Last year I impulsively booked myself a trip to Central America (which is the bit of the Americas just below Mexico). Anyway, after I had booked all of my flights I realised that I had an 18 hour stopover in Los Ángeles on the way there and a 12 hour stop over on the way back. At the time, I thought this was a great opportunity to have a taste of the US of A!
So little excited Kathryn jumped on the plane from Sydney to LA thinking about all of the amazing fancy buildings and sights she would see in LA. I remember thinking: I can’t wait to walk the hall of fame, see the Hollywood sign and go to Santa Monica! I should be able to do all if that in 18 hours if daylight, right?
Granted, I did get to the Walk of Fame and Santa Monica, but I only saw the H of the Hollywood sign 😢 (but that’s another story).
THE REASON FOR THIS is because I was travelling on a budget I didn’t want to pay $45USD for an uber to Hollywood (each way!) so I opted to catch the train.
What I didn’t realise before I got to LAX was that:
There is no where you can store luggage during stopovers- you must have it on you at all times.
I know, lame right?!
But I guess with tighter security and blah blah blah it’s for safety, whatevs. This rule meant that until it was 5hrs before my flight I couldn’t check my bag in, nor was there locker facilities at the airport. So Here i am excited to explore LA in all of its glory and I have my entire backpack and handbag for 3 weeks on me. I did overhear an official advising another traveller to go to a nearby hotel and tip them to get them to look after the luggage for the day, but I just thought, ‘Nah, I got this’ and attempted to leave the airport.
When you exit LAX (depending on which terminal you are at) there are multiple buses which pull up and one of them takes you to the train station. I had already grabbed a flyer from the information desk and had some information on my phone about the train lines but the actual operation of the bus was confusing.
It was just my luck that a little Burmese man was finishing work at the airport and was heading out to the train line. He helped me get on the green line bus which takes you directly to the train station.
Probably about 20 minutes later, I was at the station. I used the machine to get myself an all day pass on a ‘tap’ card and waited until the correct train came. My train journey was:
Green line to Willowbrook Station
Dark Blue line to Metro Central
Red line to Hollywood
Throughout my 2 hour train journey through the back of LA, I saw a very different side to the city than I was expecting (Read more about this here!).
This really made me realise that LA is not the big flashy city that it seems.
So I got myself all the way to Hollywood and was super excited to step foot onto Hollywood boulevard! When I got out of the train station I saw…
Yup, a dirty street. To say I was underwhelmed is an understatement! So make sure when you’re heading to LA that you keep your expectations low and you’ll probably find something that will surprise you!
I had a fun time running around the city and eventually got myself an uber to Santa Monica and then a train (on the light blue line-dark blue line-green line+ bus) back to the airport.
On most days of the year you can avoid this mammoth train trip! There is usually a bus that goes directly from the airport to the middle of town which is not as expensive as a taxi. Or I mean, you could just be less of a cheapskate than I was and get in a taxi…
For more info on LA, check out footsteps of a dreamer’s two day guide to LA here!
Have you done this train trip naively before as well?