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  1. Default chattanooga tn to grand canyon

    Hi, after 2 or 3 yrs of wanting to, it seems we are finally going to be able to make a trip to the grand canyon. We want to do it before school lets out for the summer to avoid the heavier crowds, not to mention the heat.
    We are torn between flying and driving. We have points on a card so can either fly (5 people) or rent a van and drive. I am currently finding round trip tickets from Atlanta to Phoenix for approx $250 ea. But Im considering that we will probably spend an entire day getting to the airport(2-3hrs), waiting(2hrs), flying(4hrs), getting out of an airport, renting a car(1-2hrs) and repeat on the day home. So even though my husband says its only 4 hrs to fly there versus 24 hrs to drive there, realistically we will probably spend 20-24 hrs of the trip using a plane to get there? I know thats still half of the 50 hrs we would spend driving to get there and back. But we have the option of adding 2 extra days to our trip(9 instead of 7)...

    1. For those that have traveled long trips, both by flying and driving, can you tell me your overall preference and why?

    2. If we drive, is it realistic to drive 5-6 hrs each day and still try to use each day to see something? or is that exhausting? such as... 1st day: drive to memphis( see graceland) 2nd day: drive to oklahoma city area(is there anything to see there?) 3rd day: stop in Amarillo (route 66 historic district? cadillac ranch?), then on to tucumcari before stopping, 4th day: drive to albuquerque area(do i wanna explore santa fe?), then on to Gallup before stopping, 5th day: stop by the petrified forest and drive around flagstaff/sedona, 6th day: grand canyon, 7th day: head home......I can do 8 hrs of driving ea day and arrive home the evening of 9th day

    3. Flying. Day 1: get to atlanta, fly to phoenix, get a room. Day 2: drive to sedona/ flagstaff area and explore, day 3 :drive to grand canyon area and explore, day 4: glen canyon dam (or would u go the other way to hoover dam), day 5: drive back to phoenix, day 6:explore phoenix and pack, day 7: fly home. (anything you would suggest changing about this plan? something to see, not see?)

    4. If it were you, how would you plan it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    10,698

    Default 'Real world' drive times.

    Hi and welcome to RTA !

    The fact is that it is a solid 3 day drive in each direction with time only for basic rest stops, to eat and refuel etc and total time will be over 30 hours, or 10 to 11 hours each day which is going to be work like. With the time you have I would probably fly and spend time exploring in the west. If the Grand canyon is your main focus it would be a shame to drive all that way for a one day visit even though you can see things on the way. It seems you are getting drive time estimates from a computer which are not 'real world' where you will face traffic and construction delays and other human inconveniences a computer doesn't need, like sleep and eat.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default An easy way to calculate your time.

    When giving your flying option, you state it hour by hour how long it would take.

    To do the same for your road trip. Total the miles you plan to drive to all the attractions on your list, and divide by 55 to get the number of hours you will be on the road. Fifty Five is the average number of miles you will cover when driving on interstates. When taking US highways or other minor roads, count on averaging even fewer miles each hour.

    In other words, 500 - 550 miles is a full day on the road and will feel more like work than a holiday.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,994

    Default

    I have to agree with Dave, flying seems like the better choice here.

    I don't think you quite appreciate how far of a drive you're talking about. Sure, by the time you drive to ATL, get through security, fly across the country, and pick up a rental car, you're looking at a full day of travel - and the same coming back, so that's 2 days of your trip gone. But you're looking at about 1800 miles to make the drive, so that's a minimum of 3 days each way - and as Dave indicated, it's at least 30 hours on the road, and the very upper limit of how far you can travel in 3 days. In fact, it's actually a bit more than we'd recommend in 3 days, especially factoring in that you've got 5 people on board which will mean more frequent and longer stops will be needed.

    As you laid out your drive, what you'd laid out would technically be possible, you're spending 5 days to get to the Grand Canyon, and then spending only a single day there, before having a pretty grueling 3 day sprint back home.

    On the flip side, if you fly, you'd have anywhere from 5-7 days to explore the southwest. You've actually got a fair amount more time to add to your exploration than you've included now. Basically, you've given yourself 2 full days to drive a couple hours back to PHX and "pack." With the time you've got, you could think about going up to Monument Valley, perhaps to Zion National Park, or exploring other areas of Arizona, like the Petrified Forest - and that's if you still only take 7 days, instead of the 9 you were planning for your drive. You could also consider flying into Vegas, which might be cheaper and closer to some other attractions you might consider visiting.

  5. Default

    ok. we will just plan to fly then. I would like to ask some questions about trips around the grand canyon while there. I will start another thread since its kind of a different scenario......

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,994

    Default

    We have a one trip - one thread policy here at RTA, which helps to give people a better big picture look at your trip, and how it has evolved. Please ask whatever other questions you may have right here

    Thanks.

  7. Default

    oh ok. it usually the other way around at most forums, lol. They want you to keep the threads seperate if the content changes.
    Ok, so right now it looks like we will have a better chance of a nonstop flight if we fly from Atlanta to Las Vegas so we may start from that point.
    Its hard to preplan for an area and reserve hotel rooms when you arent sure if you will want to drive thru or explore certain areas. So I hope to get some opinions from you all here. We are 2 adults with 3 teens.
    Here are some spots that sound like I may want to hit:
    Hoover Dam (why is it $30 to tour here and $5 at Glen Canyon?! I thought they were very similar)
    Kingman (historic route 66 area?)
    Flagstaff/ Sedona area (what are must sees in these areas)
    Grand Canyon
    then maybe thru the painted desert and up to Page
    Should I see Glen Canyon Dam if I already did Hoover Dam? or should it be vice versus?
    on to Zion National Park
    then back down to Las Vegas

    Is this a good loop to make in 5 days? I counted up the mileage and it looks like a total of about 650 miles?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default Hotels for five.

    Quote Originally Posted by leenabug123 View Post
    We are 2 adults with 3 teens.
    Since almost all hotels have a maximum occupancy of four persons, here is a website to help you find hotels for five or more.

    Lifey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,994

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by leenabug123 View Post
    Hoover Dam (why is it $30 to tour here and $5 at Glen Canyon?! I thought they were very similar)
    Well, there are two tours at Hoover Dame, the complete tour that's $30, there is also the power plant tour that's $15.

    As far as the price difference, the fact that the Hoover Dam is just a stones throw away from Vegas and gets far more visitors the biggest reason for the price difference.

    Of course, you can look at either dam without going on a full tour.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,698

    Default

    You don't want to make the mistake of trying to cram too much in where your trip will once again be rushed but it's an amazing area with lots of options. One thing I would recommend is to have the Teens do some research and have their input so there is peace and harmony in the camp and it will be fun for all. Personally I would create a loop that first takes me to Zion NP, through Page to Monument valley and Grand canyon along route 66 through Seligman to Kingman. A few of the other options available to choose from (but not all) could include Valley of Fire, Bryce canyon, Glen canyon, Antelope canyon, Lake Powell, Horseshoe bend, Wupatki National Monument, Sunset crater, Walnut canyon, Sedona and Hoover dam.

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