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Things you must know before planning a trip to Los Angeles

2023, LA USA

Aditi with Life is beautiful Sign @ Rodeo Drive
Rodeo Drive

The City of Angels, where dreams are born and where stars shine their brightest. Los Angeles, a captivating city nestled along the stunning California coastline, attracts millions of visitors each year with promises of sun-soaked beaches, glamorous Hollywood studios, and an array of diverse experiences.

This is our second blog on LA since one blog was not enough to share everything that we wanted to share. Do check out our first LA blog where we shared our full itinerary and the most exciting things to do in LA.

In this blog, we want to answer some of the most commonly asked question while planning a trip to LA.

So buckle up, as we prepare you for an adventure like no other in the iconic city of Los Angeles.

Here are the questions that we are going to answer in this blog. We recommend going through all of them or you can just jump to the one you are interested in.

How many days do you need to explore the best of LA?

To truly explore the full expanse of LA, we highly recommend allocating a minimum of 4-6 days. This sprawling city offers an abundance of attractions and activities to indulge in.

For adrenaline junkies seeking thrilling adventures, LA presents a plethora of options, including some of the most exhilarating roller coaster rides you can find in the world.

If you have a thing for hiking, prepare to be delighted by the numerous serene trails scattered throughout the city.

For the ones yearning for sun-soaked beaches, LA's coastline will never fail to enchant and provide the perfect setting for relaxation.

Fashion enthusiasts and avid shoppers will find themselves in paradise. Be warned, as LA's shopping scene may prove to be irresistible and lead to a considerable dent in your wallet.

If you are a die-hard movie fan, prepare to have your mind blown by the sheer glamour and iconic landmarks in Hollywood.

And if you find solace in witnessing breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, LA's scenic beauty will captivate your nature-loving soul.

To truly savour everything this remarkable city has to offer, it is crucial to invest some time in creating a well-structured itinerary (Or just refer to ours here) that allows you to make the most of your time and immerse yourself in all the wonders LA has in store.

What are the best places to stay in LA?

When it comes to choosing the best places to stay in LA, there are several areas that offer unique experiences and accommodations.

Check out some of our top recommendations for your next trip to Los Angeles.

1. Beverly Hills: It is the most happening location in LA. It is known for its luxury and exclusivity and has a lot of world-class hotels. The biggest advantage of staying in Beverly Hills is that you will be staying near the high-end shopping street, Rodeo Drive.

2. Santa Monica: It is located along the coast and offers a spectacular beachfront experience with a vibrant atmosphere. Staying near or in Santa Monica will provide you easy access to the famous Santa Monica Pier, Third Street Promenade for shopping/dining and the beach.

3. Hollywood: If you love drama and your heart belongs to the entertainment industry, Hollywood should be your choice. With iconic landmarks like the Walk of Fame, TCL Chinese Theatre, and the prestigious Dolby Theatre, you can experience the true essence of Hollywood.

Pro tip: Downtown LA, previously, the downtown area used to be a prime choice for tourists seeking the best places to stay in LA. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rising housing expenses, the homeless situation has worsened. Downtown LA is known to offer an urban experience, historic architecture, cultural attractions, and trendy nightlife. However, for your peace of mind, we would suggest considering alternative areas and avoiding stay in downtown, unless you have specific business there.

4. West Hollywood: This lively neighbourhood offers a vibrant nightlife scene with numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants. It is also known for its LGBTQ+ friendly atmosphere and the popular shopping and dining street, Melrose Avenue. Overall, it's a fun neighbourhood where you can be yourself without a care in the world.

5. Venice Beach: If you prefer a laid-back beach vibe with a bohemian twist, Venice Beach is a great choice. Get the taste of colourful boardwalks, street performers, and the Venice Canals. You can find a range of accommodations, from boutique hotels to beachfront rentals.

6. Universal Studio: Staying near Universal Studios offers numerous benefits and makes it an ideal choice for visitors intending to visit the park. Firstly, it allows you to maximize your time at the theme parks. You can arrive early at the parks, ensuring you have ample time to enjoy the attractions, shows, and experiences. Likewise, you can stay until closing time, fully immersing yourself in the fun rides. Secondly, you will be in a great location to explore nearby attractions such as West Hollywood, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, The Hollywood Sign and Griffith Observatory, all of which are just a short distance away.

Pro tip: Staying at multiple locations throughout LA allows you to experience the city's diverse neighbourhoods. Just consider your preferences, budget, and proximity to the attractions and enjoy.

How to get around LA?

Since LA is a gigantic city and it deals with massive traffic congestion every day, getting around the city can be a bit of a challenge. So, here are some transportation options for you that will help you navigate the city.

1. Car Rental: We advise you to rent a car if you are aware of the US driving rules and regulations. If not, check out our guide to familiarise yourself with US driving.

Driving around is an amazing way to explore the city as you can flexibly plan your commute and experience some of the best drives in the country. Traffic can be heavy during peak hours, so plan your routes and avoid rush hours.

2. Public Transportation: LA has a public transportation system that includes buses, light rail, and subway lines. The network covers various parts of the city and can be a convenient and cost-effective option, especially during rush hours.

3. Ride-Sharing Services: If you prefer not to drive or navigate public transportation, services like Uber and Lyft are widely available in LA. It can be convenient to get from one place to another in the city.

4. Bicycles and Scooters: LA has implemented bike lanes and bike-sharing programs in certain areas. This option is ideal for short distances or exploring specific neighbourhoods. However, all roads in LA are not bicycle friendly so be cautious with your choice of neighbourhood.

5. Walking: Depending on where you're staying and what you want to do, walking can be a viable option in some areas of LA. However, don't expect to walk around as you would in Europe. Also, the temperatures can get hot in LA during the summer.

6. Taxis: Although traditional taxis are available in LA, they are less commonly used compared to ride-sharing services.

Pro tip: Always try to plan your routes in advance. LA's traffic can be frustrating, so checking real-time traffic updates using Google Maps or Waze is always a good idea.

What to pack for your LA vacation?

LA has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm to hot summers. So, when it comes to packing for a vacation, pack these items with you.

1. Lightweight Clothing: Do pack comfortable and breathable clothing like t-shirts, shorts, skirts, dresses, and pants.

2. Comfortable Shoes: Sneakers, hiking shoes, sandals and flats are always the best options to carry during your holiday. We wore our Nike Air Jordans throughout our trip in LA and we were comfortable throughout.

3. Layering Pieces: Temperature can vary throughout the day, so carry a lightweight jacket or hoodie.

4. Swimwear: Do not forget that LA has beautiful beaches so pack your swimsuit, beach towel, and a beach hat.

5. Sun Protection: Never forget essentials like hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen with a high SPF to protect yourself from the sun. Again, don't forget that sunburns are mood killers.

6. Daypack or Tote Bag: To carry essentials like water, snacks, sunscreen or a camera.

7. Travel Adapters and Chargers: If you're visiting from a different country, ensure you have the appropriate travel adapters.

8. Reusable Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is crucial! Pack a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day and reduce plastic waste.

Pro tip: Always check the weather forecast before your trip and pack accordingly.

How to save money during your holiday in LA?

Well, we all know that saving money during your holiday is a bit of a challenge. Whether it’s LA or any other city in the world, here we are sharing some tips and tricks to help you plan better and make budget-friendly choices. Here are some tips you can use to save money while still enjoying your time in LA:

1. Accommodation: There are a lot of budget-friendly options available in the city, such as hostels, Airbnb guesthouses and budget hotels. Make sure you book in advance and grab a good deal. Furthermore, always try to find accommodation near the main attractions, even if it costs a bit more compared to other areas. It will save you a lot of money on transportation and cabs.

2. Transportation: Utilize public transportation like buses or the Metro instead of relying solely on taxis or ride-sharing services. You can get a Tap card for public transport in LA that can be cost-effective for multiple trips. If renting a car, compare prices online and book in advance to secure the best rates.

3. Dining: Eat at local restaurants, food trucks or fast food joints instead of touristy establishments. Or consider cooking your own meals if you are staying in an Airbnb. There are a lot of restaurants and bars that run happy hour specials, so don’t forget to take advantage of such great deals. Keep a day to enjoy a picnic at one of LA’s parks or scenic spots.

4. Attractions and Entertainment: Find free or low-cost attractions and activities in LA. Many museums have specific days or hours with free admission. Walking around neighbourhoods like Hollywood, Venice Beach, or Downtown LA can be enjoyable and cost-effective. Enjoy free outdoor activities like hiking, visiting public beaches, or exploring parks.

5. Shopping: If you love shopping, like us, visit outlet malls or discount stores to buy clothing, accessories, and souvenirs. You can also visit Rodeo Drive for luxury shopping.

6. Water and Snacks: Do not spend money on buying plastic water bottles. Bring a reusable water bottle and refill it. You can get snacks like granola bars or fruit cups from Gas Station or Walmart stores to avoid spending more money on snacks at touristy places.

7. Travel during Off-Peak Seasons: Visiting LA during off-peak seasons or months shouldering the peak season can help you save a lot of bucks on accommodation and airfare. It’s advisable to avoid major holidays or events when prices are typically higher.

Pro tip: Remember to plan and budget in advance so you enjoy your holiday in Los Angeles without breaking the bank.

And that's all! If you are interested in reading more about our wonderful time in the US, do check out our recent blogs listed below.

We hope you have as much fun in LA, as we did. It is an amazing city that will leave with a bucket full of delightful memories for life.

Until we meet again under the radiant California sun, may the spirit of Los Angeles continue to inspire and guide travellers through life's adventures.

Happy Travels!


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