Palm Springs is close enough to LAX that there might not be a drop-off fee, but there's no guarantee.
5. Bottom line: Almost certainly cheaper to pick up the car at LAX, and probably a lot cheaper. The complication in your case would be jet lag, which might make you want to have someone else do the driving. The drive is about as simple as these things can be. Palm Springs is a straight shot east on Interstate 10. You'll hit some traffic getting through L.A., but it'll be do-able as long as you don't fall asleep. I'd also point out that you'll get there a lot faster if you drive it yourself, even if you hit traffic in Los Angeles. Transit almost always involves significant lag times, especially when there are transfers involved. In fact, even if you flew to Palm Springs from LAX, chances are you wouldn't save much time, if any, unless you just happened to hit the plane schedules just right. And let's be honest: When does that ever happen?
Oct 28, 2012 8:33 PM
4I suggest getting a hotel at LAX because you're likely to be tired and everything is easier after a good night's sleep (in a bed). I wouldn't leave the LAX area the next morning until 10 or so to avoid traffic. I guess you could wake up at 5am, rent a car and go. Up to you.
And on the off chance you manage to get to PS w/o a car, it's generally worth having a car in PS. Some parts of PS are walkable but you'll want to explore. BTW, there is an Amtrak station in PS but the train only goes once per day.
Oct 28, 2012 8:55 PM
5Darn, I was going to re-write #3 to make it more concise, but I can't do it now. Now that I'm drunk on words, here are some more. In for a dime, in for a dollar.
Besides boiling it down, I had wanted to add something: The only way I'd back off of my advice to rent the car at LAX and drive out to Palm Springs would be if you could somehow, by a freak stroke of luck, get yourselves an airfare all the way to Palm Springs that cost no more than to go to LAX. I'd be quite surprised if such a bargain existed, but it never hurts to check.
If you're willing to spend money for added convenience, then the most convenient (and by far the most expensive) option would be to pay separate airfares to fly to Palm Springs from LAX, my quip about airplane schedules notwithstanding. If you did that, you would be spared most of the luggage transfer issues. The next most convenient option would be finding some acceptable ground transit conveyance (most likely a private shuttle service) from LAX directly to Palm Springs. This would spare you the hassle of hauling your luggage downtown. But I would expect this to be rather expensive; I'd be kind of surprised if you got away with paying less than $50 or $60 per person for such a shuttle, and maybe more.
Amtrak runs a train from downtown to Palm Springs for $18 per person, but you'll have to get downtown (I think L.A. light rail stops at Union Station). Then, once you get to Palm Springs, you'd have to get to the rental car place. For all I know, the rental car outlets have facilities at the train station out there, or their own shuttles to pick you up from the train station. Otherwise, there'd be cab fare to add in. I don't know how it goes at the Palm Springs Amtrak stop, but as I wrote before, Google is your friend. I don't know what Greyhound costs, but I'm reasonably certain you have to go downtown to catch that bus. And let's just say that, to go Greyhound is to spend a few hours with the wretched refuse of these, our United States. Keep your wallet and passport in your front pocket.
Any way you slice it, it's a very safe bet that picking up and dropping off your rental car at LAX will be cheapest, even when you include the $20 worth of gas it'll take to drive that car and your entourage out to Palm Springs. The idea of getting a room at LAX for the night isn't a bad one. As for not having a car in Palm Springs, well let's put it this way: Not even the lowliest illegal immigrant in Palm Springs lacks a car, or access to one..
Oct 29, 2012 7:27 AM
6Look into renting a car with traveljigsaw, popular with folks from OZ and NZ, will include all your insurance, they only rent from the majors, and can often get dropoff fees waived. I would spend the night at LAX motel.
Oct 29, 2012 4:11 PM
7Yeah, traffic probably WILL be a factor at that hour, because from LAX it's about 125km before you leave the greater LA conurbation. Even if you get out of the airport and get your car quickly, rush hour will have set in before you've gotten through, so you'll be deep in rush hour before you hit the short stretch of open desert between the end of the metropolitan area and the start of Palm Springs.
A bus or a train to Palm Springs is a bad option -- you'd first have to get from LAX to downtown LA, where you could catch a Greyhound bus. Amtrak runs only 3 trains a week to Palm Springs (and Palm Springs train station is far out of town), and 3 bus-train combinations to Palm Springs airport.
If you don't want to drive through LA, the best option would be to take one of the door-to-door shuttle vans that connect LAX to greater Palm Springs, which deliver you to a rental agency in Palm Springs. But renting a car probably faster and certainly cheaper than any other option.
Oct 30, 2012 12:31 AM
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