Car Rental Suggestions...strange, I know

MrsSLF

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 26, 2017
Hi all!
This is the first time I'm posting in this subforum because we've made some last-minute adjustments to our summer vacation plans and are heading west in August. I actually lived in SoCal for a good part of my childhood through high school but it's been a LONG time since I've visited, much less needed to rent a car for a family vacation (as in, I've never had to rent a car for a family vacation in Los Angeles).

We're planning on flying in and out of LAX and spending several days on the westside before heading to Anaheim (YAY) and then finally to San Diego/La Jolla. I'm searching for car rental rates through Costco and they've been great for the amount of time we're going to be there but I was wondering if anyone had suggestions for car sizes? For reference, we are a family of 3 (2 adults, 1 seven-year-old) and we are chronic over packers. This trip will be close to 2 weeks long, as well. We ordinarily drive an SUV at home and my husband's work car, which is a sedan.

The prices are pretty negligible between standard to premium to standard SUV with a minivan being slightly higher. Thoughts?
 

PHXscuba

Mouseketeer since birth!
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
The advantage of a sedan over an SUV or minivan is the trunk storage is concealed. If you will be keeping luggage in the car all day a few times, you might want the security of a larger sedan vs. the SUV/minivan. If you are each bringing (for example) one full-sized suitcase, plus maybe a single carry-on and backpacks, any of your choices should be good.

I've found that I book with Costco cars at a rate I am ok with and then check every week or so leading up to the trip. I've often rebooked at much better prices, especially if you are semi-flexible on type of car.

PHXscuba
 


oakleycat

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 19, 2017
I agree, if you are going to be leaving luggage in the car, especially while parked in LA, go with the sedan so it will be concealed. A larger sedan will have plenty of room for the 3 of you.
 
  • MrsSLF

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2017
    That's a good point (covered storage for luggage). I was reading about the uptick in car break-ins earlier today and I don't know if we will need to store items for a longer period of time.
     

    Kittyblue

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 23, 2020
    We usually rent full size cars and the trunk space can vary a bit. The smaller trunks have held 3 full size suitcases and little items shoved in around them. The larger trunks 4 full size suitcases fit easily; we could probably fit 5. There are 4 of us so we don't have any space in the backseat for luggage. When we're going on an extended trip we usually get a mini van for the extra packing space.
     

    LAS2AMS

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 9, 2006
    If you're traveling for two weeks, and the differences in price are small, go for the largest car. Note that in the 2010s, car categories got smaller. In the 2000s, a Toyota Camry was typically rented as a midsized car; today, it's typically considered a full. A Chevy Impala was considered a full-sized car, now it's premium. Also, be weary of SUVs -- I've seen Jeep Compass (and equivalent) rented as compact SUVs, and Jeep Renegade rented as midsized or standard SUVs. While many people like the idea of SUV-type cars, these actually have less room than cars like the Camry, etc. But obviously, life is about perception.
     

    bcla

    On our rugged Eastern foothills.....
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2012
    Last time I rented I ended up getting a bigger car than the class I reserved because the cars were just being sent out as soon as they were prepped. It was still wet from being washed.

    I personally don't like larger cars. I find smaller is easier to handle and especially to park. Some of the hotel parking spaces I've parked in Anaheim were really narrow. But that's me. A typical "midsize" these days will be more than adequate in terms of trunk space.
     
  • MrsSLF

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2017
    Thanks everyone for the suggestions! I think I'm going to stick with the full-size car I have rented (Chevy Impala class) and maybe switch if it seems necessary. I do worry about getting a "standard" SUV and it being fairly small.
     





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