US Travel

3h should be good. Honestly, the airline is likely to communicate this well with you (depending who it is), but generally the 2 hour rule still holds.

For local transportation, Uber is very likely going to be most convenient and cheapest. It’s what I use now if I fly to a city that has it.


3h turn-up to airport before departure is about right (assuming you’ve already checked in online and need just the bag drop if you have suitcases)

One caveat with Uber - if you are planning to travel over a state border, check with the driver first. Uber’s will usually only operate within their own state. Because if they leave their operating state to drop you off in another state, they’re not allowed to get a fare in the other state for the return. Again, check with the driver.

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^ this! Should be fine for an airport shuttle to your accommodation though.

The thing with Uber is if something goes awry with your plans that lead to a delay for instance, travel is one less thing to worry about. Rather than prebook you just summon once you have your luggage and you’ll be out of there in minutes.

My last time, it was quite a bit cheaper than the airport shuttle taxi companies. There’s also a subscription now that nets you a discount on fares. If you’re going to be relying on it a lot during your trip, it’s well worth signing up for! It could quite possibly pay for itself in just a single airport shuttle (depends how far away the accommodation is). And if you’ve never had it before, it’ll be free for your first month, so a no brainer.

The subscription is a bit better in the US because you get a 10% discount on Uber eats orders in addition to free delivery.

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Airport shuttles are great - both from the airport to the hotel/destination and from the hotel/destination to the airport. Except they take ages picking multiple other passengers up en-route from places unknown to get them to the destinations and airport too. Proper cheap in comparison with a decicated ride though.
Each to their own… I’d still go with Uber.

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Get the value out of the lounge! :eyes: 3 hours should be good.

I personally like the US and I think you will too! just don’t get pulled over, the cops seem a bit trigger happy

So now with only a few days until travel, I looked on my BA account and despite filling in the Advance Passenger Information forms there’s a red “Some information is missing” banner on my flight page. When I click the fill it in button, it takes me to the manage booking page with nothing obviously missing…

Is there something else I need to do?

When I go to travel requirements, there’s a thing saying I need an ESTA and to apply via Kayak or something but I already have my ESTA… BA’s systems are not the most user friendly…

With regards to tipping in cash, we have to do our bit to educate the Americans on the use of new for them (and decades-old for us) technology.

I was in Chicago just a couple of months ago. They all now have POS machines that all look pretty much the same, and give you a big touchscreen with tipping options, so you can tap on 20%, 22% and so on (the options vary for every place but the UI looks and feels the same), or you can enter your own amount.
I always ask the waiter if the card tip goes to them in low voice, they all said yes, so I kept using that system. No more cash business.

On top of that, we also came across one or two restaurants that had gone completely cash-free!
I don’t think there was any time when we had to use cash - the only reason we used it is because we withdrew some at the start, thinking we’d need it, then we didn’t want to be stuck with it.

I guess if you are going somewhere out in the sticks card payments might still not be popular enough, and not all states may have caught on to it yet.

Pretty much that!

A thread which might help is here - BA preflight document upload - FlyerTalk Forums

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Thanks! Their systems are awful… Half redesigned, half clunky old, with the booking not even showing up half the time! It says the option to upload documents comes up 72h before flight, but it’s not showing yet… Maybe a few hours from now when I hit the 48h mark? No communication from BA yet, apart from the annoying red banner which doesn’t actually link me anywhere useful…

I chose to fly without checked bags to avoid the airport faff, but BA might manage to make me go to a check in desk, great.

I need: ESTA, proof of vaccination, attestation. Is that all? :slight_smile:

and a passport :wink:

You will get a customs form to fill out on the plane, make sure to pack your own pen. For it, you will need the address you are staying too, so make sure you have that handy.

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Not any more at LAX, they stopped this a couple of years ago. The system now is that you jump on a shuttle at Arrivals (called LAX-It) and it takes you on a 5 minute drive to a giant parking lot which is where you can get Ubers and Lyfts.

@ndrw I would highly recommend downloading and making an account on Lyft, which most Brits won’t have unless they’ve been in the US before. Particularly for long trips like leaving LAX, it’s worth checking the quote on both and picking whatever is cheaper. You may save anywhere between $5-$10 bucks (equally you might find the quote is the same, it could go either way).

Would highly recommend spending some time in West Hollywood, and the La Brea Tar Pits are an excellent way to spend a few hours. If you have a car during the trip, would recommend taking a drive up to the Valley. I really like Burbank personally, the town centre has a nice vibe and it’s usually quite peaceful there with some nice cafes and restaurants (if you go past a sandwich shop named Ike’s Love & Sandwiches, DEFINITELY GO!)

I personally avoid the Downtown area. It’s getting better, but it’s still not great. Unless you have a specific thing to do there, I’d avoid it and stick around the west side of the greater LA area.

If there’s an act you like playing at the Hollywood Bowl, I’d recommend seeing a performance there. I was VIP there a few months back because my friends in UB40 were playing, and it’s a fantastic, historic venue.

You’ll see e-scooters everywhere, but there’s also little mini electric bikes from companies like Wheels that work the same way (entirely app controlled) - they are so much fun!

If you want real, authentic Indian food, go to Samosa House in Santa Monica, it’s about 3 or 4 blocks from the pier - a 10/15 minute walk or so. It’s more street food kitchen style than restaurant style, but it’s the best Indian food I’ve had in LA (and my bar is ridiculously high for that!)

LA is definitely one of my Top 5 cities in the world, I was there three times last year and I’ll be there again in April!


Oh, and do not get the subway anywhere east of West Hollywood. The ride between Santa Monica and West Hollywood is relatively safe, but between WeHo and Downtown it is not, in my experience. The last couple of times I did that, I saw a group of cops jump on to arrest a bunch of dealers, and another time I saw a crackhead and a methhead have a full blown fight and leave a blood trail. And the carriages are usually full of homeless folks, which I have huge empathy for, but it’s not unusual for them to bother folks who don’t look like they’re from around there.

LA is really like any large city in that there are places you will feel safe and there’s places you should avoid. Most folks know not to wander into South Central but it’s more nuanced than that, and there’s parts of Hollywood and certainly downtown that are incredibly sketchy to walk around in or take any kind of public transport. Even in Venice Beach, you likely will get various people trying to stop you on the street and sell you various things. Ignore them and keep walking.

LA is a crazy, beautiful city and you’ll have an amazing time! Make sure to keep us all updated!


Thanks for the tips! The public transit bit is a little worrying, I won’t deny it, as we were planning to rely on public transit to get to most places.

We have one day in Hollywood and the hills, one in Downtown (taking the metro, of course…) and one on the beaches and around Beverly Hills so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes.

Don’t fancy spending hundreds on Ubers, but also not going to drive in LA if I haven’t ever driven in London, even. :grimacing:

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I tend to find that Ubers are cheaper there compared to here, perhaps because it’s a competitive market with Lyft and as I said, worth checking both. If you can get somewhere in a Uber or Lyft for only slightly more than public transit, I’d spend the extra.

Of course this may depends on how many of you are going! I often go with both my girlfriend and my sister, so three of us in an Uber often works out more or less the same than if we needed to buy three separate transit tickets.

Another recommendation - sign up for a month free trial of Uber One, it’ll knock an extra 5% off. Lyft may have a similar program, I can’t quite remember.

Would recommend plotting out exactly the places you want to hit when you go downtown. There are some nice areas, such as around the Arena (formerly the Staples Center) and the Grammy Museum, and Pershing Square is nice in the daytime.

If you’re not too tired this Sunday (or if you’re there for any other Sunday) one of my favorite things to do is go to the Melrose Trading Post Market. It’s every Sunday, on the grounds of Fairfax High School in West Hollywood. There’s some incredible stalls there with all kinds of cool things. And make sure you go to The Grove at least once. It’s a great day out, and bizarrely, the public bathrooms there (which are fancy!) have multiple original Picasso artworks hung on the walls.

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Last time I was in New York, there was a long wait after checking out before we had to go to the airport for our flights. So we asked the hotel if we could leave our bags and tipped them for the service.

When we came back to pick them up, we were escorted to a room FULL of suitcases. And in one corner, some cases with a big handwritten sign on them reading “[Nationality], DID NOT TIP!!!”

When they needed to move those cases out of the way, they did not do so carefully. And I fully expect that when the owner came later to pick them up they got a load of “We’re having trouble finding your cases” flannel and a long wait.

So, yeah. Tip everyone! When in doubt, tip. And always mentally add the tips on before looking at bars and restaurants so you’re not surprised by everything costing more.

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Thanks! Two destinations I did not have before but will definitely explore both.

Do you have any recommendations for evening stuff to do? With sunset around 5, not keen to just wander around aimlessly for fear of being accosted but museums also seem to close around 5-6.

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Depends what you’re into doing! West Hollywood is safe at night, so is The Grove, both have stuff to do. I like visiting the Beverly Center mall which is open fairly late. The Farmers Market next to The Grove is open until 8pm (9pm on Friday and Saturday) and is always worth a trip or two.

The central part of Hollywood is lovely at night. Go to the outdoor mall at Hollywood and Highland, make sure you go right to the top floor at night (well, not the very top floor as that’s part of the connected hotel) and follow the signs to the Kobe Bryant memorial. Even if you’re not a basketball fan, it’s a fantastic memorial and has great views over the city at night. There’s a lovely sushi place there called Cho-Oishi if you enjoy Japanese food. We tend to always spend at least one evening there dining and taking photos up by the mural.

I do like to walk around West Hollywood at night. There’s an area called the Norma Triangle which is very safe. The top part of it is the Sunset Strip, then you can walk west down the Sunset Strip, south down towards the Troubadour and the Beverly Hills sign, and then Northeast up towards The Abbey and West Hollywood Park. I often have drinks with friends at a place called Pump. It’s owned by this famous lady named Lisa Vanderpump who has been on a bunch of shows that I don’t watch. Last time I went there she was sat right by us, which was impressive to some of my friends who watch her shows. Either way it’s a lovely vibrant little spot. This is the very safe, progressive, hipster part of LA and also the LGBTQ centre. It’s a very safe area even at night.

If you will be drinking, or have any kind of interest in rock music or music history, you must visit The Rainbow on the Sunset Strip. It’s an iconic rock bar, where Lemmy used to go every day and they now have a statue of him on their terrace. It’s been featured in a ton of music videos, including a bunch of Guns N Roses videos, it’s a classic LA rock hangout and you might well see a few rock stars. Last time we were there, we happened to be there on the launch party for the Dio documentary on Netflix, and several rock stars were in attendance. I also found myself there on Christmas Day 2021, with a glass of JD and Coke, some vegan loaded nachos listening to heavy metal covers of Christmas songs… A Christmas that I’ll never forget :rofl:

The main shopping streets in Santa Monica are also fun to walk through even after dark. Another thing to do at night is visit the Universal CityWalk. This is the part of Universal Studios where all the shops and restaurants are, and they are open late. You don’t need tickets to the actual theme park, you can just go there to hang out.

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Wonderful, thank you! I suppose it’s also safe/reasonable to walk from more central Hollywood towards West Hollywood? Looking forward to seeing the lights and just soaking in the atmosphere in the evenings

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You can, but it’s a long walk. I’d hop on an e-scooter for at least part of the journey myself.

Here’s the route I’d recommend:

  • Start at Hollywood/Vine station. Check out Amoeba Music if you like awesome record stores.
  • Walk down Hollywood Blvd until you get to the Chinese Theatre. That’s the main tourist part. You’ll go past the Hollywood/Highland mall on the way, be sure to go in and go up to the Kobe memorial. Also go out the back of the mall for a great view of the Hills and Hollywood sign.
  • Take a left (going south) on N La Brea Ave, stop when you get to West Hollywood Gateway.
  • Take the Santa Monica Blvd all the way to the Troubadour / Beverly Hills sign
  • Take N Doherty Drive up to Sunset Blvd
  • Walk the Sunset Strip approx from The Roxy up to Chateau Marmont

That’s about a 2 hour walk, though.