Don't miss out! Join the thousands of people who subscribe to our once-daily email or our free miles and points Facebook group with all the best travel news. Some links on this page may pay me a commission - as always, thanks for your support if you use them

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that the continental US is having its first total solar eclipse in many years later this month (August 21st).

Many people have been planning for travel to the eclipse for quite some time, but now, as usual, there are all the johnny-come-latelys who just now are deciding to try and make plans.  Ian just shared his experience of using points to book a last minute eclipse hotel.  Just like Super Bowl hotel deals and World Series hotel deals, hotels for events like this are a great way to use points.  Ian’s room had a cash price of $270 vs a points cost of 20,000.

Hotel and car rental snafus

Hotels are (of course) sold out or nearly sold out.  I saw someone on Share posted something about a hotel room being over $1000 and was decrying that “this wasn’t right! or fair! or something!”.  I mean this is the truth of the traveler’s triangle, right?  You’ve got tens of thousands of people wanting to get a small number of rooms – price goes up!

Some hotels in Oregon started just canceling rooms and the DOJ had to get involved.  Now there are reports that Hertz is sending out robocalls canceling people’s car reservations.  I’m sure everyone is SUPER surprised (I know I am).  This is the reason that we are a 2 car rental family and we don’t bother trying to rent a minivan – car rental places take whatever reservations they want, regardless of how many cars they think they’ll have.

Personally I would feel very nervous if I was depending on ANYONE or ANY company to provide me something.

A logistical nightmare

So let’s say you get your car rented (or drive your own) and manage to find a hotel or campground with no problem.  Then comes the logistical nightmares.  My cousin’s wife is from southern Idaho, which is in the path of totality, and I’ve seen a couple of the things that they have been posting about preparing for the eclipse.  I would not count on grocery stores and gas stations to be fully (or at all) stocked, and they say that the cell networks will be strained and possibly unavailable.

I had initially read that I-15 would be shutdown (converted to one-way traffic) but that turned out to be a hoax :-).  Still, if you’re counting on going to/from one of these major eclipse viewing areas, especially a rural one with not a lot of roads, I would make sure and get there early and don’t count on getting out on time.

I am actually expecting there to be at least one total disaster in one of these small cities that all of a sudden has like 50,000 people for a week.

How to find what the eclipse will be like where you live

Like I mentioned, here in Cincinnati we have a 91% eclipse.  (Map from NASA)

Use this handy calculator to figure out what the eclipse will be like where you live

I didn’t realize until now that the eclipse will actually be going on for about 3 hours in different stages.  Again, like I said, I plan to go out to the top of the parking garage where I work and watch it there.  You know what I’m still going to tell my grandkids in 30 years?  “I SAW THE ECLIPSE!”

And if you miss out on this one, there’s always the 2024 eclipse 🙂  Cincinnati will have an even BETTER shot at that one!

What about you?  Do you have plans to travel to the Great American Eclipse 2017?

Sign up for our once-daily email with the latest tips and tricks on how to travel for free / cheap. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!