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  1. Default Road Trip from Houston to Vegas via Grand Canyon

    Hi, am from India and we are planning christmas vacation in the US. We are planning a road trip from Houston to Las Vegas also covering Grand Canyon on the way. My cousin is based out of Houston. Couple of questions that come to my mind is whether it is safe to travel by road to the above places during winter... we will have a big car which will accomodate 4 adults and 2 kids(11 Yrs & 5 Yrs). Is it safe to travel during winters? What kind of precautions do we need to take? Any kind of road that we need to avoid? Are there enough gas stations and motels on the way? What are the 'Need to see places' on the way? This is the plan that we have

    Dec 26: drive to Amarillo (10Hrs), stay that night in camping cabin
    Dec 27: drive to Flagstaff (9.5Hrs), stay in log cabin
    Dec 28: travel through Grand Canyon, arrive at Las Vegas that night.
    Dec 29: enjoy Las Vegas shows until late PM, drive to Anaheim, CA (4.5Hrs)
    Dec 30: Disneyland
    Dec 31: California Adventure, New Year's celebration at mid night
    Jan 1: drive to San Diego (<2Hrs), see Sea World
    Jan 2: enjoy San Diego sea coast, fly to NY in late afternoon, stay at NY airport
    Jan 3: fly back from NY

    I need suggestions on the plans and if we need to alter anything?

    Warm Regards

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default What You Need Most

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You really don't have to worry about gas stations, restaurants, or motels anywhere on your trip. You will never be more than maybe 20-25 miles from tourist services, and even that will be an extremely rare occurrence. The Interstates, and US-287 between Dallas and Amarillo, are safe, high-speed, and well-maintained roads. You might see some untoward weather, but you will have plenty of warning, the main roads will be cleared shortly, and as noted there will be plenty of places to pull off and wait out the bad weather,

    The one thing you don't have is time. Even if the weather is perfect, I just don't see how you plan to cover 1200 miles in just two days with six people including two children. Under the best of circumstances, 600 miles a day is about the maximum one can safety drive. But the more people you have the more frequent will be the bathroom breaks, and each stop will take longer. You simply don't have any time to even be thinking about " 'Need to see places' on the way. " Similarly, planning on not leaving Las Vegas "until late PM" and driving into Los Angeles traffic in the dark will not get the children into their beds anything like early enough to be able to get the good night's sleep needed to be able to enjoy Disneyland the next day.

    I just think that you're trying to do far too much in the time you have available to you, and for what it's worth, my recommendation would be to drop Las Vegas entirely.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 09-23-2012 at 04:20 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Something has to give !

    I have to agree that you are trying to cram far too much in for it to be fun ! Alternataives to Bucks suggestion of skipping LV, would be to fly back from Vegas and enjoy New year there giving you more time on the road, or just skip San Diego and fly back from LA, but something needs to give.

    If you want to celebrate New year in LA, then you could stop another night at GC on the 28th and then head to Vegas on the 29th, enjoy a show and stay the night. Drive to LA on the 30th, celebrate New years eve and then visit Disneyland etc before flying to NY.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I have to agree that you are really trying to do too much.

    I think at the very heart of your problem is that you are counting on drive time estimates from online software to be an accurate estimate of the time you'll need to travel. The problem is that they don't factor in even basic stops for things like food, fuel, restrooms, traffic, etc. Your first 2 days are doable, but they won't provide any extra time on the road for anything other than basically driving all day. Expect those days to take closer to 12 hours each once you factor in the extra time needed for a group of 6 people.

    I'd also agree that your much bigger problems are later in your trip.

    Seeing the Grand Canyon in less than half a day, especially when you factor in the sheer number of people in your group, is going to be very rushed. Leaving Vegas at night, on a 5+ hour drive to Anaheim, is troublesome, doing it when you plan to have a day at Disney - exhausting for kids and adults on a full night sleep - planned for the following day is a recipe to make even the happiest place on earth, a miserable experience.

  5. Default

    Thanks to all of you for your valuable advice. We have just changed the itinerary a bit. Just let me know if this works better than the earlier one. This has more details.

    Dec 25: drive to Koyote Ranch in Hill Country Texas and relax

    Dec 26: SeaWorld, Little Mexico , Riverwalk, etc. in San Antonio , go back to the ranch log cabin at night

    Dec 27: get up very early and drive from Koyote Ranch to Flagstaff , AZ ; stay at Marriott there

    Dec 28: see Grand Canyon, drive to Las Vegas , see LV at night, stay at Hyatt Place (close to LV strip)

    Dec 29: enjoy LV in the morning and early afternoon, drive to Anaheim , stay at Best Western right in front of Disneyland entrance

    Dec 30: visit Disneyland, stay at Best Western right in front of Disneyland entrance

    Dec 31: visit California Adventure, celebrate New Year’s Eve, stay at Best Western right in front of Disneyland entrance

    Jan 1: drive along the coast of CA , via Big Sur, to San Francisco

    Jan 2: early AM, see off at SFO airport (6:30am – 3:05pm), relax at JFK Hilton airport hotel

    Jan 3: check out late and catch intl flight

    Also as suggested, we will try and skip something to spare us some more time..probably Vegas.

    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 09-24-2012 at 05:57 AM. Reason: Removed Quote of entire previous post

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You are still trying to do the impossible.

    Koyote Ranch to Flagstaff is 1000 miles and will take you 2 days to drive.

    You cannot start in Flagstaff, see the Grand Canyon, then drive to LV in one day.

    You cannot drive from Anaheim to SF along the coast in 1 day.

    To do this, you need to add at least 3 more days to this trip.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default It just got worse !!

    As above really, you are trying to do so much in so little time and you will end up enjoying very little. You are actually in worse shape than you were with your first itinerary by trying to make it to San Francisco. I would say that it would be possible to drive from Flagstaff to Las Vegas via Grand canyon the same day though. It would not really give you time to enjoy this natural wonder to it's potential and you would really need to leave by 2pm to get into your hotel and eat an evening meal at a sensible hour with children.

    You also have to keep in mind that this will be winter and if you see adverse weather it could be a long 2 days to get to Flagstaff and might even having to pull off the road for several hours to let a storm pass. It may not happen at all, but it's still a 2 day drive in good conditions and you need some spare time 'just in case'. As I said previously, my recommendation would be to finish your trip in LA and actually take some time to enjoy the journey rather than having the children expected to be couped up in a car for 18 hours with only basic stops where everyone is going to arrive at the destination each day exhausted and possibly 'moody'.

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

    Default the wrong way

    Quote Originally Posted by Ram View Post
    Thanks to all of you for your valuable advice. We have just changed the itinerary a bit. Just let me know if this works better than the earlier one.
    I'm a little curious as to why you'd take a plan that was already on the very top end of what was even possible, and more than we think you'd enjoy, and then add a ton more stuff to it?

    The biggest issue now is with the drive. We'd already suggested that your drives from Texas to Arizona were on the very top end of what you should consider doing. We said that 600 miles in a day is really the most you should consider doing, and we'd actually recommend doing a little less. So why after hearing that advice did you think that trying to do a 1000 mile drive would be a good idea?

    Really, the only improvement I can see is that instead of trying to leave Vegas late at night, you're now planning to leave in the afternoon. It still doesn't address the issue with a very little amount of time at the Grand Canyon, and as has been mentioned, it now adds many more miles and hours of driving trying to get up to San Francisco.

    You really need to dial back your expectations of how much you can do, or how far you can drive in a day. Your first draft was potentially possible, but most likely would have been pretty miserable because you tried to do too much. Your 2nd plan now gets into the range of being impossible to do without endangering the safety of your family, and needs to be seriously reworked.

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