When making hotel reservations for late spring or early fall, find out when hotel rates drop for the summer or go up for the fall so that you can, if possible, schedule your trip for right after the rates go down (or just before they go back up). Many resorts also have a short discounted season right before Christmas (just think, you can do your holiday shopping in Arizona).
As if winter resort rates in Arizona aren't high enough, you can expect to also pay a resort fee at most resorts around the state. These fees, which are generally around $15 to $20, cover such things as local calls and toll-free phone number access, daily newspaper delivery, and exercise-room use. Of course, if you're like me, you think all those things should be included in the regular room rates.
Remember, if you don't absolutely need all the amenities of a big resort, there are dozens of chain-motel options in the Phoenix and Tucson areas. Alternatively, you can get a bit more for your money if you head to such smaller towns as Wickenburg, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City, and Yuma. If you must stay in the Phoenix or Tucson area, head for the suburbs. The farther you drive from the resort areas, the more you can save.
Most hotels offer special packages, weekend rates, various discounts (such as for AARP or AAA members), and free accommodations for children, so it helps to ask when you reserve. Nearly all hotels in the state have smoke-free and wheelchair-accessible rooms.
If you like to stay at B&Bs, there are a few helpful resources you should know about. Mi Casa Su Casa (tel. 800/456-0682 or 480/990-0682; www.azres.com) can book you into hundreds of homes across the state, as can Arizona Trails Travel Services (tel. 888/799-4284 or 480/837-4284; www.arizonatrails.com), which also books tour and hotel reservations. For a list of some of the best B&Bs in the state, contact the Arizona Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (www.arizona-bed-breakfast.com).
If you'll be traveling by RV or with a tent, you've got loads of camping options all across Arizona. However, be aware that campgrounds at and near Grand Canyon National Park, the state's top camping destination, fill up nightly during the summer and often in spring and fall as well. If you can, make a campsite reservation as far in advance as possible. To make campsite reservations at national park and national forest campgrounds, contact the National Recreation Reservation Service (tel. 877/444-6777 or 518/885-3639; www.recreation.gov). To find out about campsites in state parks, contact Arizona State Parks, 1300 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007 (tel. 602/542-4174; www.azstateparks.com).
If you want to rent an RV, try Cruise America (tel. 800/671-8042; www.cruiseamerica.com), which has offices in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff. Expect to pay between $400 and $1,300 per week (plus taxes) depending on the time of year and size of the RV you rent. RVs can also be rented in Phoenix from El Monte RV, 3020 E. Bell Rd. (tel. 888/337-2214; www.elmonterv.com). Rental rates here range from around $660 to $1,200 per week.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.