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  1. Default Need advice! Discovering Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver.....

    Dear all,

    my girlfriend and me are going to discover a part of USA during May-June 2012. We are from Germany and you can imagine that this trip needs to be planned very well....because we will probably not be able to travel to USA very often (expensive....:-().
    Here are the most important points: As I want to visit some old friends of mine in Grand Junction, this MUST be on the list. I guess Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, the Rocky Mountains, Denver should also be on the list. In fact we will only be able to stay for about 2 1/2 weeks and we know that this means a lot of driving.....but we don't care.
    Any proposals from your side? Anyone who already made a comparable trip through the states?
    My american friends proposed to fly to Denver, to rent a car and to drive through the Rocky Mountains heading Grand Junction. Does it make sense to drive to Salt Lake City? And afterwards from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas - but what is between these points? Looking at the map it seems as there's nothing but mountains and nature in between. Of course we wouldn't appreciate to drive 10hours without knowing we are still on earth :-).
    Another option might be to fly to Vegas or Phoenix and to start the trip from there.

    Any proposals?

    We would really appreciate your feedback.

    Thanks and regards.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Check it out.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Looking at the map it seems as there's nothing but mountains and nature in between.
    That sounds like heaven to me !!

    Does it make sense to drive to Salt Lake City?
    Do you want to go there ? If yes, that would make sense. ;-) lol.

    Your trip should be based around your interests [and the visiting of your friends] and you have not told us anything about them. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty with a high concentration of National parks, but SLC is a little out on a limb and unless you have a real interest in it, it doesn't make sense to me and my interests.

    You could start a loop trip from Vegas or Denver, or do a one way trip between the two. The downside of a one way trip is one way drop off fees for your car rental.

    If you look around the forums you will find this area is a very popular topic and you will find plenty of ideas. Once you have found places of interest to you and got some dots on the map we can help fill in the blanks. Colorado is full of great driving roads and mountain towns and of course it's home to Rocky mountain NP. Southern Utah has some wonderful NP's like Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce and Zion with the Red rocks offering contrast to the Alpine scenery of Colorado. Then of course there is Vegas, the Grand canyon and the iconic Monument valley to consider among many others.

    Once you have had a look at the map and researched, we can help 'fine tune' your trip and answer any specific questions. Enjoy !

  3. Default

    Hi Dave,

    first of all I want to thank you for your fast reply.

    Regarding your sentence: "That sounds like heaven to me !!"......I totally agree to that but as I don't know this area I was not even sure to find a motel within this wonderful landscape because we might want to stay there for a night or two.
    Do you have an idea how expensive a drop off fee could be? I think I would prefer to start from Denver and to finish the journey in Phoenix. This would allow us to spend some more time at places that we might like very much. Otherwise, if the drop off fee is too high we would like to start and to finish the travel in Denver. Attached you will find a very rough route which should make possible to visit the most beautiful places within this area. Regarding this option of a loop-trip this would of course mean to drive about 5-6 hours on some days in order to get back to Denver within about 20 days. The alternative of letting this trip finish in Phoenix would decrease the hours per day enormously.
    I think our final decision is based on two open points:
    - how high is the drop-off-fee (of course it will differ between different car rentals)
    - would we miss very important places if we finish in Phoenix and don't follow (according to the attached route) the route to Albuquerque, Trinidad and Colorado Springs?

    Just to explain what we are expecting of our trip: We hope to decrease stress by enjoying a lot of nature and loneliness. In total the trip should consist of 80% nature, 10% enjoying the american kitchen and finally 10% shopping :-) (I guess there will also be some outlet-stores on this route?).
    Except the Rocky Mountains, Canyonlands and maybe Moab we do not have destinations in mind. Consequently we would stop spontaneously as soon as we discover places we like or we will partially plan in detail based on information we receive from you, this forum and literature.

    And a final (stupid) question: Will we have to be careful at some places because of crime, wild animals or whatever? I don't think so....?

    Thanks a lot for your feedback.

    Have a nice weekend.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Let's Assume One-Way, Then

    I did a little checking and it looks like you can get a one-way rental from Denver to Phoenix (both of which are hubs for major airlines), or even Las Vegas, for a relatively reasonable surcharge of $150-250 (or less). so if your preference is for a one-way trip, then that is certainly preferable to driving all the way back to Denver. You should check this for your self, but I think you can make your RoadTrip plans with that as the basic concept. If you find that you are comfortable with the tariff on the car from Denver to Las Vegas, then just drop everything in your itinerary after "F" on your map and enjoy the extra time. One change I might make in that case is to double back after the Grand Canyon and head up through the Grand Staircase area to Zion National Park before heading down to Las Vegas. If Native American crafts are on your shopping list, or if you just want to experience adifferent kind of shopping center, then you should stop at the Cameron Trading Post east of the Canyon.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Another resource for you

    And if Native American crafts are of interest, than this book, (Made in the Southwest: A Shopper's Guide to the Region's Best Native American, Hispanic and Western Craft Traditions, by Laura Morelli) should accompany you on your travels. I've used it and found it to be very helpful.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Nothing to worry about.

    In total the trip should consist of 80% nature, 10% enjoying the american kitchen and finally 10% shopping :-)
    That's my kind of trip !! With that in mind you should consider whether SLC 'makes sense' to you or not even as a one way trip. You will get shopping experiences in both Vegas and Phoenix that could easily take up 10% of your time, but along the way you will find more unique shopping experiences as in places like the Cameron Trading post already mentioned. Wonderful mountain towns in scenic surroundings like Ouray and Silverton on US550 in Colorado, [aka 'The Million dollar Highway'] Moab [Arches]and Springdale [Zion NP] all offer shopping experiences that are more unique. It's a great way to meet the Local's as well, they are all so friendly and it offers a whole different and more personal feel than in the City.

    Will we have to be careful at some places because of crime, wild animals or whatever? I don't think so....?
    You should have nothing to worry about with a little common sense that you would use at home. If you are in a part of a City [or place] that doesn't feel quite right, follow your instincts and move on. Everywhere is someones home town with people that go about their business daily.

    Although this trip was in an RV it should stilll offer some insight into parts of the area.

  7. Default


    thanks a lot for all of your feedbacks. It helps us to make some progress in planning our trip. I am more and more certain to decide for the one way trip and to fly back to Germany from Las Vegas. Unfortunately I found out that this will cost much more money: On the one hand the drop off fee and on the other hand the total price of the flight is about 500 bucks more expencive in comparison to the loop trip.
    Do you have an idea if it would make sense to book the flight from USA directly? Currently we comparing two different options and I am not sure if we should still wait regarding the booking of the flights or if we should to it right now: We checked different sources but the prices are almost the same.
    Frankfurt -Denver and Denver-Frankfurt 1.500 USD
    Frankfurt - Denver and Las Vegas-Frankfurt 2.100 USD

    Do you think these are good offers? In Germany you are usually not able to book stand-by-flights as long as you are not an employee of the flight-company......but maybe this is possible in USA?

    And in general: Should we book our car via Internet or directly at the car rental?

    Thanks again. I really appreciate your feedback an proposals.

    A nice weekend to all of you.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I'm not sure exactly what you are asking for in terms of your flight booking question. Are you asking if you should just book your return trip once you arrive?

    If that is the case, then I'd certainly say no. First, you're likely going to pay more since you generally get the best deals by booking early, but the bigger issue is that it could become a major immigration/customs issue if you fly into the US without a return ticket. A lack of a return ticket could also potentially complicate the car rental.

    I also wouldn't wait to reserve a car rental, as that too is almost a sure way to pay more. You'd be much better off booking a car, and if you see a better price later, then cancel the first reservation.

  9. Default

    Hi Michael,

    sorry if my last thread wasn't clear....maybe that's because english is of course not my mother tongue :-).
    But you're right! I thought it might be cheaper to book the return flight directly in USA.
    Well, I think I will follow your advice and book everything from Germany via internet. Anyway I guess that 1.500USD (or 2.100USD for the one way trip) is not too bad for two persons.

    One more question: As far as I know there are plenty of motels so that it won't be necessary to book our rooms (not even the first one in Denver) from Germany, right? Do you have an idea about the price-range (motel per night) we should expect by travelling the planned route? Our requirements are very low and I think/hope that we will be able to book rooms for about 50 USD/night.....maybe even cheaper. Do you think this is realistic?

    Thanks in advance.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    For the most part, you shouldn't need to pre-book rooms. However, if you are hoping to stay at places within national parks or other places with a high demand limited number of rooms, then you should at least consider it. If you are willing to drive away (say an hour) then your options and availability are almost always large enough to find something.

    $50 will often get you a room at a budget motel, however, you shouldn't expect to pay much less than that, and there certainly will be some times where you need to spend a bit more. Again, the larger your search radius, the more option you'll have for finding something in the price range you want.

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