First up is a retrospect of our two weeks in Los Angeles. After traveling around in Asia we found ourselves in a situation that needed a change. A change that involved more time in one place, with the purpose of trying to make it feel as our own.

With this change we needed to break our habit of moving from one hotel to another, so we made it our goal to find a place to rent for two weeks. For the first three days we booked a hotel in Westwood from where we could discover the city and decide in which part we wanted to live temporarily.

Finding a place turned out to be a pretty tough nut to crack. There is a lot on the Internet about the different neighbourhoods and we used this information as some kind of reference, but in reality – if your goal is to find a home – it is most important how you feel about it. Our first impression was the one of Westwood Village, where we began our search. We really loved this part of the city, so put that on our list of potential areas. From there we went to Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, Downtown and back to West Hollywood. After that we were contemplating to stay in the lovely area where we were already in or somewhere within closer proximity to the beach.

How to find a rental home in a city you barely know your way in?
We went surfing on the web and quickly found out that AirBNB was the most reliable housing website with the largest offer. What we required from a place was a) a descent looking home, which means clean and no expired furniture b) a private place – no shared living- and bathrooms c) a good location (a neighbourhood can be cool, but it’s also important to stay in the good part of it, so you can walk home at night without feeling unsafe) d) about 150 USD per day and e) a possibility to park the car. The last factor made it kind of tricky, because if we had to park on the streets – which are all pay zones – we had to cut our housing budget. I ended up finding three possible homes, two in the West Hollywood area and one in Santa Monica. We checked availability and the one in Santa Monica was available for the two weeks we opted for. Unfortunately it was way over budget, mainly because of the location. Nevertheless we moved ourselves from Westwood to 4th street – one block away from a large shopping area and just two blocks away from the beach! We were also lucky to be able to use the parking garage for residents underneath the building, without paying extra. In the end we paid 250 USD per day, because we chose for the location and what seemed a beautiful home (although it wasn’t that clean after all together with some other things). From our experience AirBNB is a really great option if you want to save money and if you desire to stay in parts of a city that are not dominated by a large amount of hotels. However, the three days we planned on finding a place was way too little time, not only to find something that suited us, but also because the owners have twenty four hours to respond to your request.

If you're planning your trip and want to use AirBNB to find a place to stay, start at least a week (but preferably two) before departure. That way you have enough time to browse the places of your interest, contact the owners and make arrangements.

Getting around in Los Angeles
Something to get used to in Los Angeles is that you need a car to get around the city. In contrast to for example Paris or New York where public transport networks are far more developed, it’s much easier to get around without even having a car. For me this meant that I skipped some places in LA, just because I didn’t want to sit in the car all day and traffic is horrible everyday. One upside to this is that there are enough possibilities to park the car, with parking garages throughout the whole city. Pay attention if you want to park you’re car on the street, because it’s super confusing. Most of the time there are multiple signs, one telling you it’s possible to park on certain days between certain hours, while another sign seems to contradict the first. We received a parking ticket the amount of one dinner and a movie (including popcorn!), so be aware.

When you’re in need of medical supplies
While visiting the US in the past, Walgreens used to be my go-to drugstore. However, they are all a little shabby in LA, so when I was in need of some medicine (I forgot the most important at home… smart!) I went to CVS. It is not possible to get some without prescription – though I did try – but some of the CVS stores have an in-house medical clinic. It will cost you some time and money, but after seeing a nurse and a doctor (both hilarious people, which actually turned the necessary it into a fun experience) I was outside with the much-needed medicine, happy me! You can find one in every part of town (depending on the size of the area often even more than one).

Did you recently go to LA? In what part of the city did you stay and how did you find the place?

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