Trip to California: A Guide to LAX

With 9 terminals and 146 gates, LAX airport in Los Angelos, California can be tricky to navigate. You can get lost at LAX unless you know where you are going.

Do you have a flight coming up that lands at LAX airport? Your trip to California, or through California starts with a smooth trip through LAX, and we are about to educate you on that, now.

Checking in for Your Flight

If you have checked in online and are not checking any luggage you will not have to worry about the hours of operation for the check-in desks. However, if you intend to check a few bags or have not been able to check-in before arriving at the airport be sure to arrive before 11:30 pm or after 2:30 am.

It is recommended to arrive at the airport 2 hours before your flight takes off to make sure that you check-in, get through security, and make it to your gate on time. Depending on your flight time, the LAX security line can take over an hour to get through, though you can apply for a TSA Pre-Check– and it is better to arrive too early than too late and miss your flight.

Prepare for Takeoff

Getting ready for LAX starts way before you cross the California border. When you receive your boarding passes you will be assigned a gate number for LAX.

If LAX is a layover airport in between your departing airport and final destination check how long your layover will be to see how much time you have between landing at LAX and takeoff. Allow extra time to exit the plane and stop at the bathroom, restaurants, or shops along the way.

Compare your boarding pass to the map of LAX to see what gate number you will be arriving at vs the gate you will be departing (for connecting flights) or luggage pickup and rental car service or pickup area.

Typically 30-45 minutes is enough time to get from your gate to the exit or your connecting flight gate.

Hit the Shops

Everybody loves a duty-free store. When in the airport duty-free stores are full of great deals on liquor, perfume, cigars, and so much more.

If you are looking to bring a bottle of cheer with you on the plane, it must be purchased at a duty-free store in the airport, or it will be confiscated. Don’t make the very expensive and stressful mistake of bringing a bottle of booze or perfume with you in your luggage!

Other shops in LAX include souvenirs, apparel, massage, and even Harley-Davidson.


With all of the rushing and running around, traveling makes us hungry! There are so many delicious options for refueling your body at the LAX airport.

Whether you are looking for indulgent comfort food, something healthy, a specific cuisine, or just some liquid refreshment, you are sure to find what you want/need at the LAX food courts.

As with most airports, the majority of restaurants, bars, and cafes are closed for a few hours each night. So, if you are arriving at LAX after midnight you will want to look up the food and drink options and plan accordingly.

LAX Pickup Area Food Trucks

LAX prides itself on being unique to any other airport in the world. They prove this with their food trucks that are parked at the pickup area outside of the airport.

Grab a few tacos before catching your ride! These trucks also serve as a handy spot for taxi drivers to grab a snack.

Using the LAX Terminal Shuttle

LAX is not the largest airport in the world, but it is the largest in California and one of the busiest in the world with hundreds of flights per day and millions of passengers landing and taking off from there every year. Getting around the airport can be tricky and hectic, especially if you are limited on time.

Getting between terminals needs to be done quickly if you are trying to catch a connecting flight. Using the LAX terminal shuttle can take you from one end of the airport to the other without having to worry about navigating through the crowds of people of finding directions.

Simply find the shuttle entrance in any terminal and ride it until you come to your desired destination. The shuttle makes a complete loop around LAX and stops at every terminal consecutively.

Walking Around LAX

If you want to stretch your legs and take a nice leisurely walk through LAX there is plenty to see, and the people-watching is prime. Walking around LAX is an interesting adventure.

There are multiple walkways, a connector bridge, and even underground tunnels that you can take. In total, LAX covers over 5 miles so you could very easily walk several miles from one area to the next.

Renting a Car

You will find the car rental companies on the lower level of LAX, just next to the baggage claim. This location makes it a breeze to collect your rental once you have picked up your luggage.

There are 10 rental car companies to choose from, but it is still suggested that you reserve your car before landing. Those last-minute rentals can be limited and often cost more.

Another option to get to your hotel would be to take the bright green LAX airport shuttle which is very convenient for those staying close to the airport because it is simple and affordable. Treat yourself to an executive car service shuttle to or from the LAX airport.

Once you’ve got your ride set up you can get on to enjoying your trip to California and the Los Angelos area.

Jetsetting Trip to California

Being prepared for your trip to California via LAX will set your mind at ease as LAX is a huge airport with a ton of gates and quite easy to get lost or miss a flight. Learn where your gate is compared to where you need to be next and your trip to LAX will be an enjoyable one.

For more tips on travel, business, and health check out our other articles.

Related Articles

Back to top button