Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 24
  1. Default Coping with Los Angeles traffic

    Hi

    My husband and I are coming from New Zealand to the USA in late July. We will fly into Los Angeles and plan to start our trip by getting a rental car and doing a Grand Circle road trip of the Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Canyon, probably returning the car to Las Vegas or possibly driving up to San Francisco.

    We have been wondering how difficult it will be to negotiate the traffic and find our way out of Los Angeles. If we picked a car up at the airport would we be likely to have problems heading out of the city? Would we be better to consider getting public transport to somewhere out of Los Angeles and picking up a rental car there?

    While we have had some experience driving in Europe a few years ago we will be trying to get used to driving on the opposite side of the road and also dealing with volumes of traffic that are unfamiliar. The population of Los Angeles is almost equivalent to the whole population of NZ!

    We'd really appreciate some of your thoughts on this.

    I was delighted to discover this site today and have already gained some useful information.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default It's not THAT bad!

    Hi Ziggy, and Welcome to the The Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    Whereas LA traffic has a reputation, it is not that bad, if you allow yourself time and have patience. Nothing worse than being in traffic to which you are not used, and having to make a deadline somewhere. I know on my first time, I had been driving for more than an hour and figured I must have missed the turn off. When I pulled off, and checked the map, I discovered that I was just half way to my turn off. So yes, it can be much slower than what you are used to or expect. I would definitely make sure I left LA after the morning rush... though sometimes it seems as if the rush is all day.

    It is not that difficult to negotiate either, so long as you have worked out where you are going before you leave, and then watch for the exits you need. Everything is extremely well signposted and numbered. It is a good idea to make sure you have good maps, even if you are using a satnav. If you are a member of your local automobile club, then make sure you take your membership with you. It will give you access to free maps and tourist information at the AAA, through their reciprocal arrangements. It is very helpful to have the detailed map of LA.... the one that has every road and lane on it.

    You may like to check the various rental car agencies in LA, and check their rates. The airport is not always the cheapest place to rent. Also, it may not be the best idea to hop straight into a vehicle when coming off a long haul flight. I make a point of spending at least 24 hours in LA before getting behind the wheel. (Also gives you a chance to pick up maps, etc.)

    You don't say how long you have for this trip, but the loop you are planning to do is by far the most discussed roadtrip on these forums. The most efficient would be, LA - GC - Bryce - Zion - LV - Death Valley - Yosemite - SF - Pacific Coast Highway (#1) - LA. Depending on your time this could be extended to include some or all of the great national parks in southern Utah.

    Might be a good idea to get a good map of the US to help in your planning. My favourite is the National Geographic Wall Map, it has all the roads, cities and NPs on it. Then you can use the map centre (on the green bar above) to zoom in and get more detail where warranted.

    Enjoy the planning.

    Lifey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If you rent the car at LAX, simply get directions from the rental agency to the 105 freeway east. Take that to the 605 north to the 210 east to the 15 north. It's about 65 miles (100 km) from LAX to the 210/15 interchange. If you pick up the car around 10am, the traffic shouldn't be terrible and I'd guess that it would take you about 5 hours or so to get to Las Vegas driving at the speed limit where traffic allows. LV to Zion is another 3 hours. If you go to the GC first, you are probably looking at about 9 hours.

    You didn't say what time you will be arriving at LAX, but you WILL be jet-lagged and it would not be wise to hit the road right away. I'd spend a night in a hotel near LAX and start out in the morning.

  4. #4

    Default

    I am from the older generation and map educated but I am a converted to having a GPS as a comfort tool. If you get confused or lost they can be very helpful in getting you on your path again.

    You can purchase them in the US if it comes to it. But taking one with you gives you the time to carefully choose one at home.

  5. Default

    Thanks for that information Lifey. We would definitely plan to spend a day recuperating from our flight before attempting to head off anywhere. I thought there would be good accomodation options close to the airport we could use if this seemed an easier option than going into the city and then trying to find our way out .

    If time and patience are the main requirements then I'm sure we will cope. I will definitely follow your recommendations re maps and we will also make sure we get a car with a GPS system to help.

    Thanks also for your thoughts on the best route. The first part of this is pretty much what I had planned out. We will have about 2 weeks to spend in this region and will then be flying to New York and then going on to Canada. I have a cousin in San Francisco so the plan is to do the Grand Canyon loop in the first week and then head up to SF via Yosemite.

    I thought we might do LA - GC - Bryce - Zion - LV then head on to Yosemite. I don't want to fall into the trap of trying to see too much and just spending all our time rushing from one place to the next. The trouble is that the more you start to research the more you find that you want to see!

  6. Default

    Great information thanks. Yes we know we will need to wait a good 24 hours before setting off so we will definitely look for a hotel nearby. Seems to me we would be wise to travel as far as LV and stop there for a night too before heading on to the GC as 9 hours on the road sounds a bit much to me.

  7. Default

    Hi Eris. Yes we are from the map generation too but would definitely want to have a GPS for this trip. I understand you can hire them from the rental companies for a cost so we will probably do that. Though I can see that buying one here now would give us time to become familiar with how it works which is definitely worth a thought. Thank you .

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default North or South ?

    I thought we might do LA - GC - Bryce - Zion - LV then head on to Yosemite.
    Seems to me we would be wise to travel as far as LV and stop there for a night too before heading on to the GC as 9 hours on the road sounds a bit much to me.
    If you are planning to go to the South rim of GC, Las Vegas wouldn't be on the direct route and you could save time by stopping elsewhere, perhaps Laughlin or Kingman. From the south rim you could take a detour and check out Monument valley before continuing to Bryce.

    If you are visiting the North rim, Vegas would be an overnight option.

    Great information thanks. Yes we know we will need to wait a good 24 hours before setting off so we will definitely look for a hotel nearby.
    If you have no real wish to spend time in LA then an airport hotel would make most sense and you should find some options that offer a free shuttle bus service to and from the airport. As previously mentioned, you will soon adjust to driving on the other side of the road, but if you were still concerned or just plain didn't want to bother with LA traffic there is a 'Luxbus' service from LA to Vegas that goes for around $70 per person.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default If this were me....

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    Thanks for that information Lifey. We would definitely plan to spend a day recuperating from our flight before attempting to head off anywhere. I thought there would be good accomodation options close to the airport we could use if this seemed an easier option than going into the city and then trying to find our way out .
    I would be checking out the car rental agencies, then find a hotel not too far away, one which provides airport transfers. In more than half a dozen visits to LA I have never been 'into the city'. (I am not even sure if LA has a 'city' area. I make a point of staying more in the direction of West Hollywood/Beverly Hills.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    ... then head up to SF via Yosemite.
    Make sure you include Death Valley in that plan.... even if it is only a drive through. It is an amazing place. A landscape like you will not see anywhere else on earth.

    For a two week rental, you will probably find it much cheaper to buy a satnav, than renting it with the car. They're very cheap in the US.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    One key word about driving in L.A. (something I do more times during the year than I like to!):

    PATIENCE!!!!!

    Some car rental agencies may suggest that you take a non-automatic transmission (i.e. stick shift). I highly recommend that you get the automatic transmission! On my last three trips to LA, I've driven my stick-shift vehicle. Then my left leg is very sore when I get home, from all that pushing down the clutch, and my right shoulder is numb from changing the gear shift.

    You can get GPS's (or satnav's) in most department stores or electronic stores here in the US. Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, K-Mart, and Sears all have them. They cost about $100-150 (some with lifetime maps) and you can carry them home easily.



    Donna

Similar Threads

  1. Los Angeles to Las Vegas....traffic
    By jay460 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 04-24-2007, 12:45 AM
  2. Big Traffic Jam in Chicago
    By RoadDog in forum RoadTrip Field Reports
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-24-2006, 02:16 PM
  3. memorial wkd traffic
    By in forum Off the Beaten Path
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-29-2004, 10:06 AM
  4. Traffic On I-78
    By imported_Brandon in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-16-2004, 06:39 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES