The southwestern United States offers many must-see places. Taking a road trip in this area is the best way to see it all. But if you’re coming from a distance, it might make more sense to fly in and rent a car on arrival. 

Road trips might seem easy, but if you don’t have a reliable vehicle, things can be tricky. Do you know the requirements for renting a vehicle? Not just anyone can walk in and rent at a desk. 

We’ll cover everything from navigating the rental car process to sample itineraries for your trip.

Finding Travel Deals

If you start your journey from anywhere other than the Southwest, flying and renting a car might be your best option. To keep the budget in check, you’ll want to shop around for the best deals.

Search Cheap Flights

The search tool Google Flights and other comparison tools are a good starting point for finding cheap flights. But remember that not all airlines list their flights on comparison sites, so check directly with airline websites too.

Budget airlines can be a great option to get from point A to point B. If you don’t mind traveling light, you can save money. However, watch out for baggage fees and upgrades, as those extras add up quickly.

Finding cheap flights will allow you to splurge on other road trip aspects. However, if you aren’t packing light, luggage fees add up quickly. 

If you open a credit card specific to a single airline, you can save money in the long run. In addition, there are additional perks like preferred seating and airport lounge access.

Airline perks programs and frequent flier miles are another opportunity to save on flights. However, if you fly only once a year, your miles may expire before you can get enough to use them.

Get Deals on Car Rentals

Online search tools are a great way to start your quest for cheap car rentals. They will give you an idea of the going rate and probably offer the best price. 

Try this trick to get 20% off your rental. Go online to a car rental company, go through the process to rent the car you want, including supplying your email address, then stop on the last page before confirming. If you let the page sit, it might trigger an “abandoned cart” sequence, which sends an email to you with an incentive to complete your rental. 

Many cities offer car-sharing opportunities. You can find them online, where you choose the actual car. Some sites coordinate with car owners who loan out their personal vehicles. Many entrepreneurs have started their own mini fleet for these sites. Look for well-rated people. 

Consider renting an SUV with good ground clearance and all-wheel drive to handle the mountain roads and provide you the chance at some fun off-roading experiences.

The most important part to remember when renting a car for a road trip is to check the mileage limits on the rental agreement. For example, some rentals limit daily miles.

Make sure you understand insurance coverage for your rental or personal vehicle. The longer you spend on the road, the more likely you’ll run into car trouble or accidents. Check what rental car insurance you may already have; for example, there are a few credit cards that feature it, such as Capital One.

Save on Lodging

Compare Airbnb and Vrbo. Usually, the longer you stay, the cheaper your rate. But since you’re making a road trip, you will likely search for shorter stays.

Online tools are abundant for finding lodging. Whether you check major comparison sites for hotels or look at local travel guides, planning your trip around your lodging options will give you an outline to work with. 

Use a credit card that has hotel or travel perks. Many credit card companies have cash-back rewards for travel expenses. Some credit cards specify which hotel lines are honored.  

Try camping. Ultimately, tenting is the cheapest option for frugal travelers. If your Southwest road trip centers around national parks and outdoor attractions, tenting allows you to get up close and personal with nature.

Remember, lodging is harder to find when traveling the vast expanses of the Southwest. So, do your homework ahead of time and reserve your stops to save money. If you feel free-spirited and want to go where the road takes you, allow extra wiggle room in your budget. 

Must-See Places in the Southwest

There are so many wonderful sites to see in the Southwest that it’s difficult to narrow down the options. Wherever you roam, make memories and cherish the travel experience.

If you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck, and you are coming from out of town, consider Las Vegas and Phoenix airports. 

Las Vegas Road Trip

However you plan to get to the Southwest, Las Vegas is one of the cheapest destinations to fly into. Once you get your rental or car share, it’s time to set out. 

Starting in Vegas, you can travel northeast on I-15. This route will take you to Zion National Park in a little over two hours. Southern Utah is a fantastic place to explore, and you could make your whole trip around the parks and forests there.

However, if you want to hit the highlights, continue on to the Grand Canyon. Take US-89A to AZ-67 South, and you’ll be at the south rim in two hours. That route will take you through scenic landscapes and unique towns. 

Just an hour south of the south rim, you can check out a wildlife preserve called Bearizona. While in Williams, you can hunt for peridot, a semi-precious stone. Arizona is a popular place for rock hounds.

Wrap up your Las Vegas loop with a stop at the Hoover Dam. Take AZ-93 North to Clark County, Nevada, and check out the impressive hydroelectric power plant. 

Phoenix Road Trip

Phoenix to Tucson is a great first leg for an Arizona road trip. Colossal Cave Mountain Park is a great place to explore and will excite you for what else to see in Arizona.

The Mt. Lemmon Highway will take you on a short and breathtaking jaunt out of Tucson. You can take it purely for the driving beauty or hop out at Mt. Lemmon and hike around the scenic grandeur. 

Taking a lengthier drive from Mt. Lemmon to Tonto National Forest provides excellent camping options. Tonto is a stopping point between Tucson and Flagstaff.

Flagstaff is a must-see town with great shopping, good food, and unique lodging. The whole city is set on a mountain backdrop and will provide the quintessential road trip feel.

From Flagstaff, you are within hours of the best spots along the Grand Canyon. Choose your hike depending on the time of year you travel. 

Head back to Flagstaff, where you can head south on AZ-89A. Travel through Sedona, and spend some time among the scenic red rocks. If you’ve rented a capable vehicle, exciting off-roading opportunities abound.

Take 179 S to I-17 through Saguaro cacti back to Phoenix. Phoenix itself merits some time spent, so carve out time at the beginning or end of your road trip to do it justice.

One last thing to consider, who will you take with you? If you travel solo or with friends, it’s good to inform someone of your itinerary and check in periodically.

Here’s what you need to remember when taking any road trip:

  • Know the terms of your rental (insurance, miles, etc.).
  • Notify someone of your plans and check in with them at appointed times.
  • Take opportunities to stop and enjoy the views as they come.

Preparing before you leave can help you enjoy yourself once you hit the road. While a road trip can be spontaneous, there are some unwanted surprises you prevent by following these tips. 

Treasure Island is a pirate-themed hotel that first opened in 1993. Thirty years later, it is one of the most visited hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. The hotel blends the pirate theme with world-class amenities and luxuries to give guests the best of both worlds. But the true highlights of the Treasure Island Hotel are the shows and activities available to guests.

Are you curious to learn more about these shows and activities at the hotel? Below are the top seven things to do at the Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas.

1) Cirque du Soleil’s “Mystere”

You may recognize the Cirque du Soleil brand name because it is one of the most popular production companies in Las Vegas. They produce the most popular shows in the city, including Mystere at the Mystere Theatre of the Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas.

Mystere is a show rich in positivity, energy, and imagination. It is a 90-minute production featuring skilled performers demonstrating athleticism, acrobatics, stunts, creative costume designs, and other artistic performances. Everything from the unique characters to the giant babies will have your eyes glued to the performers for the entire show.

Are you interested in learning more about Mystere and other fabulous Cirque shows in Las Vegas? From this URL, you can find plenty of details about these shows and any exclusive discounts that may be available.

2) Senor Frog’s Restaurant

Senor Frog’s Restaurant serves authentic American and Mexican-style cuisine at the Treasure Island Hotel. The range of food choices includes a fajitas platter, fiesta taco salads, steak tacos, burritos, carnitas bowls, and a giant hamburger. Hopefully, you have a big appetite because you’ll want to eat everything on the menu.

People of all ages love Senor Frog’s Restaurant because it is friendly, affordable, and has a wide range of tasty foods. You can even reserve a private or semi-private event to celebrate special occasions like birthday parties, bachelor parties, social gatherings, etc.

3) Marvel Avengers STATION

Kids and adults love Marvel superheroes like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Incredible Hulk. That is why Marvel Avengers STATION is one of the most popular attractions at the Treasure Island Hotel. It is an educational and interactive museum for guests who want to immerse themselves in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Avengers STATION exhibits include the uniforms and weapons of Black Widow, Captain America, Iron Man, and other adored Marvel superheroes. You’ll even receive a thorough education on the technological capabilities of certain Marvel members, including the functionality of Iron Man’s suit.

The Marvel Avengers STATION is the ideal entertainment of Las Vegas because it offers visual appeal, entertainment, educational content, and interactive experiences. The best part is that it is available to guests of all ages.

4) Gilley’s Saloon

Gilley’s Saloon is a western-themed restaurant at the Treasure Island Hotel. The barstools look like horse saddles, and the wooden dining tables and stools will make you feel like you’ve gone back in time to the Old West. The only difference is that the saloon has many neon lights and other modern conveniences.

However, the main highlight is the mechanical bull-riding attraction at Gilley’s Saloon. Do you think you can ride a mechanical bull for eight seconds? That is how long guests are challenged to stay on the bull without falling off.

You can see a band play free live music for customers at night on Fridays and Saturdays. In addition, there is a dance floor where you can dance with your partner or spouse while the music plays.

5) The Oleksandra Spa & Salon

The Treasure Island Hotel offers a great way for guests to relax and improve their personal well-being. The Oleksandra Spa & Salon provides world-class services for guests who want the ultimate relaxation experience. These services include Swedish massages, therapeutic massages, couple’s massages, fitness & spa facility, hydra facial treatments, Babor face treatments, skin detoxification treatment, body waxing, mud wraps, and hair styling.

You could spend the whole day at the Oleksandra Spa & Salon and never get bored. Plus, it is more fun to enjoy the experience with a partner or friend because you can both receive massages and treatments together. It creates an ideal bonding time for the two of you.

6) Pool & Cabanas

The Treasure Island Hotel has a massive island-themed heated swimming pool with tall tropical palm trees and lounge chairs surrounding it. Other poolside amenities include plush round ottomans, a 25-person hot tub, luxury lounge chair rentals, and day bed rentals.

The cabana rentals are suitable for groups of up to eight people. Each pool cabana includes flat-screen cable television, private safe, deluxe lounge chairs, ceiling fans, food & beverage service, and a refrigerator filled with water, Gatorade, juice, and tea.

7) Grand Canal Shoppes

Although the Grand Canal Shoppes is technically part of the Venetian Resort, a pedestrian bridge connects Treasure Island to this massive shopping center. A simple walk over the bridge will bring you to the ultimate shopping center with over 200 specialty shops and various luxury department stores.

The upscale brand names of the stores and restaurants are recognizable, such as Stuart Weitzman, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Sugarboo & Co, Sushi Samba, Tony Burch, and Chipotle Mexican Grill. There are plenty of other notable brand names, but this should give you some idea of the high-end items and services you will find at the shops.

Things to do in Treasure Island – Final Thoughts

You do not have to stay in a room at the Treasure Island Hotel to enjoy the shows and activities offered. But you may find lodging at the Treasure Island Hotel more convenient for experiencing all the attractions because you won’t need to walk or take public transportation to get to them. Either way, you will enjoy exploring the hotel’s various shops, restaurants, cabanas, spas, and shows.