About Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Address: 9020 Aviation Blvd, Inglewood, 90301 2907, Ca, Ca
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is located 16 miles (26 km) from downtown Los Angeles. There are no fewer than 13 major car hire locations — from Alamo to Enterprise to Thrifty — just a short shuttle bus ride from the terminals.
Greater Los Angeles covers a massive area interconnected by a series of major highways. While public transportation is steadily improving, the region was developed almost exclusively for the automobile. Therefore, many visitors find that getting around L.A. requires a rental car, especially if they plan to explore other areas of the metropolitan area such as the San Fernando Valley (17 mi / 28 km) and Newport Beach (47 mi / 75 km).
Rush hour traffic is common from 6:00-9:00 AM and again from 3:00-7:00 PM. The typical drive time from downtown to the airport is upwards of an hour. Given the distances involved, the complex freeway system can be intimidating to first-time visitors. Thus, navigating L.A. is less of a challenge with a GPS system in your vehicle.
Although the majority of public roads in California are free, visitors should know that tolls are charged on some roads and bridges. Even though tolls can be avoided by taking alternative routes, paying tolls or using "FasTrak Only" lanes may make sense to avoid longer waits or detours.
In general, cash is accepted on most California toll roads. Visitors who do not have a FasTrak account should avoid using the "FasTrak Only" lanes and use the "Cash", "Fastrak/Cash combo lanes" or unmarked lanes instead.
Most rental car companies rent FasTrak transponders — so be sure to ask. Costs vary and can range from $5 to $10 per day plus tolls, whether you use it or not.
Meanwhile, it’s important to pay attention to the different types of lanes you’ll find on major highways.
Regular Carpool/High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes are only for use by vehicles the minimum number of passengers during posted hours. Fines for violation can be steep ($400).
High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes are for use only by carpools meeting the minimum number of occupants or single drivers with FasTrak who pay the electronic tolls.
Choosing your car
Spending a lot of time downtown where parking is often difficult? Compact and mid-sized cars such as the Chevrolet Spark are optimal for city driving. Planning a trip to Santa Barbara wine country? A Nissan Maxima luxury sedan might be better for cruising. Traveling with extended family? Rent a 7-9 seater vehicle such as the Dodge Grand Caravan. You may also have preferences for pick-up and drop-off locations, fuel economy and pricing, or specific features (such as sunroof and manual transmission). GPS and air conditioning are two must-have options when you rent a car in sunny California.
Tips and advice
Most Los Angeles International car rental agencies are clustered around several blocks of Airport Boulevard — roughly 10-20 minutes by shuttle bus.
Exit the terminal on the lower level to access rental car shuttle buses.
There are two shuttle bus lines — PURPLE and RED — serving airport car rental customers. The PURPLE line serves all the major carriers, while the RED line serves a handful of specialty operations
If you’re doing any sort of highway driving, be sure to brush up on the FasTrak and designated express lane system
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) offers a mobile app that allows travellers to check and post airport delays in real time
Be advised that passenger screening at LAX is multi-layered and begins at the curb, so plan for extra time when arriving for an outbound flight