Accessibility Tools
View Navigation

Travel Tips for the Holidays

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

If you are traveling this holiday season, San Diego International Airport (SAN) wants you to be prepared before arriving at the airport. Due to the New T1 project, much of the airport’s campus is under construction. SAN is offering the following travel tips:

Plan ahead and arrive early when traveling to the airport.

  • Don’t cut it close―Plan to arrive two hours before flight departures for domestic and international flights. 
  • Due to construction, you should expect increased traffic and changes to airport roadways. Times in which you will see the most congestion include 4 a.m. to 6:15 a.m., 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), peak screening hours at the checkpoints are typically between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. You could see extended wait times of up to an hour.
  • If you are returning a vehicle to the Rental Car Center, allow additional travel time. Free shuttle buses run 24 hours per day between the Rental Car Center and airport terminals.
  • Make sure to check where the airlines are located—Terminal 1 or Terminal 2.

Parking is limited and reservations are strongly recommended.

  • The Terminal 1 Parking Lot is permanently closed. As a result, on-airport parking is limited to the Terminal 2 Parking Plaza or Curbside Valet at Terminal 1 or Terminal 2.
  • It is strongly recommended you reserve parking at Terminal 2 Parking Plaza or Curbside Valet as much in advance as possible at
  • The Terminal Loop Shuttle efficiently transports you between both terminals. Curbside pick-up is available every 10 minutes.

There are more ways than ever to get to the airport using public transit.

  • Take the COASTER to Santa Fe Depot train station in Downtown San Diego or take the MTS Trolley to Old Town Station.
  • MTS’s Route 992 stops at Terminals 1 and 2 and operates between 5 a.m. and midnight, every 15 minutes on weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends and holidays.
  • Try the free San Diego Flyer, a convenient electric shuttle service connecting the Old Town Transit Center and the airport.

Let someone else do the driving.

  • Taxi, Lyft, Uber, shuttles, or other airport-permitted commercial transportation options are great ways to get to and from SAN. Please note a new, temporary, ground-level crosswalk with a traffic light and crossing signal replaced the bridge to connect pedestrians from Terminal 1 to the Terminal 1 ground transportation island.
  • Have friends or family provide rides.

Picking someone up? Use the Cell Phone Lot.

  • Utilizing the Cell Phone Lot at the Terminal 2 West Parking Lot on McCain Road is a great way to avoid circling the airport and further congesting terminal roadways. The Cell Phone Lot is free and a convenient place to wait for arriving passengers. To get back to Baggage Claim to pick up passengers, follow detour signage to Terminal 1 or Terminal 2.

Once at the airport, sit back and shop, dine, and relax!

  • Shops and restaurants inside the terminals are open to provide travel necessities, meals, snacks, and more, however, availability and hours may vary. Visit for hours and locations.
  • Recharge or relax before flights at airline lounges or day spas. Visit for hours and locations.
  • SAN has options to suit every passenger, including eco-friendly and sustainable stores and food.

Happy travels!