How to Plan the West America Route?
When you put your mind to the West America journey, the first point you have to decide should be where to fly. San Francisco or Los Angeles? I think Los Angeles because if you start your trip from Los Angeles and finish in San Francisco like we did, you will have a tremendous budget earning since you won’t need a car in SF and parking fees in San Francisco start from $ 35 per day.
As a very good credit card user, I spend all my expenses by card and earn miles like crazy. I can recommend Miles & Smiles Platinum card to those who consider this. Flying to LA and returning from SF was a superb planning for our trip because we both made a profit of 55 Dollars per day by delivering the car early, since we will not be driving on the last day in SF, and we saved a total of 270 Dollars by avoiding the daily parking fee of 35 Dollars for 3 days.
How Many Days Needed for the West America Route? How was our route?
On our West America route, where we traveled 3200 km in 10 days and traveled to 4 provinces including California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah, our program was as follows.
- Los Angeles 2 nights accommodation, driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on the morning of the 3rd day and reaching Vegas in 4 hours
- Las Vegas 2 night stay, next day departure in the morning for Grand Canyon
- Las Vegas Grand Canyon ride, stopping at Williams town on the way before the canyon to be on the legendary Route 66 and touring the Grand Canyon, reaching the town of Arizona Page in the evening and accommodation in Page
- Going to Page Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Canyon and departing to return to Los Angeles at noon, leaving the hardest part of the road behind and reaching LA
- Ocean side road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco: Complete Santa Monica, Malibu, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Pismo Beach, Big Sur, Bixby Bridge and stay in Monterey on the Pacific Coast Highway 1 route
- The next day, Carmel By The Sea, the famous “17 Mile Drive” driving route, reach Santa Cruz and San Francisco and stay
I will give my information and advice about the trip in detailed Travel Guides for each city, but until those articles come to the blog, based on my experiences on this trip, I would like to give advice on the West America Travel Route:
- Los Angeles is truly a marketing wonder. It can be very nice to live here if you have serious savings or earnings, but the things it promises you in touristic terms is not incredible. For this reason, I think it was quite enough to spend 2 days here.
- Las Vegas is the Sin City, so you have to have a lot of money to have extreme fun here too, because it’s all about spending money. For this reason, 2 nights is quite enough. Make sure to stay in the area called the Las Vegas Strip or you will be out of everything, the whole thing turns on the strip. And definitely pre-fill all your evenings by buying tickets to shows in Vegas. My advice is not to miss the Cirque Du Soleil’s!
- When you set off from Vegas for the Grand Canyon, there is the Hoover Dam, which everyone stops by. We also stopped by, but I think it was unnecessary. Don’t worry if you don’t want to waste time.
- The Grand Canyon has many places to visit, the first thing is to go to the Visitor Center, choose a route and ask the officials to guide you. We chose Desert View, which we can build with our own car, instead of the Hermit Route, which is made with the buses of the canyon preferred by most tourists, because we could connect directly to the Page road we want to reach from the exit of this road. For this reason, orientation according to your route is important, do not skip it.
- Antelope Canyon was the climax of this journey. I made one of my dreams come true. If it is among your “Bucket List” items, make a reservation in advance for this wonder of nature that will be right in the “To Do Before You Die List”. It doesn’t matter the Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon, they are both very beautiful, there is no room for the best sunshine hours for both months before 10:00 – 11:00, act quickly. The only reason Upper is so famous is that the world’s most expensive photograph was taken here. Lower is also very beautiful, we visited it, don’t be mistaken. Walking from the parking lot of the cars to Horseshoe Bend, where you will go after the Antelope, is 15 minutes but effective. Take at least 1 bottle of water with you per person.
- Getting to LA from Page was the hardest way because it was 8 hours. As we were starting the PCH 1 route the next day, we returned at full speed and stayed at a cheap roadside motel for the night. This part can get a little tiring, but we could only train it when the number of days was limited.
- Pacific Coast Highway is the longest and most scenic way to reach San Francisco from Los Angeles. Right next to it, Carmel is a very famous and very expensive elite neighborhood. The famous 17 Mile Drive route you can enter from Carmel is a private road with an entrance of 10 dollars. It is a complex with golf courses, incredible luxury houses and hotels, all with a view of the Pacific Ocean. I think you definitely don’t skip this place.
- As you get tired on Pacific Coast Highway 1, you can enter Pacific Coast Highway 101 and shorten the road. No toll charges. You can return to the beach whenever you want. There is an application that shows you the places you can visit on the road, you can download that too.
- There are many homeless people in San Francisco, choose the area you will stay in. Accommodation is also extremely expensive. Act ahead, do not neglect it. We gave a hostel room for 2 people $ 500 for 3 nights, officially half of our accommodation budget went to that!
What Are The Items To Be Planned In Advance For A West America Trip?
- Rent a car
- Determining the Route, Cities to Stay, and Number of Days
- Choosing a Hotel or Airbnb Homes
- Buying Tickets to Shows for Las Vegas
- If you are not going to the Grand Canyon by car, you may consider taking a helicopter tour. To search and make reservations for the Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour, which costs around USD 300 per person. (Of course, in this case, you will not be able to go to Antelope Canyon)
- Booking Antelope Canyon
Driving a Car in America: Things to Consider When Driving in America
Of course, you need to rent a car to make this journey, and it is very cheap to buy and rent a car in America. even though gasoline is cheaper.
We rented a red Ford Mustang as convertible car enthusiasts for this legendary road trip. The daily rent of the car we rented from Avis was 55 Dollars including insurance. You can easily rent a car in America for prices starting from 25-30 USD per day.
I would like to give some information about Traffic and Rules in America in order not to be punished.
STOP signs that say STOP really mean STOP. You have to stop regardless of whether a pedestrian or vehicle passes.
There will be places where you can park on the roadside. Raise your head and check when and when the ban is on the sign, if it is free, pay as much as you will stay at the parking meters.
When parking, never leave the car on the roadside painted red. Even if it does not overflow any place.
The speed limit is how many miles it says. Do not exceed the speed limit just because there is no camera.
West America Trip Travel Budget, What is the Cost?
- Flight Ticket: 1300 $ from Europe. (We bought it with miles, but the price was like this for 2 people for the period we bought)
- Accommodation: 1088 $ (9 nights 2 people total)
- Car Rental: $ 444 (8 days insurance included)
- Gasoline: $ 215 (3200 km road)
- Food & Drink: $ 330 (10 days 2 people all inclusive, even water!)
- Our Tour and Show Tickets: $ 300 (Antelope Canyon $ 100, LV Cirque Show $ 200 2 person total)
- In summary, when I calculate the plane ticket by including all its numbers; The budget of this trip, which covers 3200 km in 10 days with food, accommodation, all kinds of activities and a super luxury car, is 3650 $.
As a result, as someone who has been to New York in America before and always says New York is my soulmate city, I think America is New York. Of course, our trip to West America was great.. I can say that the most fascinating part was the canyons in Arizona and Utah. On another trip, I just want to go after nature by flying there.