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Santa Barbara car hire

Driver's age: 26-65
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Cheap car hire in Santa Barbara

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KAYAK’s top tips for hiring a car in Santa Barbara

  • A hire car is the most comfortable and practical way to explore not only the city of Santa Barbara, but also nearby Los Angeles and other major destinations along the Californian coast. A car allows you to explore the city’s attractions at your own pace, including the Santa Barbara Harbor and the Maritime Museum. Los Angeles is a two-hour drive away, while San Francisco is five hours away.
  • All of the big car hire companies, including Alamo, Avis, and Hertz, can be found at Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA), which is about 7 miles west of the city center. The hire car counters are located in the hire Car Building, which is right next to the airport terminal. Simply exit the terminal, go right, and follow the RCB signs.
  • Santa Barbara is at the base of the Santa Ynez Mountains, with some roads being quite hilly. Because it’s a colonial town, it still maintains some of its older characteristics, including narrow cobblestone streets with winding turns. If you’re not used to that type of driving, it’s best to park the car in one of the many lots and explore the Old Town by foot.
  • Traffic jams in California are a given, but Santa Barbara is easier to navigate. Traffic gets worse in the morning on the 101 heading north to Santa Barbara from other towns such as Carpinteria and Ventura, and on the opposite direction in the evening. Avoid driving within the rush hour periods, between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., and then again between 4 and 7 p.m.
  • 25% of our users found a car hire in Santa Barbara for £30 or less
  • Book your car hire in Santa Barbara at least 1 day before your trip in order to get a below-average price
  • Full-size hire cars in Santa Barbara are around 34% more expensive than other car types, on average

FAQs about car hire in Santa Barbara

  • What type of car is recommended for driving in Santa Barbara?

    A hybrid car is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint while driving through Santa Barbara, but a convertible is a great option when cruising along the coast, especially in the summer, as you can drop the top and enjoy some scenic views. If you're going on a road trip with family or friends, a minivan offers more comfort and space for all the passengers.

  • What’s the speed limit in Santa Barbara?

    The speed limit in Californian cities is usually 25 mph, unless the posted signs say otherwise, particularly in school zones and other residential areas. Two-lane highways have a speed limit of 55 mph, while most highways have a 65 mph limit. However, some highways allow drivers to go a maximum speed of 70 mph.

  • Where are the best places to park in Santa Barbara?

    There are several parking lots in the downtown and waterfront areas. Downtown parking also provides access to State Street and its surroundings, the Old Town, and the Waterfront areas. Parking is paid between 7:30 a.m. and 11 p.m., Sunday to Thursday, and 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The first 75 minutes are free and the following hours have a $1.50 hourly rate.

  • How much does it cost to hire a car in Santa Barbara?

    On average a car hire in Santa Barbara costs £38 per day.

  • What is the best car hire company in Santa Barbara?

    Based on ratings and reviews from real users on KAYAK, the best car hire in Santa Barbara is Budget (7.1, 83 reviews).

  • How much is the price of fuel in Santa Barbara?

    The average price of fuel in Santa Barbara is £3.00 per litre over the past 30 days. Filling up a tank of fuel costs between £36 and £48, depending on the car size.

  • What is the most popular car hire in Santa Barbara?

    Full-size (Ford Mustang Convertible or similar) is the most frequently booked car hire type in Santa Barbara.

  • Which car hire agencies are at Los Angeles airport (LAX)?

    Car hire companies onsite at Los Angeles airport include Thrifty, Dollar, Budget, Hertz, Avis, Sixt, Fox, Europcar, Yesaway and NU Car.

  • Which car hire companies will pick you up at Los Angeles airport (LAX)?

    Car hire companies that offer shuttle or pick-up services from Los Angeles airport to off-airport locations include Thrifty, Dollar, Budget, Hertz, Avis, Sixt, Alamo, Europcar, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and NU Car.

  • How can I find car hires near me in Santa Barbara?

    Take a look at our extensive car hire location map to find the best car hire deals near you.

  • How much does a Full Size car hire cost in Santa Barbara?

    A Full Size car hire in Santa Barbara costs £84 per day, on average.

  • How much does an Intermediate car hire cost in Santa Barbara?

    An Intermediate car hire in Santa Barbara costs £36 per day, on average.

  • How much does a Mini car hire cost in Santa Barbara?

    A Mini car hire in Santa Barbara costs £104 per day, on average.

  • What is the most popular car hire location in Santa Barbara?

    In Santa Barbara, cars are most frequently hired at Budget 500 Fowler Road (8 miles from city centre).

  • How much does a car hire in Santa Barbara cost for a week?

    On average a car hire in Santa Barbara costs £267 per week (£38 per day).

  • How much does a car hire in Santa Barbara cost for a month?

    On average a car hire in Santa Barbara costs £1,146 per month (£38 per day).

  • Should I get insurance when hiring a car in Santa Barbara?

    Most car hire providers in Santa Barbara offer insurance but the level of protection can differ substantially. If you're unsure whether to get extra protection for your car hire in Santa Barbara, check out KAYAK's car hire insurance guide.

Santa Barbara car hire reviews and directory

Budget

Most popular

Cleanliness

7.4

Comfort

7.7

Pick-up/Drop-off

7.1

Value for money

7.1

2 locations in Santa Barbara

Show locations

Locations in Santa Barbara

305 East Haley Street

+1 805 965 1070

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday08:00 - 17:00
Sunday10:00 - 16:00

500 Fowler Road

+1 805 964 6792

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday08:00 - 17:00
Sunday08:00 - 17:00

Filters

Reviews

10.0 Wonderful

Feb 2024

KAYAK
Super friendly and professional service. Clean nice car.

2.0 Poor

Nov 2023

KAYAK
At first, it said it would take $75, but actually it takes $240 without our faults.

6.0 Okay

Oct 2023

KAYAK
Pickup was poor. No one available in car lot to help find car. Car was not where counter staff told us it was. Counter staff were not rude but not friendly or helpful with questions about car. Tried to reach office during rental period and was impossible. Dropoff was the same. No one in the lot. Counter staff not friendly or rude, Great car and poor service.

4.0 Mediocre

Oct 2023

KAYAK
personnel were not helpful…deposit was huge and still not returned after 3 days. Return location and service at the airport was poor.

6.0 Okay

Oct 2023

KAYAK
like that spouse can also drive… did not like the disorganized return process, dirty banged-up Nissan pickup truck (it was that or an EV) in lieu of an actual car

2.0 Poor

Oct 2022

KAYAK
Nowhere to leave the keys if you drop the car off after hours.

1 out of 31

Dollar

Cheapest deal

Cleanliness

8.6

Comfort

8.6

Pick-up/Drop-off

7.3

Value for money

4.0

One location in Santa Barbara

Show locations

Locations in Santa Barbara

500 Fowler Road

+1 866 434 2226

Monday07:00 - 21:00
Tuesday07:00 - 21:00
Wednesday07:00 - 21:00
Thursday07:00 - 21:00
Friday07:00 - 21:00
Saturday07:00 - 21:00
Sunday07:00 - 21:00

Filters

Reviews

2.0 Poor

Apr 2024

KAYAK
We had to rent somewhere else. There was a line that the person in front of me said they had been waiting over an hour in. There was only one person at the counter and over 10 parties in line. The other car companies had no wait. I paid slightly more but it was worth not waiting over and hour

2.0 Poor

May 2021

KAYAK

Pros:

My flight got in at6pm, the desk had closed at 5pm. No car for me!

Cons:

Knowing that I cannot get a car from Dollar after 5pm, I would have rented from Budget.

10.0 Wonderful

May 2021

KAYAK

Pros:

The check in and check out was very quick and easy, and they were very helpful when I had questions on the vehicle.

10.0 Wonderful

Mar 2021

KAYAK

Pros:

Yes, staff was terrific. Very helpful.

Cons:

Nothing it was perfect

2.0 Poor

Dec 2020

KAYAK

Cons:

i made a reservation only to arrive and be told there are no vehicles. once i made the reservation, the desk could have at least called to let me know. people make plans and rely on companies to have the product they reserve

3.6 Poor

Jul 2020

KAYAK

Pros:

Drop off was easy.

Cons:

I paid for a full size vehicle at least a week in advance. When I arrived to pick it up they didn't have one. We got stuck in a smaller car and couldn't get ahold of any customer service at priceline or kayak.

1 out of 16

Avis

8.5

Very Good

46 reviews

Cleanliness

9.2

Comfort

8.8

Pick-up/Drop-off

8.6

Value for money

8.2

2 locations in Santa Barbara

Show locations

Locations in Santa Barbara

305 East Haley Street

+1 805 965 1079

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday08:00 - 17:00
Sunday10:00 - 16:00

500 Fowler Road

+1 805 964 4848

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday08:00 - 17:00
Sunday08:00 - 17:00

Filters

Reviews

10.0 Wonderful

Feb 2024

KAYAK
Great!

4.0 Mediocre

May 2021

KAYAK

Cons:

The staff at pickup in Santa Barbara used deceitful tactics to pressure us into paying for an upgrade.

4.0 Mediocre

Jun 2020

KAYAK

Pros:

Staff Sue gave me a car that needed an oil change and didn’t apply insurance to vehicle. Then when I swopped the cars I needed to make a new contract That didn’t honor the daily rate and cut my trip by 2 days

Cons:

Honesty and accountability of the staff

8.4 Very Good

Jun 2019

KAYAK

Pros:

Friendly and professional staff.

Cons:

The rental car was not in the space on my card. No car was parked in that space. Luckily there was an attendant in the lot who approached me and found my car, and I did not have to return to the terminal.

10.0 Wonderful

Apr 2019

KAYAK

Pros:

Accommodated special request

2.4 Poor

Nov 2018

KAYAK

Cons:

I have lieved in SB for 40 years and have driven to the airport many times. I drove past the Avis return 2x before finding it. The parking area is very poorly lit at night and the sinage is terrible. There are no arrows, signs,etc as to where to return the keys, the car, etc. The staff at the Avis desk was most unhelpful. The attendant appeared lazy and like I was bothering her to return the keys. I had the impression I had really interrupted her evening and she had more important things to do than check me out ad take the keys back. Very poor expereince.

1 out of 8

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

8.0

Very Good

83 reviews
Best rated

Cleanliness

7.7

Comfort

7.9

Pick-up/Drop-off

7.8

Value for money

7.7

3 locations in Santa Barbara

Show locations

Locations in Santa Barbara

3210 State St

+1 805 966 3097

Monday00:00 - 00:00
Tuesday00:00 - 00:00
Wednesday00:00 - 00:00
Thursday00:00 - 00:00
Friday00:00 - 00:00
Saturday00:00 - 00:00
Sunday00:00 - 00:00

500 James Fowler Rd

+1 805 683 3012

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday08:00 - 17:00
Sunday08:00 - 17:00

601 Chapala St

+1 805 966 3097

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday09:00 - 13:00
Sunday00:00 - 00:00

Filters

Reviews

10.0 Wonderful

Oct 2023

KAYAK
The employees went out of their way to make this a super easy, efficient and pleasant experience.

10.0 Wonderful

Sept 2023

KAYAK
Car needed a vacuum, windows were dirty inside. Outside was kinda dirty.

10.0 Wonderful

Nov 2020

KAYAK

Pros:

Very helpful staff, pick up and drop-off

Cons:

Nothing. Really appreciated the savings offered by using Kayak on the catastrophic coverage!

8.0 Very Good

Nov 2020

KAYAK

Pros:

Staff was really friendly and very accommodating. The pick up and drop off was fast and easy

4.0 Mediocre

Oct 2020

KAYAK

Pros:

The staff was able to point me in the right direction after they recognized their mistake.

2.0 Poor

Sept 2020

KAYAK

Pros:

A refund on the vehicle i never used

Cons:

You guys couldve been more prepared with more vehicles

1 out of 15

Alamo

8.0

Very Good

55 reviews

Cleanliness

7.9

Comfort

8.2

Pick-up/Drop-off

8.1

Value for money

7.9

One location in Santa Barbara

Show locations

Locations in Santa Barbara

500 James Fowler Rd

+1 805 692 0939

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday08:00 - 17:00
Sunday08:00 - 17:00

Filters

Reviews

8.0 Very Good

May 2021

KAYAK

Pros:

The woman who helped me with drop off was incredibly helpful

2.0 Poor

May 2021

KAYAK

Cons:

They did not have my car available and said they tried to call me, but I never got a call. I needed a 12 person van, so it was not easy to find another one. Thankfully AVIS helped me out at the last minute!

2.0 Poor

Dec 2020

KAYAK

Cons:

Vehicle that I reserved was not available when I went go pick up.

10.0 Wonderful

Nov 2020

KAYAK

Cons:

I liked the small airport with car pick up right outside the terminal. Very convenient, quick, and simple. Would probably choose a slightly larger car than a Toyota Corolla for four adults.

9.6 Wonderful

Aug 2020

KAYAK

Pros:

Staff was friendly and efficient

Cons:

Car was a little dirty inside.

9.6 Wonderful

Jun 2020

KAYAK

Pros:

Easy, fast, and safe.

1 out of 10

Hertz

6.1

Cleanliness

6.7

Comfort

6.8

Pick-up/Drop-off

6.0

Value for money

6.2

2 locations in Santa Barbara

Show locations

Locations in Santa Barbara

16 S. La Cumbre Road

+1 805 967 1927

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday09:00 - 13:00

633 E Cabrillo Blvd

+1 805 962 5305

Monday09:00 - 13:00
Tuesday09:00 - 13:00
Wednesday09:00 - 13:00
Thursday09:00 - 13:00
Friday09:00 - 13:00

Filters

Reviews

8.0 Very Good

Jun 2024

KAYAK
Picking up the car was a little clumsy but all in all, everything was fine

6.0 Okay

Dec 2021

KAYAK
This Hertz rental office is not at the airport. The car was rented at an inexpensive price, and we had no trouble with the car. The car had some chips and scuffs, and was not entirely clean. The people at the rental office were friendly, but not super efficient.

2.0 Poor

Dec 2021

KAYAK
The women who work here were so rude. Beyond rude. I won’t be back to a hertz location again.

4.0 Mediocre

May 2021

KAYAK

Cons:

The car had not been cleaned. The customer service was lacking.

10.0 Wonderful

Apr 2021

KAYAK

Pros:

Easy pickup

8.0 Very Good

Aug 2020

KAYAK

Pros:

Car had been smoked in. It reeked.

1 out of 16

National

6.0

Cleanliness

10.0

Comfort

10.0

Pick-up/Drop-off

5.0

Value for money

6.0

One location in Santa Barbara

Show locations

Locations in Santa Barbara

500 James Fowler Rd

+1 805 692 0939

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday08:00 - 17:00
Sunday08:00 - 17:00

Filters

Reviews

10.0 Wonderful

Jun 2024

KAYAK
Amazing!

2.0 Poor

Nov 2021

KAYAK
I booked for 160 dls and my receipt was for more than 200 dls

1 out of 1

Sunnycars

No score available yet

One location in Santa Barbara

Show locations

Locations in Santa Barbara

500 James Fowler Rd

Opening times not available

Filters

No reviews available

561 travellers who hired a car in Santa Barbara gave the car agency they used an average rating of 7.3

Car hire locations in or near Santa Barbara

Good to know

Most popular agency

Budget

Most popular car type

Full-size

Average price

£38/day

Good deal

£30/day

When to book a car hire in Santa Barbara

Average daily price per month
Car hire prices as pick-up date approaches

Car hire insurance in Santa Barbara

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) & Theft Protection Waiver

Some Santa Barbara car providers already include Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection Waiver into the hire price but not all of them. We recommend being aware of your coverage when hiring a car in Santa Barbara.

Deductible

Keep in mind that car hire insurances often have a deductible clause, which is the amount you’ll have to pay if something happens during the time of your hire. If you want to avoid unwanted surprises, you should consider adding a non-deductible option to your Santa Barbara car hire.

Santa Barbara car hire information

Pick-up locationSanta Barbara
Car types
Hire locations13
Airport locations7