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Navigating the San Diego Airport as an International Traveler

The San Diego International Airport services thousands of passengers each day, welcoming individuals from the United States, as well as travelers from around the world. If you are not a frequent traveler, arriving at an international airport can be somewhat confusing. Fortunately, while the San Diego International Airport is usually busy, it is not very large and is easy to navigate when prepared. As a result, the Marina Inn, a downtown San Diego Airport hotel, offers information about the international to help travelers arriving from other countries.

International flights arrive at Terminal 2, which is located on the far west side of the San Diego Airport. Also in Terminal 2, passengers have access to a Travelex currency exchange station. There are two Travelex currency stations, with one being by the baggage claim near carousel 3 and the other near Gate 22. At these stations you can get traveler’s checks, travel insurance and prepaid phone cards.

If you have checked luggage, when getting off your plane, you’ll need to go downstairs to the baggage claim area to collect your belongings. There will be multiple signs overhead indicating where baggage claim is. Once at the baggage claim area, there will be multiple carousels. Above each carousel is an electronic sign which will feature various flight numbers. Check for your flight number and wait for your baggage.

By the baggage claim, there is also a place to reserve a rental car. If you have already reserved a rental car, you will be able to contact the specific agency you booked with from this location. Using the courtesy telephones let your rental car agency know you are ready for pick up and they will provide you with instructions for pick up (there are no rental car agencies on site at the San Diego Airport). You will likely be instructed to exit the airport and go to the traffic island on the west end of Terminal 2. There you’ll find a shuttle to take you to your selected rental car location. Once at your rental car destination, you can pick up your car and be on your way to exploring San Diego.

If at any point while at the airport, passengers become lost or are unsure of where they need to be, there are volunteer airport ambassadors wearing green shirts that can be found walking around Terminal 2 West and will be able to assist you. There are over 350 of these ambassadors and they will be able to provide you with any additional information pertaining to public transportation, taxis, courtesy shuttles, rental cars and cheap hotels near the San Diego Airport.

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