I am trying to figure out how to get to Los Angeles on a small budget, to visit a doctor for a chronic condition. The condition itself causes difficulty getting around. I need some suggestions on how to make this "work".
posted by [insert clever name here] to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (23 answers total)
I've got an extremely small budget to get to see a doctor who specializes in diagnosing conditions that many doctors overlook. He's a researcher, but sees patients one night a week (Tuesdays). He's in Los Angeles, I'm in Wisconsin. I have a shrinking budget so need to make this work as cheaply as possible. I can't necessarily drive, especially when tired or medicated; both are likely to be the case after a flight in.
I have one friend who lives in LA who has awesomely offered to let me stay at his place and use his car. However, I often can't drive due to my condition, so using his car probably won't work. He said he'd drive me if he can, but he works a hectic schedule, and wouldn't be sure if he'd be able to drive me or pick me up from the airport. He suggested that a taxi or uber might work, and there is a shuttle I can take from the airport to his place. This is an option I'm considering, but I'm worried I might not be able to navigate that. If he's available, he said he can drive, but his job varies greatly and he often doesn't know until the day before or even the day of what his schedule will be like.
Another friend of mind who is local here has offered to come with, pay her own way, and drive me. She has a friend who lives out there, who she wants to visit, so was thinking she could fly out a few days early, visit her friend, then drive me to the doctor as she's driven around LA in the past. But, she doesn't think we could stay at her friends house, her friend is going through a stressful period - which is why she wants to visit, but she is afraid that imposing an unknown guest would be too much for her friend. I am not sure my friend in LA would be okay if she came to stay too. He probably would be, but I feel kind of bad needing to crash at his place as is. But it's a possible scenario.
I also found that LA has hostels, so that might be an inexpensive option.
The last wrench in this work is that I spoke to the doctor's staff about scheduling a trip out there, and they said that because of his other duties, he sometimes has to cancel or change the night he sees patients. It's not often, but they recommend out of state patients to get refundable tickets in case that occurs. So coordinating might be difficult - for example, if my local friend comes with to drive me, and the doctor cancels, she'd be out there and the plan would be ruined. If I go by myself, I'd want to go a day early, so I could recuperate between the flight and the doctor appointment. (I would need the recuperation time to recover enough to think clearly to get there). So flying out a day early could mean ending up out there, and the doctor cancels that day, thus a trip wasted and no money to go back.
The doctor is in Beverly Hills, my friend who lives out there says it's about a 30 minute drive by car from his place.
My budget is really small, I'm basically living off savings. This doctor may or may not have the answers I seek, but he could at least rule out one area of my illness that I have in doubt. I have not found a doctor anywhere close that has the same thoroughness, and people fly all over to see him for his diagnostic abilities in his area of medicine (no, it's not woo; it's endocrinology). If I had to put a number on my budget, it's $1k, but the doctor visit is $450 and the flight is going to eat up $300-$500 of that. I might be able to eek out a couple hundred more, but as I'm living off savings, I'd rather not.
The doctor only sees patients on Tuesday nights. Time isn't a factor for me, so I could in theory say an additional week if the doctor DID cancel, assuming I don't overstay my welcome with my friend out there. But the friend who offered to come out to LA with me has a regular job she'd have to get back to. I have a husband who can help coordinate things from back here, but we want to avoid him flying out because of the cost of an extra flight, a pet sitter for home, possible hotel and possible need of a rental car.
Those of you from LA or who travel there, I'd love to hear some thoughts on how I might be able to travel using various services, or where to stay if I don't say with my friend out there; any Los Angeles related tips to getting around without being able to drive myself.
And I'm hoping to get some new eyeballs on the resources I have on hand and see if someone else has suggestions for a plan given the limited resources I have.