I'm coming to Phoenix, AZ from the UK

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by tombarnes, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. tombarnes macrumors 6502

    tombarnes

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2006
    Location:
    Cornwall, United Kingdom
    #1
    Hi all,

    I'm heading to Phoenix, AZ on August 30th for the start of a road trip with my brother. Our route is...

    Phoenix - Flagstaff and onto Williams. Motel in Williams, visit the Canyon south rim. Another night in Williams. Then we head off to Vegas, a couple of days there, LA, and then Pacific coast to San Francisco, where we fly home from on September 10th.

    Just a few of questions requiring some local knowledge,

    1) In America, do you have the same 12 volt car charger (cigarette lighter) plugs in your cars as we do in the UK? The attached picture is a normal UK plug.

    2) Any tips on driving for a visitor from the UK?

    3) Anyone know what the new Holiday Inn is like at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport?

    4) How do you cope with temperatures like 110 degrees!?

    5) Any other useful tips you think I should know.

    Cheers!

    Tom
     

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  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
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    #2
    1) Looks the same to me

    2) Drive on the right lol

    3)No idea

    4) Az and Nevada will be dry heat. Totally different than what you may know in the UK with the humidity I would imagine (comparing my time from NY which may be like the UK to my time in Az and Nevada)

    Do stay hydrated though. Don't want to get heat stroke. Vegas this time of year is HOT. I was there in early June and it was boiling...esp on the street

    5) I'll try to think of some :)
     
  3. tombarnes thread starter macrumors 6502

    tombarnes

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2006
    Location:
    Cornwall, United Kingdom
    #3
    Thanks for that dukebound.

    Another question, the rental car company says we'll be getting a Pontiac G6 or similar, what cars are similar to a Pontiac G6, and what are they like? Just interest really.
     
  4. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #4
    The Pontiac G6 is crap, I had one for 3 weeks as a rental and hated it so hopefully you won't get that, but similar cars are Honda Accord (I think the US Accord is different than the UK Accord though so you might not be able to go by that), Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, VW Jetta, etc.
     
  5. fireshot91 macrumors 601

    fireshot91

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    Location:
    Northern VA
    #5
    IIRC, the UK Accord is actually the US Acura TSX.


    And yes, that looks like the same car charger.

    Holliday Inns are fairly standard, no? I didn't have a problem anytime I stayed at them.

    Just drink lots of water for the heat. It gets really dry in the Southwest.
     
  6. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #6
    There are a couple of Holiday Inn properties near the airport - do you mean the Holiday Inn Express and Suites on E. University?

    If so, I've stayed there, and it's a decent hotel. It's been renovated somewhat recently, so that's good. Free wireless internet. Free breakfast (the breakfast isn't great, but there's a Waffle House in the parking lot). It's in an office park like area, so the neighborhood isn't bad either. Sign up to be a Priority Club member (it's free) and you'll also get free drinks downstairs from 6-7:30pm. :)

    Are you renting through Hertz? I don't rent from the airline terminal side of Sky Harbor, but I think my car comes from the same lot, and I'm usually in a Nissan Altima, which I'd highly recommend over a G6. I've also had a Honda Accord, which is fine too.
     
  7. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #7
    Stay indoors as much as possible, with the A/C running. Outdoors, plan your movements around finding shade. August is monsoon season: expect evening thunderstorms and early daytime humidity.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix,_Arizona

    Buy a collapsible sun screen for the car's windshield. Visit amazon.com and enter search terms: car sun screen. Not sure how you'd order one and have it delivered for a road trip, but you could always ask at the hotel, or visit a Target or Walmart or Ace Hardware store.
     
  8. tombarnes thread starter macrumors 6502

    tombarnes

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2006
    Location:
    Cornwall, United Kingdom
    #8
    This is all good info. Thanks alot everyone. I like the car sun screen idea, seems sensible.

    FREE DRINKS!? I'm signing up to that! Yes, it is the one near the University. The waffle place sounds like a bonus.

    I'm renting through Budget, they were the cheapest for returning to a different location than pickup (San Francisco). I'll be holing out for the Honda Accord I think. You can always rely on a Honda.

    Thanks all, any further info is of course welcome!
     
  9. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
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    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #9
    Well don't get your hopes up, I was just listing out cars that I would put in the same class as the G6, that doesn't necessarily mean Budget actually has any Accords available for rental.

    FWIW, every time I've rented a car and reserved "Car X or similar" I've never actually gotten Car X, it's always been "similar" but I've never rented through Budget.

    If you're lucky, they'll be out of cars in the class you rented and they'll have to give you a free upgrade to something better. That happened to me with Hertz a couple weeks ago at LAX. We had rented an intermediate SUV, Nissan X-terra or similar, and they were all out of that class so they had to upgrade to the next class and gave us a GMC Acadia which is a bit bigger and nicer than an X-terra.
     
  10. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #10
    I have relatives in Arizona, but the latest I have ever been there is June. As stated by others the heat is dry. Sweat evaporates off your body so fast you don't really notice it. Hydration is beyond a good idea, it's necessary for life. The sunscreen idea is good, but I recommend not exposing skin at all. Long sleeve shirt, pants (lightweight) and a big hat help.

    I don't know UK driving laws or habits other than the "other side of the road" thing, but brush up on driving laws for the States where you will be on the road. Most have seatbelt laws and restrictions for cell phone use while driving are more common now.

    I'm in the Pacific Northwest and the summers are beautiful here. Enjoy your visit to the American West. It is truly unique.

    Dale
     
  11. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #11
    air conditioning.......lots and lots of air conditioning
     
  12. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
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    #12
    And make sure while in AZ you carry your passport at all times, you never know when Sheriff Joe or one of his minions will ask you to prove you're here legally ;)
     
  13. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #13
    Unfortunately, this is not a joke.

    Dale
     
  14. thatoneguy92088 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    #14
    Nice troll post. Tourists are required to have your passport on you whenever you are in the US. This is no different than other countries.


    As for the temperature, yeah it's hot as **** during the day, and if you are a complete vanilla face like most English people your gonna want to use lots of sunscreen if you go out. The weirdest thing about Phoenix is that because of all the concrete and city, it traps the heat. It is currently 11pm here and the temperature is 91. As for driving, the US 60 turns into a parking lot around 5 pm and if you are new to driving on big interstates stay off the 101 and 202 loops. Your in luck as the photo speeding cameras just came down on the interstates, but they still have them in the city so watch your speed. Also phoenix is all leading left turns. If you have a rental car, why are you staying at the Holiday Inn so close to sky harbor, there is probably something cheap that is better?
     
  15. tombarnes thread starter macrumors 6502

    tombarnes

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2006
    Location:
    Cornwall, United Kingdom
    #15
    I wasn't quite sure! The Arizona immigration law changes even hit the news here in the UK! But yes, we'll be carrying our passports all the time. I'll just have to look after it, as I will my iPhone.

    Vanilla face, that made me laugh! Yes, sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen!

    Thanks for the driving tips, they'll come in handy. Is it true your speed limit is 50 on major roads? I suppose you all have cruise control so it isn't really a problem. I'll just have to get used to that! Also, am I right in thinking that they have drones flying overhead of some major roads to catch speeders? Seems a little extreme!

    Only reason for the Holiday Inn is that we'll be REALLY tired from travelling, aeroplanes and sleep just don't go together for me! So close is best, plus I just looked through the Holiday Inn/Travelodge websites and that particular hotel looked the smartest and most modern, and I think was the cheapest from those 2 companies when I booked it.
     
  16. thatoneguy92088 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    #16
    45 is the speed limit on main roads and 75 on the interstate. There are no drones flying overhead to catch speeders, I'm not sure where you got that. There are just the regular photo radar cameras. They are marked 50 feet and 200 feet before they are located so just pay attention to signs. Also, no one is going to throw you in tent city if you don't have your passport and no one is going to run up and ask you for your papers unless you get in an accident or pulled over. Most of what people have been saying about the AZ law is FUD.

    I forgot don't go driving around downtown phoenix aimlessly, there are some bad spots. Avoid Gilbert, Surprise and Guadalupe too. The best places are probably Scottsdale, Tempe (basically ASU) and Chandler.
     
  17. joshjoshlol macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    #17
    Well, as a native-born Arizonan, I'm glad to hear that you're coming to check us out! You'll be arriving pretty much around the same time that I'm due to head out to Detroit for school. I'm envious; I live and breathe dry weather, and any mugginess kills me.

    Right now we're in the monsoon season, so it's a bit humid here (though that tends to break off in short order). Don't expect much rain while you're here, but it could very well happen in small amounts. August can be a harsh month, but statistics show that this is actually a cool year... amongst the lowest amounts of triple digit heat in the last decade.

    Hydration is CRITICAL if you sight-see, and i mean DEADLY critical. We get a dozen or so tourists who end up dead or comatose due to exposure, especially in the mountains, and it could be prevented by drinking a lot of water. Last year I believe there was a teen boy from Canada who died because of this very reason. Everything that you hear about the harshness of the sun in the desert is true: without water, headaches come in short order, then dizziness, nausea, the whole deal. If you are going on a road trip, bring extra bottled water. Even if it's hot when you drink it, your body will regulate the temperature internally.

    If you wander off the beaten path and take in some of the desert scenery, avoid sticking your hand in crevices or walking too closely to hidden brush or semi-exposed rocks: everything that bites or stings hang out in places like that, and unlike in the cartoons and movies, rattlers don't always rattle. If you have light hiking boots, I'd recommend them over running shoes in the wild. Also, it goes against common sense, but light weight long sleeves will go a long way, especially if you are the type who sweats a great deal. The sweat hits the cotton and it has a better chance of being reabsorbed back by your skin, or at the very least can add extra coolness to our otherwise oven-like midday breezes. And concentrate a great deal of emphasis on putting sunscreen on your neck. The arizona sun can burn the weirdest of places: Ears, feet, etc. Apply accordingly.

    On the political spectrum, don't worry about it: with recent court actions, Sheriff Joe is pretty much just going to keep to sweeping in at workplaces suspected of employing illegal aliens and neighborhoods known to have drop houses and the sort. My grandma is a UK war bride and in her 60+ years of living here, she's never been hassled once. We actually dig the accents around here, so if you find yourself around the ASU campus (just a few exits down the 202 from Sky Harbor), hit one of the bars near Mill Ave and maybe you could find some interesting conversations. Just make sure it's not too noisy, else your magical voice will be negated!

    As for our roads, the city streets are 45 mph, residential is 25, and most of the major highways (like the 101, 202, and 60) are 65, though patches of construction can push it to 55 or lower. Avoid the freeways on weekdays from 6:30-9:30am and 3:00-6:30pm, especially the closer you are to central Phoenix and Scottsdale.

    Also, Sky Harbor can be a bit confusing to get out of, so ask ahead of time the best directions from one of the staff there. You wouldn't believe how many times I've seen near-misses over there with people darting across 3 lanes to make an exit, because of how quickly one can miss something.

    Edit: Also, if you've got the time, the Phoenix Zoo and Botanical Gardens are but a mere few exits from the airport as well. They make for a good exposure/baptism to the heat, with lots of shaded rest areas at the zoo, and it's very inexpensive to check out. Mornings would be the best time to go, as that's when the rare mexican gray wolves come about and the heat isn't so unbearable.
     
  18. mkjj macrumors 6502a

    mkjj

    Joined:
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    Liverpool
    #18
    We stopped off in Phoenix when we were on a tour of that area and stayed in a hotel near the Hard Rock (can't remember the name but very nice!) and always remember the windows inside the hotel where so hot to touch!! in September.
     
  19. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    Always a day away
    #19
    That looks like the right plug. You should be fine.

    Cars here may be bigger than what you're used to, and here the driver sits in the left of the car and you drive in the right lane; I imagine that would take some getting used to.

    I live in Texas, we've been hitting 106 for the past several days - you stay inside as much as possible. Park your car in the shade and leave the windows open an inch or so. A hat helps if you have to be out in the sun.


    Pretty much what the others have said - a G6 is what would be called a mid-size here. I'm not sure it's quite as big as a Camry or Accord, but maybe closer to a Chevy Malibu or Toyota Corolla.
     
  20. djellison macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Pasadena CA
    #20
    As a Brit who moved to LA 3 months ago....

    1) They're the same

    2) Driving on the wrong side of the road is easy. Stop signs are the thing that'll catch you out. Here - when a sign says stop . YOU. MUST. STOP. I mean- properly stop. Even if there's no-one there, you stop, and then you carry on. When you see a junction up ahead, start looking for teh Stop sign. If you can't see one, slow down a bit and look again. If you really can't see one, look at the road that crosses yours and see if you can see the stop signs on that road. If you're sure you don't have one, and they do - then drive straight through. Be carefull with these though - they're the thing that'll catch you out. If it's a four-way stop sign, whoever gets there first goes first. If you arrive at the same time, give way to whoever is on your right. AND - at traffic lights - unless is says otherwise - if you're turning right, the lights are red, but it's clear - you may go through the red light to turn right. Chances are if you don't - you'll get honked :)

    3) Trip Advisor... guaranteed to scare you from visiting any hotel ever again :)

    4) 110? PAH - It was 114f at 8pm when I was in Death Valley about 4 weeks ago :) To be honest, just be sensible. If you're driving lots of miles -get a $20 cool box, a $1 bag of ice, and $5 of drinks - throw it in the back of the car... you will need it. Keep yourself hydrated. The phrase ' dry heat' is thrown around a lot (the sun is also a 'dry' heat) - but it does make a difference.

    And honestly - if I were you - I'd trade a few days in Vegas for a day exploring Death Valley or somewhere else. Vegas, imho, is a vulgar disappointment. It's not designed for you to have a good time. It's designed to get as much money out of your wallet as possible. Stay two nights, go see a show like Penn and Teller, watch the Bellagio Fountains, then get the hell out of there. Go stay in the Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley - then at midnight, drive about half a mile north, pull into the camp site, turn off the car, get out, and look up for an hour. You will be blown away. Trust me - NOWHERE in the UK will you have seen a night sky like it. More stars than you can possibly count, the milky way like a bright streak of paint from Horizon to Horizon. You can be there in half a day from Vegas - EASILY.

    Plus - they're joking about keeping your passport with you. But DO it. AND - have your drivers licence with you at all times as well - you can take the plastic part of the UK licence, keep it in your wallet, and then keep the paper part in your luggage or something. It then also acts as photo-ID which you may well need, especially in Vegas. Keep the paperwork that the rental firm give you in the car at all times as well - throw it in the glove box. It forms part of the registration and insurance, combined with other documents that should already be in the glove box.

    Most rental firms in CA/NV/AZ will let you drive in all three of those states. Double check though. There will be limitations on where you can take the car - make sure you know them.

    Don't rent a sat-nav from the car rental place. They're a rip-off. If you have a uK one - just buy the USA map for it (maybe 30 quid or something). OR - just buy a sat nav in the USA for $99 and you're STILL going to be saving compared to what Budget will charge.

    In LA - go to the Griffith Observatory (for great views) - unless you are a subscriber to Hello and Cosmo - to be honest skip Hollywood, it's just a fairly ordinary city. Go visit the cities on the coast. Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach - great views, great food, great atmosphere.

    And if you want a slice of full on Americana - try and get tickets to a Dodgers game :)
     
  21. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #21
    I'm curious why you bring this up? Are stop signs in the UK non existent, or is it legal to roll through them?

    Ditto about the right turn on red thing, I know that's rare outside of the US. If making a right turn on red, you do have to come to a complete stop first before going. Of course, no one ever does this, myself included, if the visibility is good and you can see there's no traffic coming ;)

    Also, I'm not sure how common these are in AZ, but they're popping up in St. Louis and confusing the hell out of people, and that's right turn signals. A right turn signal is not the same thing as a no right turn on red sign. A right turn signal merely tells you when it's 100% safe to make a right turn without stopping and looking, if it's green, you proceed through it like any other green light, if it's red, you stop, look, and go if safe. All too often I get behind someone sitting at red right turn signals when the coast is clear because they think it means they must stop until it turns green. Right turns on red are legal unless there is a sign explicitly stating they're not.

    I'm not sure if you have these in the UK, but left turn signals (and I guess they're called right turn signals across the pond) are another thing. There are two types, and they'll be defined by signs. One type is "yield on green" which means that as long as the lights for traffic going straight is green, and the coast is clear, you can make a left turn. At some point through the light cycle, you will get a green left arrow which means you can go; oncoming traffic is stopped at a red light. The other type is a "left turn signal" and this is a bit different. You can only go when you have the green arrow. If it's red, but the through traffic has the green, you cannot go, even if there's no oncoming traffic. So a bit different than right turn signals in that you can't go through a red one, period. On some less busy streets there will be no type of specific left turn signal, you just wait until you have a green light and can safely go, and just hope there's an opening before your light turns red.
     
  22. tombarnes thread starter macrumors 6502

    tombarnes

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2006
    Location:
    Cornwall, United Kingdom
    #23
    Thanks for all these replies, I didn't expect so many people offering advice. Really appreciate it.

    djellison
    Thanks for that, it's interesting to hear it from a fellow Brit's point of view. You sound like you have a spacey interest, just like I do. So stargazing is a must whilst we so far away from civilisation and light pollution. Also Death Valley could fit in nicely, we were planning on pitching up for a single night in the desert somewhere (if that is wise) - we will stick to a proper campsite of course. And Death Valley is as good a place as any.

    A sports game or Nascar etc is something we'd be interested in doing, but we'll play that by ear. If someone is playing whilst we are there, we may well go, but failing that, we won't plan our trip around a game. We have several cities to visit, so we'll hopefully find something.

    Driving tips - I'll be taking heed!

    yg17
    Stop signs in the UK are funny things. Stop signs aren't compulsory. But where they put them in the UK, it really is a good idea to stop - usually they are on junctions with very limited view of the road. But if you drove through and had an accident, you'd have a hard job to prove to the Police that you were driving with due care.

    The left and right turn tips, I am sure will make sense when I see them in action. You seem to have laid it out like it is, and in practise, reading that, it is probably exactly what you've said.

    ----

    But I am REALLY looking forward to this trip. It should be amazing. The hospitality of everyone replying on here is certainly a good sign.
     
  23. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #24
    God no, not NASCAR. Seriously, don't waste your time. It's not the least bit entertaining. It's basically watching cars go around in circles 500 times while being surrounded by a bunch of oversized, beer guzzling inbred rednecks.

    A baseball game would be fun, but TBH, if you don't know anything about the game or how it's played you may find it a bit boring too. It's not like hockey where you can not be fan of either team playing or know a damn thing about how the game is played but still enjoy yourself because of the fast paced action and fighting :D
     
  24. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #25
    What are you talking about? Nascar is awesome

    PS: I love how you stereotype the fans. Way to stay classy

    But OP, I do agree with a Dodgers game. I love baseball games live. Such a cool atmosphere
     

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