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Novice traveler making the most of my time/money/sights

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1. Posted by StefanieJ (Budding Member 2 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I'm a novice traveler and this will be my first trip I've ever taken myself so pretty excited! I am trying to give myself the best agenda before I book flights.

My trip will be end of Oct and have few set destinations in mind. I'm having trouble figuring out the best way to see everything within my 10 day limit. I obviously want to make the most of my time and can fly in and out of different airports if need be. I plan to stay at airbnb's for lodging and a friends house in Santa Fe for a night. May splurge and stay at the Grand Canyon.

So far my agenda entails:
Best Friends in Kanab, Utah
Grand Canyon south rim
Sedona, Arizona
Santa Fe, New Mexico

I can fly into Salt Lake City but not sure if 4 hours in the opposite direction makes sense but it's the cheapest flight? I can also fly into Flagstaff but it's really too $$. Flying into Phoenix is a bit more reasonable.

Not sure if I should fly to the middle and drive to all points or start at one end and go to the other?

Any and all feedback welcome!

2. Posted by hasbeen (Travel Guru 1260 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!


This might make sense on Google Maps - Start in either Las Vegas or santa Fe

Play with the map


3. Posted by OldPro (Inactive 400 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Salt Late to Kanab to start is fine if your flight into Salt Lake arrives at a reasonable time in the morning. The drive to Kanab through Zion is well worthwhile.

From Kanab it would seem a shame to not go to the North Rim of the Canyon. Only 10% of all visitors to the Canyon visit the North Rim. I much prefer it actually. I would splurge on staying at the Lodge there if possible for a night. You need to book well ahead of time though.

Backtracking from there to Jacobs Lake you can then take 89a through Marble Canyon (where the scene from Thelma and Louise of them driving off the cliff into the Canyon was filmed). At the junction with 89 you can then head south. Stop at Cameron Trading Post before heading for the South Rim or continuing south through Flagstaff to Sedona.

Then you could consider a little detour south from Sedona to see Montezuma's Castle before backtracking up 17 to Flagstaff and on to Albuquerque and north to Santa Fe. I suggest Montezuma's Castle as a way to include seeing a cliff dwelling although you can also do that by visiting Bandelier National Monument from Santa Fe. You should also visit Taos from Santa Fe.

4. Posted by StefanieJ (Budding Member 2 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Thank you!! I guess it may make sense to fly into SLC and out of Santa Fe rather than in and out of Phoenix -- which I've been considering!

Still playing with the map !

Appreciate your advice and suggestions!!! :)

5. Posted by hasbeen (Travel Guru 1260 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

It looks a little different if you want to go to the north & south rim of the Grand Canyon.

Las vegas is a very popular place so I would check flight costs to / from there, & the distance is less than from SLC. All I can remember of interest from LV to the Canyon was the Hoover dam though that was through a more southern route


[ Edit: Edited on 13-Apr-2016, at 10:16 by hasbeen ]

6. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 861 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Steve's original suggestion to start in Las Vegas is a good one, given your time constraints. I've driven from Salt Lake City to the five national parks in southern Utah, including Zion, and concluded that it would have been better to have started in Las Vegas.

The driving time between SLC and Kanab is about five hours; it's about 3 hours from Vegas. Please note, however, there is a time-zone change. Vegas is one hour behind the time in Kanab.

One thing to consider: If you're renting a car the entire trip; and you plan to drop it off in a different city in a different state, you might discover that it could be expensive. Suggest you consider renting a car in Vegas, driving to Kanab, the Grand Canyon and Sedona before returning it to Vegas. Then fly from Vegas to Albuquerque, traveling to Santa Fe either by rental car or shuttle bus. This could save time and money. Flights from LAS to ABQ, including those of Southwest Airlines, are reasonable.

7. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

One thing for sure, if you are going this route, be sure to venture east from the north rim to Page, Arizona and visit the south end of Lake Powell, taking in the Rainbow Bridge by boat (they run tours from the Lake Powell Lodge area twice a day during the summer/spring months), then go see the close-by Antelope Canyon.

From here you can venture south to Grand Canyon's south rim and then down to Flagstaff and Sedona.

Here are links to Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon so you can see why I say you should take this route:

Also, if you have an extra day, venture north to Monument Valley from Page and then return to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. If you don't have the time, at least go to the other places mentioned.

Here is a link to Monument Valley pictures: