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  1. Default Las Vegas Road Trip and Surrounding Areas

    Hi All,
    Myself and my partner are looking at a road trip of a life time. we have had the following suggested by a agent. Any suggestions or advise would be great. Is the weather ok, will be have time. Are the hotels ok? etc etc

    Uk to Vegas 2nd June. Arrive at 19.20
    Vegas 1 night, trying to stay at Luxor
    Pick the car up next day
    Springdale 2 Nights Majestic View Lodge
    Bryce Canyon 1 Night Best Western Rubys Inn
    Moab 2 Nights Best Western Greenwell Inn
    Monument Valley 1 Night Gouldings Lodge
    Grand Canyon 1 Night Kachina Lodge
    Lake Havasu City 1 Night Heat Hotel
    Palm Springs 2 Nights Riviera Palm Springs
    San Diego 4 Nights Kona Kai Resort and SPa. Is it worth 4 nights in San Diego.
    Fly Los Angeles 17th at 19.50

    Is it worth looking at a day trip from San Deigo to Mexico??

    Look forward to any advice.

    Lewis :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Just Some Odds and Ends

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    What your agent has laid out for you is a fairly standard 'highlights of the Southwest' RoadTrip with relatively upscale accommodations. There is certainly nothing wrong with it and it will, in fact, get you to most of the places that visitors to this area try to include on their itineraries. With that said, I'll just add a few pointers that will help make a truly memorable trip just a bit better. I will first note that none of your drives are going to be particularly long. This is probably especially important for your first day's drive to Springdale, when you'll still be getting over a bit of jet lag, so a drive that's only a few hours should let you sleep in and still get to Zion before dark. When you arrive at Zion, purchase an annual national parks pass. Those are $80 but will get you (and everyone in your car) into all national parks and monuments for a year. With at least four national parks on your itinerary, this will save you a bit of money and also a bit of time at each park's entry point.

    Note that Monument Valley, however, is not a national park but a Navajo Tribal Park, so your pass will not work there. I would also highly recommend that you not use your hire car to tour this park. The roads are exceedingly rough. To see the park at its best (and not damage your car) hire a native guide who will take you through the park in a high-ground-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle.

    The one spot where you could probably use a bit more time is in the Flagstaff area. There is so much more to see there than just the Grand Canyon, spectacular though that might be. Staying at the Kachina Lodge (literally on the rim of the Grand Canyon) will let you savor the best views of the canyon, particularly at sunset and sunrise, but you might also want to consider taking a little time on the day you drive down from Monument Valley to take a brief tour of Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. Again, your national parks pass will get you in for free. On the other hand, I think you could pass up the night's stay in Lake Havasu City. The only real attraction there is London Bridge which was moved stone by stone to this location and reassembled. There has since been an ersatz English village built up around it, but if you're used to reality this really won't impress you.

    In a word, it is not worth trying to cross the border into Mexico south of San Diego. First of all, Tijuana is a hub for drug smugglers and illegal border crossers, so it's not a terribly wonderful tourist Mecca. Secondly, I can almost guarantee that your car hire company will not let you take their car across the border, and even if they do you will be required to buy additional insurance from a Mexican insurance company before the Mexican authorities will let you drive in.

    Let us know if you have any other specific questions.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    I've known people who have stayed at the Kona Kai. It is on Shelter Island, where there are some decent places to eat, too! A long time ago, we enjoyed the Bal'i Ha'i restaurant - not sure if it's still good or not as we haven't been down there in a long time. (Yelp reviews are mostly very positive.) You're close to a lot of other things, too, including Cabrillo National Monument and downtown, both within short drives (but not walking distance).

    There is PLENTY to do in San Diego -- Click on this thread. Three days? You'll be busy!!!!

    FWIW, we totally agree with AZBuck about going to Tijuana: DON'T GO. It's not worth it.

    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Something your travel agent may not have told you.

    Did your travel agent tell you about the reciprocal arrangement between AA and AAA? If you are a member of your local AA, be sure to bring your membership with you. It will give you access to free maps and tourism information from the AAA. You could, while you are in Las Vegas, pick up maps of Arizona, Utah and California, as well as detailed maps of San Diego and Los Angeles - Las Vegas too, if you do not have one by then.

    AAA maps are incredibly detailed and will give you a good idea what else there is along the way, that may interest you for a short stop. It is always great when you are ready for a short break, to have something of interest to check out, many of which you will not find on little screens.

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Donna, my sister used to work at the Bali Hai many years ago as a banquet server. We ate there off the regular menu about 5 years ago and it was excellent. Not cheap by any means, plan on 50 bucks a person for dinner by the time you get done.

  6. #6

    Default

    San Diego has a lot to offer. Tijuana not so much -- I've been there a few times, but never needed to back after the first time. Plenty of great Mexican food around San Diego and San Diego county... many of the Roberto's, Alberto's and such small shops are very good. Old Town San Diego has several very good Mexican restaurants and several rather bland ones that are pitched to tourists. The Agave in Old Town has some great tequilas and agaves, if you drink, and also several molé dishes to choose from.

    I strongly recommend arriving to LAX many, many hours before your scheduled departure as the traffic between San Diego and Los Angeles can be horrendous -- just greater LA can throw you off several hours. An LAX airport hotel is often times a good idea (you can probably leave your luggage at the hotel before going to the airport) although your early evening departure is a little awkward to working around a Los Angeles itinerary. Venice and Manhattan Beaches are nearby and a good way to work off some steam before the long flight back to the UK.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    What your agent has laid out for you is a fairly standard 'highlights of the Southwest' RoadTrip with relatively upscale accommodations. There is certainly nothing wrong with it and it will, in fact, get you to most of the places that visitors to this area try to include on their itineraries. With that said, I'll just add a few pointers that will help make a truly memorable trip just a bit better. I will first note that none of your drives are going to be particularly long. This is probably especially important for your first day's drive to Springdale, when you'll still be getting over a bit of jet lag, so a drive that's only a few hours should let you sleep in and still get to Zion before dark. When you arrive at Zion, purchase an annual national parks pass. Those are $80 but will get you (and everyone in your car) into all national parks and monuments for a year. With at least four national parks on your itinerary, this will save you a bit of money and also a bit of time at each park's entry point.

    Note that Monument Valley, however, is not a national park but a Navajo Tribal Park, so your pass will not work there. I would also highly recommend that you not use your hire car to tour this park. The roads are exceedingly rough. To see the park at its best (and not damage your car) hire a native guide who will take you through the park in a high-ground-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle.

    The one spot where you could probably use a bit more time is in the Flagstaff area. There is so much more to see there than just the Grand Canyon, spectacular though that might be. Staying at the Kachina Lodge (literally on the rim of the Grand Canyon) will let you savor the best views of the canyon, particularly at sunset and sunrise, but you might also want to consider taking a little time on the day you drive down from Monument Valley to take a brief tour of Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. Again, your national parks pass will get you in for free. On the other hand, I think you could pass up the night's stay in Lake Havasu City. The only real attraction there is London Bridge which was moved stone by stone to this location and reassembled. There has since been an ersatz English village built up around it, but if you're used to reality this really won't impress you.

    In a word, it is not worth trying to cross the border into Mexico south of San Diego. First of all, Tijuana is a hub for drug smugglers and illegal border crossers, so it's not a terribly wonderful tourist Mecca. Secondly, I can almost guarantee that your car hire company will not let you take their car across the border, and even if they do you will be required to buy additional insurance from a Mexican insurance company before the Mexican authorities will let you drive in.

    Let us know if you have any other specific questions.

    AZBuck

    Thank you for the detailed reply AZBuck. You have helped us to decide this is the correct holiday for us. We also agree with you on the mexico border, so will we not bother with this. Also we are going to add a extra day or 2 to grand canyon and travel straight down to palm springs and not stop at lake havasu city.

    With Grand Canyon and suggestions on trips or things We MUST see.

    Whats the weather like at the beginning of june. Will it be too hot. Will there be a lot of insects, flies etc.

    Excellent information about the national parks, This will be a must for us. We are trying to keep costs down.

    Is it worth the upscale hotels or should we just look at budget. We don't mind where we stay just love to have some great views from the hotels. Any sugguestions on hotels with views would be great.

    Luxor........ Would you say this is one of the nicest hotels in Las Vegas. We just want a experience.

    Any more help would be great.

    Thanks

    Lewis

  8. Default

    Thank you all. I think we have crossed Mexico off the todo list for this trip. Thanks for the tread link about San Diego trips etc. Any other MUST see places along the way.

    I hear that San Diego has a motor museum. I am very much into my cars. Is this worth it??

    Thanks

    Lewis

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lewisfox86 View Post
    Thank you all. I think we have crossed Mexico off the todo list for this trip. Thanks for the tread link about San Diego trips etc. Any other MUST see places along the way.

    I hear that San Diego has a motor museum. I am very much into my cars. Is this worth it??

    Thanks

    Lewis
    There are a couple of very nice automobile dealers in La Jolla, just north of San Diego. One is located just as you are approching La Jolla on La Jolla Blvd from the south. Turning right onto Pearl St. you will find a few more over the next several blocks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Time and miles through LA.

    Quote Originally Posted by landmariner View Post
    I strongly recommend arriving to LAX many, many hours before your scheduled departure as the traffic between San Diego and Los Angeles can be horrendous -- .
    This is so true. A couple of years ago it took me more than four hours from San Juan Capistrano to LAX (without stopping), a distance of 57 miles which google says can be done in less than an hour. It wasn't even rush hour (though it might have been by the time I got there).

    Lifey

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