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    Cheap car hire at San Diego Airport with Auto Europe

    As the historic site of California’s first settlement, San Diego has much to offer visitors. Nowadays, it is the famous state’s second largest city and it more than pulls its weight in terms of cultural attractions alongside its world-renowned neighbours, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Famously, San Diego Zoo is regarded by many as the best in the world, while the city itself is a patchwork of districts, each bursting with character. These range from historic, charming Old Town, the hippie hang-out Ocean Beach and the impressively up-and-coming areas of downtown, like North Park and Hillcrest, which boast inventive independent breweries, boutiques and eateries. A car hire from San Diego Airport allows easy access to everything the city has to offer, and beyond. Save money on car hire by taking advantage of Auto Europe’s strong links with suppliers, built up over 60 years in operation, and kickstart your dream road trip along the legendary Pacific Highway, in a vehicle that enhances this once in a lifetime experience. Visit our San Diego car hire reviews page to see the ratings and read the comments posted by other Auto Europe customers in the city.

    Airport Information

    San Diego International Airport (SAN)
    Official Name: San Diego International Airport. Previously known as Lindbergh Field.
    Website: San Diego Airport Website

    Terminal 1
    3665 N. Harbor Drive
    San Diego, CA 92101-1022

    Terminal 2
    3707 N. Harbor Drive
    San Diego, CA 92101-1040

    Commuter Terminal
    3225 N. Harbor Drive
    San Diego, CA 92101-1022

    IATA Code: SAN
    Location: The airport is 3 miles north-west of downtown San Diego.
    Airlines operating at San Diego Airport: 22 airlines operate at the airport, including British Airways and the largest American airlines, such as United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Airlines.
    Tel: +1 619 400 2404


    Formerly known as Lindbergh Field, San Diego International Airport is now the busiest USA airport that operates with a single runway. The airport has two terminals, both of which contain East and West wings. Terminal 1 serves mainly Southwest and Alaska Airlines, while all other airlines are found at Terminal 2.

    International arrivals are all handled at Terminal 2. Most check-in desks are found in the West wing of Terminal 2, although British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are at the East wing. The airport is open 24 hours, but departures are only operated between 6.30am and 11.30pm.

    San Diego Airport offers non-stop flights domestically across the USA and to Canada. For Central America, airlines fly direct to Los Cabos and Mexico City. Europe can be reached via Frankfurt, London and Zurich, with Asia connected by Tokyo.

    Car hire Pick up and Drop off

    There are a vast number of suppliers offering car hire at San Diego Airport, many of whom you can book with at cheap rates, through Auto Europe. All car hire companies are now situated in the new Rental Car Centre, easily accessed by shuttle bus from outside the airport terminal buildings. Be sure to remember your valid driving licence, voucher and the credit card with which you placed your booking. Please familiarise yourself with your rental policy, being aware of which insurance policy you have opted for and what this covers. Before departing, check your rental car for any minor damage and bring this to the attention of your supplier.

    Car hire desks opening hours

    Company Opening Hours
    Alamo 4am - 12am
    Avis Open 24/7
    Dollar Open 24/7
    Hertz Open 24/7
    National Open 24/7
    Thrifty Open 24/7

    Airport Facilities

    San Diego Airport offers plenty of amenities in the form of shops and restaurants, both local and nationwide. Free Wi-Fi is available in 2 hour blocks, with speeds that allow you to seamlessly stream film and TV content. 3 separate baby changing rooms are available, with 9 ATMs and a currency exchange. The airport offers a unique service called ‘Ready, Pet, Go’, which sees dogs and their handlers active throughout the terminal to aid with stress relief. Nervous flyers (or simply animal lovers!) can now seek comfort in a furry hug and wagging tail.

    Transportation / How to get to the airport

    By Car
    San Diego Airport is a mere 10 minute drive from the city centre, without traffic. From downtown, find North Harbor Drive and follow west past the Sheraton Hotel until you reach Terminal 2. If returning your car rental to San Diego Airport during rush hour, please allow additional time on account of busier roads. For more information about driving in the USA click here.

    To reach Los Angeles, drive north on the I-5, and you should reach downtown Los Angeles in 2 to 2.5 hours, if traffic conditions are good.

    By Bus and Taxi
    While the commuter ‘trolley’ (electric bus) does not serve the airport directly, there is a Terminal shuttle bus that departs from near the Middletown Transit Station. This station can be reached either by the Green line ‘trolley’, or 992 bus.

    Many taxi companies operate at San Diego Airport and can be found by following the signs to the Transportation Plazas. Ride-sharing companies offer a cheaper, viable means of transportation and are also located at the Transportation Plazas.

    Parking Tips

    There are plenty of options when it comes to parking in San Diego, with private parking lots dotted around the city. The price of parking does, however, vary greatly depending on location, with the most expensive parking spaces towards the centre of downtown San Diego and near the Convention Centre. Cheaper parking spaces can be found towards the outer edges of the city, for example close to the I-5 or the harbour.

    Metered parking in downtown areas tend to cost around $1/hour and meters must be obeyed between 8am and 6pm. Parking charges vary outside of these hours and on Sundays. San Diego Airport offers parking rates from around $13 per day, with varying options to choose from, including incrementally improved services per price bracket.

    Always pay attention to parking related signs in your chosen space. Different areas and streets have varying time restrictions and other limitations, and ignoring these rules can result in your car being towed.

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    Tourism Information