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Starting Stage of Planning Trip - Need opinions/ideas

Glenolden, Pa.
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Starting Stage of Planning Trip - Need opinions/ideas

Hi,

I'm just starting to plan a trip in June 2013. I'm trying to figure it out, since it is overwhelming. We would be flying in from the East Coast and it seems that PHX airport is the best option even though the car rental costs were brutal. I did look into it from Las Vegas but the car rental didn't seem enough of a savings to compensate the extra time involved.

We are a family of 4, 2 kids who will be 12 and 10 by that time. I was thinking flying into PHX on a Saturday mid-June and staying overnight then driving up to the Grand Canyon Sunday morning. I would like to say in the NP, wondering if I called 13 months in advance should I be able to snag a reservation at El Tovar?

I'm also kicking around the idea of a trip to Page to visit the Slot Canyon and we definitely want to spend 2-3 nights in Sedona (looking forward to that Pink Jeep tour).

My tentative plan would be stay over the first night in PHX, 2 nights in Grand Canyon, 1 in Page (? this is up in the air) and 2-3 nights in Sedona and maybe another in PHX before we fly out again. Does this seem feasible? Is the weather brutal in mid June? It looks like it would be comfortable at GCNP but not sure about the other locations. Is El Tovar reservations possible if I reserve 13 months out? Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks in advance!

Wickenburg, Arizona
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1. Re: Starting Stage of Planning Trip - Need opinions/ideas

You should definitely add a night or two at Lake Powell / Page; there's so much to see and do there, and it's simply beautiful. It'll be hot by mid-day, but not brutally so - well, having said that, the seasons don't follow the exact patterns they used to, but it shouldn't be blistering yet in a 'normal' year.

Yes, use Phoenix. The drive to and fro is just much more rewarding than from Vegas IMO (as well as a bit shorter).

South Jersey, USA
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2. Re: Starting Stage of Planning Trip - Need opinions/ideas

Hi,

Planning this far in advance is the way to go!! You can make those reservations but you'll have to wait until June to do so! Thirteen months in advance just means for the whole month. For instance if your trip is scheduled for June 30, 2013 you can make the reservation June 1, 2012! You should be able to book a room at El Tovar but if they are booked don't fret.....just book something else and be glad you are in the park!!

With the new by-pass bridge over Hoover Dam the trip from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon takes about 4-1/2 hours vs 4 hours from Phoenix! Not to much of a time difference if the savings are a significant amount! I have used Travelocity a number of times for car rentals our of Vegas and have always received a good deal. Airfare is usually less expensive also!

I would try and stay at least two nights in Page and maybe book the smooth water float trip!! Kids will love it!! Plenty of lodging options in Page!

Sedona is another great place to visit! Plenty to see and do for everyone. Definitely the Pink Jeep/Broken Arrow tour!!

The weather will be warm but not brutal!! There is no humidity like we have on the East coast so it's very enjoyable to be out and about!

Some sites to browse in:

www.nps.gov/grca

www.visitpageaz.com

www.visitsedona.com

Enjoy

SJG

Ann Arbor, Michigan
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for Grand Canyon National Park
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3. Re: Starting Stage of Planning Trip - Need opinions/ideas

I think you have a good plan. I agree with Esty that additional nights in Page would be good.

And, yes, you should be able to secure El Tovar reservations by reserving early. Reservations will be open on June 1st, 2012 for your dates. You can make the reservations online at grandcanyonlodges.com.

That said, don't feel like El Tovar offers the only acceptable accommodations. The other lodges are fine and you may even find that they offer some advantages over El Tovar. For instance, Yavapai rooms are recently renovated, bigger than ET (which might even be on the "cozy" side for a family of 4), with parking right outside your door.

Glenolden, Pa.
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4. Re: Starting Stage of Planning Trip - Need opinions/ideas

Thank you everyone for the quick responses! So Yavapai is a decent alternative? I was also wondering what I should use as a "Plan B".

Thanks for reminding me about the smooth river raft - I was planning on going the Colorado River Discovery tour (I can't swim and the kids aren't strong swimmers so this holds a lot of appeal). I guess I'll plan on 2 nights in Page then.

I'll have to look into the Las Vegas option, I would need a flight from PHL that's non-stop (can't deal with the stress of layovers, extra travel time, etc.). If I went that route I guess it would make more sense to go to Page first, then GCNP then Sedona?

Sedona, AZ
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5. Re: Starting Stage of Planning Trip - Need opinions/ideas

Ditto all my friends.

Call Xanterra or go on line on June 1st 2012 to book for any time in June 2013. El Tovar would be my first choice. A cabin at Bright Angel would be second, and one of the newly refurbished rooms at Kachina or Thunderbird would be next. All of these lodges are on the rim, and calling on June 1st you should have a full range of options to choose from. Take some time to read through the Top Questions on the right hand side of this page. You'll get answers to many of the questions that you have now and more that might pop up later.

Add another night in Page so that you can do the Glen Canyon float trip. www.raftthecanyon.com. Trade it for that last night in PHX. It will be hot down there and unless you have a 6AM flight, you can get to the airport from Sedona that morning. You'll be glad to have as much time in Sedona as you can give it.

Uden, The...
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6. Re: Starting Stage of Planning Trip - Need opinions/ideas

For the commutes: Phoenix-Grand Canyn-Page-Sedona-Phx app 12 hours driving time. Las Vegas-Sedona-Grand Canyon-Page-Las Vegas (or in reverse) app 15 hours. Flying Phx-Phx will have some bacjtracking in it (not that much of a problem) From Las Vegas almost no backtracking because you can drive from Page via north of Grand Canyon to Las Vegas.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
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7. Re: Starting Stage of Planning Trip - Need opinions/ideas

TIA, I think Yavapai is a good backup but, if being close to the rim is a priority (which is often the case for many visitors), then Kachina and Thunderbird offer ideal locations as well as bigger rooms. They don't have the historical charm of El Tovar or Bright Angel Lodge but, sometimes, that means they have more modern conveniences. BA Lodge is my personal favorite but rooms/cabins that can accommodate four are limited at BA.

I mentioned Yavapai because it's often the last to sell out, which worries some people, but I wanted to reassure you that even the "last choice" is still a perfectly good choice and even may have some advantages.

I live in Michigan and have used both Las Vegas and Phoenix as my gateways. While there are differences, they're not major, especially for a multiple-destination itinerary like yours. Sedona is the only place that is obviously much more convenient from Phoenix than LV but, for a loop itinerary, I would choose based on price and schedule. Car rental prices in Phoenix require more diligent research, in my experience.

I would plan the loop direction based on your flight times. Coming from the eastern time zones, I think it's easier to take advantage of the time difference by taking an early flight and doing your longest drive *first*. Because of the time difference, your flight home can't be too late in the afternoon unless you want to get home in the middle of the night; so I reserve the shortest drive for the end.

Glenolden, Pa.
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8. Re: Starting Stage of Planning Trip - Need opinions/ideas

Thank you everyone for the great advice. I was fortunate enough to come into a bit of unplanned money which is making this trip finally attainable. I plan on taking my family out to dinner tomorrow and will surprise them with the news. I'm so excited!! I'm sure you'll be seeing me on the GCNP/Sedona/Page forums in the upcoming year.

Chattanooga...
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9. Re: Starting Stage of Planning Trip - Need opinions/ideas

Congratulations on the "unplanned money" coming your way...that rarely happens. My husband and I are going to GC for the second time in May...we fly from the Chattanooga TN area to Flagstaff and got a rental car there.

Arizona is a great vacation stop and the Grand Canyon.....there are no words to describe the first time you see it....it will move you and stir emotions inside you to no end.

I'm certain your family will be thrilled with your surprise! I hope you have a safe trip and make many wonderful memories to treasure for a lifetime.

Make sure you take a spare chip for your camera...the photo opps are awesome!!

Enjoy yourselves!!!!

10. Re: Starting Stage of Planning Trip - Need opinions/ideas

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