Travel to California

Flying to California

Air notes:

Rules and regulations for flights in the United States are more strict than those in Europe. Check the TSA website ( for specific advice on what is and isn’t allowed onboard.

Flight times:

From London to Los Angeles is 11 hours 15 minutes. To San Francisco from New York is 5 hours 50 minutes.

Departure tax:


Airport guides

Airport Code: BUR. Location: Hollywood Burbank Airport is located 5km (3 miles) northwest of Burbank and 20km (12 miles) north... Money: A bank is situated at the main entrance on Hollywood Boulevard, near economy car park C. There are... Read more

Airport Code: SJC. Location: Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport is located 3.5km (2 miles) northwest of downtown... Money: ATMs are available close to gates 6, 10, 13, 15, 19, 26 and in baggage claim. Bureaux de change are... Read more

Airport Code: SNA. Location: John Wayne Airport is situated in Santa Ana, 56km (35 miles) south of Los Angeles in California. Money: ATMs can be found in the baggage reclaim area, and on the general lower (public area) and upper... Read more

Airport Code: LAX. Location: Los Angeles International Airport is located roughly 32km (20 miles) southwest of downtown Los... Money: ATMs are located in both the Departure and Arrival levels in all terminals at LAX. ICE Currency... Read more

Airport Code: OAK. Location: Oakland International Airport is located 8km (5 miles) southeast of the city of Oakland, in the US... Money: ATMs can be found throughout Oakland International Airport. Read more

Airport Code: ONT. Location: Ontario International Airport is located 61km (38 miles) east of Downtown Los Angeles and 37km (23... Money: ATMs and money exchange services can be found within the three terminals. Read more

Airport Code: SMF. Location: Sacramento International Airport is situated 19km (12 miles) north of Sacramento. Money: There is no currency exchange service at Sacramento International Airport, however there are ATMs (... Read more

Airport Code: SAN. Location: San Diego International Airport is located 3km (2 miles) northwest of San Diego, in southwest... Money: ATMs are available throughout the terminal buildings. Bureaux de change facilities are located in... Read more

Airport Code: SFO. Location: San Francisco International Airport is located 22km (14 miles) south of downtown San Francisco. Money: ATMs are available in all terminals, including the departure areas. There is a full service bank... Read more

Airport Code: PSP. Location: Palm Springs International Airport is located 3km (2 miles) east of central Palm Springs. Money: There are three ATMs in the terminal: one in the Main Terminal near the Security Checkpoint... Read more

Travel by rail

The Amtrak (tel: +1 800 872 7245; terminal in Los Angeles is Union Station, at 800 North Alameda Street, on the edge of the business district. It is at the western end of several major routes across the southern Rockies, is the southern terminus of the West Coast line to Seattle (although there are frequent shuttle services heading further south to San Diego), and at the western end of east-west routes from Chicago, St Louis and New Orleans.

In San Francisco, the Embarcadero BART station and the Transbay Transit Terminal, at 200 Folsom Street, are used only for limited suburban services. The Amtrak Terminal at Emeryville, across the Bay, is the central node on the West Coast line and also the western terminus of a line running across the high Rockies to Salt Lake City and beyond. Amtrak provides free shuttles between their Oakland station and the Transbay Terminal.

San Diego is served by Amtrak trains from Los Angeles, with its Santa Fe Depot station located downtown on 1050 Kettner Boulevard and its Old Town Transit Center situated on 4005 Taylor Street.

By rail note:

Approximate rail journey times:
From Phoenix to Los Angeles is 8 hours, from Dallas is 39 hours, and from Chicago is 61 hours.
From Reno to Oakland is 6 hours, from Salt Lake City is 16 hours, and from Denver is 31 hours.

Driving to California

California is easily accessed by road from surrounding states and Mexico via the John J. Mongtomery freeway (Interstate 5). Greyhound bus service (tel: +1 214 849 8100; has several daily departures.

By road note:

Drivers with international licenses are legally allowed to drive in California.

Getting to California by boat

By water note:

California’s entire western border is the Pacific Ocean with major ports in Los Angeles, Long Beach, and San Diego. See for further information.

Cruise ships:

In the Los Angeles area, there is a daily, low-fare cruise service from Long Beach to Catalina Island. Carnival Cruise ships depart from San Diego to Mexico regularly.

Ferry operators:

Golden Gate Ferry ( operate three regular ferry routes to the San Francisco Ferry Building from Larkspur (in Marin County), Sausalito, and Tiburon. A ferry service also links San Francisco with the Bay communities of Vallejo, Oakland and Alameda. San Francisco departure is from Pier 1, adjoining the Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street, or from Fisherman's Wharf.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.