Los Angeles

If a road trip is possible, drive into Los Angeles. That way, you'll have transportation while visiting and can easily go on excursions. If that’s not an option, then you’ll probably fly into LAX, the main international airport. Rent a car at the airport, as a cab will cost at least $45, and fares will add up fast unless you have a friend to play chauffeur.

With a city as large as Los Angeles, a car is essential, which means that shortcuts, side streets, and parking secrets are common topics of conversation. Traffic is notoriously heavy and unpredictable, so download the mobile app Waze to find the fastest route. GPS may direct you onto Santa Monica Boulevard, but cut through on side streets instead to circumvent a perennial traffic jam. To avoid credit card machine malfunctions or cabbies with attitude—both of which seem to crop up rather often—download and use the Uber or Lyft ridesharing apps. L.A. is a car city at its core, but walking and biking are possible and almost always more relaxing. Public transportation is improving—the new Expo Line connecting Santa Monica to Downtown L.A. is especially enabling—but make sure to look up the route ahead of time, as even locals might not know which bus goes to your destination.