Philadelphia

By | 16th January 2018

Do you need a car in Philadelphia?

Do you need a car in Philadelphia > Should you rent a car in Philadelphia USA > Philadelphia ( PHL )

It’s fair to say that alongside Washington DC, Philadelphia tends to have a broader appeal to domestic American visitors than it might do for the international tourist. Whether you are here to see the Liberty Bell, the “Rocky Steps”, or anything else within the downtown area, it’s fairly obvious to point out that a rental car is certainly not needed.

Do you need a car in Philadelphia? Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

It’s also worth mentioning that public transit in Philadelphia is amongst the best in the USA. The local South East Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) providing a range of light rail, metro and commuter rail services. This includes a direct connection to Philadelphia International Airport, although with stops at each of the 5 concourses, this does get a bit tedious if you are joining or leaving the system at the end of the line!

Philadelphia also has a small selection of riverfront hiking and biking trails. Being the main rail gateway to Atlantic City, it’s also easy enough to escape to the New Jersey coast from here.

Another popular cultural point of interest is to visit some of the Amish settlements in Lancaster County. This is the sort of excursion where a hire car is really neither necessary nor particularly appropriate. The film “Witness” includes a scene in the city’s main 30th Street station. This building is a 1930s classic, which you will inevitably pass through if you aren’t picking up a rental car at the airport.

Philadelphia is also a natural base from which to explore the wider north-east seaboard. For visitors arriving from Europe, sometimes flights here can be exceptionally good value when compared to flying into more congested airports in New York or in the Washington area. From Philadelphia, you can easily jump on the train up to New York or down to Baltimore and then on to Washington DC. Although we would tend to suggest that there are quite a few places around Washington itself where a hire car might well be useful, if you’re travelling up and down the north-east seaboard, most of these places are better to visit in a rental car out of Washington DC, or possibly out of Baltimore, rather than Philadelphia.

Why should you rent a car in Philadelphia?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Philadelphia?

Philadelphia Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all cost and quality factors. [Full notes - drive rating]

40%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]

€160

 #191/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]

 €240

163/300

 

Free parking score

Total 271 - of which 137 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

51%

#121/300

 
  • Generally, a rental car is not that useful in Philadelphia.
 

Why not? Visiting Philadelphia without a car

 
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Philadelphia public transport quick facts

Train score

 

70%

Water travel score

30%

Overall public transport score

80%

 

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Philadelphia. 

40%

  • Excellent local public transport (transit) – including bus, metro and regional train.
  • Fast Amtrak express services north towards New York, and south to Baltimore and Washington DC.
  • Lancaster County – best at a slower pace!
  • Philadelphia is a compact and vibrant city – much of it is easily walkable, especially around colourful South Street.

Do you need to rent a car in Philadelphia? On balance, a rental car in Philadelphia isn’t really particularly useful. The public transit is good enough that there is little need for one. Depending on where else you want to visit, it might be worth looking at Philadelphia car hire deals based on a one or two-day rental, rather than getting a hire car for the whole period of your stay.

Ratings

Car rental in - Philadelphia Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Philadelphia?

  • Based on comparison with transit and walking/cycling?
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Philadelphia?

  • Based on value for money?
 

Should you rent a car in Philadelphia?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Philadelphia if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

What about for families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Philadelphia if we are staying in the city centre / main resort area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the urban area?

What if we are staying in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Philadelphia if I prefer not to drive?

What if we are easy either way?

What if I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

What is our final score for Philadelphia on the Carornocar scale?

3

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Would you hire a car in Philadelphia?

Have you driven in Philadelphia? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Philadelphia?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
 
Category: USA

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