Friday, February 19, 2010

How to Save Money on Your Sedona Vacation

Spring fling, honeymoon, and summer vacation season is upon us. If you're heading for Sedona, check out a few ways to keep those rapidly inflating dollars in your wallet.

- Save on Rental Cars. Flying into Phoenix? Rent a car offsite instead of at the airport and save up to $390 a week on airport fees. You can cut out the additional taxes and fees for renting at the airport. Look for an offsite rental car location offering airport shuttle pickup or take a cab.

Traveling solo? Take a shuttle to Sedona and hoof it for a few days. When you're ready to go see Jerome, "the mile high town," or hike West Fork, go rent a car at Enterprise. You can walk to it from the vacation rental, Casita Colibri. Or have Airport Rental Car bring a wreck to your door--no extra charge. Just don't tell them I called their inexpensive cars wrecks.

- Save on Food. Frugal Sedona locals save by stocking up on groceries in Phoenix. Prices go up along with the altitude in Sedona. Health food stores can be expensive and rely on tourists paying a premium for food in the mountains. Two options cost-saving ideas for groceries:

1. After you leave the airport, stop at Costco, Sam's Club, or Trader Joe’s to stock up on food for your trip.

2. Shop the Sedona Safeway--it carries the least expensive organic food in town. Not as inexpensive as Phoenix organic, but still less than the boutiques. But if locally owned stores are your thing, you will want to go to the health food stores. Arizona companies own them, not national corporate chains.

- Eat out for lunch instead of dinner. Some restaurants offer the dinner entrées at lunchtime for a third of the price. Smaller portions in some cases, but not all. Avoid Uptown and stick with places that offer value.

- Bring a bottle for water and travel coffee mug and save on $2 and $5 hits as you're out exploring. You’ll also avoid adding more plastic to the landfills. Trick is, you have to remember to take it with you. Mine is usually still on the kitchen counter when I remember to use it.

- Avoid Tourist Traps. Jeep tours, vortex tours and other canned experiences can be pricey, crowded and commercial. Most of the same information is available elsewhere for free. Like right on this blog. Check out self-guided tours online, in the coffee shops and at the library. Seriously, try asking locals in the coffee shops about vortexes--most will tell you the spots to see for free. Many were former tour guides and other characters just enjoy sharing their love of the Red Rocks.

If going off-road is your thing or you don’t have a car you will want to take a tour. But there’s not much you can see on the mainstream, jeep tours that you can’t see on your own with a good guide book. Most hotels and vacation rentals have libraries with guide books and other information about local history and nature. The Sedona Library has an extensive collection of books about the local area and even a few good DVDs.

- Have to have tours and treatments? Well, it is your vacation so who says splurging on reiki or spa treatments has to go? It may not have to cost you big bucks. Ask the practitioner to barter or do a swap. Consider a home swap or trade from your online SwapTree inventory.

Related posts: 51 Free Or Eco Cheap Things To Do Around Sedona
Sedona Hiking Information

Monday, February 15, 2010

Healthy Home, Healthy Vacation: What's Your Eco IQ?

Take this eco-quiz and see how well you're caring for yourself and your loved ones, including Mother Earth. From Dana Mayer's column, The Green Scene in Four Corners Magazine. PDF file available online, beautiful hard copy available for free at select locations in Sedona and Scottsdale, AZ.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Win a Dream Vacation

Or just have a good laugh at Chevy Chase naked on family vacation--again. This time the nudity and nuttiness is brought to you by the vacation rental site, The mini film aired during the Superbowl to promote the HomeAway contest about horrible hotel experiences.

You can enter by sharing a story about a horrible hotel experience, either in text or video. Then pick the vacation rental where you'd rather stay--maybe Riverview, St. Augustine?

Or you can just vote for your favorite story March 2-9.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Top Reason to Book Your Vacation Rental Now

Boy, it was a good thing that guy had his wiper blades up--I'm sure it made a big difference.

Photo by Ani Mayer, DC Blizzard Feb 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sweet Eco Dreams

An Inn Is an Oasis From Environmental Affronts
Published: February 5, 2010
The Topia Inn in the Berkshires is a laboratory of sustainability with an artsy vibe.