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Driving after long haul flight - advice needed

Driving after long haul flight - advice needed

Old Apr 5, 2024, 5:52 pm
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Driving after long haul flight - advice needed

I am taking a 15 hour flight from Sydney to Los Angeles, arriving 6am. I can only check-in to my AirBnB at 4pm as there is another tenant staying there night prior. Hence, to avoid wasting the day, I plan to do some sightseeing in LA till my AirBnB is available. I have hired a rental car.

I have read some posts about the effects of long haul flights and risks of driving right after. Particularly if it involves driving in an unfamiliar city, and on the wrong side of the road. (Syd vs LA traffic is on diff sides). But the thing is that the sight seeing I plan to do that day will only involve short drives, e.g, 30 mins between destinations, lots of stopping & starting, meals & rest in various destinations around LA.

I (M51) admit my energy levels are not as high as my younger days, but I will also have my 13 year old son with me, and was thinking that he can prod me to take a rest if I look like I am falling asleep or look tired. The other mitigating factor is that I am arriving in LAX on a Sunday, so the traffic will be a bit quieter.

Was also considering taking some sleeping pills on the flight so that I get some sleep prior to landing.

What's everyone opinion on my plan above? Am I taking unnecessary risks driving after such a long haul flight? Should I stay at an airport hotel for a quick shower and nap before embarking on my sightseeing trip? Has anyone done something similiar before, and would you do it again?

Looking forward to hearing others thoughts and experiences, thanks!
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 5:58 pm
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Are there cautions about driving/operating heavy machinery within 24 hours after taking the pills you intend to take?
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 6:22 pm
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Where are you staying? There are presumably things to occupy you in the local area that don't entail a ton of driving.
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 6:36 pm
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I haven't yet worked out what brand of sleeping pills I will be buying. Have assumed that it will be ok, but you raised a good point
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 6:38 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog
Where are you staying? There are presumably things to occupy you in the local area that don't entail a ton of driving.
I am staying in Koreatown LA as its pretty central. I am landing at LAX, not much there, planning to head to Santa Monica to sightsee, and then potentially the Getty Center. and then head back to Koreatown late afternoon to check in to my AirBnB
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 7:07 pm
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Originally Posted by davidw1648
I am staying in Koreatown LA as its pretty central. I am landing at LAX, not much there, planning to head to Santa Monica to sightsee, and then potentially the Getty Center. and then head back to Koreatown late afternoon to check in to my AirBnB
I'd suggest taking the LAX Flyaway bus to Union Station, from which you can catch public transit to Santa Monica, Koreatown, etc. Find a luggage-storage facility near Union Station or Koreatown, using services like luggagehero.com, usebounce.com, etc. (Even if you were going to rent a car, it would be very unwise to leave your luggage unattended in a rental car for any length of time.)
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 7:20 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976
I'd suggest taking the LAX Flyaway bus to Union Station, from which you can catch public transit to Santa Monica, Koreatown, etc. Find a luggage-storage facility near Union Station or Koreatown, using services like luggagehero.com, usebounce.com, etc. (Even if you were going to rent a car, it would be very unwise to leave your luggage unattended in a rental car for any length of time.)
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.
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 7:44 pm
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I don't think a 30 min drive exists in LA
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 8:17 pm
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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.
Is the rental car prepaid? If not, you can certainly rent a car at any of L.A.'s numerous off-airport locations. (Might or might not be cheaper.)
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 8:55 pm
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Originally Posted by davidw1648
I am staying in Koreatown LA as its pretty central. I am landing at LAX, not much there, planning to head to Santa Monica to sightsee, and then potentially the Getty Center. and then head back to Koreatown late afternoon to check in to my AirBnB
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.
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Old Apr 6, 2024, 7:35 am
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dayuse.com has several LAX hotels available from 7am onwards for the day for under $100. Get one with a pool for your son and take a nap.
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Old Apr 6, 2024, 8:08 am
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Hundreds of people drive after coming in from a TPAC in LA every single day.

I've done the double eye trip a couple of times where I come in from SYD/NAN/wherever spend the day in LA driving around, and then take another redeye back to NYC. I don't think it's that bad. I also drive after arriving from TPACs straight to the East Coast.

Having someone else with you will certainly help.

Have you taken a flight this long before?
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Old Apr 6, 2024, 8:31 am
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Welcome to FT.

I find that a bit of sleep on the plane makes the difference between tired and zombie.

My formula on long hauls is to stay hydrated, eat the first meal that is offered (usually dinner when traveling from California to Europe), bring a good travel pillow, and try to doze. If I wasn't able to fly in Business Class (a game changer on long flights), then I like a window seat where I can make a bit of a nest with my pillow, carry on as a foot rest, and a blanket. If you take a sleeping pill early on, it should be worn off by the time you land in LA.

LAX and Los Angeles traffic is a bit of a nightmare even for those of us who have lived here for years. It can take 20 frustrating minutes to go a couple of miles if the traffic is heavy. Do plan on using your GPS because if there's an accident you'll want to avoid that route if possible. Sunday is definitely better because there's no commuters. Still, I would not want to drive up to the Getty and back to Downtown on the same day that I flew in. Santa Monica/Venice would be a good choice as it's close to the airport. There are tons of LA County museums in a more or less half way spot between LAX and Downtown, plus things to see in downtown that could easily fill up your first day without a lot of additional driving. I've never had my car broken into but some downtown neighborhoods are pretty sketchy.

Your son might enjoy a show at the Griffith Observatory during your stay.
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Last edited by StartinSanDiego; Apr 6, 2024 at 8:44 am
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Old Apr 6, 2024, 10:51 pm
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Originally Posted by davidw1648
I have read some posts about the effects of long haul flights and risks of driving right after. Particularly if it involves driving in an unfamiliar city, and on the wrong side of the road. (Syd vs LA traffic is on diff sides). But the thing is that the sight seeing I plan to do that day will only involve short drives, e.g, 30 mins between destinations, lots of stopping & starting, meals & rest in various destinations around LA.

I (M51) admit my energy levels are not as high as my younger days, but I will also have my 13 year old son with me, and was thinking that he can prod me to take a rest if I look like I am falling asleep or look tired. The other mitigating factor is that I am arriving in LAX on a Sunday, so the traffic will be a bit quieter.

Was also considering taking some sleeping pills on the flight so that I get some sleep prior to landing.

What's everyone opinion on my plan above? Am I taking unnecessary risks driving after such a long haul flight? Should I stay at an airport hotel for a quick shower and nap before embarking on my sightseeing trip? Has anyone done something similiar before, and would you do it again?
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.

Originally Posted by theshaun
I don't think a 30 min drive exists in LA [img]images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]
In Santa Monica I've spent 30 minutes going 3 blocks.
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 2:06 am
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Originally Posted by theshaun
I don't think a 30 min drive exists in LA
Most drives in LA are either 20 minutes or 2 hours, but it depends on time of day and not the origin and destination.
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