This week, I have great pleasure in introducing you to Polly, who took an impromptu trip to LA to visit some friends – and it looks like she had a blast. I mean sunshine, mates, the beach, fab restaurants and Hollywood! Who wouldn’t?
What do you look for in a holiday?
I get extremely bored on beachy holidays (there are only so many magazines you can read), so I prefer to go places with things to see and do. Food is very important to me on holiday, so I always like to plan great restaurants to visit in advance.
Earlier this year I booked a spontaneous trip to LA to go visit some friends who were staying out there. I got a text from a friend saying I should come out and visit, and the following week I was there! It was fun to do something impulsive.
Why did you choose this destination?
I’d never been to LA and as the opportunity came up I thought I should take it, as I knew there is so much I would love to experience out there. I think booking it last-minute forced me to be organised, which made the whole process pretty quick. Once I had the accommodation and flights booked I could focus on planning what I wanted to do while there.
Two of my friends were there, one was working as a songwriter, so I thought it would be fun to go visit them and keep my other friend company in the day and experience LA, and then in the evening we could all do things together.
Where did you stay?
I stayed in a studio apartment on my own, five minutes walk from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. My friends had been renting a beautiful apartment from air bnb and I wanted to stay as close to them as possible. I managed to find a studio apartment a two-minute walk away from my friends. The studio was stunning and it was so easy to organise. I would highly recommend booking.com, they were so helpful and really kept up with emails, making sure things were going to plan and that I was happy while out there.
The most memorable moment of the trip was the day we headed to Venice beach. We rode along the beach, visited all the tacky touristy shops (I got in a shouting match with a shop owner when he tried to charge me $50 for a t-shirt. Whoops!), and then we ate at an amazing Jamaican Chicken restaurant there in the evening. It was just a great fun-packed day.
Was it good value for money?
Flying to the US was never going to be cheap, but the accommodation and flights came to around £700 and then I took around £300 to spend while out there. But I am definitely glad I went. I thought if I’m going to go then I want to do it properly and not let money worries hold me back.
Do you have any top tips?
We used the Uber taxi app daily to get around, and it was so easy to use and great value. If you join and then recommend a friend, you get a certain amount of free money added to your account. On one of our busier days we managed to only spend $3 on Uber cabs, thanks to the free credit! The service was always quick and drivers were always very friendly.
Which photo is your favourite and why?
My favourite photo is of us on our bikes riding along Venice beach. It was so much fun, and such a beautiful setting. The best bit was when my friend Stefan stupidly asked ‘can you cycle on sand?’ and went off the paved path to give it a go(?!) for the bike to abruptly come to a halt, flinging him off, face first…
Would you go back to LA again?
I would definitely recommend LA to anyone. It’s not a cheap holiday but there is so much to do and so many places to visit. I’d say you only need around five days there, I managed to fit it into four but it would be nice to go back and have a bit of a slower pace.
What are your five holiday essentials?
• A massive suitcase. When I go to America, I pack a massive suitcase half full, to leave room for all my shopping!
• A travel pillow. I bought a soft velvety one at Gatwick that saved me on the long flight. It’s comfier to wear it around your neck backwards, so you can lean your head forward for a little snooze.
• Friends! I find experiences aren’t the same on your own; you need someone to share them with. This way you can talk together about them for years after.
• A phone charger. I keep mine in my handbag at the airport as there are sometimes charging points in the boarding areas.
• A camera app. I use an app on my iPhone called PowerCam, it has a warm filter called ‘holiday’ which gives pictures a lovely glow, I tend to use this when I go away.
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