How I traveled to Yellowstone National Park for 6 Nights with a Family of 4 for $215 per person [Travel Cheap]
Over the weekend, the four of us went on a 6-day trip to the beautiful Yellowstone National Park.
We saw wildlife in its natural habitat, eagles that flew right next to us, herds of bison roaming the grasslands, deer grazing.
We saw gorgeous views from the “Grand Canyon” of Yellow National Park, Old Faithful, Grand Teton Park, and other beautiful sites.
Yellowstone is usually a relatively expensive place to visit, particularly if you’re flying into Jackson Hole or even Salt Lake City. At the time of our travel dates, prices from DFW to Jackson Airport were up to about $800 RT per person. From DFW to Salt Lake City was about $400 RT a person.
But the bigger expenses when visiting Yellowstone is accommodations. Unless you’re camping or using an RV, accommodations close to Yellowstone can go up to around $400 a night at several of the places nearby.
The trip could have easily cost well over $4,000 for four people.
Instead, our total cost for 4 people to Yellowstone for 6 days: Flights, Accommodations, Transportation was about $600 ($150/per person).
Here is the breakdown of our trip:
Flights: $45 ($11/person)
We flew from DFW > DEN on Southwest Airlines using points.
Normally, Southwest isn’t the cheapest but it’s always definitely worth looking into for a couple reasons… 1) Southwest has awesome service and they don’t have any hidden fees 2) you can cancel any flights up to right before departure and get credit to use later 3) parking at Dallas Love Field’s Love Connection ($6) is cheaper than parking at DFW Airport and most of the time, cheaper than calling an Uber.
Flexibility and some research found us 2100 points each way per person on Southwest.
So our total was 16,000 points + $45 in fees for roundtrip flights for 4 people.
Accommodations: $470 (6 nights)
(Hotel in Lander, a little over 3 hours away from Yellowstone)
Beautiful Sunset & Sunrise view from our $90/night hotel
These days, for accommodations, I only stay at hotels that have at least a 7+ guest rating if traveling for myself and a 8+ guest rating if traveling with others.
Cleanliness really makes an enormous difference on how pleasant the stay. Though when I first started traveling, to save money I’d often settle with 6+ guest ratings to pay around $50 for a hotel. From my experience, the extra $30-40 to get a nicer hotel is worth every dollar. If I could have done things any different, I would’ve rather stayed at an airport instead of paying for a cheap hotel. That being said,
We stayed 2 nights in Denver (at a pleasant 3 star hotel) for about $170
We stayed 2 nights in Lander (at a beautiful new Casino hotel) for $180
We stayed 1 night in Dubois (at a nice 2 star hotel) for $120
We stayed 1 night at Denver International Airport for free
Very Comfortable, New, and Clean!
There was even a gym and pool! Which we always end up having a “private” gym to ourselves due to sheer numbers.
Night at Denver Airport (No Priority Pass Lounge available at DEN, unfortunately)
I could’ve used points but since the hotels were relatively inexpensive, it was more valuable to just pay cash and save the points for something more expensive.
Our total hotels cost for 6 nights (technically 5 paid nights and one at the airport) was $470.
We found a deal on Costco Travel for a luxury car for $244 for a week rental (with a $20 Costco cash back voucher). We had the option of upgrading the car to a SUV for free which we took instead of the luxury car.
Actual bill was lower than Costco’s estimate – we paid $244
Gas was close to $100 for the entire trip.
So there you have it… Our total cost to see the beautiful Yellowstone National Park was $859 or about $215 per person.
Keep in mind, we weren’t pinching pennies for the trip; we thoroughly enjoyed awesome flights, extremely nice hotels, a nice car rental, and had an awesome time.
In case you’re curious about everything else we spent, I’ve included the breakdown. However, I don’t usually list personal and food spending as I know everyone’s preferences is vastly different.
We ate out for 5 meals during the week – total spent was about $225.
We ate a simple breakfast and grocery store bought hot food for the rest of the meals. Total cost was about $150.
– National Parks were free the day we went
– Chatfield Botanic Gardens – $5
You can find my complete list of travel hacks and ways to find cheap flights and travel deals without a travel agent here.
What are some ways you’ve traveled to Yellowstone National Park for less?