Things to Know Before you Rent a Car in Los Angeles


Tourists and locals are aware that Los Angeles city’s roads have a lot of cars. This is a city where over four million people reside, and one of the primary transportation methods is to drive your own vehicle. Whether it’s for work, vacations, or visiting friends, you might want to consider getting a car rental at an affordable price whenever you’re in the area.

For some tourists, their primary goal is to explore the downtown areas and see more of California. This is where car rental or a Los Angeles bilutleie will become helpful as they will provide you with the means of transportation at a very affordable price. If you’re set on the rental option, then here are some things to know.

When is the Ideal Time to Rent?

If you’re fine with public transportation and have a lot of time waiting for the buses, you don’t necessarily need a car rental. However, on the other hand, if you’re going to a lot of gatherings, meetings, and parties, it’s best to be able to get around faster. This is also applicable if you only have a limited time to explore Los Angeles.

Some cities will let you use services like Uber and taxis. However, if you’re in LA, know that the costs will be as much as the rental because the city is very large. When you get the vehicle from the company, make sure that your hotel has a good parking space to avoid vandalism and theft. 

How to Start the Process?

If you’re from LAX, you need to arrange the vehicle rental before the trip. This way, you’ll have to skip the long lines and the hassle of figuring out which companies are best suited for your needs. You don’t also need to line up to get into public transport or get an Uber since they are inconvenient and costly.

Others are flying into Los Angeles, where they can drive to nearby cities in Southern California. You might have the same goal, and it makes sense to drive your own car to save time and money. Double-check the terms and conditions of the company before picking the vehicle. They might advise you to return it with a full tank, and you might be required to have insurance before you’re able to pick it up. 

Get the complete details and make sure you’ll know where you would drop it off or pick it up. You don’t want to have surprises along the way!

Selecting the Right Vehicle

The type of car to choose from will depend on where you want to go and the kind of itinerary you have. If you’re going to the beach, it’s highly advisable to have that convertible to soak all the sunshine and enjoy the summer. You’ll also have plenty of space where you can put your surfing equipment.

Adventurous tourists may want to try the cross-country road trip, and this is where you might want to get equipped with gas and USB ports, so you’ll keep the phones charging while you navigate the roads ahead. If you’re spending a lot of time in the city, a smaller one will do so you’ll quickly find parking space.

Regulations to Know in California

When you’re going to California, the legal age to drive is 21. However, the companies might charge a higher fee for people who are not at least 25 years old at the transaction time.

A valid driver’s license, ID, and credit card are some of the things that you need so you’ll be able to rent and drive. Bring the card you’ve used to reserve the vehicle, even if you’re planning to use another one for verification. Tourists are required to bring their driver’s license from their homes and their passports before they are allowed to rent the vehicle.

Options for Insurance

It would be best if you ALWAYS had insurance regardless of the country where you’re going. Things can happen, and accidents come when you least expect them to. If you’re covered by different insurance policies, double-check how they work and if they cover the damages on the vehicle itself when a collision happens.

Sometimes, individuals are covered by their credit cards, and other times, travel insurance coverage becomes an add-on, so the owner doesn’t have to pay a hefty price when faced with an accident. It’s also possible to be covered with your own policy if you drive at home. Check with the insurers if this is something that you can apply to your travels.

Extra Drivers

Driving alone is no fun, especially if you’re going for a lengthy vacation. Generally, you’re expected to add your spouse or significant other at no extra charge. However, it would be best to let the companies know about the different drivers to avoid penalties.

Anyone who was not authorized to drive but gets into the driver’s seat anyway will nullify the insurance in cases of accidents.

Should You Make Reservations?

Yes, you should definitely make the reservations while it’s still early. Don’t wait for the peak seasons and last-minute decisions because the price is significantly higher. This applies to larger cities like California. The quotes can go up to three or five times than the original when you wait for the last minute!

Documents to Bring with You

Make sure that you have your driver’s license, credit cards, and passports with you. Bring both cards if you’re planning to use a different one and show them the ones you’ve used when you booked into their site. International drivers are also required to bring passports everywhere they go. The rental companies will make copies of these passports, so they’ll have records of the drivers during the entire duration of the rental.

Tips when Driving in the Downtown Area

As with any other state in the US, you have to stick to your lane on the right side of the road. Give yourself enough time in case you are faced with traffic. ( In smaller streets and lanes, always watch out for cyclists and pedestrians.

Get a map whenever possible and pay attention to the speed limit. The roads have CCTVs, and any traffic violations will be traced back to you. Always wear your seatbelts at all times, and this includes the passengers.

If you decide to use the freeway, you need to know the name and the number of the highway where you’re in. Some of these are often used interchangeably with street signs, and this might confuse foreign drivers.

In California, it’s possible to turn right even if there’s still a red light after you’ve got into a complete stop. See if there are signs that forbid this and follow accordingly. It’s always the pedestrians who have the right of way. However, in states like Miami, drivers don’t usually follow these, so be extra careful. Texting and driving are illegal, so don’t do it in the first place.


Pay to park is common in many areas. Others will charge you overnight parking, and there are options to pay at meters and public lots. If you’re going to do a street park, it’s best if you’re an expert in parallel parking and have a smaller vehicle to go with to make things easier for you.

In some hotels, valet parking is common. They can also be found in bars and restaurants and know that there’s tipping etiquette. This ranges from about $3 to $6 per person who drops the car to the right area and another $3 to $6 for those who bring it back. Tips are only in cash, so it’s best to have smaller bills with you. Read more about valet parking on this site here. 

Navigating the Road

Instead of buying additional GPS, you may want to use the Google Map on your smartphone to help you navigate the road. You might be worried about losing your phone data or cell signal during the trip and if this is the case, download the map of the area in Los Angeles so it will be available even if you’re offline.

Alcohol Regulations

Driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly prohibited. You should have a blood alcohol concentration of less than 0.08%, and you should not be substantially affected by drugs and alcohol. It’s also prohibited to ride scooters and bikes while intoxicated, which could void your insurance coverage.

The combination of driving and drinking is bad for you in the first place. However, this is especially not a good idea if you’re renting a car. It’s best to practice safety first and avoid getting intoxicated in the first place. Check the company policy, practice good habits, and be safe while you’re traveling in LA for the best tourist experience.


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