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  1. Default 17 days Road trip advises (LA - Las Vegas - San Francisco)

    Hi everyone,

    Ive spent a lot of time in reading all the different forum regarding US South West Coast road trip, and I have tried, as best as I could, to create an itinerary for 17 days. Ill fly from London, landing at Las Vegas on the 31/07 14:00, and leaving one the 17/08 morning. Could you please let me know if my itinerary looks OK, for those who have already done similar journey please? As soon as I confirm my trip, Ill then book accommodation as people say its sometimes good to book early!

    Day 1 Half day in Las Vegas Sleep in Las Vegas
    Day 2 go to death valley Sleep in Lone pine or Bichop CA ?
    Day 3 Continue to to Yosemite via tiago pass Sleep in Yosemite NP
    Day 4 Yosemita NP, full day Sleep in Yosemite NP
    Day 5 Full day at Yosemite NP
    Continue to San Francisco Sleep in San Francisco
    Day 6 Full day in San Francisco Sleep in San Francisco
    Day 7 Full day in San Francisco, Drive south stop in cambria, State Par or Monterey Where to sleep?
    Day 8 Continue to Los Angeles, half a day there Sleep in Los Angeles
    Day 9 Full day sightseeing in LA, continue to 29 Palms in the evening Sleep in 29 Palms
    Day 10 Full day at Joshua Tree National Park Sleep in 29 Palms
    Day 11 Scenic drive along Route66 to Grand Canyon Sleep in Williams
    Day 12 Full day at Grand Canyon Grand Canyon
    Day 13 Drive to Page in the morning, visit Horseshoe Bend in the evening Sleep in Page
    Day 14 Antelope Canyon/Glen Canyon, continue to Bryce Canyon in the evening Sleep in Bryce Canyon
    Day 15 Visit Bryce Canyon, continue to Zion in the evening Sleep in Springdale
    Day 16 Full day at Zion National Park Sleep in Springdale
    Day 17 Drive to Las Vegas via Lake Mead Scenic Drive and Valley of Fire Sleep in Las Vegas

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Desert in August

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your itinerary is well paced and presumably how you would like to spend your time in this part of the United States. As such there is no better person to judge whether it is OK than you. I will note, however, that you will be traveling in some of the hottest places in North America at the hottest time of the year, so you need to be prepared. Death Valley can reach temperatures of 130F (55C) during the day in July/August. Other areas of your drive are not far behind. Las Vegas can reach 115F (46C), Joshua Tree 120F (49C), and Page 110F (43C). These are not temperatures to be trifled with, particularly if you are not used to them. You will need to bring plenty of water, light (colored and weight) loose-fitting clothing, plenty of water, a good wide-brimmed hat, plenty of water, sunscreen with a high SPF (at least 60, 100 would be better), and plenty of water. Do not plan on being outdoors in these areas for more than minimal amounts of time. Also note that if you plan to rent an RV, most companies will not let you take it into Death Valley at his time of year, and you might want to check with your car hire firm about any restrictions they may have.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Two full days from SF to LA.

    Buck makes one point very clear, and it is the most important you need to note. It is hot and there is no substitute for water... lots of it.

    Day 7 you may like to reconsider. Having spent a couple of days in SF, you may like to leave that morning to head down the PCH. This road is slow going with a lot to see, many view points at which to stop and some little side trips to attractions. It takes a full two days to drive to LA. Your best place to stop would be San Simeon or Cambria. The latter be a little more upscale. The former closer to Hearst Castle, should you wish to do a tour. It is advisable to book the tour beforehand.

    Same with staying in the national parks, it is essential that you get onto that right now and book. Places are limited, whether you are camping or staying in a lodge, and they go very quickly when bookings open. Check the np website -

    On the whole, I agree, the trip looks great. Enjoy!


  4. Default

    That looks very nice! Just one observation, regarding day 11:

    The Oatman road between Needles and Kingman is slow over the mountains, so you'd need to consider whether you had enough time for it.

    Az66, the Peach Springs road between Kingman and Seligman is ok, just a bit longer and slower than I-40.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Get booking !

    You have done a good job with your planning and are in for a great trip. I would also agree with the above points, to enjoy the coast highway and take in the views [recommended] takes time and you would need to leave in the morning to get to Cambria. While in SF I would recommend a trip to Alcatraz Island. If this is something that appeals to you then I would book tickets in advance using the National parks service website [no extra agents fees] to save spending time in queues hoping to obtain one.

    Instead of returning to 29 Palms have you considered continuing towards the GC, perhaps staying over in Lake Havasu to shorten the onward journey. You could stay in the GC NP on your first night instead of Williams and if you were just planning on the expense of one night in the park, stay at the Cameron Trading Post the second night as part of the onward journey to Page. The Trading post is just outside of the east entrance. If the NP is booked out the nearest town is Tusayan and although it might cost more, would be more convenient if you were to see some of the canyon on the day of arrival, especially for a sunset.

    Rubys Inn is a pretty cool place near the entrance to Bryce canyon and Springdale is a great town for visititng Zion.

    For planning purposes I personally would look at Bishop or Mammoth Lakes between Vegas and Yosemite. It will put you closer to Yosemite ans as already mentioned, time out of the car in Death valley will be limited due to the heat. It's a great drive though !

    And yes, I would recommend you get booking, especially for the NP's where it might already be too late to find lodgings in them. In SF parking can be expensive and a car is not really needed, so try and find a Hotel that includes parking and leave the car there.

  6. Default

    Thanks a lot Dave and AZBUCK, great advises, i'm starting now with the booking :-). I have an other question regarding the car rental. I'm planning to rent a car for the entire trip, do you recommend any car rental company ?
    As I don't know what type of roads i'll be driving , which of the below vehicle category is most suitable for my trip, we are two adults travelling:

    economy, compact, intermediate, standard , convertible or SUV ? ( i don't think an RV for 2 makes sense )

  7. Default

    These are just my thoughts and the experts here may well have different and additional comments:

    In terms of types of roads, which car type you select doesn't matter much - all cars can cope easily with interstates, US highways, state highways and streets in towns and cities. BTW no car rental company allows you to drive their vehicles on unpaved roads - this is a somewhat little-known fact hidden away deep in a clause in the rental agreement - while you'll probably get away with it, if you don't get away with it for any reason then I guess you might be liable for anything up to the full value of the vehicle.

    Make sure you've got plenty of space inside the car for the passengers, and plenty of space in the trunk (boot in UK English). The car is going to be your home for the holiday and you will accumulate a lot of things - food, drinks, publicity booklets, national park leaflets, purchases, other memorabilia and so on.

    In summer, IMHO you need a roof to provide shade from the sun and you need a sealed passenger compartment for air conditioning - so a convertible or open-topped car isn't a good choice. Also, a car without a proper roof lacks security for anything which isn't in the trunk.

    RV's are a lifestyle decision. They allow you to experience campsites and the outdoor community spirit that they embody which is great, but RV's are expensive to rent and their fuel mileage is poor, especially the big ones. RV campsite fees are roughly comparable with budget motel rates, so RV's won't save you money except perhaps with a big party. Campsites in popular national parks are booked up months in advance, whereas obtaining a motel room in a town close to a park has never been a problem in my experience of twenty years of road trip holidays in the USA and Canada. Campervans are a halfway house between cars and RV's and for some people they're a good choice.

    Watch out for all the compulsory and optional additional charges with car rental - potentially mileage charge, one-way rental charge, young driver charge, additional driver charge, fuel refill charge, child seat rental charge, GPS/SatNav rental charge, toll road EZPass (or similar system) charge, CDW/LDW, third-party insurance, sales taxes, and so on. It's a bewildering jungle, so do your homework by visiting the various car rental companies' web sites and know exactly what you've pre-paid and exactly what if anything has to paid locally.

    Hope this helps.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default An all rounder.

    For 2 people I would opt for a mid size Sedan which is a good balance between size, comfort and economy. It really is best to shop around for deals as they are always altering the deals. You can check prices on RTA's Roadtrip travel to the right of the page and another I have got a good deal from is

    You are correct, an RV would be extremely expensive for 2 travellers and is more a Lifestyle choice.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    As far as what company to rent from, you could do one of two things. There are consolidators overseas that will find you a good deal, we're told, from one of the nationwide companies in the US. Or you could try to do the work yourself. The advantage to a consolidator, otherwise, is that they can waive certain fees (young driver, one-way drop off). If you do the work yourself, you are better off with a nationwide rental company -- Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Budget, National, Alamo, Dollar, Thrifty are just a few that come to mind. A nationwide company will stand behind its rentals, and in the unlikely event that you have a mechanical problem, they will bring out another one and take care of the disabled vehicle.

    Just check this website -- there's a car rental price check on the right hand side of the page.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Not all companies come up.

    As well as checking on booking sites for good car rental deals, be aware that there are companies which do not pay to be part of these searches. It pays to go to every site, as well as all the comparison sites to see where the best deals are to be had for your needs.

    I have always rented from Budget. They have always given me the best deal I could get for what I wanted. However, Budget will rarely if ever come up on any of the comparison searches. They prefer to give cheaper deals, rather than pay those sites.

    That said, for a long term rental it appears that the best deals are to be had through consolidators.


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