Visitors to Los Angeles should be advised that the legal drinking age is 21 years of age. Visitors may need to provide proof of age if requested to do so by establishment staff in the form of a driver's license and/or passport. Despite what the laws may be in your home country, this age restriction should be respected. Tipping is customary in Los Angles, particularly for all service providers such as taxi drivers, wait staff, bartenders and bellhops, etc. Tips are usually provided at a minimum of 10% to 15% of the total bill, however patrons may choose to tip more for excellent service.
The United States dollar (USD) is divided into 100 cents. Coin denominations include the penny which is worth one cent, the nickel which is worth five cents, the dime which is worth ten cents and the quarter which is worth twenty five cents. Banknote denominations include the $1 featuring George Washington, the $2 featuring Thomas Jefferson, the $5 featuring Abraham Lincoln, the $10 featuring Alexander Hamilton, the $20 featuring Andrew Jackson, the $50 featuring Ulysses S. Grant and the $100 featuring Benjamin Franklin. Currency exchange can easily be found at the airport and within the hotels of the city and surrounds.
Most hotels and cafes offer WiFi internet access for a fee or complimentary in some selected areas, well as dedicated internet cafes. When it comes to plugging in your devices, Los Angeles uses the American two-pin rectangular socket (120V/60Hz).
For international dialing use 0011 + country code + area code + local number. As Los Angeles is part of the United States of America, it uses the US telephone country code which is +1. Los Angeles uses a number of area codes, the most common of which is +213. Other area codes include 310/424, 323, 661 and 747/818, however many local numbers will list the area code at the beginning of their telephone number. When trying to contact home, particularly by phone remember the time difference. The Los Angeles time zone is UTC-8.
Public transport is reasonable in Los Angeles, particularly within the central areas of Santa Monica, Hollywood, Downtown LA and Pico Boulevard however outside of these main areas public transport is less reliable. There are three basic types of Metro buses including local orange services, rapid red services and blue express services. The Metro rail service is one of the best ways to get around Los Angeles and day passes are the most cost-effective, allowing you all day travel on a single ticket. There are 8 main rail lines that service the LA area including the Red Line which runs from Downtown (Union Station) to Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley. The Purple Line is a subway that runs from Downtown (Union Station) to Koreatown while the Blue Line is a light rail from Downtown LA (7th Street) through South LA to Long Beach. The Expo Line is another light rail that runs from Downtown LA (7th Street) to Culver City while the Gold Line runs from East LA to Pasadena via Chinatown and Northeast LA. The Green Line runs from South Bay (near LAX) to Norwalk along I105 while the Orange Line is a transitway from North Hollywood across the San Fernando Valley to Warner Center. There is also a Silver Line which offers a connection from El Monte to Artesia. Despite the sometimes congested traffic of the city during peak hour, driving is the best way to explore the city and surrounds of Los Angeles at your own pace and convenience.
Visas are not required for Australian travellers to gain entry to the USA under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) however a current Australian passport is needed. Australian visitors to the US can stay for a maximum of 90 days, however anytime spent in Mexico, Canada and Hawaii will also count towards to the 90 days. To gain entry into the US, visitors must obtain approval from the online Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) a minimum of 72 hours prior to departure.