Santa Barbara car rentals

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Santa Barbara, CA
May 13 — May 20
Same drop-off
Santa Barbara, CA
Thu 5/13
Noon
Thu 5/20
Noon

Santa Barbara car rental information

Pick-up locationSanta Barbara
Car typesCompact, Economy, Full-size, Full-size SUV, Intermediate, Intermediate SUV, Luxury, Minivan, Premium, Standard, Standard SUV
Rental locations13
Airport locations7
Popular agenciesHertz, Avis, Budget, Alamo

Cheap car rentals in Santa Barbara

Best rates found by KAYAK users in the past hours.

Santa Barbara car rental reviews and directory

From $42/dayRated #1
Alamo
Best rated
8.8 Excellent (132 reviews)
1 location in Santa Barbara
Alamo
Locations in Santa Barbara
500 James Fowler Rd+1 805 692 0939
Monday08:00 - 18:00
Tuesday08:00 - 18:00
Wednesday08:00 - 18:00
Thursday08:00 - 18:00
Friday08:00 - 18:00
Saturday08:00 - 18:00
Sunday08:00 - 18:00
  • 8.7
  • 8.8
  • 8.8
  • 8.9
  • 8.8
Recent reviews
2.0 MediocreDec 7 2020
Cons: Vehicle that I reserved was not available when I went go pick up.
10.0 ExcellentNov 28 2020
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 ExcellentAug 18 2020
Pros: Staff was friendly and efficientCons: Car was a little dirty inside.
9.6 ExcellentJun 26 2020
Pros: Easy, fast, and safe.
10.0 ExcellentMar 14 2020
Pros: fast and courteous
2.0 MediocreJan 3 2020
Cons: Car wasn’t available when we arrived, total mess
9.6 ExcellentNov 30 2019
Cons: Room was nice, clean but a bit noisey
4.4 OkayOct 5 2019
Pros: Staff was ok but didn’t explain much and left me to find the car which wasn’t in the correct spotCons: Vehicle was full of ants. Didn’t have any instruction of when or where to bring car back
9.6 ExcellentAug 26 2019
Pros: The staff was so very helpful. Easiest car rental I have ever had.Cons: I should have opted for a bigger car.
10.0 ExcellentJul 24 2019
Pros: Nice car, pretty fast service, when I called to tell them it was scratched (just so they didn't think I did it) they were great about it.Cons: There was only one person at a desk handling two different companies. One person was in front of me, and it took longer than I would have liked, but honestly I got out of there faster than I have with other rental companies.
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From $28/dayRated #2
Hertz
Most popular
Cheapest deal
8.1 Excellent (142 reviews)
3 locations in Santa Barbara
Hertz
Locations in Santa Barbara
114 Moffett Pl+1 805 967 0411
Monday07:00 - 18:00
Tuesday07:00 - 18:00
Wednesday07:00 - 18:00
Thursday07:00 - 18:00
Friday07:00 - 18:00
Saturday07:00 - 18:00
Sunday07:00 - 18:00
16 S. La Cumbre Road+1 805 967 1927
Monday09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday09:00 - 17:00
Thursday09:00 - 17:00
Friday09:00 - 17:00
633 E Cabrillo Blvd+1 805 962 5305
Monday09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday09:00 - 17:00
Thursday09:00 - 17:00
Friday09:00 - 17:00
  • 8.1
  • 8.3
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8.1
Recent reviews
10.0 ExcellentApr 14 2021
Pros: Easy pickup
10.0 ExcellentMar 5 2021
Pros: Very friendly on both ends!
6.0 GoodJan 1 2021
Pros: Staff was very friendly. At drop off there was no sign to say where to leave the key after hours.Cons: I think there was something wrong with the tires and/or alignment. In heavy rain the car hydroplaned horribly so that I was very frightened that I would be tossed off the road.
2.0 MediocreDec 6 2020
Pros: Unable to pick up car. I wasn’t chargedCons: The location was closed, although I was able to book the car and Google listed them as open
8.0 ExcellentAug 11 2020
Pros: Car had been smoked in. It reeked.
9.6 ExcellentJul 18 2020
Pros: Friendly staff, accommodating.Cons: I chose the wrong pick up location by accident.
2.0 MediocreJun 17 2020
Cons: The facility was closed when I got there.
2.8 MediocreNov 15 2019
Pros: None, they don’t have any car for me. I have to find Herz office and complaints. I can rent a car after 90. Minutes. I call Herz call center for over 30mins. I can’t trust your system.Cons: All
2.4 MediocreOct 8 2019
Pros: Staff was friendly. Location is convenient.Cons: The vehicle was very beat up. It was missing the weatherstripping on the rear hatch, so it was very noisy. The vehicle was not the same class as what I reserved, so the MPG was way less efficient, therefore increasing fuel costs. The satellite radio service I paid for never activated.
2.0 MediocreSep 27 2019
Pros: They were closed during time of reservationCons: Being open
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From $41/dayRated #3
Budget
8 Excellent (120 reviews)
2 locations in Santa Barbara
Budget
Locations in Santa Barbara
305 East Haley Street+1 805 965 1070
Monday08:00 - 18:00
Tuesday08:00 - 18:00
Wednesday08:00 - 18:00
Thursday08:00 - 18:00
Friday08:00 - 18:00
Saturday08:00 - 18:00
Sunday10:00 - 16:00
500 Fowler Road+1 805 964 6792
Monday08:00 - 18:00
Tuesday08:00 - 18:00
Wednesday08:00 - 18:00
Thursday08:00 - 18:00
Friday08:00 - 18:00
Saturday08:00 - 18:00
Sunday08:00 - 18:00
  • 8.2
  • 8.3
  • 8.1
  • 8
  • 7.8
Recent reviews
10.0 ExcellentApr 13 2021
Pros: the staff was very friendly and helpful
8.0 ExcellentApr 8 2021
Pros: Pick up and Drop off were easyCons: Was charged $100 for a tank of gas for a Corolla when the tank was already full
10.0 ExcellentMar 30 2021
Pros: 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 :(Cons: Experience was great. Thank you so much.
2.0 MediocreMar 15 2021
Cons: We reserved a four door sedan. When we arrived at Budget, we were told that we had a Smart Car. There was absolutely NO WAY that we would fit in. Smart Car. We had to pay $20 extra each day to upgrade to a larger vehicle. We paid way more than we would have, if we had just rented directly from car rental.
4.0 OkayDec 25 2020
Cons: They left the airport and we could not pick up our car!! So had to pay an extra high fee to Uber somewhere because of the holidays. Very frustrating
2.0 MediocreDec 6 2020
Pros: Absolutely nothing. The rudest customer service I have ever received. I was told that it was my fault for not planning ahead and for selecting a vehicle that was not available. The representative accused me of doing this intentionally to receiving a car in a different class. I have only ever reserved economy class cars as I rent frequently for work. Some companies have upgraded me, but I’ve never been accused of reserving an inexpensive vehicle with such intent. The representative offered me another vehicle at an additional charge, which I declined as I had expected to receive the car and price I had reserved. I had to make other last minute arrangements to travel to my destination.Cons: I only wish hertz had been open. They know how to treat their customers.
3.2 MediocreSep 1 2020
Pros: Staff was friendly.Cons: My car could have been available. When I showed up they only had two other vehicles at a much higher rate.
10.0 ExcellentAug 13 2020
Pros: Friendly and helpful staff, pick up and drop off were easy.Cons: Car could’ve been a tiny bit cleaner, but I’m just being extra nit-picky at this point.
2.0 MediocreJun 4 2020
Pros: I had a reservation for pick up and the rental desk was closed when I arrived. 3 hours before the official closing time. They told me to come back in the morning but I just canceled it. Completely ruined my plans.Cons: Actually be open when you say you are
10.0 ExcellentJun 1 2020
Pros: The staff in Santa Barbara was very nice and the car (beetle) was absolutely amazing! Super cheap price as well, very satisfied with the rental.Cons: When I arrived at LAX at the drop off I was super scared. I was on my own and arrived at 3 am. The place was like a ghost town, cars with wide open doors but no people and a running bus with not a single person around, it was the set up for a horror movie. I honestly was scared to death to step out of the car and I think you should tell your customers the circumstances of the drop off area because I was more than confused. I also couldn't find the shuttle bus and wandered around the place with my two suitcases until I ended up ordering an uber. Absolutely uncomfortable for a young woman traveling on her own.
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From $43/dayRated #4
Enterprise
8.1 Excellent (63 reviews)
3 locations in Santa Barbara
Enterprise
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 - 18:00
Tuesday08:00 - 18:00
Wednesday08:00 - 18:00
Thursday08:00 - 18:00
Friday08:00 - 18:00
Saturday08:00 - 18:00
Sunday08:00 - 18:00
601 Chapala St+1 805 966 3097
Monday08:00 - 18:00
Tuesday08:00 - 18:00
Wednesday08:00 - 18:00
Thursday08:00 - 18:00
Friday08:00 - 18:00
Saturday09:00 - 17:00
Sunday00:00 - 00:00
  • 8.2
  • 8.2
  • 8.2
  • 8
  • 8
Recent reviews
10.0 ExcellentNov 17 2020
Pros: Very helpful staff, pick up and drop-offCons: Nothing. Really appreciated the savings offered by using Kayak on the catastrophic coverage!
8.0 ExcellentNov 12 2020
Pros: Staff was really friendly and very accommodating. The pick up and drop off was fast and easy
4.0 OkayOct 5 2020
Pros: The staff was able to point me in the right direction after they recognized their mistake.
2.0 MediocreSep 5 2020
Pros: A refund on the vehicle i never usedCons: You guys couldve been more prepared with more vehicles
6.8 GoodFeb 24 2020
Pros: Too busy and not organized very well. The workers I dealt with were friends though.
9.6 ExcellentAug 31 2019
Pros: Gentleman who helped me was professional, courteous and efficient.Cons: 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 GoodJul 11 2019
Pros: The employees were all very helpful, courteous and professional.Cons: 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.
2.0 MediocreJul 3 2019
Cons: Staff was not friendly and they did not have a car for us when we arrived.
10.0 ExcellentMay 24 2019
Pros: yes ...all great staffCons: nothing..all good !!
2.0 MediocreApr 13 2019
Pros: Enterprise did not honor my reservation. They make me another reservation under enterprise website and charged me a lot moreCons: Enterprise should not be part of the website or part of the business provided. Terrible company and customer service. Mean managers st chapala st office in Santa Barbara. The agent helping me was great and very kind and helpful. Manager didn’t give a dam abt customers.
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From $66/dayRated #5
National
9.6 Excellent (2 reviews)
1 location in Santa Barbara
National
Locations in Santa Barbara
500 James Fowler Rd+1 805 692 0939
Monday08:00 - 18:00
Tuesday08:00 - 18:00
Wednesday08:00 - 18:00
Thursday08:00 - 18:00
Friday08:00 - 18:00
Saturday08:00 - 18:00
Sunday08:00 - 18:00
  • 10
  • 8
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
Recent reviews
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From $52/dayRated #6
Avis
8.3 Excellent (23 reviews)
2 locations in Santa Barbara
Avis
Locations in Santa Barbara
305 East Haley Street+1 805 965 1079
Monday08:00 - 18:00
Tuesday08:00 - 18:00
Wednesday08:00 - 18:00
Thursday08:00 - 18:00
Friday08:00 - 18:00
Saturday08:00 - 18:00
Sunday10:00 - 16:00
500 Fowler Road+1 805 964 4848
Monday08:00 - 18:00
Tuesday08:00 - 18:00
Wednesday08:00 - 18:00
Thursday08:00 - 18:00
Friday08:00 - 18:00
Saturday08:00 - 18:00
Sunday08:00 - 18:00
  • 8.6
  • 8.6
  • 8.3
  • 8.2
  • 7.7
Recent reviews
4.0 OkayJun 27 2020
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 daysCons: Honesty and accountability of the staff
8.4 ExcellentJun 24 2019
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 ExcellentApr 8 2019
Pros: Accommodated special request
2.4 MediocreNov 5 2018
Unfriendly staff / Very Hard to locateCons: 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.
10.0 ExcellentJun 17 2018
Pros: Didn't have to wait in a long line for pickup or drop off. Car worked well.
10.0 ExcellentNov 26 2017
Pros: the car was easy to drive - good gas milage - very comfortable - service was quick.
6.8 GoodAug 28 2017
Failed to provide fullntank on pick up and no maps in carCons: No 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 ExcellentMar 13 2017
Hard to find where to drop offPros: She was nice and sympathetic to my horrible experience with the car, but didn't do much other than to say call LAX and complain.Cons: 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.
7.2 GoodFeb 14 2016
Not what it seemed - guy plugged in too many extraPros: Van was great, pickup was convenient, price seemed good, Drop-off easyCons: So day rate meant additional charges, including mileage and hours. That wasn't mentioned in the booking online. I bought the insurance through Kayak's site, but the guy said it was useless, should have bought avis insurance and tried to tack it on.
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Sunnycars
1 location in Santa Barbara
Sunnycars
Locations in Santa Barbara
500 Fowler Road, Goleta
Recent reviews
487 travelers who rented a car in Santa Barbara gave the car agency they used an average rating of 8.3

Car rental locations in or near Santa Barbara

Good to know

Most popular agency

Dollar

Most popular car type

Standard

Average price

$44/day

Good deal

$35/day

When to book a rental car in Santa Barbara

Average daily price per month
Rental car prices as pick-up date approaches

Top tips for renting a car in Santa Barbara

  • A rental 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 rental 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 rental car counters are located in the Rental 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 rental cars in Santa Barbara for $35 or less
  • Book your rental car in Santa Barbara at least 1 day before your trip in order to get a below-average price
  • Off-airport rental car locations in Santa Barbara are around 36% cheaper than airport locations on average
  • Intermediate rental cars in Santa Barbara are around 30% cheaper than other car types, on average

FAQs about renting a car in Santa Barbara

  • Some car rental companies in Santa Barbara which have updated their car rental health and safety policies due to COVID-19 to make sure vehicles are clean and disinfected include Dollar, Hertz and Alamo

  • On average a rental car in Santa Barbara costs $44 per day.

  • In the past 72 hours, the cheapest rental cars were found at Avis ($54/day), Budget ($63/day) and Hertz ($73/day). In the last 72 hours the cheapest rental car price was found at Hertz 16 S. La Cumbre Road 93105 (3 miles from city center).

  • Based on ratings and reviews from real users on KAYAK, the best car rental companies in Santa Barbara are Alamo (8.7, 60 reviews), Enterprise (8.4, 115 reviews), and Budget (8.1, 121 reviews).

  • The average gas price in Santa Barbara is $3.21 per gallon over the past 30 days. Filling up a gas tank costs between $39 and $51, depending on the car size.

  • Standard (Hyundai Elantra or similar) is the most frequently booked rental car type in Santa Barbara.

  • Car rental companies onsite at Los Angeles airport include Thrifty, Hertz, U-Save, Fox, Sixt, Dollar, Airport Van, NU Car, Ace and Budget.

  • Car rental companies that offer shuttle or pick-up services from Los Angeles airport to off-airport locations include Thrifty, Enterprise, Hertz, U-Save, Sixt, Dollar, Airport Van, Alamo, NU Car, and Advantage.

  • Take a look at our extensive car rental location map to find the best rental cars near you.

  • A Standard car rental in Santa Barbara costs $46 per day, on average.

  • A Economy car rental in Santa Barbara costs $43 per day, on average.

  • A Intermediate car rental in Santa Barbara costs $44 per day, on average.

  • In Santa Barbara, cars are most frequently rented at Hertz 16 S. La Cumbre Road (3 miles from city center).

  • On average a rental car in Santa Barbara costs $309 per week ($44 per day).

  • On average a rental car in Santa Barbara costs $1,326 per month ($44 per day).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The average gas prices in Santa Barbara are about $3.47 per gallon. Lower prices can range anywhere between $3.15 and $3.35 per gallon. Gas prices are usually cheaper in Santa Barbara than in Los Angeles, so if you’re going on a road trip to that side of the coast, make sure to fill up the tank beforehand.

  • 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.

  • Finding the right price, understanding the add-ons and staying up to date with policy changes can be a challenge. That’s why KAYAK has produced the ultimate guide to renting a car to help you cut though the jargon and make the right choice for your rental car. Find tips and insights for how to book your rental, what car rental insurance you’ll need, how to deal with a car rental agency and what extra fees to expect (and avoid!).