Los Angeles is a city where dreams are made and sometimes broken – filled with surfers, glam, and skyscrapers, right?  I spent a significant amount of time in my early life in Los Angeles. My grandparents lived outside of the city while I was growing up, and I’d visit a minimum of 3 times per year. For sometime I was quite obsessed with it, and planned to move there after graduating high school.  But, once I graduated and started my first year of college things began to change.  Over time, my interests shifted.  I’ve grown as a person, and as I explore more of the world, I’ve learned there are other places “out there” that I like a lot more than I once liked LA.  And, LA had changed over time too.

We visited Los Angeles and went on short west coast cruise.  We picked this itinerary because of costs, proximity, and ease.  Our trip was full of things to see and do.  We planned to visit the usual tourist spots, the ocean, catch a Laker’s game, ride down the Skyslide, etc.!  There was a lot of fun stuff on the agenda! 

But, for some reason, when it was time to get on the plane to head to LA, I didn’t feel my normal “travel excitement”.  I’ll admit I was traveling back to this city with some preconceived notions about the way LA would be after all my years away.  You can thank pop culture and the media for that.  Upon arrival, those thoughts turned out to be true.  It’s not that this trip was bad, but I’m not sure that it was good either.  Regardless, we learned a lot in LA!


Here are the 5 lessons we learned from our trip to LA:

1. Do take hand sanitizer. 

And some toilet paper or tissue.  Trust me this will really come in handy, especially in places like Venice Beach when using the bathrooms.

2. Do not book a cheaper hotel in a less desirable neighborhood to save a few bucks.

Especially on New Years Eve – when you cannot discern between fireworks and gunshots. It is well worth the money and the peace of mind you will have to stay someplace safe and quiet.

3. Do use Uber for your main source of transportation throughout the city. 

Plus, drivers can give you recommendations on great restaurants.

4. Do not wear flimsy, thin soled flip flops in places like the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

You’ll want your feet to be up off the ground.  And, bring some plastic bags to store your shoes in to help keep things in your suitcase clean after a day on the streets.

5. Do venture away from the metro area and its major tourist spots. 

We loved our day spent visiting Catalina Island!  It was our little refuge away from Los Angeles!

Typing this post about our trip and reflecting back to my lessons learned, I can’t help but chuckle.  It’s funny how we change as people, and looking at what I personally took away from our visit to Los Angeles. 

Really, I cannot tell you how happy I was to go to the airport for our return flight home.  Perhaps it was because the night before our early morning departure was the worst night we’ve ever had in a hotel?  Maybe I was tired of feeling dirty?  

Going back to the city I once loved so much was an interesting experience. Travel isn’t always perfect, and some trips just don’t work out the way you hoped they would.  As a blogger, I feel compelled to be honest about this fact.  I walked away from our trip to LA with an overarching empathy for Dorothy and Toto…

It is true that sometimes there is just no place like home!


Los Angeles is the second West Coast city I didn’t personally care for.  Was our trip to Los Angeles a total bust? No.  Would I go back there?  Not intentionally.

Have you ever had a trip that left you feeling a “little different” about a place you visited?  Could you put a finger on what it was?  Did you love it at a different point In your life?  Tell us about it in the comments below


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  1. Having gone to Los Angeles several times in the past, I must admit I always looked forward to going there and soaking in the sites, the buildings, available entertainment, shopping, the list goes on and on. Like you, I am sure if I were to go back to LA now, the changes would be a disappointment, albeit interesting to see the differences, (I think). Thank you for this post – I find it very interesting.

  2. I felt this way about Vancouver, BC. I visited as a kid and remember liking it. We went back in 2017 and I just wasn’t impressed. Maybe if we had time to do more of the outdoorsy stuff outside of the city I would’ve liked it better. But I’d be ok never visiting again.

  3. Couldn’t agree more on your 5 tips! Hollywood is dirty and you’ll definitely want to bring hand sanitizer, good shoes and toilet paper! In fact, a better tip would be NOT to go to Hollywood in my opinion – there are WAYYYY MORE beautiful areas of Cali to visit besides Hollywood. #FeetDoTravel

  4. Perfectly timed post! We are off to LA for the first time in October, so I will be sure not to wear flip flops (I remember your story from Rome, where you walked alllllll day in flip-flops haha, you just love flip-flops don’t you – me too!). Living on Gili Air, I used to carry hand sanitiser and toilet paper all the time so have a little bag already “made up”, I will be sure to pop it into my hand bag. Thanks for the tips! Pinned #feetdotravel

  5. Sorry to hear you had this experience. I love LA and my daughter lives there, so we go often. Personally, I would skip Venice Beach and head to Santa Monica — wide white sand beaches. The Getty in Malibu is an elegant museum. And the Griffith Park Observatory is worth an afternoon. You can hike to the Hollywood sign right there, too. Maybe try LA again sometime???! I think you hit all the dirty, undesirable parts!

  6. Taking Uber has to the be the #1 tip. We often go back to live in Los Angeles, and I don’t have transport so I rely on Uber, and I’ve received some fabulous recommendations from drivers, and heard lots of interesting facts about the local history.

  7. That’s funny, I’ve never had any sort of excitement to travel to LA either. I feel like you either love or hate it!

  8. There are really interesting tips I would not have thought of myself. Especially taking hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and tissue with you to public outings. Thanks for sharing!

  9. All my favourite parts of LA are not in LA itself. Love Newport and Huntingdon Beach. Plus visiting Disneyland is always fun of course 🙂

  10. First time in LA, I strongly disliked the city – since I didn’t conceive it as a city. Once I understood the concept – 100 suburbs looking for a city center – I enjoyed it a lot. Not to mention the proximity to the Pacific and the great art scene 🙂

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