Growing up in Connecticut my family spent a lot of time on the road. Family & friends lived in different cities & each weekend we were going somewhere to see them. But Connecticut is a pretty small state & there aren’t too many highways running through the second smallest state in the county. Even though my family took road trips to Florida pretty regularly, I still, naively only thought there was route 95 & 91. 95 spans the east coast, going from Maine to Key West. No need for other routes!
Then I moved away for college & realized, there’s a lot more freeways out there than my little self thought.
So naturally, my goal after graduating college was to move across the country to the land of pavement & interchanges… Los Angeles. Coming to the city with the worst freeways in the country was intimidating. I had had my car shipped out here & when I landed that first day, I remember being very adamant with my friend I was going to be living with that we go pick up my car. I wanted to have it right away so I could begin exploring my new home. Little did I know this adventure would take hours to drive 15 miles to & from the yard where my car had been dropped off at.
My first LA road fail.
November to December has the most traffic on the road compared to any other time of year. People are going to Holiday parties, shopping, dinners & spending time with family & friends. Driving around Los Angeles & Orange County can be a total nightmare any time of year, but during the holidays the nightmare is at a whole new level.
So I was inspired by the peer to peer car sharing brand, Turo, and their Los Angeles car rental team to come up with some of my favorite travel tips for the road in busy SoCal during the holidays. Soak them in, write them down, live by them… they will change your life.
Map it out
Before you leave, where are you going? Pull out your Google Maps & check out exactly where you are headed compared to where you are now. Sometimes it’s an easy straight shot where you hop on one freeway & get off a few miles away. Other times it may take 12 freeway changes to get from your house to your friend’s. (Yes, I am talking from experience.) Know where you are going, & if there are other options that you can change to when the road gets a little rocky.
Add 30 minutes
No matter what, leave early! Just last week I got in my car & my ride was supposed to take an hour & half. By the time I got to my location, it was nearly three hours later & I was a half hour late to work. Always expect it will take longer. No matter what.
Know which way traffic is flowing
Some freeways are always busy, at all times. (Did someone just say the 10 freeway?) But others are very specific on which way the traffic flows at different times of the day. For instance, the freeway outside our house has constant traffic, going East only, from 3 pm to 7 pm… every single weekday. I don’t even go near the freeway in that directions during the afternoons. I know I will age just sitting there. It’s just like heading to Las Vegas on a holiday weekend, you know you will be sitting with the rest of SoCal on the 15.
Use a navigation app
There are a ton of app options for you to download straight to your phone that helps reroute you due to traffic changes. Use them. I am not going to lie, I didn’t trust these apps for a long time, but now that I use them, I don’t drive without them. Your arrival time updates as you drive, & they offer new routes when a traffic incident comes up. Which leads me to my final tip:
Don’t be afraid to venture off the freeway
Sometimes taking surface streets from one exit to another can save you from 45 minutes of just sitting in your car. Trust the app when they say a new route is faster. Get off the freeway, follow the annoying voice coming from your phone, lock your doors (I mean lets be real: safety first) & follow the train of cars that are using the app right along with you to save time.