Travel Tips

Photo courtesy of prayitno, Flickr

Los Angeles enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate — moderate temperatures with low humidity year-round. Midday readings average 80 degrees from June to October and 70 degrees between November and May. In December and January, when others around the country are shivering, locals may be heading to the beach in shorts and short sleeves. The rainy season is between November and March, when a few rainy days are typically followed by many days of brilliant sunshine and clear bright skies. Summer’s warmth is often tempered by pleasant sea breezes, especially near the ocean. Evenings are cool, even in summer.

Average Temperatures
  Celsius Fahrenheit

  Max./Min. Max./Min.

January 19º/9º 66º/48º
February 19º/10º 67º/50º
March 21º/11º 69º/51º
April 22º/12º 71º/54º
May 23º/13º 73º/56º
June 25º/16º 77º/60º
July 28º/17º 82º/63º
August 28º/18º 83º/64º
September 28º/17º 82º/63º
October 26º/15º 78º/59º
November 23º/12º 73º/53º
December 20º/9º68º/49º

 

The minimum driving age in California is 16, and drivers must possess a valid U.S. or international driver’s license.

Speed limits and traffic rules are strictly enforced. If there are no posted signs, the maximum speed is 25 miles per hour on city streets and 65 miles per hour on freeways.

California state law requires the use of seat belts in all private vehicles. A right turn on a red light after stopping is permitted unless otherwise indicated. Pedestrians have the right of way. Strict drunken driving laws are enforced in California. Anyone found driving under the influence of alcohol will be arrested.

Vehicles parked in violation of posted regulations are ticketed and towed very quickly. Before you park, be sure to carefully read all signs that state the days and times when parking restrictions are in effect. A red curb means no parking, a green curb indicates parking for a limited time only, and a white or yellow curb indicates passenger loading and unloading. Parking is often available in garages or parking lots for a fee. Many restaurants offer valet parking for a fee as well.

A red curb means no parking, a green curb indicates parking for a limited time only, and a white or yellow curb indicates passenger loading and unloading. Parking is often available in garages or parking lots for a fee. Many restaurants offer valet parking for a nominal fee.

A gratuity charge is not automatically included in the bill at restaurants and other establishments unless it is noted on the check. Tipping is voluntary, but adding 15 to 20 percent for restaurant and taxi service is customary. Luggage handlers are usually tipped $1 to $2 per bag. A $1 to $2 tip is customary for parking lot attendants and valets. When tipping for maid service, $1 to $2 per day or $5 to $10 per week is a good guideline.

Ambulance, Fire, Police         911
Time                                       Pacific Daylight Time
Highway Conditions               800.427.7623 or 916.445.7623

International travelers come to the U.S. for a wide variety of reasons, including tourism, business, medical treatment and certain types of temporary work. The type of visa needed is defined by immigration law, and relates to the principal purpose of your travel. While in the U.S., temporary visitors are restricted to the activity or reason for which their nonimmigrant visa was issued, with few exceptions. For an overview of the types of nonimmigrant visas available under immigration law, please see Nonimmigrant Visa Classifications on the USCIS Web site. The Consular Officer at your embassy or consulate will decide what kind of visa you need, when you apply. Learn more.

You must complete customs and immigrations formalities at the first point of arrival in the U.S., whether or not it's your final destination.There is no compulsory or government plan in the U.S. You are advised to purchase travel and health insurance in case of an emergency.

Many American Express® Cards offer Cardmembers the exceptional travel benefits of American Express, including: Global Assist® Hotline, Car Rental Insurance, and Travel Accident Insurance. Please visit www.americanexpress.com/travel for more details.

Get complete travel insurance with Global Travel Shield, brought to you by AMEX Assurance Company. A Los Angeles County sales tax of 8.75 percent is charged on all purchased items. There is no sales tax on hotel or motel rooms, but room rates in the City of Los Angeles are subject to a 14 percent hotel transient occupancy tax. In other cities within Los Angeles County, the hotel occupancy tax varies from 10 to 14 percent. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) operates a fleet of buses equipped with driver-controlled, automatic wheelchair lifts that give individuals in wheelchairs access to Metro’s network of bus lines.

For schedule information, call 213.626.4455. Hearing-impaired persons with a TDD/TTY machine may call 800.252.9040.

The Los Angeles County Commission on Disabilities provides telephone referrals and information about accessibility and services for the disabled. Call 213.974.1053. TDD/TTY users may call 213.974.1707. For information on Los Angeles County human services agencies, transportation resources and disabled services, call the nonprofit Info Line at 800.339.6993.

Smoking is prohibited in most buildings in Los Angeles. In restaurants within Los Angeles County, smoking is allowed in outdoor dining sections only. The minimum age for purchasing alcohol is 21. Proof of age and identification may be required. Liquor may not be served, purchased or consumed in public establishments from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.The electrical current in the United States is 110 volts AC. It is recommended that you buy a converter before entering the country. When calling from one area code to another, dial 1, followed by the area code and the seven-digit telephone number. The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board has two Visitor Information Centers located adjacent to METRO stations at:

     Hollywood & Highland Center
     6801 Hollywood Blvd.
     Hollywood, CA 90028
     323.467.6412

     Downtown
     685 S. Figueroa St.
     Los Angeles, CA 90017

The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board also has Visitor Information Center kiosks inside the Los Angeles Convention Center (only opened during conventions) and at the Port of Los Angeles (the No. 1 cruise passenger complex on the West Coast):

     Port of Los Angeles
     Berth 93, Pacific Cruise Ship Terminal
     San Pedro, CA 90731

The Visitor Information Centers’ multilingual staff answer travel questions, provide directions and public transportation information, assist with itineraries and make recommendations on dining, sightseeing and cultural options. Centers also sell tickets to attractions and provide maps and travel guides. Up to a week in advance, half-price tickets are available to more than 100 plays, operas, concerts and other performances from LA Stage Alliance at Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board’s Visitor Information Centers. Tickets are available for major venues, such as the Ahmanson Theatre, as well as LA’s numerous 99-seat theaters. Every Tuesday, tickets for performances through the following Tuesday are released by the venues and posted online. Ticket buyers can order, pay by credit card and print out confirmations to take to the Will Call window on the day or night of the performance.