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Old 06-03-2012, 05:09 PM   #1
Colleen27
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SoCal without a car?

I'm in the very early research/planning stage for a DLR trip in July/Aug 2013 and while DL will be the main focus of the trip, we'd like to fit in a few other Southern California highlights as well.

What I am trying to figure out is if/how this can be done without renting a car. We really don't like driving on vacations, especially in unfamiliar areas or heavy traffic, and public transportation is a bit of a novelty since we don't have it around here so we don't mind taking a little more time getting there. How difficult is it to get around San Diego using public transportation? LA? We'll most likely be in San Diego 2 nights, Anaheim for 4 nights, and somewhere closer to the Hollywood area attractions for the last 2 nights.
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Old 06-03-2012, 06:42 PM   #2
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It's just going to really add up, that's all. Public transportation isn't very awesome here in SoCal, that's for sure.

For San Diego I'd recommend cabs. Depends on where you stay and where you going. Most will be about $20 to $30 each way. Some people on the boards are more familiar with Anaheim/LA public transportation so hopefully someone will pop in.
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:35 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by sonnyjane View Post
It's just going to really add up, that's all. Public transportation isn't very awesome here in SoCal, that's for sure.

For San Diego I'd recommend cabs. Depends on where you stay and where you going. Most will be about $20 to $30 each way. Some people on the boards are more familiar with Anaheim/LA public transportation so hopefully someone will pop in.
We're born-and-bred Detroiters so I know all about bad public transportation.

In San Diego we'll either be flying into SAN and leaving via Amtrak or vice-versa, and I'm planning on staying in the Mission Bay area. SeaWorld and the beach (none of us have ever seen the Pacific) are my only priorities for that leg of the trip. So our transportation needs will mainly be getting to/from the station & airport, and I'm not too concerned with cost - as a family of 5 with one adult-sized teen and a little one still in a carseat we rent a minivan/SUV, so the rental car option is pretty pricey even before adding in parking fees or accounting for intangibles like the stress of driving unfamiliar roads or playing rock-paper-scissors to decide who gets to have wine with dinner.
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:36 PM   #4
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W as a family of 5 with one adult-sized teen and a little one still in a carseat we rent a minivan/SUV, so the rental car option is pretty pricey even before adding in parking fees or accounting for intangibles like the stress of driving unfamiliar roads or playing rock-paper-scissors to decide who gets to have wine with dinner.
Ugh... this will make your trip much more of a hassle - not your fault by any means, but the car seat is going to definitely be a pain. You see, here in California, the law is that any child under the age of 8 or 4'9" MUST BE SECURED in a car seat or booster seat, and that includes in public transportation, such as taxis. It does not apply to buses or limos, but it does apply to taxis, so you will have to bring your car seat with you if you plan to take a taxi, or you have to arrange transportation that will bring it to the airport, since just a standard cab you grab will not have one inside. And you definitely don't want to have to worry about lugging a car seat around with you at Sea World, for example, if you take a cab there...

I would SOOOOOOOOOO STRONGLY urge you to rent a car. I don't know the price of a SUV/van rental, but for the things you've described wanting to do, I think it would pay for itself to be honest.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:45 AM   #5
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Ugh... this will make your trip much more of a hassle - not your fault by any means, but the car seat is going to definitely be a pain. You see, here in California, the law is that any child under the age of 8 or 4'9" MUST BE SECURED in a car seat or booster seat, and that includes in public transportation, such as taxis. It does not apply to buses or limos, but it does apply to taxis, so you will have to bring your car seat with you if you plan to take a taxi, or you have to arrange transportation that will bring it to the airport, since just a standard cab you grab will not have one inside. And you definitely don't want to have to worry about lugging a car seat around with you at Sea World, for example, if you take a cab there...

I would SOOOOOOOOOO STRONGLY urge you to rent a car. I don't know the price of a SUV/van rental, but for the things you've described wanting to do, I think it would pay for itself to be honest.
It is too soon to find deals, but we've found that in general a minivan will run us $750+ for a week, more for a one-way rental, and so far rentals are running over $1000 in Cali. I am looking at the idea of two shorter rentals - renting for the couple days we'll be in SD, returning it there and taking the train to Anaheim, and then picking up another rental for the few days of non-Disney LA attractions we want to see. That way we wouldn't be paying for a rental car or parking for the days we're staying at DL and don't need it, but we'd have it for the rest.

The carseat thing really isn't a problem. That's something we're used to when we travel (my almost-4yo has flown more already than I did in the first 25 years of my life!), and as soon as she was big enough we bought a Bubblebum to keep on hand for cabs and rentals. It is such a cool gimmick - $40, NHTSA approved, inflatable booster seat that folds small enough to fit in a backpack or a theme park locker. We picked it up for a train trip to Chicago, knowing that we'd probably be catching cabs at least once or twice, and now I don't travel without it.
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:32 AM   #6
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We have public transportation here in So Cal?!
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:54 AM   #7
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We have public transportation here in So Cal?!
A rental car would be the only way to go! I used to live there and drove nearly everywhere. I would check for a good discount for a rental.
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:33 PM   #8
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Subscribing. We're planning for next summer with 5 and 8 year olds. We fly without carseats now and I'd prefer to avoid one altogether. I figured public transportation in Anaheim, train b/t Anaheim and SD, but we're just starting to research San Diego. I'm a bit frustrated to hear that you need a car to get around. Oh well.
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalvaryMike View Post
We have public transportation here in So Cal?!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danibelle View Post
A rental car would be the only way to go! I used to live there and drove nearly everywhere. I would check for a good discount for a rental.
That seems to be the consensus.

From my research so far SD without a car isn't looking terribly difficult - cab from the airport to the hotel, hotel (The Dana at Mission Bay is at the top of my short list right now) has a shuttle to Sea World and is right on the beach, then cab from hotel to train station.

The Disney segment should be easy without a car. Its a short cab ride from the Anaheim Amtrak station to DL, and we're planning on staying at one of Disney's resorts or one of the closer Good Neighbor hotels so we can walk to the parks.

But I'm thinking a car will be pretty much necessary for the non-Disney days in LA. We want to go to the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Santa Monica pier along with Hollywood, and that's looks to be too spread out for counting on less-than-stellar public transit.
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:47 PM   #10
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I think you'll quickly find that most Californians are lost without their cars! People here are reluctant to take public transit unless they absolutely are forced to. Hence the horrible traffic you're going to encounter on your trip.

Most Californians think I'm completely weird because I rely almost entirely on public transit and I don't own a car. Unfortunately, I'm in Northern Cali, so I can't help with the SoCal public transit.

I'm going to guess that using all public transit is possible, but probably difficult to work out unless you have someone familiar with the area. In the Bay Area, we have a website to plan public transit trips and check traffic conditions (511.org), but I don't know if anything like that exists for SoCal.

Good luck! I certainly hope you can work out the details!
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Old 06-09-2012, 09:29 PM   #11
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I live in Chicago now but grew up in California. We are going to Disneyland in August.

There is NO WAY to have an easy time unless you have a car. Southern California is horrible for public transport. Possible? Of course. Fun? No way.

If you want to save some frustration, and just see the Pacific, you could just go to the Orange County beaches. We are doing 3 days in DL and then 3 in Newport Beach. We will have a car, but we are flying into and out of LAX, and the car rental is much cheaper that way than doing the one way via San Diego.

Don't get me wrong--San Diego is really nice, but you are adding a lot of driving (or public transport) to the trip.

The thing with driving in LA is not crazy drivers. I think they're similar to drivers in any large city. Roads are well marked. There's just a lot of traffic and long distances between things and not a clear direction for traffic into or out of the city.

Still, if I were trying to go to all those places, I'd only do it if I had a car. The only way I'd go without a car would be if I just wanted to go to DL and not anywhere else.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:05 AM   #12
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Do you have a Costco card? We have been able to get a midsized car from LAX, and SNA for under $100 for the week. They deals come up early sometimes but other times later. You can keep checking back because you actually book through the rental site, Costco just gives the coupon codes through a link on the site. It's a click through. The best deals in OC have been with Budget rental. I would try to squeeze into a fullsize. The rates will be soooooo much better. Put the smaller child in the middle between the carseat and teen. They can probably handle it and you will save soooo much money. You could wait and rent after you finish up with DL, someone would just have to take the shuttle back to SNA to pick up the car. The airport locations always have the best deals.
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Old 07-07-2012, 03:16 PM   #13
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Do you have a Costco card? We have been able to get a midsized car from LAX, and SNA for under $100 for the week. They deals come up early sometimes but other times later. You can keep checking back because you actually book through the rental site, Costco just gives the coupon codes through a link on the site. It's a click through. The best deals in OC have been with Budget rental. I would try to squeeze into a fullsize. The rates will be soooooo much better. Put the smaller child in the middle between the carseat and teen. They can probably handle it and you will save soooo much money. You could wait and rent after you finish up with DL, someone would just have to take the shuttle back to SNA to pick up the car. The airport locations always have the best deals.
Thanks for the tip. I let my membership lapse but my mom still has one, so I'll just have her check prices and then renew mine if there is something that I want to book.

I think we've settled on renting for our entire week in the LA area so that we can mix up our Disney and non Disney days, and then we'll return the car and hop a cab to the Amtrak station. In San Diego it doesn't look like we'll need a car; both of the resorts I like so far have shuttles to Sea World and are oceanfront, so we'll just cab from train station to hotel and hotel to airport.
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