INDEPENDENT TRAVEL: PLANNING A TRIP TO L.A.

Hollywood

Day 1: A Day in LA Tour is a must, and we recommend you make it your first stop. Trust us; you will be glad you did. Starting location is at the Santa Monica pier, directly across from the Georgian Hotel with a scheduled tour start time of 9:45 am that ends in the same location between 5 pm and 6 pm. Whether you arrive early or linger after your tour, feel free to explore the scenic pier. The cost of one adult admission is well worth the $89 to see Venice Beach (location of Muscle Beach, skate parks, surfing), drive on Sunset Blvd and through Beverly Hills. Lunch at The Farmers Market (price of lunch not included; the lamb gyro and hummus at Ulysses Voyage, yum!) provides a great selection and shopping! You’ll also visit the expensive shopping district of Rodeo Dr. (I don’t think there’s anything less than $5,000, but word is the staff is very friendly), the Hollywood Walk of Fame (perfect stop to stock up on souvenirs), and the Griffith Observatory (where you can take great pictures of the Hollywood sign). All while being entertained and provided insight into the city’s historical heritage by your friendly tour guide (don’t forget to tip).

Day 2: Another great stop is the Aquarium of the Pacific where it is also a good idea to combine the purchase of your ticket to see whale watching at the Harbor Breeze Cruises and Whale Watching. The two attractions are located in the same vicinity, and you can receive $8 parking for the day after scanning your aquarium admission ticket at the exit of the aquarium when using one of their two parking garages. There’ll be plenty of wild dolphins, and if you are lucky, you may end up seeing not one, but two whales! If you’re prone to motion sickness, try to avoid the front or back of the ship. Be prepared to spend a good part of the day here and when you’re done Bubba’s Gump Shrimp Co. is conveniently located on the pier. If you’re into scenic rides, this may also be the best time to get on the Pacific Coast Highway, to experience the awe-inspiring mountainous regions or the breath-taking shorelines.

Day 3: Who doesn’t love music and movies? Make sure you’ve added visiting your favorite recording/film studios to your sightseeing list. Your tour guide will give you a sweet insider’s scoop, take you on a few sets of popular shows, and into at least one prop room, depending on your tour. The best time to schedule a tour is during the weekday, as Paramount Studios is the only one that offers tours seven days a week (and it’s also rumored to be the only film studio that has a clear shot of the Hollywood sign from ground level).

Day 4: There are varying opinions on whether Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL or Disney Land in LA is better. Why not find out for yourself? Sure to be another full-day experience, if you enjoy rides and fairytales!

For the first time/solo traveler, three to four days should be plenty of time to check out the scene and get a good feel of what LA has to offer. LA’s nightlife is something else you’ll get to experience too, whether you make it out to the clubs or it keeps you awake in your hotel room. It’s truly one of those cities that never sleeps!

ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR TRAVELING SOLO:

  1. Be safe. Drive or stay in group activities during the day or night.
  2. Be sure to budget activities and include tips.
  3. It’s wise to plan and make your reservations in advance to ensure you can allow enough time to beat traffic and find parking.
  4. The city of LA offers free Wi-Fi to help you navigate its many attractions.
  5. Don’t forget to arrive at least 3 hours early at the airport! Trust us; it’s a nightmare before the employees there even show up to work!

   Have fun!

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