As I start to move from the planning phase to the booking phase for my trip and make tweaks to the schedule, it dawned on me that I should really sort out accommodation in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks before it got a bit booked up.

Good thing I did.

All the accommodation in Yellowstone is managed by one company, Xanterra, which makes the booking process very easy (although one wonders about America’s commitment to the free market, but anyway). I bashed in my dates to see what options I would have and was shocked to find one option. One. Just one. Out of 2,200 rooms, ranging from luxury to very basic, Xanterra wanted to put me in the very basic, which wasn’t what I’d had in mind. I adjusted my dates by a day. Bingo. I now had a choice of three different types of room at two different venues. One of them was acceptable so I booked immediately into Grant Village Hotel. Wasn’t what I’d hoped for, but it looks fine and the location works for me. I noticed with surprise that the bookings come with very generous cancellation policies of just two days’ notice for summer bookings. Do people block book all sorts of different rooms on the offchance that they might go and then cancel? Is there a website that advises you of last-minute cancellations?

Having dropped $450 on three nights in Yellowstone, I hurried over to the Grand Teton Lodge Company’s website in all manner of panics. After all there is far less accommodation in Grand Teton than in Yellowstone. I didn’t need to panic. There remained a reasonable choice of options. I was tempted by the luxury of Jenny Lake Lodge with its 5-course dinner included, but $515 for one night was a little steep. A compromise was made at Jackson Lake Lodge where I went for a mountain view cottage.

So, that’s four nights of 32 booked.

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