Road Trip through the USA: A Little Update

This is the first blogpost, since Sophie has left the blog and I’m pretty sure some of you might be wondering, if we hate each other now? Well, definitely not. To be honest, our friendship is currently better than ever. And we’re both so excited about the upcoming road trip – and some other travels in between. Our vague planning of the trip developed into something more specific, which is why it’s time to give you a little update.

About two weeks ago, something great happened – we finally booked our flights. Before doing so, we already had planned a little draft of our route and we took various airports in consideration. In the end, we opted for one that was pretty low on our list: Innsbruck Airport. Of course, there’s no direct flight from Innsbruck to the United States, but with just one quick stop in Frankfurt, we reach the States even faster than if we departed from another airport. Also, we had to take the costs in consideration. While flights from Munich would have been cheaper, additional costs would have been higher. About 300 € for parking? Definitely too expensive. Taking a train to Munich? Not cheap as well and as most of these flights would have left very early in the morning we would have had to book a hotel room in Munich as well. Meanwhile, in Innsbruck, we can just wake up in the morning and take the bus that stops right in front of my door, and about 5 minutes from Sophie’s home and within a few minutes we will reach the airport. Definitely the most comfortable option.

Now that we know for a fact that we are going to stay in the States for 36 days, we also have done some research about rental cars. Sadly, since we both are younger than 25, we have to pay a very high “young driver’s fee”. But altogether, the prices are still very close to what we assumed. 


And now, to the most exciting part: planning the route. We have planned everything precisely, with still a few days to spare, meaning that if we want to stay somewhere a bit longer or if we, due to whatever kind of circumstances, need longer to get to a certain place, we don’t have to rush to make it to our flight at the very end of our trip. Also, we decided to cut Los Angeles and the Sequoia National Park off our route, as it would cost simply too much time. Also, I have already been to LA one and a half years ago and to be honest, it surely is not one of my favourite cities. I would have really loved to visit Sequoia, but it would leave us rushing somewhere else. If we are faster than we have planned, we still might be able to fit it into our route.

All in all, we intend to stay about 22 days in National Parks. I mean that’s the whole reason we’re heading there! That’s where we were concerned about the costs. So, I did some research, and what I found truly left us speechless. I started checking the website of every single National Park on our list and the costs did vary from 20 to 35 $ per car to enter the parks and then stay there for a few days. That was already a great relief, as it would make about 130 $ each. But then I found the so-called “America the Beautiful Annual Pass”. This includes (nearly) all State and National Parks and even some monuments, and costs ONLY 80 $ per car, including up to 4 passengers. This was surely a great discovery and the pass can be purchased directly at the entrance to a National Park. 

The only national park on our list that is not included in the Pass is the Monument Valley Tribal Park, as it is not property of the United States, but of the Navajo Tribe. But with 20 $ per car the tribal park is very affordable and, as pictures show, definitely worth the money!

We will visit some of the most famous and beautiful national Parks in the western US during our trip and all the planning got us really excited about the trip! Of course, we’re also visiting some major cities, such as Seattle (where we will arrive and depart), Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. We’re also very deep into researching some interesting things to see along the way, such as sea lion caves, Alcatraz, volcano areas and of course we’ll be driving a bit along the world-famous Route 66. 

Something I might have to add is that we considered buying a drone to take aerial shots of the beautiful landscapes, and right now we’re really glad we haven’t done so already, as during our research we discovered that drones are forbidden in national parks because they disturb other visitors, as well as the wildlife. After finding out about that it seemed so obvious, but I guess that’s just something you tend to forget while getting excited for a trip. 

The screenshots of our route were made by using Google Maps.

 So, that’s the current state of our road trip and we’re really happy with the progress we made within just a few single days of researching and focusing on it. We’re super excited and honestly can’t wait for the 6th of August to come as soon as possible! If you have ever been to some of these places or know some great secret spots, the both of us would be really glad to hear about that in the comments.