LOS ANGELES, MALIBU, SANTA MONICA & PALM SPRINGS IN 5 DAYS | TRAVEL TIPS

So here we are, reading a travel blog post... by me! Lol. When I first started my blog I didn't think I would be doing any travel posts, simply because I rarely travel. Why I never did, I do not know. As many might call it, I seem to have the "travel bug". I LOVE TRAVELING. I feel like I can't stop now. I just got back from the west coast and I am already rummaging to squeeze one more in by the end of the year. My current job allows me some paid time off and I plan on using that up on.... TRAVEL. You know, little trips here and there. For this trip I returned to my favorite state, CALIFORNIA! I love California. There is just so much to offer there. Want the beach? Drive to Santa Monica, Malibu, etc. Want the desert? Head on over to Palm Springs! Do you want the mountains? Just go a little north! If the opportunity were to present itself and I can move to the west coast, I would in a heartbeat. Am I rambling? I am, huh? I just want to get all these things out before we get to the nitty gritty of what it costs and what to do in Cali. I went for a total of five (5) days and that might have been a little too short for me. However, we tried to make every minute count. All the days for waking up before the crack of dawn for work have trained me for this moment! I had no issues waking up earlier than the rest of California, I was determined to make every second count. Honestly, that's how vacations go for me, I like to wake up early and get my day started so that I can squeeze as many things as possible while I'm there. Also, saves time with traffic, which, if you have visited or live in a populated city you know how time consuming this can be.

I will be discussing a budget throughout this post and would like to note that this trip was split between two people, therefore, the budget was a little bigger and gave more room to splurge on things. But a trip on your own is totally do-able! I hope to one day be able to provide you with a guide for the "solo travelers" out there! This is actually on my life bucket list!


*Majority of the photos are shot by: Richard Moran / Instagram: Richtheshooter

F L I G H T

I am going to cut to the chase with this one, book your flights late late late at night if you want good deals. I am not kidding. Normal flights to California can start at $300+!  Last year we flew for $180 round trip. This year our flight was $106 ROUND TRIP. Of course, I wanted a little upgrade since that ticket wasn't offering a free carry-on and seat selection so we ended up with $150 flight tickets, ROUND TRIP. Also, got upgraded for free once there so it was a win-win. We flew United Airlines.

L O D G I N G

Let's jump into where you will be staying. Deciding where you want to stay for the remainder of your trip can be swayed by your budget and itinerary. So, funny story, we usually book our trips like 2-3 weeks before they are set to take place. We usually book our lodging 4-5 days before getting there (Airbnb, rarely hotels) and cars we usually wait until we decide what we want to do. So like the day of or before.. yeah I like to live on the edge. For this trip, we knew that we would be moving around the state more than our last time there. Therefore, we had to book 3 places. Tip: do your research on where to stay and rent a place. A place might look good in pictures but that's not to say it is in a not so good neighborhood and if you do not plan to rent a car or do, your safety comes first. (we ran into this issue a lot, read reviews!)



For this first stay we decided to stay in Beverly Hills thanks to the well known site called Airbnb. Actually, this was a miracle! We booked it two days prior after searching for affordable and nice places that were relatively close to our destinations the next day {Malibu/PCH}. If you plan on renting a car please keep in mind that parking can be tricky in this city and if a place offers free parking, that's a win! We had free private parking our whole stay. We knew we had to snag it!  Beverly Hills is that area where you have a mix between chic upscale mansions and chic condo living.  Please keep in mind that the costs of all this is split between two people. Total cost for this first stay was: $346. 




(Airbnb, Downtown LA)

For our second stay, we headed over to... the DESERT! (see some pics below, also on my Instagram) Palm Springs was amazing... and HOT! This was my first time in such setting and the heat was all worth it, that scenery is intense! For this stay we actually booked with time and it was the one we were most stressed about. We were only doing 1 overnight stay and leaving before nightfall the next day. We were heavily debating on whether to stay at an Airbnb or a Hotel. After staying in Airbnb's  (which is great, no one bothers you and you are free to come and go as you please) we kind of wanted to be taken care of lol. We wanted that room service life, so we opted for one night at The Saguaro Palm Springs! You know, that famous hotel on Instagram that looks like a rainbow threw up on? Yah! If you follow me on social media you know that anything colorful is my cup of tea. This hotel seems to be a little more flexible than others around and we appreciated that since we would be arriving later on in the evening. Also, upon arrival we got a sweet deal of a $30 credit towards our tab to their Mexican restaurant. That basically covered our whole tab, hooray for free food! Anyway, this hotel had a lot to do but we were there not only to enjoy some margaritas by the pool but to shoot around {blogger life}! Keep reading below for the places to visit while in this destination! Total cost for this second stay was $120. 

(Location: The Saguaro, Palm Springs)

For our third and final stay we headed back into the city and stayed in no other than Downtown Los Angeles! Honestly speaking, we prefer to stay in areas away from the city because of all the traffic. However, these specific days we were there traffic wasn't so bad and plus we had valet! So no worrying about parking a mile away! The stay here was actually one of my favorites because of how nice the spot was. Literally what chic dreams are made of lol. I am inserting a picture below from my Instagram so that you guys can see for yourself! Total price for this stay was $346.

T R A N S P O R T A T I O N
So you get to your destination and you're excited as can be to start exploring. You land at the airport probably feeling yucky from all the traveling and just want to go to your hotel/Airbnb and relax! Some may opt to order a uber/lyft and get on about their day and others take a small trip to their nearest car rental business and rent a vehicle for their stay. However you put it you will need transportation.  For our first trip to California we decided to use uber and lyft to get around since we had never been there before or knew that the traffic/parking situation was like. We spent quite a lot on that and we learned our lesson. I am not saying that it is a bad choice but if you are on a budget then I would reconsider. So, what did we do this time around? We rented our own car! 
Side note: I wish I could give you guys pointers on how to transport via local city transport but unfortunately I don't have the experience and I do not use that service.

THE SMALL HICCUP AND DOWNSIDE OF CAR RENTALS
Upon arrival to LAX and finding Richard's lost wallet which he had left on the plane and realized an hour later for... we made our way to our car rental place and were very excited to pick up our car. You'd think, "yay happy ending at least they got their car and all was fine!" WELL, think again. Our car rental place tried to play us and add so many hidden fees that the price initially cost ended up being that and $400 dollars more for all these random fees! We were livid and went to our place feeling defeated on our first night in LA. Suddenly, we had a bright idea and kicked ourselves in the butt for not thinking of this second plan sooner. How could we not think about TURO? 

THE BEST WAY TO GET AROUND WHILE ON VACATION
For those of you who do not know about this application, you will now! So this app is basically like Airbnb but for cars/trucks/trailers you name it. It was so quick and easy to use and we got our car right the next day bright and early to start our adventures. They have so many cars to choose from but we went with a trusty and handy Honda Civic 2018. Since we would be traveling long distances (like to the desert) we wanted to have something that was comfortable, reliable and gas efficient. The total price for this vehicle for 5 days was $189! Can you believe it? We were going to pay $600 at that other place, for nothing! So glad we have apps like this that make life so easier and trips more budget friendly. In no now way shape or form have we been sponsored by TURO but as a user we do get a discount code to offer for your first car rental. If you would like to try them please click here and receive $25 off your first rental! 

E X P L O R I N G & E A T I N G
Ok, all adult stuff is over, now to have some fun! One thing about me and how I do "vacation" is that I try to live like the locals. I try to see how others live. I could be sitting in a local coffee shop enjoying people watching, it's all about the feeling and the experience. We arrived a little bit later than we expected so we lost that afternoon. However, we woke up bright and early the next day!


(Location: Malibu, CA - Pepperdine University)
Urth Cafe
On our first day there we headed over to have some breakfast at no other than Urth Cafe. The food was divine and I tried my first ever Avocado toast with a poached egg and a side of some freshly made carrot juice! Ok, I know Avocado toast is all hype right now but... I am hooked!! Also, I tried to find really artsy pictures of my toast but somehow can't find them! Here's one shot via iphone (not the best)... don't let your mouth water too much! 




The Beverly Hills Hotel 
When in LA, how could I not pass by this world famous hotel? I know it maybe sounds kind of dorky, but I had to stop by and get a picture for the 'gram! There's a restaurant inside where you can capture amazing shots with their leaf print and very chic décor. We had just ate so going back to a restaurant was not really an option. 



Pointe Dume, Malibu 
If you are a sucker for scenery and love to just be by the ocean and catch a nice breeze, then I recommend you visit this place. Malibu in general is so beautiful. We took the drive for a part of the Pacific Coast Highway aka PCH and just that small stretch we did was filled with so many gems. There are countless places to eat. For the most part Malibu is filled with homes and it can be private in many areas but once you find those gems the driving around is all worth it. I have so much footage of this day because we just couldn't get enough. We watched the sunset from the top of the cliff there (which we hiked) and also on our way down. Malibu overload will follow below! 

(Photo taken while hiking down from the cliff)
(Cliff we were about to hike, Pointe Dume, Malibu)
(Pointe Dume, Malibu, CA)
Santa Monica Pier
No matter how many times we come to LA, we will never get tired of coming here. This is like my safe spot where everything is lovely. From the people watching, eating, shopping, rides at PAC, and even a nice beach day! This place will always have my heart. I will be inserting images from my visit in 2017 and my recent visit in 2018. Tip: try to get on the Ferris wheel and ride it as the sun is going down. Do this alone, a partner or with friends. I promise that it will do something to you that will ignite peace and happiness! Something about sunsets and the ocean is so magical. 


(2017, longer hair and on the ferris wheel @ PAC during sunset)
(Location: Santa Monica Pier, PAC park)
Taste On Melrose
Very cute and trendy place to eat right on Melrose. Wait time was about 15 minutes and the décor is very chic and perfect for that nice Instagram picture! We made it a little later then usual and my breakfast meal also came with a salad. The menu seems really affordable! Check out my meal below! 

(Breakfast sandwich @ TASTE)
The Saguaro Hotel, Palm Springs
We stayed here for one night and it was probably too short of a stay to rate all that this small boutique hotel has to offer. From looking at it you can tell that it attracts a very  young partygoing crowd. I actually happened to be sitting near the manager during check out and heard her yell through a walkie, "BRING OUT THE KEGS!!!", it was the funniest thing! I honestly felt like I walked into a spring break vacation destination while staying here. The hotel is filled with an explosion of colors, all colors of the rainbow! The pool area is where its at. Just see for yourself below! 

(Location: Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs)

(The Saguaro, Palm Springs, CA)

El Jefe Mexican Restaurant- located at Saguaro Hotel
The food was pretty good here! The dessert, not so much. I ordered a "nopal" quesadilla which was their vegetarian option for the quesadillas. I barely ate any meats while in the west coast and this option was a life saver. The meat was replaced with pieces of zucchini, yum! Also, keep in mind that upon check in at the Saguaro Hotel you get a $30 credit to dine here! 


(Palm Springs, CA - The Saguaro)

That Pink Door in Palm Springs
So, when booking our trip to California, we were most excited for Palm Springs. We wanted to know and feel what it felt to be in the desert. We were also very excited to visit many attractions while there such as the mirror house but found out it was packed up and shipped to New York! 

However, we came to find out that photography on the property where the pink door is, is no longer allowed. Let me just say, as much as I love a good photo opportunity, entering someone's property to the point that you are on their doorsteps is very disrespectful. I could totally understand why they would ban all photography IN the property. I did not want our drive to go to waste and we decided to take a quick snap shot outside of the property on the sidewalk. Honestly, I wish this place was like a museum lol so we can freely take dope shots! Also, along this road there is many other cool doors to check out. Just make sure to ask for permission first. 

Overall, our time in the desert was extremely short but I will be back! I heard so many beautiful things about the tramway and it is such a shame that it was shut down for maintenance while we were there. 



Alfred Coffee Melrose Place 
I came here last summer! I fell in love. Honestly, it's just coffee, but, enjoying coffee while also getting to enjoy the design, people and décor of this place makes the coffee more enjoyable! They do have the tearoom nearby which is the sister spot for this coffee shop, which is also to die for! Make sure to check it out at least once and take your cameras... you won't regret it!!


(2017, Alfred's Coffee on Melrose)
The Griffith Observatory 
Want an amazing view of LA? Then make your way here. This bad boy stands right next to the Hollywood sign. I actually watched the sunset from up here one of the days I went last year and it was all I could have ever wanted. This area is very family friendly, parking can be a hassle so we took an Uber and just be patient with the traffic. The entrance to the park itself is free but if you wish to attend shows tickets can range from $3-$7. 


(Location: LACMA, Museum in Los Angeles)

So it looks like we have reached the end to this little travel guide! I hope you guys enjoyed this as much as I did. I have never done posts like this but feel like now I need to. This post has reminded me as to why I love blogging. I love informing you guys and talking about my experiences! Have you ever visited any of these places? If so, how was your experience? And please,  do not spare me any details! ❤



3 comments

  1. Girrrl you went innnn! Loved it so much! Not too many people talk about the cost of trips or of their stays so I really appreciated that you shared the prices of a lot of things! The trip must have been a DREAAMMM. I visited the Griffith Observatory once and it was probably my favorite part of the whole trip. Not to mention all the Mexican food lol.

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    1. Thank you so much for tuning in! I appreciate that! Speaking about prices was something I knew I had to do, trips aren't free! Lol I just added a little update to the post speaking about our flight tickets and experience! You will be mind blown!

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  2. This blog post was definitely helpful ! I'm planning to go to LA in April and your post gave me great advice ! Can't wait for you to do your next travel blog post (:

    -Paige

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