This will be a solo trip done at the end of April. The most time I can spend is 2 weeks, but I'd rather take less time, so aiming for 5 days right now. I'm totally willing to extend past 5 days but I just don't know what detours or what stops would be worth taking the extra time (and vacation days from work) to see. The only one I have planned now is the Grand Canyon. I do like outdoorsy/nice scenery stuff, but since I'm by myself, I'm not as comfortable doing any hiking unless it's a really short one with very clearly marked trails.
The longest stretch I've driven in a day is 6 hours by myself. I've also driven 8 hours, but I had others in the car with me. I felt fine at the end of 8hrs and felt like I could easier fit in more, but then again, I'm sure having company helped.
Here is my (very) tentative plan with comments. I know Google time estimates aren't always accurate, so I included my own estimates to account for breaks, traffic, etc., but I feel like even my own estimates maybe too optimistic.
Day 1: San Jose, CA -> Flagstaff, AZ 722 miles, Google time: 10hrs 43min, my estimate: 12-13 hours
This is the one I'm most concerned about. I'm thinking it maybe best idea to split this into 2 days. One option is to stop in Barstow, CA overnight (cuts down the miles to 372). But I also feel like I can cover more than that in one day. Another option I was thinking about is to stop in Kingman, AZ (576 miles). I can't help but think that Kingman is only like 3 hours away from Flagstaff, so might as well just go straight through but I think I'm probably being overly optimistic here.
There doesn't seem to be as many good stopping options on this stretch, so any suggestions here would be greatly appreciated.
Day 2: Spend the day here sightseeing the Grand Canyon. I'm planning on just hitting the touristy sites and I heard there were shuttle buses I could take that takes me from point to point. Let me know if it would be better to spend 2 days here instead of 1.
Day 3: Flagstaff, AZ -> Lubbock, TX 642 miles, Google: 9hr 18min, my estimate: 11 hours
Day 4: Lubbock, TX -> Austin, TX 373 miles, Google: 5hr 44min, my estimate 7hrs
(No returning to bay area, will be staying in TX.)
The last 2 days of driving, I may stretch to 3. It just all depends on how I'm feeling. I would like to think I can easily do 8-10 hours of driving, but if I can't, I would like to have backup plans/cities just in case.
Also, is it cheaper to book places in advance or just find a place along the way or does it really not make that much of a difference?
Thanks in advance!