Whether traveling alone or with pals, Tucson, Arizona has an amazing variety of places to go and things to do. Three days may not be enough. Unlike other cities geared toward constant movement, never-sleeping, and one exciting escapade after another, Tucson moves a little slower, but with grace, sincerity, an appreciative eye turned toward nature, and it leaves room for tourists own preferred and stylish escapades.
Budgeting for a Trip to Tucson Required a Different Perspective
While I personally prefer public transportation for visits to major cities like Chicago and New York, Tucson and nearby surrounding areas for additional visiting consideration like Tombstone, Benson, and Bisbee are more accessible by renting a car. It’s a new city and I want to get out there and see it, so I rarely spend much time actually in the hotel. A more expensive choice in Chicago or NYC seemed rather preposterous; however, for a Tucson trip, taking into consideration the radical differences in climate from my home state of Ohio seemed to quantify spending a bit more money on a memorable hotel, in this case the Arizona Inn, with personally adored and preferred amenities when it came time to escape the often intense heat and sunlight of the desert.
Considering the carefully chosen expressions of the above-mentioned NYC article here. “… In other words, getting a quick travel fix now, so as to not have to delay all gratification until retirement while obtaining knowledge and experience for future use and never sacrificing personally-defined quality for sheer trend or quantity” also applies to my Tucson visit. However, whereas I quickly discovered three days was enough of a fix, for the future, too perhaps, of NYC, three days was not enough time in Tucson. Down the road and even in retirement, I can hardly wait for the longer trip to Tucson without the constraints of corporate code and essential fiscal hyper-planning.
Self-Reflection, Humor, and Social Networking: Vital Vacation-planning Items
Knowing thyself, an important rule when traveling anywhere, made choosing what to do in Tucson a bit easier and having friends in the area also gave my traveling companion and me the intimate, local’s-eye-view of the area, including the recommendation to visit and eat at Hotel Congress, rather than stay, explore Kartchner Caverns in Benson, AZ, take the Queen Mine Cave Tour in Bisbee, and then go on to take some of the cheesiest, most outrageously touristy kitsch photos in Tombstone. Moreover, due to the exquisite planning-ahead skills of all involved, we still had time for a visit to the celebrated Gallery in the Sun. All the while, staying well- hydrated as we would for any vacation, whether or not we were in the desert, but specifically even more hydrated, since we were in the desert.
One unplanned encounter could have dimmed the Tucson experience; however, a sense of humor and an honest mistake admitted instead made for a good belly laugh and a great cautionary tale for friends back home. Many of the streets in Tucson appeared quite dark and unlit compared to the fluorescent-glare of streetlights back home and the desert not only gets cold at night, but it gets voraciously dark. A missed street, a wrong turn, and a miscommunication of gesture led to a visit to a US Army base patrol checkpoint, whereupon understanding neither myself nor my traveling companion were attempting to infiltrate, but instead we were simply turned-around tourists. The military personnel allowed for a quick U-turn and return to the regularly scheduled vacation, where there were, thankfully, many more lights.
Three Nuggets of Advice for a Successful Tucson Trip
It might be a good idea to review the weather report and check the local news for current events and local goings-on in order to assess what to pack, what to purchase after arrival, and what your body may be able to handle not being from the desert and all. Like any trip to anywhere, review the location and geography where you’ll be staying, check crime statistics if necessary, and find an area that fits your personality and interests. Walking in Tucson is certainly not unheard of and when it cools off a bit, there are plenty of destinations and activities to enjoy without driving. If a guided tour is not of
interest, I recommend renting a car as a tourist, especially if your trip is only a few days, since extra time should be spent on vacation and not attempting to navigate public transportation for the first time. Additionally, Tucson Lifestyle Magazine often offers a comprehensive calendar of events and the magazine’s staff writers and editors were responsive to all questions about the area.
Tucson itself has a Hispanic population of over 40%, according to the 2010 census, so assuming that everyone encountered will also know English or only English might come across as a bit ethnocentric. Take into account the city’s rich and diverse population and perhaps even consider studying a foreign language before traveling, even at the very least to not only exercise various parts of the brain for personal benefit, but also to show Tucsonans that you’re simply trying to appreciate and communicate with others on several levels.
Finally, as with all travel, while planning is great and necessary, keep an open mind and enjoy any unexpected adventures or diversions that may pop up. For example, when the Biosphere2 was unexpectedly closed for the day, my traveling companion and I toured and photographed Oracle, AZ in honor of radio show Radio8Ball, waiting patiently while a roving herd of boisterous bovine sauntered over to check out my rental car, and eventually dined on absolutely divine sushi once back in Tucson. Many sushi joints were close together and highly competitive, which for the consumers equaled outstanding rates and absolutely gigantic portions. Biosphere2 was quickly forgotten. Until now, of course, when it can be returned to list of “Activities for Future (and Longer) Trip to Tucson”.