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Road trip: Las Vegas through the US Southwest (19 days)

What does a road trip through the USA actually cost? This question landed surprisingly often in our mailbox and in the comments here on the blog in the last few weeks. Two readers wrote to us specifically. You have 19 days to plan a road trip from Vegas to Vegas. What can you see, what must you see? Where do we stay overnight, what can we experience? We have written a clearly laid out travel guide for you for a 19-day road trip in the USA - and we would love to start again!

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Day 1: Arrival in Las Vegas

On the first day you land in the glittering metropolis of Vegas. So that the jetlag doesn't strike, it's best to jump straight onto the strip in the evening. Between the glowing miniature Eiffel Tower, the famous fountain games in front of the Hotel Bellagio or simply in one of the numerous casinos.

Tip for the overnight stay: Definitely a hotel on the strip! The famous theme hotels are getting on in years. Luxor, Excalibur and Co have lost quite a bit of shine. There are new stars in the hotel sky for this: For example LINQ Hotel- including your own casino, of course. You will stay here for the first three nights of your road trip.

Day 2: Las Vegas

Today you treat yourself to a whole day in Vegas! It is quite hot during the day (spring and autumn are certainly the attractive seasons here). Shopping in the well air-conditioned shops and malls is of course always possible. The casinos are also open around the clock.

The numerous shows in the city's hotels are a highlight: whether music, dance, magic shows or acrobatics! Pre-booking can be worthwhile, but there are often good offers on site too. We went to the Cirque du Soleil show “O” - great and a great tip!

Overnight stay: LINQ Hotel

Day 3: Death Valley (approx. 550 km)

Today we go to one of the driest places in the world: Death Valley in the Mojave Desert. For the day tour from Vegas you should plan the whole day (approx. 550 km). It starts early in the morning, then it's not that hot yet. In the morning light you steer first towards Zabriski Point and look at the bizarre, dry landscape. You continue towards the Visitor Center in Furnace Creek, where you can find the America the Beautiful annual pass buys. ($ 80). This gives you unlimited access to all US national parks for a year - an unbeatable ticket that will hopefully stay with you for many years to come. Now go towards Badwater, the lowest point on the American mainland. 85.5 meters below sea level you can see a huge dry salt lake.

Make sure you have plenty of water and sun protection. Do not just apply lotion, but also put on a hat, do not go for great hikes or exert yourself physically. In the summer months it can easily get over 50 ° C!

We have put together even more tips about the Valley of Death here.

Overnight: Back in Vegas again in the LINQ HotelAlternatively, you can look for a cheap hotel out of town for the night. B. that Best Western Plus Saint Rose Parkway.

Day 4: Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon (approx. 450 km)

Today is the second longest day of your road trip with 450 km on the program. From Las Vegas it goes from Nevada to the heart of Arizona: To the Grand Canyon. In Tusayan you can stay cheaply (hey, as far as you can say at the Grand Canyon) right in front of the gates of the national park. You will not forget the feeling when you look down into the gigantic gorge for the first time! Enjoy the evening here at the South Rim, hop on one of the shuttle buses and enjoy the sunset (especially beautiful at Hopi Point).

Overnight stay: Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon(breakfast included).

Day 5 + 6: Around the Grand Canyon

Two full days of the Grand Canyon South Rim are waiting for you. If you are out late or early in the year, you should lace up your hiking boots and hike a little down into the canyon. (Attention: It is getting hotter and hotter downstairs and the way up is long and longer)! A particularly great view of the canyon opens up from a helicopter flight.

At the South Rim, shuttle buses run between the individual viewpoints - so you can also travel very comfortably. Current maps and park information are available when you enter the park or in the visitor centers.

Overnight stay: Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon(breakfast included).

We have put together 10 great tips for the Grand Canyon South Rim after our first visit. Here you can read why the Grand Canyon will always be one of the most beautiful places in the world for us. (Attention, romance! #Hach)

Day 7: From the Grand Canyon to Page (approx. 220 km)

On the way to Page and Lake Powell (approx. 220 km) you will have one last look at the Grand Canyon at Desert View Point. In Page you are spoiled for choice. Boating on Lake Powell? Maybe to the Rainbow Bridge - the largest natural stone bridge in the world? Or would you prefer to have the best view of the famous Horseshoe Bend at lunchtime?

Overnight: That Courtyard Page at Lake Powell was one of the best accommodations on our tour. Breakfast is $ 11 per person and is well worth the money.

Restaurant tip: If you don't feel like looking for a restaurant in the evening, you are in the in-house steakhouse Peppers in good hands. You can get cheaper but no less good in the familiar but rustic Ken’s Old Westtypical American Southwest cuisine: steak & ribs!

Day 8 + 9: Day 8: Around Lake Powell

The upper and most of all Lower Antelope Canyon in Page is one of the most beautiful canyons and natural wonders we have ever been able to experience. The gently curved rock caves, washed out by flash floods, shine in the most beautiful colors due to the incident sunlight.

A boat trip through the is at least as great Glen Canyon on the Colorado River. If you continued to drive here and survived life-threatening rapids, you would eventually arrive in the even deeper Grand Canyon. But that is neither allowed nor your goal: You start in Page at Glen Dam and sail downriver on comfortable inflatable boats to the impressive Horseshoe Bend.

A picnic and the obgliar toe in the ice-cold Colorado River are included in the price of just under $ 90.

Day 9: Monument Valley

You probably know photos of Monument Valley from cigarette advertisements or western films that are long gone. And despite the commercialization, it is well worth the visit. The huge plateau is interspersed with monoliths and huge red sandstone formations. From the hotel at the entrance to the valley you can only see the famous three rocks. If you want to see more, want to learn something about the history of the Indians living there to this day and want to learn that each, really each of the stones has their own name - you should book a tour.

A visit to the valley is only possible with a guided tour. We recommend the 2.5 hour tour in an open jeep. ($ 80). If you want to dig deeper into your pocket, you can book a 2.5 hour flight over Monument Valley for just under $ 250. B. from Moab or Page.

Accommodation: The Kokopelli Inn Saves the travel budget and serves its purpose as a simple motel for a mere stopover (including breakfast).

Day 10: Monument Valley to Arches National Park (250 km)

Today we go to one of the most beautiful national parks in the USA. The over 2,000 red stone arches in the Arches National Park are incomparably impressive. The landmark of Utah is the Delicate Arch, which looks most beautiful at sunset. In the background you can see the distant snow-capped mountains - the perfect backdrop. The hike to the arch leads steeply uphill. Depending on the sunset, you start a few hours in advance and are up there in perfect light. Make sure you have a flashlight for the way back and of course plenty of drink!

Overnight: In Bowen Motelin the center of Moab you stay for 3 nights. The small town is touristy, but offers everything you need for your daily needs. Breakfast is not possible in the hotel, but there are vouchers for nearby cafes. We always find a good alternative: You decide for yourself what you pay for - often the better alternative, especially with American motels.

Day 11: Arches National Park

in the Arches National Parkit's best to work your way from north to south. Around Devils Garden you can reach the famous Landscape Arch after a short time. A somewhat further and in parts steeper path leads to the Double O’Arch.

On the way back south there are numerous well-signposted viewpoints and short hikes to very beautiful Arches. The Garden of Eden is definitely worth a stop. Our absolute favorite is the Double Arch. The larger one is 45 meters wide and 30 meters high.

Day 12: Canyonlands National Park

Today you have to get up early, preferably well before sunrise. Then you drive direction Canyonlands National Parkto the viewpoint Mesa Arch (about 1 hour drive). Then it goes over a short, narrow path and a few stones to the Mesa Arch. Here you wait for the sunrise and watch the spectacle. The underside of the stone arch glows golden in the light of the rising sun.

Through the arch you can see far into the Canyonlands National Park, at least in the part of Islands in the sky. The other parts of the park are a few hundred kilometers away. It's a shame, of course, but the numerous viewpoints and the arid, dry land are more than impressive here.

Day 13: Moab to Capitol Reef National Park (260 km)

The Goblin Valley is a nice stop on the way to Capitol Reef National Park. Hundreds of small, knobbly stone formations fill the dry and hot valley. The state park costs a small amount - but it's worth walking around among the dwarves and gnomes.

In the Capitol Reef National Park, the best way to get there is via the Scenic Drive and into the small, abandoned village of Fruita. The former Mormon village still has a few farms that serve delicious fruit pies surrounded by flowering fruit trees.

Overnight: Today there is only one overnight stay as a pure stopover in the Broken Lane Inn & Steakhouse. The Rick Rock Restaurant just a few minutes away from the hotel has delicious ribs - definitely try them!

Day 14: Torrey to Bryce Canyon (approx. 180 km)

Today we take Highway No. 12 with wonderful views to the Bryce Canyon. The views at the top of the canyon are impressive. Unlike the Grand Canyon, the Bryce consists of innumerable thin pillars, the famous hoodoos. The Navajo Loop Trail takes you on sandy paths quite quickly and steeply down into the canyon. Bryce Canyon is best experienced between a few trees and lots of orange sandstone. Different trails offer the best for every level of fitness.

Overnight stay: For 2 nights you stay in the Best Western PLUS Ruby's Inn. Similar to the Grand Canyon, it is also very touristy here, but simply superbly located. Breakfast is not included in the price; But for 11 dollars there is a lavish and good buffet.

Day 15: Bryce Canyon

At sunrise this morning we go to Bryce Point. Then the day is open to you. Both lookout points a bit off the canyon and a hike on the Queens’s Garden Trail are great options. The “Hike the Hoodoos” program (including a certificate and pin as a prize) is interesting for play children and the young at heart. A sundowner or at least the most beautiful view at the Inspiration Point is also worthwhile in the evening!

Day 16: From Bryce Canyon to Zion National Park (approx. 200 km)

The Zion National Park is a real highlight in the southwest - especially because not only dry sandstone but also a lot of green await you here for a long time. On the day of arrival, a hike to the Lower and Middle Emerald Pools is worthwhile. The pools only lead to a lot of water when the snow melts, but the hike also offers great views in summer and autumn.

Overnight: In Bumbleberry Inn you stay in the center and with short distances to the national park. (Breakfast included)

Day 17 + 18: Zion National Park

The Zion National Park offers excursions for easy 2 days. If you like hiking, the “Angels Landing” tour is an absolute must for you. But: fear of heights is a no go here. At the beginning it is only a steep zigzag uphill, but later the crossing on a mountain ridge is also on the program. The view at the end rewards you for the effort. Further great tips for hikes and activities for 2 days on site are available in the visitor center and of course online beforehand.

Day 19: Zion National Park to Las Vegas (approx. 260 km)

Your last road trip leg will take you back to Vegas! In the afternoon we recommend a detour to the Valley of Fire - the last chance for a red sandstone experience. In the evening Vegas is open to you again! Show, casino, stroll or simply the view from your hotel on the strip.

Overnight: We recommend this to you Venetian Resort with a beautiful view of Vegas at night. Hotels in downtown or further afield are of course easy on the budget.


Depending on your personal interests, you can also postpone individual days. Those who do not like hiking do not need a 2 full day stay in Zion National Park. Those who prefer to sniff a bit of casino flair can plan the day well in Vegas. Even around Monument Valley you can still vary and with two days saved from there direction Mesa Verde National Park drive.

What is the cost of a 19 day road trip?

  • Flight:There are non-stop flights, for example. B. with Condor, open jaw flights often lead via Los Angeles.
    approx. 500 - 900 € (including return flight)
  • Motels: from approx. 40 € / night
  • Hotels (e.g. via from approx. 65 € / night (for 19 days the result is around 1,550 €)
  • AirBnB (Private accommodation and holiday apartments)
  • Rental car:We always recommend Alamo for road trips in the USA. Big advantage: You can choose your car on site.
    from 250 € for 19 days (Kia Rio) from 330 € for 19 days (Toyota Corolla)
    from 350 € for 19 days (Toyota RAV4)
  • Petrol:The planned route means approx. 2,500 km + various excursions and you easily end up at 3,000-3,500 km. Petrol price approx. € 0.50 / liter
    approx. 150 €
  • Excursion Photographer’s Tours in Antelope Canyon: approx. 45 €
  • Excursion2.5 hour jeep tour of Monument Valley:approx. 72 €
  • Excursion Glen Canyon on the Colorado River:approx. 75 €

Tips for saving

Every trip is expensive and cheap: Here we have found a good middle ground. The hotels cost around 1,550 euros per person. Who should still want to save here

  • predominantly on Self catering put. There are supermarkets everywhere, so cheap food is possible even in the most touristy areas. Diners offer food for little money. Here, too, people have become more health-conscious: a salad is available everywhere, it doesn't just have to be burgers.
  • Book motels instead of (themed) hotels (in Vegas): Living right on the Strip is chic, but of course also expensive. In downtown Las Vegas there are plenty of good hotels (including casinos, of course) for the small budget. By the way: The minimum stakes in casinos are also cheaper off the Strip.
  • Drive yourself instead of booking excursions. For example, drive from Vegas to Death Valley and back instead of booking an expensive tour. The money can be saved well for the tours that are not possible without a guide (boat trip on the Colorado River, Antelope Canyon ...)

Do you have any tips for a road trip through the States? Then we look forward to your tips. No matter if tips on saving, on excursions, hikes, hotels, or or - always put it in the comments.