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Best American Road Trip Routes

AAA – Hotels, Resorts, Rental Cars and more!

When we decide we are going to take a family vacation, one place I head to is AAA.  When you go to your local AAA, you can gain lots of great information, not only from the agent but also from people who are visiting your area can tell you where to go when you visit their neck of the woods.

At AAA you can get FREE maps and brochures if you are a member.  If not a member, they will give you info, but there is a charge for some of the items, like maps and brochures. They will also help you with other information, including hotels, car rentals, and best routes.

To me, it’s worth joining AAA, not only for their services like free towing, a locksmith if you lock your keys in the car, and much more.  But you can even get discounts on hotels, national parks, tourist attractions, and restaurants to name a few. You can check out what you get at AAA.com; rates and services are slightly different in each state.

When I went to AAA to plan our trip out west, I met a couple who was from the Yellowstone area. They told me if we want to see more animals than the average visitor who visits Yellowstone National Park, we need to stay and travel to the NE corner of the park.

So we listened and chose to stay in a small town called Cooke City, Montana, located in the NE corner of the park.  It was a great choice; we saw over 1,000 American bison – YES! No exaggeration… elk, moose, a grey wolf, black bears, long horn sheep, mountain goats, white-tailed deer, red fox, and all sorts of birds.  So I suggest doing the same. Some of the other tourists we met who had only traveled on the west side and lower part of Yellowstone didn’t see any animals; some just a few Bison.

Cooke City, Montana
Bearclaw Bakery – Cooke City, Montana

There will be more details about our trip to Yellowstone National Park to follow in a future post.  

Where should you stay when traveling?  

Ask those who have visited the area before and do your research on the internet. Find a place not only where you can get a deal, but places where you have many perks or excellent service.  Location of your hotel or resort is essential too. Blogs are an excellent resource because they give a lot more detail of their experience. When booking your hotel or resort, ask the agent who is taking your reservation what the AAA rate is; you will usually save at least 10% if you are a member.  If not a member, find out what other discounts they do give. Often you will find there is some way to get a discount, through AARP, USAA, Military, your credit union. Even the company you work for at times can get you a discount at places.

Wyndham Resort in Park City, Utah
Wyndham Resort in Park City, Utah

Where to eat?

When looking for a place to dine, ask those you meet who live in the area where they like to eat.  They will suggest places that are not usually tourist driven, but those places are not always the worst places to eat either.  When checking into your hotel or resort, ask if there are any discount coupons too! Pinterest is a great place to find the best places to eat or visit.

Go to Pinterest Here:

Blue Iguana in Salt Lake City, Utah

What to do on your vacation?

Ask your family at a designated time when you are discussing your vacation, what are some things they would like to do. Have some of the information you gathered ready to refer to so they know what some things are that may interest them. Do they want to go to museums? ski? shop? go to a factory like where they make chocolate or ice cream (ie. Ben and Jerry’s)? Do they want to go digging or visit the caverns?  Then prioritize them and let everyone get at least one of their choices to make it not only fair but enjoyable to all. This way, each person can be excited and look forward to your family vacation.

Rodeo in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

What should we do?  Fly, drive, or both?

We like to drive most of the time, but if it’s going to take more than a day to drive somewhere, we usually fly, then rent a vehicle.  Unless we drive, stop to play tourist in a city, then continue to our next destination. We do recommend, even if you drive from your house to the destination, rent a vehicle.  We like renting a vehicle so that we don’t put the miles or wear and tear on our car. Get one that is roomy enough for all, especially those who are in the back seat; they need lots of leg room.  Usually, we like to rent SUV’s or vans when driving on vacation.

Rented Van from Avis

We rented a van, which was a great choice for four people. It had lots of hidden storage and legroom; it was very comfortable for our 17-day vacation out west. We were thinking of getting an RV, but we were glad we didn’t because many of the state parks didn’t allow vacationers to drive them in many areas because of the narrow roads.  We actually got derailed by four hours because of an RV and car accident in Yellowstone. Unfortunately, the driver had to be airlifted to Jackson Hole to the hospital; it was a bad accident.

Driving from Custards Last Stand to Yellowstone

So I hope this information helps you when planning your next vacation.  You can see our last post visiting the Corn Palace in SD on our way to Mt. Rushmore HERE.

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