Planning a trip to the national parks takes some planning. You need to get there, book somewhere to stay, get around and get the most out of your trip by doing some awesome activities.
I have compiled all of the recommended planning resources that I use to plan my own trips so that you can access them easily to plan yours.
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TO BOOK YOUR NATIONAL PARK TOURS AND ACTIVITIES
There are plenty of awesome activities you can do in and around the national parks. From kayaking and rafting, snowshoeing and cross country skiing, guided tours to see wildlife or guided hikes, there are so many things that will really make your trip extra special.
Viator is one of the leading travel sites and has a huge selection of tours and activities. I have had great experiences with them in and around many of the parks.
Check out different experiences available with Viator here.
My other main go-to booking site is Get Your Guide. They have some of the same tours as Viator, but also have different activities available.
Many people think that booking through a company like Get Your Guide is more expensive than booking directly – it is not. They are the same price or cheaper. Plus, because they are worldwide, they have a reputation to maintain, so you know that the experiences you book are pre-vetted to include the best tours and travel. They also make it easy to book activities online.
Book tours and travel activities with Get Your Guide here.
TO BOOK YOUR NATIONAL PARKS ACCOMMODATION
Staying in a house or apartment or a cabin in the woods or even a yurt can be a wonderful part of your national parks vacation. These days, many hotels, lodges and resorts also put their rooms on VRBO often at a slight discount from their regulars rates.
It’s easy to set up an account and then filter by location, type, amenities, etc. Enhanced cleaning is a priority.
Search for a place to stay on VRBO here.
This is the first place I look for accommodations outside the parks.
Booking.com is really easy to use with different filters based on price, location, quality and type. They have a huge selection and they have free cancellation and price guarantees. You can communicate directly with a property through the Booking.com system, which I have done many times and found it very helpful.
Check prices and availability on Booking.com here.
TO GET GEAR AND CLOTHING FOR YOUR NATIONAL PARKS ADVENTURE
I use Amazon a lot because of the incredible range of things they sell, as well as the ease. I live in NYC where you can buy almost anything, but it is still easier to find exactly what I’m looking for (and have it delivered) online. Amazon is a great resource for travel gear, accessories and books.
TO GET THERE AND GET AROUND
You need a car to get around most national parks. Unless you are taking a tour or doing a road trip in your own car or RV, then chances are that you will need to rent a vehicle after you fly into an airport near your destination. I live in the northeast and have fairly short vacation times, so this is what I do for most of the national parks I visit.
Prices for car rental can vary widely, so I like to use rentalcars.com because it shows me prices for all of the companies together. That way, I can easily rent a car at the cheapest price available.
Like most aggregate booking sites, Skyscanner searches thousands of flights and airlines, including budget airlines for cheap flights. I have checked prices on Skyscanner against more well-known sites like Expedia, and it consistently has the cheapest airline fares for the exact same flights.
TO GET THOSE ESSENTIAL EXTRAS
Travel insurance covers all sorts of things that you may not think about until you need it, like trip cancellation, medical repatriation, property loss or damage, etc.
Travelex is a flexible travel insurance option that you can add to and claim online and it covers a huge range of adventure activities, including hiking, diving, canyoneering and river rafting.
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