I can’t believe the final stop on our US trip has arrived! We left New York on Tuesday for two final nights in Hollywood, for a bit of relaxation time before we return to reality, and of course to avoid the shit show that is transiting through LAX.
If you’re new to my city spending series, check out my Chicago, Washington, New Orleans and New York spending diaries, too. More context on our budget and why we spent the way we did can be found in the Chicago spending diary specifically, as that was our first stop. Anyway, let’s get into it.
Where we stayed: Dream Hollywood
What we paid: $767.50 AUD for 2 nights (we originally had this booking for $950, but found a cheaper deal that also came with 9 Velocity points per $1 spent, so we cancelled the original booking and re-booked, saving almost $200 and getting 6300 points on top.)
Pre-booked activities: None
We arrived into LAX at 7pm local time, but it felt like 10pm as the time changes 3 hours between New York and LA. Our 6 hour flight with Alaska Airlines was pleasant, so if you’re considering flying with them but haven’t heard much about them, I’d recommend!
We were torn with whether to get an Uber or the Flyaway bus, but given the look of the Uber queue, the traffic, and the fact the Flyaway bus went direct to our hotel with no stops, for a quarter of the cost of an Uber, we reluctantly shuffled off to the bus. For both of us, it cost just $16.
When we arrived at the hotel, I began exhaustedly opening bottles of beer and bubbles from the mini bar insisting we’d earned it because we got the bus. Since the mini bar charges were just on the room, I’ll total those up on the day of check out. We also ordered in Uber Eats for $38, but clearly got very confused between tiredness and hunger because we ate a few bites and fell asleep.
Total for the mini day: $54
(other spending occured in NY before we boarded our flight which can be found in the NYC spending diary)
I sprung out of bed and hot footed it down to the lobby for the complimentary coffee and pastries we’d been told about at check in, and then made for the rooftop pool to secure a good spot. When someone brought round menus to our sun lounger, we couldn’t resist ordering a spot of breakfast. It was our penultimate day, after all! I had the Californian toad in the hole (which is eggs and chilli baked in avocado and my god it was amazing). Along with Mr TBG’s classic American breakfast, a cold brew, a grapefruit juice and a smoothie, the total including tax and tip was $72.
We decided we’d head out for a few hours to Santa Monica, and got an Uber there for $25. While there we had two sodas for $7, and I spent $22 on some Madrid-made espadrilles at a thrift store. A $36 Uber back, and that was it. I absolutely loved Santa Monica. We walked from there to Venice Beach, which yes was tacky and touristy, but it wasn’t as bad as people made out. I’ve been avoiding LA for years because people said it was so gross and overrated, but it’s been one of my favourite spots of all.
Later, we indulged in the must-do of In ‘n’ Out burger, which cost $18, and then headed back to the pool bar for a glass of champagne and a beer. We left the tab open while we went to change for the evening, and ended up ordering 2 more drinks each later in the night. The final total was $80 including tax and tip.
Before bed, we shared a fried chicken sandwich from the room service menu, partly because it looked incredible when we saw someone having it at the bar, and partly for the novelty of room service. It was as good as we’d hoped, and well worth the $32 (incl tax, tip, and room delivery fee).
Total for the day: $292
Our final day began with more complimentary coffee and pastries while I FaceTimed my Mum, before packing up and reluctantly checking out. We then made our way to the rooftop pool for a day of relaxation before our 10.30pm flight. Thankfully the hotel are more than accommodating in letting you use the facilities after you’ve checked out – big bonus in my book.
We ordered a cold brew and a juice to start the day, but skipped breakfast and held out for lunch instead. Two more of those to-die-for crispy chicken sandwiches later and two drinks, we were signing off a bill at $85 incl tax and tip.
To round off a glorious trip of living the high life, we ordered one more round of drinks – a glass of Tattinger and a Bud Light – totalling $38.05 inc tax and tip, and had them brought to our poolside loungers while we reminisced about our favourite days.
We booked an Uber to the airport at $42 inc tip as we couldn’t rely on the bus getting us there on time in LA’s unpredictable traffic! Before boarding our flight we had some crappy airport food and some water for the plane, that came in at $37 and BOOM – holiday over.
Total for the day: $202.50
Total for LA: $548.50
Thank you for following along with our spending diaries!