Why Travelers Love Airport Car Rental

airport car rental

Do you love airport car rental? If you answered yes, you’re in good company. According to a 2018 survey by J.D. Power, airport car rental has higher customer satisfaction scores than any other part of a typical trip. That’s right — people report that they have a better time with airport car rental than when they check into a hotel, book an airline flight, or spend any time in an airport. The reasons for this phenomenon are interesting.

Four Keys To Car Rental Success

J.D.Power ranks customer satisfaction on a scale from 0 to 1000. Satisfaction scores for airport car rental companies are now averaging 830 points. When asked to explain why renting a car at an airport gets higher marks than any other stage of a trip, J.D. Power pointed out four keys to success for car rental companies:

1.Lower Prices

Everyone loves a bargain. Consumers shop around endlessly for deals on hotels, airfare, vacation rentals, meals, and other details. Car rental companies have done a great job of keeping costs low without skimping on service.

Smart travelers often enjoy splurging on one aspect of their travel budget. Some might prefer to stay at a pricier hotel. Others like to eat in better restaurants when they’re traveling for business or pleasure. Money saved on one stage of the travel process allows you to spend more where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck.

In general, travelers see that they’re spending less on car rental than before, and understand that it frees up money to be used elsewhere. Saving money on car rental makes other parts of the trip more enjoyable, too.

2.Better Vehicles

On the whole, rental car companies have a better selection of cars than ever before. The cars aren’t simply newer or more expensive, either. Travelers of all types are able to find the correct vehicle for their needs at a price they can afford. This includes vehicles that were once hard to find, like vans and motor coaches.

In addition to more choices at traditional rental car companies, there are a lot of local car rental businesses that rent good quality used cars. For most travelers, saving a ton of money by renting a “daily driver” type car is a no-brainer. As long as the car is big enough, clean, and in good working order, most consumers are willing to overlook the facts it’s not brand new if they can save some money.

3.The Reservation Process

For a long time, car rental companies had a reputation for being hard to deal with. They were famous for complicated pricing structures and unreliable reservation policies. Frustrations with car rental even turned into situation comedy routines, like this one from Seinfeld:

According to the survey, those days are mostly over. The car rental process is much easier to manage these days. With the rise of the internet, customers could find out more about the deals they were making, and compare prices more easily.

Communication is better in general. Even the smallest independent auto rental agency usually has a full-service, interactive website. Nearly instant communication is possible using phone, fax, email, and various chat apps. Customers can also check online reviews to make a more informed choice.

Automation does help auto rental companies to keep track of their fleet of vehicles and their customers, but travelers mostly still prefer the personal touch. One of the most effective ways for car rental companies to increase customer satisfaction is to have a positive, personal interaction with the customer.

4.Mobile Apps

Smartphones are invaluable when you’re traveling. Making phone calls is only a small slice of their usefulness for a traveler, however. Smartphone apps can handle all sorts of important details of your trip, from making reservations to watching out for traffic jams.

Related: Check out our Ten Must-Have Travel Apps for Carefree Trips

The J.D. Power survey reported that travelers who use travel apps report much higher satisfaction than customers who do not. Using your smartphone for travel is smart!

The Two Big Car Rental Satisfaction Secrets

A spokesman for J.D. Power identified the two points that lead to customer satisfaction. First, customers want to know exactly what it costs to rent a car, and they want that information quick. That might explain why rental car services at the airport are so popular. If the rental counter is inside the terminal, you’re likely to pay more, but at least you can talk to a real person and ask questions.

If the company is located offsite, but offer picks up and drop offs at the airport, you can visit their website to find out what you’re paying before you plunk down your cash. Either way, pricing is transparent and easy to understand.

Secondly, how long it takes to actually get into the car is a big factor. While traditional car rental companies often have car rental counters in most airports, their parking lots can be quite a hike from the terminal. Car rental companies are doing a much better job at ferrying customers to their remote lots than in the past. In addition, many travel services now have remote check-ins, which moves things along. Many independent car rental agencies can’t afford a lot at the airport, but have pickup and drop off service. In some cases, this is even faster than airport counter service.

More Ways To Pay

New payment methods for car rental are growing in popularity. This also could have an effect on customer satisfaction. It used to be nearly impossible to rent a car without using a major credit card with a very high limit. That’s changing rapidly. Many traditional car rental companies now accept additional forms of payment. In addition, there are many smaller, independent car rental agencies that accept non-standard payment methods like debit cards, gift cards, and cash deposits.

See also: How To Rent a Car Without a Credit Card

More Availability

In the recent past, many car rental companies had strict rules for the age of the customer, the type of payment used, credit scores, and other details. This is also changing. Young drivers, consumers with bad or no credit, international travelers, and people with other unusual circumstances can usually find a car rental company that will work with them to get them into a car. This might also be having an effect on customer satisfaction in the auto rental industry. The fastest way to a customer’s heart is to make reasonable adjustments to your rental policies to make sure that if you want to rent a car, you can.

For more information about airport car rental in Los Angeles, contact Value Rental Car. They have convenient locations near LAX, and in Pasadena. 

6 Big Reasons To Rent a Car When You’re on Vacation

renting a car in los angeles

Choosing the right kind of transportation is one of the most important ways to make a vacation more enjoyable. It’s common to obsess about where you’re going, the hotels you’ll stay at, the restaurants you’ll eat in, and numerous other details. That’s because everyone wants their vacation to be memorable. However, even the smartest travelers often overlook the most fundamental detail of their trip: How are you going to get from point A to Point B once you arrive at your vacation destination? While it’s often possible to get around using public transit, ride-hailing apps, cabs, and shuttle buses, smart travelers rent a car when they’re on vacation. Here are six big reasons why renting a car for a vacation is the smart move:

You’ll Save Time

save time by renting a car in los angeles

Your airline has a schedule. Hotels have check in and check out times. Your vacation has a start and end date. You use these times to plan your whole vacation, and each individual day of your vacation. For the most part, you can rely on these times and dates without exception. That’s not true with many forms of ground transportation.

Public transportation has their own schedule. That schedule is unlikely to be based on your convenience. If you’re relying on buses, trams, trains, or subways to get around, you might find you spend as much time waiting around as getting around. And when that waiting is over, you’ll still be traveling slowly. Public transportation rarely offers the direct route to where you’re going. That means lots of intermediate stops and transfers.

No Waiting Around

renting a car in los angeles instead of subway

Cab rides and car hailing services are more flexible than subway schedules, but you’ll still spend plenty of time waiting for someone to come and pick you up. Taxi services are notorious for making potential customers wait around. Trying to hail a cab in the street is even more unreliable. Ride-hailing apps have put a lot of pressure on cab companies, but this hasn’t really helped the riding public. There are fewer “gypsy” cabs than ever, and finding one in a hurry can be a frustrating chore.

Ride-hailing apps promised an improvement over regular cab services, but they’re iffy when you’re in a hurry in an unfamiliar place. Busy travel times make private car services nearly unavailable at certain hours. Surge pricing can make you blow your ground transportation budget in one shot, because you don’t know the price until you really need a ride.

If you rent a car, it’s always outside your hotel, waiting to go wherever you want, whenever you want to go.If you’re going on a vacation to a destination like Disneyland, you’ll wait in plenty of lines. It’s silly to rely on public transportation that adds more lines to your days off. Renting a car in Los Angeles and driving to and from Disney is the smart way to get there and back.

You Can Really Go Exploring

go exploring by renting a car in los angeles

If you’re on public transportation, you can’t tell the driver to go down a side street. Buses, trams, trolleys, and subways go where they go, and can’t go anywhere else. Ride hailing apps won’t help you much, either. You have to have a destination specified to get a ride, and the driver won’t be able to accommodate much in the way of detours. And riding around in a cab with the meter running isn’t anyone’s idea of relaxation.

The best vacations have a sense of adventure thrown in. It’s fun to poke around a city to really get a sense of what like is like. If your trip is limited to your hotel, public transportation, and pre-planned destinations, it can feel really artificial. One city looks much like any other from inside an hotel room or inside a cab. Renting a car and exploring is a great way to make a humdrum vacation into something more memorable.

Save On Group Transportation

save money on group fares by renting a car in los angeles

If you’re a business traveler, you’re almost always traveling alone. You’re on a mission, and you’re unlikely to take many detours. Airline, ground transfer, hotel, meeting room, ground transport, and back to the airline. Vacationers have different needs. One of the most fundamental differences is how many people are involved.

If you’re bringing another person with you on vacation, or an entire family or other large group, your itinerary and transportation needs change dramatically. Most ride sharing services severely limit the number of people who can share a car ride, and cabs aren’t much better. Public transportation costs for groups can really add up, too. If you’re traveling in a group, renting a car can end up being a lot cheaper than public transportation or taxi service, and lots more convenient.

Comfort and Safety

stay safe by renting a car in los angeles

Piloting your own car around a city is infinitely more comfortable than riding on public transportation.  Traveling with children on a subway can be nerve-wracking, and it could spoil an otherwise pleasant trip. If you have your own rental car, everyone can ride in comfort, and you can choose what radio station you listen to. You can snack as you drive, and little ones can amuse themselves with smartphones and tablets.

It’s a lot safer to rent a car, too, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar place. Thieves target travelers on subway platforms and at other transportation hubs. If you miss a connection, you could find yourself on a lonely platform in a dangerous neighborhood. Having a rental car makes it easy to get to and from your destinations at any time of the day or night. It’s also safer for you, your family, and your belongings. You can lock all your doors with a touch of a button.

Stop Lugging Your Luggage Around

rent a car in los angeles to safely carry luggage

It cost money to take an extra piece of luggage with you onto a plane. The cost and annoyance of luggage doesn’t stop there. It can be a real hassle to lug your luggage with you everywhere you go when you’re on vacation. Wrangling your luggage onto public transportation can be a nightmare. Taxis have limited room for your stuff, and ride-hailing services really don’t like to handle any bags.

If you rent a car while you’re on vacation, you can take all or part of your luggage along while you travel from place to place. You’ll never have to leave one member of your party alone to “guard” your luggage while you make other arrangements. Bus stations, train stations, and other forms of public transportation have luggage checks, but they’re expensive, and not always convenient or reliable. If you have a rental car, you can lock up your valuables in the trunk and be sure you’ll find them when you get back. You’ll also enjoy a more carefree vacation if you’re not constantly worrying about your bags.

6 big reasons to rent a car when you're on vacation rentavaluecar.com

Renting a car in Los Angeles or Pasadena?

If you’re vacationing anywhere in the Los Angeles or Pasadena area, make your trip carefree with a car rental from Value Rental Car. You’ll save money, time, and aggravation!

Five Fun Ways To Spend a Rainy Day in Los Angeles

rainy los angeles car rental companies that accept cash deposits

When a typical traveler describes their perfect trip to Los Angeles, it usually begins and ends with a lot of sun and fun. That’s perfectly natural. Southern California is blessed with abundant sunshine, warm temperatures, iconic beaches, and interesting local landmarks. However, no matter what the songs says, it does occasionally rain in southern California. And when it does rain, it really pours.

Not to worry. Even though Los Angeles is fantastic in the sunshine, it’s also a lot of fun when it rains. You just have to think outside the box a little. Our company is one of the few car rental companies that accept cash deposits in the Los Angeles area. That means we get a lot of customers who are traveling on short notice and on a tight budget. We’re often asked to suggest interesting excursions in the area. Of course the usual destinations like Disneyland and the beach are great if the weather is balmy. Standing in line at Space Mountain in the rain isn’t nearly as much fun, however.

For those few days a year when the sunshine is taking a day off, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular ways to spend a rainy day in Los Angeles. Even if you already have destinations in mind for your time in Los Angeles, it’s great to have a fallback itinerary if the weather turns sour on you. What’s more, these rainy day attractions are so much fun, you might count yourself lucky if the rain  lasts for several days so you can try them all!

See a Movie, the Hollywood Way

It’s a blast to visit Mann’s Chinese theater in Hollywood. You can wander around the open sidewalk/courtyard out front and see the handprints and footprints of your favorite movie stars embedded in the concrete slabs. It’s an especially great excursion for a family on a budget, because it’s free. It’s not nearly as enjoyable if the footprints are full of rainwater, however.

If showers spoil your trip to the Chinese, you can still walk across the street to the El Capitan Theatre and take in a movie in old Hollywood style. Seeing a movie at the El Capitan is nothing like going to a bland stripmall movie house. The El Capitan was purchased and restored by Disney, and it’s a magnificent example of the exotic architectural style that makes old Los Angeles so interesting.

The exterior of the El Capitan is Spanish Colonial, with an exotic, East Indian interior that really pops. The theater was originally built in 1926 to host live theater performances. During the 1940s, it was converted to a movie house. It was completely restored in 1989 by the Disney Company, and it shows only Disney films. That makes it a great destination for a rainy afternoon with kids of any age.

The entertainment doesn’t end with a great movie experience. There’s a great pre-movie show, which might include live vaudeville-style acts or singing and dancing. There’s also music performed on the giant Wurlitzer pipe organ before the movies start.

The El Capitan is popular rain or shine, but it’s especially hard to get a ticket on a rainy day. You can check online for shows, or call their box office for more info.

The El Capitan Theatre

Indoor Speed Karting

Rainy days in Los Angeles don’t have to be dreary. If you’re going to be stuck indoors, why not get stuck behind the wheel of a super-fast, zero-emission go cart? K1 Speed Indoor Karting in Torrance is handy to West Los Angeles, and it’s fun for adults as well as larger (over 4′-10″) children.

K1 is part of a national chain of cutting-edge kart racing tracks, so there’s no rundown amusement park vibe. The tracks are challenging, and the karts are very fast.

The hairpin turns and fast speeds aren’t really suited to meek drivers. There’s a real competitive vibe to the action that resembles real racing more than leisurely bumper car action. K1 Kart Racing is especially good for parties.

K1 Speed Indoor Karting

Watch a TV Show Being Taped

Want to see a celebrity while you’re in Hollywood? Good luck. It’s getting harder and harder to spot movie stars out and about in the city. It’s nearly impossible on a rainy day. However, if you want to get up close and personal with your favorite stars on a rainy day, why not visit them while they’re working?

Lots of TV sitcoms, talk shows, game shows, and other serialized programs are taped in Los Angeles. If you’re willing to be flexible, you can find one nearly every day of the week, every month of the year. It’s a great way to spend a drizzly afternoon, and best of all, it’s almost always free.

Just because it’s free doesn’t mean you won’t need tickets, however. Look around online for websites like TVTickets.com to find something that you’d find interesting that’s taping that day. Unlike watching your favorite shows on your television, who taping often includes personal interactions with the show’s performers before, during, or after the taping.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a half-hour show takes a half-hour to tape. Be prepared to spend four hours  or more at the venue.

Visit Madame Tussaud’s in Hollywood

Back in the day, Madame Tussauds had a cheesy but likeable vibe. The wax statues of sort-of-celebrities weren’t very lifelike, and the surroundings reminded most visitors of a cheap carnival, not a museum. The wax effigy business has come a long way in the last decades, and Madame Tussauds has reinvented itself as a much more interesting and lively destination.

Unlike most museums, Tussauds is geared more to popular taste than strictly intellectual displays. The incredibly lifelike wax figures are chosen from the ranks of celebrity for the most part. That means you’ll see replicas of people you’d like to meet. It’s great fun to take a selfie with an uncannily lifelike statue of your favorite singer, actor, or other personality. As interactive entertainment goes, it’s as close to hanging around in the Green Room of a TV talk show as you’re likely to get. It’s a great way to spend a rainy afternoon without spending a bundle, or driving all over town. Smart visitors book online to get discounts.

Madame Tussauds Hollywood

Roll On Over to the Petersen Automotive Museum

Car rental companies that accept cash deposits like we do are naturally partial to all things automotive. Los Angeles is famous for its car culture, and the Petersen Museum might just be the greatest car museum in the country. The spiffy new buildings looks like it’s moving at high speed itself, and has won several design awards. Inside, the museum features more than 100,000 square feet of fascinating displays. There’s something for every age and taste, with Disney/Pixar CARS sitting next to fascinating examples of concept and art cars.

Unlike most automotive museums, the Petersen is anything but sedate. There are many interactive exhibits, including driving simulators that put you behind the virtual wheel of the fastest cars on the planet.

The Petersen Automotive Museum

10 Fun Ways To Spend a Rainy Day in L.A. from rentavaluecar.com

Affordable Cash Deposit Car Rental in Los Angeles

Remember, car rental companies that accept cash deposits are hard to find. Get great rates on your next rental in the greater Los Angeles area by contacting Value Rental Car, with convenient locations in Los Angeles and Pasadena.

Moving to Los Angeles? The Insider’s Guide to L.A. Neighborhoods

car hire los angeles neighborhoodsAre you thinking of moving to Los Angeles? You’re not alone. Los Angeles is booming. People are moving to the greater Los Angeles area from all over the country, and the world. Los Angeles is now home to almost 4 million people. That makes it the second-most populous city in the country, after New York City.

Los Angeles has been featured in countless movies and television shows. That can make it seem instantly recognizable to new visitors. However, once you make it out of the airport, take care of car hire, and start tooling around, you quickly realize that Los Angeles is huge. Greater Los Angeles is the largest part of Los Angeles County, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country. More than 10 million people call Los Angeles County home. To put it in perspective, the population of Los Angeles County is larger than 41 different states. And at over 4,000 square miles, Los Angeles County is larger than Delaware and Rhode Island put together.

The size of greater Los Angeles can be daunting for newcomers looking for a place to live. The city has many miles of big freeways connecting all its neighborhoods, but heavy traffic can make Pasadena seem a thousand miles away from Hollywood.

That’s why new arrivals to greater Los Angeles should shop around for a neighborhood in Los Angeles that suits their age bracket, their lifestyle, and their budget. In some ways, Los Angeles is more like a cluster of small towns than a big city, so it’s smart to choose your location wisely. You’ll probably spend most of your time close to where you live.

What To Look for in a Los Angeles Neighborhood

Public transportation is improving in Los Angeles, but you’ll soon discover that everyone drives everywhere in Los Angeles. Unless you want to be isolated in a very small footprint of the city, car hire is the smart way to see the sights, and check out the various neighborhoods. Here are some of the more important things to look out for as you’re checking out potential neighborhoods:


Since cars are an integral part of the Los Angeles lifestyle, you’ll want to keep parking in the front of your mind while searching for a place to live. It used to be fairly easy to find parking in almost any area of the city, but those days are long gone. Compared to a place like New York City, it’s still easy to find a place to park, but free parking is getting rare. If you’re shopping for a house or apartment anywhere in the city, it’s smart to ask about parking first.


Los Angeles is a great place to raise kids. There’s a lot of activities for children of all ages, and playgrounds are usually easy to find. That being said, some neighborhoods are predominately older, or cater more to young, single people. That can make finding nearby friends for you and your children more difficult. If you want to avoid long trips in the car for everything to do with your kids, choose a kid-friendly neighborhood. And don’t forget to check out the rankings of the local schools  before plunking down a deposit.

Night and Day Differences

Some areas of Los Angeles have a totally different vibe when the sun goes down. Some commercial-centric areas are ghost towns after dark. Other neighborhoods really hop after nightfall, but seem sleepy during the day. Make sure to visit potential neighborhoods at night as well as during the daytime to get a true picture of the area.

Keep Your Friends Close

If you’re moving to Los Angeles on the recommendation of a friend who already live there, you might want to look nearby for a place to live. If your only friends in the city live in the Valley, and you live in Long Beach, you may not get to see each other very often.

Check That Commute

If you’ve already got a job lined up, make sure to check that commute. Don’t rely on the number of miles on a map to see how far you are from work. Rush hour traffic can turn a few miles into a big expedition. Try different routes to make sure you can get to work in a reasonable amount of time.

The Skinny on Los Angeles Neighborhoods

With these details in mind, let’s take a look at a selection of the most popular neighborhoods and see how they stack up:


If you’re a committed urbanite, Downtown L.A. might be your only chance to find anything that looks like a city in Los Angeles. Even Downtown isn’t a single place. It’s a series of loosely connected neighborhoods like:

  • Arts District
  • Chinatown
  • Civic Center
  • Fashion District
  • Flower District
  • Little Tokyo
  • South Park
  • Wholesale District
  • Olvera Street
  • Gallery Row
  • Bunker Hill

Each of these little niche neighborhoods has something to offer. If you’re used to city living, and like to walk instead of drive, Downtown L.A. might be for you. Art lovers flock to the area. Keep in mind that there isn’t a lot of green space anywhere, and some of these areas can be potentially dangerous at night. If you’re a young urban hipster, Downtown fits the bill.


Hollywood isn’t for everyone. It’s one of those neighborhoods where there’s less than what meets the eye. On the surface, there’s a lot of familiar landmarks like the Walk of Stars and the Chinese Theater. Once you’re done trying to catch a glimpse of a celebrity, the area takes on a whole different feel. Hollywood still has lots of little bungalows and cottages that used to be quite common in Los Angeles. Small houses and apartments suit the population, who are generally more likely to be young and single than in other neighborhoods. There’s plenty of nightlife, and foodies won’t be disappointed, but traffic can be a bear, and there isn’t much to attract families. Crime is also higher here than in some of the sleepier areas of the city.

Hancock Park

Hancock Park had dreary beginnings. It was once covered with nothing but oil derricks, when Los Angeles was still a big oil producer. Luckily, when the oil ran out, the owners of the land decided to parcel it off as single family homes. A lot of the charming Mediterranean style homes still stand in Hancock Park, and the streets are very walkable. The area is fairly pricey, and the residents prefer a quieter lifestyle than other neighborhoods in the city.

Hancock Park is centrally located, which can be good and bad. While you’re close to many other areas of the city, commuters can make rush hour challenging when they cut across city streets to get home faster.

Beverly Hills/Brentwood

If you’d like to live in Los Angeles while having next to nothing to do with the city, these neighborhoods are for you. They’re immaculate, crime-free, with easy parking, tree-lined streets, and beautiful homes. They’re also some of the most expensive real estate on the West Coast. Beverly Hills has some interesting retail, and both areas have a few well-regarded restaurants. But if you’re looking for nightlife, or even everyday services like supermarkets, car hire, cleaners, etc., these tony suburbs might not be for you.

Miracle Mile

The Miracle Mile in West Los Angeles is a great neighborhood if you’re raising a family, or for people who prefer a slightly more sedate lifestyle. The neighborhood is close to the freeways, but it quiet and walkable. The housing stock is still mostly 1920s and 1930 bungalows, along with duplexes and some small apartment buildings. Many houses have usable yards, a rarity in many Los Angeles areas. Streets and sidewalks allow long walks with nice streetscapes.

The Miracle Mile might be too boring for young singles. It’s very quiet at night, which can make pedestrians nervous after dark.

Echo Park/Silver Lake

If you want to live on the East Side of L.A., the trendy areas of Silver Lake and Echo Park might suit you. Sometimes called the Williamsburg of the West Coast, Echo Park is more affordable than a lot of neighborhoods in the West Side. It has a diverse, artistic, edgy sort of vibe that young singles like. Some areas in Echo Park and nearby Silver Lake seem like the boonies compared to all the pavement west of there. Parking is a challenge, day or night, and there’s more crime than some other areas. The young-ish population churns regularly, so there’s less of a sense of community than in some other areas of the city.

Culver City/West LA

Culver City is home the movie business in Los Angeles, but you’d never know it. Movies get made in nondescript soundstages that look like big warehouses, after all. Culver City has more than its share of big, bland commercial buildings mixed in with move studios. The area is enjoying something of a renaissance, however, so you’re just as likely to find a good restaurant in West LA as anywhere else in the city. Young singles are making their way into the area in greater numbers now, but Culver City and West LA continues to be a great place to raise a family. It’s right in the heart of the city, so traffic is a bear, however. If you’re flying in to the city, LAX is very close, so a car hire and a short trip is all you need to look around the area.

West Hollywood

West Hollywood is not quite like any of its surrounding neighbors. It’s not nearly as upscale as Beverly Hills, exciting as Hollywood, family-friendly as the Miracle Mile, or scenic as the Laurel Canyon area. It’s a great place to live if you want to live right in the heart of L.A., like to bike or walk, and want easy access to shops and stores. The area is filled with substantial apartment blocks, so finding a place isn’t that hard. Finding a parking spot is nearly impossible, though. It’s a noisy place at night, too.


Westwood is home to UCLA, which gives it a different feel than nearby Beverly Hills and Bel Air. It’s a great neighborhood for students and families. There’s lots to do in Westwood Village, and the beaches are close by. There are excellent public schools in the area, and it’s well kept and very walkable. Parking can be a problem, however.


Like many of the “neighborhoods” on this list, Venice is its own city with its own set of mini neighborhoods. It was always a funky place. It was founded in the early 20th century as the Venice of America, and you can still see the canals that wend their way through some of its neighborhoods. For decades, funky equaled seedy, and the area was considered quite downscale. That’s changed, and Venice is now one of the hottest real estate markets in Los Angeles County. Despite its upscale makeover, it’s still a charming place with a big oceanside boardwalk, funky shops, art galleries, and eateries. Residents seem to stick in Venice, so it has more of a sense of community than some other areas. Houses and apartments are usually small and expensive, and commutes anywhere inland can be challenging. There’s more crime than some other areas, too.

The Insider’s Guide to L.A. Neighborhoods rentavaluecar.com

Affordable Car Hire for Los Angeles

Remember, for great rates on car hire in the greater Los Angeles area, contact Value Rental Car, with convenient locations in Los Angeles and Pasadena.

How To Find Great Value Car Rental Services in Europe

value car rental europe

Smart consumers know that value for your dollar is more important than low prices. It doesn’t matter how low the price is if the product isn’t what you expected. This is especially true for car rental. A few online comparison websites dominate car rental, hotel booking, and other travel services. Unfortunately, these big booking apps don’t have anything to do with actually renting cars to customers. They simply act as middlemen. This creates an incentive for car rental companies to bid against each other to seem lower than the others. But the lowest price rarely means that you’ll get great value car rental for your money. This is especially true if you’re trying to rent a car for a European trip.

Renting a Car in Europe Is Different

If you’re used to arranging transportation and lodging in the United States, you might be surprised the first time you try to book the same services in Europe. While the same travel apps might work on your phone, the information you get might not result in the same level of service you receive in the US. And while many of the countries in Europe are part of the E.U., that doesn’t mean that the rules of the road, or local laws about driving or renting a car will be the same from country to country.

Driver’s Licenses for Car Rental

In most European countries, an American or Canadian driver’s license is all you need to rent a car and drive it. However, you should consider your driver’s license as a sort of add-on to your main form of identification, your passport. While that’s all you need in most places, it’s still smart to get an International Driving Permit as well.

Getting an International Driving Permit (IDP) is a lot easier than its official name suggests. All an IDP represents is an accurate translation of your driver’s license into the format that’s familiar overseas. If you’re a member of AAA, you can go to one of their many offices with two passport-sized photos and they’ll make you an IDP for as low as $20. Even though it’s easy to get an IDP, it’s a serious form of identification while traveling. The document is ultimately regulated by the US State Department. In many ways, it’s a much better form of identification than a state-issued driver’s license when you’re abroad.

Where an IDP Is Required

It can be difficult to nail down exactly where you need an IDP  to drive in Europe. There is all sorts of conflicting advice on the Internet. This advice is often made even more confusing by language barriers during translation. It’s true that you may never be asked for a copy of your IDP while renting a car or driving in Europe. That doesn’t mean you might not need it in a pinch. Some countries technically require that you carry one, even though no one seems to ask for one for day-to-day transactions. These include many Eastern European countries like Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, but also a few large western European countries like Spain. If you’re involved in a car accident, for instance, and you don’t have one, you might have a very hard time with the local police.

Different Countries, Different Rules

Americans travel freely from state to state, and for the most part, you can expect the same kinds of laws and customs wherever you go. While the European Union is similar, the individual countries in it are still very different, and it can be disorienting to travel from one to the next.

For instance, finding a great value car rental in one country doesn’t mean it’s a great value everywhere. If you pick up a rental car in one country, you might find that it’s nearly impossible to drop it off in another country. It doesn’t matter that the car rental company is the same in both places. Local laws apply.

Daily Rental Is More Than Just an Expression

In general, car rental contracts are charged in 24-hour periods. In Europe, the times for pickup and dropoff are closely measured. If you’re only a few minutes late, you might find yourself paying for a whole day anyway.

To guard against extra charges, never schedule your pickup any earlier than you really need it. That way, you’ll enjoy a later drop off time to go with your later pick up time. Some European car rental companies allow you to drop off your car after hours. They have a drop box for car keys for your convenience. However, be careful how this service is set up. In some places, you won’t get credit for dropping off your rental car until the business opens up in the morning and processes your return.

It’s Cheaper Away From Major Travel Hubs

If you’re trying to get value car rental for your money, avoid renting at airports and other major travel hubs. It’s cheaper to rent from car rental company locations in smaller cities and towns. Public transit is much better in Europe than in most parts of America. That makes it possible to take a bus or train from the airport to your destination, then rent a car there.

Be aware, however, that European businesses are much less likely to be open late or available seven days a week. In some countries, businesses are closed for long periods at midday. It can be hard to find open businesses on weekends as well. Many countries celebrate holidays you’ve never heard of, so it pays to phone ahead and ask.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

In America, it’s considered an upgrade to get a bigger, fancier car for the same rate as an economy model. That’s not always true when renting a car in Europe. European roads, especially in old cities, can be very narrow. Parking is almost always harder than in the states. It can be nearly impossible to find inexpensive parking in a city center for a full-sized sedan.

Can You Drive a Stick Shift Rental Car?

Americans might also be surprised to find out how many European rental cars come with a stick shift. Fuel is more expensive in Europe, and stick shift cars get better mileage, which makes them more common overseas. If you’re not able to drive a stick shift, make sure you specify an automatic when you’re making your reservation. Automatics aren’t “automatic” over there.

One more thing about driving a stick shift. Even if you’re able to drive stick, you might find it nearly impossible in countries like Great Britain where the driver sits on the right-hand side of the car, and operates the shift with the left hand.

Fees Can Take a Big Bite

In some ways, European car rental has more options than in the United States. It’s possible to customize your rental arrangements more closely than with American car rental contracts. There are more types of cars, and more ways to pay. However, this versatility can come at a price. European car rental companies rely on fees to keep their contracts profitable than in the United States. Not all of those fees will be obvious.

To avoid big surprises, it’s smart to plan ahead. Getting true value car rental in Europe is easiest if you specify the details of your trip well in advance. Planning ahead means fewer surprises. Fewer surprises means fewer add-ons and fees that make the costs pile up. One more thing: it’s smart to pay for your car rental before you make your trip. You can avoid paying poor currency conversion rates when you try to change your American dollars for foreign currency on the spot.

(For more information, check out the Value Rental Car Pinterest page for Car Rental in Other Countries)

Remember, for the ultimate in convenience for car rental in the Los Angeles and Pasadena area, rely on Value Rental Car for the best rates on the best cars.

How To Get the Best Deals When You Rent a Car!

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Consumers rent a car for many different reasons. If your daily driver is in the shop for repairs that take more than a few hours, a rental car can avoid a major inconvenience. If your regular car is a compact, you can rent a larger car or van when you have a big crowd to transport. Business travelers love to rent a car for convenience and security. Vacationers like the freedom that a rental car affords. Because of all the benefits of renting a car, pretty much everyone does at one time or another. However, if you only rent cars infrequently, the number of rental car offers can seem pretty bewildering. We’ve compiled a list of handy tips to make it easier to shop for a great price on a car rental.

Beware Price Comparison Websites

Consumers mostly rely on internet searches to find deals on most everything from everyday shopping to vacation getaways. It’s also a popular way to search for car rental deals. Price-conscious shoppers are often surprised to find out that the best deals don’t always appear on price comparison websites.

You Don’t Reserve a Car. You Reserve a Rate

The real problem you’ll face if you deal only with price comparison websites is that they don’t actually have anything to do with renting cars. A price comparison and booking app on your phone is simply a go-between for car rental companies and potential customers. Even though it can appear that you’re dealing with an online company when you’re making your reservations, eventually you have to directly deal with the actual rental car agency, and the price, fees, rules, and even the availability of a car might not match what was understood when you made your reservations online.

It’s especially dangerous to rely on internet go-between apps for car rental when you’re far away from home, and you’re depending on the agency to honor the deal an internet aggregator quoted. Some travelers arrive at the rental counter only to find out that only the rate was guaranteed. There was no guarantee that a car would be available to take advantage of that rate, however. (Related: read our previous advice on what to do when your hotel, auto rental company, airline overbooks).

Ask About Car Rental Fees

Price comparison apps and websites basically spit out a number when you search for car rentals. That number is often massaged to make it appear as low as possible. The car rental companies advertise the lowest rates they have, but they count on upselling and add-on fees to make money.

Smart price shoppers inquire about additional fees and needed services before plunking down their credit cards on an auto rental. Many car rental companies charge hefty premiums for young drivers. They also charge more for multiple drivers, necessary insurance, and even filling up the gas tank when you return the car. It’s important to find out an accurate rate for all the services you require on a car rental to make an informed choice. Fee structures at the major car rental agencies make that very difficult on price comparison websites.

This video clip from the Today show has a good rundown on assorted car rental fees:

Try Independent Rent a Car Companies

Price comparison websites might seem like they’re cutting edge, but in many ways they’re stuck in the past. They usually only feature a few of the largest car rental agencies in the country. Just a few years ago, there really weren’t that many companies for car rentals. In the last two decades, the number has exploded. If you rely only on price comparison apps to find car rental companies, you’re probably missing out on the large majority of choices.

For example, if you want to rent a car in Pasadena CA, or anywhere in greater Los Angeles, the most recent US Census survey found 163 car rental establishments to choose from. That’s an astonishing amount of choice for consumers. Only a small fraction of these car rental companies can be found on the largest online aggregators.

US Census rent a car in pasadena ca or los angeles

Avoid a Rush

Many hotel and airline booking aggregators specialize in last-minute deals on travel. If you’re willing to travel on a moment’s notice, many carriers and lodging chains will offer you great rates to fill a room or plane seat that would otherwise go empty. That approach doesn’t work well for car rental, however.

Car rental companies give the best rates to customers who book ahead, and who rent for the longest terms. They try to balance the number of cars they have with the number of renters they expect to serve. That’s not a recipe for great rates or even availability when you try to rent a car at the last minute. Shop ahead to get the best rates.

Check Your Insurance Carefully

Most drivers who own their own car have a lot of automobile insurance. That insurance usually covers the drive when they rent a car for business or pleasure. There are also a handful of other ways to cover your liability when you drive a rental car. Some credit cards have insurance benefits attached to their terms that also apply to car rental. As an added bonus, you may also qualify for some discounts depending on which card you use.

These types of insurance benefits should be considered carefully when you rent a car, minivan, or truck. While it’s always good to qualify for coverage at no extra cost, you need to make sure that your insurance is comprehensive enough to cover your potential liability. This is especially true if you rent a car in another country, where the terms of your policies might become murky. When in doubt, it’s easy and free to contact your insurance company and ask for guidance.

Don’t Rent More Car Than You Need

When you’re checking your insurance for renting a car, make sure you accurately identify the type of car you’ll be renting. Sometimes it’s fun to splurge on an exotic car rental, or more convenient to rent a bigger car or truck than you regularly drive. However, you may be in for a nasty surprise when you find out that the liability limits you’re paying for on your tiny subcompact don’t measure up to the potential losses when you wreck a rented sports car.

In every case, you’ll save the most money when you rent only as much car as you need. The rates for simple, small cars are lower, and you’ll avoid a lot of added fees.

Rent A Car in Pasadena CA, and Los Angeles

Rely on Value Rental Car for great prices and service for car rental in Pasadena CA and Los Angeles. Free pickup and drop off service within 7 miles of their locations, including LAX airport!

Discover Lost L.A. at These Historic Los Angeles Restaurants

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The city of Los Angeles is fairly old, but it doesn’t always seem that way. Its history goes way back to 1781, when 44 settlers came to the area with Father Junipero Serra and named the place, “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula.” The City of Angels as we now know it wasn’t incorporated until 1850, however, and today a lot of Los Angeles looks like it was built so recently that the paint might still be wet.

Constant real estate churn and a fetish for modernity is a hallmark of California in general, and Los Angeles in particular. That makes landmarks disappear pretty quickly as new ones are established. It also makes Los Angeles seem sort of timeless.  Our customers rely on us for car rental near Disneyland, and they often ask us to suggest historical landmarks of interest in the area. It’s fun to see how a city has grown over the years, and Los Angeles has a lot of points of interest that are worth a visit.

Perhaps one of the best time machines to discover the real Los Angeles are its many historic, iconic restaurants. Los Angeles isn’t as old as cities like New York or Boston, but it has a rich history of eateries and nightspots that make a great story all by themselves. It even spawned its own architectural style for eateries: Googie Architecture. Visiting one or more of L.A.’s famous restaurants might give you a better idea of the history of the city than any museum tour could. Enjoy our list of the Top Five Historic Los Angeles Restaurants:

The Tam ‘O Shanter

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Photo courtesy of the Tam ‘O Shanter

You might think a Tudor-style Scottish-themed restaurant looks out of place in today’s Los Angeles. It fit right in back in 1922 when it was founded. Not only has the Tam been going strong for almost 100 years, it’s still run by the same family.

Back in the 1920s, Los Angeles was filled with movers and shakers in the booming movie industry. Many preferred some old world charm over the Art Deco style that was also en vogue just after World War I.

The Tam ‘O Shanter was especially popular with Walt Disney and his workers. The restaurant still has a plaque at Walt’s favorite table (Table 31), and you can find Disney drawings scratched into the tables here and there.

The Tam ‘O Shanter

The Pig ‘N Whistle

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Photo courtesy of the Pig ‘N Whistle

Many old timers used to call any nightspot that served liquor and food a “pig and whistle.” That generic name for a casual eatery/pub was made popular by the Pig ‘N Whistle on Hollywood Boulevard, next to the famous Egyptian Theatre. The Pig ‘N Whistle is almost as old as the Tam ‘O Shanter. The Pig ‘N Whistle opened in 1927, designed to feed theater-goers before and after shows at the Egyptian.

The restaurant has had its ups and downs over the years, and changed hands several times. Its elaborate interior was mostly covered over at one point. It was restored to its original splendor with a complete renovation in 1999, so you can really get a flavor of old Hollywood along with your cocktails and meals. It’s not a stodgy place, however. The renovation also included updates that make it a fashionable destination for hip party crowds from the neighborhood. There’s a Back Room with live entertainment, and Karaoke in the main room twice a week.

The Pig ‘N Whistle

Pacific Dining Car

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Photo courtesy of Pacific Dining Car

The original Pacific Dining Car opened up in in 1921. It moved to its current location in downtown Los Angeles two years later. It also has a satellite location in Santa Monica. The restaurant has a fascinating decorative motif. It looks like the inside of a railway dining car. Comparisons to diners stop there. It’s about as plush a restaurant as you’ll find in the city, and it has prices to match.

Superb food served in elegant surroundings make the Pacific Dining Car a Los Angeles favorite. It’s their night owl hours that make them a Los Angeles icon. Where else can you get a filet mignon at 4 AM for forty bucks? It’s a great place to see plenty of late night movers and shakers in the entertainment industry after a night of clubbing.

Pacific Dining Car

The Musso & Frank Grill

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Photo courtesy of Musso & Frank Grill

Plenty of things in Hollywood are old. The Musso & Frank Grill is older than the Hollywood sign up in the hills. It’s been a fixture in the area and the entertainment industry since 1919. It changed hands in 1927, but it’s been in the same family since then. It’s an entirely old-school steakhouse, but over the years it became so square that it’s entirely hip again. Everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Steve McQueen has held court in one of Musso & Frank’s booths, and untold Hollywood deals have been made under its beamed ceilings. It even boasted the first payphone in Hollywood.

The menu isn’t adventurous, but their open-fire grill turns out steaks and chops to perfection. It’s a worthy destination for a cocktails and conversation, too.

The Musso & Frank Grill

El Paseo Inn

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Photo courtesy of the El Paseo Inn

The El Paseo Inn opened its doors in 1930, but its vibe is much older. It has more in common with Father Serra and his settlers than the naugahyde booths of some of the other old restaurants in town. The Inn is near the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument on Olvera Street. The whole neighborhood is basically a slice of Old Mexico, and a haven for tourists.

The building that houses the El Paseo used to be a winery, and it has a casual indoor/outdoor ambiance. The dance floor in the photograph above is gone, but the restaurant has strolling mariachi players and folk musicians. For down home Mexican cuisine and authentic decor, the El Paseo can’t be beat.

The El Paseo Inn

Discover Lost L.A. at 5 Historic Restaurants rentavaluecar.com

Car Rental Near Disneyland and Pasadena

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Ten Must-Have Travel Apps for Carefree Trips

android and apple apps for car hire and travelVacations should be fun. Family gatherings should be about reconnecting with loved ones. Business travel should be efficient and financially rewarding, for your company if not for you in particular. Unfortunately, trips of all kinds can turn into stressful situations in a heartbeat if they’re poorly planned. And even the best planning won’t be enough if your flight is cancelled or your hotel is overbooked. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. The modern traveler has a supercomputer in their pocket. Smartphones can help you do a whole lot more than call home or pass the time in the airport with games or videos. Travel apps for your smartphone make it easy to plan your whole trip, from tracking flights to arranging for car hire. They can also help you deal with unexpected hiccups on the fly.

Value Rental Car has assembled a selection of ten must-have travel apps that will make your next trip less stressful. Don’t leave home without them!

Google Trips

We’ll start with Google Trips, and for good reason. If you only have one travel app, this one should be it. Google trips isn’t really a single travel app. It’s more of a Swiss army knife for travel. It’s as close to a personal assistant for your travel plans as you’ll find for your smartphone.

Google trips is great for consolidating all your various hotel reservations, car hire info, airline flight details, and other tour details. Google Trips is totally plugged in with other Google services, to it’s easy to grab details from Gmail accounts and maps and keep them in one place. One nice detail about the app: you can save your information right to your smartphone, so you can retrieve it even if you’re unable to connect to WiFi.

Google Trips for Android

Google Trips for iOS


Nothing knocks the fun out of vacations like sitting in traffic. Traffic jams can also turn a lucrative business trip into an expensive waste of time if you can’t get to an important meeting. That’s why the Waze app is invaluable for every kind of traveler. After you’ve taken care of car hire, getting maps and directions to your destinations is only half the battle. Waze is great for up to date travel information that includes things like construction zones, speed traps, and plain old heavy traffic alerts. If it will keep you from reaching your destination on time, Waze will probably know about it.

In addition to regular alerts, Waze can also map alternate routes, find inexpensive gasoline stations, and calculate arrival times for you.

Waze for Android

Waze for iOS

Lounge Buddy/Priority Pass

Let’s face it: no matter how well you plan, travel can be stressful. The secret to smart travel is to take every opportunity to relax along the way. The LoungeBuddy and Priority Pass apps are a great way to turn dreary layovers in airports into restful breaks from planes, trains, and automobiles.

Getting access to airport lounges doesn’t have to be expensive. Many frequent flyer programs and credit card rewards programs include them as extras. Even if you don’t automatically qualify, it’s usually inexpensive to buy a single day pass (see our rundown of ways to win at airport layovers for more info). LoungeBuddy and Priority Pass check if you’re already qualified, and they offer up a list of available lounges and prices if you’re not.

Priority Pass on Android

LoungeBuddy on iOS


Small details can make a big difference to your trip. There’s no more important detail than weather. It’s important to be able to see weather anywhere on the globe where you might be traveling, including real-time summaries and radar maps. Accuweather has a great interface, and their forecasts can be personalized right down to a GPS location, with up-to-the-minute weather forecasts. Their long term forecasts also make packing the right clothing easier.

Accuweather for Android

Accuweather for iOS

WiFi Map

Reliable WiFi is indispensable for business travelers. It’s pretty handy for vacationers, too. Many data plans will empty out your wallet if you incur roaming charges, and it can be hard to know how much money you’ve spent until it’s too late to do much about it. WiFi Map is a simple app that sniffs out all the local WiFi hotpspots, and it collates all the available login details for each in one place. Users of the app can report their experience with any particular hotspot, making it easier to find reliable, safe, high-speed connections when you’re away from home.

WiFi Map for Android

WiFi Map for iOS


Speaking of WiFi, security is always a concern whenever you use an unfamiliar hotspot. Public WiFi is convenient, but it’s not always safe. That’s why a tool like Encrypt.me comes in handy. This app isn’t free, but it’s well worth the money if it keeps you from having sensitive personal and financial info exposed at a public hotspot. The app encrypts all your data on the fly, and sends it via a virtual private network for the ultimate in privacy and security.

Encrypt.me for Android

Encrypt.me for iOS

Roomer Travel

You might think you can do without an app for finding accommodations if you’ve already got a hotel or rental lined up. But what happens if your booking falls through? Airlines aren’t the only businesses that overbook. If your plans for a room don’t work out at the last minute, you’ll need help and you’ll need it fast. The Roomer app specializes in finding last-minute deals on hotel rooms and similar places to stay. The app also helps if you have reservations and have to cancel. You can use it to sell your stay to another user, and save money and aggravation on cancellation fees.

Roomer for Android

Roomer for iOS

XE Currency

XE Currency is a simple app that can save you a lot of arithmetic. It allows you to keep track of any number of currencies, and it has up-to-the-minute exchange rates as long as you’re online. You can also use the app when you’re offline. The app has an old-school interface, which makes it easy to use in a hurry when you’re settling a bar tab or a hotel bill.

XE Currency for Android

XE Currency for iOS


Google Translate is another free, essential app to include in your travel arsenal. It allows you to type in or dictate a word or phrase, and have it presented to you in over 100 different languages. It will even pronounce the word or phrase for you if you want. The app has recently been expanded to include translation of signage simply by using your cameraphone to take a picture of the text. The app even works when you’re offline, but the suite of services it provides is limited.

Google Translate for Android

Google Translate for iOS


It’s not always possible to make voice calls when you’re on the road. Even if you can, it can be hard to determine if you’re going to pay a substantial roaming charge. It’s almost always easier to find a WiFi signal than a rock-solid cell signal, so it’s smart to have a messaging app like WhatsApp installed on your phone. WhatsApp is a lot more than a texting app. It allows you to send photos, recorded voice messages, and even make video calls without incurring roaming charges.

WhatsApp for Android

WhatsApp for iOS

Related: How to move apps to an SD card to save space on your Android phone:

10 Best Travel Apps from car hire rentavaluecar.com

Remember, for the ultimate in convenience in car hire in the Los Angeles and Pasadena area, rely on Value Rental Car for the best rates on the best cars.

Insider’s Guide for Layovers at LAX Airport

lax layover renting a car value rental carLos Angeles is one of the most interesting cities on Earth. It has a great climate, great beaches, and stunning scenery. It’s also home to fascinating industries like movies, television, and music recording. If you’re in Los Angeles for a day or a lifetime, it’s easy to find something interesting to do. But what if you’re stuck in the airport? Never fear. There is lots to do inside the LAX airport, and it’s centrally located in Los Angeles. That puts it within a short distance of all kinds of attractions and amenities. Depending on the length of your layover at LAX, turning a delay into a vacation is as easy as renting a car and poking around the area.

If you find yourself with some time to kill at LAX, or you’re planning ahead for a substantial layover, here’s a handy guide to what to go and what to do:

What’s LAX Like?

Los Angeles is a big, sprawling city. It’s only natural that it would have a big, spread-out airport. LAX is certainly that. Not only is LAX big, it’s also not really a single airport. It has eight different numbered terminals, plus the main terminal, and they’re not all connected together. The level of amenities varies a great deal between terminals. This disconnection is an artifact of the way LAX has evolved over the years. In the past, it was no big deal to walk out of one terminal and catch another flight at another terminal, or visit restaurants or shops.

TSA security makes that difficult now. In order to exit some terminals and enter others, you’ll have to submit to security procedures all over again. That can make it tough to plan excursions between terminals while keeping track of time. The amount of time spent in security lines can vary a great deal.

The good news is that LAX understands that passengers need to be able to circulate freely after they’ve cleared security, and are working feverishly to connect the terminals on the “airside.” The largest terminal, the Tom Bradley International Terminal, is where most international passengers end up during layovers. There’s a lot of amenities inside the TBIT, so it’s possible to amuse yourself for a few hours or a long day. Terminals 4 through 8 are now connected airside, so you can move freely between them to find things to do. If you’re in any of the other terminals, you’ll probably need to go through security additional times if you want something substantial to eat, something interesting to occupy your time, or want to go shopping.

Between Terminals

Whichever terminal you end up in, you’ll probably have to plan ahead to amuse yourself, and you’ll have to be ready to walk long distances to visit other terminals. LAX has a free Airline Connections shuttle that stops in front of every terminal. If you’d rather walk, be aware that the distance between any two terminals can range up to a mile. It’s smart to check the maps of the airport to see how far you have to walk before setting out.

What To Do With Your Luggage

On-site luggage storage can be a problem at LAX. There are companies that offer curbside pickup, storage, and retrieval, but a regular traveler’s luggage might cost $100 for a single day. Yikes.

If your layover in Los Angeles is at least a day, there are several ways to ditch your luggage without emptying your wallet.


If you’re staying at a nearby hotel, their day rates might might be competitive with luggage service, and you can take a shower and rest as well as store your luggage. Many local hotels have shuttle services that save steps and money. The Hyatt Regency, the Courtyard Los Angeles, and the Sheraton Gateway are all located within a 2-minute shuttle ride of the main terminal. For a lengthy layover, renting a car and traveling a few more miles will save you a lot of money. There are hundreds of hotels and motels in the immediate area at every price level. You can search for hotels near LAX on TripAdvisor to compare prices and service levels.

Early Check-In

If your layover is simply to wait for a connecting flight, you may be able to check your bags in early. There’s a limit to how far in advance you can check in, but it might be enough time to allow you to enjoy a meal or some shopping without dragging your bags around with you. You can find out more about early check in offers here.

Renting a Car

If you’re staying for a few days, renting a car and locking your luggage in the trunk is a great way to keep dibs on it without lugging it around. There are many car rental agencies inside the terminals. Renting a car from a nearby agency that picks up and drops off at the terminal will save you money, though.

Shopping Inside LAX

The Great Hall of the Tom Bradley terminal has a fantastic shopping mall in it. It’s more like an inside shopping street than a run-of-the-mill airline mall. There’s lots of duty free offerings, and the retail boutiques include some really high-end names. like Bvlgari, Hugo Boss, Hermes, Gucci, Burberry, and others. Most of the other terminals have at least one or two interesting shops, but for the most part, you’ll have to settle for the usual newsstand shopping experience. The company that operates LAX has a list of shopping outlets here.

Dining Inside LAX

Los Angeles has a fantastic foodie culture. LAX features a growing number of first-rate eateries, plus more economical choices for travelers on a budget. The Tom Bradley terminal has upscale dining to go with its fancy shopping selection. Terminals 4 through 8 are now connected on the airside, and between them they have a great selection of food choices for leisurely dining or a quick bite. Terminals 4 and 5 have more affordable, but still adventurous choices. Eater Los Angeles has a current list of eateries at LAX here.

Airport Lounges

If traveling by air is getting the better of you, an airport lounge can turn a layover into a mini-vacation. There are many airport lounges at LAX. Your preferred airline or credit card provider might entitle you to free admission to an airport lounge. Many of the lounges will also let you purchase admission for a single day if you don’t qualify as a frequent flier. Almost every terminal has at least one lounge, and many have several. There’s a great rundown of LAX airport lounges on LoungeBuddy.

The amenities at the lounges at LAX vary a bit. One thin you won’t find is sleeping facilities. It’s fairly hard to catch a nap at LAX. The regular concourses are loud, and the airport has constant construction noise to deal with.

If an airport lounge isn’t enough to chill you out, LAX also has a few spas onsite. There’s a big one in the Tom Bradley terminal, and smaller locations scattered around where you can get a quick massage.

Day Trips

If you have a full day to kill, there’s no reason to spend all your time inside the airport. Public transportation in Los Angeles isn’t great, but renting a car at LAX is easy and economical.


There are many beaches located only a short drive from LAX, and most beaches in the LA area have nearby boardwalks and shopping strands to make a side trip enjoyable.


The Westchester Golf Course is located just north of LAX. It’s a public, 18-hole course that’s fairly affordable for an urban setting. They’re used to serving LAX customers, and have a good supply of clubs for rent, including premium clubs.

Local Tours

If you’ve got at least 4 hours to kill, the Starline Hop On Hop Off Tour of LA is a fun way to see the sights. The service has several different routes depending on your interests. If you have a full day, the trip through Hollywood is lots of fun.

Travels Hacks Renting a Car rentavaluecar.com

If you’re in Los Angeles for business or pleasure, renting a car from Value Rental Car is the smart way to get around. Enjoy free pickup and dropoff at LAX. Drivers under 21, debit card and cash customers welcome!

Top 10 Fun, Free Activities in Los Angeles

The Smarter Travel website recently named Los Angeles the #1 Best Value Destination in the world. That’s true, but it doesn’t tell you the whole story about visiting Los Angeles. One of the reasons Los Angeles area offers so much value for your vacation dollars is that the region is so large, and it has so many different attractions. Value Rental Car is happy to be a little part of why it’s so affordable to visit L.A. But cheap SUV rentals will only get you so far. To make your travel budget last, especially for a family, you need more than just “value” for your money. You need inexpensive, or just plain free things to do.

Luckily, there may be more fun, free things to do in Los Angeles than you’ll find anywhere else. Check out our list of the Top 10 Free activities in Los Angeles to find out more!

The Beaches

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It’s hard to pick just one thing that defines what Los Angeles is about, but its beaches are certainly in the running. The movie, music, and TV industries have been based in Los Angeles for many decades, and their depictions of sun and surf has made L.A. synonymous with beachgoing. The Los Angeles area has more than 70 miles of beaches of all kinds. That makes it easy to find the perfect spot for your preferred leisure activities. It’s easy to find the perfect beach for surfing, sunbathing, people watching, or just enjoying the seaside scenery.

Perhaps the best part of Los Angeles beaches is that regular admission is always free. Some beaches even offer free parking. Many Los Angeles beaches have seaside strands full of shops, eateries, and nightspots, so it’s still possible to drop some coin during a day at the beach. However, with the money you save on admission, you can relax and enjoy yourself instead of worrying about money.

Walk of Fame

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The Hollywood Walk of Fame isn’t really a place. It’s a trail of plaques embedded in a terrazzo  sidewalk that’s dedicated to stars from radio, television, theater, recording, and movies. The Walk runs all along Hollywood Boulevard, and then turns and continues along Vine Street all the way to Sunset Boulevard. There are  now over 2500 stars featured on the Walk, so you’re bound to find familiar favorites as you roam around. Looking for favorites can also become a kind of scavenger hunt that keeps things interesting.

There are other free attractions along the way. You can visit the forecourt of the famous Chinese Theatre, and have fun comparing your handprints and footprints to the various movies stars who have been honored with sidewalk markers. You can also amuse yourself by looking at the other tourists and locals. Downtown Hollywood is a vibrant, offbeat place with lots to see and do.

TV Shows

Visitors to Los Angeles are usually surprised when they find out that attending the taping of a television show is usually free. If you’re the type of fan that likes to see stars up close and personal, sitting in the audience for a live show is the best way to enjoy an intimate entertainment experience. Unlike like live music concerts and standup comedy tours, TV show tapings have fairly small audiences with great sightlines.

Some shows are more popular than others, so you have to be flexible if you want to sit in an audience. In some cases, the shows send out buses and production assistants to round up audience members to fill up an underbooked studio. If you want to see a particular show, it’s smart to get reserved tickets well in advance. You’ll have to be prepared for a long afternoon, too. Even taping a one-hour show can take up to six hours to complete.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

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Many Los Angeles beaches have a boardwalk, pier, or strand. Santa Monica has a famous pier with amusement park rides on it. Many other beaches have seaside bike and walking paths. Venice Beach has perhaps the most enjoyable and offbeat boardwalk of all. The paved Ocean Front Walk is bordered on one side with long stretches of beach. The land side has tons of shops, restaurants, and other attractions.

Ultimately, it’s the people that make Venice Beach so interesting. The area is home to lots of artistic venues, and the public art on the buildings and other surfaces is wild and interesting. Numerous street performers, bodybuilders, skaters, and just plain freaks contribute to the funky vibe. You can pocket the money you saved on cheap SUV rentals if you park a little ways from the beach for free instead of paid lots right at the water’s edge.

Los Angeles City Hall

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City Hall isn’t the average person’s idea of fun. In most cities, city hall is a nondescript building where you pay your water bill. Los Angeles, however, has a beautiful City Hall building that’s worth a visit. The interior of the building is beautifully designed and decorated, and the iconic exterior will be familiar from hundreds of TV shows and movies.

The City Hall is 32 stories high, and for a long time was the tallest building in L.A. There’s a free observation deck on the 27th floor, which offers great views of the city. There’s also an art gallery that contains the city’s art collection.

Outdoor Concerts

The weather is usually nice in Los Angeles. That allows for more outdoor music performances than other vacation destinations. Of course you can always pay top dollar to enjoy performances from big artists at venues like the Hollywood Bowl. Smart vacationers can take advantage of cheap or free entertainment if they poke around a little.

Many parks, museums, and other venues have free performances, usually in the summer. Discover Los Angeles keeps a running list of available performances.


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Los Angeles has a lot of pavement, and is famous for its car culture. However, it also has lots of rural scenery that’s perfect for hiking and sightseeing. There are well-marked, dog-friendly hiking trails at Griffith Park, with over 4,000 acres of hilly terrain to clamber over. The trails also supply great views of the Hollywood Sign. Runyon Canyon is another great spot for a scenic walk, with a 3-mile trail that takes an hour or two.

While you’re in Griffith Park, you can also enjoy a free peep through the big telescope at the Griffith Observatory, although the lines can be long.

Kayak on the LA River

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Not many people know that Los Angeles has a river. Even fewer know that you can kayak on it. You can rent a kayak inexpensively at various places along the river, but access to the river is free. It’s an amazing way to see this little-known side of the Los Angeles landscape. It’s also a refreshing way to spend a hot summer afternoon, away from the bustle and noise of the freeways.

California Science Center

If you’re on a budget, and you have kids along, it can be hard to keep them amused without vacuuming out your wallet. The California Science Center in Exposition Park is a great place to spend the afternoon, and general admission is free. The center has many interactive exhibits that children and adults will love. It also has some amazing science artifacts, including the Endeavor Space Shuttle. There’s also an IMAX theater and special attractions you can see for a fee.

The Broad Museum

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The Broad Museum is located in the heart of the Los Angeles Arts District. The building itself is an attraction, with an unusual pierced facade and ultra-modern appearance. It’s a museum for contemporary art, so the exhibits are just as funky as the building. That makes it more fun for young adults who might find traditional art galleries too stuffy for their tastes. Many of the exhibits in the Broad are more art installations than objects, so the museum has an interactive feel. There are many whimsical pieces like Jeff Koons big, blue, Balloon Dog that are fun to take a selfie with, too. Admission is free, although you might have trouble finding parking without resorting to a paid lot.

Photos courtesy of the The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

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