The city of LA sprawls over such a large area that getting around without a car can be frustrating and time consuming. The complex network of freeways connecting the sprawl can be intimidating, especially for those not used to driving in big cities, but with a map or good directions, hiring a car is the best and most popular way to see LA. If possible, visitors should avoid rush hour traffic, which is heaviest from 7am to 10am and 3pm to 7pm, when freeways often come to a standstill. It is also possible to get around by bus, but frequent transfers and long distances can make this slow and impractical, and it is not recommended for late-night travel. The Metro rail system has three lines, which cover only a small area of LA, but it is frequent and efficient. Taxis are also available, but they can be expensive due to the long distances.
GMT –8 (GMT –7 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).
120 volts, 60Hz. Plugs are mainly the type with two flat pins, though three-pin plugs are also widely used. European appliances without dual-voltage capabilities will require an adapter.
The official currency is the US Dollar (USD), which is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards are widely accepted. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
The international country dialling code for the United States is +1. Mobile networks cover most of the country, including all urban areas, however unless you have a tri-band phone it is likely your cellular phone from home will not work in the United States. Internet cafes are prevalent in most towns and cities.
A free shuttle bus service runs to the Metro Rail Green Line Aviation Station from the lower level of each terminal. Another shuttle connects to the Bus Center, from where city buses serve the Los Angeles area. Prime Time Shuttle and Super Shuttle are both shared-ride van services; reservations are recommended. Some hotels also offer transport.
Car rental companies include Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz and Thrifty. Vehicle rental sites are located off the airport property, but travellers can request a free shuttle pick-up to reach the rental car sites.
There are taxis available outside the lower level of the airport. Passengers receive a ticket stating the typical fare to major destinations; it costs about $46.50 to the city centre, which is about 16 miles (26km) away. Airport authorized taxis display an official seal and passengers who use an unauthorized taxi service do so at their own risk.
A free shuttle bus takes passengers between the International and the eight other terminals.
Passenger services at the airport include ATMs and currency exchange, a business centre, baggage storage, shops, restaurants and bars. Cell phones can be rented in Arrivals.
There are eight central car parks offering long and short-term parking that are connected to the terminals by the LAX shuttle bus. There is also a Cell Phone Waiting Lot. Parking is charged at $3 for the first hour and $2 per half hour thereafter, up to $30 per day. The Economy Lot is $4 for the first hour and $4 per hour after that up to $12 per day.
Free wifi is available at LAX.