2 weeks August 2021 (exact dates t.b.c.)
California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, USA
Good 3* and 4* travel hotels
Flights to Los Angelos, private local bus
A once-in-a-lifetime trip: 2500+ miles, 4 US States, 10 National Parks, numerous National Monuments, 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, famous cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, entertainment capitals Las Vegas and Hollywood, amazing panoramic views from desserts to the Pacific, the world’s largest trees, the world’s hottest place, cultural highlights, industrial highlights, natural highlights, and so much more. This is a truly an unforgettable experience! And all you have to do is to show up for your flight and Expat Club arranges the rest. We will stay in good hotels, organise a comfortable private coach, book pre-reserved tours and entries, meet with local experts and representatives of Native Americans.
During this (about) 2-week road trip we will truly introduce you to the Southwest of the United States of the America. We invite everyone who wants to join, from solo travellers to couples, and from young to old. Expat Club is open to anyone who wants to meet other international people from Brussels and Belgium. Of course this included international Belgians too, as well as their guests and other interested people. We will do much as a group, but there will be much time to discover several of the destinations on your own as well.
We would like to know if you are interested in this trip. If yes, please let us know by making a pre-reservation. This is for free and comes without any obligation. You can do this in 2 ways. If you are a member, log in and click on the RSVP button. If you are not yet a member, you can either first register as a member, the log in and click on the RSVP on this page, or you can send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of people you would like to join.
What is included in this trip?
- Flights to Los Angeles with reputable airline
- 1 checked luggage of 20-23kg
- 1 hand luggage and personal item
- Airport transfers
- Transportation by comfortable bus with professional driver
- Accommodation in good 3* and 4* hotels, incl. breakfast
- Welcome & Farewell dinner
- A great group of international people
- A lifetime memory
What is optional?
- Single room
- Premium Economy / Business Class flights
- Grand Canyon helicopter ride
- Additional days at start / end of trip
Who can join us?
Expat Club welcomes everyone who feels like joining an open-minded international group of expats and Belgians. Most of our participants are 30-65 years old with some younger and some older, and work in a variety of fields (EU, NATO, NGO, diplomacy, corporate, academics).
- Members & non-members
- Expats & (international) Belgians
- All ages, including children (minimum 8 years advised due to topic)
- Singles / couples / retirees / friends / colleagues / families
Expat Club & families
Expat Club welcomes families on board. For this trip, however, be aware that the driving times are considerable and therefore probably not nice for smaller programs. Please contact us for more information and before making a reservation, so we can give you a proper discount and can assign the right rooms for you.
The below program is not yet confirmed. Certain parts may be added, some may be removed. Still the general route is clear. If you join, be aware that this trip involves a lot of driving, namely in total about 4500km in 2,5 weeks. To compare with other Expat Club trip:
– Bavaria Castles trip (4,5 days) about 2100km
– Stunning Switzerland trip (9 days) about 2250km
– Mont Saint Michel trip (3 days) about 1250km
So all in all it is comparatively not that much on average per day, but you will be spending a lot of time on the road. But that’s also the Southwest and the United States in general. Distances are large, while the scenery is amazing. We arrange a comfortable bus of course and stop at regular intervals for a coffee, restrooms and lunch, and with USB connections you will be able to enjoy your personal entertainment (e.g. download Netflix series). Also we arrange high-quality 3* or 4* hotels from a reputable hotel chain and carefully selected independent hotels. We take ample time to visit the various National Parks and panoramic viewpoints, but be aware that this is not the trip for independent hikes over several hours.
Day 1 – Flight to Los Angeles
Day 2 – Joshua Tree National Park & Palm Springs
Day 3 – Slab City, US-Mexican Border, Organ Pipe Cactus Park, Kitt Peak
Day 4 – Aircraft cemetery, Phoenix & Frank Lloyd Wright residence, Sedona
Day 5 – Sedona, Flagstaff, Meteor Crater
Day 6 – Sunset Crater, Grand Canyon
Day 7 – Monument Valley, Arches NP
Day 8 – Canyonlands NP, Salt Lake city
Day 9 – Salt Lake City & Salt Lake, Manti-La Sal NF
Day 10 – Capitol Reef NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Zion NP
Day 11 – Las Vegas
Day 12 – Las Vegas, Hoover Dam
Day 13 – Death Valley, Lake Isabella
Day 14 – Sequoia NP, King’s Canyon NP
Day 15 – Yosemite NP, San Francisco
Day 16 – San Francisco & Bay Area
Day 17 – Silicon Valley, Highway 1
Day 18 – Los Angeles
This will be the trip of a lifetime. If you have never been to the United States, be prepared for an amazing adventure through one of the world’s most scenic regions. The Southwest offers endless panoramas in all shapes and colours.
The United States National Parks
The United States has 63 protected areas known as national parks that are operated by the National Park Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior. National parks must be established by an act of the United States Congress. A bill creating the first national park, Yellowstone, was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, followed by Mackinac National Park in 1875 (decommissioned in 1895), and then Rock Creek Park (later merged into National Capital Parks), Sequoia and Yosemite in 1890. The Organic Act of 1916 created the National Park Service “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
National parks are designated for their natural beauty, unique geological features, diverse ecosystems, and recreational opportunities. National monuments, on the other hand, are frequently chosen for their historical or archaeological significance. While legislatively all units of the National Park System are considered equal with the same mission, national parks are generally larger and more of a destination, and hunting and extractive activities are prohibited. Fourteen national parks are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites (WHS), and 21 national parks are named UNESCO Biosphere Reserves (BR), with eight national parks in both programs. Eight national parks (including six in Alaska) are paired with a national preserve, areas with different levels of protection that are administered together but considered separate units and whose areas are not included in the figures below.” (source: Wikipedia)
During this trip you will have the opportunity to see the following highlights:
- Joshua Tree NP
- Grand Canyon NP, UNESCO WHS
- Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park NM
- Arches NP
- Canyonlands NP
- Capitol Reef NP
- Bryce Canyon NP
- Zion MP
- Death Valley NP
- Kings Canyon NP
- Sequoia Canyon NP
- Yosemite NP
- Hoover Dam
- Area 51
- Pacific Highway 1
The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.
The City of Angels is the United States’ second largest city in terms of inhabitants, but in terms of size the metropolitan area (including Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Anaheim, Long Beach, San Bernardino, Pasadena etc) it is considerably larger than New York. From the most Northern parts to the South it measures over 80 miles and even more from East to West. The total area would cover around 40% of Belgium!!! We will arrive at the famous LAX Los Angeles International Airport, which welcomed almost 90 million passengers per year. There are many things to visit in LA, although people perceive the city differently than New York or Chicago since everything is so widespread. For that reason we will only spend the arrival day in LA, start our road trip on the second day and reserve the last days to explore LA further.
“Palm Springs, a city in the Sonoran Desert of southern California, is known for its hot springs, stylish hotels, golf courses and spas. It’s also noted for its many fine examples of midcentury-modern architecture. Its core shopping district along Palm Canyon Drive features vintage boutiques, interior design shops and restaurants. The surrounding Coachella Valley offers hiking, biking and horseback riding trails” (Source: Wikipedia). Palm Springs is the perfect waterhole before we really begin our journey to and through the rugged landscape of the Western United States.
Joshua Tree National Park – Where two deserts meet
Two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, come together in Joshua Tree National Park. A fascinating variety of plants and animals make their homes in a land sculpted by strong winds and occasional torrents of rain. Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the wonder of this vast wilderness in southern California. (Source: www.nps.gov)
Slab City – The Last Free Place
Slab City is also known as The Slabs. It’s a renegade community located in the Sonoran Desert in Southeast California, attracting artists, retirees and a wide range of other people who purposefully want to escape the trappings of society.
The second state we visit will be Arizona. This is the 6th largest state in the United States and the 14th most populous one. The capital is Phoenix (1.700.000), which is also the capital, followed by Tucson (553.000), Mesa (527.000), Chandler (268.000) and Scotsdale (262.000). It is the last continental State admitted to the Union in only 1912, and was part of Mexico from 1821 until 1853.
Organ Pipe National Monument
The park was created in 1937 as a way to preserve a representative area of the Sonoran Desert. The new monument was part of a movement in the National Parks to protect not just scenic wonders but also the ecological wonders of the country. Over 75 years later, Organ Pipe Cactus is now one of the best preserved examples of the Sonoran Desert wilderness. (Source: www.nps.gov)
Kitt Peak Observatory
“Established in 1964 and in its sixth decade of operations, the Kitt Peak Visitor Center has been enjoyed by more than two million people. Our guests experience the largest and most diverse collection of research telescopes in any one place in the world. Three of the nearly two dozen active telescopes on Kitt Peak are dedicated solely to public viewing in our world-renowned nightly stargazing programs.” (source: website visitor centre Kitt Peak)
With such a self-introduction we hardly have to sell a visit to this unique place. Kitt Peak Observatory is 2133 meters above sea level in a very dry land climate with 300+ days of sunshine. Can you imagine that the viewing from up there is about as good as it gets? We know, we have been there, and it is totally awesome! The number of stars and the intensity is just amazing, and the high quality guided tour makes it even better. This is literally the highlight of our epic road trip.
We will certainly two remarkable spots “near” Flagstaff (still 50km away), namely two totally different craters: one below the surface and on above.
Grand Canyon National Park
Arches National Park
Salt Lake City
Three parks in a row
From Salt Lake City we go South again, to Sin City, better known as Las Vegas. The distance is almost 700km, if you would take the direct boring highway… But luckily there are severals super things to with a few d-tours, including Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park.
We will be staying at least 2 nights in Las Vegas to get some rest, make an excursion to the Hoover Dam, and to enjoy the many shows. Gambling is optional, but we certainly think you should at least test your luck with one dollar.And remember, what happens in Las Vegas, stay in Las Vegas!
This is a real road trip, which means we will be staying in a new hotel almost every night. At some spots we will stay a second night, but be prepared to check-in and check-out often. As with all our trips, we will make sure to get good, safe, clean and comfortable hotels in the 3* or 4* categories, with good reviews (e.g. Best Western, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn Express). Location is generally less important for this trip, because hotels are mostly outside the town centres. Besides, we have our own bus and in the US one needs to drive to get anywhere anyway. Breakfast will be included.
In the hotel you can choose between the following room options, all include a private bathroom:
- Single room (normally with 1 large bed, with surcharge)
- Double room (1 large bed, for couples, no surcharge)
- Twin room (2 single beds, for 2 friends travelling together)
- Twin room (2 single beds, for 2 single travellers who would like to avoid the single surcharge)
- Triple / family rooms (double bed + single bed / sofa, upon request only)
Expat Club room sharing for single travellers
If you are joining this trip on your own, you can of course take a single room, but then you pay a surcharge (you can indicate this during the booking process). However, you can also opt for the Expat Club room sharing service. This means you do not pay the single surcharge. During the outbound journey we will introduce you to the other travellers who also want to share a room. We do not assign a room partner, but you can mutually agree to share the room. We only offer female/female and male/male rooms (male upon request only). This is a great way to save some money while you get to know another nice person on this trip.
We are flying in and out of Los Angeles LAX. The choice of our airline is not yet known, but is likely Air France – KLM or Lufthansa, so with one stop in Paris, Amsterdam or Frankfurt. We will inform you at a later point about this. Please note that we are flying as a group. Business Class, and an earlier arrival to or later departure from Los Angeles may be possible, but we cannot confirm this yet. One checked-luggage is included for everyone.