Your flight is booked, your hotel room is reserved, and visions of jackpots are dancing in your head—a trip to Vegas is on the horizon.
Whether you consider yourself a budget genius who specializes in getting the most bang for your buck or a luxury lover looking to extract every moment of indulgence from a trip, Las Vegas has hotels, restaurants, and activities for travelers of every inclination.
But you already know that.
What you may not know is that Las Vegas is ideally situated for a visit to the Grand Canyon—close enough, in fact, that day trips are possible, and popular. There are a number of tour operators (including Canyon Tours!) that will pick you up right from your hotel on the Strip, with tour options to suit any traveler, from budget-friendly bus tours to ultra-luxe airplane tours complete with a champagne toast on the Canyon Rim.
Looking for that perfect balance between economy and extravagance? You can add a deluxe upgrade to some of the most popular guided Grand Canyon tours without breaking the bank. But what exactly makes a tour “deluxe”, and when should you upgrade? Keep reading to find out.
What is a “deluxe upgrade”?
The exact details of the deluxe upgrade in question will depend on the specific tour you are looking at. Upgraded tours typically feature:
A streamlined itinerary
Your tour may bypass the first stop at the check-in center. Departing right from the Strip means you’ll get to the Grand Canyon before the other tour buses, and you’ll return to Las Vegas earlier in the day—often in time for dinner or your evening plans.
More pickup locations
Most standard tours only pick up from hotels on the Strip. Deluxe tours may pick up (and drop off) from a wider range of Las Vegas hotels, including hotels off the Strip.
Some deluxe upgrades include hotel-to-hotel pickup and drop off in a luxury limousine. If you’re looking at helicopter tours, a deluxe upgrade may include a flight in an upgraded aircraft featuring:
- Extra-wide cabins with wraparound windows
- Stadium seating and leather seats
- Extra leg room
- Whisperjet technology for a quiet ride
- Bose sound system
Upgraded tours typically feature added inclusions such as:
- An on-board tour guide (compared to a standard tour, where narration is provided by the driver)
- A photo stop at the Hoover Dam (compared to simply driving over the Bypass Bridge)
Food and drink
Some upgraded tours include boxed breakfast on board the tour vehicle, as well as cold bottled water. Some even feature a champagne toast on the rim of the Grand Canyon or on the canyon floor!
When to upgrade your Grand Canyon tour
Budget travelers, rejoice. The best thing about upgrading your tour is that it doesn’t have to break the bank—most upgrades only cost an additional $14-$30 per person.
So, when exactly is it worth upgrading your tour? Here are 7 times when it makes sense:
1. When you have limited time or a tight schedule
Most deluxe tours bypass the check-in center and head to the Grand Canyon right from the Strip. That means you’ll be one of the first to arrive at the Grand Canyon. You’ll still have an early wakeup call to catch your tour, but you’ll return to Las Vegas earlier than other tours—usually early enough to keep your dinner plans or hit that show you scored tickets for.
2. If you don’t like crowds
Bypassing the check-in center means you’ll be one of the first tour groups to arrive at the Grand Canyon, which means you’ll beat the majority of the crowds while you explore.
3. If you’re staying off the Strip
Some deluxe upgrades include hotel-to-hotel pickup and drop off for hotels located off the Strip. Most standard tours (including all of our non-upgraded guided Grand Canyon tours) only offer pickup and drop off at hotels on the Las Vegas Strip.
4. If you want to get a great pic of the Hoover Dam
If you want to stop for a photo of this spectacular feat of engineering but don’t need to explore the Dam further, some deluxe upgrades include a photo stop at the Hoover Dam en route to the Grand Canyon. Standard tours, in comparison, typically only drive over the Bypass Bridge. If you want to learn more about the Hoover Dam, your best bet is to hop on a guided Hoover Dam tour.
5. If you want to travel in style
Upgraded tours include luxury transportation, such as upgraded coach buses, limousine transfers, and custom flightseeing aircraft designed specifically for sightseeing, with larger windows, more leg room, and high-quality sound systems. Some tours even include champagne toasts.
6. If you want the personal touch
Upgraded bus tours have the added benefit of a dedicated, on-board tour guide. Otherwise, on a standard tour, your trip will be narrated by the driver. Don’t fret—drivers are all extremely knowledgeable, they’re just less easily able to answer your questions.
7. If you want breakfast
If you’re looking for ways to make that early morning wake-up call a little less painful, look for a deluxe upgrade that includes a complimentary breakfast.
Whether your travel style is “as cheap as possible” or “the sky’s the limit”, you can travel in style on a deluxe upgrade guided tour of the Grand Canyon. Deluxe upgrades can include:
- A streamlined itinerary
- More pickup locations
- Luxury transportation
- Extra inclusions
- Food and drink