The following packing list for Los Angeles was submitted by Perri Cohn. See all packing list posts here.
One of my favorite places to travel in the USA is California. There is so much to do and see in each different region of the state, and a trip to LA is no exception. You can spend days on tours of old movie sets and celebrity houses, relaxing on gorgeous beaches, or enjoying great entertainment at concerts, comedy shows, and theme parks.
Last August, I went to visit my sister, who lives in LA, for the ultimate Hollywood touring adventure. I’m really into movies and television, so we visited Paramount and Warner Brothers movie studios and I loved every minute of it. But since we spent a lot of time outside and summers in LA tend to be very hot and dry, I made sure to stay very well hydrated during the day. We also drove to Las Vegas for a long weekend at the end of my trip, and temperatures there reached about 108F. Needless to say, I packed a lot of summer clothes!
In addition to letting me geek out at all the movie studios, we visited Venice Beach, Disneyland, Griffith Park Observatory, and made sure to try all of the popular vegan restaurants (since we’re both vegan). While I didn’t see as many celebrities as I had hoped, I had an amazing time on my trip, and next time I’m planning to do more outdoor activities like horseback riding, beaches, and hiking.
- Tank tops, t-shirts, shorts, and light skirts: It gets really hot in LA in the summer. Dress for sunshine and heat!
- Sun dresses and/or versatile day-to-night dresses: I sometimes prefer to wear dresses during the day when I’m not doing a lot of physical activity. However, if you’re going to be out all day and want to go to dinner or drinks at night, you may want a dress that you can “dress up” at night with extra jewelry or a nice jacket.
>>Check out HPL’s favorite travel dresses.
- Jeans or leggings: It can get a bit chilly at night sometimes, so you may want to change into warmer pants or leggings.
- Light jacket or sweater: Again, I brought a light jacket for nights when it got a bit chilly, which even happened in August! I brought a black leather jacket because it was warm and could dress up any “daytime” outfit I was wearing for dinner and drinks.
- Bathing suit and cover-up: There are some great beaches in the LA area, so be sure to check them out!
- Underwear, socks, bras: one for each day
- Good walking/hiking shoes: I like to wear good walking shoes when I’m doing a lot of touring. Although I wasn’t able to go hiking on my trip, there are some really great places to hike in the area, including one trail that goes by the Hollywood Sign!
- Sandals: If you’re going to the beach or it’s just really hot one day, you’ll definitely want a good pair of sandals.
- High heels or nice flats: You may want to do a special dinner or drinks at a nice restaurant, and everyone in LA loves to dress up to go out.
- Travel-size first aid kit
- Shampoo, soap, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant.
>>See our post: How long do travel toiletries last?
- Makeup: I don’t wear a ton of makeup, but in the land of Hollywood celebrities and fashion models, I almost felt like some makeup was required. Whatever your makeup choices, I would recommend an SPF-rated BB cream if you’re doing a lot of walking outside. I wore eyeliner and a little bit of blush during the day, and brought red lipstick with me to dress up at night.
- Moisturizer: It is VERY dry in the desert. Even if you don’t notice it, your skin and hair definitely will. I brought lots of moisturizer, lip balm, and facial oil with me to keep my skin hydrated, especially after long days in the sun.
- Sunscreen: The sun in southern California is really strong. If you’re spending a lot of time outside in the sun, make sure you have a good sunscreen.
- Face wash: I brought a really gentle, hydrating face wash (my go-to face wash is a foaming cucumber from 100% pure) to remove makeup and sunscreen without drying my skin.
- EmergenC Packets: I use these to combat dehydration and as an immune boost, especially if I’m in crowded areas and planes a lot.
>>Read more about why the one little thing Perri won’t travel without is EmergenC.
- Small messenger bag: I prefer to travel with a messenger bag, which is harder to pickpocket or steal from in tourist areas. I use a small black one with a lot of pockets, so it goes with most outfits, and fits my essentials without weighing me down too much.
- Portable phone charger: this is useful especially if you’re using your phone’s GPS to help you get around or using your phone’s camera to take pictures while you’re out touring all day.
- Refillable water bottle: I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to stay hydrated in the summer temperatures! I love my Vapur bottle, because it clips to my bag and is so easy to carry around.
- Hat and sunglasses: To protect your face and eyes from the sun, especially when you’re hiking or at the beach.
- Camera and memory cards
- Chargers and adapters for phone, tablet, and/or laptop
- A good traffic/GPS app on your phone: The traffic in LA can take some getting used to. Even if certain places look close to each other on a map, unexpected traffic can often add extra time to your drive, so make sure you leave extra time to get somewhere. There is some public transportation available in the city, but it’s much easier to get around if you can rent a car. My sister swears by the GPS app “Waze”. It saved us a ton of time going from place to place, because Waze is able to navigate different routes to avoid the traffic.
The great thing about traveling to LA is that there is so much to do, and it’s easy to travel to other destinations from there as well. My sister and I drove to Vegas, which was a five hour trip, and a really easy drive to make. Just be sure to pack lots of water, since you’re driving through long stretches of desert. You can also stop at some pretty interesting tourist attractions on the way, including Calico Ghost Town and a giant thermometer.
LA is also only 45 minutes from Disneyland and Universal Studios theme parks, which are both a ton of fun no matter what age you are. I’ve spent way more time in the Orlando theme parks and previously wrote about my packing list for Disney World, but it’s exactly the same as what I would pack for Disneyland.
Book a Viator Tour for Your Trip to Los Angeles in Summer
Join your guide for a 2.5-hour walking tour that combines sightseeing in the hills of Los Angeles with a vigorous walk up to the Hollywood sign.
Our food journey may seem extensive, but it’s truly only a taste of the banquet laid out for the bold, the curious, and the intrepid as they continue to explore the seemingly boundaryless City of Angels.
About the author: Perri is a New Yorker who writes about her adventures in vegan cooking and eating on her blog, Life Gone Vegan. She loves to travel to new places and lives for packing lists. Her dream destinations include Scotland, Australia, Peru, South Africa, and India. You can follow her on Instagram.
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