PUT TOGETHER A DREAM ITINERARY
Ideally, three weeks would be needed to cover all we’d like to see and do on our Southwest bound. If you are running short in time, you can trim whatever interests you the less. I would definitely try to save as many National Parks as possible. But that might be influenced by the fact that I spent a month working in Modesto, Northern California, and could already experience San Francisco, Yosemite and a few other cool spots in between.
Back to the point, here’s a dream route covering 19 unmissable spots through 4 different States: Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and California. From mind-blowing landscapes in some of the best and most iconic American National Parks to vibrant cities and famous road-trip paths like Route 66, this trip has something for everyone!
1. Las Vegas, NV, USA
2. Valley of Fire State Park
6. Oljato-Monument Valley, UT, USA
8. Horseshoe Bend
10. Kingman, AZ, USA
12. San Diego, CA, USA
16. Lake Tahoe
19. Death Valley
20. Las Vegas, NV, USA
We choose Las Vegas as the starting and final spot because it is right in the middle of the loop, easily accessible and also home to many affordable flights to the USA but of course, you are free to pick where to start and finish your adventure!
Also, in case you are the visual type, here’s an interactive route map for you to have an idea of how much land you’ll be covering:
Total distance is 1939 miles (3121 km) but I’d add a few hundred miles to that to be on the safe side. On the other hand, I tried to estimate the fuel cost but that could vary a lot depending on how you are planning to move from one spot to the next one. A bit more about this further on!
GET YOUR ESTA READY
ESTA aka ‘Electronic System for Travel Authorization’ is easy and quick to get authorization to travel to the United States for citizens of the countries that meet the requirements of the visa waiver program. These are the following ones:
The United Kingdom, Taiwan, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, South Korea, Slovenia, Slovakia, Singapore, San Marino, Republic of Malta, Portugal, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, Monaco, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Japan, Italy, Ireland, Iceland, Greece, Germany, Hungary, France, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, Czech Republic, Chile, Brunei, Belgium, Austria, Australia and Andorra.
So if you hold a passport from those countries and, unless you are entering the States by land from Canada or Mexico, you are going to need to take care of this.
With an ESTA in your hand, you can enter the US multiple times up to 90 days each during the 2 years before the authorization expires. Then, you will have to renew it and start over.
With an approval rate over 95%, helpful professionals ready to assist you 24/7 and money back warranty should your ESTA was denied, I would look no further and head to Estas.net for a worry-free and time-saving ESTA application.
RENT A CAR
Unless you are a sort of hitchhiking ninja, a biker, insanely rich – the kind that flights private jets like paper planes – or have lots of time and are fit enough to walk your way among the map dots, this is your best bet.
Well, then there is also going from one spot to the next one by public transportation if there is any or taking a tour by a private company but in that case, you wouldn’t probably reading this now, would you?
Renting a car could set you down about $250 per week. Of course, it can always go more expensive if you are returning it in another spot (those sometimes crazy one-way fees!) or cheap. Did I ever tell you that you can pretty much have it for free if you are aware of relocation last-minute requests and get lucky with your travel dates? Soon I’ll be talking more about this, no panic. But for now, you get the idea!
BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS AND ACCOMMODATION
Obvious and something you should take care of early enough. My best tip for booking cheap flights is keeping an eye on airlines and offer sites’ newsletters as well as spending a bit of time in the best flight search engine I know, ITA matrix by google.
As for where are you going to rest your head after a long day in the great outdoors, well the options are endless. From side road motels you can walk-in to the latest collaborative economy solutions there are tons of possibilities. Hotels, resorts, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, Airbnb ($30 Airbnb discount here), campsites, al fresco… you name it!
A FEW MORE TIPS
- Mind your companion. A day trip is different from a few weeks in a vehicle with someone that could end up driving you crazy. Choose wisely and do not fear to go on your own if that’s what you really want. If you are going with someone else, make sure to spend some time alone.
- Buy a National Parks Pass. $80 for a whole year is something worth investing in, especially when a single entry for one of them is already $10 to 25.
- Get a cooler, stock up at the supermarket, cook your own food when possible and refill your water bottle. Restaurants are not always conveniently located, especially not where nature is at its best and you will save a few bucks in every meal. Multiply for 3 weeks and there you go, you could avoid spending about $500 easily.
- Enjoy the ride. Trim spots if needed and feel free to rearrange your route as you go. That’s where the road-tripping magic resides.
ADD THIS PIN TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS:
Featured image by billyrichards