After living in Southern California for the past two years and passionate about travel, I took the opportunity to explore some mythical places of the American West. From its cities to its magnificent national parks, I can assure you that the American West is a breathtaking destination. The diversity of its landscapes, atmospheres, or activities will guarantee you an unforgettable trip whether you are alone, in couple, with family or friends.
Through this article, I will share with you some of my “favorite” spots and tips that may be useful for your trip organization.
TIPS: BEFORE THE DEPARTURE
- First of all, I recommend to make a list of the “must-see” places that you want to visit before booking your round-trip flight tickets and car rental from the same airport. This precious list will help you plan your itinerary and choose the best means of transport between each step according to your “time and budget” constraints. Let me clarify this: because of the distances, it is not necessarily wise to make a “loop”. For example, you can arrive in San Francisco and leave from Los Angeles, or Las Vegas… Compare the car rental prices from a point A to A or a point A to B and keep in mind that it can be interesting to opt for a flight (depending on the period, Jet Blue offers attractive rates). In short, take the time to research and compare the different options before booking your round-trip tickets.
- Before validating the reservation of a rental car company and if you do not have a credit card (credit), make sure that the selected company is able to accept a credit card (debit) on site. I also recommend to take the “insurance” service for all car rentals on site and not on the website as most of the time it is managed by a third-party company and you won’t be getting the same coverage as you would if you get it once you pick up your car.
- Take an (international) health insurance for the duration of your stay in the US. If you are not covered, the smallest trouble will cost you a fortune (personally, I always travel with Avi International and I am satisfied with it).
- Don’t forget to apply for your travel authorization (ESTA) online to be able to travel to the United States.
- Learn about the main features of the American Highway Code and its parking rules to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
- Each entry into a national park is subject to a fee (between $25 and $35 per car and not per passenger), if you plan to visit more than three, I recommend to purchase the “annual pass” at ($80) directly at the entrance of the first park you will visit. Please note: depending on the time of year, some parks may be closed (check their openings before your arrival).
TIPS: ON SITE
- I recommend to use the app Waze for your car trips.
- Keep your ID with you in case you want to access a bar, restaurant and get an “alcoholic” drink.
- Hotels are very expensive in the American West, so don’t hesitate to look at hostels, motels and Airbnb (I recommend Airbnb as you might meet locals that will give you great tips on where to go and what to do).
To help you with the planification of your itinerary, I have created an interactive map (see below) including the “mythical” spots of a part of the American West. I would have liked to introduce you to more of them, especially in the states of Montana, Wyoming, and Texas, but I haven’t had the chance to explore them yet. I hope so on a future trip:) One thing is for sure; the American West is full of amazing national parks. If you are a nature lover, I encourage you to visit as many of them as possible. Utah will remain my favorite place. Absolutely unavoidable and grandiose! There are no other words! I encourage everyone to make the detour from Las Vegas.
I hope you will enjoy this part of the world as much as I did. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Have a good trip.