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3 weeks Road trip in CA including Las Vegas

Old Jan 10th, 2005, 03:53 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 49
3 weeks Road trip in CA including Las Vegas

Hi Fodorites!

We're thinking of doing a road trip during the August summer holidays starting at San Francisco and ending in San Diego. We'd like to include Los Angeles, Las Vegas and also the Grand Canyon stopping 3-4 days in each place. We've never taken a road trip of any kind before and we've never driven in the US either-we're Australians.

1. Which car rental company would you recommend? It's just for the 2 of us, we're in our late twenties. Any other tips would be great. I'm sorry for the vagueness/broadness of the question-but this is the first time we're attempting this so any advice would be great!

2. Alternatively to a road trip, what about flying around CA and also to Las Vegas from LA? Any websites that you maybe able to point us towards?

Thanks again!
missm is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2005, 05:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,404
Check all the car rental agencies, i.e. Alamo,Dollar, Hertz, Avis, National, etc. Frequently Alamo has the best rates altho we have rented from all of them at one time or another.

Driving down the coast of CA is a lovely drive, but long If you decide to fly I'd check Southwest Airlines, they are the least expensive and most reliable plus they fly to the cities you are going to.

It will be VERY hot in the desert areas and Las Vegas in Aug. It is about a 5 hr drive between LA and Las Vegas and temperatures can be well over 105-110 in the desert. Personally I'd fly, it's a one hour flight and costs less then $100 per person round trip.

Check ALL the hotel websites in Las Vegas. The best rates in the large resort hotels are Sunday through Thurs. nites. The weekends are much higher. I'd recommend the Mirage or Treasure Island for location, but really any of the strip hotels are fine and all offer special summer rates. You should check the rates frequently even after you make a reservation, they can go down and if you call their toll-free number they will adjust your rate to the lower one. All Vegas hotels ask for one night deposit on your credit card.

As for other hotels - it really depends on your budget, there are many chain hotels in CA that are just fine (Hampton Inn, Embassy Suites, Holiday Inn, etc.) It all depends on how much you want to spend. It is just easier dealing with a chain hotel because of the 800 toll free numbers I think.

You can drive to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas - stop at Hoover Dam along the way. I'd plan on staying overnite (at least one nite) at G.C. You will need to make reservations in advance there for August - it is the big tourist season !!

Enjoy your planning.
Lori is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2005, 05:50 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 62
Hi there we did the same thing last year and what a trip ... best info i can give is a site that one of your country man has done regarding his families trip last year check it out

Adrian Wales UK
adehug is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2005, 06:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,466
flying between the cities can be pretty reasonably priced but oersonally i'd want to see the country by driving as long as you don't mind heat. it will be very, very hot in vegas & the grand canyon in august. it's also cheaper if you return the rental car to the same city you pick it up in. i'd head out of san fran and do a circle of yosemite nat'l park (although it's very crowded in the summer - make reservations now), las vegas, grand canyon, san diego, la, monterey/carmel area, san fran.
ltt is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2005, 04:36 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 49
Thanks for the great advice and websites given to me so far. Just another question though-when should we start looking at booking our hotels? I just want to make sure that we get the best possible deals for this trip.

Thanks again.
missm is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2005, 10:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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i would recommend booking your hotels as soon as possible. any hotels i'm aware of will give you the better deal if the prices go down. book now and call or check their websites once in a while. if the price goes down, call the hotel and they'll adjust the rate. vegas rates can change almost daily.
ltt is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2005, 04:38 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 21,178
Consider camping. You are in prime national park territory. Yes, it is hot during the day, but temperatures drop in the evening. You can purchase complete camping equipment at stores like Target, Big 5 Sporting Goods, K-Mart for $250, including tent, air mattress, sleeping bags, stove, light, cooking equipment, etc. It will reduce your costs and you are more likely to meet people while camping then when staying in a hotel. of course, if you have never done any camping before, you might find the idea of purchasing such equipment and using it for the first time a little daunting.
Michael is offline  
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