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Driving after long haul flight - advice needed

Driving after long haul flight - advice needed

Old Apr 7, 2024, 6:47 am
  #16  
 
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All the US RV rental outfits catering to overseas tourists have prohibitions in their contract terms against picking up their vehicles on the same day as arriving on an intercontintal flight - for insurance reasons. I bet this is in place for a reason.
I have blatantly disregarded this for 15 years though, and it is not enforced - the agencies in Europe will happily sell me packaged flights with same-day pickup - but I don't want to know what happens in case of an at-fault accident.

Here's what I would do especially if flying Economy class:
- Arrive, pick up the rental car. Iīll be around 8am when you're ready to leave the rental car lot (assuming no Global Entry). As all the widebodies from South America and Oceania arrive during this time, expect wait times at immigration as well as the rental car counters.
- Get a day-use hotel near LAX, preferably on the El Segundo (South) side of the airport. I have used the Travelodge LAX South (CHF 60 for a five-hour day use room) and the Hyatt Place LAX/El Segundo (90 bucks for 6 hours) both with easy and quick access to Imperial Highway and a max. 10-minute drive from the rental car pickup at this time. Take a nap, hop in the pool or go down to Dockweiler Beach (not much traffic at this time of day, and ample parking) and then take the drive across town to your AirBnB when rested and ready.
By the time you're leaving the rental car lot, rush hour will be in full swing, and you're getting to experience the wonders of 16 lanes of gridlock on the 405 when trying to get to the Getty - not a fun experience for your first impression of California
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 9:48 am
  #17  
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I think it's a pretty bad idea. The time difference between Sydney and LA is 7 hours (or 17, depending on how you count) thus by the time you've landed, cleared border controls, collected your bags and gotten to the car hire office, it will be sometime around 2 AM for your body clock - typically the period when your reflexes and metabolism are at their low points. And you want to mount the 405, aka San Diego Freeway, which happens to be the busiest and most congested motorway in the entire USA??

Landing on a Sunday won't help; in fact, it may be a drawback as traffic might be moving at a faster pace, and if Santa Monica is your destination, there will be plenty of people heading there to go to the beach or shopping or whatever.

Can you give us a better picture of your overall holiday plans? Is it all in LA or are you traveling around California or farther? What month will this be? How long will you be in the US? It's not our position to re-plan your trip, but we might be able to offer some insight and maybe some suggestions that would enhance, rather than restrict, your plans.
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 10:01 am
  #18  
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I would think it would be good to fork out $100 for a day rate at nearby LAX hotel and take a nap.
Recently I took 7am flight. Woke up 3am, left for the airport at 5am, got the flight IAD - SFO at 7am, then 1 hour transfer to YVR. Arrived at YVR around 1pm, had 7 hours to kill for my ferry to Vancouver Island. Two hours on the ferry and around 9pm continued 2 more hours driving to my final destination at Comox.
About 1 hour into my final drive I was falling a sleep. I'm little bit younger then you are and done 3 times cross country drives DC to Vegas and back without staying in hotels on the way, but with only 1 hour of sleep during my travel I was getting to a point of getting a wreck if I didn't pull over. For some reason all gas stations on Vancouver Island are closed after 8pm (?) I couldn't get a coffee or cold drink. Finally made it safely before midnight to my airbnb. If I didn't stop few times and stretched/walked around I don't know if I would have made it in one piece. If you are not on tight schedule and can arrive evening at your airbnb then take the day hotel and rest till evening. Not worth the risk if you are not feeling 100%.
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 12:35 pm
  #19  
 
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After an overnight flight I would drive a short distance to a hotel but no more. Then walk around in the sunlight.

OP gets to make up his own mind on how much risk he is willing to run for himself and his family. Dozing off and having an accident in LA traffic would be a real possibility.
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 1:12 pm
  #20  
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Originally Posted by moondog
I would store the luggage at the airport (near the rental car counters?), grab a taxi to Santa Monica or Venice, bike/walk around for a few hours, swim, eat, and go back to the airport to pick up the car at ~230p. The Getty will still be around the following day.
Originally Posted by malbik
After an overnight flight I would drive a short distance to a hotel but no more. Then walk around in the sunlight.

OP gets to make up his own mind on how much risk he is willing to run for himself and his family. Dozing off and having an accident in LA traffic would be a real possibility.
Okay. I suppose I could modify my advice up thread to include self driving to the beach instead of dealing with bag storage and a taxi. That's a short drive, and avoids having to go back to the airport. The Getty idea is the worst part of the OP's plan.
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 1:45 pm
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In your position the only thing I would be doing is booking a day room in one of the LAX area hotels and getting a shuttle or cab/uber back to the rental lot after a few hoursí rest. I live in London but have driven in LA dozens of times - you canít be anything other than completely match fit in order to drive on the freeways, or even on Sepulveda or Century Boulevards out of LAX. Donít think of it as a wasted day. Getting behind the wheel before proper rest - in LA of all places - is playing Russian roulette.

Last edited by DIRECT MERIT; Apr 7, 2024 at 3:46 pm
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 10:22 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog
Okay. I suppose I could modify my advice up thread to include self driving to the beach instead of dealing with bag storage and a taxi. That's a short drive, and avoids having to go back to the airport. The Getty idea is the worst part of the OP's plan.
Self driving to the beach includes having to self park. Santa Monica beach on a Sunday? OP would be lucky to find a parking space within a mile.
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 10:45 pm
  #23  
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler
Self driving to the beach includes having to self park. Santa Monica beach on a Sunday? OP would be lucky to find a parking space within a mile.
The parking thing was part of the reason I suggested taking a taxi there in my first post, but the more I thought about, driving around and finding a parking structure a few blocks away might be less annoying than heading back to the airport.

All I know is that I would enjoy spending a day on or near the beach after a long flight, especially if the weather is nice (pretty good odds of that). And, I'd be willing to pay a premium for parking, knowing that the taxi both ways would cost $50.
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Old Apr 8, 2024, 12:40 am
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It really depends on how used your body is to time changes. I generally have no issue with driving after a long-haul flight, but my brain usually turns off for some time on the flight (even if I'm not fully asleep), so I can usually handle it.

As others have mentioned - don't store bags (or anything else) in the car - a recipe for disaster.
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Old Apr 8, 2024, 10:55 am
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[
Originally Posted by CDTraveler
Self driving to the beach includes having to self park. Santa Monica beach on a Sunday? OP would be lucky to find a parking space within a mile.
Doesn't have to be Santa Monica Beach. That's indeed a bad idea.
But Dockweiler Beach is just adjacent to the airport. A ten-minute drive from the Avis LAX lot at 7am. Ample parking then as well. I know this for a fact because I`ve done that a few times. The OP likely will start an hour or so later (no GE, and will have to wait in line to get his car whereas I can breeze through Immigration/Customs/Agriculture with GE, take the shuttle and hop into my car right away) but still be out of the rental car lot by 8am.
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Old Apr 8, 2024, 6:21 pm
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler
IMO your plans are extremely ill-advised, and potentially dangerous. LA traffic is worse than most people expect, more stop-and-go, more traffic lights, too many tourists looking at the scenery and not the road, etc. Expecting your 13 yo, who will also be jet-lagged, to "prod me to take a rest if I look like I am falling asleep" - do you mean if you're falling asleep at the wheel of the car, while driving? And then throw in possible side effects of some currently unknown sleeping pills? Then there's trying to park at any of the locations - Santa Monica in the beach area on a Sunday is likely to be mobbed, even from an early hour.

You can't know until you get off the plane and try to function in LA how impaired you will be by jet-lag and/or medication. I'd suggest finding someplace to eat and shower, and then decide if you need a nap. If you still have your heart set on sight-seeing, try something like a hop-on hop-off tour where someone else will do the driving and parking. Or maybe just Uber to the beach, and stretch out in the sand for a while.


In Santa Monica I've spent 30 minutes going 3 blocks.
One more thing to consider is that despite being Sunday, you'll probably encounter a lot of speed-up/slow-down (not quite stop-and-go, but always in motion) on freeways and surface streets near the beach areas and esp if you drive up to Getty Center. That is absolutely the WORST situation to be in if you are sleepy/jet-lagged because even a second or 2 of dozing off or losing situational awareness could mean plowing into the car in front of you. Perhaps not fast enough to be highly life-threatening, but certainly to cause vehicular damage and/or injuries (and your fault for rear-ending someone). It may be OK to get to Venice/Santa Monica via surface streets if you're fresh enough for the relatively short drive. Might you consider a day use hotel in the Santa Monica area so you can get there, park at hotel, dump your bags in the room, shower/nap, then walk/uber around the Santa Monica area before driving to your AirBnB? (which is where?)
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Old Apr 8, 2024, 7:52 pm
  #27  
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Assuming the rental car had a trunk and wasn't something super expensive, I'd personally feel quite comfortable leaving it, along with my bags, in a parking structure or private lot in Santa Monica on a weekend day. I certainly wouldn't bother getting a room there just for luggage storage.
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Old Apr 8, 2024, 9:51 pm
  #28  
 
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Originally Posted by davidw1648
Thanks for the tips on luggage storage, I will look into them, as have heard about the car-breakin situation at LA. Unfortunately, taking the Flyaway bus is not an option, as the rental car pickup location is at LAX. Hence, I will have to hop straight into the car after my flight.
I think the suggestion is to take local transport and not rent the car. Are you aware of how hard parking is in lots of areas?
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Old Apr 8, 2024, 11:26 pm
  #29  
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Originally Posted by estnet
I think the suggestion is to take local transport and not rent the car. Are you aware of how hard parking is in lots of areas?
LA for two weeks without a car would be horribly limiting IMO. What's debatable is whether or not he needs his own car during the jetlagged day. My current opinion is that the benefits (easier/cheaper to pick up at LAX than downtown, can put luggage in trunk instead leaving it in storage at the airport or dragging it with him on public transit) outweigh the drawbacks (hunting for parking, driving while tired). LAX to nearby beaches is easy. From there over to downtown is only a little more challenging.
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Old Apr 9, 2024, 8:27 am
  #30  
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Originally Posted by moondog
... LAX to nearby beaches is easy. From there over to downtown is only a little more challenging.
imo the key is to use Lincoln Blvd from the LAX area to Santa Monica rather than messing around with the San Diego and Santa Monica freeways (I-405 and I-10 respectively)

and Iíd probably take Pico Blvd from Santa Monica to Koreatown to avoid I-10 eastbound
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