So, you're thinking about hitting the road for a good old-fashioned L.A. road trip. What a great way to see the sights and explore one of the state's most vibrant cities. But don't let the promise of new adventures and attractions lull you into a state of complacency – tackling this type of road trip will require a high-quality survival guide.
So, before you gas up your Los Angeles car rental and hit the road, make sure to prep your self and your passengers for a rigorous adventure. The following are some tips collected from some of our very own Super Cheap road tripping masters.
1. Bring Along Some Shades
While Los Angeles is well known for its stars, it's the sun that shines brightest along the city's interstates. Protect your peepers while behind the wheel of your Los Angeles car rental by investing in a pair of polarized sunglasses.
2. Apply Sunscreen Often
You will get sunburnt while visiting here. Whether it's an arm burn from your California car rental window or a full on scorching from an afternoon at the beach, there's no escaping the lobster tan. So slather on that sunscreen and prepare for a few days of discomfort. On that same note, remember to moisturize regularly. L.A. is a city in the middle of a desert. All that hot, dry air is bound to have an effect on your skin.
3. Smog Alerts
These unfortunate conditions are common in Los Angeles – just look for the yellow-brown haze. A steamy mix of dust and pollution, smog can really but a damper on your travel plans. In fact, some Los Angelenos will wash their cars weekly in order to get the grit off.
On days when the smog is bad, you'll want to keep your Los Angeles car rental windows up. You'll also want to avoid outdoor activities, especially any strenuous exercise.
4. The Car is King
Los Angeles is a big city spanning a big geographically area. As such, there are a lot of roads and freeways. The only convenient way to get from one place to another is by car. From Hollywood to Santa Monica, Studio City to Malibu, you'll need to cover a lot of distance in order to make the most of your road trip. On that same note, California drivers have grown to be quite aggressive thanks to their car-loving culture, so keep that in mind when you're trying to weave your way in and out of lanes. If you're waiting for someone to be kind and let you cut in… well, you'll probably be waiting for a while.
5. Avoid Rush Hour
Like the plague. Although traffic will look like it's moving, it's not really. Bumper-to-bumper traffic is all you'll have to look forward to if you try and start your Los Angeles car rental vacation between the hours of 4 and 7 p.m. and 6 and 10 a.m.
6. Street Cleaning Rules to Remember
If your road trip finds you visiting friends in a residential neighborhood of the city, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for signs noting street cleaning days. These streets will only allow parking on one side of the street on the days that they're scheduled to be swept. If you're caught unawares and park your car on the wrong side you're looking at a nasty fine.
7. Need to Find a Washroom Fast?
Be honest – road trips rarely feature a healthy menu. Make sure you're prepared for some emergency bathroom breaks with help from the Sit and Squat smartphone app. It's sponsored by Charmin and provides you with a reliable list of bathroom options right in the palm of your hand. When all else fails, McDonald's and Starbucks are also good choices.
8. BYOB – Bring Your Own Bags
If you need to stop for supplies during your Los Angeles car rental trip, make sure that you have a few bags handy in your trunk. This is because plastic bags are no longer provided free of charge (they're also terrible for the environment). As of January 2014, shoppers are asked to bring their own reusable bags or else purchase a bag for an additional 10 cents.
9. Speaking of Shopping, You've Got Plenty of Options
Whether you're looking for organic snacks or a cheap energy drink, you'll find it without trouble in Los Angeles. For gourmet selections, check out Whole Foods. Ralphs and Vons offer more reasonable prices, while Trader Joe's is your one-stop-shop for inexpensive, yet surprisingly healthy options. For the lowest of the low, head over to the 99 cent store.
10. Have Fun!
Los Angeles road trips are a ton of fun, so what are you waiting for? Reserve your Los Angeles car rental today and enjoy every once of summer lovin' this great city has to offer!