We will go to Los Angeles in precisely one week. From there, our 3-week road trip around the Western USA will begin. This time the entire family is going, Ken, our 4 teens and myself.
This is how we got ready for our US road trip…
How to plan a route…
As a travel agent, I have planned a bunch of road trips in the US for couples, couples with children, larger families and groups. When talking about the west coast, you see a lot of people who wish to experience the classic route going from LA to Las Vegas and to San Francisco. However, many will also do detours because they have heard or read about something interesting. Some have read about places I didn’t even know existed!
All these bits of information gives me a tremendous amount of inspiration to my own travels. I have driven from Las Vegas to San Francisco before, however, this time we will be going for the large classic west coast route and with plenty of detours.
- 1 night in Bellflower, L.A, California (near our motorhome pick up)
- 1 night in Needles
- 2 nights in Tusayan (to explore Grand Canyon)
- 1 night in Moab (know it is a crazy tour, but I really want to see Monument Valley and Arches N.P)
- 2 nights in Bryce (to explore Bryce Canyon)
- 1 night each in
- Las Vegas
- Death Valley
- Mammoth Lakes
- 2 nights in Oakhurst (to explore Yosemite N.P.)
- 3 nights in San Francisco
- 1 night in Monterey
- 1 night in San Simeon
- 5 nights in L.A.
Motorhome or Minivan
After our route was planned, we had to figure out whether we wanted to take the trip in a motorhome or by car and pre-booked hotels. We quickly discovered pros and cons for both options. In a motorhome, you have to be prepared for a larger expense for gasoline. The benefit is you can save some money on the food budget since you got the kitchen and fridge with you. By car, it would be opposite. The gas is cheaper and you would have to get out and have meals 3 times a day.
We decided on a mixed plan. It means we will do the first part from LA to San Francisco in a motorhome and the trip from San Francisco to LA in a minivan, staying in hotels along the way.
Traveling in high season
Because we will be traveling in the ultimate high season, we, unfortunately, had to preplan all our layovers. It could have been fun just to head out on an impulsive motorhome adventure. Get that feeling of freedom on the road. The high season is defined as mid-June to mid-August. In that period you will find both airline tickets, hotels and RV campgrounds are getting rather expensive really quickly, even fully booked. I recommend you are out early and get yourself booked into the places you wish to stay at. Would be a shame to waste the vacation trying to find a place to stay.
We booked our airline tickets already back in September 2017. We got them at USD 480 each with British Airways and with only 1 stop in London. Another more detailed blog post about all our costs on the trip will be written when we get back home.
I love to explore and to be adventurous, therefore we have planned for plenty of experiences, sightseeing, trekking and challenges along the trip. We are going to river raft down the Colorado River, whale watching, chasing tumbleweed in Death Valley. We will see the lively Las Vegas and hug giant trees in Mariposa Grove. Countless miles will be walked in the many canyons and national parks and of course also watch spectacular sunrises and sunsets.
The girls want to see as many ghost towns as possible and get lost in the Harry Potter universe in Universal Studio.
I am pretty sure we will probably need a vacation when we come home 🙂
We need all the advice you can give…
I know it is a pretty tight route, but the nights are booked and my beloved boyfriend is prepared to drive the 3,000 miles.
So besides telling us how crazy the route is, could you please give us your best tips and tricks for the tour?
Is there a ghost town you can recommend – or a funny store – or a nice story for a place somewhere?
Do you know a cozy diner in San Francisco?
Or is there something we absolutely must not miss on our trip?
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