It’s a fairly common question for travellers with long layovers at LAX. What exactly do you do? LAX isn’t the nicest of airports, though it has improved in recent years.
Also for New Zealander’s and Australian’s (and likely others) one of the issues is the flights leave late at night, often leaving you with many hours between checking out of your previous hotel and being stuck with a suitcase.
Coming back from our trip the other week, we decided to check-in to a hotel near LAX for the last night before our flight home. While this actually sounds like a crazy idea, it worked so well we will likely do it again on a future trip.
We had a full day at Disneyland on Sunday and our flight wasn’t until Monday night. On Sunday morning, we checked out and left our bags with bell services at the Grand Californian. Our transfer back to LAX was scheduled for 6.45pm. We had a private car transfer this time, but we’ve also used Super Shuttle and the Disneyland Express on past trips.
I booked Sunday night at the Four Points by Sheraton at LAX. When you book your room with them online, you can then request a 24 hour reservation. So when we checked arrived about 7.30pm on the Sunday night, we had full use of the room until the same time Monday night. With our flight on Monday not leaving until around 9.30pm, this was perfect!
The room was clean and quiet, but no frills. There was a basic pool too – which we didn’t use.
We had a lazy sleep in on Monday morning after our exhausting non-stop previous week or so. While there is a restaurant downstairs with buffet or menu, we are cheap, so we walked to the 7-eleven down the street. This was slightly further than we expected and took us about 20 minutes each way. There is a Starbucks in one of the hotels nearby which is a lot closer and likely would have been a better option rather than the walk.
Anyway, after our breakfast of yogurt, muffins and egg sandwiches we decided it was time to do some shopping.
Approximately 10 minutes walk from the Four Points by Sheraton is the LAX City Bus Center. It’s a basic outdoor bus station, not pretty, but for $1.75 you can get a bus to plenty of places to fill in time.
Note – that you need correct change for the bus. Seniors travel for only 75c.
There are lots of options, just pick a location or even play bus roulette and pick the first bus that arrives and get off somewhere that looks interesting.
Want to go to the beach? #109 goes to El Segundo and Redondo Beaches.
Fancy going to the California Science Centre? Catch the #102.
The Metro Trip Planning site even lets you pick a landmark.
You can even get a bus from the LAX City Bus Center to Union Station and then go on from there – there are endless options for little cost.
For our retail therapy so caught the #102 bus for about 30 minutes to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall, where we explored the delights of Walmart and got some lunch at the food court.
The buses we travelled on were clean, the drivers were friendly and courteous. The buses also announced automatically the next stop so if you have a map or smart phone you can follow along so you know where to get off.
Mid-afternoon we caught the bus back (they were running about every 50 minutes).
Back at the hotel we spent some time packing our suitcases, having a shower and a short nap. Then is was time to catch the free airport shuttle back to the terminal.
This was the most relaxing “last day” we’ve ever had. Usually we are frantically trying to get to the airport through traffic and stressing over the time, or just kicking our heels waiting for it to be time to go to the airport.
We have all decided this was such a great option that we’d do it again.
Its a pity more hotels in the area aren’t a little more open to differing check-in / check-out times. We will definitely be back to Four Points by Sheraton at LAX because of this!Follow @paula_from_nz