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Los Angeles California

Underrated Things To Do In Los Angeles

The East and West Coasts of the United States hold a lot of notoriety. Los Angeles versus New York is a tale as old as time, however, both coasts and both cities are a hub for diversity, culture, and entertainment. While New York City is the city that never sleeps, Los Angeles is the city referred to as La La Land (no, not the movie, but the concepts are similar), but it’s often overlooked as just a city of Hollywood snobs and Beverly Hills housewives. However, there’s plenty to do in LA beyond just TMZ bus tours and posting pictures of smoothie bowls on Instagram.

One of the most underrated parts of Los Angeles is the fact that it’s home to over 150 museums. One of the most notable museums would have to be the Getty Center, which is basically LA’s version of the MET in NYC. The center holds art from a whole slew of artists/artistic periods that defined our world’s culture throughout history; such as pieces by Van Gough, and sculptures from Ancient Greece. Other museums, that hold historical artifacts beyond the art world include LA’s own Museum of Natural History, the Petersen Automotive Museum, the Hollywood Bowl Museum, and Madame Tussauds Hollywood; for the more whimsical celebrity-obsessed LA resident inside us all. 

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From coast to coast, most Americans can agree that if you’re going to visit either NYC or LA, you’re going to need to go shopping. LA especially is known for its wealthy, elitist, high-profile residents, so why not join that same status for the time being on your visit? The “treat yourself” mentality should always be activated on a vacation, but especially when that vacation is to the City of Angels. 

The Beverly Center in LA is over 800,000 square feet of store upon store upon store. It’s basically a super-mall that has retailers ranging from high-end designers, such as Gucci and Balenciaga, to more affordable and feasible options, such as Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. Beyond the center, the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica is an outdoor pedestrian mall that has a multitude of shopping, dining, and entertainment options to fill your day. 

For more family-friendly daily activities, you really can’t go wrong with a trip to Legoland or Universal Studios. These are the obvious mainstream choices, but they’re popular for a reason, especially amongst kids. Both options range between $100-$200 per day depending on the activities within each, and each also offers places to stay on your visit. 

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Another more underrated experience that’s perfect for the constantly moving traveler is a multi-day California tour. These tours begin in Los Angeles, but show you a whole range of experiences in the Golden State that you wouldn’t have access to if you just stayed in LA. One 3-Day California Coast tour takes you on a three-day, two-night journey along the west coast where you’ll stop in other famous California cities such as Santa Barbara, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco, and more! This specific tour costs $500, and most are around the same range. 

According to Tripadvisor, other multi-day tours include a longer 8-day tour that covers the same cities as mentioned above and an extra state; the tour starts in Los Angeles, and ends in Las Vegas, Nevada. In fact, Las Vegas is the destination for a few of the multi-day tours California and LA has to offer.

If you want to lead a more active life while on your trip, there’s yet again a whole bunch of activities that the city has to offer. Some stereotypical California experiences you can sign up for include surfing lessons, helicopter tours that stretch beyond just LA, and hiking/biking groups that will show you the more hidden, natural side of an otherwise extremely metropolitan area. 

Regardless of your coastal preferences, both LA and NYC have plenty of activities that any kind of vacationer would want to embark on. 

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Google Travel Poses Major Threat to Online Travel Agencies

When you think of the top travel sites, you likely imagine companies like Expedia, Orbitz, and Kayak.com, which have long been used by travellers looking to book airline tickets, make hotel reservations, rent cars, and more. However, in recent months Google has entered the travel industry in a much more significant way with the launch of Google Travel, a service that leverages the company’s vast network of information to compete directly with Expedia and the like. Google, however, has a distinct advantage over other travel companies by virtue of the fact that it provides by far the most popular search engine in the world, accounting for 81.5% of all search engine traffic on the Internet. As people generally use search engines to find information to help them plan their travels, this fact gives Google a distinct advantage over rival companies, posing a potentially-existential threat to their businesses.

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Google Flights, is a service that allows people to search various airlines to facilitate the purchase of tickets through third-party suppliers, launched eight years ago in September 2011. This year, however, the company expanded their ambition in the travel industry by combining Google Flights with services allowing users to search for hotels and vacation packages with the May launch of Google Travels. What’s more, Google Travels also offers travel guides for locations around the world, presenting users with suggestions on things to do, recommended day plans, travel videos, and more. While rival services include similar functionality, Google Travel’s attractive, minimalist aesthetic is more likely to engage users, particularly those who are already entrenched in the Google ecosystem. As Google Travels integrates with other services like Google Maps and Android, it can offer customers a more streamlined, straightforward, and comprehensive approach to organizing information relating to travel.

Google’s efforts to rise to the top of the travel industry have directly resulted in shrinking traffic from Google to websites like Expedia and TripAdvisor, causing them to grow at a worryingly slow pace.

Crucially, however, Google also prioritizes search results relating to its own business over competitors. As such, when you search for the word “flight,” for example, the first result links to Google Flights, with competing services found lower on the list of results. As people most often click one of the top three links that appear in the results of a Google search, customers are naturally drawn to choosing Google’s services over their competitors, even in cases where competitors might offer a better option. Understandably, this has led to complaints from competing services, who blame the search giant for revenue slowdowns, as top travel companies struggle to figure out how to maintain dominance when faced with such a powerful competitor. Google’s entry into the business of travel coordination, and its practice of promoting its own services through its massive search engine, stings particularly because travel companies pay Google billions of dollars in advertising money to prioritize links to their websites in search results.

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Google’s efforts to rise to the top of the travel industry have directly resulted in shrinking traffic from Google to websites like Expedia and TripAdvisor, causing them to grow at a worryingly slow pace. According to Stephen McBride, writing for Forbes, Google earned around $18 billion from online travel agents that paid for advertising on their search engine last year, whereas the largest online travel agent, Booking.com, only earned $14.5 billion. To make matters worse, Google is charging these companies an increasing amount of money to appear near the top of search results as time goes on, further compounding their financial difficulties. However, as these companies’ advertising purchases are tremendously profitable for the search engine giant, Google is unlikely to deliberately drive them out of business, even though they could potentially do so with ease. As such, the company has developed a strange type of relationship with online travel agencies; though Google directly competes with them by offering the same services, their existence also helps them make money, meaning the massively powerful Google is incentivized to keep rival travel agencies in business while simultaneously cutting deeply into their profits. As a massively profitable technology company, Google is evidently finding it increasingly difficult to live up to their own standard of “don’t be evil,” which was once incorporated into its corporate code of conduct before being removed.