What you should know before hiring a car in San Francisco
San Francisco city centre
Car hires in : practical information
Where to rent a car in
After a long flight from London, the first thing you'll want to do at the airport is pick up your affordable car hire in San Francisco and head to your hotel for some rest. There are several car hire companies to choose from including Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Fox, Hertz, National and Thrifty. Nearby is Payless, location just outside of the airport.
Apart from the airport, you'll find just about all the car hire companies in San Francisco there are. The Bay Area won't disappoint in that regard. Unlike other cities, you're likely to find the rates at the airports better than those in the city. It's also strongly recommended to book your rental car in advance to ensure you get the lowest rate possible. Remember, there is usually a sales and service tax (8.5%) to be paid as well.
Driving in : parking and other tips
The city centre of San Francisco is notoriously a nightmare the drive in. Hills, one-way streets, expensive car parks, parking officers keeping eagle eyes on the streets... The best is to park your car hire in San Francisco outside the city centre at a Park & Ride station and take a trolley or bus into the city. Apart from the price of parking, free spaces tend to be few and far between. Expect to pay $20-30/day to park downtown. Ideally your hotel will offer parking facilities to its guests, something you can arrange when you plan your trip and book your flights.
San Francisco is a city of hill. When parking, ALWAYS remember to use your parking break and to turn your vehicle's wheels so that the tires are against the side of the road and there is no risk of your car rolling away! If you're hoping to get away from the buzz of the city during your holiday in San Francisco, then you're definitely going to need a rental car.
Road trips from : what to do, what to see
Berkeley is a student town, home to the University of California. It's also one of the most liberal and progressive cities in the country, given its history in political activism over the last couple of decades. Have a look around, the city centre has some excellent restaurants as well. As for city sights, UC Berkeley tops the list followed by Berkeley Art Museum, Marina and History Centre.
Napa Valley is just a jump away, your ticket to tasting some of the best wines produced in the USA. In a day you can visit a number of wineries in California's Napa Valley. Just make sure you remember to designate a responsible driver! It takes a little more than an hour to get there, providing you don't run into city traffic on your way out.
If you head east for about 200 miles you'll reach one of the country's most famed national parks, Yosemite. While it makes an incredibly long day-trip it is definitely worth seeing if you've gone to the trouble of getting a cheap car rental in San Francisco. Don't miss the great hikes and the incredible Giant Sequoia trees!