How to..., North America

How to…Road trip from Vegas to LA

This post isn’t intended to give you the detailed route directions from one point to the next as there are countless blog posts on the best way from Vegas-LA and vice versa and of course lots of mapping tools to help you plot your exact point to point journey. The drive from Vegas to LA normally takes about 4 hours but as we took a more scenic route it ended up being about 6 but definitely worth it for the experience. I hope this information helps if you’re planning to do this trip and thinking about how you can get the most out of it.

 1. If you can, hire a Mustang

When I found out we were going to do a road trip in the States I of course immediately started dreaming of the All-American classic muscle cars such as the Mustang or Camero that would take us on the Highways. But…bubble blown, hiring a classic muscle car is expensive, very expensive – almost as expensive as another trip expensive and as we all didn’t have that kind of cash to blow on this trip (we didn’t win big in Vegas) we settled for a new Mustang hired from the lovely people at Hertz LAX airport.

As we were travelling with our very good friends Mr and Mrs B, we all wanted to have fun on the road together and it didn’t make sense to hire two cars so we hired just one Mustang. I know what you are thinking, four adults in a car like that with luggage…are we insane?! To be honest I didn’t think we and the luggage would all fit and we would be hiring another car at the airport but after much deliberation and discussion (argument!) the cases and passengers all fitted!! So yes, 4 adults and 4 suitcases plus hand luggage and road trip snacks surprisingly do fit into 1 mustang.

Mustang on Venice Beach

Our mustang on Venice Beach.

But on a serious note the Mustang is the perfect road trip companion. According to the drivers of our quartet the car is very easy to drive and being a passenger with the roof down is such a good way to pass a couple of hours (however you will need the roof up on the main part of the drive – you can only stand the wind for a certain amount of time)

2. Get snacks

Dependent on what time you decide to leave Vegas (or LA if you do the trip the other way round) it may be already approaching lunch-time, we decided to stay in Vegas and take advantage of the breakfast options at the Bellagio meaning we knew we wouldn’t be that hungry at lunch. Whichever way you decide to leave Vegas and head towards the Interstate 15 you will undoubtedly pass some form of Supermarket or grocery store to stock up on snacks and drinks. This will become massively important on some sections of whatever route you decide to take as there is literally nothing around for many miles so no option to just pull in to the next service station for a bottle of water, be prepared. The snacks are especially essential if you are not a fan of fast food burgers, as these form the majority of your food options on the road trip unless you decide to take a detour off the main interstate to one of the distractions detailed below and find a better option.

Death Valley

death valley 2

3. Find some interesting distractions on the route

The majority of the drive from Vegas to LA will take you through some pretty outstanding scenery and as a passenger it was so easy just to sit back and enjoy the drive, especially if you get a little lost like we did at the start of the trip and end up driving through parts of the Death Valley! Our first distraction stop on our road trip was the small town of Baker, in the Mojave Desert, home to the World’s Largest Thermometer and some rather bizarre associations with all things Sci-Fi due to it’s appearances and references in some cult films. There’s not a whole lot going on but a decent place to stop and stretch your legs for the first time.

Thermometer in Baker, Mojave Desert

World’s Largest Thermometer…which doesn’t look that big here.

Other distractions on the route (or slightly off it) are Calico Ghost Town, Peggy Sues 50’s diner, Bottletree Ranch and the best bit of the whole road trip driving along the stretch of the historic Route 66 from Barstow to Victorville. There are some other options for a grander distraction or stop such as The Mormon Rocks or a drive into the Mojave National Preserve but these of course will eat up more of your time but are well worth a research.

4. Take a camera and plan what you may want to photograph

We did have a GoPro and of course the obligatory iPhones with us but I still don’t feel we took enough photos of our road trip, I am starting to put together some of the video footage from the GoPro and I could take stills from them but they are just not the same as good quality photos. There are so many opportunities for you to stop the car, get out and take some staged or posed photos that I recommend setting off at a decent time to catch the light of the day as by the time we were coming up to the historic route 66 portion of the drive it was already dark.

5. Good friends and good music

The main reason we didn’t end up taking lots of photos is perhaps due to the fact that we were on the road trip with Mr and Mrs B and in-between the chatter, lip synching and napping (not the drivers of course) we just didn’t have the time. We found an awesome 80s radio station and had this on for the majority of the journey, until we found the need to listen to a particular track and delved into our collections and Spotify playlists. My favourite video from the trip is when the GoPro had been set up on the dashboard and it ended up capturing our impromptu group lip sync to Phil Collins ‘In the air tonight’ complete with over exaggerated drum mime solos. I would share it here…but it’s just too good I don’t want any of my students to get a complex that they won’t live up to my high performance standards so here is a back of the Mustang couples selfie instead.

LA in the Mustang


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