On several occasions, we have heard about first-time visitors to San Francisco who land at SFO and head straight to rent a car. While this may not always be a bad decision, it probably is. Continue reading to determine if you are among the minority of people who need to rent a car for their entire stay.
If you are staying in the suburbs of the peninsula outside of downtown SF, renting a car might not be a terrible idea. This will enable you to explore smaller towns and travel to the city each day. However, the cost of doing so will add up since you will have to pay not only for rental fees but also for parking or driving around in search of a highly sought-after on-street spot. If you plan to stay downtown, which we assume you will do (because it is the best place to stay when in SF for pleasure), save yourself the trouble and money. It is not uncommon to pay $50 per night to park at a hotel. Additionally, the chances of you using the car after witnessing SF traffic are slim.
Nevertheless, if you plan to stay in the city and intend to take a day trip outside of San Francisco, check out our post on [insert post title] to save hundreds of dollars while exploring Marin Headlands, Point Reyes, Muir Woods, Pacifica, and other destinations.
If you are flying into the airport and need to get to downtown SF, there are affordable options to reach the city. You can take a quick trip on the BART system or book a direct ride with Uber. Check out our post on how to get there, as it may help you save the cost of renting a car from the airport and paying for hotel parking.
Navigating the city is easy and convenient by walking, public transit (which includes more than just cable cars), or Uber / Lyft.
Renting a car can be a good idea if you are staying downtown and planning a day trip through the Marin Headlands to Sausalito or Point Reyes to Drakes Beach. You can rent a car from various locations, including the SFO airport or San Francisco proper. However, we suggest using Bestway Limos instead of a standard car rental company.