Sometimes you have to fly to LA at the last minute because your son is in the hospital in critical condition. You don't have time to prepare a cheap itinerary. You can't book a cheap flight in advance or let your aquaintances with whom you have the slimmest of ties know that you will be mooching off of them.
Tip: Even though you are frantic, take a few minutes to research flights. Prices for last minute flights varied from $150 to $500.
Tip: Grab power bars from the freezer, the ones you purchased at three for a dollar. These will sustain you for days, as I found out.
Tip: Save the free peanuts from the plane to add variety, later, to the diet of power bars.
Tip: If you forgot your tampons, load up on the free ones from the airport bathrooms.
Tip: Spend the night in the visitor's lounge at the hospital. I put three chairs together and used my backpack as a pillow. In spite of the wooden chairs realigning my spine and in spite of activies throughout the night such as people coming in to purchase sun chips from the vending machine, restock the vending machine, and sweep the floor, I slept surprisingly well. And for free! More importantly, my sick son had the comfort of knowing I was there in the next room.
Tip: Don't buy anything from the vending machine. It's expensive.
Tip: Bring a little blanket which can do double duty as a little pillow.
Tip: Bring an emtpy bottle that you can fill with tap water so you don't have to purchase drinks.
Tip: Ask around for a free ride back to the airport.
My only expense was the cost of the plane flight.
The son is recovering.