An Australian Travel Blogger's Ultimate Guide to Road Tripping Across the USA
Rhiannon Taylor, the mastermind behind lifestyle blog In Bed With and self-confessed travel aficionado, just returned home from a bucket-list worthy vacation road tripping across the USA. She's shared with us her enviable travel diary and must-see hot spots from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Warning: Wanderlust guaranteed.
One of my all-time favourite road trips is from L.A. to Vegas. It offers an incredible mix of landscape, food, architecture, and culture. Each stop is unique and there’s zero chance of boredom. So ditch the diary, buy a map, and just go for it!
You can’t venture to Abbot Kinney road in Venice and not eat at Gjelina. It’s a hipster’s institution with food that truly deserves the hype. The tapas style menu has a great balance of meat and vegetable-based dishes.
If you want meat, look no further than BOA. Located in both Santa Monica and West Hollywood, it’s a classic American steakhouse that will really impress your date. Go on a Sunday where bottles of wine are 50% off.
For a light lunch head to Wexler’s for one of the few delis (perhaps the only) in L.A. that smoke their own meat and fish in house. It’s deli food at its best with locations in Santa Monica and Downtown L.A.
L.A. is all about fitness and health and I can’t resist a hike when I’m in town. My favourite tracks are in the Hollywood Hills and many end up at the Griffith Observatory (which is a must-do) with spectacular views. There are lots of options for all fitness levels and the best part? It’s free.
I’m addicted to designer labels but don’t have the wallet to match. Buffalo Exchange is an op-shop of sorts, in the sense that it’s where stylists to the celebrities offload once, maybe twice used designer clothes. I picked up an IRO leather bicycle jacket, Isabel Marant shirt, J Brand jeans, and Matthew Williamson kaftan for a grand total of $100.
Courtesy of Petite Ermitage
Not for the faint hearted, this crazy hotel is a boutique gem in a quiet street in West Hollywood and is the sort of place you fall in love with. If you’re up for a good time, make sure you catch their Friday night Toledo show—it goes off! The rooms are simple, but huge and the rates are reasonable compared to the rest of the strip. If you’re after clean eating, dine on the pool rooftop for health-focused food that hits the spot.
The newly opened Reservoir resides in the Arrive hotel and serves up fresh, simple Cali-Mexican inspired cuisine. Tacos and guacamole are made spot on and there’s a great list of cocktails to quench your thirst. Check out their Instagram for movie nights at their pool.
Having worked in the architecture industry for the past ten years, Palm Springs is my photographic dream. There are so many houses that will make your Instagram explode but my favourite two are Kaufmann House (470 West Vista Chino, Palm Springs) and the house with the pink door (1100 Sierra Way, Palm Springs).
L’Horizon Resort and Spa
L’Horizon Resort and Spa is one of the chicest resorts in town. An inconspicuous front entrance makes it feel super exclusive and each bungalow gets it’s own engraved name plaque. There’s no corner of this resort that isn’t Instagrammable, but design aside, the rooms are comfy and the bathrooms are huge and luxe. The pool is 24 hours—perfect for those late-night skinny dips.
I’ve been a long-time fan of Sushi Samba because they have such a great vibe in all their restaurants. Their Asian-influenced Peruvian cuisine includes addictive popcorn shrimp and sides of south American corn. Grab a group of friends and try their cocktail tree—just do it.
If you’re going to have one splurge, do it at the romantic Nobu in Las Vegas. The sashimi is so delicate and flavoured with elements of citrus and ponzu. Even their vegetable platter is decadant coming with a truffled sauce. The Caesers Palace location makes it perfect to head out to shows and clubs after.
Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental
The Mandarin Oriental is a no-gaming, no-clubs hotel, but trust me it’s not boring. There’s nothing better than being able to catch a cab with no wait time or coming back to your room without crowds blocking your every move. The service is impeccable, the rooms are plush and the food, like every Mandarin Oriental, is fabulous—it’s my Vegas oasis.
I’ve flown from Australia to LAX dozens of times—it’s a long and exhausting journey. This trip, I opted to fly with the newly launched Virgin Australia International Business Class. It is a real stand out as all seats have aisle access and recline in to a flat, wide bed that is queen size in length (yes, queen sized!). The huge touch screen is super responsive with a current selection of movies. The cuisine is innovative, yet simple with Aussie chef Luke Mangan creating a stellar three course menu. Mid-flight is a perfect time to hit the sexy bar for a gin and tonic.
When I’m on a budget I like to use comparison sites like vroomvroomvroom.com as they’ll find you the best economy car with unlimited miles for your dollar. If you want to splurge and drive in comfort then Sixt has a great range of luxury cars at affordable prices. There’s nothing like driving a Mercedes G Wagon around Beverly Hills to feel like a local.