I couldn’t take a trip without giving you the details on how I managed to do so on a budget. You already know my airfare was $222, I absolutely loved Virgin America and I booked my room at the Sunset Tower for $129/night (normally priced at more than $200) through Jetsetter.
But before making my way to Sunset, I stayed at La Quinta near LAX for one night. At $69, the amenities really amazed me. Free shuttle to/from LAX, continental breakfast, fridge and microwave and near several 24 hour restaurants and fast food joints. But what I really liked was a shuttle that went to Manhattan Beach. The trolley picked me up in front of the hotel and dropped me off at the beach’s pier for only $3 round trip.
The next day I made my way to the gorgeous Sunset Tower, via an $18 Super Shuttle ride. Designed in 1929, the hotel housed the likes of Marilyn, Sinatra and Bugsy Siegel. I felt like I stepped into old Hollywood, but with modern touches like a flat screen television and gourmet mini bar. I stayed away from the mini bar, a $4 soda did not fit into my budget. Besides the super comfy bed, the bathroom may have been the main attraction. The marble countertop and brass fixtures were to die for. And the Kiehl’s bath products were great too. Other pluses included free wifi and being centrally located on the Sunset Strip.
I didn’t rent a car while in L.A., which some people thought was crazy, but not only was it not in my budget but…I can’t drive. Don’t judge me. But, I found a way to get around and hit all the spots I wanted. Starline Tours has a hop-on, hop-off bus that stops at 50 locations throughout the city. It was a great way to learn about the history of L.A. I departed the bus at certain stops, like The Grove, Santa Monica Pier, La Brea Tar Pits and Pink’s hot dogs. Of course I wanted to visit the typical touristy spots as this was my first time in L.A., but I also made it a point to explore a little further. After 10 minutes at The Grove, I grew restless and started walking around the surrounding area. And lo and behold, I stumbled upon some thrift stores on Fairfax. For $40, the tour gave me a two day pass to the city. Not bad considering I traveled all around L.A. and a single cab ride can cost at least $10.
Food is always a major factor for me. While at La Quinta, I had my first Carl’s Jr. burger. No, it’s not fine dining but the chain doesn’t exist in NYC so I wanted to try something new to me. I also enjoyed other L.A. spots like El Pollo Loco and Coffee Bean, which were less than a 10 minute walk from Sunset Tower. By the time I made it to Santa Monica one afternoon, I was starving. I typically stay away from food at amusement parks, beaches, etc as they’re usually overpriced. But right off of the pier was a cute taco and pizza stand. For $5, I had two filling carne asada tacos and a drink.
Before leaving NYC, I took out $200 from the ATM and that was all I needed. So, once again I proved traveling does not have to break the bank. It’s funny, the last day of my trip marked exactly one year since being laid off. I enjoyed my funemployment anniversary 🙂