The United States has always fascinated millions of people, especially Italians who have grown up watching American films and TV series and have dreamt about crossing this continent since childhood. The USA offers unique landscapes like the famous Grand Canyon or the Monument Valley Monoliths; the hottest places on earth, Death Valley, and the Mojave desert; and again, the numerous national parks such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, Sequoia, Antelope and so on. Moreover some cities in the United States are so iconic that they are immediately recognizable on television like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, just to mention a few.
The States are wonderful, and we couldn’t resist their charm! Hence, at the first opportunity, we organized our itinerary on the American West Coast. It was a quite demanding holiday, both economically and physically, but we absolutely rank it among the most beautiful experiences in our life!
This road-trip has completely changed our vision of “vacation” and “size“: first of all, before visiting the United States, we were always looking for relaxing destinations for our holidays, while now we are willing to come back home even more tired than when we left just to see breath-taking views. Secondly, the landscapes and the endless skies have made us reconsider our conception of space and depth, giving us scenarios that we could have never imagined before. Our hometown seems so tight now!
To us, visiting the West Coast was a dream that came true in the best way possible: everything we have seen, heard and admired, left us a deep sign!
How We Organized Our Journey
We started organizing this trip about 5 months before, accurately studying the steps of our journey; with hindsight, we might have done something differently, but we’ll talk about it later. Through specialized websites and travel guides such as “California” by National Geographic and “South East Usa” by Mondadori, we planned the route and purchased the flights, after having carefully checked different airlines offers. To understand the distances from one place to another we used google maps, which was also useful for finding small towns halfway to spend the night in between our destinations.
As real serial programmers like we are, we decided to not leave anything to chance and to book every accommodation in advance. It turned out to be a good choice because 8 times out of 9 we stayed in good and clean places, while, otherwise ,we would have had to adapt to the first available residence along the way (there isn’t anything wrong with doing it though, but you need to have a spirit of adaptation!). Moreover, in the States, we often came across motels with the word “NO VACANCY“, that means there were no vacant rooms which was understandable since we were at high season. So, it was really the best choice and we will definitely repeat for our next road trip in the USA!
Then we booked the excursions online, medical insurance (always buy it when you travel to the US, it’s really important!) And the essential ESTA. Last but not least, a beautiful off-road vehicle that took us wherever we wanted to go!
Trip Type: Road Trip shared with friends
Period: July and August, 18 days in total
States visited: California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona
Airlines: Lufthansa, routes VE-FRA-SFO and LAX-EWR-VE, ticket price € 1100 pp.
Hotels and Motels: 8 booked through booking.com, 1 booked on the official website. Total paid for 16 nights: € 900 pp.
Insurance: Columbus Insurance, about € 80 pp.
ESTA: around € 15 pp. on the official website, it is mandatory to enter the United States
Car: Ford Explorer booked on Alamo, total for 14 days around 1600 €
Total km travelled: 3300
Fuel: around € 350
Hours spent in the car: 45
Currency: American dollar. Cash and credit cards accepted.
Day 1: departure from Venice and arrival in San Francisco
Days 2 and 3: San Francisco
Day 4: Yosemite NP (motel for the night in Bishop)
Day 5: Death Valley + Las Vegas
Day 6: Las Vegas
Day 7: Zion NP + Bryce Canyon at sunset (motel for the night in Kanab)
Day 8: Lake Powell + Horseshoe band + Antelope Canyon + Monument Valley
Day 9: Monument Valley + Grand Canyon NP + Seligman, Route 66 (Kingsman overnight motel)
Day 10: Palm Springs
Day 11: San Diego
12th day: San Diego
Day 13: Los Angeles
Day 14: Los Angeles
Day 15: Los Angeles
Day 16: Los Angeles
Day 17: departure from Los Angeles
Day 18: arrival in Venice
We would have loved to include the beautiful Havasupai Falls in Arizona to our itinerary on the USA West Coast. These waterfalls are part of a Navajo reserve and to visit this place, you need to stay at least one night in their camp / lodge. Unfortunately, at that time, we had several problems with the reservation because it was possible to do it only at the telephone and, despite all our attempts, no one ever answered; so we had to give up! Apparently, in 2019, they have finally opened an official website to book online, so we hope to be able to visit it in the future!
An advice that we want to give you is to dedicate more time for national parks if you have other days available; in fact we found the Zion NP, Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon awesome. Alternatively, you can dedicate a few days less to cities (like Las Vegas or San Diego), in our opinion not as interesting as the beautiful natural landscapes of the United States.
Soon we will publish our entire day-to-day experience, examining in depth every moment of this unforgettable road trip, so keep following us to be updated!
“People don’t take trips—trips take people.” – John Steinbeck
Did you enjoy our West Coast USA itinerary? We leave you to the photos, judge for yourself if it is a worthy journey to do at least once in your lifetime … we already know the answer! ♥