When you’re preparing for a trip so far from home, it’s best to know exactly what you’ll need well ahead of your departure date – so below are a few important Los Angeles travel tips to help get you started.
Travelling to the United States can feel a bit overwhelming at first, especially if you’ve never been before. Don’t worry – the things you need to enter the country as an Australian citizen are actually very simple and easy to obtain.
Here’s the good news: As an Australian citizen, you don’t need any specific visa to enter the United States unless you’re intending to work while you’re there or stay for an extended period. You will need to arrange what’s called a visa waiver or ESTA from the US Customs Office, but this won’t set you back more than about $15 USD. Once approved, print and keep it with your passport for when you arrive at Los Angeles International Airport.
Having currency for when you arrive in the United States is very important. You can arrange overseas travel cards through Travel Money Oz and purchase currency well before getting to the airport to lock in your exchange rate. Remember to check the exchange rate before you buy, and keep a few $1 bills on hand for tips. For more on currency, visit the currency page.
A holiday in Los Angeles is your chance to dine on classic American dishes. Head to an inner-city steakhouse to test the limits of your appetite with hearty flavoursome food. Indulge in a bigger-than-life burger then duck into a doughnut shop for dessert. Thanks to its multicultural influences, Los Angeles also boasts incredible food trucks, Chinese food, Korean BBQ, sushi, tacos, and more.
Knowing how much to tip in the United States is a source of stress for Australians who’ve never had to deal with it before, so this will be among the most useful Los Angeles travel advice we can provide. You don’t have to tip everywhere, but you should for services like drivers, waiters and busboys. A free tip calculator app for your phone will be a big help for working out specific tips, but here’s a good rule of thumb: tip 10% of the total bill for average service, 15% for good service, and 20% for great service.
Making sure you have the correct plugs and voltage adapters for all your devices is pretty important when travelling to the United States. Luckily, unless you’re bringing heavy-duty equipment, devices like laptops, smartphones, cameras and portable batteries can all be charged using a simple Australia-to-US power converter from your nearest electronics store. Plus, many places in Los Angeles have USB ports available for charging phones.
Los Angeles is a cultural melting pot filled with people from different walks of life, so you may be concerned that language could present a barrier. While the vast majority of locals speak English, being steeped in Mexican and Hispanic culture as they are, most locals know shorthand Spanish as well.
It’s likely that the airport you’ll be flying into is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). As one of the largest airports in the continental United States, LAX can take a while to navigate. The international terminal is located at the rear of the complex and there are plenty of carts and buggies to pick you up if your legs are a little stiff from the flight.