Getting from San Diego to LAX Cheap
January 13, 2012 7:53 AM   Subscribe

In mid April I will be in San Diego at a conference. After the conference I want to go up to LA for a few days. I am flying into San Diego but flying out from LA. So, I want to get from San Diego to LA as cheaply as possible. One way. I also want to get as close to LAX as possible to rent a car when I get up there.

I want to rent a car at LAX because that's where I will be flying out of. So, I was hoping the AskMetafilter hive mind could tell me, is there a bus or something like that that can take me?

I saw a bus line called LuxBus America that could actually pick me up at my hotel in San Diego and drop me off at a hotel near LAX. It's $68 one way (much less than the huge dropoff fee if I rent a car in San Diego, drive it to LA and drop it off at LAX).

Does anyone have any experience with this bus line? Or do you have any other suggestions (other than flying between San Diego and LAX --too expensive and too much trouble)? Cheap and safe are the operative words. Thanks.
posted by Taken Outtacontext to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you sure there is a huge drop off fee for renting in San Diego and dropping off in LA? I thought California was one of the only US states that didn't have such fees? I have picked up in San Francisco and dropped off with no penalty (although this was in 2006). I can't remember who I rented with, though I can check my records if you want.
posted by unlaced at 7:59 AM on January 13, 2012

Best answer: Amtrak from downtown SD to Union Station is $36 (2hr 40min), and you can then take the FlyAway bus from Union Station to LAX for $7 (30-50min).

I've never taken the bus, but the train trip is nice. Most of the trip to LA is along the coast, so you've got some gorgeous scenery to enjoy.
posted by natabat at 8:07 AM on January 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've used to rent a car in SD and drop off in San Francisco with only a $75 drop off charge.

You can take the Amtrak from San Diego to Union Station LA. $36. Takes 2.5 hours.

From Union station there is a bus that takes you to union station for $10.
posted by sandmanwv at 8:08 AM on January 13, 2012

Thirding Amtrak + bus as the easiest option (and given the vagaries of traffic, the transit time won't be much different).
posted by thomas j wise at 8:09 AM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Definitely take the Amtrack and then the FlyAway bus. My friends in San Diego take Amtrack at least once a week - it is safe and convenient.
posted by muddgirl at 8:19 AM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks. Looks like Amtrak.

unlaced, I thought there might not be a hefty dropoff charge because the base rate was nice and low for a one-way. I was surprised but then thought: oh, people must do this so often the car rental companies don't charge. But on closer inspection, when I clicked the "Show total price" button, that huge charge appeared. Truth in advertising? Ha.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 8:41 AM on January 13, 2012

My friends in San Diego take Amtrack at least once a week - it is safe and convenient.

And since it originates in SD, I would suspect that the trains are not prone to the delays which inevitably occur further up the line.
posted by Danf at 8:59 AM on January 13, 2012

I've taken Amtrak between SD and LA and it's quite lovely. On time, low hassle, plugs for your electronics. Goes right along the coast for much of it, so try to sit on the west side of the train if you want an ocean view.
posted by misskaz at 9:05 AM on January 13, 2012

I vote train too. The views from the west side of the car are amazing in north san Diego county. It runs west of the 5 part of the way through state beaches (no man made stuff crapping up the view of the ocean).
posted by just sayin at 11:29 AM on January 13, 2012

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