- In this post, I plan my trip to LA in July 2017 for business and pleasure.
SG to LA (THINGS TO DO BEFORE FLIGHT)
- Do Singaporeans need a visa to enter the USA?
- How much is the airfare and what is the flight time?
- How much is the travel insurance for humans and for equipment?
Flying with camera equipment to the US
- What are TSA camera equipment carry-on rules
- Any issues with camera equipment passing through US airport security?
- Is there anything to declare at customs?
- What are interesting things to do in LA for one day?
Does a Singaporean need a visa to enter the United States (US)?
ESTA is required for Singaporeans. Visa is not required.
- Apply for ESTA at least 72 hours (preferably 1 month in advance) before the flight to the US.
- Online application at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/.
- ESTA is valid for two years.
- There is
noprocessing fee. US$14 per application
- The first and second step ask for personal information about you, and all required fields must be duly filled out to continue.
- The third step is where you make the payment for the ESTA cost that covers the processing fee and authorization itself.
- When paid, you will reach step four that confirms that you have submitted your ESTA application.
With effect from 12 January 2009, the United States requires all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travellers to apply for an online pre-travel authorisation called ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation). Points to note are:
- It is advisable to apply for ESTA at least 72 hours before the flight to the US by logging on to US DHS website at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/. ESTA is not a visa and is not required for travellers entering the US on a valid US visa. It is only required for those seeking to enter/transit the US under the VWP.
- Each approved ESTA application is generally valid for two years and allows for multiple visits to the US within that period without having to re-apply. However, if a new passport is issued, the ESTA information may have to be updated – more details can be obtained from the website.
There is no fee for processing through the ESTA program – beware of websites charging for information on ESTA.*
*Beginning September 8, 2010, there is a fee required. US$14 (US$4 for processing, US$10 for authorisation).
How much is the airfare and what is the flight time?
I am looking for the return tickets for 2 adults. Depart 12 Jul 2017. Return 17 Jul 2017. Per adult economy fare. Include taxes and surcharges. (Note price and flight time) [Remember to x2 for assistant videographer]
- S$1820 SIA transit Tokyo. 20h. Expedia.
- S$1281 JAL transit NRT/HNL. 28h 33m. Zuji.
- S$1364 Korean Air transit ICN. 20h 40m. Zuji.
- S$1314 Korean Air transit ICN. 20h 40m. Sky Scanner.
- S$1369 Korean Air transit ICN. 24h 30m. FareCompare
NOTE! Must arrive at LA before 3pm on 13 July 2017. LA time is 15 hours behind SG time. So LA 3pm (13 July 2017) = SG 6am (14 July 2017). Assume flight time is 24 hours. I must depart SG time 6am (13 July 2017). Or up to 8 hours earlier to arrive in LA in the morning. SO… book a flight that departs from SG between SG time 11 pm (12 July 2017) to 6 am (13 July 2017).
Source of flight comparisons:
- https://www.singaporeair.com – SIA only
Is there a direct flight from Singapore to Los Angeles?
- Yes. On 1 June 2017, United Airlines Announces Nonstop Service Between Los Angeles and Singapore. – No thanks, UA. 👎
- Singapore Changi to Los Angeles International is 14,117 km
- Los Angeles (GMT -7) is 15 hours behind of Singapore (GMT +8).
- The hottest month in Los Angeles is in July with an average temperature of 22 degree Celsius.
- The most popular airline flying from Singapore Changi to Los Angeles International last month was Cathay Pacific
- The average flight time from Singapore Changi to Los Angeles International is 17h 25min
- $992 was the cheapest return price from Singapore Changi to Los Angeles International last month
- There are no direct flights between Singapore and Los Angeles.
- There are no budget airlines that fly from Singapore to Los Angeles.
- At LA, a taxi from the airport to the city centre should cost you anywhere between USD 40 (SGD 55) and USD 60 (SGD 82) before tips
Flying with camera equipment to the U.S.
- Fill out a CBP Form 4457 for brand new equipment
- or use a Carnet: A Carnet is a single form that lists all items a photographer would be travelling with, it proves ownership and eliminates the need to pay taxes and US Customs Agents are legally required to accept it.
“Receipts or registration paperwork (CBP Form 4457) for any new electronics, such as a camera or laptop, that I’m taking with me? (Only suggested if travelling with recently purchased goods. Not necessary for goods more than 6 months old.)”
“One way to ensure your gear will not get a second glance should you get red flagged is to take ownership of your gear before you leave. All of my equipment have uniform labels with my name and contact info on them, some pieces of gear have it twice. All of my gear is marked with tape (I use pink tape to quickly be able to ID my own gear), the tape on all the gear makes it uniform. My cameras all have gaffers tape in the eyepieces, nearly all my lenses have gaffers tape on the lens hoods or marks of the tape where the hoods attached to the bodies. All my camera batteries have pink tape and identification labels as well.”
“The one time I ended up being significantly scrutinized by a CBP Agent, at Atlanta (ATL), the agent asked for my card, I handed it to him and he walked off. He checked my web site, saw I legitimately was a photographer, he apologized for the delay, helped repack my bag and sent me on my way.”
- Travel with a gear list and serial numbers
When in doubt travel with your gear list and serial numbers for both insurance and Customs reasons. You should keep a copy of this information in your travel documents file, as well as in your gear bag. – http://flyingwithfish.boardingarea.com/2008/01/24/dealing-with-customs-immigrations-and-camera-equipment-reality-legally/
- When flying with camera equipment, you should always carry on everything you’re going to need to get the job done. For most people, this means carrying on your cameras and your lenses, as well as some other basics like a couple of spare batteries and a battery charger. – http://shuttermuse.com/flying-with-photography-gear/
Note! U.S. Bans Cameras and Electronics in Cabins of Planes from 8 Countries as from Mar 2017 – https://petapixel.com/2017/03/21/u-s-bans-cameras-electronics-cabins-planes-8-countries/
- Only extremely large electronics, those larger than a DSLR, must be removed from your bag and separately x-rayed. – https://www.lifewire.com/flying-with-a-camera-492864
Flying with batteries
- Rechargeable battery packs, e.g. power banks, are treated as spare lithium batteries. The carriage of these items are subject to local regulations.
- Spare lithium batteries are not allowed in checked-in baggage. They must be carried as cabin luggage only.
- Never carry damaged or recalled batteries or equipment on aircraft.
- Spare batteries should be in the original manufacturers packaging. If not, to protect it from damage or short circuit, you should tape across the battery’s metal parts (terminals) or place each battery in its own protective case or plastic bag.
- Batteries must be installed in the equipment when checked-in.
- Any battery-powered device must be packaged to prevent inadvertent activation.
Tips from blogs of travels to Los Angeles by fellow Singaporeans. Thanks, for the tips.
- http://ngjuann.com/girl-alone-in-los-angeles/ “I asked for directions to my hotel and the whole atmosphere just felt… unsafe… I was unhappily checked in by this guy who was incredibly unfriendly…”
More Fun Facts
- LAX = Los Angeles International Airport
- CBP = Customs and Borders Protection (U.S.)
- TSA = Transportation Security Administration
- No matter how excited you are to Instagram your arrival back into the United States, put the camera away until you’re through customs. CBP forbids the use of cameras (including cell phone cameras) in the customs processing areas. And if you use your cell phone while in the area, it can be confiscated and not returned. – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/smartertravel/10-ways-to-get-flagged-at_b_3989257.html
- Belts aren’t permitted through airport security because their metal clasps set off the metal detector. However, even if you are wearing a belt without a metal clasp, an agent might request that you remove it anyway. It’s standard procedure. – https://www.smartertravel.com/2012/12/19/what-not-to-wear-in-the-airport-security-line/
- Weather: The average daily high temperature in July reaches a very nice 27°C(about 81°F) at its hottest and evening temperatures only reach as low as 16°C (around 61°F), still comfortable. – http://www.holiday-weather.com/los_angeles/averages/july/
- Place a copy of your itinerary, on top of your belongings inside your bag. – https://www.smartertravel.com/2012/11/13/7-ways-to-prevent-lost-luggage/?text=7WaystoPreventLostLuggage
- Take a picture of the outside of your bag to show the airline staff member who is helping you locate it. It’s also wise to take a quick photo of your baggage-claim ticket, in case you lose it. Snap a picture of the inside of your bag as well; this will come in handy in case you need to file an insurance claim for your lost belongings. – https://www.smartertravel.com/2012/11/13/7-ways-to-prevent-lost-luggage/?text=7WaystoPreventLostLuggage
Onboard the plane
- fill out and sign your CBP Declaration Form
- Don’t forget to declare: • Items you bought in duty-free shops, on the ship, or on the plane. Duty-free items are only duty-free in the country you bought them in. You may have to pay duty on them when you arrive in the United States. • Items you are bringing for someone else. • Items you intend to sell or use in your business. • Food, both processed and unprocessed. – https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/WelcomeToTheUS.pdf
- Video explaining the entry process for international travellers at US airport customs arrival.
TSA Travel Checklist – https://www.tsa.gov/travel/travel-tips/travel-checklist
What are interesting things to do in LA for one day?
Points of interest, attractions and things to do in Los Angeles (in ONE day)
- Hollywood – Hollywood Boulevard, Dolby Theatre, TLC Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Walk of Fame, Hollywood sign, Sunset and Vine, Sunset Strip, Universal Studios
- Downtown LA
- City Tour and Hollywood with VIPTours at USD 75
- Disneyland (likely not, no kids with me)
- Beverly Hills
- What is Flyaway bus? (USD7)
- What is Union Station?
Things I may need
- A better smartphone to vlog in 4K and with a wide lens.
[wpanchor id=”todo”]THINGS TO DO BEFORE SIN TO LAX FLIGHT
– PRINT a copy of the ESTA document for your records (though not required upon arrival into the United States, as the officers have the information electronically)
– Print extra business cards
– Label all equipment with name and contact info
– Print a gear list with serial numbers
– Print out an itinerary
– Replace check-in luggage wheels
– Change US currency
– DONE! (17 Jun 2017) EMAILED invoice to the client for deposit.
– DONE! (21 Jun 2017) APPLIED for ESTA at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov US$14
– DONE! (22 Jun 2017) ESTA approved
– DONE! (23 Jun 2017) Book flight ticket. EVA air. S$2942.60.
Have you been to Los Angeles from Singapore? Please share your tips?
Feel free to share your thoughts and questions.
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Sources not mentioned above:
- Singapore to Los Angeles: Airfare, Blog, Singapore Airlines, Cheap Flights, Direct Flight, Flight time, Need visa, Map, Flight route, return, time difference, flight schedule
- Los Angeles: Flights, Points of Interest, Things to do, Attractions, Time, Weather, Lakers, Dodgers