7 Solid Strategies for Vacationing With Children

family vacation tips affordable car rentalsVacations are for relaxing. They’re great for getting away from your regular schedule so you can recharge your batteries. That means that the best vacations have the fewest hassles. Even if you love energetic holiday getaways filled with activities like hiking, skiing, or swimming, taking care of travel arrangements, comfortable hotel accommodations, and affordable car rentals in advance will allow you to relax and have more fun.

Even for the seasoned traveler, bringing children along sometimes makes travel more of an adventure than you’d like. Children can bring unexpected complications to any kind of travel. That doesn’t mean you can’t plan a successful vacation just because you’re bringing children along. With careful planning, you’ll be able to avoid common pitfalls and enjoy your vacation even more. Here’s a list of 7 solid strategies for vacationing with children:

Pre-Book. Or Else

Adults often get away on the spur of the moment. Once you introduce children into the mix, spontaneity gets much harder. Children like normal routines, and they prefer to have familiar things to eat, wear, and look at. Travel can be challenging for an adult. It can be even harder for a child who’s overtired, hungry, and in a strange place.

Make your reservations for hotels, car rental, and flights well in advance, so there’s less chance of being shut out at the last minute. You’ll get more affordable car rentals, hotel rooms, and airfare if you don’t book at the last minute, too.

Have Entertainment Handy

In any long trip, there are bound to be periods when nothing much is going on. Children have a much shorter attention span than adults, so it’s best to have something on hand to amuse them during layovers and other trip interruptions.

Many people rely on smartphones as their go-to entertainment device these days. Think twice before putting all your eggs in the smartphone basket, however. You never know when there will be gaps in your internet connectivity that might turn your smartphone into a dumbphone in a hurry. A tablet pre-loaded with favorite movies and games might be a better bet. Don’t forget to bring the charger!

Prepare for Car Trips

If you have a lot of pavement to cover between stops, make sure you’re ready to amuse your little ones the whole way. Luckily, it’s easy to keep children amused in the car. Try matching and identification games like “I Spy,” or “Punch Buggy.” A bag full of little handheld toys like fidget spinners are useful, too.

Don’t rely strictly on devices like tablets or phones to amuse your children during car trips. Many children get motion sickness when they stare at screens for long periods in the car.

Synchronize Flights With Sleep

Smart travelers plan their long haul flights and lengthy rental car rides to coincide with their children’s sleep patterns. You’ll have a much easier time if your children sleep on planes and during car trips. They’ll also be less cranky when you do arrive at your destinations.

Search for Child-Friendly Services

Traveling with children is different than traveling with other adults, and many businesses cater to traveling families. Don’t settle for the first offer you find for your trip. Choose resorts and hotels that cater to families instead of singles. Some resorts have activities just for kids that can give you a welcome break, too. Finding affordable car rentals doesn’t just mean low prices. Select a car rental company that has the right kind of vehicle for your group. Many car rental companies have minivan rentals, for instance.

Keep the Weather In Mind

Adults sometimes enjoy roughing it a little when they’re on vacation. Children enjoy themselves more when they’re comfortable and rested. Make sure you have a lot of the proper clothes for your children for the climate at your destination. Children need more spare garments, too, because they spill food and drink more than adults.

Make Parenthood Pay

It’s true that traveling with children requires more careful planning than traveling with only adults. If you minimize any hitches, your little companions can also make your trip more enjoyable and lively. Having children along can also pay off another way. Many businesses offer family-friendly deals on transportation, lodging, meals, and accommodations. Many attractions like theme parks offer very attractive discounts, or even free admissions, depending on the age of your children. Make sure to inquire about family rates when you book your trip. You’ll enjoy your trip even more if it costs less!

Don’t Miss These 5 Venice Beach Attractions While You’re in L.A.

venice beach cheap rental cars at LAX value rental carThe Los Angeles area is really big and spread out. If you just flew in and took advantage of cheap rental cars at LAX, you might not know where to drive first. For L.A. newbies, it can be hard to know one neighborhood from another, and where to go to find the kind of fun you’re searching for.

While you’re trying to decide, it’s important to remember that the Los Angeles area is more than just one city. Many of the locations you know from television and movies are actually their own cities. Each of these cities has their own unique vibe. Venice Beach is one of the most intriguing places in the L.A. area, and many tourists end up spending a lot of time there. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most rewarding destinations to visit in Venice while you’re in town.

Take a Walking Tour

Venice is an interesting place, so it’s no surprise that a walking tour of the area is interesting, too. There are a bunch of walking tours available. One of the most highly rated is the Real To Reel Vintage Walking tour. The guide knows their way around, of course, but that’s only half the fun. At each stop on the tour, you can see movie and TV show snippets that feature the site over the years. If you’re only familiar with Venice from seeing it on the silver screen the tour is a great way to match up your memories with the actual places.

Real To Reel Vintage Walking Tour

Walk Along the Venice Canals

Venice California really does have canals! Of course, they’re not as elaborate as the canals in Venice, Italy, but as Venice has become more upscale, residents and businesses have taken better care of their waterways. The canals wend their way through a residential neighborhood, so it’s important to respect people’s privacy. However, there are well maintained sidewalks on both side of the canal, and footbridges here and there to get from one side to the other. Here’s an aerial view:

Venice Canals Association

Hit the Boardwalk

If Venice Beach is famous for one thing, it’s got to be the Boardwalk. Like everything else in Los Angeles, the Venice Boardwalk is paved, but that doesn’t detract from its charm. It’s a broad walking boulevard that runs along a strip of interesting shops of all kinds, restaurants, and other attractions. It’s a great place to see and be seen. You’ll always see lots of street entertainers, and a constant assortment of interesting people. There’s a winding path along the beach that’s popular with skaters, too.

If you’ve taken advantage of cheap rental cars at LAX, you can usually find on-street parking within a few blocks of the beach.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

Which Way To Muscle Beach?

Technically, there’s more than one Muscle Beach in the Los Angeles area. Hardcore lifters prefer the Venice Beach version of Muscle Beach. Towards the southern end of the Venice Boardwalk, there’s a big outdoor gym that’s a favorite for exhibitionists of all kinds. If you’ve got the nerve to work out in front of hundreds of spectators, and next to guys that look like Aahnold, the Venice Muscle Beach is for you.

Muscle Beach Venice

Shop on Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Abbot Kinney Boulevard has become one of the most famous shopping destinations in the world. It’s palm-tree-lined sidewalks are bustling with shoppers all year round. There are also yearly festivals that turn the street into a full-time bazaar. There are many great eateries along the boulevard. If you’re feeling informal, there’s always a ton of food trucks parked there, too.

Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Photo of the Venice Canals courtesy of the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

5 Garden Spots in Pasadena You Don’t Want To Miss

car rentals in pasadena gardens and parks value rental carPasadena is an unusual place. The city is probably best known for its Tournament of Roses parade, held every year on New Year’s Day. It’s also home to the highly regarded Cal Tech University, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Even though Pasadena is home to so many important institutions, it still retains its reputation for quiet, elegant streets and architectural charm. However, it’s easy for tourists to find rental cars in Pasadena, good restaurants, beautiful historic architecture, and exciting nightlife.

Pasadena has nice weather throughout the year. Newcomers to the area might find that the summer temperatures are hotter than many parts of nearby Los Angeles. Luckily for nature lovers in Pasadena, there are many public gardens and parks where you can spend some time and beat the heat. We’ve assembled a list of 5 garden spots you won’t want to miss, whether you’re in Pasadena for a business trip, vacation, or a permanent resident.

Wrigley Gardens

The Wrigley Gardens is one of the best examples of old Pasadena you’ll find. The house, called Wrigley Mansion, has 22 rooms and more than 18,000 square feet of total floor space. The house is mostly converted to the headquarters for the Tournament of Roses parade, but it’s still a beautiful destination. While the parade only lasts a few hours, once a year, planning this enormous spectacle keeps almost 1,000 people busy all year round.

Outside the mansion you’ll find an astonishing arrangement of roses, camellias, and various other beautiful annual plants. If you’re a fan of the yearly parade, you’ll love to see where many of the cultivars of roses were developed for the elegant parade floats.

Wrigley Gardens

Arlington Garden

Pasadena and nearby Los Angeles are generally green all year round. Don’t let that fool you. They’re basically a desert when it comes to yearly rainfall. Gardeners in the area manage water restrictions by growing many types of drought-resistant plants. Arlington Garden is a great place to see how a community can establish and care for a drought-tolerant garden.

The garden is only about an acre, but it feels like more. It’s a peaceful retreat from urban street scene, and a great place to relax or meditate. The park seems larger than it is, because the paths take long, winding routes to show off all the plantings. Go in the spring to see the best flowers.

Arlington Garden

Eaton Canyon

Eaton Canyon is more wilderness than park. The canyon is a wonderful place to hike and sightsee. If you’re in town on business, the canyon makes a nice break from pavement and buildings. The San Gabriel Mountains allow for both easy and challenging hikes, depending on your mood. It’s a great place for birdwatching, too.

Don’t let Eaton Canyon’s proximity to the built-up parts of Pasadena fool you. It can get wild really quick. It’s easy to get lost if you wander off the trails. Luckily, the trails are clearly marked, and you can follow trails for any level of exertion you prefer.

Eaton Canyon

Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden

Parts of Los Angeles borrow heavily from Japanese culture, architecture, and gardening. The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden is an excellent example of  a Japanese style tea house and garden. Like many Japanese gardens, it’s small in size but packed with interesting yard architecture, water features, and lush plantings. It’s refreshing to sit next to the pond and forget you’re in the center of a city. The garden is a great way to recharge your mental batteries, especially on a hot day.

Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden

The Huntington Library and Gardens

Finally, the Huntington Library is a great destination any time of the year. This urban oasis is split evenly between an interesting interior art museum and a beautiful outdoor garden. The museum has a nice mix of European and American art. For novice art lovers, it’s nice to find familiar works like The Blue Boy by Gainsborough, or one of Edward Hopper’s famous paintings of sailboats.

The museum has American art from the 17th to the 20th century, and it’s interesting to follow the development of art in the United States over its history. The European collection is eclectic, and has many fine sculptures and bronzes to go along with its fine art paintings. There’s a library that will interest any book lover as well. Parking is easy for rental cars in Pasadena, and there’s lots of dining and shopping nearby.

Huntington Library and Gardens

Top 10 Pasadena citizens rentavaluecar.com

5 Overlooked Destinations for Fun in Los Angeles

walt disney concert hall rentavaluecar.comLos Angeles is a very big city. Its growing population isn’t the only thing that makes it big. Los Angeles is a sprawling place compared to cities like New York or Chicago. Greater L.A. has oceanfront, hills, riverfront, rich farmland and deserts. There are dozens of definable neighborhoods that have their own particular vibe. If doesn’t matter if you’re a Los Angeles native or a visitor, it would be hard to run out of things to do and see. Los Angeles makes it easy to accommodate extended trips to the area. You’ll find affordable car rental, lodging for all budgets, and a foodie culture that suits any taste or budget.

Even though the weather’s almost always pleasant, Los Angeles is very in tune to the calendar as well. You can find exciting and interesting events during most any time of the year. In fact, there are so many things to do in the city that it’s easy to overlook places that would be essential destinations in a less diverse city. Here’s a list of five of the most overlooked destinations for fun when you’re in Los Angeles:

The Los Angeles Philharmonic

Los Angeles has a long history, but it can seem brand new compared to east coast cities. The city also is associated with the movie industry, which is also constantly re-inventing itself. Don’t let that fool you into thinking there’s nothing cultural to do in the city. The Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale are world class performers, and they hold court in the astonishing Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Many visitors to the city only take pictures of the exterior of the Walt Disney concert hall. Don’t miss out! The Frank Gehry design is as iconic as the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Step inside, and you’ll find out that the sound is as amazing as the architecture.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic

The Derby Dolls

Looking for something a little less sedate to do? Los Angeles has its very own roller derby team, the Derby Dolls. The all female squad has charming stage names like Thora Zeen, Amber Alert, and Carmen Monoxide. They deliver lots of action and laughs at their new location, the Dolloseum on Alhambra Avenue in Los Angeles.

The Derby Dolls aren’t really just one team. They’re a league with over 150 skaters and other volunteers, and they field five full roller derby teams on their banked track. The whole organization is run by volunteers, and the teams rely on the local community and the fans to keep the doors open. If you’re looking for 100% fun, with real spills and thrills, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the derby dolls. The Dolloseum is handy to the 101 freeway, and you’ll find plenty of affordable car rental places, hotels and motels, and eateries in the area.

The Derby Dolls

Dodger Stadium

The Los Angeles Dodgers are a hot team again. They were sort of an afterthought in decades past while the Lakers reigned supreme. Their stadium wasn’t considered a baseball cathedral like Wrigley Field or Fenway Park. Even though the stadium is close to downtown L. A., it seems a bit out of the way in the middle of Elysian Park. Don’t let that fool you. Dodger Stadium is one of the best places in the country to watch an MLB game.

The stadium  has aged well since it opened in 1962, and over the decades it’s hosted eight World Series. There’s plenty of nightlife and restaurants in the area, so the stadium makes a great place for an excursion while you’re in town.

The Los Angeles Dodgers

The Santa Monica Pier

Los Angeles is famous for its great beaches. Don’t restrict visits to the beach to sunbathing and swimming. There’s lots to do and see along the waterfront. The Santa Monica Pier is a great place to take the whole family, and there’s enough activities to keep you busy all day and night.

Sadly, most people just take Instagram pictures outside the gate that leads to the pier without entering. They’re all missing out. One of the most memorable rides in the world is at the end of the pier. It’s a blast to ride the world’s only solar powered Ferris wheel and look out over the ocean. If heights aren’t your thing, you can always stick to riding the carousel from the famous ’70s movie The Sting.

The Santa Monica Pier

The OUE Skyspace

Most people wouldn’t expect to find any fun in a bank building. The US Bank Tower in Los Angeles is an exception. The top of this tower has a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city, plus a very unusual twist. The building has a transparent slide on its exterior that lets you experience the city from midair. It’s a blast to test your bravery in the glass chute that makes it appear you’re flying between floors. There’s plenty of other activities and shopping destinations in the downtown area when you’re done with your thrill ride and sightseeing.

The OUE Skyspace

Photo of the Walt Disney Concert Hall courtesy of the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

How To Deal With an Overbooked Airline, Hotel, or Auto Rental

hotel lobby auto rental valuerentalcar.comFor many travelers, airline flights, hotel stays, and auto rental are heavily dependent on each other. If any one of your travel arrangements are disrupted, it can have downstream effects on all of them. Each reservation you make for your trip is like a link in a chain. It’s important that no link in the chain is less reliable than any other.

For most travelers, the weakest link is airline travel reservations. Airlines routinely overbook their flights, because they figure that some of their customers will cancel. This policy helps airlines keep their flights full. It can cause a lot of problems for travelers who need to make connections like auto rental pickups, and hotel check-ins, however.

Airlines Have More Regulations Than Hotels and Auto Rental Companies

Airlines operate under more government regulations than most businesses. That’s because they’re common carriers. Since major airlines operate internationally, they must comply with regulations from many different countries. That means that when there’s a problem with your flight, there are more rules in place to cover it.

If your flight is oversold, it’s likely that you qualify for specific levels of compensation. The exact amount of help you’ll get depends a lot on the circumstances of your travel arrangements. Short hop economy flights with last-minute tickets don’t qualify for the same level of compensation as round the world trips booked many months in advance. However, it’s important to keep in mind that anyone bumped off a flight is entitled to some form of legal recourse.

Hotel Guests Have Rights, Too

Hotels overbook rooms for the same reason that airlines overbook flights. They want to ensure that their hotel is full of guests, and they’re afraid that some guests will cancel. Hotels usually have a better idea of how many cancellations they can expect than airlines. They’re also much more likely to have a few rooms in reserve at all times in order to deal with emergencies. Airlines can’t just add a few folding chairs in the aisle and invite more people on board. Hotels have more flexibility.

There are many reasons why a hotel might be overbooked. It’s not always due to deliberate overbooking of rooms. Hotel guests often check in with a certain length of stay in mind, but later change their minds and stay longer. Hotels are under no legal obligation to enforce the length of hotel stays in order to make sure rooms open up in time for new reservations. It would be infuriating to most hotel guests to be turned out of a hotel to make way for new guests in any case.

Car Rental Reservations

As anyone who has watched Seinfeld can tell you, some car rental companies aren’t great at holding on to reservations. There are very few laws about auto rental reservations. That means it’s up to the individual car rental company to set a policy, and stick to it. Most large car rental companies have policies set by their home offices, and don’t have a lot of flexibility. Independent car rental companies are much more likely to work with you when there’s a problem.

What To Do if Your Reservation Falls Through

Airline Customers

Remember, the airlines have a lot of rules to follow. If you’re bumped from a flight, you almost always have compensation coming. Some delays and other mishaps also qualify you for additional compensation. It’s important that you defend your rights, but without becoming agitated at airline personnel. Airlines offer passengers different alternatives when their flights have been interrupted. You’re under no obligation to take the first offer made to you. Passengers who hold out for more often get more.

Don’t make the mistake of being unreasonable, however. Airlines do have limits on what they’re willing to offer you. If you get an offer that takes care of your inconvenience, you should take it and move on with your trip.

Hotel Customers

If your hotel is overbooked, it’s likely that some form of alternative will be offered to you. It’s actually quite common to get an upgraded room at no extra charge if you’re bumped from the room you reserved. On the other hand, if your reservation was for a large suite, and the only room available is an economy room, make sure you receive the downgraded rate.

In the event that a hotel doesn’t have any rooms available, don’t give up. While there are no laws forcing them to, most hotel chains have a policy of “walking” customers to a new hotel if they can’t accommodate them. It’s quite common for overbooked hotels to make all the arrangements for your new room with another hotel, and even pay for your cab ride if you need it.

Auto Rental Customers

There are few legal requirements for car rental companies to honor their reservations. Once traditional car rental companies run out of cars, there’s usually very little they can do to help you.

First, ask if an upgrade or a downgrade is available for the car you reserved. If there is, it’s usually smart to take what’s available. You’re in the right, but it’s more important for you to get some sort of transportation. It’s OK to negotiate, but being adamant can turn you into a pedestrian in a strange city in a hurry.

Never Do This

No matter whether you’re bumped from a flight, a hotel room, or an auto rental, there’s one approach that never works. Never cancel your reservation in a huff. A reservation is a legally binding contract. While it doesn’t always pay to argue at a reservation desk over your rights, it never makes sense to cancel your reservation because you’re angry. By cancelling your original reservations, you remove the original obligation the company has for you. In essence, you’ve made their problem into your problem.

In all cases, be reasonable with the companies you’re dealing with, and they’ll be more likely to be reasonable in return. Threatening bad reviews on social media sites is unlikely to help you, and may hurt. Don’t be a pushover, however. Ask for what you’re entitled to, and remind the company of their obligations to their customers when they take — but don’t hold — a reservation.

How To Find the Best Hollywood Tours in Los Angeles

paramount pictures hollywood tours valuerentalcar.comLos Angeles is a big city with a bright future and an interesting past. The local economy is incredibly diversified. Industries of all kinds thrive in southern California, and Los Angeles is home to many famous brands. There’s one industry that stand above all others, however. For some people, Los Angeles is synonymous with Hollywood, and Hollywood means the movie and TV industry. Hollywood tours are some of the most popular reasons to visit Los Angeles. True to the city’s reputation, there are many to choose from. Value Rental Car welcomes many visitors from all over the world who want to rent a car, find a hotel, and then see where their favorite movies and shows are made. We’ve assembled a handy list of Hollywood tours to make it easier to find what you’re looking for:

Paramount Studios Tour

Paramount Studios are a great destination for tourists who want to visit a working movie studio. Technically, it’s the only remaining major movie studio still operating in Hollywood. Visitors to Paramount will enjoy a more old-school feel than some of the other studios. The studio is right next door to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and it can seem like the great names in Hollywood history never left.

The tour covers a lot of ground, so there’s a lot of walking and riding in golf carts to see the whole thing. One of the big highlights is passing through the iconic Bronson Gate, which is instantly recognizable from many movies and TV shows.

Make sure you stick around for the part of the tour that features Paramount’s back lot. There’s a maze of little street the studio uses to represent cities like New York, Chicago, and Saint Louis. There’s also a giant water tank used for water scenes like the parting of the Red Sea in The Ten Commandments.

Paramount Studio Tours

Universal Studio Hollywood Tours

If you’re more in the mood for a theme park experience than a history lesson, Universal Studio Hollywood Tours is for you. The studio tour is free with your admission to the Universal Theme Park. There’s a tram that takes you past familiar blocks of studio buildings from many different movies. Unlike other Hollywood tours, at Universal, the exhibits get up and perform. You won’t just see memorabilia from Jaws. The shark will jump right out of the water and give you a toothy smile as you pass by.

Universal Studios Hollywood Tours

Sony Pictures Studio Tours

Sony Pictures tours are held at the old Metro Goldwyn Mayer lot in nearby Culver City. The tour is more compact than some of the others, so there’s more walking and less riding. MGM had a long and illustrious history before Sony Pictures added to it, so there’s a lot to see.

Sony is big in television, as well, and the tour visits the set of familiar shows like Jeopardy for a backstage look. The whole tour is interesting for the nuts and bolts look at making entertainment over the decades.

Sony Pictures Studio Tours

Warner Brothers Studio Tour

Warner Brothers Studio is located in “The Valley” in Burbank, California. The Warner’s tour has the best mix of movie-making history and real-time fun of any of the Hollywood tours. The tour begins on an open bus, and takes you past familiar streetscapes from countless movies and TV shows. The tour stops at a warehouse for props and costumes from such familiar hits as Harry Potter and Batman.

Further along the tour, you’ll see demonstrations of the process of CGI effects. There’s also an interactive exhibit of cinematic steps that show you how the studio takes an idea from script to screen.

The Warner Brothers tour lets visitors do more things than many other tours. It’s fun to sit on an original set from Friends, or even be filmed in front of a green screen and placed in a movie scene.

Warner Brothers Studio Tour

Photo of the Melrose Gate to Paramount Studio courtesy of the The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Insider Travel Tips for International Visitors to Los Angeles

lax at night affordable rental car https://rentavaluecar.com/Los Angeles is a frequent destination for travelers from all over the world. That’s because Los Angeles is such a multi-faceted city. The L. A. area is home to lots of different industries. It’s also an entertainment and leisure destination without equal in the whole world. If you’re coming to Los Angeles for the first time, the city can be a little intimidating. It’s much more spread out than other cities in the United States. Visitors from countries with densely packed cities will be especially surprised to see how far apart local landmarks can be. If you want to get the most from your trip to the City of Angels, you’ll need more than just affordable car rental and a map. Check out this list of travel tips that will save you time and money when you visit Los Angeles.

A Shorter Stay Isn’t Necessarily Cheaper

It might seem crazy, but a longer stay in Los Angeles might be cheaper than zipping in and out. Many airlines hotels, motels, and affordable car rental companies offer big discounts for longer stays. It’s more logical than it sounds if you look at it from the point of view of the hotel or other service. Turnover costs money. Checking people in and out of a hotel or similar business is time-intensive. Businesses will offer premium rates to customers with longer term deals that require the same amount of paperwork and other administration as shorter stays.

Airlines also charge a premium for short term stays in a city. You might find that you can save so much money on airfare by extending your stay that it pays for the additional cost of things like accommodations and affordable car rental.

Plan Ahead

If you’ve never been to Los Angeles, simply driving around can be intimidating. Many foreign visitors are amazed at how wide open the roads are, and how easy it is to find parking compared to other cities. That’s the good stuff. Unfortunately, those roads are packed during certain times of the day, and certain days of the week.

Los Angeles isn’t the kind of city where you can hop on a subway, day or night, and predict how long it will take to arrive at your destination. Affordable car rental is your first priority if you want to travel to multiple destinations in the city. It’s smart to plan your excursions well in advance to avoid needless delays in traffic.

Embrace the Offbeat Food Culture

Eating out in Los Angeles has a different vibe than any other city in the world. Los Angeles was built on car culture and the entertainment business. That’s spilled over into its local food scene. You’re just as likely to get an amazing meal from a food truck in Los Angeles as you’d get from a four-star restaurant in a more traditional city. And if you’re open to offbeat food combinations served in somewhat theatrical eateries, you’ll find some of the best eating in the United States.

L. A. Has Outdoor Activities Most Cities Lack

The weather in Los Angeles is glorious almost every month of the year. There’s no reason to hole up inside when you visit, whether it’s winter or summer. Another surprising detail about the city is how rural a lot of it can be. You can schedule activities like hiking or horseback riding near Griffith Park, or even kayaking on the L.A. River to get great views of the city that others miss. Of course you can always visit one of the local beaches if your idea of fun tends more to swimming, surfing, or suntanning.

All the Beaches Aren’t the Same

If you’re new to Los Angeles, all the sparkling blue water and sand can look the same from beach to beach. You’ll find that each beach on the map has a different vibe, and will be crowded at different times of the day, week, month, and year. Different beaches also cater to different activities. If you’re into people watching, you’ll love Venice Beach. If you’re a novice surfer, you might prefer Malibu or Topanga. Ask around to find out the best beach for you.

Save Money By Avoiding All-Inclusive Vacations

If you’re headed to vacation destinations like Disneyland, you might want to rethink that all-in-one vacation package. If you’re trapped inside the park, you’ll pay more for things like lodging and food than you would if you stayed outside the park and visited every day. You’ll also be able to avoid the worst lines at rides and at restaurants by coming and going to the park when it’s convenient for you.

Photo of the approach to LAX airport courtesy of the The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

5 Offbeat Landmarks on the Road From LAX to Pasadena

bradbury building LAX to Pasadena-value rental carIf you’re renting a car at LAX and traveling to the Pasadena area, there’s more than one way to get there. If you’d rather get a taste of greater Los Angeles instead of just looking out the window of your car at miles of pavement, you’re in luck. There are all sorts of interesting landmarks along the way. Here’s a list of 5 offbeat milestones on the way during a trip from LAX to Pasadena:

The Beach Boys Historic Landmark

If you’re heading east on the 105 freeway to go from LAX to Pasadena, it’s just a few miles to the Beach Boys Historic Landmark in Hawthorne, California. It’s near the freeway at 3701 W. 119th Street. The monument marks the site of the childhood home of Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, the core members of the Beach Boys.

For some people, the Beach Boys and their surf sound define southern California. If you’re on a surfin’ safari to California, it’s worth a little detour to take a selfie at the Beach Boys landmark.

The Beach Boys Historic Landmark

The Bradbury Building

The Bradbury Building is an architectural landmark that’s bound to look familiar to moviegoers. It’s about halfway on the road from LAX to Pasadena at 304 South Broadway. The Bradbury is a five-story office building that opened for business in 1893. The outside of the building looks similar to many late 19th century commercial buildings, but the interior spaces really set it apart. The building is ostensibly designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, but the interior is so densely decorated that it defies categorization.

Most tourists recognize the Bradbury from the movie Blade Runner. You can ride up past the ornate ironwork on the same birdcage elevators that carried Decker and the replicants if you like. The top floors are off limits, however. The Bradbury is so popular with movie buffs that a full time guide is on duty to show visitors around. They also offer interesting facts about the building.

The Bradbury Building

Angel’s Flight

Angel’s Flight is a funicular railway that links Downtown Los Angeles with the Bunker Hill district. The narrow gauge railcars climb a 300-foot ramp that affords great views of the city. The inside of the railcars has been restored, but they still have their original vibe from the early 20th century.

The railway has been under reconstruction for the last few years, but is scheduled to re-open by Labor Day 2017

Angel’s Flight

The Triforium

It’s hard to say if a trip to the Triforium is a step into the future or a retro good time. It’s a sculpture that holds court in the Civic Center of Los Angeles. The iconic Los Angeles City Hall stands at one end of the Civic Center, with the Triforium located nearby. The kinetic sculpture was installed in 1975, touted by its designer as the Rosetta stone of art and technology. It turned into more of a monument to budgetary and repair problems.

The Triforium is 60 feet tall. It’s hung on three concrete, two-legged pillars with multicolored prisms that move and light up. The original design had a glass bell carillon that was supposed to play everything from classical music to disco. They’ve been replaced with a conventional sound system. The Triforium is famous for being bizarre but somehow lovable, and has been called everything from Three Wishbones in Search of a Turkey, to The Psychedelic Nickelodeon. It’s a fun destination on the way from LAX to Pasadena, and the area is filled with other attractions and eateries.

The Triforium

The Chicken Boy

Just outside Pasadena in the Highland Park area, you’ll find one of the strangest local landmarks in the greater Los Angeles area. The Chicken Boy is a 22-foot fiberglass statue of a person with a chicken’s head. It was originally the mascot of a restaurant, which is long since gone out of business. It now stands atop a nondescript building on the famous Route 66 at 5558 North Figueroa.

The Chicken Boy’s back story is even stranger than its appearance. The statue was originally made to resemble Paul Bunyan. The manufacturer removed the head and replaced it with a chicken’s head. The hands were reworked to hold a giant bucket of chicken.

It’s considered a local rite of passage to have your picture taken with Chicken Boy in the background, and then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger gave it a Historic Preservation Award in 2010.

Photo of the Bradbury Building courtesy of the The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

5 Must-See Old School Hollywood Landmarks

hollywood landmarks griffith observatory value rental carLos Angeles is the kind of city that reinvents itself all the time. Part of that phenomenon is caused by how fast it grows. Los Angeles was a small city by east coast standards until the movie industry took off early in the 20th century, starting with silent movies, later expanding greatly with the rise of modern movies and television. The real driver of the city’s expansion was the rise of the interstate highway system in the 1950s and 60s. Los Angeles is now the biggest city in California, and the 2nd most populous city in the US.

The newer parts of the city have swamped the original footprint of L.A. That can fool newcomers into thinking that the entire city is only a few years old. That’s misleading. There are still lots of historic Hollywood landmarks in the city worth visiting.

Perhaps the most enjoyable part about visiting Hollywood landmarks when you’re in town is how familiar they are, even to travelers from foreign countries. If it’s in Los Angeles, and it’s more than a few years old, you’ve probably seen it in a movie or television episode at least once. Here’s a handy list of five old school Hollywood landmarks to visit to get a great dose of Hollywood history.

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

Los Angeles was built on the movie industry. It was once home to dozens of exotic, palatial movie houses. The rise of entertainment on the small screen has put a dent in movie theater attendance over the years.  That forced the closure of many big movie houses in L. A.

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard is a notable exception. It has been going strong since it opened in 1927, and it’s still a great place to take in a movie. Even if you’re not in the mood for movie, a trip to Graumans to see the handprints and signatures of famous movie stars in the concrete sidewalk outside the theater is a real treat for movie buffs. The street scene on Hollywood Boulevard is great fun for people watching, too.

Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory is a fun Hollywood landmark to visit. The observatory is located high above the city, so it offers great views of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Griffith Observatory is also a great place to start a hiking tour that wends along the hills to the top of Mount Hollywood. It’s fun to see the city framed from various angles by the iconic Hollywood sign.

Chaplin Studios

Los Angeles isn’t a high rise city. There are a few skyscrapers downtown, but for the most part, it’s a one-story town. One of the more charming old Hollywood landmarks is the original Charlie Chaplin Studio on North LaBrea Avenue. It looks more like a Tudor-style apartment complex from the street, but it’s still a fully-functioning movie, TV, and recording studio.

The studio included a residence for Charlie Chaplin, and had a tennis court, pool, and horse stables. After Chaplin stopped making movies, the buildings and grounds passed through several hands, but it’s now home to Jim Henson productions. The studio has been designated as a Historic-Cultural Monument since 1969, so it’s still got its old school look. It can be hard to get a tour of the studio, but many events like Puppet Up! are held on the grounds that will get you inside for a look.

The Musso and Frank Grill

You’ll feel like a Hollywood bigwig when you slide into a cool, red, leatherette booth at the Musso and Frank Grill. It’s been a go-to restaurant for the industry’s movers and shakers since it opened  in 1919. You can drop by most any time they’re open and see the celebrities and executives making deals over cocktails or meals. You’ll have to be starstruck without bothering anyone, however. The staff at Musso’s pride themselves on treating Hollywood stars and film and TV honchos with low-key respect, and won’t take kindly to you bothering their guests for selfies or autographs. Just soak in the atmosphere, and have on of their famous martinis.

Will Rogers State Park

Will Rogers isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you think of Hollywood legends, but back in the early 1930s he was the highest paid actor in Tinseltown. He used a lot of that money to buy a beautiful house and almost 200 acres of ranchland in Pacific Palisades. His house and a lot of the grounds are a state park now, and it’s fun to take a tour of his ranch style house and stables. The park features tours, hiking, horseback riding, a wonderful picnicking area, and even the occasional polo match.

The easiest way to see Hollywood landmarks is with a long term car rental from Value Rental Car. They offer free pickup and dropoff service from their locations in Inglewood near LAX, and on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. Call to find out more!

Photo courtesy of the The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

How To Save Money Using Car Rental Near Disneyland

car rental near disneyland fairytale castle value rental carA trip to Disneyland might just be the most enjoyable trip you can take with your family. Disneyland has so many things to do and see that it’s possible to visit many times without getting bored. Even if you only go once in a lifetime, you’re sure to form lasting memories. A trip to the Magic Kingdom is an important milestone for children and adults alike. It makes sense to minimize any inconvenience during your stay, so you can enjoy it fully. One of the easiest ways to save money and time is to use car rental near Disneyland to save money and time.

You’re Already Renting a Car at Disneyland

No matter what kind of excursion you had in mind for Disneyland, you’re already renting a car. Or more accurately, you’re renting a series of cars, taxis, shuttle buses, or trams. There’s no way around it. In order to get to Disneyland in Anaheim, you have to fly into the nearest airport, which for most people is LAX.

LAX is located in Inglewood, which is fairly close to Disney in Anaheim. It’s only about 30 miles, and if the traffic is moving right along, you’ll be at the park in less than 40 minutes. Even though it’s not that far, one way or the other, you’re going to have to make the trip.

Your Free Car Rental Is Going To Cost You

There are many different methods available to get from LAX to Disneyland. Disney vacations come in all shapes and sizes. You may qualify for free shuttle service to Disney, or at least to some intermediate location that offers free shuttles. There’s a hitch with any free shuttle service to Disney, however.

Many families don’t rent cars for Disneyland trips. It’s a smart strategy if you have an all-inclusive Disney vacation. It’s quite possible to get everything you need inside the park. There are lodgings, restaurants, and shops of all kinds on the premises. If you’re a set it and forget it type of vacationer, an all inclusive vacation is the way to go.

There are downsides to all inclusive vacation packages to Disney. They cost big money. Many consumers are shocked when they see the ticket prices at Disney. They might be more surprised to find out that admission is actually a bargain for all the benefits it offers. It’s all the other amenities at Disney that really cost a lot compared to services outside the park.

Free Things At Disney Require Waiting

At first sight, paying for a car rental near Disneyland seems silly. If you’re entitled to a free shuttle bus service with your vacation package, it’s money you won’t have to spend. There’s a problem. Free things are popular, and popular things involve waiting.

Your trip to Disneyland gives you a limited amount of time to see and do everything. The last thing you want to do is wait in any lines you can skip. You’ll naturally spend a lot of time waiting in lines inside the park. Rides are fun, and park visitors like to go on them multiple times. There’s not a lot you can do about lines for rides. It’s smart to avoid all the other lines you can.

Shuttle buses might be free, but they run on a schedule that you can’t change. Depending on when you arrive at LAX, you could be required to wait for long periods for the right one to show up. During the parts of the day when the shuttle runs more often, there are more people trying to use it. Late at night, when the crowds thin out, the bus schedule is cut back to reflect smaller ridership. Either way, you end up waiting.

Car Rental Near Disneyland Is All About Freedom

If you spend a little extra money on a car rental at LAX, you’ll save a lot of time in the long run. You’ll also get many more opportunities to save money. That’s because you’ll be able to come and go from the park anytime you wish.

The amenities inside Disneyland are great, but they cost a lot more than similar services outside the park. If you use shuttles for your transportation, you’ll be trapped inside the park, and you won’t be able to save money by visiting businesses outside the park:


The restaurants inside Disney are first-rate. They’re also crowded at regular mealtimes, and they cost a lot more than a comparable meal just outside the park. If you have a rental car at your disposal, you can find hundreds of good, affordable restaurants within a few miles of the park. You’ll save money, and you’ll be able to choose any kind of food you want. You’ll also have less trouble with crowds at mealtime.


Once again, the accommodations inside the park are fantastic. Like the restaurants, they cost a whole lot more than comparable lodgings outside the park. Many smart Disney travelers stay at clean, comfortable hotels and motels just outside the park, and use the money they save to buy admission tickets. If you have a rental car from LAX, you’ll be able to come and go as you please.


Even if you skimp on meals inside the park to save money, one way or the other, you’re going to need something to drink. Anaheim can get hot, and you’ll be out in the sun a great deal. Disney charges a lot for soda, coffee, and even water. It’s much less expensive to purchase drinks for the day outside the park.


It may sound odd, but buying Disney souvenirs inside the park isn’t a smart move. You can buy Disney souvenirs online, or in many shops in the area, always for less than you’ll pay in the park. If you want to buy souvenirs for your children or yourself, it’s smart to buy them beforehand, and bring them with you, or purchase them outside the park before you go in.


If you’re flying into LAX, the amount of luggage you can carry is limited. You’re bound to need at least one article of clothing you can’t pack ahead of time. Clothing and other personal accessories are very pricey inside the park. If it looks like rain, and you don’t have a poncho, having a rental car to shop outside the park can save you the cost of the clothes in one trip.

Different Strokes for Different Disney Folks

There is no “right” way to visit Disneyland in Anaheim. Different visitors have different ideas of what an ideal vacation to the Magic Kingdom looks like. If you’re a budget-conscious shopper, or just like the idea of the freedom that your own personal transportation offers, rent a car at LAX and take a trip to Disney on your own terms.