Want to go on a quick vacation but not sure if you can afford it? Maybe this is something you'd want to consider.
Visiting the Grand Canyon is something we've always wanted to do, and in my opinion everyone should see at least once in their life. The grandeur and the huge-ness of it can only be grasped with the human eye. Pictures just don't do it justice...
Let me share with you what we did and how you can afford it too.
Getting there and Back
We had bought our airline tickets ($184 for 2 adults and a 7 month old baby round trip) only a few weeks prior to our trip. I had googled the best airport to fly into for the Grand Canyon and saw that Las Vegas (McCarren International) was the most commonly used one. Flagstaff Arizona has an airport too that's closer, but there was not direct flight.
Luckily we had a direct flight from Akron-Canton Airport to Las Vegas and back with Spirit Airlines. I booked everything on Expedia.com . Reserved a car rental, hotel in Flagstaff AZ. Spirit Airlines is known to be one of the cheapest, but you gotta pay extra for your seats and bags (we paid $42 for seats). They only allow you one personal item for free. (We packed everything in 2 backpacks)
On the way to the airport we got an email stating our Flight was delayed. Which was okay with us, as the traffic was horrible due to 2 accidents enroute to the airport.
We arrived in Las Vegas around 9pm pst. After having a little bit of a delay getting our rental car, we started the almost 4 hour drive to Flagstaff. Looking back we should have stayed the first night in Las Vegas due to the time we got there. But our Hotel was already booked in Flagstaff so we drove during the night.
The Next Day
After sleeping in, and a late breakfast at IHOP ($27) we headed to the Grand Canyon National Park. ($30 per vehicle fee to get a pass for a week) From Flagstaff that is about an hour drive north and a little west.
When we got there we walked to the nearest lookout points and then took the shuttle busses (free inside the park) to a few of the farther ones.
We grabbed a quick lunch at the Cafe ($12) there near the visitor center and then drove down to "The Village" area. After spending about an hour or so down there we headed back out. On the way in we had seen numerous Elk and Mule deer.
We took our time so we could get some pictures of the wildlife. Managed to get some decent pictures of a small herd of Elk cows and calves and a couple Mule Deer bucks that were just started to grow their antlers.
We got back to the Hotel around 4 pm. Ordered some pizza from Pizza Hut ($38 for a large, cheese sticks, and drinks) Just had some good quality time and went to bed early.
The 2nd Day- Hoover Dam
Friday morning we got up and had leftover pizza ? for breakfast. Yeah Seriously! We didn't want it to spoil in the hot car during the day.
After a 3+ hour drive back to the Hoover Dam through some very scenic country of western Arizona, we arrived around lunch-time. After going through the security checkpoint (easy with a small car) we first drove across the Dam and parked at one of the parking spots on the other side as those are free parking. But as we started walking back to the Dam we changed our mind as it was 90+ degrees and quite a walk.
So we got back into the car and drove back across the Dam and paid $10 to park in the Parking garage right by the Restuarant. We were getting pretty hungry by then. So we ate inside that Cafe and dropped a scary $42 on burgers and fries and ice cream for 2. (Don't eat there unless you have to)
After spending some time there checking out the Dam close up and taking some pictures we decided not to take the tour of the power plant. Probably worth it but Jayden was getting tired and it was 90 degrees.
Instead we drove out to the skywalk bridge parking lot and walked up and out on the bridge. That bird's-eye view of the Dam was definitely worth it, despite the noise of the traffic on the bridge.
While we were up there I did a Facebook live showing the incredible view from high in the air above the Hoover Dam. That was one Dam good video!!
After that we headed back to Vegas did some shopping and got on our flight home at around 10 pm. Even tho we were a little tired from the crazy times of the flights and the driving, we had an absolute blast and throughly enjoyed the quick 2 day trip and time spent together.
I was amazed at the total cost of this trip. I didn't keep 100% track of all the meals but here is what we got and can remember.
$184- Flight for 2 adults and baby Roundtrip
$42 for picking our seats
$126 for 2 nights stay at America's Best Inn in Flagstaff AZ
$83 for Rental Car
$45 for Gas
$30 for Grand Canyon National Park Pass
$10 parking at Hoover Dam
$33 for Airport Parking
Total: $553 plus approx $150-$200 in food with airport snacks and drinks included.
Total for the whole trip $700-$750.
What I'd do differently
If there's no decent flight to Flagstaff AZ, I would get my Hotel in Williams, AZ. This is directly south of the Grand Canyon and about 20 minutes closer than Flagstaff. Also there's a train that runs twice daily from Williams to the Canyon. I would check into possibly taking it instead of driving if I stayed in Williams.
Also if you need to watch your spending, don't eat at the Hoover Dam unless you absolutely have to. You'll pay $10-$12 for a burger and fries plus $3 for your drink. Small cup of ice cream is $4.99.
Hope you found this article helpful and if you did, please share with your friends. Because of our Home-Business we were able to take this trip at a very reasonable cost and still work our business on the go.