Phoenix, Arizona: From Car Slumming to a Luxury Villa Visit

We’re at the Airport! Full of bubbles before they got popped by our roller-coaster airplane ride…

So after working at Lake Greeley Summer Camp in Pennsylvania for 10 weeks, it was only right that we rewarded ourselves with an epic road-trip across the beautiful states! I’ve visited these states once before but there’s something about this place that draws me back time and time again and I’m still mesmerised and captivated by all that the American Dream can offer. I had pre-planned this trip in the time leading up to working at camp this summer with my friend and fellow American enthusiast Karolina who I had met last summer during my first year at camp. So we began our road-trip on the worst flight I’ve ever been on from JFK Airport, New York to Phoenix. We flew with American Airlines and it’s always bad news for me when it’s a small domestic flight… Felt like I as on one of them virtual roller-coaster experiences and I always suffer with pain in my ears when we land but it felt like someone was pulling my brain out slowly and then a few gymnast bounces off the ground to finish.


Finally we arrived at 2:30pm local time onto the sweet ground of Phoenix Airport but little did we know, we would be pacing the sweet ground of Phoenix Airport for 8 hours as the two guys that are road-tripping with us had a delayed flight from Philadelphia! Unfortunately, it’s just one of those things when travelling – you get to know the airport much better than the actual place/state/country itself! Finally, the guys arrived at 11:30pm. Cody and Jon from Wisconsin who we had met this summer during camp. We collected our rental car (which we hired from Enterprise – not the cheapest car rental place) and headed to Jon’s Uncle’s place which was 30 minutes from the Airport. I was just thankful we had somewhere to stay and rest tonight after the day we had!

Think I stayed in that position for at least 15 minutes praying them big red words ‘DELAYED’ were actually an hallucination. I was in the desert after all…

However, when we pulled into this breathtaking villa on the Phoenix Mountains at 1:30am, we were locked out and ended up spending the night in the car. The guys slept outside. I really didn’t care about sleeping in the car and slept like a big fat tree trunk all night as my body was still living in Pennsylvania time and thought it was 4:30am and we knew that we had 14 days of epic adventure ahead of us…

YAY! Car slumber party for two!!

Woke up in the morning to be greeted by Mr Uncle, who was very apologetic about the night before, and made up for it by cooking us an amazing breakfast of bacon, eggs and fruit! The villa was absolutely stunning! The views were incredible! AND A POOL! This was too good of an opportunity to pass by so we spent the day relaxing and hanging out by the pool and our new prickly mates and drinking Margarita cocktails. The day before became a distant memory as we floated around on clouds of bliss…

Who needs the Caribbean?!?

One thing I was blown away by were the size of the Cactus in Phoenix! I mean, I knew there was such a thing as giant cactus from years of watching ‘Roadrunner’ as a child and dreaming of finally seeing said giant cactus for myself but jeeeeeez! My childhood dreams just exploded!! Meep Meep!

At 5pm, we realised that we had a road-trip to be getting on with and left the villa to pick up supplies at the local Walmart! We needed this road-trip to be as cheap as we can possibly make it so we had previously agreed to camp nearly every night to keep costs down. I highly recommend to anyone thinking or going on a USA road trip to camp rather than stay in motels and hostels. Unless you were city-hopping, then I suppose camping isn’t really an option… Unless you’re brave enough to camp in the streets of New York! But, if its national parks and small towns you’re hitting, you will save so much money and it truly is a much better experience. I know camping isn’t for everyone but you may surprise yourself when you see the sights you wake up to compared to a motel backyard…
Camping equipment really is so cheap in the US:

  • Tent: $35
  • Sleeping Bag: $10
  • Camping Mat: $7
  • Cooler: $17
  • Campfire Grill: $8

Done. Split that amongst all travellers and you’re laughing. The guys already had torches and we also purchased water, snacks and alcohol and still managed to keep the bills down! There are campsites everywhere in America. Especially down south and across the West Coast and throughout the trip, we never had a problem finding a campsite to stay. It took us about 10 minutes to reorganise the car and squeeze everything in but we were determined and we did it! There was no space to move in the backseats but that’s the sacrifice we were willing to make! So with the car bursting at the seams, we were off to our first official stop of the trip – Grand Canyon!



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