I like to fly to vegas. Cause i'm familiar with the airport, car rental, and town as vegas has been my base of operations for multiple hiking trips.

I did note that for me coming from Washington Dulles that LA was a LOT cheaper flight than Vegas at the time of my booking. And not much further to fly.

I've made the trip to whitney from vegas once before.
Funny story, i'd been in vegas for defcon. Set my alarm for before dawn, to avoid the august heat in death valley. Slept through it. Or it wasn't set up right.
So I failed to make a trip to Badwater Basin (lowest point in the 48). I just wanted to get out of death valley before it got too hot so drove straight through.
May be related, but i then failed to summit. Got up to trail camp on a day hike, and was so spent. And low on water. So i wisely decided my definition of a successful hike was returning to my car.

This August, i'll definitely hit bad water basin to avoid any bad mojo. laugh

Bring water. And a PLB. open the hood and double check the antifreeze levels. Dont rent the car with wear bars on the tires laugh

Bring your national park pass. I'd left mine at home and had to pay just to cut through the park.