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  1. Default Advice for RV Trip in April - Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Lake Mead

    We are planning an RV Trip out West in April. There will be four families. Four RV's. Nine children total ranging in age from 11 - 4 yrs old. We are in the midst of planning our trip. Right now we are trying to decide whether to go with a full services outfit called "Tracks to Trails" or try to do it all ourselves. We estimate that it will cost $90/day to have them manage reservations, planning the routes, etc. Can anyone shed some light on D.I.Y. vs using a Travel Agent? Are there any other obvious things we should be thinking about?

    Thanks in advance!!!

    Here is our draft itinerary:

    Friday, April 12th (Arrival Day)
    • Las Vegas - 1 night: Fly into Las Vegas and check into a local hotel

    Saturday, April 13th (Travel Day)
    • Pick up rigs at Cruise America: Pull up stakes in Vegas, take super shuttle approximately 10.2 miles southeast to Cruise
    America shop at 551 N. Gibson Rd in Henderson, NV to pick up rigs.
    • Drive to South Rim of Grand Canyon: Drive 265 miles (estimated time
    4 hours 41 minutes) to Mather or Trail Village campground at 1 Village
    Loop Road in Grand Canyon Village (928) 638-7888
    • Enjoy first night in the great outdoors!

    Sunday, April 14th (Stationary Exploration Day)
    • Grand Canyon National Park - South Rim: Spend the day exploring
    Grand Canyon

    Monday, April 15th (Travel Day)
    • Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument & O’Leary Group Site:
    • depart South Rim of Grand Canyon and drive roughly 94.5 miles (2 hours
    & 4 minutes) southeast to Sunset Crater Volcano National Park.
    • O’Leary Group Site, Coconino, AZ ( )
    • Explore - climb a volcano and explore the lava fields at Sunset Crater.

    Tuesday, April 16th
    • Wupatki National Monument: Continue South 13.7 miles (approximately
    21 minutes) - Explore the ruins at Wupatki
    • Sedona: Continue South 34.7 miles (approximately 44 minutes). Arrive at
    Sedona and explore the red rock country in and around Sedona.

    Wednesday, April 17th
    • Sedona: explore Sedona

    Thursday, April 18th
    • Lake Mead: Travel back toward Vegas via Lake Mead (approximately 251
    miles / 4hrs. and 6 min.) Spend last night near Lake Mead.

    Friday, April 19th
    • Lake Mead: Explore Lake Mead Area. Take a tour of Hoover Dam

    Saturday, April 20th
    • Las Vegas: Return to Henderson to drop off rigs (14.7 miles / 20
    minutes); continue on to Vegas.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 11-20-2012 at 04:03 PM. Reason: removed unneeded link

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Las Vegas to Grand Canyon is likely to be around 6 hours actual time, as mapping programs usually don't account for bathroom trips, fuel and food stops, etc. For the rest of your travel time estimates, add 10-20% so that it will be closer to the actual time.

    The difference between Grand Canyon Trailer Village (or whatever it's called now) and Mather are hookups. At that time of the year, April, hookups may be appreciated so that you can run a heater without the use of a generator. To get spots for four, if you want to do this on your own (probably cheaper than a tour company), I'd start NOW with the calls to the reservations desk. BTW, when we were there in an RV, the wind kicked up so badly that we thought we were going to become airborne (pop-up tent trailer). It was also REALLY COLD.


  3. Default

    Thanks Donna. Really appreciate the feedback. Good call to factor in stops along the route. Getting four spots together at the campgrounds is definitely a priority. So we need to make the agent vs DIY call and nail down reservations asap. It seems pretty manageable to do it ourselves, barring unforseen mixups. The only reason we are considering the full service route is because our kids are pretty young. Still on the fence though ... Anyways, this is really helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Travel agents vs DIY.

    Travel agents will always go with the places which pay the highest commission, and ignore those which do not pay commission at all. I would far prefer the DIY way, do your own research and your own bookings. When booking through a travel agent, you have not had any interaction with the people with whom the bookings are made, until you get there. You will never know what was said, what was promised, etc. You will just have to take their word for it.

    The fact that this involves families with young children, I would prefer to make my own bookings. At least that way, if your choice is not available, you can discuss alternatives to your liking directly with the people involved. Make sure you get onto NP booking early.


  5. Default

    Thanks for the DIY insights. Totally get that. Since there are four families, the advantages of having an ageny appear to be: 1.) They book all the Camp Grounds 2.) They can assist with activities for the group 3.) if anything goes wrong, they'll handle it 4.) They claim to know of places that are "off the beaten trail"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A few more thoughts.

    I don't know anything of Tracks and Trails, but I do not see there is anything they can do, that you cannot do yourself, with some good detailed maps (such as from AAA), the internet and a telephone. Then pay yourself the $90 each day and enjoy spending them on your trip.

    Booking all the campsites is no big deal, especially if you contact the campgrounds directly, and not be tempted to go through a booking agency/site. You will often find that it is cheaper. Many will deduct the fee they have to pay to the booking agency/site.

    Not sure what type of activity you are thinking of, but with the little time you have in these magnificent destinations, I would have thought that your time will be filled with simply seeing the place, ranger talks, junior ranger program and more. You will no doubt have done your research as to what is available at each destination. I think they all have a web presence.

    If anything goes wrong? You will know to whom you spoke for all the bookings. That is the person to whom you speak in the unlikely case of anything going wrong. Why involve a third party, who is not even onsite? If anything goes wrong with the rigs, you contact CA direct. If anything goes wrong on the road, the authorities will deal with it. I fail to see where Tracks and Trails can do anything you will not be able to deal with. There is every chance that you will have an incident free, most enjoyable holiday.

    Donna mentioned your timing, and how computer programs under estimate travel times. However, in your case, you will have to allow much more than just the 10 or 20%. Travelling with a party of 17, including young children, and with four vehicles is inevitably going to be slower and take longer at each and every stop. I'd err on the side of things taking much longer than anticipated.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Tracks and Trails is the best one out there!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    I don't know anything of Tracks and Trails, but I do not see there is anything they can do, that you cannot do yourself....
    Yes, but I do know the owners of Tracks and Trails and their company is endorsed by RTA. It's true that you can do much of what Tracks and Trails does -- but they package RV vacations and for many, many families offer a valuable service.

    Plus, their site is beautiful!


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