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  1. Default Trip idea near Yellowstone National Park

    I am planning to go to Yellowstone National Park at the end of May. I am from Atlanta and tickets to anything close to YNP looks pretty expensive. Kansas city is pretty cheap from here. So I was planning to fly to Kansas City and rent a car from there. I have 10 days for the trip, leaving on May 25th and returning June 4th. Can you guys give me some idea what my itinerary should look like? We (3 adults) really like nature and hiking and also planning to try camping for the first time. I really appreciate your input. I know Kansas City is very long way from YSNP. YSNP is our main focus for the trip, but we would also like to visit interesting places in surrounding areas. The price difference is $450(Denver)-$650(SLC) for 3 people. So I was wondering what places could we cover in 10 days. So far I have YSNP, Grand Teton, Rocky Mountain in mind.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Starting in Kansas would mean 4 to 5 of your 10 days would be spent driving out and back and you really need 3 to 4 days to do Yellowstone and the Teton's real justice. Heading out you could possibly visit Rocky mountain NP via I70 and on the way back visit Rushmore and/or Badlands NP to create a loop. There is a good chance you will burn an extra $120-$150 of gas driving from Kansas then you would Denver from where you would spend less time in the car, it's worth weighing up the Pro's and cons.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default time is money

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm not sure flying to KC really is a great idea. Sure, you will save money on your flight - but the reason you are saving money is because you are going less than half the distance. It's almost as far from Atlanta to KC as it is from KC to Denver! And even once you're Denver, you're still a day's drive away from Yellowstone!

    If you did your trip as you laid it out, you're going to spend at least half of your time traveling. It will take you 2 days to get to Rocky Mountain NP - 1/2 day to fly, a day and a half to drive there from KC. Spend a day at RMNP, spend a day driving to Grand Teton, a day in Grand Teton, you could spend 2 days in Yellowstone, but then you're looking at about 2.5 days to drive back to KC and then another half day flying back. So - it's possible, but it means you're really rushing through places.

    Sure, flying to Denver might cost more in terms of cash - but what are two days of time worth to you? Not to mention, the cost of gas for the extra 1300 miles of driving you'll be looking at. I the larger scheme of things, $150 per person seems like a pretty small price to essentially get two extra vacation days out of it.

    I would also suggest that if you want to try camping, you try some camping closer to home for at least a weekend first. You're going to want to get a sense of what you like/don't like, what you need/don't need, and what you're actually going to want to bring with you - especially noting that you'll have to factor packing it onto a plane.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Southern California
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    In working out our own trip this summer, I can tell you that KC to Yellowstone is going to be 3 long days in the car (about 450 miles per day) via the shortest route -- I-29 to I-80 to US-89. Some of that will be a little monotonous, but much will be very pretty. However, as was stated above, you might want to spend a little extra for the plane in order to spend less on gas and car rental. Denver or Salt Lake City would be better, though you could possibly land a decent deal on Boise.

    My husband and I used to tent camp across the country. I would concur with the sentiment to try it out first. (I am awash in funny memories of our first camp-out, trying to wash dishes under a spigot.) It's definitely cheaper than motels and restaurants, but you do need to allow time to tear down and repack your equipment into the car in the morning, and then to set up the camp at the end of your driving day. You also have to factor in showers someplace -- either by staying in a cheap motel every few days to take advantage of the shower and a comfortable bed, or by pulling into a truck stop and buying a shower that way. (Three showers can be just as expensive as a cheap motel, but there's no comfortable bed afterward.)


    Donna

  5. #5

    Default

    Depending upon the airline you are flying the cost differential may be larger or smaller depending upon baggage fees especially when it comes to checking the camping bags (size or weight excess plus standard bag fees). It is very doable but consider those costs as well as they vary by airline.

    Be sure your cooler is not over-sized, does not exceed 62 inches in L+W+D nor weighs more than 50 lbs (packed). You'll want to pack your basic cooking/drinking equipment in the cooler, including the camp stove (of course, no flammable liquids or propane canisters, but a propane-powered stove is recommended). Be sure the stove fits into the right-sized cooler.

    Flying to/from Kansas City (MCI) means two nights in motels or camping enroute to/from YNP, or 4 nights in-transit. The return leg will likely require an additional night close to MCI.

  6. Default Kansas City to Yellowstone

    We(3 adults) will be driving to YSNP from Kansas City. YSNP and GTNP will be my main focus of the trip, but I also wanted to stop by Denver/RMNP and Rapid City/Mount Rushmore. I will be leaving on May 26th and returning on Jun 4th, so I have 10 days. I see three routes so far: I-70 through Denver, I-80 through Lincoln. or I-90 through Rapid City. Can you guys suggest me an travel plan and places I should visit that I could fit in within 10 days. Also what would be the cheapest place to stay in YSNP except campgrounds. Will we find cheap roadside motels if we don't book in advance?

    Mod note. Please keep all questions regarding this trip in one thread.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 05-18-2016 at 09:32 AM. Reason: Merged.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    You will need to go on the Yellowstone site and check lodging options as there are quite a few. A cabin might work well for you but "cheap lodgings" and Yellowstone don't really go together. You may get some deals at this time of year in the town of West Yellowstone , it's a case of searching. You have already had answers to some of your questions above which you did not reply to, so please keep all comments and questions here. Badlands and RMNP along with Yellowstone and the Tetons will fill your time so it's a case of quickest routes in between really.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    If you look up, I already laid out how much you'd have to move to fit everything into your plan in 10 days. The variable will be what time you end up flying in/out of KC - and if you actually have 10 days, or if you really only have 8, plus 2 days stuck in airports.

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