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Your guide to traveling this holiday season

Illustration of a plane, train and car with mistletoe
(Ross May / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)
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In a year like no other, you might be longing to be with family or at a familiar place or on a restful vacation. If you’re traveling this holiday season — or even if you’re not — we’ve got you covered.

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Are you planning on traveling this season?

Yes, I’m planning on it. No, I’m staying home.

If you are going to travel, here’s our advice on questions to ask yourself and where you can find helpful information.

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So you’re traveling for the holidays. Here’s what you need to know

Flying, traveling by train and getting to your destination by car are no longer the same as they once were. If you’re looking for cheap holiday airfare, look no further. You might be asking yourself, “How safe is it to get on a plane right now?” We’ve answered that, and this is what experts say about how low the COVID-19 risk is on planes and what you can do to minimize the risk. If you’re going to be taking a train trip, here’s what Amtrak is doing to make its trains safer. Planning to make your trip more fun by taking an RV? Here are our tips, including the protocol you need to follow if you have to stop to use the restroom. Here’s what else you need to know.

AAA says nearly 48 million people are expected to hop into their vehicles for the Turkey Day trek this year. If you’re getting on the road, keep hand sanitizer, gloves and masks fully stocked.

Experts urge travelers to avoid ride share, but if you have to use one, be aware of these guidelines. For example, Uber requires passengers to wear masks and Lyft forbids passengers from sitting in the front seat.

Traveling through the second busiest airport in the country isn’t usually stress free. Use these tips, including arriving extra early and going nuts with hand sanitizer, to make your trip a little easier.

With care, you can reduce the risks that come with spending a night in a hotel or motel. Use these tips when choosing a room and for when you arrive at your destination.

As you’re thinking about traveling this holiday season, you might ask yourself: What’s the infection level in your community? How many people are gathering? We have answers.

Be prepared for bus and rail services to operate less frequently, or sometimes not at all. Here’s what else to know about using Metro bus and light rail, Metrolink trains or the LAX FlyAway Bus.

There’s a limited number of tickets sold to allow for social distancing, and reservations will be required for seats on popular Southern California routes.

Airplane fares are rising, middle seats are filling up and the number of people flying has nearly doubled since June. Here are things to know if you’re traveling by plane.

Reserving a vacation rental with Airbnb or Vrbo may be a good way to minimize contact with others and enjoy a change of scenery. Here are things to consider before you book.

For those looking to travel this holiday season with kids, take advantage of technology, keep lots of hand sanitizer at the ready and do some research beforehand.

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So you don’t plan on traveling. Are you in or near Southern California?

Yes, I’m in Southern California. Nope, I’m elsewhere.

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Things to do in Southern California

Walk through your neighborhood, hike somewhere beautiful, spend time at the beach or enjoy outdoor dining. If you’re north of downtown L.A., we recommend visiting the magnificent Liu Fang Yuan — the Garden of Flowing Fragrance — at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. If you’re south of DTLA, we suggest making a day out of going to a local beach. Here are a few more local recommendations. Whatever you do, remember local officials have warned of more drastic restrictions and on Friday morning, Gov. Newsom recommended travelers quarantine for 14 days.

Pandemic or not, Griffith Park takes you to L.A.'s urban edge and plunges you into what remains of our wilder side. Let this mini-guide send you on your way.

These walking routes will help you explore the city and keep you fit.

We’ve missed a lot being cooped up. These day trips, from the beaches to the desert to the valleys, will get you out there again.

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Things you can do anywhere

Yes, those fan-favorite Charlie Brown holiday specials will once again be on PBS after a reversal, and we have plenty more TV and movie recommendations. If you want to curl up with a book, let us suggest these crime fiction novels. And it might be getting too chilly to plant outdoors where you are, but if you have a green thumb and are looking to scratch that itch, we recommend these humidity-loving houseplants for bathrooms everywhere.

The 2020 holiday season is going to be a bigger challenge than usual. Here’s how to celebrate on the cheap and make new memories while staying safe.

The age of social distancing is surprisingly social. Party ideas, pointers and more to make your next Zoom your best yet.

Just because you’re staying home doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. How to set up video chats for a dinner party, game night, karaoke session and more.