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Old 06-29-2009, 06:22 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
38 posts, read 266,562 times
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OK so I've booked my flight in to Los Angeles, I will be in the US for three months. What is the cheapest way to get around the US? I'm not saying I will travel these ways, I am just trying to get a basic picture and see if there's something I may have missed.

So far I have found Amtrak services to be decent and Southwest Airlines to have pretty cheap travel. I probably won't consider bus for much of my trip as I intend to travel from CA to NJ, down to FL (NC stopover) and then back to CA (TX stopover). Given I'm there for three months I will be on a pretty tight budget.

Also, accomodation. What would you guys recommend in Los Angeles? I will be there for a few days when I land, otherwise most other places I will be staying with mates. But where do you guys suggest I find accom? Here in Australia we use wotif for cheap accom, not sure if you guys have a similar site.

Anyway, any other friendly tips would really be appreciated!
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:47 AM
 
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I would say flying. I think people are surprised when they realize just how large the United States really is. You can drive for days from one end of the country to the other. If you can afford flying...fly.

From LA to New York to Florida to LA again is almost 11,500KM.
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:25 AM
 
Location: OKLAHOMA CITY
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dont take amtrak unless you want to stop every 5 minutes. between okc and fort worth the damn thing makes 5 stops. similar to wotif would be travelocity, expedia, and hotels.com.
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Mission Viejo, CA
2,498 posts, read 10,290,235 times
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I would advise flying between cities that are a great distance apart such as Los Angeles to New York/New Jersey area. It would take a long time to drive and a train would take REALLY long (multiple days for both).

Within Los Angeles I recommend staying in the Hollywood area. It is the most central location for tourists who want to see stuff from movie studios, the Walk of Fame, Griffith Observatory, many tours depart from here, etc... Hollywood has 3 subway stations that can take you to some tourist attractions as well. You can get to downtown from Hollywood and it is a good base to get to the museums in the Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills, the Grove, shop Melrose Ave. in West Hollywood, the Getty Center (art), Exposition Park/Museums, etc... The beaches are going to most likely be day trips from Hollywood (which is more inland). In traffic, it is about one hour to the beaches. The most popular beaches for tourists are Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Both have distinctly different feels, but are close enough together. You might consider staying in Hollywood for part of your trip, and moving to a hotel at the beach for another part of your trip.

It is recommended to have a rental car during a L.A. vacation, however many of the Australians that visit refuse to drive on our side of the road or don't have driver's licenses. Thus I have to ask you if you are renting a car or not in L.A.?? It is an important to know if this needs to be a public transit friendly trip?
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:47 AM
 
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To maximize your time and budget, while seeing things between destinations: Fly between regions, use trains within regions, use transit within the big cities, rent cars to get to specific destinations outside of big cities.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:16 PM
 
2,414 posts, read 4,992,438 times
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Walk, its cheaper.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Three months is long enough to buy an old minivan and outfit it for sleeping. Resell it when you're ready to go home. It is very easy to buy a car in the US, your insurance might cost about $100 to $200, rates are much cheaper in rural areas. If you can sleep your van, you will save at least $30 a night, even if you have to pay for a camp spot, but its easy to camp just about anywhere free. Like WalMart parking lots, if it's only for a place to sleep at night. You can camp in proper campgrounds in National Forests, for about $8 per night. Buy all your cooking gear and mattress and blankets for almost nothing at thrift shops. If you want to spend several days in a city, park in a hospital parking garage. Most suburban hospitals have free parking, and there are always people coming and going all night, so you won't look suspicious.
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Old 06-29-2009, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
38 posts, read 266,562 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Three months is long enough to buy an old minivan and outfit it for sleeping. Resell it when you're ready to go home. It is very easy to buy a car in the US, your insurance might cost about $100 to $200, rates are much cheaper in rural areas. If you can sleep your van, you will save at least $30 a night, even if you have to pay for a camp spot, but its easy to camp just about anywhere free. Like WalMart parking lots, if it's only for a place to sleep at night. You can camp in proper campgrounds in National Forests, for about $8 per night. Buy all your cooking gear and mattress and blankets for almost nothing at thrift shops. If you want to spend several days in a city, park in a hospital parking garage. Most suburban hospitals have free parking, and there are always people coming and going all night, so you won't look suspicious.
LOL I actually thought of this but I wasn't sure how you guys work with registration and insurance. I have had my full licence for four years and since it is Australian I don't even need an International Driver's licence, I can just take up my current one and drive. However, I am 22 so renting a car they hit me with massive insurance fees. How much would an old suv or something set me back?

Quote:
Originally Posted by missionhome View Post
It is recommended to have a rental car during a L.A. vacation, however many of the Australians that visit refuse to drive on our side of the road or don't have driver's licenses. Thus I have to ask you if you are renting a car or not in L.A.?? It is an important to know if this needs to be a public transit friendly trip?
I won't be renting (especially not in LA) as I am 22, so the insurance fees they charge are absurd. It would almost be cheaper for me to travel via helicopter. I have no problem driving on the right though and am fully licenced.

But regarding those places you suggested, call me weird but I'm not into all the chic touristy things. Going shopping on trendy streets and seeing where some celebrity past out doesn't really appeal to me at all.. Although it's dangerous, I'd rather visit the scenes of the LA riots, go for a run in the hills, grab something to eat in east LA and see a college football game. The most touristy thing I'd like to do is visit Gold's gym and go to some beaches (even if it is winter! lol).
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Old 07-01-2009, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Mission Viejo, CA
2,498 posts, read 10,290,235 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t0mmy View Post
But regarding those places you suggested, call me weird but I'm not into all the chic touristy things. Going shopping on trendy streets and seeing where some celebrity past out doesn't really appeal to me at all.. Although it's dangerous, I'd rather visit the scenes of the LA riots, go for a run in the hills, grab something to eat in east LA and see a college football game. The most touristy thing I'd like to do is visit Gold's gym and go to some beaches (even if it is winter! lol).
Hahaha, no problem, I love shopping and am a woman so I like all those shopping places. I understand though, my husband doesn't like it either! haha

I still recommend you stay in Hollywood. It is walkable and public transit friendly so you can get around without a car easier. Here are some more info pertaining to what you want to see:

1.) Run in the hills: From Hollywood you could set out into the "Hollywood Hills" above, but use caution because the streets are narrow residential streets usually without sidewalks. These are very steep streets and are twisty and usually only 5-20 homes are on a street. Residents won't be expecting a jogger and drive fast. I recommend you go for a jog in Griffith Park in the adjacent neighborhood of Los Feliz. This isn't your typical urban city park. It is literally a mountain in the center of the city and is largely undeveloped. There are a variety of trails through the hills and it is an area locals love to jog. A great trail for someone new is the Mt. Hollywood Trail. I recommend you catch a taxi along Hollywood Blvd and ask to be taken up the hill to Griffith Observatory. You can walk around this beautiful art deco observatory and check out some exhibits, take some pictures, and then set out for your run. The trail starts on the other end of the parking lot from the observatory and is about 5.5 miles out and back. BRING WATER and look out for rattlesnakes. Once up to the top, you get the reward of some awesome views such as this one with the observatory at the point and the city below.


The original Gold's Gym is closed in the Venice Beach neighborhood, on the other side of the city from Hollywood. However the original letters should still be there, although at times the building was covered for restoration. It is located on Pacific Avenue in Venice between Breeze Ct. and Brooks Ave. To get to Venice (which is a fun area to explore at the ocean front), you will take the Metro Rapid 780 bus west (runs every 10-15 minutes) along Hollywood Blve. to Washington/Fairfax (where the route ends) and make a connection to the Metro Local 333 or 33 (runs every 2-5 minutes) heading west and get off at Sunset/Main. Total trip time is about 1 hour including connection time. From the gym, head toward the waterfront and follow the ocean walk north to the heart of Venice and enjoy the "unique" culture of the area. If you are into gyms, you will want to see world famous Muscle Beach here in Venice.

Make a visit to Santa Monica Beach as well, either the same day as visiting Venice or another day. From Venice you can get there by walking along the ocean a bit or jumping on the Metro Local 33 or 333 north. It is only like 5 minutes away as these are adjacent beaches. Santa Monica is more active at night than Venice, so maybe head here for the evening and enjoy the action around the huge pier and downtown area in SM. To get back to back to Hollywood from Santa Monica, take the Metro Rapid 704 at Santa Monica/Ocean east and trasnfer at Santa Monica/Fairfax to Metro Rapid 780 or Metro Local 217 north/east into Hollywood.

The college football games you will want to go to are either the University of Southern California or the University of California of Los Angeles. Check their schedules to see if they play while you are here. USC plays at the Coliseum in Exposition Park and UCLA plays at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Both are easy to get to from Hollywood. For USC take the Metro Red Line subway to downtown's 7th St station and connect to the DASH F bus to Exposition Park running every 10 minutes during weekdays and every 20 minutes on weekends. For UCLA, take the red line subway to union station and transfer to the Gold Line light rail to Pasadena's Memorial Park station where you can meet shuttle buses down into the Rose Bowl. Both are goods teams playing in famous football stadiums.

East L.A. has a ton of diverse Mexican food from all the region's of Mexico. Cesar Chavez Dr. has a lot of places to eat along it. Take the red line subway to Union Station and then catch the Metro Rapid 770 east into East L.A. In late August the Gold Line light rail extension opens through East L.A. and you can transfer to that and take that into the neighborhood. Do use caution in the area as it is a rougher neighborhood and you may stick out as it is the most heavily Hispanic area in L.A. County (87%). Don't go at night.

As far as riot sights, well I don't really know where they all are, so good luck. They are going to be in South Los Angeles, the most notorious area of the city. Using buses in that area will be more dangerous than the other areas of the city. The Blue Line light rail run through South L.A. and I would want to not have to walk far from that. The famous Watts Towers are very close to the 103rd St/ Kenneth Hahn Station of the Blue Line for example and does see tourist more often than other South L.A. areas.

I highly recommend you visit downtown L.A. around Broadway for some great architecture and places for a good lunch. Koreatown is a authentic, urban, nontourist filled neighborhood as well.

Last edited by missionhome; 07-01-2009 at 02:55 PM..
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Old 07-04-2009, 09:49 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
38 posts, read 266,562 times
Reputation: 42
hey missionhome, thanks for all the tips! You seem to know LA like the back of your hand, I'm guessing you live there? lol.

How much is it to go to a college bowl game? I actually don't mind who is playing so long as it is a great atmosphere. Is it hard to get tickets? Also, are there any hostels located in Hollywood?
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