Santa Barbara car hire

Santa Barbara car hire

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Santa Barbara, CA, United States
4 Nov — 11 Nov
Same drop-off
Santa Barbara, CA, United States
Thu 4/11
Noon
Thu 11/11
Noon
Driver's age:

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Santa Barbara car hire information

Pick-up locationSanta Barbara
Hire locations13
Airport locations7

Santa Barbara car hire reviews and directory

From $39/dayRated no. 1
Alamo
Most popular
Best rated
Cheapest deal
8.6 Excellent (139 reviews)
1 location in Santa Barbara
Alamo
Locations in Santa Barbara
  • 8.5
  • 8.7
  • 8.6
  • 8.8
  • 8.7
Recent reviews
1.9 Horrible16 Sep. 2021
Despite having a confirmed reservation, there was no cars available to me when I arrived at the counter. I was referred to a competitor at the next door counter where I ended up paying more, but at least I got a car!
5.9 Okay4 Aug. 2021
My rental car was not clean on the inside or outside. I’m not as concerned with the outside because I understand that’s harder to control, but I expected the inside to be spotless given the current state of the world. Instead, it was dusty, had sticky spots from a spilled beverage (I’m assuming), & dirt footprints throughout the car, such as on the passenger side (where I have not been sitting, or had a passenger). Additionally, there were no disinfecting wipes in the car for me to use to clean, which I’ve received in other rentals during the pandemic, so I had to use the ones I’d packed myself to clean the inside of the car to my comfort. It felt as if the car had just been dropped off by the previous renter, then handed off to me. I know there is a rental car shortage, & cars are in much higher demand right now as travel resumes, but as a renter I would hope that my safety is the highest priority! Adding this on top of what I paid for this rental car, I will not rent from Alamo again.
2.0 Mediocre21 Jun. 2021
I only had a debit card, no notes were given on needing a actual credit card online ( unless you are flying into SB airport lol) but was told that the down town location would take debit. ( which makes no sense.) Desk person would not help call downtown location to see if they had any vehicles like I had reserved at the airport location. Not willing to help. Poor customer service.
8.0 Excellent28 May 2021
The woman who helped me with drop off was incredibly helpful
2.0 Mediocre25 May 2021
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 Mediocre7 Dec. 2020
Vehicle that I reserved was not available when I went go pick up.
10.0 Excellent28 Nov. 2020
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 Excellent18 Aug. 2020
Staff was friendly and efficientCar was a little dirty inside.
9.6 Excellent26 Jun. 2020
Easy, fast, and safe.
10.0 Excellent14 Mar. 2020
fast and courteous
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Rated no. 2
Budget
8 Excellent (132 reviews)
2 locations in Santa Barbara
Budget
Locations in Santa Barbara
  • 8.1
  • 8.2
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7.7
Recent reviews
10.0 Excellent21 Oct. 2021
Friendly and professional staff, fast service, no waiting.
1.9 Horrible24 Aug. 2021
I rented a midsize sedan for a road trip. Instead, I received an unwanted upgrade to an SUV. I was not offered a sedan, even upon request, and the agent failed to warn me of the change. The leasing agent was also ride. I'm very disappointed in the experience
10.0 Excellent16 Aug. 2021
The team member in SB was excellent!
10.0 Excellent13 Jul. 2021
Doug at the desk was so helpful & positive!
7.9 Good13 Jul. 2021
It was a bit disappointint to have ordered a fuel-efficient small car for a several hundred miles trip to then receive a Jeep Wrangler (with a broken sunvisor that fell down while on the highway, blocking my view for 3 seconds). Other than that, all good.
1.9 Horrible12 Jul. 2021
I got a dirty car. Was told I could upgrade to a Jeep which I didn’t want since i would be spending more on gas. The car was not disinfected or vacuumed. I received it with half a tank and was charged $98 for gas when I returned it. They said I had to call the location of pick up to get price adjusted. I also denied any additional coverage at the time of pick up and they charged me $68 for some random coverage. The service light on the car was on at time of pick up and I was told “it’s no big deal”. I have been calling Budget with no luck on someone picking up the phone. My total should have been no more than $356 but I was charged nearly $546. That’s a $200 difference in “extras”.
6.0 Good15 Jun. 2021
Easy to lease… guy was friendlyThe car had a huge dent in front fender and someone had smoked in the car…. When we dropped it off… we told the guy and I marked it on receipt which he threw away so I guess they don’t care about the condition of the car!
10.0 Excellent13 Apr. 2021
the staff was very friendly and helpful
8.0 Excellent8 Apr. 2021
Pick up and Drop off were easyWas charged $100 for a tank of gas for a Corolla when the tank was already full
10.0 Excellent30 Mar. 2021
I was surprised with an upgrade to a Ford Bronco, since my vehicle preference wasn’t available. I was in shock because I didn’t think Bronco’s were released yet. It felt like I won the lottery, and I honestly wish I didn’t have to give it back. My daughter also became attached to the Bronco, and she was sad to see it go :(Experience was great. Thank you so much.
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Rated no. 3
Hertz
7.7 Good (153 reviews)
3 locations in Santa Barbara
Hertz
Locations in Santa Barbara
  • 7.8
  • 8
  • 7.7
  • 7.6
  • 7.7
Recent reviews
2.0 Mediocre25 Oct. 2021
The car was not ready when we arrived, the front desk attendant charged us for 2 extra hours because we ended up getting our car slightly earlier than the time that we scheduled. Will not rent from SB Hertz again.
1.9 Horrible12 Oct. 2021
I reserved a Hertz rental car through Kayak several weeks in advance. On the evening of my reservation, I had to take a Lyft from my hotel to the airport ($30) and when I arrived at the Hertz counter they said “Sorry, no cars left.” No call, no email letting me know and saving me a trip. So I had to take another $30 trip back to the hotel and scramble to find another last minute car reservation. Had an important meeting to get to in the morning. Just an overall very stressful situation. Will book directly with car rental agencies next time and call to confirm car availability before picking it up next time I guess!
1.9 Horrible29 Sep. 2021
There were no available cars, but the app allow me to book a car and when I got to the counter the guy told me that they even have a waiting list
1.9 Horrible23 Sep. 2021
The car rental pick-up was closed at 9:00 (when I set the pick-up time through Kayak. This means I needed to spend about $200 in Ubers to get my party to our destinations and to return to the airport the next morning to pick up the car. There was absolutely no number to call for assistance. Why did Kayak allow me to schedule a pick up when the rental agency at the airport was closed?! It was a very frustrating and costly experience. I will book directly with the car rental agency in the future.
1.9 Horrible12 Sep. 2021
Absolutely horrible service, didn't have cars available, despite reservation. Had to cancel and rebook for more money.
1.9 Horrible9 Aug. 2021
Hertz was closed when I arrived. I actually never got my car. But was charged for the rental. There were no Uber or Lyft available and paid $350 for a taxi in addition to the car rental to make it to my final destination. I was on hold most of the following morning to try to get in touch with a service agent to no avail. Very disappointed.
1.9 Horrible23 Jun. 2021
I thought I had booked Hertz at the Santa Barbara airport, but was told at the airport counter that my booking was actually at the " downtown" Hertz facility. I took a cab to that facility and was so discouraged by the service and the car availability that I declined the rental. I took a cab to my destination and then Uber'd around Santa Barbara for the duration of my stay. I've been a Hertz Gold customer for many years, and this downtown experience was not something I'd repeat. Definitely not the Hertz standard I've been used to.
10.0 Excellent16 Jun. 2021
I received a friendly reminder that the store would be closing soon, and they wanted to make sure I had picked up the car I needed. I was already in a rental car, but I really appreciated that a service member cared enough to call to make sure all her reservations were accounted for! She also helped me to determine the best location to drop off my rental on the other end of my travels.The office is a bit dingy, and the agent needed to stop our transaction several times to answer the phone. Otherwise, everyone was friendly and courteous.
4.0 Okay12 May 2021
The car had not been cleaned. The customer service was lacking.
10.0 Excellent14 Apr. 2021
Easy pickup
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Rated no. 4
Enterprise
8.1 Excellent (67 reviews)
3 locations in Santa Barbara
Enterprise
Locations in Santa Barbara
  • 8.1
  • 8.2
  • 8.1
  • 7.9
  • 7.8
Recent reviews
1.9 Horrible26 Jul. 2021
Booked my car six weeks in advance, and they didn’t have it or anything close for me. I caught the guy in lie after lie. He said he just rented it because i was over an hour late. I was an hour and two minutes because of a delayed flight. So he rented it in two minutes? He said he called and left messages. When I showed him my phone had no calls or messages, he said it just kept ringing. I was upset at his repeated lies, so he asked me to leave.
10.0 Excellent14 Jul. 2021
Too expensive for one day
6.0 Good12 Jun. 2021
Drop off was eastvehicle could have been cleaner
10.0 Excellent17 Nov. 2020
Very helpful staff, pick up and drop-offNothing. Really appreciated the savings offered by using Kayak on the catastrophic coverage!
8.0 Excellent12 Nov. 2020
Staff was really friendly and very accommodating. The pick up and drop off was fast and easy
4.0 Okay5 Oct. 2020
The staff was able to point me in the right direction after they recognized their mistake.
2.0 Mediocre5 Sep. 2020
A refund on the vehicle i never usedYou guys couldve been more prepared with more vehicles
6.8 Good24 Feb. 2020
Too busy and not organized very well. The workers I dealt with were friends though.
9.6 Excellent31 Aug. 2019
Gentleman who helped me was professional, courteous and efficient.Only thing that was a VERY MINOR problem was my lack of knowledge that the button to open gas tank cover was located on the car door (had not encountered this in other vehicles).
7.6 Good11 Jul. 2019
The employees were all very helpful, courteous and professional.The vehicle was in poor condition. The alignment was so bad it pulled to the right, the front tie-rod was bent and the tires were dangerously worn. This vehicle should have never been rented in this condition. That said, 1 week into the trip Enterprise authorized the repairs at Firestone.
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Rated no. 5
National
9.6 Excellent (2 reviews)
1 location in Santa Barbara
National
Locations in Santa Barbara
  • 10
  • 8
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
Recent reviews
Rated no. 6
Avis
8 Excellent (25 reviews)
2 locations in Santa Barbara
Avis
Locations in Santa Barbara
  • 8.6
  • 8.5
  • 8
  • 7.9
  • 7.5
Recent reviews
5.9 Okay21 Jul. 2021
Avis did not have the car I reserved when I arrived even though I called them that my plane was arriving an hour late and they assured me they would honor my reservation. It took an hour before they had a car that was within the size range I reserved and were trying to give me a much larger, uneconomical car. I refused it and they finally gave me a suitable replacement. The car I finally ended up with was great... Hopefully, this is all due to pandemic problems because the price was also triple of what I have paid in the past...
4.0 Okay26 May 2021
The staff at pickup in Santa Barbara used deceitful tactics to pressure us into paying for an upgrade.
4.0 Okay27 Jun. 2020
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 daysHonesty and accountability of the staff
8.4 Excellent24 Jun. 2019
Friendly and professional staff.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 Excellent8 Apr. 2019
Accommodated special request
2.4 Mediocre5 Nov. 2018
Unfriendly staff / Very Hard to locateI 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.
10.0 Excellent17 Jun. 2018
Didn't have to wait in a long line for pickup or drop off. Car worked well.
10.0 Excellent26 Nov. 2017
the car was easy to drive - good gas milage - very comfortable - service was quick.
6.8 Good28 Aug. 2017
Failed to provide fullntank on pick up and no maps in carNo paper maps in car or available at pickup. Tank was supposed to be full. When i filled up from empty it showed 535 miles yet we traveled less Than 400 miles.
8.4 Excellent13 Mar. 2017
Hard to find where to drop offShe was nice and sympathetic to my horrible experience with the car, but didn't do much other than to say call LAX and complain.Hard to figure out where to turn the keys in. I could find the lot, but no signs that you need to go into the terminal. It was dark... so if there are signs I didn't see them.
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Sunnycars
1 location in Santa Barbara
Sunnycars
Locations in Santa Barbara
Recent reviews
523 travellers who hired a car in Santa Barbara gave the car agency they used an average rating of 8.1

Car hire locations in or near Santa Barbara

Good to know

Most popular agency

Alamo

Most popular car type

Compact

Average price

$39/day

Good deal

$39/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 excess insurance in Santa Barbara

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) & Theft Protection Waiver

Collision damage waiver and theft protection are insurance options that cover renters from paying high penalty fees if the car is stolen or returned damaged. Some Santa Barbara car providers already include Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection Waiver into the rental price but not all of them. We recommend always be aware of your coverage when renting a car in in Santa Barbara.

Deductible

Keep in mind that car hire excess insurances often have a deductible clause, which is the amount you’ll have to pay if something happens during the time of your rental. If you want to avoid unwanted surprises, you should consider adding a no-deductible option to your Santa Barbara car rental.

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 $39 or less
  • Book your car hire in Santa Barbara at least 1 day before your trip in order to get a below-average price
  • Compact car hires in Santa Barbara are around 39% cheaper than other car types, on average

FAQs about hiring a car in Santa Barbara