Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown.
They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, and where they took that amazing Instagram that got them ~maximum exposure.~ The internet is full of travel advice, but none from women just like you. Read on for the tips no one else gives you, and when in doubt, get on the plane.
Here's Sam Rullo's Wander Or Bust guide to Los Angeles.
My Name: Sam Rullo
What I Do: Senior Operations Editor, Elite Daily
Where I Live: New York City, USA
Where I Went: Los Angeles, USA
How Long I Stayed: 6 days, 5 nights
My Spending Style: Occasionally indulgent. I don't throw money around, but I will definitely splurge on more than a few expensive things on a vacation.
Where I Got My Recommendations: Most of my food recommendations came from friends who live in LA. My Disneyland tips came from some fellow Disney-loving friends and some of my favorite Disney blogs, like Disney Tourist Blog.
Preferred Payment Method: Almost exclusively debit, but I used credit here and there. I'm terrible about having cash on me, even though my dad constantly tells me I should when I travel.
Phone Bill: Same as it is normally.
Mode of Transport: Airplane
Extra Costs: $80 for taxis to and from the airport and another $40 to rent a car in LA.
Transport Total: $720
Accommodation: Avalon Hotel
Location: 9400 West Olympic Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Extra Costs: The hotel charged an extra $15/day "resort fee," which was an annoying surprise.
Would I Recommend It To Someone Else:
The Avalon was nice, but I don't think it's worth the cost. For that price, you could probably find something better. There are much more fun neighborhoods in LA to stay. Either way, definitely check out Expedia Express deals if you're booking anything last minute, it has some really nice, solid places for much cheaper than you'd think.
Accommodation Total: $1,425
Breakfast-Lunch Cost: $17/day
I'm not a big breakfast person, so it was really just coffee and lunch.
Dinner Cost: $60/night — with a few drinks.
Average Total Cost: $77/day
Tip Situation: Definitely tip, and in the usual 18 percent range.
Food Situation: I think it really depends on the person, but there was definitely a big lunch scene during the week. I went to some of the trendy cafes for lunch and there were lines out the door.
Favorite Restaurant: Zinqué
Location: 8684 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069 (with two more locations)
Price: $58, with appetizer, entree, drink, and tip included.
Zinqué had a really great outside space with string lights and an IG-worthy atmosphere. Since I was spending just a week in LA and then going back to NYC's weirdly cold spring, eating outside was very important to me! Food-wise, everything was just great and I loved my steak frites. They also had a really good cocktail and wine list, so you couldn't go wrong!
Food Total: $325
I didn't really get to do much of the nightlife scene since I was there for work. I went out for some low-key drinks on a few occasions, but it definitely seemed like trendy bars over clubs were the way to go.
What People Wear Out:
The different neighborhoods in LA are spread out in not only distance but also vibe. Certain areas have more clubs where people dressed to impressed and others have dive bars where the style is relaxed.
Average Cost Of A Pint: Anywhere from $5-$9, depending on the draft.
Extra Cost To Know About: Taking a car everywhere because there's really no form of public transportation and absolutely no one walks.
Last Call: 2 a.m. (although they're rallying for the move to 4 a.m. right now).
Average Total Cost Of A Night Out: $40/night
Cheapest Bar I'd Actually Go Back To: La Descarga
Going Out Total: $160
What I Spent A Lot On That Was Totally Worth It:
Literally everything I did in Disneyland, which probably racked up a total of at least $125 in a few hours, especially the $5 Mickey beignet and $25 rose gold Minnie ears.
What I Spent A Lot On That Was Totally Not Worth It:
I gave in and got some room service wine one night, totally forgetting that in addition to the cost of the actual wine ($11 for some mediocre cabernet), there were other room service fees attached to it. Next time, I'd be better off getting the wine at dinner or buying a bottle to keep in my room.
What I Spent Little Or No Money On That Was Awesome:
For $10 each, my friend and I got MaxPass added to our Disneyland passes, which let us get more FastPasses and reserve them on our phones. That $10 is single handedly responsible for us getting to do every single thing we wanted in both Disneyland and California Adventure, without ever waiting more than 15 minutes.
Favorite Thing I Did, Regardless Of Cost:
Have I mentioned Disneyland? Well, D I S N E Y L A N D.
Hidden Gem I Found: I went to a sushi place that a coworker recommended, Izakaya by Katsuya, that was really low-key and totally reasonably priced, and everything we ate there was amazing.
The Photo I Took That Got The Most Attention:
Excursions/Extras Total: $175 — with car rental and parking.
General Shopping: $130
I always get a Christmas ornament when I travel, it's something my mom always did and I loved how it made our Christmas tree show all of the fun things we did. In Disneyland, I got a really cool spinning ornament. I also went to the Dash store, because I just had to, and got myself a Dash candle.
Souvenirs/Shopping Total: $150
Best L.A. Hack:
Do the math on renting a car vs. taking Lyfts/Ubers everywhere. It might seem like a car rental is a lot, but if you estimate how much you'd be spending on cars throughout the week, it may end up being much more worth it!
Advice For Anyone Traveling Alone:
I would just say to always be alert the way you would in any city, and otherwise, don't be afraid to try new things on your own!
Total Trip Cost: $2,955
Worth It? Definitely! I loved the weather; I was able to catch up with friends I haven't met in a while, had awesome meals, and went to Disneyland for the first time as an avid Disney fan. I hope I can go back again soon!