Visiting the Grand Canyon is a dream trip for many.
Since money expert Clark Howard is such a travel expert, he’s visited several times.
When does he think is the best time to visit? And is taking a bus a good idea, or is it better to drive yourself?
That’s what a listener of the Clark Howard Podcast recently asked.
Should I Take a Bus To Visit the Grand Canyon? And When Should I Go?
When should I go to the Grand Canyon? And should I take a bus?
That’s what a listener asked on the June 29 podcast episode.
Asked Gary in Ohio: “I have an interest in seeing the Grand Canyon. Do you recommend going to Phoenix and taking a bus trip or going to Las Vegas and taking a bus trip? Do you recommend the spring or fall? How far in advance do you recommend buying airline tickets?”
Clark held it together on the podcast. But he seemed passionately against the idea of taking a bus to the Grand Canyon.
“First thing is I want you to ditch the bus. I want you to rent a car and I want you to drive yourself,” Clark says. “I don’t want you hermetically sealed in a bus all the way from Vegas to the Canyon or from Phoenix up to the Canyon.”
When Should I Buy Airline Tickets To Visit the Grand Canyon?
So Clark’s strong preference is for you to drive yourself to the Grand Canyon. When should you visit?
“September or October is much preferable to March, April or May,” Clark says. “Airline ticket prices after going way, way, way up are starting to fall again. There are better and better deals on airline tickets right now. And time is going to be your friend.
“As far as how far in advance for a domestic trip, somewhere around 25 to 28 days is a good sweet spot for buying domestic airline tickets.
“But I’d set up an alert on Google Flights. For your anticipated date cycle of when you want to go. And they will alert you every time there’s fare movement. And there may be a window where the fares are so cheap you say, ‘Gotta buy this one, gotta buy it now.'”
Which Part of the Grand Canyon Should I Visit?
I’m always impressed when Clark gets a travel question.
Because whether it’s a wildly popular location like the Grand Canyon or some small city in Montana, Clark seems to have been there — and he remembers details well enough to offer a strong opinion.
So which end of the Canyon should you target?
“It’s a very, very different experience visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas and that generally you’re going to go to North Rim, which is more remote,” Clark says. “It’s more geared toward people that are serious hikers and adventurers. The more conventional experience of going to the Grand Canyon is coming to the South Rim.
“And my thing with the South Rim is that if you’ll go – you can look at a map and you can see – there’s a large Native American reservation to the East-Southeast encompassing the Southeast corner of the Grand Canyon [Navajo Nation].
“It is to me the perfect compromise between North Rim and South Rim. Even if you continue along the South Rim and end up where all the crush of people are. If you look at a map coming up from Phoenix, you’ll see the route I’m talking about.
“And you’ll love the Canyon. I’ve been many, many times. And it’s never enough for me.”
Let’s recap. Clark strongly advises against taking a bus to the Grand Canyon and thinks you should drive yourself.
He also says you’ll get a much better deal on airplane tickets in the early fall (September or October) rather than the spring (March, April or May).
Finally, he says the North Rim is for adventurers and serious hikers. The South Rim is for tourists. And there’s a place near the tourist-heavy location at the South Rim where you could have the best of both worlds.