Getting There & Away
Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport and Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport are major gateways, but Tucson also receives its share of flights.
Amtrak train connections are available from Los Angeles to Tucson and Flagstaff; Flagstaff to Albuquerque; and Tucson to El Paso, while Greyhound includes these centers and Phoenix in its interstate bus network.
Money and Costs
US dollar ($)
Budget: Less than $100
- Campgrounds and hostels: $10–45
- Food at markets, taquerias, sidewalk vendors: $7–12
- Economy car rental: $20 per day
- Mom-and-pop motels, low-priced chains: $50–100
- Diners, good local restaurants: $10–30
- Museums, national and state parks: $5–25
- Midsize car rental: $30 per day
Top End: More than $250
- Boutique hotels, B&Bs, resorts, park lodges: from $150
- Upscale restaurants: $30–75 plus drinks
- Guided adventures, top shows: from $100
- SUV or convertible rental: from $60 per day
Gentle haggling is generally reserved for flea markets; otherwise, expect to pay the stated price.
ATMs widely available in cities and towns, but less prevalent on Native American land. Credit cards accepted in most hotels and restaurants.
ATMs & Cash
- ATMs are great for quick cash influxes and can negate the need for traveler’s checks entirely. Watch out for ATM surcharges as they may charge $3 to $5 per withdrawal. Some ATMs in Vegas may charge more.
- The Cirrus and Plus systems both have extensive ATM networks that will give cash advances on major credit cards and allow cash withdrawals with affiliated ATM cards.
- Look for ATMs outside banks and in large grocery stores, shopping centers, convenience stores and gas stations.
- To avoid possible account-draining scams at self-serve gas stations, consider paying with cash instead of using your debit card at the pump.
Major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the Southwest, including at car-rental agencies and most hotels, restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores and tour operators. It’s highly recommended that you carry at least one card.
- Banks are usually the best places to exchange currency. Most large city banks offer currency exchange, but banks in rural areas do not.
- Currency-exchange counters at the airports and in tourist centers typically have the worst rates; ask about fees and surcharges first.
For current exchange rates see www.xe.com.
- Airport & Hotel Porters Tip $2 per bag, minimum $5 per cart.
- Bartenders Tip 10% to 15% per round, minimum per drink $1.
- Housekeeping Tip $2 to $4 per night, left under card provided.
- Restaurant Servers Tip 15% to 20%, unless gratuity is included in the bill.
- Taxi Drivers Tip 10% to 15%, rounded up to the next dollar.
- Valet Parking Tip minimum $2 when keys handed back.
Most locals do not carry large amounts of cash for everyday transactions, and rely instead on credit cards, ATMs and debit cards. Small businesses may refuse to accept bills larger than $50.