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  1. Default Road Trip LA and UTAH!!!! March2015


    First off, this forum is great. There is so much information that I need! Thank you for maintaining this.

    I am planning a trip for 4 in March 2015 and this is our rough itinerary:

    • Singapore to Los Angeles to Salt Lake City
    • SLC and surroundings (probably ski) 4 days
    • Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley, Colarado horseshoe bend, the Wave, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Death Valley 14 days with a car
    • Los Angeles and surroundings (including Six Flags Magic Mountain) 4 days
    • LA to Singapore

    The 4 of us are friends, males, and we will be about 21-24 years old next year.

    1a. I will be getting my Singapore driver's license in October and turn 21 in February. I am aware of the extra tax levied on 21-24 year olds. Will I be able to rent and drive a car in March without having a year of experience and without an international license?

    1b. If I am not restricted by the law from renting but the rental company do not allow me to do so, can I strong-arm them into renting me the car? I am seriously kidding.

    1c. If there is no way we can get ourselves a car, is there anybody, or anywhere online that I can find somebody, that will be willing and able to follow us on our road trip to drive us and to share his/her life with us on this journey? Actually we will very much prefer this. Markedly more exhilarating. Of course we will pay for all the shared expenses and some and be viscerally grateful.

    2a. How is the plan looking right now? Where do you think we should schedule our campings while driving?

    2b. Is it legal to set-up our tents outside of camping zones? If it is not, what are the odds of getting caught and what are the penalties?

    All other comments, questions, pro-tips, suggestions are welcomed.

    Thanks for your time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default By the Numbers

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    1a) Yes and Probably. You will be able to drive without the year's experience as long as your Singapore license is valid and has no restrictions on it. You will also be able to drive on your Singapore license as long as it is in English. The so-called International Driver's License is nothing more than a translation (by a reputable outfit) of your actual license. It is your actual license which affords you the privilege of driving.

    1b) No rental car company is going to turn away business, especially in lawsuit happy America/California. They may make it prohibitively expensive or put on unwieldy geographical restrictions (another thing you should check closely), but they're not going to simply say "No".

    1c) Sharing a RoadTrip is by far the least likely option you have. It's difficult to arrange even for locals, and finding one where you're the passenger and having any control over where it goes just doesn't seem realistic at all.

    2a) You'll need at least one overnight stay between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City if you make that drive straight through. You could try for some Utah State Parks near I-15 such as Snow Canyon or Quail Creek, but I'd actually strongly suggest that you take the time to visit Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks on this leg. Otherwise, you will only need to look in the areas of the major stops you've listed.

    2b) First of all it is illegal to camp on anyone's private property without their permission. Forget the 'penalties', doing so opens you up to being rousted at 2:00 am at the wrong end of a shotgun. And there is simply no need for it. If you want free camping, check out the possibilities of distributed or dispersed camping in the many national forests and BLM lands that are almost ubiquitous in the west.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    How are you planning to get to SLC - are you planning to fly their from LA, or are you thinking of driving?

    I got the impression you were going to fly to SLC, and if that's the case, you actually might think about driving there from LA. It will likely be quite a bit cheaper to pick up and drop off the rental car in the same place, especially considering your ages.

    If you are going to drive, however, as Buck notes, you would need to make a stop along the way. In fact, you'd probably be best off going to Death Valley and Las Vegas on your way to SLC, and then on the way back, hit the Utah parks and the Grand Canyon, and head directly back to LA from there.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Vehicle rentals.

    You might check with car rental consolidators, such as Auto Europe car rentals, or similar. These are not only for Europe and have been successfully used by roadtrippers from other continents. Another you may like to check is Adventures on Wheels. If you are looking at camping Escape Vans may be suitable for your party. The latter two do not have the same age rules as most car rental companies.

    As mentioned above, check that you will be able to take the vehicle into the States you plan to visit. Especially if you are renting in CA.

    Don't even entertain the thought of camping just anywhere, other than a campground. I agree, State parks and forests are your best (and cheapest) options.


  5. Default What a relief

    Thank you AZBuck! Glad to know we can get our own vehicle.

    Guess I was not very clear in my itinerary.
    The original plan was to fly to SLC from LA because it is cheaper to rent cars one way from SLC to LA than LA to SLC.
    Original 14-day route from SLC to LA.

    Lifemagician, EscapeVans looks SICK! and quite affordable compared to other cars. I think I found my vehicle^^

    Taking all your suggestions and considering that EscapeVans are rented out from LA, check out this revised route:
    What do you think?

    When I asked if I could sleep outside designated campgrounds I meant areas still within national parks i.e. just public spaces. For example, can I do these?

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

    Default Designated or permit camping.

    No. You need to be either in a campground or have a back country permit to hike into the wilderness areas. These are not somewhere you could get to in the van. You can not set up camp without prior arrangement.

    Your initial route looks fine although you could simply head up US395 to Lone Pine and then cross Death valley into Vegas.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Make sure you are looking closely at exactly what you are getting with an Escape van. Personally, I wouldn't recommend them for a group of 4 people.

    The only way you can sleep 4 in such a van is with their "rooftop sleeper," which basically seems like a big box they put on top of the van. It doesn't seem like it would be that comfortable or convenient. That sleeper adds $25 a day to your costs.

    Also keep in mind mileage costs - you only get 100 miles per day, and after that it's 25 cents per mile, which could add up very quickly.

    Basically, when you look at all the extras, it might not be as economical as it first looks. As Dave mentioned, you will also have to factor in campground fees. It is not legal just to park overnight in the middle of a National Park, and because of the rooftop sleeper, which will make it obvious that you are camping, you really won't be able to "boondock" at other places where you might otherwise be able to park overnight.

  8. Default

    Yeah thanks. Guess I'll take 395 if it's passable with a car.

    Oh. Where can I get more information on a back country permit?

  9. Default

    I was thinking of not getting the rooftop sleeper (you are right, it adds up quickly) and instead, set up a tent right beside the van where ever we camp. So 2 sleeps in the van and 2 more sleeps in a big tent.

    And yeah the mileage limit sours the deal a bit. Do you have a better idea?

    Hahaha teach me the art of boon docking.

    I was also think along the lines of sometimes dumping the van after parking it then hike into the parks and set up tents to sleep under the stars. Guess this is illegal and rarely done eh.

    Does the $80 all national park entrance cover the camping fees?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Our National Parks

    Our national parks are set up and maintained to preserve natural wonders and historic settings for all, including future generations. It is absolutely against their purpose and our vested interest to have people wandering off to camp wherever they want, whenever they want, however they want. You can imagine the trash and vandalism problems that would result without such restrictions. If you want to camp anywhere outside a prepared campground on any national lands, you will need a specific permit. They are available for most national lands but not for just anywhere you choose in those lands. Contact the national forest, national park, or BLM office responsible for the area you want to camp and work with them. They will do their best to accommodate you. But if you come over here and just decide that you can do whatever you want, you are not being a very good guest and you can expect to be thrown out on your ear, fined, or worse. And no the $80 annual parks pass covers entrance fees only, all other concession costs, including camping fees are extra.


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