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  1. Default Looking for planning help


    We are planning (very early stages) a road trip for 3 weeks next October, probably starting/ending at SFO (where we have reasonable direct flights from Scandinavia).

    We would like to do some "classic" kind of route, with our 2 kids, taking in Vegas, Yosemite, Grand Canyon etc, but are trying to cost the trip at the moment. Are there any sites offering package tours, including hotels. The only ones I seem to have found so far are "build your own" kind, but being as we have no experience of the US, this could also help us with the optimal route/attractions, from experience

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Diy

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    If you want someone to build or package a trip for you, then you really need to go to a professional travel agency. A good travel agent should be able to give you several options of packages that are perfect for you - and a thousand other generic people.

    If you are looking to save money and have a trip that exactly matches what is best for you and your family, then you would be much better off doing it yourself. It does take more time to do it yourself, but as with most things in life, the more you put into your trip, the more you'll get out of it.

    If you decide to DIY, then RTA can be a great help. A loop like you are considering is the most popular topic on the forum, plus the other resources on this site, including the hotel and car booking tools, can also help you get a handle on your costs.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the reply.

    I would definately prefer the DIY option. I'm pretty confident that with some input, we can find a route with enough activities.
    Probably hotels is my big unknown. I have no idea of what my hotel options are in the US. My only visits previously have been to big cities (New York and Chicago), and obviously travelling on a budget, this is one area I would like to have some freedom on, while keeping costs low (the classic balancing act)..

    Will do some more reading up on here, but if anyone has any tips for good chains to keep an eye on, then all info is welcome


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA! This is a DIY's haven, as we can help you plan your own trip that will have what YOU want in it, not what a travel agent thinks you want so that s/he can get a huge commission.

    Lodging: First tier up is the cheap motel. You can find coupons for good deals in a coupon book found at the state visitor center, some rest areas, and some truck stop/travel centers. Bear in mind that these are often only good for the first percentage of travelers who come into the motel, so it pays to pull in early. With no coupon, budget chains include Motel 6, Rodeway Inn, America's Best Value Inn. If you'd prefer something a little more upscale, yet still budget friendly, Super 8, EconoLodge, and Ramada Inn have good values, as does Days Inn in a few locales. Best Western moves up the budget ladder, followed by Hilton, Ritz-Carlton, and a few others.

    Reservations? It's all up to you. You can pay in advance, reserve with cancellation ability or play it by ear. We like reservations on a summer weekend, in a national park area, or when something special is needed. Actually, if you are considering Zion, Bryce, or Grand Canyon on this trip, you'll need reservations in those areas.


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


    It's totally up to you whether you book in advance or not, but places like the Grand canyon and Yosemite do book out, even during off peak season. Coming form Europe myself with limited time I actually like to book in advance and have peace of mind of knowing where my bed is for the night. You can get great deals booking on line and here at RTA you will find a reservations link to the right of this page. It will certainly give you an idea of costs and what options you get for your money.

    October can be a lovely time to travel through this area, although you will need to pack layered clothing and expect chilly to cold nights in the mountains. Three weeks is a nice amount of time for a loop in which you could enjoy the scenic coastline before heading inland to GC and then into Utah for Bryce and Zion NPs before heading down to Vegas, across Death valley to Yosemite and back to SF. Places like Monument valley, Four corners, Arches NP, Canyon lands and Capitol Reef are just a few of many options you could consider.

    Do a little research and study the maps and when you are ready we can help you put the pieces together for an amazing trip !

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    OK, you have 3 weeks. Decide how much of that time you want to spend on the road, and how much time you need to sit still some place and actually see something.

    Then, you need a map. A paper map, not the kind you see on a 5” screen (GPS or your phone) or a 15” screen (your computer). If you are planning a multi-state trip, a USA map, regional map, or a road atlas of the US will do for starters. Take a pencil, some sticky notes, or other way to mark up the map: what do you want to see? What looks interesting? After a few marks, you'll see a route starting to form.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Hotels in cities and in/near major attractions such as national parks will always be more expensive than in less built up areas. Example - Grand Canyon. You are looking at $100 or more anywhere close, but you can find $50 hotels in Flagstaff. You have to balance that against convenience and additional fuel usage. Please use our hotels search facility to get an idea of what's available at what price.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Alternative options.

    The drive in and out of national parks seems to be an issue with some folk. It can be an hour or more, but I have always found the drive from Flagstaff to either the south entry or the east entry, an interesting drive. I guess it all depends on how much interest you take in the country around you, as you drive along. It's all a mindset issue. Look on good paper maps and you will most likely see other attractions along your route. In the end it is a personal choice, whatever the budget demands, but don't necessarily think there is no other choice than to stay in, or on the doorstep of national parks.

    I doubt in a modern rental the fuel used to drive from Flagstaff and back would be anything like the money saved on a hotel.

    If you do not have any maps, and cannot obtain them locally, I suggest you go down to the RTA store link at the bottom of this page, and order a Rand McNally road atlas. It has excellent maps with many if not most attractions marked on them.


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