Rent a Car for Travel in Los Angeles

With its massive size and limited public transportation, having your own set of wheels makes exploring Los Angeles infinitely easier. Renting a car can provide flexibility to access LA’s diverse neighborhoods and endless attractions. This guide covers everything you need to know for renting a car in LA.

Rent a Car for Travel in Los Angeles

How to Rent a Car in Los Angeles

Follow these key steps for a smooth rental experience:

Compare Rental Companies

Shop and compare rental rates and policies across major agencies like Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, SIXT, and Fox. Consider:

  • Rental costs
  • Vehicle options
  • Pickup/dropoff locations
  • Mileage fees, taxes and insurance

Reserve Your Rental Car

Once you’ve selected a company, reserve your car rental providing:

  • Pickup/dropoff dates
  • Preferred pickup location
  • Vehicle type
  • Any extra equipment like GPS or car seats
  • Driver details and payment

Book early for best deals, especially during popular travel times.

Know the Requirements

Common requirements for renting a car in California are:

  • Valid driver’s license from your home state/country
  • Minimum age of 21 years in most cases
  • Major credit card for deposit
  • Additional fee for extra drivers

Pick Up the Rental Car

Arrive at the rental branch at the scheduled time, complete any remaining paperwork, inspect the vehicle thoroughly, and drive away.

Driving in Los Angeles

Here are some key tips for navigating LA’s roads and massive freeway system:

Getting Used to Driving

Los Angeles has very congested highways and streets. Useful tips:

  • Allow plenty of time to get anywhere
  • Follow speed limits and signs closely
  • Use apps like Google Maps and Waze
  • Watch for motorcycles splitting lanes


Parking is notoriously difficult in LA. Heed restrictions everywhere:

  • Metered parking has limits and costs
  • Read all residential street signs carefully
  • Use parking apps to find and pay for spots
  • Valet parking at many attractions, restaurants, etc


No toll roads in Los Angeles currently. Gas is expensive so fill up outside the city if possible.

Traffic Laws

Adhere to all California driving laws:

  • Hands-free cell phone use only
  • Strict penalties against drinking and driving
  • Yield to pedestrians
  • Seat belt use mandatory

Where to Rent a Car in Los Angeles

All major rental companies have locations across LA including:

LAX Airport

Counters for all brands located in each terminal for pickup/dropoff. Shuttles transport to off-site lots. Open 24/7.


Branches along Hollywood Blvd and major streets like Sunset, La Brea, Highland. Near top attractions.

Beverly Hills

Rental locations on Santa Monica Blvd and Wilshire Blvds. Convenient access to shopping and restaurants.

Santa Monica

Lots near the pier, beach and Third Street Promenade shopping. Great for exploring westside.

Anaheim/Disneyland Area

Numerous rental options near Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm and OC beaches.

Types of Rental Cars in Los Angeles

Consider these popular LA rental car choices:

Economy or Compact

Good for navigating tight city streets and parking. Models like Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Spark. Basic features and space.

Midsize Sedans

Balance of roominess and fuel-efficiency. Options like Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra. Comfortably seat 4-5.

SUVs and Minivans

For extra cargo and passenger room. Models like Toyota Highlander, Dodge Grand Caravan, Ford Explorer. Great for families.

Luxury Vehicles

Brands like Mercedes, BMW, Tesla for special occasions. Include upgraded amenities and services.

Specialty Cars

Unique choices like convertibles, pickups and sportscars available from select companies.

FAQ About Renting a Car in Los Angeles

1. Is renting a car essential for visiting LA?

Having your own car makes it much easier to access all corners of LA, as public transportation is very limited.

2. What insurance should I get when renting?

Consider liability and collision damage waiver to reduce financial responsibility for damage. Confirm if your own insurance or card covers rentals.

3. Are rental cars permitted to travel to other California cities?

Yes, no restrictions on taking your rental car anywhere in California. Just inform the provider of long-distance plans.

4. How easy is parking a rental car in Los Angeles?

Finding street parking in central LA can be extremely difficult and frustrating. Use parking apps and garage parking when possible.

5. Are child safety seats available for rental?

Yes, reserve car seats and booster seats for infants/kids in advance. Inventory is limited so request early.


Renting a car enables you to visit top LA attractions as well as scenic drives up the Pacific Coast Highway and beyond at your own pace. Booking the right rental car along with safe driving practices will ensure a convenient experience discovering all corners of Los Angeles.


Leave a Comment