Bridge of Light

Americans migrated to the west coast for more than just gold. The beautiful terrain led to many Americans settling out west with no intention of ever turning back.

Take in the breathtaking American west on your next vacation. Take a look at these 10 tips for planning a trip out west.

1. Know Tourist Season

You need to know tourist season before you head west. Tourist season can make or break a trip to popular destinations like the Grand Canyon.

Expect limited parking and lines that stretch for hours during tourist season. This might not deter you from going, but at least you can plan ahead by bringing things like folding chairs or extra snacks. 

But the best way to navigate through your trip out west is to know the slow periods and aim for them. 

2. Use Groupon

Well, you don’t necessarily have to use Group per se, but you should aim for a social couponing site for great hotel discounts. Many big-name hotels offer specials through these social couponing apps that can cut your trip expenses in half.

Check the sites for hotel stays, activities, and tickets. Each experience comes with a review.

Be sure to read the fine print before booking. You can learn a lot by reading through the terms and conditions as well as the reviews. Blackout dates are common on deeply discounted stays. 

If the deal seems too good to be true, it’s probably because travel options are very limited. 

3. Signup for Airfare Deals

If you have some flexibility in your travel dates, you’re in luck. Airlines have flash sales that can help when planning a trip out west.

You’ll find tickets at a fraction of the cost of retail prices. Since most of the travel expenses you pay on vacation go toward transportation and hotel, this is a major way to save when you travel.  

4. Use Review Sites

There an art to reading reviews. There are going to be people who are career complainers that wouldn’t be happy with any hotel.

There are others who simply had a freakishly bad experience that wouldn’t normally happen to anyone. Read the reviews along with any responses from management.

It’s usually a good sign when management is thoughtful enough to respond to bad reviews. If you don’t see any responses against a lot of bad reviews, steer clear.

You don’t want to use your vacation time to experiment on what might be a good hotel or experience. It’s not worth the gamble with the west coast has so many amazing things to offer. 

5. Visit Museums

The west coast isn’t famous for its arts and culture scene, but it should be. The diversity alone brings a new perspective on art.

Visit local museums for a taste of west coast creativity. You’ll likely find exhibits with works from around the world, but local artists will find their way of bringing west coast flavor to the mix.

Consider an arts pass if one is available in the cities you visit so you can get more than one museum visit in during your trip. 

6. Camp

You won’t find a climate better suited for camping than the west coast. The air is relatively dry except in northern California. 

This gives you a wide range of options for where you can go to sleep outside under the stars. Many people don’t equate cloudy skies with rain.

But when you go camping in an arid climate, you’ll see far more starry skies than anywhere else in the country. No rain clouds gives you clear visibility on most nights of the year.

This makes for an amazing adventure for stargazing that you won’t forget. 

7. Drive an RV

People do drive out west in cars. But when planning a trip out west, you should also plan to use an RV. 

It gives you more flexibility in where you stop and where you keep driving. You can choose a sketchy motel just to stretch your legs during the trip.

Or you can skip the roadside attractions and power through the night. Traveling with a family is much easier in an RV where you can store your snacks, and full meals, without taking up precious legroom in the car. 

8. Leave Pets

Everyone hates the idea of leaving Fido at home while you set off to explore the world. But it’ll cost you far more to travel with a pet than if you leave him at home.

Keep your pets with a sitter or in a kennel. This gives you more flexibility when planning a trip out west for the entire family.

You can go to more places without worrying about the time you need to get back to let the dog out or feed your pet. 

9. Tackle Terrains

Commit to visiting no more than two types of terrains during your visit. This helps you pack your clothing and gear much easier. 

Trying to switch from ski lodges to beaches, hiking, and then camping makes for a very top-heavy trip. You’ll have lots of gear and barely anywhere to put your bodies in the car.

If you decide to fly, you won’t pay high fees for checking lots of bags and oversized gear. 

10. Yosemite

Prepare yourself for the range of temperatures of Yosemite if you’re planning a visit. It can be below zero during certain times of the year. 

No matter when you visit, pack an extra coat in case the weather takes a turn for the worst. Check out Arnzen Arms if you’re planning to do any hunting during your stay.

Planning a Trip Out West

When planning a trip out west, you’ll have different things to consider if you’re driving versus flying. Driving gives you more flexibility but you need to make the drive a part of your trip. 

For more information and tips, visit our blog for updates.