Hi guys. I know a lot of you probably don't have the most $$$ to spend, but if you're at least 21, try and get a rent-a-car if you're flying in to Cali for the Fest. Hopefully this will be educational to some of you, and help you decide whether you wanna use one for the fest or not-
This is no shamless plug, but I've only used Dollar-Rent-a-Car. Why? In my many times renting cars (I'm almost 27 now), not all companies will let you rent if you're under 25. Dollar lets insured drivers 21 and up drive. It's also because over time, I know the B.S. to expect from them.
Now first: Most rental cars per day are about $30-40 if you're just getting your basic mid-size sedan. If you're under 25 (but 21 or older), they charge an extra $10-20 per day. Also, eventhough carpooling can offset these costs, only 1 person should drive. They charge extra $$$ per day for an extra driver (and you don't want the unregistered driver gettin caught... big no no).
Now on top of these baseline expenses: They will try to sell you into every plan imaginable. The Gas plan, the insurance plan, the Marshall plan, Kanye West's workout plan... every friggin plan imaginable. There's only 1 plan you need, AND YOU WILL NEED IT SINCE YOU'RE CAR IS GONNA BE EXPOSED TO THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE AND OTHER CARS LEFT UNATTENDED IN A PARKING LOT FOR THE WEEKEND-
It's called the "LOSS-DAMAGE WAIVER". It will cost you an extra $10-$20 per day, but seriously it's a necessity. First, when you rent a car, you need to inspect it at the rental car lot for any scratches, dents, dings, etc. If you don't document them to the rent-a-car person, YOU WILL GET CHARGED FOR THEM. But that's before you even leave the rent-a-car lot.
Now imagine having your car left alone all day (or all weekend if you're camping), exposed to thousands of other people and cars. The chances of scratches, dings, someone banging your car as they walk by with their backpack or cooler, you get what I'm sayin? There's a good chance the car won't be in the same shape as you left the lot. SO THE LOSS-DAMAGE WAIVER SAYS "YOU'RE NOT LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGE WHILE YOU RENT IT". This plan costs an extra $10-20 per day, but it's so worth it!!!! It pretty much means you can throw a brick through the windshield, and you're not liable for a penny.
When you return the car, REMEMBER TO RETURN IT WITH A FULL TANK OF GAS. Otherwise they charge you much more per gallon for gas than it even is right now.
So here's the deal- If there's 4 of you splitting the cost of a rental car from LAX. If there's at least one of you over 25 (that's insured), let them drive. That person will need to have the credit card, because it needs to be the driver's credit card that is used for the rental.
When you reserve a rental car, they don't require a credit card. They won't charge you for anything if you decide not to rent the car. They take your credit card info when you show up to rent the car. So do the math. If you have 4 people splitting a rental car. 1 driver over 25. add in the loss-damage waiver. $40 per day for 4 days, plus the loss damage waiver at $20/day comes out to $240. But if you split that 4 ways, it's about $80 per person. Now the estimates I just made could be a little high (hopefully). Add in gas split 4 ways (which you should only have to fill once), that shouldn't be so expensive either.
I hope this helps you guys in making a decision about a rent-a-car. Anyone feel free to chime in or add their own opinions or knowlege would be appreciated. Any questions feel free to ask, and I'll do the best I can to assist you. I attended the fest in '06, and carpooled with 2 guys from Canada and a guy from Houston, so this can work.