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Rental Car Dilemma-Advice Appreciated

Rental Car Dilemma-Advice Appreciated

Old Apr 7, 22, 8:16 pm
  #1  
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Rental Car Dilemma-Advice Appreciated

I have an upcoming summer vacation, and reserved a rental car at SFO before finalizing my flights due to all the recent issues with rental car cost and availability At the time I booked my rental car, I assumed I'd ben ending my vacation by leaving SFO on a redeye. It turns out I will be leaving SJC on a redeye. I would appreciate any feedback or thoughts on which of the two scenarios are better based on traffic and transportation.

I have a meeting at UC Santa Cruz that ends at 3:30pm on Sunday, July 17th. My flight out of SJC departs at 8:55pm. Do I have enough time to drive to SFO, drop off my rental car, and then travel to SJC (Uber, Lyft, or Monterey Airbus airport shuttle preferred, but taxi ok)?

My alternative is a different car reservation I have recently made that has me dropping the car off at SJC, but costs $280 more. I'm not on a shoestring budget, but I'd like to save $280 if it's not too big of a hassle and very low probability of traffic hiccups. I do realize I'll have costs of approximately $50 to $100 for my transportation from SFO to SJC.

Also, if you think I would stick with the original reservation, can I catch an Uber, Lyft, or taxi from the SFO rental car center, or do I need to take the AirTrain to the airport, and then go up to the roof of one of the parking garages (or something like that) to catch a ride?

Any feedback is appreciated.
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Old Apr 7, 22, 9:14 pm
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I think this would be cutting it really close

Whichever route you take from Santa Cruz to SFO its a summer Sunday weekend so youre likely to hit traffic.
Uber will come to the rental car Center but I believe Uber and Lyft have a central waiting area so it might be 10- 15 minutes for them to arrive.
Whats the cost to change the flight? Can you change it to the following day? I havent tracked very lately what airlines are still waiving change fees but if thats a possibility, keeping the return at SJC but only for the next day will give you time to bring the car back to SFO . You could potentially then take BART to San Jose and stay overnight in San Jose. Definitely be less than $280.
But if youre going back home after a vacation luggage etc. might make this not feasible.
I would also keep checking Rent-A-Car places and see if they go down if you want to make a switch.
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Old Apr 7, 22, 9:19 pm
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OP: Can you change your vacation car rental so that you return the car to SFO the night before your Santa Cruz meeting, and then book a one-day, one-way SFO-SJC rental? Or do you not plan to be in the SFO area the night before your Santa Cruz meeting?
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Old Apr 7, 22, 9:31 pm
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Is it with in reason to change your flight to leave out of SFO? What about flying in and out of SJC, does that change the rental car situation? As mentioned, it will be tight to drive from Santa Cruz - SFO - SJC with traffic.
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Old Apr 8, 22, 10:44 am
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I would get a NEW car reservation for the two airport situation. Why waste 3-4 hours plus gas plus the Sfo-sjc journey plus stress? What if the meeting is extended by an hour because it starts late? Either pay that $280 or find a reservation that’ll cost under $280.
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Old Apr 9, 22, 1:17 am
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Worth asking the car rental company what the difference would be to change the existing rental car reservation to have a return at SJC instead of SFO.
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Old Apr 10, 22, 2:16 pm
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Check the T&C of your rental booking. There's a chance you might be able to drop it off at SJC. Depends on how the carrentalco is set up locally. Did a Hertz rental a few years ago and the dropoff at the official airport return centre (maybe 10 minute walk away) was >2x drop off at the originating airport hotel rental location.
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Old Apr 10, 22, 8:19 pm
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Originally Posted by canes98 View Post
I have a meeting at UC Santa Cruz that ends at 3:30pm on Sunday, July 17th. My flight out of SJC departs at 8:55pm. Do I have enough time to drive to SFO, drop off my rental car, and then travel to SJC (Uber, Lyft, or Monterey Airbus airport shuttle preferred, but taxi ok)?
Doable, but with risk. Santa Cruz is a popular summer weekend hot-spot, and the roads back from there to the Bay Area will be busy and slow at that time - and all it's going to take is one accident to throw your plans completely out the window. The odds of being able to time the Monterey airport shuttle is basically zero - the only workable departure is 5:30pm from the terminal, which is at least 15-20 minutes (if not more) from pulling into the rental car center, which means you're down to Uber or Lyft which are likely going to cost the best part of $100 for that trip.

One-way rentals from SFO to SJC are variable. Some companies do them at no extra cost, at least for corporate rentals. Others do them, but have a drop fee or a per-mile fee for the entire rental (especially on corporate rates). You may be able to change your drop-off point to SJC beforehand for no charge - or if not you might be able to change it after you've picked up the rental for no cost. Or not...

Other options would be a Lyft or Uber (or even a short one-way rental) to SJC when you arrive, and pickup the car there instead. Or as others have said, fly into SJC or out of SFO instead...
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Old Apr 11, 22, 12:19 pm
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I'm not sure what to do about it, but I'll add my concern that there will likely be very heavy traffic this summer Sunday afternoon on Highway 17 going from Santa Cruz to the Silicon Valley.
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Old Apr 12, 22, 11:53 am
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Sunday afternoon, good weather -- you'll be lucky to get to SJC in just 2 hours. Heading up 280 (avoid 101) to SFO would be another 40-45 minutes. If you had more time I'd recommend returning the car to SFO, take BART to Millbrae (it doesn't go to San Jose, yet), CalTrain to San Jose, and VTA to the airport, but you won't have time for that.

How about a second, one-way rental SFO to SJC? Don't know if it's feasible from a cost standpoint, but just a possibility that popped into my head.
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Old Apr 12, 22, 12:10 pm
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Ill provide my perspective as someone who lives in San Francisco, and has done the drive home from Santa Cruz countless times. Traffic definitely will be bad, but leaving at 3:30 will be way better than leaving at 4:30-5, which is when most folks really start leaving the beaches. Unless there is an apocalyptic accident on Highway 17, shouldnt take you more than two hours to get to SFO. (Take 85, to 280, to 380, rather than 101 the whole way to SFO). Also, dont even deal with the airport bus. Just call an Uber/Lyft to get to SJC when you drop off your car. Theyll come right to you, and its way quicker than going back to the terminal. The higher cost is worth your piece of mind. Again, traffic will of course be bad all over on a Sunday afternoon, but not as horrible as you might imagine.
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Old Apr 15, 22, 4:19 am
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Originally Posted by gobears293 View Post
Take 85, to 280, to 380, rather than 101 the whole way to SFO.
Considering the OP will be departing from UCSC, it may also be viable to take Highway 1 north to Half Moon Bay, cut across on eastbound 92, and then do the 280/380 zig-zag. Or take 92 all the way to 101. This might save 10 or 20 minutes of fighting Santa Cruz traffic. Unfortunately, on a summer Sunday afternoon, just like for northbound 17, I'd expect eastbound 92 to be jammed up with people leaving the beaches. As a local, I'd also consider 9 to 35 to 92, but that's a route where you really need to know the roads in order to make good time.
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Old Apr 18, 22, 8:15 pm
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As the OP, I want to say thank you for all the advice. The existing car rental reservation is through Costco travel, which says I can't revise the reservation, I can only cancel and book a brand new reservation with the desired changes.

I have since changed my car rental reservation to both pick up and drop off at SJC, which shaved off most of the price difference, and I am more than happy with that.

I now have a new wrinkle where I need to get from the Kimpton Alton hotel near Fisherman's Wharf area to SJC on a weekday afternoon, with unlimited time and no rush. This is to pick up the car at the beginning of my car rental reservation, not to catch a flight at the end of my trip. It'll be two adults and a teenager with luggage (either 3 carryons or 1 checked bag size and 1 carryon--not sure yet). I have no objection to public transportation for all or part of the journey, but if it will be a horrendous nightmare, I have no objection to paying $100 to $150 for an uber or lyft. Any suggestions on different ways to make this journey and pros and cons of each? Thanks!!
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Old Apr 18, 22, 9:12 pm
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Originally Posted by canes98 View Post
As the OP, I want to say thank you for all the advice. The existing car rental reservation is through Costco travel, which says I can't revise the reservation, I can only cancel and book a brand new reservation with the desired changes.

I have since changed my car rental reservation to both pick up and drop off at SJC, which shaved off most of the price difference, and I am more than happy with that.

I now have a new wrinkle where I need to get from the Kimpton Alton hotel near Fisherman's Wharf area to SJC on a weekday afternoon, with unlimited time and no rush. This is to pick up the car at the beginning of my car rental reservation, not to catch a flight at the end of my trip. It'll be two adults and a teenager with luggage (either 3 carryons or 1 checked bag size and 1 carryon--not sure yet). I have no objection to public transportation for all or part of the journey, but if it will be a horrendous nightmare, I have no objection to paying $100 to $150 for an uber or lyft. Any suggestions on different ways to make this journey and pros and cons of each? Thanks!!
If you're going to take public transportation out of San Francisco, you can consider taking Caltrain. And I would price the rental with a pick up in a place like Santa Clara, with a return to SJC. I'm seeing very good weekly rates (see below) for one-way rentals with Avis/Budget through Costco; I don't know whether they pick up from the Santa Clara train station, but they appear to be just 1.5 miles away from the station.

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Old Apr 18, 22, 11:16 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
And I would price the rental with a pick up in a place like Santa Clara, with a return to SJC. I'm seeing very good weekly rates (see below) for one-way rentals with Avis/Budget through Costco
Highly recommend that location. The manager, Umesh, is amazing - and I'm not just saying that because he looks after me very well every time I'm there

As far as I'm aware they don't do pickups.
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