Image from: Giuseppe Milo
Los Angeles is the largest city in California and the second largest in the US. The city is a large and sprawling metropolis that’s a magnet for celebs, tourists, and surfers. This is one of the most popular travel destinations in the States and it gets millions of tourists every year.
Whether you’re backpacking through or staying in one of the luxury vacation rentals in Los Angeles county you’re certain to have an awesome time.
Here are 10 essential travel tips for LA.
1# Rent a Car:
This is one of the most important tips I can give you. The city is huge and all the attractions are spread out. Public transport isn’t very good and cabs are expensive. For the freedom and flexibility to explore this city, rent a car. You can find reasonable rentals at the airport.
2# Join a Free Walking Tour:
Free Walking Tours are becoming more popular around the world and LA is no exception. There are a few to choose from and it’s a great way to see all the sites. The guides are very knowledgeable and you’ll have more understanding about the city than you could imagine. They can also give you some insider tips on the best places to go and where to buy delicious and good value food.
3# Water in Restaurants is Usually Free:
If you’re a budget traveler, you want to experience what it’s like in some of the better restaurants in the city. But, you’re also searching the menu for the cheapest meal. Drinks are often ridiculously expensive. The good news is that most restaurants will give you a glass of tap water for free. You can have as many refills as you want so don’t feel obliged to order the $5 can of soda.
4# Check Out the Beaches:
When you’re in LA, take the time to check out the beaches. My favorites are Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach. But, they do get crowded at certain times. It’s worth it for me because you can experience one of the most amazing sunsets in the world.
Image from: Eric Demarcq
5# Understand the Tipping Etiquette:
Tipping is one of the hardest things to understand when we visit a new country. Some places include a service charge and tips are viewed as offensive, others oblige customers to leave them. This can get very confusing and awkward for travelers.
In LA, tips aren’t included in the bill and are expected from the customer.
Standard tips are around 15-20% for waiters and cab drivers. You should give bellhops or anyone that helps you carry your bags $1 to $2. Tipping is expected yet it isn’t obligatory, so use this information as a guideline only.
6# Fly to Burbank Bob Hope Airport:
This is the second airport in the city. It gets fewer people and has better connections to the city in comparison to LAX. Major airlines fly to Burbank Hope Airport and you can find several car rentals agencies inside. You don’t have to fly into the big airport when you arrive.
7# Take Advantage of Free Museum Days:
It’s good to be aware that some museums have free Admissions if you want to soak up some of the culture in LA. Others have certain days or weeks in the month that are free for visitors. You can find all of this information online with a quick Google search.
8# Take a Day Trip:
You don’t have to stay in LA for your entire trip. It’s easy to get to both Santa Barbara and Palm Springs. There are regular train links and it’s not too far to drive on your own. If you do take these day trips, the scenery is breathtaking.
9# Remember Your ID:
This city is a magnet for young tourists from around the world. But, one thing that shocks people when they first arrive is that they forget the drinking age here is 21. This is fine, most people are older. However, many of the bars and clubs are adamant about showing ID before you can buy alcohol. This can be a particular problem for some nationalities in Europe where you may have been buying beer from the shop legally since the age of the 16.
10# Don’t Go on a Tour to See Celeb Homes:
Tour companies advertise and market how amazing it is to go and visit the home of one of your favorite celebs. They make it sound like you’re going to see them in person. Take my advice, it’s a waste of time.
Most don’t spend any significant amount of time in LA. You’re just going to see a fence and a nice lawn whilst paying an operator an extortionate amount of money. This is one of the biggest tourist traps in LA. Avoid them.
The Takeaway Message:
LA is a huge city and very popular with travelers of all ages and budgets. Whatever you decide to do here, follow these 10 essential travel tips to make the most out of your time. The most important thing is to stay safe and have an unforgettable travel experience in Los Angeles.