Get me to San Jose
May 10, 2016 6:11 PM   Subscribe

Which is the most advisable method?

I'm going to a wedding in San Jose and I'm trying to figure out the best way to get there. I want it to be kind of an in-and-out affair (not looking to turn it into a long weekend or anything), but of course I'd like to keep costs down and use my time efficiently within those parameters. The wedding is late afternoon on a Sunday--I'm thinking of just getting up there Sunday morning and if possible I'd like to get back to LA Monday morning and not miss a day of work (or make it in by lunch), but I could potentially take the day off if I really needed to.

Closest airport to me is Burbank, and then LAX. I'll be using cc points if I take a flight, so it's not really THAT painful, but I'd like try and conserve them of course.

Options, based on plugging stuff in to the search engine on my cc rewards:

- 350 on united + 98 car rental
- 1 hr + driving from SFO to San Jose
- $448 total

- 224 on delta + 88 car rental
- + 80 shuttle to LAX (roundtrip)
- more convenient to wedding location
- $392 total

- 156 on virgin + 98 car rental
- 1 hr + driving from SFO to San Jose/and back
- + 80 shuttle to LAX (roundtrip)
- $334 total

- probably cheapest, and I COULD do it...but I don't know if I'm feeling a 10 hour roundtrip drive this time.

posted by sprezzy to Travel & Transportation around San Jose, CA (23 answers total)
Response by poster: Also wanted to clarify...I know the prices are pretty much there, but I'm not sure if the drive from SFO to San Jose is so annoying that it's worth it just to fly to San jose?
posted by sprezzy at 6:13 PM on May 10, 2016

The drive from SFO to San Jose is about an hour at the worst.
posted by destructive cactus at 6:17 PM on May 10, 2016

I've done the SFO to San Jose drive multiple times. Not annoying, especially when compared to SoCal traffic hell.
posted by Karaage at 6:21 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Fly to SJC. Traffic is enough of a consideration to make it worth it. When you also consider that it is SO much easier to do the actual getting into the airport, rental pickup/drop off, check in (especially if you are just doing carry on which for such a short trip I think you would be doing), security, etc at SJC, this is a no brainier.
posted by CoffeeHikeNapWine at 6:25 PM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

Are you considering flying back late Sunday night and if so do you want to drink at the reception? If you do, the safest option is to fly into SJC and plan on using a taxi/Uber/etc. to get to the reception and back. I'd personally pay a little extra and not have to worry too much about when I need to stop drinking in order to safely drive an hour to SFO after a long day.

The drive from San Jose to SFO isn't bad but an unexpected accident can throw a big wrench in plans, so if you're going that option, budget enough time for unexpected delays.
posted by Candleman at 6:33 PM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

I would definitely vote for SJC over SFO.

The drive from SFO would probably not be so bad on your leisurely Sunday morning, but if your plane is late and you're cutting it close to get to the wedding, or if you're heading back early Monday morning and get caught in traffic, etc., that would be no fun. Also, you'll be in town for such a short time that you probably don't want to spend an hour each way of that driving on the 101 (which is a fine freeway, but not super scenic).

As CoffeeHikeNapWine mentioned, SJC is also just a much nicer airport to deal with.

There's no BUR-SJC flight you could take?

I'd also skip the drive, as I-5 is also not that scenic, and it's a short trip anyway.

Have fun!
posted by bananacabana at 6:41 PM on May 10, 2016

Response by poster: Candleman--I was going to fly back early Monday morning (I don't drink, so that won't be an issue) mainly because I couldn't find flight options for redeyes and the wedding is at 6, so anything earlier is cutting it too close.

bananacabana-- Yeah, driving to San Jose Sunday morning should be no problem since I'd be getting in around 9 am and the wedding is so late, but it was the drive back to the airport Monday morning that made me anxious...
posted by sprezzy at 6:44 PM on May 10, 2016

Southwest has several flights daily.
American or Alaska Airlines may also.
posted by Rash at 6:47 PM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

Have you thought about BUR-OAK? Oakland is a super easy airport to deal with, is often cheaper than SJC or SFO, and if you're going to be renting a car anyways, you've pretty much eliminated the only downside to OAK. Traffic from OAK to the San Jose area isn't great, but it's usually better than the peninsula.
posted by susiswimmer at 6:48 PM on May 10, 2016

Response by poster: I forgot to add that BUR - SJC that I looked up was something in the realm of $500 for the times I wanted, which is why I cut it out of the running. I will keep checking it though!
posted by sprezzy at 6:48 PM on May 10, 2016

Note that Kayak does not include Southwest in its search results.
posted by Rash at 6:52 PM on May 10, 2016

How early is your flight out of SFO on Monday morning? If you'll be driving there before 6am, don't worry about traffic; but much later it's a huge hassle going north from San Jose in the morning. I agree that getting in to SFO at 9am will give you plenty of time to drive to an evening wedding in San Jose, even if there's an accident.
posted by serelliya at 6:59 PM on May 10, 2016

I'm sitting on a company coach during my 2-hour commute to Oakland from Cupertino, which is pretty much San Jose. It's 2 hours either way. Fly into SFO if you want, can't speak to that commute. But for the love of all that is convenient and calming, do NOT fly into Oakland. Great little airport but shitty commute.
posted by Bella Donna at 7:05 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Don't fly into SFO, it gets fog delays that Oakland and SJC don't get. You will be screwed on a morning flight.

I've done the drive and it's pretty easy. Can you bring a friend and do it road-trip style? More fun than solo.

I'd drive into SJO on Sunday, check into a motel, chill till the wedding, go, enjoy. Get a good night's sleep and hit the road at around 7:00 am. You'll coast into LA around noon, and you Won't have done a 10 hour drive all in one day.

I do a 10 hour drive pretty regularly. It's helped immensely by Husbunny reading to me while I drive. So books on tape can be fun. Stop in Button Willow! I remember when the only thing on 5 was a limeade stand in Button Willow.

With the time you spend getting to the airport and screwing with TSA, just drive.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:31 PM on May 10, 2016

Did you search on the Southwest website? There should be good BUR-SJC flights on Southwest.

I'm seeing flights with your rough schedule next month for under $250.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:43 PM on May 10, 2016

the drive back to the airport Monday morning that made me anxious...

Yeah, with good reason. Can you stay at the airport? E.g., I'm pretty sure there's a Marriott at OAK. You could probably find similar at SFO or SJC?
posted by salvia at 7:44 PM on May 10, 2016

Check Southwest Site directly. Your flight into SJC should be around $240.
posted by saradarlin at 8:12 PM on May 10, 2016

I see someone recommending the Caltrain from SFO to San Jose. Don't be tempted. The Caltrain isn't close to SFO, and so you need to get a BART to the Caltrain station - also, the schedules don't align that well, as evidenced by the time I trained down from SFO and took 3+ hours to get 40 miles or so, including the light rail at the other end.

Driving from SFO to San Jose is perfectly fine. Be aware the rentals are at the end of the light rail thing that runs around the airport and it's probably going to be half an hour before you pick up your car. Bay traffic is not awful on weekends and there are two routes down from SJC to San Jose - Waze, or similar, is your friend. Traffic on Monday morning will, however, be fun - you want to head out early to miss it if you're going to try that, plus rental car dropoff time.

SJC is a super fast airport to deal with in my experience. Uber will pick up from there, if it helps to know that - they have one designated pickup spot, though, so don't expect them to come straight to you wherever you happen to be.

I've also done the drive between LA and SJ one way - 7 hours or so, from memory. There's nothing remotely stressful about it, it's just dull. The I-5 is long, straight and boring.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 8:33 PM on May 10, 2016

Just want to add my voice to the chorus that you really want to check Southwest's site directly for a BUR-SJC. I've flown that route many times and it is soooo painless compared to the alternatives, especially if it's actually the most convenient for your locations. I will pay a lot extra to fly out of Burbank, in general.
posted by town of cats at 9:17 PM on May 10, 2016

Response by poster: For those saying southwest, I hadn't checked because I was hoping to use my chase ultimate rewards points on this flight and just used their search engine directly (which didn't show southwest flights). But it appears that there's a way to transfer the points to Southwest's program, so I'll look into that. If it doesn't work out, I might just save my points for future travel and book with southwest if it offers the best deal, so thanks for the multiple suggestions on that!

I've done the drive up several times, I just don't quite feel like dealing with it this time, but my mind might change. It would be hard to find a buddy, I think, because of the quick nature of the trip.

Thanks all for the suggestions so far!! They've been very helpful :) I'm leaning toward flying into SJC since that seems to be the way to go. And I love the Burbank airport so hard, I'll try to make that happen
posted by sprezzy at 9:33 PM on May 10, 2016

My company is based equally distant from SFO amd SJC and I always always always fly to SJC these days.

1. SFO often has delays especially in the morning and evening due to fog. I mean like 5+ hour delays. Not fun.

2. Getting to the car rental center at SFO can be an extra half hour depending on what terminal you are going through. In comparison, the SJC car rental terminal is directly across the street.

3. The SFO airport is just massive and annoying and takes too long for everything and involves too much stress compared to SJC.

4. The drive from SFO to San Jose sucks a lot certain times of day. Why bother if you just need to be in San Jose and SJC is super close?
posted by joan_holloway at 9:36 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

San Jose is one of the nicest, smallest easiest airports to land at, and I used to deliberately book there going in and out of the Bay Area. Burbank is the nicer of the two LA Airports for size, anyway, and it used to be cheap to go into Burbank.
posted by Oyéah at 9:49 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Driving up to either Oakland or SFO on Monday morning could be hell. If you're on a timeframe, fly into SJC, especially if you're trying to get to work the next day. Like other folks have said, SJC is MUCH smaller, less crowded and generally easier to deal with.
posted by cnc at 8:58 AM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

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