Utah 2023: Pro Tips

Hi, all! Sorry it’s taken me all week to get around to this final post, but the brain took a break after all that driving around. (We could have driven home from Arches National Park, that’s how far we drove.)

So what pro tips did we discover this time?

This tip is from Ranesha, the Avis rental agent at the Four Queens Hotel & Casino in Vegas: Check to see if your hotel has a car rental desk. If so, then take a cab or Uber from the airport and rent your car at the hotel. (She didn’t say, but I imagine it would be a good idea to do that over the phone before you start traveling.) No lines, personal service, and no trudging through a giant parking deck. Also, sometimes you get a better deal.

Ask park rangers for advice on how to get from there to the next place. This is how we were able to see more than just the five national parks. However, remember that it is also how we got to experience Hwy 12.

In the same vein, don’t overlook state parks. Nevada’s Valley of Fire and Utah’s supremely silly Valley of Goblins were awesome!

As always, in a park with one main artery in and out, drive to the end and then stop on all the overlooks on the way back, unless the overlooks are on the right. Mostly they’re on the left, though.

Especially in Arches National Park, if your timed ticket is after twelve noon, go straight to Delicate Arch. If you don’t, you’ll end up like us, too tired to make the 40-minute hike to see it up close.

In Vegas… I don’t know. I have no affection for the place. Cirque du Soleil is fabulous and I would advise you not to miss Meow Wolf’s OmegaMart, but otherwise the city is not my kind of place. YMMV, of course. You might check hotel prices out near Hoover Dam to see if they’re cheaper; it’s a 30-minute drive, but the savings may make it preferable.

No pro tip here, but a caution: We like to travel without firm plans on where to stay, using the app Hotel Tonight to book hotels on the fly and at reduced rates. The one night we had planned to use Hotel Tonight, though, I was shocked to find that no rooms were available in St. George, UT. When I went to Expedia, I found plenty of rooms, so the lesson is that if business is booming, hotels have no reason to push reduced-rate rooms via Hotel Tonight.

As always, be aware of altitude sickness. It’s real and it will lay you low. Just take it easy, drink lots of water, and make sure you pack your lip balm — when they say it’s a “dry heat” you’re probably focused on the “heat” part of that, but the “dry” is equally as problematic.


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