Catering for more than 84 million passengers in 2017, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is a huge airport, and statistically the world’s fifth busiest. In a city so vast and with so many attractions dotted around the region, renting a car is almost mandatory.
Often appearing as a backdrop in Hollywood movies, almost everyone has an image of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) – shimmering runways and palm trees to name a few. But LAX’s immense size is often overlooked; the world fifth busiest airport handles more than 84 million passengers a year of whom may of them will rent a car. Here are our tips on how to best navigate LAX’s car rental minefield.
On exiting the baggage reclaim area, look for the purple ‘Rental Car Shuttles’ signs featuring a car and a key that will lead you to the shuttles on the lower level of the main terminal. From there, it’s only a short ride to all the major car rental companies. It’s worth noting that many rental car companies in Los Angeles require drivers to be a minimum of 25 years old. Some companies place the minimum age lower, at 21, but you can expect to pay significantly higher rates.
To determine which rental car companies offer the best vehicles across our three categories (Most Affordable, Best for Luxury, Best for Minivans), TravelMag.com carefully conducted research on prices, availability, policies and customer reviews for each car rental company. Here are our findings:
Most affordable: Alamo
If you’re accustomed to renting in East Coast cities, you’ll appreciate the number of relatively cheap car rental options at LAX Airport. Alamo consistently has the most economical options with its Mitsubishi Mirage and its 5-seater Nissan Vera being rented out at around $150 per day in mid-August. For a few dollars more, the sportier and roomier Hyundai Elantra was also available.
It’s worth noting that all rental car companies listed at RentalCars are trustworthy, so it’s quite safe to just pick the lowest rental for your dates. However, we would recommend that you stick with a company that is located at the airport terminal of JFK Airport.
Best for luxury cars: Sixt
In a congested metropolis like Los Angeles, where sitting in dense traffic is part of the daily routine, having a comfortable and air-conditioned car is essential. Sixt offers a wide range of premium cars including the Mini Cooper, Audi A4 and A7 and several models from the excellent BMW series. For fans of American cars, Sixt offers the Jeep Grand Cherokee, a popular subcompact SUV while for sunnier days, you could rent out a convertible Ford Mustang Cabrio. Sixt also offers several perks with each reservation including third-party liability and free cancellation 48hr before the reservation if you have booked online.
Best for Minivans: National
Choosing a minivan to rent anywhere in the world depends a lot on how many you are, the volume of luggage and of course, the price. For smaller groups, we’d recommend National’s Ford F150 which, on our sample dates, was averaging $250 per day. For larger groups, National and Enterprise (which is part of the same group) has competitive rates on their 15-seater Ford Transit. If you regularly rent vehicles from National, you should join their Emerald Club program that rewards loyalty with free rentals and free upgrades.