Getting Around L.A: Maxxing Out Your Ride Style with Rentals
© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.
Whether you live in Los Angeles or are just visiting, you need a car to travel among all the area’s distant destinations. For a special occasion like an anniversary, prom night or business celebration, an ordinary vehicle may not be enough. Fortunately, many options are available for maxxing out your ride style with rentals in this car-crazy metropolis.
When you’re cruising down Pacific Coast Highway, club-hopping on Santa Monica Boulevard or shopping on Rodeo Drive, you need a luxury vehicle that turns heads. Beverly Hills Rent-A-Car offers the wheeled bling to match its name. If you want the top down, how about the latest Porsche Boxter convertible or a 1959 Cadilla Deville, with the top down? Go luxury with Rolls Royce Phantom or a Bentley Mulsanne. Or if you’re feeling more exotic, there’s always the Lamborghini Gallardo CVT, the Ferrari California or the McLaren MP4-12C.
But you’d better bring wads of cash or credit because these beauties rent at up to $2,300 a day. And you’ll need proof of full insurance coverage or extra fees will apply to cover potential damage and liability. On the plus side, the rental includes 50 free miles and they have four locations plus Las Vegas, Nevada.
If you’re interested in starting the party on the ride with up to 44 of your closest friends, then you need an L.A. Party Bus. Their biggest model, the two-level Skylounge, has a disco floor with random color lights, a toilet, a 50-inch plasma set, a bar area with a sink, and audio equipment like satellite TV and radio, DVD/CD player and an iPod connection.
Prices for the Skylounge run $132 per hour with a four-hour minimum, though sports and club packages can reduce the cost further. Pricing includes a driver and fuel. You’ll have to supply your own food and drinks.
If the thought of a luxury car brings you nothing but a yawn, then you need to take to the air in one of the helicopters from Los Angeles Helicopters, which takes off from Long Beach Airport. You and up to two friends can get a birds-eye view of such sites as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, downtown, Long Beach Harbor and even Catalina Island in excursions lasting up to 2.5 hours and costing from $160 to $460 per person.
If you’d rather plan your own journey, charters are available for about $625 an hour for flying and $120 per hour for standing by. Fees apply for up to three passengers, though the total weight of all passengers and bags must be under 550 pounds.
If your travel plans lies further a-field in cities located on a rail line, the most leisurely and luxurious way to get there is on a private railroad car attached to a regular Amtrak passenger train. Trains and Travel and California Zephyr Railcar Charters are two agencies that offer such services. You can dine under a domed glass roof as you speed to San Diego, or relax in a self-contained suite as you head toward Chicago. Depending on what you rent, you can carry as few as six guests in sleepers or up to 55 people in passenger seats. Cars can contain sleeping accommodations, kitchens, restrooms, shower rooms, lounges and bedrooms that sleep from one-to-two people.
Prices start at $7,000 a day and generally include Amtrak charges, uniformed staff, meals tailored to your specifications and a full bar. With advance notice, they can even pick up and drop off passengers at any station on the route.