I personally used these websites for all my travels.
13 September 2012
Arriving in Los Angeles on 13th Sept 2012 around noon time, all the way from New Zealand, I decided to relax for the remaining half day, on day of arrival due to a slight jet lag. I also decided that if I had just one day to check out Los Angeles, I would stay at Santa Monica as it is near Venice Beach and take a one day tour of Los Angeles.
Taxi fare from the international airport is US$36 (exclude tips). There is an ATM right next the the departure exit gate and you can withdraw cash from the only (Bank of America) ATM. The ATM machine charge me US$2 fee for the use of this service. Not too bad.
The hotel (Pico Travelodge) that I stayed in at Santa Monica cost me US$139 per night. I decided to stay for 5 nights. Whether you book via the website or through their own website, the price is the same, unless you are a AAA member or you have a corporate business , that is where you get a further discount approx 15%..
The next day after arrival, I booked with A Day Tour in LA Tours for a Full Day Tour of Los Angeles, over the internet. It cost US75. I was picked up and dropped off at my hotel by this “Jamaican” colour mini bus. One can also get to the Venice beach by oneself and join the tour from there. Same price.
My tour started with a stop at venice Beach, driving along Sunset Boulevard with drive with commentary on the mansions of the rich and famous, Stopped at The Greystone Mansion,Beverly shopping strip (Rodeo Drive), Farmers Market (buy own lunch) The Grove, The Griffith Observatory, The Walk of Fame, The Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and final stop back at Santa Monica beach.
I feel that staying at Santa Monica is great as once the tour finished around 5pm, they can drop you at this final destination instead of your hotel and you can enjoy the sights and atmosphere at the Venice Beach in Santa Monica and mingle with the locals and enjoy the lovely food along the beach/pier as well as enjoying the buskers singing and various entertainers performing along the pier.
I tried their beef burger meal ( includes drinks and fries) for US$10 at a fast food store. Quite tasty.
At about 8pm, I took “The big blue bus” No 7 for only US$1 a person and it takes approx 20 mins for the bus to get me back to my stop #30 just after McDonald , 3 minutes walk from my hotel.
Things to note as tourist
1) Check out the ATM for cupcake shop “Sprinkles” off Rodeo Drive at Little Santa Monica Boulevard where you can pay US$5 to order cupcakes from a “pink” ATM machine, just like how you would withdraw cash from the ATM. If you purchase the same cake from inside the store, it is only US$3.50.
2) Along the Walk of Fame, there will be people dressed as movies icons such as Zorro, Batman, Spiderman, Transformers characters inviting you to take photos with them. Once you pose with them, you are expected to pay a tip for that priviledge.
3)There is also a man giving away free audience TV show tickets. Tickets are free but you will be expected to tip him for the free tickets.
4) Always have your camera’s ready especially during the tour along the homes of the Rich & Famous and also along the Walk of Fames or even at The Grove next to the Farmer’s Market as the celebrities are know to appear in these spots. Follow the paparazzi, if you spot them.
5) Apparently the celebrities are very friendly in Los Angeles (not like what they are perceived in magazines).
6) if you visit the hotels where the Rich & Famous visit/stay, I heard they will be nice to you as they don’t know if you are a guest there or visiting, so they will be on their best behaviour and be nice to you as you could be rich and famous as well !
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