How to Get From LAX to San Diego (Quickest & Cheapest!)

There are five ways you can travel the 125 miles from LAX Airport to San Diego:

  1. Hire Car
  2. Rideshare (Uber or Lyft)
  3. Plane
  4. Train
  5. Bus

The best way to travel from LAX to San Diego is by car. You can rent a car and drive it one-way from LAX Airport to San Diego. Alternatively, if you’re flying back out of San Diego, you can keep the vehicle for your entire trip.

Hire Car

⏱️ Time: 2 – 3 hours
💵 Cost: $125 – $175
💻 Book Hire Car: Discover Cars

Driving is the quickest and easiest way to get from LAX Airport to San Diego. You can pick a hire car up from LAX Airport and drive it south along the coast to San Diego. The journey is around 125 miles and takes 2 to 3 hours, depending on traffic.

Renting a car and driving it one way from LAX to San Diego costs around $125. However, the price will vary depending on:

  • Vehicle type
  • Rental Company
  • Drop-off location
  • Driver age

Alongside the cost of the rental car, you’ll also need to consider the price of:

  • Gas
  • Toll roads
  • Parking fees
  • Extras

Best Place To Rent A Car In Los Angeles

Discover Cars compares car rental deals from more than 500 partners so that you can choose which is best for your trip.


⏱️ Time: 2 – 3 hours
💵 Cost: $150 – $250

If you don’t fancy the hassle of hiring a car and driving from LAX to San Diego, consider taking a taxi instead.

An Uber from LAX to San Diego costs between $150 and $250 one-way.

The Uber or Lyft will collect you at LAX-IT at LAX Airport and drop you off wherever you like in San Diego.

You do not need to book a rideshare from LAX Airport to San Diego in advance. However, it is advisable. Especially given the limited number of drivers willing to take such a long journey.


⏱️ Time: 3 hours
💵 Cost: $80 – $200
💻 Buy Tickets: Skyscanner

You can take a direct flight from LAX to San Diego. Airlines currently operating this route include:

  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines

A direct flight from LAX Airport to San Diego International Airport costs between $80 and $200. However, extra costs will apply for luggage.

While the flight from LAX to San Diego takes less than one hour, you’ll still need to arrive at LAX two hours in advance. This means flying from LAX to San Diego can often take just as long, if not longer, than driving.


⏱️ Time: 4.5 – 6 hours
💵 Cost: $45 – $95
💻 Buy Tickets: Omio

You can also use a combination of buses and trains to get from LAX to San Diego. First, you’ll want to take the LAX FlyAway from LAX Airport to Union Station.

Then, from Union Station, you’ll want to take the Pacific Sufliner to San Diego Santa Fe Depot. The train journey takes 2 hours and 55 minutes. As such, the total journey from LAX to San Diego by bus and train should take between 4.5 and 6 hours.

Tickets for the Pacific Sufliner from Union Station to Santa Fe Depot cost between $35 and $85. Meanwhile, the LAX FlyAway costs $9.75. This brings the total cost of travelling from LAX to San Diego by bus and train to between $45 and $95 per person.

You can buy tickets for the Pacific Surfliner Amtrak online in advance or in person at the train station.


⏱️ Time: 5 hours
💵 Cost: $55 – $85
💻 Buy Bus Tickets: Omio

You can also travel between LAX and San Diego by bus. The best way to do this is to:

  • Take the LAX FlyAway from LAX Airport to Union Station
  • Take the bus from Union Station to San Diego

Two bus companies operate routes between Union Station and San Diego:

  1. Greyhound
  2. FlixBus

I’ve travelled with both bus companies, and they offer a similar level of service. Which could be better…

The bus from Union Station to San Diego takes around 3 hours. Combined with the LAX FlyAway, this means the bus from LAX to San Diego should take around 5 hours.

Bus tickets from Union Station to San Diego cost between $45 and $75 one-way. You must buy tickets for the bus online in advance.

The FlyAway Bus costs $9.75 one-way from LAX to Union Station. As such, the total cost of travelling from LAX to San Diego by bus will be between $55 and $85 per person.

Los Angeles Travel Planning Guide

🏥 Should I Buy Travel Insurance for a Trip to Los Angeles?

Yes, you should definitely buy travel insurance for any vacation to Los Angeles. Basic travel insurance coverage with Safety Wing averages between $5 – $10 per day and offers peace of mind.

🚘 Do I Need to Rent a Car for a Trip to Los Angeles?

Whether you’ll want a rental car in Los Angeles will really depend on how long you’re visiting for and where you plan to go during your trip. The traffic in Los Angeles is notoriously crazy, yet public transport is still somewhat limited.

If you do decide to hire a car in Los Angeles, then I’d recommend using Discover Cars to find the best car rental deals.

🏨 Where to Stay in Los Angeles?

The best place to stay in Los Angeles will really depend on what you plan to do most during your trip. If you’re planning to visit Disneyland, for example, then staying in a hotel in Anaheim is likely going to be best.

Alternatively, if you’re planning on exploring the city and visiting Universal Studios Hollywood, then I’d recommend Loews Hollywood.

When booking your accommodation in Los Angeles, I recommend using either or However, for large families and groups, VRBO is my number one choice.


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One Comment

  1. Ray Denis says:

    This is a very good information. Please make it available to anyone arriving in LAX.