Make Your Reservations
Lodging Available in National Park Lodges
New opportunities exist for summer travelers to several National Parks in the western United States. More travelers are making reservations on the web closer to their date of travel and many families are being careful with travel plans because of the current economic situation. Rooms in lodges within the National Parks traditionally fill months ahead of travel dates. Savvy shoppers may not only find available rooms but also money saving packages.
- Byrce Canyon – Utah
- Crater Lake – Oregon
- Death Valley – California
- Grand Canyon – Arizona
- Yellowstone – Wyoming
- Zion – Utah
The company also operates the Grand Canyon Railway, between Williams, Arizona and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
The U.S. Travel Association predicts nearly three-quarters of all Americans will visit a national park in 2009. Dave Hartvigsen, marketing consultant for Xanterra, offers planning tips for 2009 national park vacations.
Booking online is usually the quickest way to secure a reservation.
- Be flexible. Be as flexible as possible with dates and choice of lodging for the best chance of getting a room on short notice.
- Consider traveling during the first two weeks of June, the last 10 days of August or the first two weeks of September. Individual parks have unique soft spots. For example, Yellowstone has considerable availability during the entire month of May and late August through the end of the season in mid-October.
- Be timely. Group tour operators reserve blocks of rooms. If all the rooms are not sold, operators must release them for resale approximately 30 days out. Want reservations for July 30? Try booking on June 30 or July 1.
- Be persistent. Rooms open up due to a variety of reasons. You might be the lucky one to re-book that room.
- Watch out for third-party reservation web sites. Xanterra’s reservation services are FREE.
- In addition to lodging, book activities and dinner reservations. Popular activities like the Old West Dinner Cookout at Yellowstone’s Roosevelt Lodge fill up quickly. Find information on making reservations on the Xanterra web sites.
- Look for packages. The Grand Canyon Railway offers a variety of packages including train fare, lodging in Williams and Grand Canyon South Rim, and some meals. Yellowstone Summer Getaway Packages represent discounts up to 25 percent that include specially priced lodging and, in some cases, tours of the park.
- Just show up. Travelers who arrive between noon and 6 pm often find last-minute rooms available. Once in a park, the front desk at any lodge can check availability for all rooms with the park.
Nancy’s Notes: I’ve tried them, many of these tips work. If you decide on the “Just Show Up” option have a plan B, gateway communities to the national parks often fill to capacity. Happy planning, safe travels.
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