Jan 11th, 2008, 03:05 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2008
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We have 10 days to travel from Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon, (have booked South and North Rims) and then we have 10 weeks to tour around some nearby national parks.

Figured that it would be not so stressful driving if we hired a car/or campervan in Las Vegas rather than LA. (not sure of which car hire company is best).

Is there a greyhound bus that we could catch to LV. And from LV to the GC, are there any short side trips to do, or should we go straight to the GC. We could do Las Vegas when we return the car.

Also, any advice on budget accommodation in LA and LV.

Hazeldene is offline  
Jan 11th, 2008, 07:12 AM
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10 WEEKS to tour? Wow, you can see everything!

You can take MEGABUS from L.A. Union Station to Las Vegas, or fly cheaply from Burbank Airport on Southwest Airlines. From there, I'd start with Zion National Park...but it depends on what time of year you're trip is.
joesorce is offline  
Jan 11th, 2008, 02:50 PM
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There are several options for renting an RV/campervan from LA...more than in Las Vegas. There are 2 national companies: Cruise America and El Monte RV but the best is an independent company Altman's Winniebago they have newer and better equipped vehicles.

I've worked 12 years for Cruise America and would rent from them over El Monte.
BWBlakely is offline  
Jan 13th, 2008, 02:17 AM
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Thanks heaps for the info, is it easy to drive a rental car from LA city, bit nervous about driving in such a big city, our Perth only just over 1 million people and has only a couple of easy to use freeways.
Hazeldene is offline  
Jan 13th, 2008, 02:25 AM
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Also, will be in US in eary May
Hazeldene is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 12:09 PM
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It is more direct to drive from L.A. to the GC south rim. Then, from the GC north rim you can go see Bryce and Zion. It is a very direct 3 hours from Zion to Las Vegas.

If you do travel from Vegas to the GC, I think you go across the Hoover Dam, which is a great thing to see. Not much else on the way that I can think of.

Hiring an RV is quite expensive! You may do better with a regular car and modest hotels. All the major rental car companies are similar. If you are flying home from LAX, the rental rates should be better if you start with the car in L.A. and return it to the same place. Driving here is not THAT bad!

Are you planning to see the major National Parks in Arizona and Utah? Death Valley?

May weather should be wonderful, enjoy your visit!
gigib is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 12:52 PM
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I would much prefer to rent a small car and stay in motels, rather than rent an RV. You will constantly be worried about finding places to stop, getting up or down mountain roads. You also will not be able to get into some parts of parks that have narrow or winding roads.

Honestly, it looks like a big headache to me.
Jan 17th, 2008, 07:25 PM
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Thanks All for the info. Ideally we would like to rent a small camper not a big RV - something about the size of a Toyota HiAce camper or a bit bigger, but have not been able to see anything like this on the web. ANY IDEAS. This would give us the flexibility of camping or doing motels. Yes Gibig, we hope to go to Arizona and Utah too. We have a 4wheel drive and are used to country travel in Oz. Were hoping to wing it a bit, and not book anything too far in advance and book the one vehicle for the whole 10 weeks.

Hazeldene is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 08:33 PM
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With 10 weeks I would go to
Yosemite(4 days), Sequioa(2 day), Death Valley(3 days), Las Vegas (3 days), Grand Canyon (1 day north rim, 1 day south rim, and 3 day raft trip, Zion (4 days), Bryce (3 days), Capital Reef(3 days), Moab/Arches/Canyonlands (5 days),Mesa Verde/Durange (4 days), Petrified Forest (1 day), Monument Valley (1 Day). Yellowstone/Grand Tetons (5 Day), Glacier (5 days).

I'm so jealous, 10 weeks in National Parks would be one heck of a trip.

Rent an suv and just buy a tent for $50. You can camp where you want to and stay in Lodge/motel/hotel when you want to. Finding accomadations in Vegas will be the easiest part of your trip. I think you might want to plan you National Parks out somewhat or you might wind up in the tent a lot.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 09:05 PM
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What about a camper van? Here is a website with some ideas and a rental place near San Francisco:

YOu can find more by Googling "camper van rental California".

Make sure you purchase a National Parks Pass---$80 will get you into every national park in the US for a year.

Individual parks are $20 to $25, so you save after the first 4 parks. And in some popular parks (like Yosemite and Grand Canyon), there is a separate, faster line for pass holders.
enzian is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 09:22 PM
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If you're trying to save money, renting a campervan is not a way to do it. In the US, this is expensive and considered a luxury, not a way to save money. It will be much cheaper for you to rent a small car and stay at budget accomodations.

You should really rent a car in LA itself as it is huge and spread out, and public transportation is not very efficient. If you're going to be using buses, you may be spending 1-1.5 hours going one way with two connections for a drive that takes 30 mins. Plus, some sights are not accessible by bus at all. Don't be afraid of driving in LA. It's a car city and easy to navigate. Get a car with a GPS system and you'll be set. You'll be already spending $50 on a cab from the airport to central LA. Might as well use that money and rent a car for the entire day and enjoy your freedom. Really, it's hard to get lost.

The drive via car from LA to Vegas is only 4-5 hours. Just don't drive on Friday or Sunday, and you'll be fine. Stop for a night in Death Valley on the way. Grand Canyon is 4-5 hours from Vegas. You may want to rent the car for the entire time you'll be in California, Nevada and Arizona so you can see everything at your own pace, and conveniently. For visiting national parks, you really need a car in the US.

In terms of where to stay in LA, you should decide what things you will want to do while in LA as it's very spread out. If you're not goign to rent a car, your options will be limited in order to be convenient to public transportation. Run a search here. Once you figure out what you will do, we can help you with hotel recommendations. It would also help to know how much you can spend per night.
smartcookie is offline  
Jan 18th, 2008, 10:24 AM
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Posts: 18,265
You would want to look under "recreational vehicles" in the yellow pages.

Two outlets in the LA area are

I don't have any personal experience with these, but at least you can get an idea on prices.

My friends with a large RV report that their gas costs are about $100 per day when they are traveling. RV'ing is only cost effective if you aren't moving around too much. The rental spots are not terribly expensive, $15-$25 is what I recall her saying. They mostly stay in the National Parks and forests, but sometimes also a commercial RV park.

Maybe some other Fodorites with hands on experience can add to this.
mlgb is offline  
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