Fly to Tucson, or Phoenix and drive?

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Usually my travel is East coast these days. Looks like travel time is about 8 hours either way, but it’s either:

1) Fly direct to Phoenix (2 hours), drive to Tucson, (2 hours)

2) Fly connecting to Tucson (8 hours w/ tight connection somewhere)

I’m inclined to take the first option and get some drive time through the area, but would like to hear from others w experience.
 

grizquad

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Its been many years since I have been in Az. but I doubt it has changed much. Leaving Phoenix, there is a lone mountain with lots of cactus then the drive to Tucson is nothing but desert and cactus. It depends on where you want to go as far as flights, I am sure you can find a good deal without all the hassle with minimum layover. BUT if you have a layover somewhere, take into account weather, and where the connecting flight is coming from as that will help you make a decision.
 

W.E.C

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All I can tell you, is it’s an easy drive down the 10 to Tucson from sky harbor.

pick a leading car rental co. The budget ones I have found get backed up and when they are busy it can add wait time.
 

goodzilla

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I've done both. I think I've done that drive 3 times over the years. It's an easy drive, fairly straight/flat from what I remember. High speed limits and nothing like driving in the northeast. Actually pretty pleasant. I think the most annoying thing was the Sky Harbor rental car center (I hate group buses).
 

JD-1

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I’ve done both in the past couple of months. Easy drive from PHX to Tucson. Flights in/out of Tucson aren’t the best schedule-wise; especially leaving. More options getting out of PHX. When I fly in/out of Phoenix, I always go up the night before and stay at the airport to catch the first flight out in the AM. Lots of radar traps on 10 - find a group going your speed and tag along. I prefer the Phoenix option - but both work.
 
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Every time I have been to AZ, I have been nabbed for speeding. It's not that I drive that fast; it's that AZ puts an emphasis on ticketing people for revenue generation.

Don't rely on going prevailing speed with a group of other vehicles. Set your cruise control to below the speed limit, leave it alone, and settle in to enjoy the drive.
 

jtnf

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Every time I have been to AZ, I have been nabbed for speeding. It's not that I drive that fast; it's that AZ puts an emphasis on ticketing people for revenue generation.

Don't rely on going prevailing speed with a group of other vehicles. Set your cruise control to below the speed limit, leave it alone, and settle in to enjoy the drive.

+1 on the "Drive it!" recommendation. I've done it a few times.
It's beautiful out there, in an austere desert-y kind of way.
There are two aircraft graveyards you'll drive by, one in Tuscon (Davis Monthan AFB) and another between Phoenix and Tuscon (commercial planes.)
If you're doing touristy stuff, the Desert Museum in Old Tuscon is great (combination cultural museum, natural history museum and zoo) as is Tombstone (south of Tuscon almost all the way to Mexico.)
There's also caves and caverns and other geo-wonders in the greater Tuscon area.


--Edit:
The bolded bit - "Drive faster than 2/3 of the traffic, you're making good time. Drive slower than 1/3 of the traffic, you're making a good decision."
I'll amend that bit of grandfatherly wisdom by responding to qqac's next sentence... "If there's NO other traffic, set your cruise and don't be the 1/3 target of the po po!"
I've seen speed traps in unmarked vehicles, apparent breakdowns that were actually cops, between Phoenix and Tuscon.
 
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snax

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Do the drive. I've done that drive at least 10 times. Time your flight so your trip avoids rush hour, that trip can get backed up with traffic. Sitting in a car much more enjoyable than an airport. I think the airplane graveyard is on that route.

Edit: not on the way but in Tucson. http://www.airplaneboneyards.com/davis-monthan-afb-amarg-airplane-boneyard.htm

Edit 2: dupe. I see jtnf pointed out the graveyards. Definitely worth a look.

Edit 3- speeding.. they have speed cameras
 
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ochmude

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Drive it, it's a straight shot and really easy. Since moving to Arizona I've found that long distance driving is just different here, less stressful and easier to deal with. I used to live in Chicopee and drilled in Reading with MAARNG. I loathed that drive. Here in AZ, I've literally driven 136 miles one-way just to go to the closest Whataburger. I've done that more than once actually.

I highly recommend BK Tacos if you want some really good Sonoran style Mexican food. I've been to both locations. The north location is in a much nicer area. Grimaldi's on North Campbell Ave has just about the only decent pizza in Arizona and reminds me of East Coast pizza (which is the only thing I miss about Mass, lol).

EDIT: I can't believe I forgot. This is a thing that you must have. It's.......just.....there are no words.

 
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Thanks for all the responses folks. I’m hoping Waze has the speed cameras dialed in, but might just set the cruise control and enjoy the scenery. And will definitely be eating one of those bacon bombs.
 
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