La La Land, with Donna Demaio

by Saturday, August 11, 2018

One of my favourite travel destinations is Los Angeles. I have visited every year for eight years for the G’day USA event that celebrates Aussies in America. But LA is so much more than Hollywood. I relax there. I eat there. I shop there. I connect with people. I believe LA can be misunderstood by many who perhaps haven’t taken the time or had the inclination to discover the fun and beauty of La La Land.

Sure there’s Disneyland – which can be fun – and Universal Studios which deserves a visit but there’s also hiking and horse riding in the Hollywood Hills. There’s wonderful bars and impressive hotels/pools. And anyone that knows me, understands I adore getting lost in the plethora of outlet stores to find bargain designer wear.

Perhaps I’m sounding a little shallow? Well, when  in LA, that’s my scene. And after numerous failed attempts, I now know where to find a decent coffee.

Her top tip for LA

A top tip for travelling in Los Angeles is hook up to Uber or call a cab from a set location. I wandered around Beverly Hills trying to hail a cab ( a while ago) and failed. So I started walking to my destination thinking I could hail a taxi on the way. Bad idea. Impossible in fact. Walked two hours. And think twice before catching the bus. It’s very cheap but you are likely to be sitting next to some intense characters in your public transport travels.

Something she always packs

I always pack a steel-grey coloured Sassind merino wool wrap. It has kept me cosy on every plane I’ve taken for several years – doubling as a knee rug many-a-time. It has travelled with me through Canada, Paris, Berlin, Uluru, and other places  where fluctuating temperatures can catch you out. It packs well, fits in a handbag and doesn’t crease ( ironing is dreary at the best of times but is a torture to me when travelling)

Somewhere on her bucket list

I am currently considering having a break from social media due to a serious case of FOMO. At last count, in the past few weeks, 11 people I know have separately visited Croatia, prompting an intense desire to visit the apparently picturesque place. It’s THE place to enjoy beaches, food, boat trips and quaint towns. Oh, and the views! Also desperate to see Russia, Hungary, Japan, Portugal and Cambodia.

A travel lesson she’s learnt

Perhaps irritatingly for those who travel with me, I am notoriously super early for travel connections. I arrive at the airport hours extremely early. I spend way too much time on train platforms. I anticipate buses at stops for perhaps longer than I need to. This behaviour developed after a minor, yet very teary, melt-down at Rome airport many years ago after I missed a plane home. Lesson learnt. And just recently I was told by the kindly ticket inspector on a German train that I was heading to the wrong city. Thankfully, these are the only ‘disasters’ that spring to mind.

About Donna Demaio

Donna Demaio is a senior journalist, editor and broadcaster at Melbourne’s Number one radio station 3AW, contributing also to the station’s national network.

For more than 25 years, she has covered entertainment,  arts, sports, travel and general news.

Donna is the Australian Correspondent for Radio NZB Auckland and is a contributor to The Age online – with a focus on red carpet, travel/food and profile interviews including Clint Eastwood, Weird Al Yankovic and Stephen Fry.

Amongst her awards is the prestigious ACRA Brian White Memorial award for best news report (2001) for coverage of World Economic Forum protests, The Royal Tour and the Formula One Grand Prix

She also lectures at Macleay tertiary college in Radio Journalism, Fashion, Food, Lifestyle and Travel.

She has also covered numerous major events including the Spring Racing Carnival, the Formula One Australian Grand Prix, the AACTA (film) Awards, the Comedy Festival, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Great Barrier Feast,Taste of Melbourne, Vivid Sydney and many annual arts and entertainment festivals.