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Triangle LAX - PHX - LAS - LAX: Which leg to fly vs. drive?

Triangle LAX - PHX - LAS - LAX: Which leg to fly vs. drive?

Old Jan 15, 16, 7:24 am
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Triangle LAX - PHX - LAS - LAX: Which leg to fly vs. drive?

Hi everyone,

looking for some advice from you guys. I am planning to visit LAX, PHX and LAS in early February, in this order. Also, I would want to fly one of the three legs, all of which are around the same driving time / distance & flight times (4-5 hours driving, 1-1.5 hrs flight).

While I would assume there is no definitive answer, I would appreciate your opinions as to which of these legs would be best flown and not driven. The aim is to experience some of the scenery from up in the air, whilst not missing out on anything spectacular on the ground (given I find driving through the desert to be quite an experience)


(hope I am not infringing on any copyright by using a google map here, just figured it would make the itinerary a bit more tangible)

I am leaning towards flying LAS-LAX as I perceive this particular drive to be the least scenic. Is this a reasonable assumption, or am I off here?

Any thoughts are highly appreciated

Thank you!
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Old Jan 15, 16, 9:27 am
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The only leg with notable scenery would be PHX-LAS, but about 20% of the route is undivided highway. Here's a detailed Wiki on US route 93 in AZ.

The other two legs can be rather boring, although I-15 in the Mojave Desert can sometimes resemble downtown traffic at rush hour. I-10 is seldom a problem.
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Old Jan 16, 16, 12:14 am
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Originally Posted by Tanic View Post
The only leg with notable scenery would be PHX-LAS, but about 20% of the route is undivided highway. Here's a detailed Wiki on US route 93 in AZ.

The other two legs can be rather boring, although I-15 in the Mojave Desert can sometimes resemble downtown traffic at rush hour. I-10 is seldom a problem.
Thank you for that link, I'll certainly drive PHX-LAS then.

Just for clarification: what do you mean by undivided highway...do you consider this to be a bad (unsafe?) thing to do?
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Old Jan 16, 16, 12:27 am
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The highways are all fine.

You will pay a lot more to rent a car one way rather than returning it to the same location, so you might consider driving the whole way.
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Old Jan 16, 16, 1:08 am
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Originally Posted by Doc Savage View Post
The highways are all fine.

You will pay a lot more to rent a car one way rather than returning it to the same location, so you might consider driving the whole way.
Thanks for the heads up! I did check that beforehand though, and the price is exactly (i.e. within 2 USD) the same for renting LAX-LAX vs. LAX-LAS (have to add the additional one way flight of course)
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Old Jan 16, 16, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by gpia View Post
Just for clarification: what do you mean by undivided highway...do you consider this to be a bad (unsafe?) thing to do?
Also known as a single carriageway. Not unsafe, but this road can get busy on Fridays and Sundays.
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Old Jan 16, 16, 12:55 pm
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I concur you should fly LAS-LAX. The traffic can be terrible, especially on Sunday. PHX-LAS passes through a Joshua Tree "forest", lots of pretty desert mountain scenery, and of course goes right by Hoover Dam. There's not much to recommend on the LA-PHX drive; Hadley Fruit Orchards in Cabazon is a good place to take a break and get a date shake. If you happen to pass through Quartzite, AZ in February during the big rockhound festival it is quite the spectacle-RVs as far as the eye can see, sort of a senior citizen Burning Man.
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Old Jan 16, 16, 2:25 pm
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Originally Posted by ibdsux View Post
PHX-LAS passes through a Joshua Tree "forest", lots of pretty desert mountain scenery, and of course goes right by Hoover Dam.
And definitely go see Hoover Dam if you have time - worth the very short detour. (The route PHX-LAS until 2004 actually had you driving over Hoover Dam.)
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Old Jan 16, 16, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by ibdsux View Post
If you happen to pass through Quartzite, AZ in February during the big rockhound festival it is quite the spectacle-RVs as far as the eye can see, sort of a senior citizen Burning Man.
Great description of Quartzsite. Population goes from about 3000 normally to around 1/4 million geezers. Just keep driving!
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Old Jan 16, 16, 11:09 pm
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I could see driving, or flying, any of these three legs. One big determinant for me would be avoiding bad traffic. If traveling on a day and time when there is likely to be heavy traffic along a route (e.g., LAX-LAS on Friday evening or LAS-LAX on Sunday evening) I would fly instead of drive that leg.

The other big determinant for me would be the amount of spare time in my schedule. If I needed to get from LAX to PHX quickly, I'd fly. If I had extra time and energy, I'd drive and make a few scenic stops or side trips along the way. Ditto the other two routes.
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Old Jan 18, 16, 1:48 pm
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Thanks everyone for the very helpful suggestions and insights.

I'll be flying LAS-LAX and making some of the stops mentioned along the other two legs
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Old Jan 18, 16, 6:07 pm
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Two thoughts. First, I don't know when you're driving but check for one-way specials in and out of PHX. When living in LAS we rented a Camaro convertible once for $5 a day to drive into PHX and spent a week doing the drive. We had a blast

Second, depending on how much time you have, for the LAS-PHX leg I'd suggest stopping at Hoover Dam (as others have mentioned) detouring to Grand Canyon, then stopping at Flagstaff and Sedona on the way down. Enjoy the trip!
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Old Jan 22, 16, 12:46 am
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Originally Posted by Big4Flyer View Post
Two thoughts. First, I don't know when you're driving but check for one-way specials in and out of PHX. When living in LAS we rented a Camaro convertible once for $5 a day to drive into PHX and spent a week doing the drive. We had a blast

Second, depending on how much time you have, for the LAS-PHX leg I'd suggest stopping at Hoover Dam (as others have mentioned) detouring to Grand Canyon, then stopping at Flagstaff and Sedona on the way down. Enjoy the trip!
Thanks - I'll certainly do Hoover Dam! Were these rentals with a specific company, or should i just look across the big ones for a deal?
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