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Family Trips

Grand Canyon Bus Tours - A Cheaper Option for Family Vacations

Grand Canyon bus tours have several advantages for people on family vacations. First and foremost, motor coach trips are the cheapest way to enjoy a guided tour of the National Park. The price difference between a helicopter flight and a bus ride is significant even when you're only talking about one or two tickets. Multiply that difference by the number of people in your family, and the savings really add up. Grand Canyon bus trips are perfect for families who have limited travel budgets.

family grand canyon vacation

Even if you have plenty of money to spend on your vacation, the cost savings can be important. You can take the money you save by booking a bus tour instead of a plane or 'copter flight and use it to purchase some optional add-ons for your tour. There are some truly exciting extra-cost options that can be added to Grand Canyon bus tours: the possibilities at the West Rim include adding VIP passes to the Grand Canyon Skywalk or a thrilling 'copter flight that lands at the canyon's bottom. From there, you can enjoy a relaxing champagne picnic or even take a float trip down the Colorado River. At the South Rim you could add a thrilling chopper flight through dramatic Dragoon Corridor - the widest, deepest portion of the canyon.


But Grand Canyon coach trips have other advantages besides their lower cost. They're also perfect for families who have plenty of time on their hands and want to keep their kids entertained for an entire day.

West Rim bus trips leave from Las Vegas and take you to either the West Rim or the South Rim. If you'll be coming from Phoenix, Scottsdale or somewhere else in Arizona, Grand Canyon bus tours can take you to the South Rim. No matter which rim you visit, your tour will be an all-day experience. The one-way trip from Vegas to the West Rim is 2 hours. The South Rim is farther away and it will take 5 hours for your motor coach to arrive at the Park entrance. The length of the drive means you'll have plenty of good bonding time with your family during your ride to and from the Grand Canyon.

Like the other Grand Canyon tours, motor coach trips are all-inclusive. That means they come with complimentary hotel pickup and drop-off, lunch, and the services of an experienced tour guide. The price of these bus tours also includes all the applicable National Park fees and taxes. The buses used for these coach trips are clean, comfortable and outfitted with on-board restroom facilities.

family grand canyon vacation

Bus tours couldn't be more convenient, especially for families. You'll need to bring sunscreen and wear clothing that's right for the climate, but most of the planning is already done. You'll see the main highlights and have plenty of time to wander around on your own. For example, after arriving at Grand Canyon West, you can hop onto a shuttle and see points of interest like Guano Point, Eagle Point and the Indian Cultural Center. South Rim motor coach trips make stops at several renowned observation points like Mather Point, Yaki Point and Yavapai Point; you'll also be able to browse through the museums and gift shops in Grand Canyon Village.

Sauna Time!

Bus tours are all-day affairs. Most leave town around 7:30 a.m. West Rim trips take 12 hours to complete while South Rim tours take 15 hours. I don't recommend making any plans for the evening as you'll be spent from a day of touring. I know after my last canyon trip I spent some serious time in the sauna. Relatedly, there are no tours that do the West Rim and the South Rim on the same day. If you want to do that, you'll have to book two separate trips on two different days. Some tour companies will let you stay over at the South Rim and pick you up the next day. Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of this overnight option. Often times the bus is full and you have to stay a day to get another one - if it's available!

If you're serious about seeing the Grand Canyon, you'll book it ahead of time. Folks, these trips are popular and sell out often - despite the fact that coaches can hold up to 40 adults! I've heard of the odd duck that gets a seat with 24 hours notice but that's few and far between. Making these "birds" more rare is the fact that many companies stop taking reservations made a day prior to leaving. My recommendation is book your trip at least four days or so before your desired departure date. Don't worry if you have to change your reservation. Nearly all of the top-quality bus companies will allow you to change your trip to another day if the request is made within 24 hours.

family grand canyon vacation

I always recommend that travelers purchase their bus tours online. Why? Pure and simple, it's where the best deals are. That said, you don't want to book with the big brands like Travelocity, Viator, Expedia and the likes. You want to purchase your trip direct from the tour operator. This takes the middleman out of the equation and puts you in direct contact with tour prices that are free of commissions. My final caveat on this matter is make sure you complete the booking online in order to qualify for the Internet discount. Countless times I've seen folks abandon the virtual "shopping cart" and call the sales hotline. Avoid that. The folks at the other end of the line are sales people and they'll work their tails off to upsell you to a more expensive package.

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Have a grand day,

P.S. Not sure which tour operator to use? Go here for a comparison of Grand Canyon bus tour operators based on safety, quality and price.


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