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Travel tips for visiting Los Angeles before you go

In this post, we will cover all you need to know before traveling to Los Angeles.

Photo by Jake Blucker on Unsplash / Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, USA

As, what’s the best time to visit? How do you get around the city and avoid traffic jams? What are the best apps to use in LA? and other practical information. 

With four million people, Los Angeles is the largest city in California.

and the world’s film and television industries.

Here are our tips on what to know before traveling to this amazing city.

1- Los Angeles Area

The Los Angeles metropolitan area is the second-largest metropolitan area in the US after New York.

In practice, it is impossible to tell.

Los Angeles starts or ends because most of its neighboring areas just seem like one big city.

So let’s take a look at the map of Los Angeles.

So you can get a sense of where the famous attractions are located, click here to explore the area.

Malibu, famous for its beautiful beaches and surfing, is located northwest.

While still popular with tourists, this is a predominantly residential area with beautiful beach houses.

The Westside includes Santa Monica Pier, the historic end of Route 66, Venice Beach, and Beverly Hills.

And, for example, the Getty Center. 

Downtown is the central area, where most of the high rises, including the famous US Bank Tower, are located.

Hollywood is located to the West and Northwest of downtown. 

Here is where you’ll find The Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Hollywood sign, followed by the San Fernando Valley,

Commonly referred to as just “The Valley”, this is where you will find Universal Studios.

If you drive Southeast, there is Long Beach, and if you continue Southeast, you enter Orange County, another peninsula known for beautiful beaches and home to Disneyland.

Attractions in Los Angeles are spread out just like the city is, so driving from one side of LA to another will probably be your daily routine.

2- The Heavy Traffic

Los Angeles is known for its slow traffic.

Since the city covers everything from the beaches in the west to East LA and spreads in all other directions, you can travel almost 50 miles and never leave the city.

So, expect delays everywhere you go.

Some roads have tolls, so use your Google Maps, Waze, or a similar App to check if there are tolls on your route as well as to see your ETA according to the latest traffic situation.

The best way to beat the LA traffic during the week is to travel when there is less traffic on the road, like between 10 AM and 3 PM during the day and after 9 PM.

Of course, rush hours can stretch either way, and there are no guarantees.

It is also good to stay away from the I-405.

Also, don’t forget to use the carpool lanes if you are not traveling alone.

Google Maps App:

Waze App: 

Apple Maps App: 

3- The Safety in L.A.

There is some pickpocketing, but mostly on the subway and places like the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

Similar to tourist scams, don’t buy your tickets on the streets.

4- Weather Patterns and Climate Change

Los Angeles has a Mediterranean climate, mild-to-hot and mostly dry all year.

The warmest months are from July to September, and the average temperature in August is 84 °F (29 °C).

However, if you’re planning to swim in the ocean, the water temperature is relatively low even in the summer, usually around 68 °F (20 °C).

The weather in spring and fall is dry. 

The only exception is the winter months, which tend to be wetter, especially in February. 

In the winter, the average high temperature is around 68 °F (20 °C), with daytime lows around 48 °F (9 °C).

Unfortunately, smog is also a very common phenomenon in Los Angeles.

5- When Should You Travel

The best time to visit Los Angeles is from March to May.

At the end of September and November, when there are fewer crowds, average temperatures range between 70 °F (21°C) and 84 °F (29°C).

During the day, the air is more breathable, which makes visiting Los Angeles great for both outdoor and indoor activities.

6- Where to Stay

Finding good-budget accommodation in Los Angeles can be tricky.

An average three-star hotel costs around $150 per night, but you can get

Some deals are for under $100 per night.

When it comes to luxury hotels, Los Angeles offers plenty of options.

Since tourist attractions are spread out, there is no ideal place in terms of being close to major sights.

So we recommend that you choose an area that you generally like, so you can, for example, take a walk on the beach if you like the ocean.

Some of the best areas to stay in are Downtown, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Venice, Beverly Grove, West Hollywood, and Westwood.

Booking.com App

It allows you to search for hotels, motels, apartments, and other lodging options based on your interests. 

Many packages have a free cancellation option, which is useful if you’re still deciding where to stay but want to ensure the lodging you prefer.

Airbnb App

It is a sleek app with an easy-to-use layout that is ideal for those searching for a pure experience in comparison to a hotel. 

Airbnb hosts will also rate you as a visitor, which is what distinguishes Airbnb since both hosts and guests give their all.

TripAdvisor App

It’s a great tool to use if you want to see how other tourists evaluated a certain hotel. 

You’ll discover a collection of evaluations from other travelers, including (actual) images from hotel rooms, comments, and the pros and disadvantages of a given location. 

You may also book straight through TripAdvisor.

HotelTonight App

It’s a popular app that hunts for last-minute offers when hotels offer discounts on unoccupied rooms. 

It also allows you to look for offers in advance if you intend to travel in the future.

Trivago App

While Trivago may appear to be just another booking app at first glance, its key benefit is that it compares costs from different booking sites. 

Of course, you may reserve a room directly with them as well.

HostelWorld App

If you just want to stay in a hostel, search for it on HostelWorld, which also provides all of the vital information about each hostel, such as how nice the location is, how pleasant the staff is, and how clean it is.

Luxury Hotels Apps

Are you seeking opulent lodging? 

Then you should think about downloading luxury hotel brand applications. 

If you stick to one brand, it’s always a good idea to acquire those reward points.

A list of hotel chain applications that provide premium lodging:

Four seasons: 

Marriott: 

IHG

Hyatt

Hilton Honors

Worldpackers App

Download World Packers if you don’t mind putting in a few hours a day in return for a place to stay. 

The platform provides a variety of activities, including labor exchange, social impact, and an eco-program. 

Also, because World Packers is not the only platform that offers this concept, look at other comparable websites. 

The links are included in the description.

Other similar sites:

HomeExchange App

Are you going on a trip and would want to switch houses with someone for the duration? 

Then you may utilize HomeExchange. 

Their one-of-a-kind search tool allows you to identify people who want to offer their house in return for a stay in yours. 

As a host, you may earn Guest Points and then use them to travel wherever you wish.

Other similar sites:

Couchsurfing App

Couchsurfing is an app that connects house owners with tourists searching for free lodging. 

The hosts frequently provide free lodging in exchange for the opportunity to meet new individuals from all around the world. 

A fantastic opportunity to make new friends, learn about the local culture, and, of course, obtain free lodging.

Other similar site: https://www.trustroots.org/  

7- Transportation Around Town 

From and to the airport: The main airport in Los Angeles is LAX, located 18 miles (30 km) southwest of downtown Los Angeles.

There are several options to travel from and to LAX, including renting a car, an Airport FlyAway Bus, a shuttle service that provides non-stop transportation between LAX and designated bus stops in five LA neighborhoods, Uber or Lyft, Shared Ride Shuttles, and taxis.

If you plan on renting a car, it is wise to do so in advance as you can get much better deals. This way is not as efficient and organized as in other cities such as New York or San Francisco.

So, check if your destination is covered by public transportation by using apps like Google Maps, where you can easily see public transportation options and how much time it takes to arrive at your destination.

Some areas are still well covered by either metro trains or buses. 

If you want to use public transportation, you can buy a reusable TAP card. 

Available from TAP vending machines at Metro stations with a $1 surcharge, the cards allow you to add a preset cash value or day passes.

The regular base fare is $1.75 per board or $7 for a day pass with unlimited rides.

A more convenient method of transportation for tourists in Los Angeles is car rentals or Uber and Lyft. 

You can also rent a car by the hour, for instance, with Zip Car.

FROM AND TO THE AIRPORT:

GETTING AROUND THE CITY: 

8- Best Apps To Use In L.A.

Your smartphone can be your best buddy in Los Angeles. 

Here are some of the best apps to use: Google Maps, Waze, Apple Maps, or any other app with current traffic and public transportation information. 

And, as mentioned, Uber and Lyft if you prefer a ride. If you are using ParkMe, BestParking, or ParkWhiz, look for the best and most affordable parking. 

Use GasBuddy if you want to find the cheapest gas prices since gas in California is expensive compared to other US states.

L.A. Weekly is a resource to discover events, restaurants, and activities in the city. 

5 EVERY DAY, which suggests five interesting things to do in LA every day.

You can book experiences and tours with locals through Airbnb. 

Eatwith, where you can book a dinner or a cooking class at someone’s home.

You can visit Lime or Bird, where you can rent an electric scooter and explore the city this way.

9- Lines Are Everywhere

Since Los Angeles is usually a crowded place, you can expect lines not only on the road but also at restaurants and all major attractions.

10- Food

Food in Los Angeles is not the cheapest, but it is known for its quality and diversity. 

If you visit Grand Central Market in downtown LA, you can experience fresh food from all over the world, all in one place. 

An average meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs approximately $14, and a mid-range, three-course meal for two costs about $55.

You can find less-expensive options with a little research on Yelp or TripAdvisor.

Check these links to ideas for the best cheap eats.

Find less-expensive options with these apps.

TripAdvisor App: 

Yelp App: 

11- For Tourists Coming From Outside The U.S.

If you are not from the United States, and especially if you are arriving directly in Los Angeles, there are a couple of things to know:

You should always tip in bars and restaurants in the United States, especially in Los Angeles. 

The normal rate is between 15% and 20% pre-tax for restaurants; $1 to $2 per drink for bartenders; or 15% to 20% of the bar tab. 

You should know that servers in the US are usually paid a minimum wage or less and rely heavily on tips.

There is a chance you will need a special US power adaptor to charge your phone and other devices. 

This is what the US power plug looks like. 

We recommend purchasing a power adaptor before traveling to Los Angeles. 

In fact, it is worth buying the adapter for the entire world so you can use it in other countries too.

12- Drinking Water

Despite the public perception that tap water is not fit for drinking, the Los Angeles Department of Water ensures that their tap water is as clean as bottled water.

It might not taste as good as bottled water, but it may save you some money.

13- Coupons and Discounts

There are many things you can do in Los Angeles, from shows and standups to sports events, whale watching, and many more.

It is worthwhile to look for money-saving deals on Groupon (https://www.groupon.com/), LivingSocial (https://www.livingsocial.com), and other similar coupon sites.

14- Save Money on Attractions

Some of the famous attractions in Los Angeles are very expensive. 

For example, a daily ticket to Universal Studios is around $100.

If you want to visit more attractions, we recommend purchasing a Go Los Angeles® Card, which allows you to visit multiple LA attractions at a discounted price.

Or buy a SoCAL City Pass if you plan to visit several amusement parks in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego and want to save some money. 

Amusement parks include Universal Studios, Disneyland, Sea World San Diego, Legoland, and others.

On the other hand, there are some great attractions in Los Angeles that are completely free, and you only have to pay for parking, like the Getty Museum or Griffith Observatory.

15- WI-FI

Especially if you are an international traveler, access to free Wi-Fi is very important.

You’ll find free Wi-Fi in many places in and around Los Angeles. 

Download WiFi Finder, an app that downloads WiFi maps so you can search for nearby WiFi even when you’re offline, or use Wiman, which helps you find all the free WiFi hotspots available in your travel destination. 

You can also buy a local SIM card and get online that way. 

Some of the best providers for cheap sim cards when it comes to value for money are prepaid cards from T-Mobile and Mint.

Wifi Finder App: 

Wiman App: 

Sim Card Providers: 

16- The Best Views Of The City

For the best and most amazing free views of Los Angeles, you can visit Griffith Observatory, Hollywood Sign, Echo Park, Baldwin Hills Scenic Drive Overlook, Mount Wilson Observatory, City Hall, Getty Center, etc.

However, you can pay to see the city from a different perspective at OUE Skyspace LA, California’s tallest observation deck, and ride on their SkySlide, which stretches directly above downtown Los Angeles.

Do you have any suggestions on what you need to know before traveling to Los Angeles?

What’s your experience? Do you have a question about LA? Share it in the comments below.

And don’t forget to share these tips with your friends.