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San Diego is one of the most popular destinations, especially for those who want to get from point A to B quickly

San Diego is one of the most popular destinations, especially for those who want to get from point A to B quickly

When I moved to San Diego from New York City a quarter-century ago, I had to get used to driving everywhere. But in my first month here, I managed to drive more than in all my years in Manhattan!

It’s great to get home and back to reality once in a while, where I am able to fly nonstop back and forth every weekend. San Diego is a major metropolitan hub with easy access by way of many modes of transport as well as a popular tourist destination.

Once you get here, you’ll need a car unless you plan to park near downtown or in one of the area’s beautiful resorts. That would still be totally acceptable.

Here are the best tips and maps to plan your trip down to San Diego!

Getting to San Diego

most popular destinations

San Diego International Airport (SAN)

With its picturesque location, SDA International Airport provides an easy transfer from the downtown area to other parts of San Diego. It’s also a small enough airport for making arrivals & departures seamless. The view of palm trees always makes me relax; they’re a calming presence. They help balance my day and make work easier to handle.

Terminal 1 is undergoing a major overhaul at the moment; it’s expected that construction will be complete in 2028. Meanwhile, Terminal 2, Delta, United, and Aspire are waiting to welcome you.

San Diego has an amazingly small and busy airport. Most airports have multiple runways, but it is one of the busiest with just a single runway. The updates will lower costs for airlines as well as travelers.

All major US airlines services have flights in and out of San Diego and, because it is not a hub, it often can be difficult to find a non-stop flight.

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The San Diego International Airport is becoming better known internationally and offers great opportunities for direct flights with British Airways, Lufthansa, and many more.

Once you arrive, you can use an Uber or Lyft to get to the island with luggage. They provide shuttle services that lead directly out of the airport and take care of transportation.


I’ve found the train to be relaxing when traveling around San Diego or other parts of California. I can even transport my golf clubs, surfboard, or bike with no problem.

You can purchase your tickets right here and make your way to the train station in no time! Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner Route travels along the coast for 351 miles and offers beautiful ocean views. It also has convenient stops in downtown & North County at all times of the day. Hop on the Pacific Surfliner, one of the fastest and most express train routes from LA’s Union Station to San Diego. It will take you about 3 hours and you’ll end up at San Diego Union Station.

Getting around San Diego

most popular destinations

Public transport in San Diego really isn’t worth it, so I advise making use of the Uber and Lyft services. Even if you’re not satisfied with the only options available, there are plenty of cars ready to take you where you want to go. The Trolley is great for some things, like taking you to Seaport Village from the office in Fashion Valley. It’s not super practical for much else on the table though.

San Diego is definitely a driving city and you’re going to be very familiar with the 5 here. From Blaine, Washington, it can be been seen running parallel to the Pacific Ocean.

If you’re staying downtown, you’ll need a vehicle that’s convenient for navigating the area. When in coastal communities like Encinitas, many people bike during their stay and can borrow one from a hotel. But if you plan to travel elsewhere, don’t forget your car when it’s time to leave.

Rental cars

You can rent a car from a selection of over 20 different models. The airport location has the most cars and options to choose from, but other rental locations are scattered around the area. If you want to hire a car in the city, I suggest ordering one with


If you don’t feel like driving for your day-to-day needs, Ubers and Lyfts are usually easy to come by. They can be relatively expensive though, so using them may not be the best option if you’re planning on moving often.

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