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  1. Default Thoughts on my planned trip? LV - SF - LA (April/May 2010)

    Hello All,

    I am planning a 3 week trip to the Southwest USA for April / May 2010 for two adults. After plenty of reading up on the forums here and lots of other magazines and travel company itineraries we have come up with the itinerary we would like to follow:

    Flight London – Las Vegas (pick up car from airport). Stay in Las Vegas for 3 nights (to include a day trip to Grand Canyon)

    Drive LV - DVNP. Stay in Death Valley Park for one night.

    Drive DVNP – Sequoia National Park. Stay in/around SNP one night.

    Drive SNP – Yosemite National Park. Stay in YNP for 3 nights.

    Drive YNP - San Francisco. Stay in SF for 3 nights

    Drive SF - Nappa Valley. Stay in NV for 2 nights.

    Drive NV - Monterey/Carmel area. Stay in M/C for 2 nights

    Drive M/C - Cambria Stay in Cambria for 2 nights

    Drive Cambria to Santa Barbara. Stay in SB for 2 nights

    Drive SB - LA. Stay in LA for 2 nights

    Flight LA – London (drop off car at the airport)

    Transport - We plan on hiring a small/medium sized car which would need to have unlimited mileage and we would also need to be able to pick this up in one place and drop off in another.

    Accommodation – double room in hotels (unsure of approx price per night we would be looking at paying at the moment)

    I would appreciate any comments on the planned itinerary and whether there could be any changes to improve it? We have purposely kept one night stays to a minimum, prefering to spend at least 2 nights in places.

    We will leave around 17th April, returning 3 weeks later (around 8th May.

    My final question is, in others experience, would it be better to book the trip with a travel company all in, or to book all the seperate parts ourselves (e.g. flights, car and accomodation). Does it make much difference in the cost?

    Thanks in advance for any help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Great job !

    There is nothing to Wonky about your plan, Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Your trip looks in good shape but a couple of pointers are as follows.

    1] The Grand canyon is more than a day trip from Vegas if you want to get there under your own steam. Flights from Vegas usually go the West rim on Indian lands and although I am sure spectacular it is not the National park where you would have seen the many photo's taken of it. I would definitely try and squeeze in an overnight stop at the South rim and witness a sunrise and give yourself time to explore some of the many great viewpoints.

    2] Although there isn't to much in it time wise, you could head through a bit of Gold country on the 49 and cut across to Napa and then to SF over the Golden gate bridge. It would save you having to come back on yourself.

    I usually find it better to book things myself but in the present economic climate you never know what deals might be about so I would check every avenue. If you use comparison sites for Hotels it's always worth checking to see if the Hotels of your choice have their own site, it's often cheaper to go direct, if not they normally have a "price promise" to match any other deals.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default timing

    I completely agree with Dave that the Grand Canyon is too much for a daytrip from Las Vegas, and when looking at the pacing you've set up for the rest of your trip, I think you would really regret not spending at least one night (if not two) here.

    You should also know that DV to Sequoia is a very full days drive. Certainly doable, but it really won't leave you time to explore the park much that day. It will still be possible to do a nice tour of Sequoia, and arrive at Yosemite late the following day - just keep in mind the timing.

    If you need to get some time "back" for those things, I think you could cut down on the amount of time you spend on the coast. Its hard to spend too much time anywhere, but 6 days is a lot of time here. Specifically, 2 days each for Cambria and Santa Barbara seems a bit much. I would much rather spend 2-3 nights total between those towns, and add in one or two overnights at the Grand Canyon.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Liverpool, England


    I did a similar road trip last year!! Your going to have a great time!!!

    My experience of booking in advance or on arrival varies!! I found the things I booked from the Uk turned out to be overpriced! Our best results were when we booked on arrival at various Motels (which were of a good standard) and we also brought our laptop and booked 1 or 2 days in advance on were we got some real bargins!! for example we stayed in the King George In San Fran for $70pn!! All other websites had the rate at $160!! just pick the area you want to stay in, select the Star rating and take a chance!! We used it for 8 of our nights and each time found a good hotel!!!

    Anyway I could go on all night!! So Il go!! Enjoy!!!

  5. #5

    Default Grand Canyon

    I would definitely cut down on some of the coastal journey and allow more for Grand Canyon. Two nights minimum, three maximum.
    We have been to all the places that you have mentioned. I would give Sequoia a miss and take the road from Death Valley through Yosemite, where I would spend two or three nights. The pass usually opens late May, so this may not be a possibility.
    A night in Death Valley is good. Getting out onto the sand dunes at sunset is a great experience that many travellers miss.

  6. #6

    Default How about Phoenix and Sedona

    Checking your post, I guess that my advice about the road to Yosemite is a non-starter, as the pass may not be open.
    My problem with Vegas to the Canyon, is that you have to travel back the same way. This is why, in the past we have started our trip from Phoenix. This way, we take in Sedona and then have Vegas to look forward to after the Canyon.

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