There are a lot of jokes I could open with here. About Phoenix being the #1 destination for old people (we call’em Snowbirds). It is a dry heat. That sort of thing.
But the truth is — Phoenix is growing like crazy and is a popular destination for almost any age group. While there are some truths behind the jokes about the Valley of the Sun, I can offer the fresh transplant or even vacationers making their way into our city a few tips.
First, Phoenix is very spread out. It could easily take you up to 2 hours to drive from one side to the other if traffic isn’t great.
Second, people carry guns here. It is a right-to-bear-arms state. The first gas station I pulled into as we drove in with the U-Haul … guy in a truck pulls in next to me. Cowboy attire. Two real guns strapped to his belt (he wasn’t going to a costume party). The NO WEAPONS ALLOWED signs on many restaurants and establishments adds to the fun.
Third, car insurance costs a fortune because the drivers here suck. And that isn’t hyperbole. Get glass coverage. It will pay for itself in less than a year.
Here are some more tidbits:
- Car batteries last about 2 years here. Doesn’t matter if you pay extra for the super premium. Budget for it. Bet money is in the “mid-grade” battery.
- There is no such thing as a 3 month air filter for your A/C unit. Plan for every 21–30 days; maybe more frequently during the summer.
- Get on a plan with your electric company to pay the same amount each month. It can be insane to go from paying $100 a month to $400 a month when the weather changes
- The town is laid out amazingly … Streets and Avenues run north to south, everything else is pretty much east to west. You can find almost ANYTHING without a map by knowing the closest cross roads (aka 59th Ave and Cactus)
- The city is always under construction. Somewhere, sometime. I imagine most large cities are the same, but I’ve never lived anywhere quite like this.
- Never be on a street named after a president after dark. I’d stay away from them during daylight hours too, if you can.
- We have a lightrail — but it really only services the wealthier areas of town.
- Public transit is remarkably good otherwise. The bus system is really easy to use and learn.
After living here for ten years as a transplant, I could probably write a book; but these tips should get you started!