YES I WOULD WALK 500 MILES
Visiting the National Parks in the USA has always been on the top of my bucket list. Little did I know that the first time we would be going on a camping adventure in the South West, I would be doing so 5 months pregnant. Talking about an adventure!
But the entire trip went smooth sailing ad I highly recommend visiting the South West in the USA if you’re looking for a more adventurous babymoon.
While there’s still a lot more ground to cover for us in the USA we tried to fit in as much as humanly possible into the 9 days we only had.
From admiring the red rocks for the first time in Valley of Fire State Park to exploring Utah’s Mighty 5 and feeling like we stepped onto a Western movie set.
For now you’ll find a ton of guides here about Nevada, Utah and Arizona. But I’m sure that in the near future I’ll be able to share a ton more American adventures with you.
For our first road trip through the USA we decided to rent our camper van with Travellers Autobarn. One big advantage of their company is that their service offers unlimited mileage. Very convenient if you want to fit as much as possible into your itinerary.
From some of the most scenic roads in the world to spectacular landscapes. I hope these guides will get you even more excited about your trip to the USA8
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THE USA
The best time to visit the USA totally depends on which National Parks or states that you want to visit.
For instance, for our road trip which covers big parts of Nevada, Utah and Arizona it’s best to travel in Spring or Fall. You will avoid the peak summer crowds at this time and most roads and trails that were closed in winter are now open.
During the summer months the temperature here will simply be too hot. We visited at the start of April and while the mornings and evenings were on the cooler side, we always ended up hiking in a t-shirt during the day.
The only two National Parks that we weren’t able to enjoy to the fullest were Zion National Park and Bryce National Park. Due to their elevation and recent snowfall some of the hiking traills were still closed. So for these two I would suggest visiting towards the end of April.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN TRAVELING TO THE USA
Language – The official language in the USA is English
Currency – The official currency is the American Dollar ($)
Credit Cards & ATM’s – Make sure as a European that you have a proper Credit Card cause your prepaid card won’t work in the USA. Also make sure that before your trip you adjust your settings so that your card works outside of Europe as well. We were able to pay everything with our card during our road trip.
Plugs – The plugs in the USA are type B. The best advice I can give you is to make sure you bring a universal adapter with you.
Safety – Overall the USA is a pretty safe country to travel to, especially if you’re visiting the National Parks.
TIPS FOR YOUR FIRST VISIT TO THE USA
Pick an area – The USA is enormous so there’s no way of exploring it all at once. Unless you have a couple of months to spare you’ll have to choose 1 or 2 states to explore during your visit. The best practice is to check which states are best to visit during your period of leave and go from there.
Tipping is expected – As Europeans tipping usually isn’t in our nature but in the USA almost all service staff earn less than minimum wage and it’s expected of them to earn the rest in tips. Once you pay your bill you’ll be able to add a tip of 10%, 15% or 20%, depending on how happy you are with the service.
Pack layers – Especially in the morning it can be pretty cold in the National Parks so you’ll need to be prepared for any kind of weather. Make sure to bring enough layers so you can dress warmer or cooler if necessary.
Sales Tax – Be prepared to have sales tax added to your bills on all goods and services. So when you buy something in a store, the price you see on the label is not the final price and your bill could come with up to about 15% taxes. But also expect these taxes to be added to your restaurant bills, hotel bills, etc.
National Parks – The best thing you can do is purchase the America The Beautiful Pass. This US Park Pass gives you entrance to all of the National Parks for the duration of 12 months. 1 US Park Pass is valid for up to 4 adults in 1 vehicle.
Camping – You can find all of the camp sites in National Parks in the USA through the nps.gov website as well. But it’s very important to know that almost all of them operate on a reservation basis and not on a first come, first serve base. Reservations open 6 months from before. If you’re a last minute booker chances will be high that all campsites will be full.
🚘 ROAD TRIPPING & CAMPING THROUGH THE USA
Road Conditions – Paved roads and highways are generally in good condition, especially the main routes. Still, expect potholes on smaller roads as well as cattle guards if you venture onto a side road. Also, be prepared to come along road construction sites. Always follow the markings and keep the speed limit.
Camping – If you want to camp at a National Park in the USA you may only do so at designated camping spots. I love using the Camp & RV app to find all of the possible camp sites in the neighborhood. There won’t be any free camping or overnight parking within a National Park. So make sure to calculate this into your travel budget when planning a trip to the USA.
Boondocking – If you want to make your campervan rental in the USA as cheap as possible then I highly recommend to go boondocking. The National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Department of Fish and Wildlife are great examples of public land management agencies that allow dispersed camping on some of the lands that they manage.You can find all of these places also within the Camp & RV app.
📖 READ MORE – THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO RENTING A CAMPER AND CAMPING IN THE SOUTH WEST USA
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