Flight to California and Day 1 in L.A

Mom and I were up bright and early to head over to DCA to catch our flight, and as our neighbor who kindly offered to drive us there arrived early we were able to leave ahead of schedule. The airport was surprisingly crowded and there was a representative from American Airlines directing customers to another set of counters and kiosks to check in for flights. We were able to check in our bags after a short wait and then we went down the escalators to go through security. Neither my mom nor I are TSA PreCheck members but we’ve had pretty good luck with being selected to go through that line at the security checkpoint. I’m not sure if it’s because we buy first class tickets or are considered low risk but I’m not complaining!

We sat in the terminal for about an hour before the boarding process began. Boarding was a breeze and I ordered my usual morning flight drink of choice: vodka and orange juice. The seats were spacious and the plane definitely looked like a newer model. We had bulkhead seats so there was plenty of leg room and the infotainment screen was large with great picture quality.


Since we were flying First Class we had the option to reserve our meals online. I forgot to preorder our in-flight breakfast but we were able to get what I would have ordered for us anyway. Mom ordered the omelette and I ordered the French toast.



I don’t have high expectations for airline food but both of these meals were…really bad. It doesn’t mean much when I say that because I’m a picky eater, but my mom will eat just about anything and usually like it so for her to say it was bad really meant something. We were hungry though so we ate it. I took a quick nap after that but when I woke up I decided to see what movies were available on the flight. They had a pretty good selection of new releases, popular favorites and classics. I decided on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon since I had never seen it in its entirety and my mom chose one of her favorites, Rush Hour. Once they were done we choose Aladdin and Creed, respectively. The flight was pretty uneventful after that and we soon landed at LAX.

We were expecting the typical warm, sunny southern California weather but unfortunately it was pretty chilly when we arrived. We went to the rental car counter and picked up our car (VW Jetta) and made the short drive from LAX to our hotel. We like staying in extended stay hotels even for short trips because we like the extra space, in-room amenities (refrigerator, microwave, dining table, etc) and hot breakfast so we choose the Residence Inn West Century Boulevard. I’ve always been happy when staying at Residence Inns and this one got good reviews on Trip Advisor so I was looking forward to our stay. It is very close to the airport (you can see the hotel once you land) but having stayed at the Crowne Plaza LAX during our last stay we knew there wouldn’t be an issue with airport noise, and there wasn’t.

Check-in was quick and easy. A few days before the trip I decided to order a t-shirt from cafepress.com to wear to The Price is Right but I wasn’t sure I would receive it in time so after confirming with the hotel I had it shipped there overnight. The package was there waiting for me and after parking our car in the garage (there is a daily fee to park there) we went up to our room.

The room was a great size for the two of us, and could have comfortably accommodated a family of four. It also seemed like it had been recently remodeled, which is always nice. There was a full kitchen to the left of the entry way, a dining table for 4, a couch, desk and two king beds. There was also a nice size bathroom and a separate vanity area which proved useful when we were both trying to get ready. We ate the included hot breakfast each of the three mornings we were there, and the quality and selection were on par with what we’ve had at similar hotels. Like all other extended stay hotels I’ve stayed at, the seating area was quite small for the number of guests the hotel accommodates so I always recommend arriving early so you can have a peaceful breakfast before it becomes crowded and hectic. We had a great stay at the hotel and I would recommend it, but bear in mind that the location is not ideal for most touristy activities since most attractions/activities are at least 25 minutes away.




Even though we rented a car, we knew that it would stay in the garage until we left for Indian Wells because neither of us wanted to drive in a city with which we were unfamiliar. During my trip to Orlando in July my friend used Uber to get us around since she had the app, and it seemed easy enough so I thought my mom and I could do that during our time in L.A. Once we settled in to the hotel we headed down to the lobby so I could book the Uber to take us to Sunset Blvd to catch the Hop On Hop Off (HOHO) tour I booked for us through Groupon with City Safari Hollywood. I opened the app and assumed it would be easy to use, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure it out. I spent about 15 minutes trying to work it out (embarrassing, I know) and I was worried that we would miss our tour so I asked the receptionist to call a cab for us. Forty minutes and a $60 cab ride later we made it just in time to catch the bus, and off we went. I’ve been on HOHO tours before and we’ve been able to, well, hop on and hop off as many times as liked until the last bus of the day, but for some reason you were only allowed to get off once on this tour. It didn’t affect us though because we weren’t planning on getting off and were using this just as a way to do some sightseeing, but that’s something to be aware of if you book with this company. Overall the tour was good and we had fun.

After the tour, I tried again to figure out the Uber app and once again failed. As we were looking for a taxi my mom spotted our tour guide and asked him for help. He didn’t know how to use it, but he asked a group of people waiting outside a bar for help and they saved us from having to take another $60 cab ride. We would have to take a cab the next day but not because I didn’t know how to use the Uber app!

One of the reasons we chose the Residence Inn was that it had several places to eat on site, and we knew that we wouldn’t want to have to worry about finding a place to eat when we were tired at the end of a long day. I’ve been a fan of Jersey Mike’s for a while now but my mom had never been, so we picked up some subs and took them up to the room. After that, we called it a night.

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