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Author: Sean Keener

Los Angeles, CA, United States

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North America: Round-the-World Travel Destinations

Budget Scale: 1-5

1-least expensive; 5-most expensive
5 – Los Angeles is expensive. There’s no way around it. Getting around LA on a budget can be tricky, as public transport is not its strong suit and restaurants and hotels tend to always be on the expensive side of things. There are some tips below to help you visit LA without totally breaking the bank, so be sure to check them out.

Indie Travel Scale: 1-5

1-not a good Indie travel destination; 5-a great Indie Travel destination
1 – Costs are extremely high in LA, it’s difficult to get around without having your own transportation, and the multitude of people, cars, and pollution can deter people from visiting Los Angeles. Despite all the negatives of Los Angeles, it’s still a great city with plenty to offer all travelers, even the most indie ones out there.
Indie Travel Tips
When traveling in a city that is super touristy and doesn’t seem to offer many ways to explore it independently, it’s necessary to get creative. Many people travel to see all the famous sites, and that’s perfectly fine, but when you’re on a RTW trip, sight-seeing gets old after a while, so exploring lesser known areas and experiencing the culture of a place becomes the priority rather than ticking sites off a list. Here’s some ideas of ways to explore LA without being constantly caught up in throngs of tourists.

  • Check out the St. Elmo Village, a unique, free museum where people are encouraged to share in the creative process. They offer art workshops and festivals throughout the year at this urban folk art center.
  • If you want to see ocean wild life but don’t want to mess with the crowds and prices of Sea World south in San Diego, you may want to check out the Marine Mammal Care Center. You can view sick or injured seals and sea lions being rehabilitated before returning the ocean.
  • Wandering around different neighborhoods in new cities is a highlight for many indie travelers. It gives us an opportunity to see the diversity of a given city and really get a chance to interact with locals. Though Chinatown is touristy, it offers a little more than other Chinatowns around the US. It has really wide streets and an open air market reminiscent of cities in China.
  • There are plenty of hiking opportunities in and around LA, so if you want to get into the outdoors, consider these hikes:
    • Hike around the Hollywood sign for great views of the city.
    • Mishe Mokwa to Sandstone Peak and Tri-Peaks – this is the highest point in the Santa Monica mountains and offers great views of the Ocean and Santa Monica Bay.
    • Check out this beautiful river canyon, the Santa Anita Canyon, and explore a few waterfalls along the way.
    • If you want to head outside of LA a bit, then check out the High San Gabriels or Joshua Tree National Park.
  • If you’re looking to eat great food but not pay an arm and a leg, then hit up one of the many street carts in LA.  One of the birthplaces of street food in the US, taco trucks are the most popular, but you can find pretty much any cuisine you desire.

Why you should add Los Angeles to your RTW travel list

  • Cruise Sunset Boulevard, walk Rodeo Drive
  • Think you could make it on Baywatch? Malibu is right here
  • Check out the rides at Disneyland and Magic Mountain; learn about movies at Universal Studios
  • How many movie stars can you spot on a drive down Mulholland Drive?
  • If you’re looking for nightlife, then head to the Sunset Strip for some of the best nightlife in the country.
  • Olvera Street is where LA was founded and now has a wide range of Mexican restaurants and shops.
  • Try to find the Baywatch beach, Disneyland and 90210 in one afternoon
  • If you are a beach and water person, then you’ve come to the right place. There are plenty of beaches in and around LA for you to get your sun fix.
  • The weather is awesome year-round, and LAX is a massive airport that will get you in and out rather easily.

Why you should not add Los Angeles to your RTW travel list

  • It will be difficult getting by in LA on a tight budget. Everything is expensive.
  • There are a lot people everywhere, a lot of cars everywhere, and a lot of smog and pollution everywhere. It gets old after a while.
  • Public transport options are not good. You almost have to have a car to see and experience the city and surrounding areas.
  • The vibe around the city, with uber rich, medically enhanced people and the Hollywood feel all around, can get a little annoying after a while.

Are you heading to Los Angeles? What do you need to do?

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