We Saved $600+ on Our Trip to Arizona

It was early May when my sister asked if we would come with her on a girls trip to Arizona in July. I was super excited at the thought of going to Arizona being as though I had been debating moving to Arizona since 2014. I always said that I wanted to visit before making a decision. This was going to be my first chance to taste the Arizona life.

Immediately I mentioned turning it into a road trip and was talked into flying. Wanting to get a good deal on flights I closely watched flight prices to Arizona for the week of our trip. Long story short, I couldn’t bring myself to pay the $800-$1200 for plane tickets and made the decision to drive. Rental car prices for the amount of time we would have needed it would be $1200+ and well, that was out of the question. We would be taking our 2018 Nissan Sentra on a 35+hr road trip and I was excited! 

Disclaimer: I don’t want to use this post to talk about the trip itself but instead about the drive there and back. However, I will say that I am definitely purchasing property in Arizona and will be back to visit again and again and again! Lol Also, we did not get to take a whole lot of pictures but I will attach some for you to view throughout the post.

With the address to the beautiful airbnb we stayed in, typed into the gps the travel time read 35hrs and 25mins. This did not include any stops. We made the decision to leave on the 17th at 7pm, check in was on the 19th at 4pm. We packed our bags, grabbed some snacks, and headed to fill up the gas tank. We were on the road. 

The Drive

We decided that I would start out driving and Courtney would sleep. When I got tired we would switch roles. On the first night we drove from Virginia to Tennessee. Since we decided to leave so late, most of this drive took place in the dark and there wasn’t much scenery to take in.

Around 5:30am on the 18th we stopped in Nashville, TN (We realized this was our first time difference, time went back an hour.) at a Walmart to get an oil change and tire rotation, grab some snacks, and get some window covers. It was super early when we arrived at the Walmart so we were off the road for about 4-5hrs. We waited for the store to open and then for the car to be serviced. 

Before getting back on the road we filed up at the gas station nearest the Walmart and cut our window covers to fit the side windows as best we could with what we had,😂. I’ll post a video for you over on instagram.

It was our first real time during the road trip that we would be driving during the day. The only thing I really remember is going through mountains and my ears were popping. We did get to see some beautiful clouds. Before we knew it we were in Arkansas and let me tell you now, there was lots of land and not much of anything else.

At least in the parts we drove through. The darkness seemed to have come quickly and we continued to drive until we reached New Mexico where we both ended up tired and needed to pullover and sleep. This was our first time stopping to sleep during our road trip, we decided to sleep at a “rest stop” for 2hrs. Don’t forget to have a look at those window covers. 😂

The entire ride I prayed that we would see wild animals and in New Mexico we finally did, WILD HORSES!!

If you know me, you know how much I love horses. Especially wild horses.

New Mexico was beautiful during the day and very dark at night. The gps took us down roads that were extremely dark and it was very hard to see. Most times down these dark roads it was as if we were driving in the middle of nowhere so pulling over on the side of the road was not an option. Around noon on the 19th we entered Arizona but still had 4hrs to go before we arrived at the Dessert Dream House. 

Our last 4hrs on the road driving through the Arizona mountains was absolutely beautiful.

At one point we were driving through very curvy mountains with cliffs that have no rails and a cool rest stop smack dab in the middle.

The bathroom was weird but cool to see. There were multiple stalls but they didn’t flush, there was a ton of flies, and no sink. But the view was amazing.

As we drove through Arizona we were able to see more wild animals such as wild elk, horses, and cows. I was completely obsessed. We arrived to our destination and I knew that Arizona was more beautiful than I imagined.

On the drive back we started the morning of the 22nd, pulled over to sleep once at Loves in Texas, and arrived home around 8am on the 24th. During our drive back we reflected on the trip and talked about how much we loved Arizona and this road trip.

Let’s Talk Money

Driving to Arizona was much cheaper than driving back home. On the way there it cost us $136.15 and to get home it cost $190. Overall, we saved at least $600 traveling to Arizona in our car. 

Answers to Some Questions You May Have

Would we do it again?

 Absolutely. 

Is there anything that we would do differently?

Plan for more time on the road so that we can stop and experience each state that we travel through. Originally I put our route into my roadtrippers app and selected many places for us to visit on our way to AZ but most of the trip was driven at night or on Sunday when things were closed.

How many miles was the trip?

2308 miles one way, 4616 miles round trip. 

Were there any problems on the trip?

Not really, the only issue the entire trip was that Courtneys feet were swollen by the time we got to New Mexico from sitting so long. They weren’t in pain or anything, just swollen. We got Ice and had her elevate her feet as much as we could in the car. 

Weren’t you too tired to enjoy the vacation at that point?

Absolutely not, we had so much fun when we got there and weren’t tired at all. 

What was your favorite part about the drive? What was the worst?

Courtney: The scenery when we got to see it, it was beautiful! Seeing the mountains, gigantic cactus, wild animals, contained but wild. I never thought I would enjoy it that much. The worst part for me was my feet being swollen because I was scared.

Michaela: The scenery for me as well and the wild animals, it was as if I were one with nature on the road during the day. I truly felt so free and at peace. It was as if nothing mattered when we were on the road. There were truly no worries for me. The worst part for me was not being able to completely experience being on the road trip with Courtney since she was sleep when I drove and vice versa for most of the drive.

Conclusion

We drove our 2018 Nissan Sentra from Richmond,Va to Tempe, AZ for a total of $326.15 round trip. We had to drive through Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico in order to get to Arizona. It was such a beautiful sight. We pulled over to sleep once on the trip there and once again on the trip back. For us to be driving there in such a small car we were comfortable and the trip went smoothly. We stopped for gas every time it reached half tank and that was roughly every 2-3hrs. Overall the road trip was amazing. We could not believe how smooth the road trip was and cannot wait to do it again. Next time around we just might do more documenting.


Would you take a 35+hr road trip in your car? Let me know in the comments.


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