Frommer's lists exact prices in the local currency. However, rates fluctuate, so before departing consult a currency exchange website such as www.xe.com/ to check up-to-the-minute rates.
It's always advisable to bring money in a variety of forms on a vacation: a mix of cash, credit cards, and ATM cards. You should also have enough petty cash upon arrival to cover airport incidentals, tipping, and transportation to your hotel. You can always withdraw money upon arrival at an airport ATM, but you'll still need to make smaller change for tipping. Note: Many banks impose a fee every time you use a card at another bank's ATM, and that fee is often higher for international transactions (up to $5 or more) than for domestic ones (where they're rarely more than $2). In addition, the bank from which you withdraw cash may charge its own fee. To compare banks' ATM fees within the U.S., use www.bankrate.com. Visitors from outside the U.S. should also find out whether their bank assesses a 1% to 3% fee on charges incurred abroad. One way around these fees is to ask for cash back at grocery, drug, and convenience stores that accept ATM cards and don't charge usage fees (be sure to ask). Of course, you'll have to purchase something first.
The most common bills in the U.S. are the $1 (a "buck"), $5, $10, and $20 denominations. There are also $2 bills (seldom encountered), $50 bills, and $100 bills. (The last two are usually not welcome as payment for small purchases.)
Coins come in seven denominations: 1¢ (1 cent, or a penny); 5¢ (5 cents, or a nickel); 10¢ (10 cents, or a dime); 25¢ (25 cents, or a quarter); 50¢ (50 cents, or a half dollar); the gold-colored Sacagawea coin, worth $1; and the rare silver dollar.
What Things Cost in Los Angeles (in US$)
Taxi from the airport to Downtown 46.50
SuperShuttle from LAX to West Hollywood area 26.00
Fine for expired parking meter 35.00-60.00
Double room at the Beverly Hills Hotel (absurdly expensive) 530.00
Double room at the Beach House at Hermosa Beach (expensive) 229.00
Double room at the Venice Beach House (moderate) 150.00
Double room at the Sea Shore Motel (inexpensive) 110.00
Lunch for one at Cafe Pinot (moderate) 22.00
Bacon Chili Cheese Dog at Pink's 4.90
Dinner for one, without wine, at Koi (expensive) 50.00
Dinner for one, without wine, at Border Grill (moderate) 25.00
Dinner for one, without wine, at Good Stuff (inexpensive) 12.00
Cup of coffee at Philippe the Original 0.09
Cup of coffee at the Peninsula Hotel 5.75
2-hour StarLine Movie Star's Home Tour 39.00
Admission to the Hollywood Wax Museum 12.95
Admission to the Getty Museum Free
Full-price movie ticket 15.00