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  1. #1

    Default South-West RoadTrip in November?

    Hi everyone, I just joined this lovely, juicy forum :) and this is my first post.
    I'm from Italy and I'm planning to travel to the US South West for a road trip next November (5 to 25).
    My flights aren't booked yet, so slight changes are possible, but this is what I'd like to see (random):
    flying into Los Angeles (stay there a couple of days)
    San Francisco (4 days)
    and obvioulsy the coast in between
    Death Valley
    Las Vegas (3 days)
    Bryce Canyon
    Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend
    Monument Valley
    Grand Canyon
    Las Cruces White Sands (if not too far)
    possibly leaving from Phoenix

    We would also like to visit some ghost towns in the surroundings :)

    I've never been to the US before and I don't know when I'll be able to travel there again, so I would really like to see as much as possible!!
    I'm going to travel with my boyfriend and rent a car (and also tyre chains). We will have a GPS.
    The first idea (which was utterly appealing to us) was to camp around, but we realized it might be quite cold in some areas (Yosemite and Grand Canyon) so we are also considering motels or, better!, couchsurfing.

    Does anyone have any tips on our itinerary?
    Have you ever tried couchsurfing? What do you recommend for overnights?
    Thanks a million for your help on this!
    Last edited by magaskawee; 08-21-2010 at 05:15 AM. Reason: forgot to mention Monument Valley!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Tips and Warnings

    Benvenuta! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You've clearly already done a good bit of research, but first I'm going to have you do a bit more. You should at least have a look at these discussions of similar trips. Travel in the southwest in November can be both a challenge and very rewarding. Places like Death Valley, Las Vegas and Phoenix are becoming bearable after a summer of 100+°F (40°C) temperatures, but higher elevation locations such as the upper portions of Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley can easily see snow and freezing temperatures, especially at night. There is also a fair chance that Tioga Pass over the Sierra Nevada from Yosemite to Death Valley will be closed for the season.

    Three weeks should be ample time for a survey trip of all the places you mention, but a few warnings are in order. Rather than relying solely on GPS, I strongly urge you to get a good atlas or set of paper maps of the area, so that you can both have an overall view of where you are and are going, and can find the smaller parks and attractions along your routes. I have never couchsurfed, but did hitch-hike and use youth hostels many (many) years ago. It is a young person's game, but if you are young enough to find it appealing, try it. However if you are that young, know that there will be substantial surcharges on your rental car for any drivers under 25 years of age and for leaving the car in Phoenix. Make sure you find out what they are before you show up at the airport rental counter.


  3. #3


    Hi AZBuck, thanks for replying!
    As you said, I have done a bit of research already, so I knew about the Tioga pass: that's why I chose to drive from Yosemite to Death Valley via Sequoia! Even though I regret I won't be able to see the panorama :( But I guess I'll find some amazing spots along the way all the same! ;) Can you advise on "must-sees" I'm missing?
    I'm a bit worried about the freezing temperatures you're talking about: would camping be a true challenge?
    Of course we will not rely only on a GPS, I'm downloading a lot of city/park maps and we're going to get a Lonely planet guide (or such). Is there a guide you recommend?
    Couchsurfing sounds fun, I need to get a little more information about it ;) I'm 23 and my boyfriend will turn 25 when we get back home (quite useless, LoL), so I know about the surcharge for "youngsters" and for the drop off in Phoenix.. I know nothing on how much they will be as I'm still looking for a cheap (and reliable!) car rental company.. I checked Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Dollar.. They all are quite expensive! Do you know any cheap one?

    Actually, I was also considering the chance to fly into San Francisco then drive to LA and then eastern parks before taking off from Las Vegas (this way avoiding Yosemite). What do you think about it? Would that be a good idea?

    *How about White Sands? Too far?

    (I had searched for similar threads on this kind of trips, and that was part of my research! ;) )

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Can get cold, cold !

    There is no right or wrong answer to the question of where to fly into and what to see, they are all fabulous choices and those are your decisions to make, then we can help you get the best from your choices. Flying into San Fran would not necessarily mean you couldn't visit Yosemite, even if you drove out there for a couple of nights and then back to Monterey and down the coast. The one advantage of this is the Ocean and pull outs will be on your side of the road heading South.

    I do think that White sands is too far out for this trip which is over 900 miles from Grand canyon back to Phoenix in total. Yes there are other things in between, but with the time you have it would be better spent in the area you are mainly concentrating on. I would also add Zion NP to your list and consider doing a full loop if you drop White sands NP, which would actually be less miles. You could then make your trip look like this > LA >GC> Bryce > Zion > Vegas > Death valley > Sequoia > Yosemite > San Fran > LA via coast. You could choose from any of the City's to start and finish from by choosing the cheapest combined flight and car rental options and travel in either direction.

    Oh yes, camping. I am starting to feel a little old but I would find camping challenging in November, especially at high elevations. We experienced temps of -9 in Bryce canyon in late October which was cold for "camping" and that was in an RV with heating!!

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