Lower Antelope Canyon, Page Arizona
north america,  outdoors,  travel

Price Guide: US Southwest Road Trip

There are many variables when it comes to a road trip. This post will show what the road trip expenses were driving solo versus expenses shared with another person.

Bare in mind that the itinerary for these 2 Southwest road trips weren’t 100% the same.

 

COST BREAKDOWN FOR 1 PERSON

Disclaimer: These prices reflect my travel style and might not tailor your travel preferences. 

I started and ended the road trip in Denver, Colorado because I was living there at the time.

States Covered: Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona
Method of transportation: Car only
Date: September 2018
Trip Duration: 4 days

 

STOPS

  • Canyonland National Park
  • Arches National Park
  • Zion National Park
  • Monument Valley
  • Great Basin National Park
  • Horseshoe Bend

 

FOOD

If it’s your first time traveling to national parks, keep in mind that decent restaurants are almost non-existent in rural areas and near national parks.

My first dinner was food I prepared at home. Every dinner after that was purchased at a restaurant. Before dinner time, I ate dried fruits and nuts. No alcohol or any beverage was purchased during this trip.

DINING EXPENSESPRICE
TOTAL$44
Dinner in Arizona$12
Dinner in Nevada$15
A slice of pie$4
Dinner in Colorado$13

 

Bumbleberry Pie from Springdale, Utah
Bumbleberry Pie from Bumbleberry Gift Shop in Springdale, Utah

 

LODGING

TOTAL = $0

This might shock you but I camped in the rental car. At night, it was the right temperature for me.

It was a calculated risk I was willing to take for a couple of reasons. I saved money and time. There are several places you can park your car overnight. One is at 24-hour Walmart Supercenters. You’ll find several RVs and other vehicles sleeping overnight as well.

 

How did I save time?

By avoiding staying in an actual facility, I can stay closer to where I’m heading to next and get there before the crowds settle in. This could involve any of the following:

  • Avoid packing and unpacking
  • Avoid having a shower
  • Will need to brush your teeth at a gas station or nearest fast food restaurant
  • Replace breakfast with water and less perishable snacks (e.g. homemade nut trail mix, fruits)

 

TRANSPORTATION

Rented a Nissan Versa (economy car) from Enterprise in Denver and returned it back to the same location. Drove a total of 1,840 miles (2,961 km).

TRANSPORTATION EXPENSESPRICE
TOTAL$231.27
fuel$18.47
fuel$22.82
fuel$19.45
fuel$21.45
fuel$14.31
rental car$134.77

OVERALL COST FOR 4 DAYS = $275

 

Road trip to Arizona: Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend. Page, Arizona

 

COST BREAKDOWN FOR 2 PEOPLE 

 

We started and ended in Las Vegas, Nevada. Flew in from Houston.

States Covered: Nevada, Utah, Arizona
Method of transportation: Flight + Car
Date: End of November – early December 2018
Trip Duration: 5 days (2 days spent going to-and-fro Vegas)

 

STOPS

  • Lower Antelope Canyon
  • Horseshoe Bend
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Zion National Park

 

FOOD

The only restaurant I can recommend is Ramen KoBo in Las Vegas. The cuisine is Japanese. Small shop and they are always packed.

The other restaurants we went to were trash or sub-par.

DINING EXPENSESPRICE
TOTAL (for me)$112.20
Dinner 1$21.97
Dinner 2$21.44
Dinner 3$26.08
Dinner 4$22.74
Lunch (KoBo)$19.97

LODGING

Prices below are the total costs and not per person. There was a discount added.

LODGING EXPENSESPRICE
TOTAL$294
1 night @ Hampton Inn & Suites (AZ)$59
1 night @ Best Western Grand Canyon (AZ)$95
2 nights @ Hampton Inn & Suites (UT)$140

TRANSPORTATION

Flight was through Spirit Airlines ($157 roundtrip per person). No delays or cancellations.

Rented a Nissan Sentra (midsize car) from Las Vegas Airport. Gas prices were around $3 per gallon in Utah.

TRANSPORTATION EXPENSESPRICE
TOTAL$266.04
fuel$68
fuel$32.49
fuel$2.99
rental car$162.56

OVERALL COST FOR 5 DAYS (FOR ME) = $392

 

Lower Antelope Canyon in Arizona
Lower Antelope Canyon. Page, Arizona

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • Biggest cost driver when it came to going with another person was lodging
  • Driving with another person gives you an opportunity to drive less and split costs especially with lodging and transportation.
  • In terms of driving alone, I only saved more money because I eliminated lodging and chose to spend less on food. Otherwise, it’s more expensive to travel solo if you’ll be paying to stay in hotels (or Airbnb).
  • Eliminating accommodation meant I could arrive to national parks as early as I wanted to avoid hotter temperatures, full parking, lines at fee station, and crowds.
  • Another alternative to staying at a lodging facility is to camp. There are many free campsites across the US.
  • Cost savings tip: Purchase America the Beautiful Pass if you’ll be visiting more than 3 national parks or federal recreation sites. Price is $80 and expires on the same month the following year.

 

Have you been to this region of the States? Let me know down below!

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