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  1. Default Need help! Road trip - Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Grand Canyon.. and then where?

    My husband and I (in our early 50’s) are in the beginning stages of planning a road trip starting in Albuquerque and maybe ending in Las Vegas...although I was told to end it Phoenix instead. We're budgeting - $4,000 for all - flight, car, accomodations and everything else. Possible? Can anyone help us with our plans?
    Being from Ontario, Canada, but close to the US border, I was thinking of flying from Syracuse to Albuquerque, renting a car there and then dropping it off in Las Vegas (or Phoenix) at the end of our trip and we’d fly back from there. (Estimated cost for flight, car and gas - 1700.00? Priceline)
    I’m not sure how many days we’ll need for our road trip...a week or 10 days.
    So I have a lot of questions…should we stay a few days in Albuquerque? …or will 1 day be enough…is there much to see around there? From Albuquerque we’d drive to Santa Fe – any suggestions on which roads or back roads would be interesting to get us there? Should we use Santa Fe as our base to get to other interesting must see places - 3 days enuf? If so, where should we go and what should we see while there and where should we stay?
    – from Santa Fe we want to see the Grand Canyon… I'm thinking the North rim - not as crowded I've read. How many days should we devote to the Grand Canyon? And then our final stretch - which direction? visit Hoover Dam and then hit Las Vegas? but not really interested in spending any time in Las Vegas so should we go to Phoenix visit Mesa Verde? There just seems to be so much to see and plan – we like going off the beaten track too, so not sure if it can be done in a week or 10 days and on the budget we have.

    Hope all this isn’t too overwhelming to reply to…looking for help because it’s too overwhelming for me! Thanks everyone!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    209

    Default

    So I have a lot of questions…should we stay a few days in Albuquerque? …or will 1 day be enough…is there much to see around there?
    There’s enough here to keep you busy for a day or two.

    Albuquerque

    Sandia Peak Tramway
    Petroglyph National Monument
    Old Town and The Albuquerque Museum
    Indian Pueblo Cultural Center


    Short day-trips from Albuquerque

    Acoma Pueblo(One hour drive West)
    Salinas Pueblo Missions (1 hour drive SW)
    Sandia Crest Scenic Byway & Tinkertown

    From Albuquerque we’d drive to Santa Fe – any suggestions on which roads or back roads would be interesting to get us there?
    The Turquoise Trail (about a 1 ½ hour drive), or The Jemez Mountain Trail ( 3 hours driving time from ABQ to Santa Fe, not counting stops along the way).

    Should we use Santa Fe as our base to get to other interesting must see places - 3 days enuf? If so, where should we go and what should we see while there and where should we stay?
    There’s a lot to do and see in Santa Fe/Northern NM. You might want to take a look at this website for some ideas of places to visit.

    Santa Fe

    The Plaza
    Canyon Road
    Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
    Museum Hill
    Shidoni

    Three days isn’t enough time to see everything, but it would be enough time to look around Santa Fe a little and take a day trip north to Taos .

    Taos/Northern NM

    Bandelier National Monument
    Chimayo
    Pecos Wilderness
    Taos & Taos Pueblo
    Eagle Nest & The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway

    Hope that’s enough to help get you started. Just curious, Dreamer, when are you planning to be here? It’s hard to get a hotel room during big events like the Indian Market in Santa Fe or the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque if you don’t make reservations well in advance.

  3. #3

    Default

    The Santa Fe area is beautiful but tend to be expensive and less authentic southwest. it is commercialized and touristy. however it is worth a stop.

    Mesa verde is fantastic and worth a day. Chaco Canyon is also close to Santa Fe/ Alb. and great.

    North Rim of the GC is great, but this is the GC, it is all amazing. There is not as much to see at the north rim so it can be done in a day unless you like to hike in which case you could spend more time there.

    Phoenix is not the most interesting town, however Flagstaff is fun and there is some stuff to do there.

    There is a ton of places in the southwest so it is easy to spend time and get overwhelmed. What are you most interested in: hiking, current native culture, Indian ruins, etc? Deciding that will help determine where to spend your time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    219

    Default

    Hi
    If you're not really interested in Las Vegas why bother to go there. Phx will be better but best is just to drive back to ABQ and avoid drop off charges. There's not really a big difference between driving to Las Vegas, Phoenix or ABQ from Grand canyon NP (south rim)
    For the car: Don't hire a too smal car. A midsize will do with 2 people. Rates are very different. We always hire at the major companies because we want a new car. Check the internet and a travelagencies for deals. Count on $ 50,-- per day all insurances included (important). Don't drive on unpaved roads.
    For the flights: Too many options, check the internet or at your agency.
    For the hotels: Basic hotels like Motel 6 ao are between $ 50,-- and $ 70,--. Clean and good. More upscale are chains like Days Inn, Holiday Inn, Best Western etc. etc. Most hotels are below $ 100,--. Ask for a AAA discount (10%). All hotels will give you that discount, esp. off season.
    General: Buy a cooler upon arrival. Don't know what time of year you're coming though. Always carry water. Fuel prices in New Mexico are higher than in Arizona.
    Dining: Many of the better chain hotels have a free breakfast, sometimes even a full free breakfast. For lunch: Buy your sandwiches and soda''s and picnic (the cooler!). We always do. For dinner: Many places you can eat for $ 30,-- without the drinks for 2 people. Not gourmet of course but just plain tasteful food. It does not have to be expensive.
    Now for your route.
    I give you an example for a 10 days itinerary.
    Day 1: Arrive ABQ. If there's time visit Old Town and a museum.
    Day 2: Take Sandia Peak tramway. A great way to see the area and ABQ. drive Turquoise Trail (nm14), stop in Madrid and to Santa Fe
    Day 3: Santa Fe all day, maybe visit Bandelier NM.
    Day 4: Take nm84 to Chama. Drive to Pagosa Springs with its hot pools, then drive to Durango. Enjoy Durango.
    Day 5: Drive from Durango to Mesa Verde NP. Stop in Mancos at the bakery for your picnic supplies (the cooler!). Visit Mesa Verde NP and drive to Cortez for the night.
    Day 6: Drive from Cortez to 4 State Corners for a short visit, then drive to Kayenta.Visit to Monument Valley, see the Mittens and drive to Page for the night.
    Day 7: Stay Page. Visit Glen Canyon Dam (as huge as Hoover Dam), visit to Antelope Slotcanyon, Horseshoebend overlook and Lake Powell.
    Day 8: Drive from Page to Cameron for food and shopping.Enter GCNP by its east entrance, first stop Desert View. Take your time for east rim and stay GC Village or if booked stay Tusayan.
    Day 9: Visit GC village, drive to Williams, I40 to Flagstaff and to Gallup for the night.
    Day 10: Drive from Gallup via nm53 visiting El Morro and El Malpais NM's. Then drive to Acoma Pueplo (Sky City) for a visit (at least 3 hours) and drive to ABQ.
    Day 11: Flight home.
    This is just a rough schedule and many more options and details to give.
    If you are not traveling in high season just make your reservations for GCNP and wing it at the other places.
    So 10x $ 50,-- for the carhire = $ 500,--
    Hotel and food 10 x $ 150,-- = $ 1500,--
    Plus the flight and the groceries (you'll need them at home as well...) so $ 4000,-- is a good guess.
    Hope this helps.
    Happy planning
    Yeehaw.

  5. Default Syracuse to Albuquerque - a few more questions. Thanks!

    Thanks everyone for your help! Our tentative plans are to leave Sept. 22 and return Oct 3'd. I like Yeehaw's itineray but not sure if we can do it all in 11 days...depending on how long it would take us to get to each place - will we be rushed or exhausted? LOL It would be Great if it could all be done!! Priceline is offering airfare and a midsize car rental included for about $1200 for 2 - round trip to Albuquerque from Syracuse. A compact car would be less. Sound good? We would definitely book ahead some rooms... for our 1st night in Albaquerque and then in Santa Fe for 2 days? Hotwire has a condo available for 119 a night and I'm pretty sure it's Sunterra's Villas de Santa Fe - Santa Fe Suites also got good reviews. Any thoughts on either? I'm not sure where to stay in Albuquerque. Then, when we leave Santa Fe, should we just book as we go? (that is except for our stay in the Grand Canyon and our final night in Albuquerque) yikes! Will a 4,000 budget do all this? Hmmm...I'm thinking if I go ahead and book the flight and car, then I'll be committed to going and the planning may come easier. So, Thanks all for getting me going!!

  6. Default We're goin! Albuquerque - Grand Canyon & everything between. Can it be done??

    Well, I just booked our flight and car this morning round trip from Syracuse to Albuquerque. Leaving Sept 22 to October 3 - (cost approx. $1300 dollars) We’d like to follow Yeehaw’s itineray that was posted - if possible - but now I’m not sure where to stay along the way and how many rooms we should book ahead and MAINLY will we have the time to follow this itineray and feel not too rushed? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated since we're committed to going now and I think I should be booking some rooms but I'm abit overwhelmed as to what days we'll be where, etc

    Day 1: Arrive ABQ. If there's time visit Old Town and a museum.
    Day 2: Take Sandia Peak tramway. A great way to see the area and ABQ. drive Turquoise Trail (nm14), stop in Madrid and to Santa Fe
    Day 3: Santa Fe all day, maybe visit Bandelier NM.
    Day 4: Take nm84 to Chama. Drive to Pagosa Springs with its hot pools, then drive to Durango. Enjoy Durango.
    Day 5: Drive from Durango to Mesa Verde NP. Stop in Mancos at the bakery for your picnic supplies (the cooler!). Visit Mesa Verde NP and drive to Cortez for the night.
    Day 6: Drive from Cortez to 4 State Corners for a short visit, then drive to Kayenta.Visit to Monument Valley, see the Mittens and drive to Page for the night.
    Day 7: Stay Page. Visit Glen Canyon Dam (as huge as Hoover Dam), visit to Antelope Slotcanyon, Horseshoebend overlook and Lake Powell.
    Day 8: Drive from Page to Cameron for food and shopping.Enter GCNP by its east entrance, first stop Desert View. Take your time for east rim and stay GC Village or if booked stay Tusayan.
    Day 9: Visit GC village, drive to Williams, I40 to Flagstaff and to Gallup for the night.
    Day 10: Drive from Gallup via nm53 visiting El Morro and El Malpais NM's. Then drive to Acoma Pueplo (Sky City) for a visit (at least 3 hours) and drive to ABQ.
    Day 11: Flight home.

    WOULD BE SO GREAT if it could be done and keep to our 4 grand budget!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default You may want to reserve the last night

    If you are planning to return to Albuquerque on Oct 2nd and depart on a flight the next day (Oct 3rd), I recommend booking a hotel for that night in advance. You will be in town on the cusp of the Balloon Fiesta opening events, and your choice of hotels may be limited. I'd also assume the airport will be busier than usual on the day of your departure, so you may want to allow a few extra minutes there just in case. The actual events don't start until dawn on Saturday the 4th, but that doesn't mean hotels will be wide open. I've heard it can be a mad house during the Fiesta events.

    We'll actually just miss each other. I'll be on my own road trip and I've already booked 3 nights in ABQ for the Fiesta opening weekend (October 3-6).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    219

    Default

    You'll probably find accomodation in Durango and Cortez and Gallup without a reservation. Try to be at your hotel before 5 pm. I would make a reservation in Page because Antelope Canyon becomes more popular every year and many people are visiting Page in september. Quality Inn has the best views (but ask for a room with a view). I also can recommend Days Inn and Best Western Arizona Inn but more hotels like Holiday Inn etc. And a reservation in ABQ is a must before the Balloon festival. The a/p is south of town and some chain hotels close by. We have stayed several times in ABQ but in town. In town I can recommend Best Western Rio Grande Inn.
    Yeehaw

  9. Default Other lodging options

    Why not stay in a cabin during your stay in Durango, we have ours booked at O Bar O cabins in Durango. Check them out, they have a web site. They are right on the Florida River and fishing right by your cabin would be lots of fun.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    169

    Default Dreamer - re rental car

    Probably to late now, but info for Dreamer re rental car. Noticed you are from Ontario Canada.
    If you have TD Insurance TRAVEL Visa, your insurance is completely covered for rentals in North America, if booked and paid entirely on this Visa card.
    Good to know for another time.

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