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  1. #1

    Default Honeymoon, West Coast, 2018 - Ideas?

    Hello fellow road trippers.

    My FiancÚ and I have planned our honeymoon and decided that we want to do a road trip in the American West. The plan is to fly to vegas, rent a car, end up in LA and then fly home. I have been to the states before but never to the West and never road tripping. Please see below the proposed route we plan to take and time frames. If any of you could pass on some valuable knowledge that would be great. Any good hotels to stay in, places on the route not to be missed. The plan was to do it in a Mustang (Cliche, right) but i have read on a few sites that they are not very spacious in terms of luggage. We would have two large suitcases and a couple of small bags with us. Do you guys have any tips on what the best vehicle would be for our trip?

    Itinerary:

    Fly from Manchester to Las Vegas and stay in Vegas for 3 nights.

    Drive from Vegas on the 95 through Indian Springs to Death Valley Junction, through Death Valley to Lone Pine on the 190 and 136 and have one night in Lone Pine.

    Drive from Lone Pine on the 395 up to Yosemite National Park and have 2 nights there.

    Leave Yosemite on the 120 to Chinese Camp and then take the road E15 until we hit Copperopolis and join the number 4 which will take us through Farmington to Stockton (misses wants to go through Farmington). Then carry on the 4 and follow Sat Nav into San Francisco and have 4 nights there.

    From San Francisco we will leave and drive down the Pacific Highway on 1, until we get to Santa Barbara and have 2 nights there.

    Leave Santa Barbara and drive on the 101 and arrive in LA, 5 nights there and fly home on the 22nd.

    Is the above realistic for us? We are looking to go from 5th August to 22nd, i appreciate its some 11 months away but i believe hotels in Yosemite get booked up pretty quick. Any recommendations for us for places to stay? Not necessarily looking for the cheapest but the hotels will need to have parking facilities.

    Any information from those in the know would be greatly appreciated and will help us plan this trip of a lifetime.

    Thanks in advance.

    Elliott and Caz.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,697

    Default Lovely trip planned.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You have a nice trip planned and plenty to look forward to !!

    It's rare that when you book a car rental you actually get a guaranteed make and model, you book a class of vehicle and they give you an idea of what that might be or 'similar'. Yu didn't mention convertible but that is when space can become an issue. For best value and comfort you can't go far wrong with a mid size sedan but if you want something a little more special go for it. We have found rentalcars.com to offer good value but it's best to shop around.

    As for lodging in Yosemite, well you can't beat staying in the park if the budget can cope with it so look at your options on the Yosemite NP webpage. Surrounding towns like Mariposa, El Portal and Groveland offer alternatives but yes your right, they do book up early.

    I would recommend spending a night at the Grand canyon National park. Beware of tours from Vegas that take you to the west rim which is not part of the National park and nowhere near as spectacular as the real thing.

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

    Default Grand Canyon

    Why not fly into and out of Vegas? Take a couple days from LA, head direct to the Grand Canyon, spend a day or so there, then back to Vegas for the flight home. Could safe you on both air fares and car rental.

    As Dave warned, the many ads you will see in Vegas, for the Grand Canpn, rarely go the magnificent National Park. You can drive from LA to the Grand Canyon in an easy day, and back to Vegas in just over half a day.

    Lifey

  4. #4

    Default

    Southwest Dave:

    Thank you for the reply. To be honest I always had visions of us driving round the west coast in a convertible Mustang but further research has led me to believe the space is shocking. It is frustrating that the hire companies cant guarantee a model to you, I mean they must have a record of what's in and out at any one time, but hey ho, their company their rules. Maybe an intermediate SUV would solve the space issue. I shall check out the site you recommended. :-)

    Lifemagician:

    Again thank you for the reply. I have been to the Grand Canyon before, what an amazing place it is. I was looking in to doing that this time around via helicopter, as Caz has never been but we could factor this into one of the days we will have in Vegas if I could drive there and back in a day and have the time to have a wander around and appreciate the canyon. Our flights have already been booked as we got them at a really good price so its in to Vegas and out of LA but thanks for the recommendation.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default Npt a day trip!

    The Grand Canyon is not a day trip from Vegas. You will need to overnight there. It is too far for you to go there and back, and have the time to have a wander around and appreciate the canyon, in one day. Helicopter rides over the National Park are available at the Grand Canyon Airport, which I think is in or near Tusayan.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,987

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tronik99 View Post
    It is frustrating that the hire companies cant guarantee a model to you, I mean they must have a record of what's in and out at any one time, but hey ho, their company their rules. Maybe an intermediate SUV would solve the space issue. I shall check out the site you recommended. :-)
    Many companies will let you reserve a specific model, especially for high end cars, but there is also typically an extreme price premium.

    You need to remember, for most rental companies have about a dozen different models for each regular car class, and for them to be able to say which specific model will be available exactly when you arrive to pick up your car just isn't realistic. On the flip side, several of the larger companies will let you pick out specific car/model of what they have available in the class you've reserved.

    SUV rentals typically cost 2 to 3 times more than a standard sedan, and the amount of luggage you can fit in a large sedan is certainly more than most airlines will allow you to bring on board.

    I was looking in to doing that this time around via helicopter, as Caz has never been but we could factor this into one of the days we will have in Vegas if I could drive there and back in a day and have the time to have a wander around and appreciate the canyon.
    As others have mentioned, helicopter tours from Vegas only go to the West Rim, which really is not the same as going to Grand Canyon National Park.

    Grand Canyon National Park is a solid 5 hour drive, each way, from Vegas, so your idea that you could drive there and back in a day, and have time to wander around is just not realistic. There simply is no way you can appreciate the canyon as a daytrip from Vegas.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,219

    Default

    Your best deal on a rental car will be with a "full size car". This is actually what we would call a mid-size car, what we would call a full size car they call a premium or luxury car. The local Avis agency here rents a Kia Optima as a full size.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,321

    Default Another Country Heard From

    When my wife and I do internal (US) fly/drive trips we find that invariably the best car rental deals are on what the rental agencies call either "Intermediate" or "Mid-Size" cars. These are usually the best compromise between the slightly cheaper, but less utilitarian, "Economy" or "Compact" classes and the larger "Standard" or "Full Size" classes which provide a bit more room, but also use more fuel and can be harder to park. Mustangs would fall under "Convertible" or "Specialty" classes depending on the particular rental agency's nomenclature.

    We have never had a problem fitting our luggage in the trunk/boot, and frankly we just feel more comfortable in the smaller, but not too small, cars. The only time we've ever had a problem with a car is when we rent/drive in the UK where the roads are sometimes so narrow that they can't afford to waste space on a centerline. You will not have that problem anywhere in America.

    One more thing about your desire to rent a convertible. You really don't want to. In August in the desert Southwest, temperatures can easily reach 100║F (38║C) and you'll want an enclosed coupe with excellent air conditioning far more than you'll want to be able to drop the top and 'enjoy' the sun.

    Now, on a different topic: lodging. When we stay at hotels/motels, we are also seeking the best deal between cheap/scary and luxurious/pricey. Actually, we find that if we're going to be spending a week or so in a given place, it is often cheaper to rent an entire home/apartment than a simple motel room. A few sites where you can look for such accommodations are VRBO, HomeAway, and Red Week, or you can just run a web search on the name of the town and 'vacation rental'. For shorter stays, AirBnB is our go-to source. We have on occasion (we have such a trip coming up) rented a home for a full week even knowing that we'll only be there five days. The pricing and extra convenience just works out for us.

    If you just want a motel room that's not a flea bag, first stay away from military bases. Then look for one of the many very worthwhile mid-level chain motels such as Days Inn, Holiday Inn, Choice Motels, Comfort Inns, Clarion, and various Marriott properties. The other thing that might prove useful to you is to, once you've located a prospective motel, go on Google Maps and use 'Street View' to actually have a look at the property and the surrounding neighborhood.

    AZBuck

  9. #9

    Default

    AZ BUCK:

    Thank you for the reply and the information it has given me some more research to do.

    Having taken on board your comments regarding the convertible and the weather, as well as my initial concern surrounding the space, I have looked at intermediate and mid size SUV's and think they would be perfect for this trip. The cost surprised me too, very low compared to some of the smaller vehicles available. I know exactly what roads you are talking about here in the UK. Very narrow and no marking, good luck driving a Chevy Suburban down one of those country lanes.

    I hadn't actually thought about renting a house until you mentioned it and the prices again seem very good when comparing to hotels. I think this option would work well for us when in San Francisco and LA as we are having 4/5 days there. A basic hotel or motel would do us fine for our 1/2 night stopovers in Lone Pine (although this seems sold out already) and Santa Barbara. We are considering a one night stop between driving from San Fran to Santa Barbara down the coastal road as I have read this could be a good 8 hour slog to do it one go.

    Again thanks for the input.

    Elliott

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,505

    Default

    We are considering a one night stop between driving from San Fran to Santa Barbara down the coastal road as I have read this could be a good 8 hour slog to do it one go.
    This is definitely NOT an 8-hour trip, as it is slow-going and you'll want to stop at the many scenic viewpoints along the way. Cambria is a good halfway point that many use.

    Lone Pine (although this seems sold out already)
    Lone Pine is small, so being booked for next summer isn't too surprising. Try Bishop, you might have better luck there. There are far more lodging choices there.


    Donna

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