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  1. #1

    Default 25 YO month trip Los Angeles - San Diego - Grand Canyon - Las Vegas - San Francisco

    Hello to you all and thanks to all the greats contributors that helped me setting up this trip!
    I'm a 25 year old french guy wanting to travel to your beautiful country.
    Nothing is yet set in stone so i'd like your input in my journey.

    I'll be arriving at LAX the 29th April i'll be staying there until the 5th of May because i'll be seeing two concerts the 3rd and 4th and renting a 60's mustang for a daytrip(2nd may) maybe to Kingman or/and by the ocean. I'll use this time to visit the beaches near maybe renting a bicycle.

    The 5th I have planned to go to San Diego for the week end until the 8th i have some friends there to party a bit.

    The 8th May i'll be going to Kingman or Pheonix depending on what you think is best, Phoenix as no appeal to me for now but i don't know this city.

    The 9th-10th Grand Canyon south rim sleeping there or nearby. Is it worth spending a whole day hear? Maybe using my legs a bit to see more?

    The 11th en route to Monument Valley if i find somewhere to sleep, and is it worth it going there after GC?

    The 12th back track a bit to Page AZ to see Lake Powell/ Antelope island or should i skip this?

    The 13th Bryce Canyon, not sure too, looks pretty!

    The 14th-16th(17th?) Las Vegas want to try shooting a gun, I heard this might be a good place to do it(safely) what can I do in Vegas, I'll play a bit but don't want to lose to much money :).

    17th Death Valley maybe Yosemite a bit not sure where to sleep there?

    18th Tiago pass/Yosemite is Tiago pass open this time of year? Or should i go down south of Yosemite?

    19th-22nd San Francisco (or an other stop before, suggestion welcome)

    23rd San José maybe just few hours or sleep there don't know if it's worth it

    24th-25th Going down route(highway?) 1 in a cabriolet (I'll swap rentals in SF or San José) taking my time enjoying views. Where should I stop, San Luis obispo, Prismo beach?

    26th-29th Santa barbara Malibu LA

    29th Back Home.

    So I'm open to suggestion, things I should see, things I should change, i'd like to use airbnb for cheap rooms but you can't find them in small cities, where should i sleep inexpensively.

    I have to workout(preparing french fireman entry), running(3times a week)and pull ups mostly (5times a week) can I run outside out there or is it too hot/cold/dangerous? Usually when I go running I find where to do my pull ups (child playground, construction...). Or should I find gyms that accept people for 1 session?

    I'd like to swap cars as much as possible to try few American cars(Ford, Chevrolet, Jeep...) Any car that I can rent is a must try? I know it's a bit more expensive to change car than to stay with one all the way but I don't mind.

    Should I get a car arriving in LA or can i use the public transport, maybe rent a bike. I think it would be fun. When I stay few days in LV, SF i thought of giving the car back and using transport to save a bit of money and to swap cars is it a good idea?

    I'll be doing most of my trip alone, I see we have a share the gas sub-forum but it seems kinda lifeless is it somewhere else i could post my route to share expenses.

    Thanks for your help! Hoping to share some wine with some of you on my trip.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    Tioga Pass in mid-May is a gamble. You really need to check within a couple of days of arrival, about the status. It can be open, though "not officially", or even closed on a moment's notice. We are having an El Nino year here in California, which has meant a bit more precipitation than usual, especially in the northern reaches.

    If possible, you should keep your car throughout your journey if you are looking to save a lot of money on one-way drop-off fees. Every time you drop a car in a different place than you picked it up, they will charge a fee.

    As for working out, many of the mid-range ($) motels offer a fitness room that you can use. Some make you prove that you know how to use certain pieces of equipment, first. If you have a gym membership at home, bring your card - you never know if a fitness place here in the States will offer a freebie visit.

    LA without a car is a nightmare. Keep the rental. The city is extremely spread out, taxis will therefore cost a LOT, buses-trolleys-trains make getting around difficult because of their schedules. Just be prepared to pay for parking.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Some thoughts to consider.

    Whether any place "is worth it", only you can decide. Many of us can't get enough of the great national parks of the west, and far rather spend our time there than in any city. At the GC there are many easy and short walks to lookout points. The best thing to do is to go to the visitor centre and speak with the rangers. They are very knowledgeable and will point you in the right direction.

    As already mentioned, to swap cars during a trip is to make the trip very expensive. One way drop fees can run into the hundreds of dollars. Best you choose one vehicle and stick with it for the complete trip. If you really want to experience different vehicles, then rent each for a day and do a round trip, taking it back to the same place.

    Heading down the Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1) you might be better off breaking up the drive in the San Simeon, Cambria, Morro Bay area.

    On 17th, look at the Ridgecrest or Bishop area if Tioga Pass is open. If Tioga Pass is not open, look at Lake Isabella/ Bakersfield.. Death Valley is one of those places where it is virtually essential to speak with a ranger at the visitor centre, to get the best out of this amazing landscape.

    Any special reason why you left out Zion? You will be going right past it, and it is a wonderful place to go for a walk or two.

    When in LA be sure to pick up some quality maps of the southwest, as you will be able to route your trip a lot better than electronic maps may take you. You will also see on maps which are the scenic routes through southern UT, and choose to drive them if the interest is there.

    Other than the flights, I would not set anything in stone. Since you are travelling on your own, you might find hostels to be affordable accommodation. There are many good ones in the area, especially the Lazy Lizard in Moab. The other travellers you meet at hostels could also affect the route you have chosen. And who knows, you may find a travelling companion. (On several occasions I have.) There are notice boards where these are posted. It is rare if there is not someone looking for a ride;. Some hostels will allow you to post before you even arrive. It's always worth a phone call.

    There is an excellent hostel in LA. Not the cheapest, but by far the safest/best. I have stayed there on each of my visits to LA. Right below the Hollywood sign.

    Whereas others may disagree, for most of my visits to LA I have not had a vehicle. It takes a little patience to wait for the buses, but the rail,and light rail are very good. Besides the hostel runs discounted tours to most attractions.


  4. #4


    Thanks for your advices, i'll be sure to check for Tiago pass, some rental car company offer the one way fee but i'll look out for fees thanks for the heads up.

    I'll check out the Morro Bay area seems like a good idea, same for Zion didn't really know about that place, thanks. I have the Rand McNally 2016 maps so should be enough right?

    And thanks for the hostels idea I don't know why I didn't think of it! I just checked the distances in LA I'll probably get a car there maybe not the first day though to try public transports.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    LA is not a city where you want to try to get around via Public Transit. It's just far too spread out for it to be an effective way to get around. If you were starting in Vegas or San Francisco, then it would be a different story, but LA is a car town.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default In that case LA is the perfect place to fulfill your dream.

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    ... but LA is a car town.
    That may just be the perfect opportunity to rent different vehicles on a daily basis, picking them up in the morning and taking them back in the evening. That way you would not be burdened with overnight parking fees. The hostel does not have private parking, but there is a parking lot across the road. In 2007 it was $10 for hostel guests to park overnight. No idea what it is today.

    The hostel runs entertainment trips at night to various night spots.... and of course, they have their own entertainment of movies and live shows in the upstairs bar.

    For the USA hostels, you need to book a few weeks in advance. They are very popular and nearly always booked out. At least in summer they are.


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