Author Topic: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco  (Read 6316 times)

Daisyedwards800

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My friend has a teaching interview about 40 minutes outside of San Francisco on Thursday March 24th. She is flying in the 23rd to San Francisco's airport. I am probably going to join her for the trip and we would come back to NYC on the 27th. I am probably going to come back on the 28th because the flights are cheaper and I would rather have an extra day there.

We want spend at least 2 days in San Francisco itself and then drive along the coast a bit maybe stay at a hotel along there and then come back to SF.

So the problem is, if we stay in San Francisco Union Square (East) on the 23rd and 24th and leave Friday the 25th for our little road trip, we need to keep the rental car in the city which is very expensive. Most hotels don't allow you to park for free and it's about $50-85 a day to use their spaces. She needs to drive to her interview on the 24th. I suggested Uber might be cheaper than renting the car the 23rd through the 25th and then having to find parking/pay for it in San Fran but she said you rent the car at the airport when you get it.

At this point I feel like I would be subsidizing her rental car for Wed-Friday when we won't even be using it other than her trip to her interview (4 hours on Thursday). She's pretty bad with money so I am not sure she is going to be helpful in figuring out the cheapest way to do this, but she IS cheap.

An Uber would be about $100 for round trip.
Rental car looks to be $400 from the 23rd to the 28th, plus having to find parking (possibly up to $50 per day Wed-Friday and who knows how much more). That is like $500-650 for the car. We do need it for Friday-Sunday at the very least and I haven't calculated that part out yet.

So can anyone think of a good strategy to tackle this?

Catbert

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2016, 11:38:09 AM »
Why does she need to pick up the car at the airport?  I did a quick search for San Francisco car rentals on the Costco travel website.  There are a number of car rental sites in downtown San Francisco.  We did something similar on a trip to Seattle.  Used public transportation except for one day.  Picked up a rental car downtown when the office opened, used it for the day and returned it in early evening.  No parking costs.

It would be truly dumb to rent a car for 3-4 days and pay for parking to have it sit except for a few hours!

Catmandew

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2016, 11:44:48 AM »
Okay, this is rather tricky, it is important to be creative in these situations.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Don't forget San Francisco has one of the best transit systems on the west coast, the BART:

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/SFO,+San+Francisco,+CA/Union+Square,+San+Francisco,+CA+94108/@37.7221722,-122.4598382,13z/data=!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x808f778c55555555:0xa4f25c571acded3f!2m2!1d-122.3789554!2d37.6213129!1m5!1m1!1s0x8085808ed3fd40bb:0xfe41d9b5994cb6ba!2m2!1d-122.4074374!2d37.7879938!3e3

There is a BART line that runs directly to and from SFO to San Francisco and into Berkeley, etc. I have personally used it to ride to and from SFO and it is great. One way trip is about $8/person.

You could use this to get to Union Square from SFO.

2. The rental car

What if you use BART to go from SFO to Union Square and then rely on uber/BART to get you guys where you need to go for the 23/24th?

If so, on the 25th, you can take the BART back down to Daly City (halfway between SF and SFO) and arrange for a rental car pick-up there. Daly City is also located on or very near to Route 1 (Coastal Drive.) You could then enjoy the coast and on the return trip drop your friend off at SFO, etc. When you are done with the vehicle you can return it, board BART in Daly City and have a 15 min ride to the airport.

This would also work with renting the car out of SFO on the 25th. However, Daly City is closer to your intended route (especially when you factor in traffic.)

Please let me know if you need further clarification. If you need more detail, I'd need more specifics (i.e where is 40 min outside SF for her interview and how far down the coast are you going?)

I hope this is helpful.






Daisyedwards800

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2016, 11:48:12 AM »
She needs to be in Redwood City for 4-6 hours on the 24th.  I want to just stay in the city and walk around that day.  We looked at Uber and it's at least $40 one way.

Daisyedwards800

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2016, 11:49:28 AM »
There is an Alamo car rental in Union Square (where our hotel could be).  On Thursday we can rent the car for the day right near the hotel for $54 (pre pay) from like 7am to 4pm then just drop it off when you are done.  No parking fee.

Then Friday morning we can rent another car (prepay) and have that from Friday morning to Saturday evening (When I assume we would come back to San Fran).
That would cost $109.24 for those two days.

OR if we decided to go on our little coast trip from Friday Sunday it would cost $150 for the rental car returning it to the airport and picking up from the Union Square Alamo location.

So the total would be either $164 ALL TOGETHER if we come back Saturday and return it to Union Square.
And $205 ALL TOGETHER if we return it to the airport Sunday.

If we split in half that is either $82 apiece of $102.50 a piece total for the rental car.

This is with prepaying.  Not bad!

AND we will not have to park the damn thing In the city and pay for that!

It will be cheaper that way to take a cab from the airport than to rent a car for extra time and parking $.  Other thing is we might be able to get a hotel that has a shuttle that is cheaper than a regular shuttle.

To rent the car for the 23rd to the 27th would be $302.50 total plus 2-3 nights of parking in the city.  Which would be closer to $200 ap iece.

cchrissyy

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2016, 11:56:51 AM »
Don't take a cab from the airport to downtown SF.
You get on the BART train right there inside the airport and ride it into the city center.

norabird

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2016, 12:24:51 PM »
Are you sure you want to take the trip? It will end up costing a lot and negotiating the split may prove aggravating.

Daisyedwards800

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2016, 12:29:24 PM »
Yes !  I've always wanted to see San Francisco

norabird

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2016, 12:37:43 PM »
I would definitely avoid having a rental car when you're staying there as public transit will have you covered.

Daisyedwards800

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2016, 12:39:57 PM »
Normally I would agree but she needs to drive to Redwood City on Thursday and spend most of the day there, then we are leaving SF on Friday and driving around the coast for a couple of days.

bognish

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2016, 01:15:26 PM »
Check the policy, but usually you can return a rental car to any location within 50 miles of pickup for no extra charge. When I lived in SF I would pick up cars at the Hertz in Daly City and return them to the Union Square location. You could pick up at the airport and drop off downtown too. The BART from the airport to Union Square is really easy. And don't underestimate how stressful driving in downtown San Francisco is if you are not use to all of the hills, street cars, pedestrians, bikes & traffic.

She could rent the car at Union Square on the 24th and drive to the interviews. You could take Cal Train down to meet her in Redwood City after the interviews are over. Head south down the coast for a night or 2.  Return the car when you come back to SF on Saturday. I always found CalTran a pretty relaxing way to visit our friends in the south bay.

Gin1984

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2016, 01:24:43 PM »
Also keep in mind SFO is not in San Francisco.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2016, 02:03:43 PM »
Redwood City is fairly spread out. Caltrain goes from downtown SF to downtown RWC. Look at a map and see how far her interview is from the RWC Caltrain station. She might not need the car at all.

plog

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2016, 02:56:18 PM »
NYC stands for New York City, right?  Are you sure that's where you are from, because with your public transportation aversion you sound like a Mid-Westerner.

Lifelong Kansas/Missouri resident here, you cannot get around via public transportation in even the largest cities in those 2 states.  So, I understand when my neighbors think its a given you have to rent a car when you travel.  I was that way myself.  But honestly any point between San Francisco and San Jose does not require a car.   BART, CAlTrains, the bus--San Francisco has its shit together. 

If only there was a magic machine we could use to compare travel times from various places using various methods...

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Union+Square,+333+Post+Street,+San+Francisco,+CA+94108/Redwood+City,+CA/@37.6397648,-122.4914227,11z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x8085808ed6bba927:0xbc80f78c80624c89!2m2!1d-122.4074374!2d37.7879938!1m5!1m1!1s0x808fa03953f35ee1:0xb8e47b9b0baa6a6d!2m2!1d-122.2363548!2d37.4852152!3e3

From Union Square to Redwood City its 44 minutes by car, 67 minutes by public transportation.   What's 23 minutes worth?

Cassie

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2016, 03:22:35 PM »
Most of the hotels have shuttles that you can take. You will only need the car when you drive the coast so that would be the only time besides the interview that you need a car. Using the BArt is easy and fast.

llorona

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2016, 12:52:41 AM »
Having a car in San Francisco is a liability, especially in the downtown/Union Square area.

Have you looked at 511.org to help with transportation planning options?


cats

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2016, 02:23:16 AM »
There are lots of car rental placed near union square, so this business of having to rent at the airport is ridiculous.  I've rented a car from one of the places near Union square (dollar?). And it was fine!

Check the prices of rentals from the two locations also.  I've rented a car from SFO several times and I seem to recall some hefty airport fees.

Depending on the location of her interview, she might want to check the feasibility of using Caltrain to get to the interview.  I hate driving between city and peninsula so I'd try that option even if cost weren't a factor!

Ricky

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2016, 04:18:10 AM »
I'm confused on why you should be paying for anything other than possibly half on the mini road trip on the coast. It would be flipping ridiculous to have a car in SF if you're staying in the core area. Just take the BART from SFO to downtown and either take a streetcar or Uber to your place. I would then rent when you plan on taking the trip and then take the BART back to SFO when you return. IMO you should only be paying for half the rental and gas on the road trip portion. Otherwise tell her she's an idiot for wanting to rent a car the entire time and if she wants to then she can pay for it.

You're doing her a favor by accompanying her - don't get stuck paying for her transportation to her interview.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2016, 04:22:07 AM by Ricky »

electriceagle

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2016, 05:14:34 AM »
Crikes!

Search airbnb for the dates that you want. Check the box for "Free Parking on Premises" under amenities. Save energy.

jnc

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2016, 06:07:01 AM »
I am not sure where you searched for the rental car and got $400 but I did a quick search and you can find ones starting at $250 for 23rd to 28th.

However I agree that if you really want to stay in Union Square, it would be a nightmare to have a car. I'd recommend looking on AirBnb or on TripAdvisor for some B&B type places which will be in other neighborhoods where it is easier to park. It is easy to get to downtown from most places using the light rail and/or cable car.

Most companies will pay for taxi/Uber to the job interview, however you said it is a teaching interview so I guess that may not be possible.

If the car is needed for only a few hours, you can use one of many car-sharing schemes. Some of them require no membership, and it'll work out much cheaper than renting a car for the whole time, only to use for a few hours.

Best of luck.

PMG

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2016, 06:41:53 AM »
Many rental cars companies will pick you up and drop you off after.  Enterprise in CA does. 

I hope your small road trip extends as far south as Big Sur.  Big Sur was life changing for me.

lpb0306

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2016, 09:37:26 AM »
She can take BART to Millbrae and then get on Caltrain there to Redwood City, and take Uber from there. Train would only cost $9 each way. Absolutely no need for a car in the city, with Muni and BART that accessible. Rent the car just for the weekend and it should be fine (and if she does rent the car for her interview...you don't have to split the cost until Friday; she's be renting it no matter what for her interview)

Daisyedwards800

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2016, 10:13:02 AM »
There's no way she will take the train instead of renting a car, and she will be a sourpuss if I suggest she renting it on her own. 

Daisyedwards800

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2016, 10:21:38 AM »
I just looked at my Chase Sapphire Ultimate Rewards and it says $176 for a rental from 3/23 to 3/27!

lthenderson

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2016, 10:35:20 AM »
Whenever I need to have a car when visiting a major city, I stay in a motel out in the burbs somewhere and never have paid a parking fee. Much cheaper motel rates as well. The disadvantage is that you may have a longer drive to get where you need to be. If my destination for the day is downtown, I get close and then park in a residential neighborhood and take the train/bus the rest of the way in which also avoids paying for parking.

lpb0306

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2016, 10:57:31 AM »
There's no way she will take the train instead of renting a car, and she will be a sourpuss if I suggest she renting it on her own.

Ok then...what's the point of the thread title then, if she's already set in the idea of renting a car and you splitting the cost equally? Not sure what else you're looking for exactly.

Daisyedwards800

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2016, 11:37:33 AM »
Well she just wants to  be sure to rent a car for Thursday.  I wanted to see if anyone knew cheap ways to rent cars or an idea about whether to rent cars separate days or what have you.  We have lots of travel hackers here.

Capsu78

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Re: A trip on the cheap - fair way to do expenses - San Francisco
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2016, 05:49:13 PM »
If you want a taste of the coast (Big Sur is too far in your short timeframe)  I would consider picking up the car at SFO and spending a Wed night in Half Moon Bay, maybe dropping her off at interview, or her drop you back at SFO on Thursday and return the car at SFO after she is done.
Half Moon Bay feels like a California beach town and is much less expensive lodging... it is my "hide out" location when I have business on that side of the bay.  It is a straight shot to Redwood City from HMB.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2016, 05:53:10 PM by Capsu78 »