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Essentials to Pack for Your Arizona Vacation

Essentials to Pack For Your Arizona Vacation

Even the best-laid vacation plans can be easily dashed by something as simple as forgetting to pack the signature comforts and small necessities that you, well, need. Frustratingly, it always seems to be the obvious, everyday things that you use all the time that get left out of the suitcase and consequently left behind. It’s especially frustrating when you’re traveling to a new destination like the Southwest, and you’re not clear what the packing essentials should be. But don’t worry—we’ve come up with this handy list to ensure that exact scenario doesn’t happen. Whether you’re planning a visit to the Grand Canyon, the Red Rocks of Sedona, or enjoying the glittering charm of the Arizona cities, here is a list of all the essentials to pack for your Arizona vacation.

Sunscreen, Sun Hat, and Sunglasses

First, you only need to have experienced the Arizona sun once before you realize how strong it really is. Hiking, walking through trails, and lying by the pool all require protection from the sun, especially the Arizona sun. Pack a wide-brimmed hat, which is preferable over a baseball cap, to cover your entire face. Make sure you pack sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher. Apply it over any exposed skin, including the back of your neck.  Lastly, don’t forget to protect your eyes from the Arizona sunshine with sunglasses. A polarized lens will help you see views more clearly. Purchase sunglass straps if you plan to be on the water. Watching your new sunglasses float downstream or from the edge of the Grand Canyon without you can be frustrating.

Layers of Clothing

The Arizona desert temperatures can fluctuate 30-40 degrees in one day, so be sure to pack light layers for daytime and others that will keep you warm in the evenings, including a winter hat, when the sun sets and cooler air moves in. At the top of the rim, average summer temps can be in the 80s F during the day and drop to the 50s at night. However, temperatures by the river at the bottom of the canyon can exceed 100F and even reach 120F. Be prepared with the right equipment and by being extremely well-hydrated. In addition to the layers of clothes, we strongly recommend packing a light jacket or coat, especially if you visit the Grand Canyon.

On the flip side, if you’re visiting during the spring and summer months, make sure you pack plenty of light clothing, such as shorts, light shirts, and plenty of weightless summer dresses.

Hiking Boots, Gym Shoes & Sandals

Grand Canyon South Rim Tours from Phoenix & Scottsdale DETOURS - Happy Guest
Grand Canyon South Rim Photo Op

A good pair of flip-flops or sandals is essential to your Arizona trip. This is especially important if you plan to hit the pool or take light walks through the city’s shopping centers. If you’re planning on hiking and taking plenty of tours, make sure to pack a pair of supportive, waterproof, and breathable hiking boots. These will allow you to easily navigate wet and dry trails and enable you to explore farther than you may have. They also protect your feet from unwanted visitors, such as cactus needles, rocks on trails, and possibly even snake bites. Don’t forget to pack a few extra pairs of socks as well!

Water + Snacks

You’re in the desert, so the first thing you should make sure to purchase plenty of (once you land, of course) is H2O. One of the biggest mistakes Arizona visitors make is not staying properly hydrated. The second thing to make sure you pack or purchase upon arrival are healthy snacks, preferably snacks that will fuel you with energy. Granola bars, mixed nuts, dried fruit, or fresh fruit and nut butter are all great things to keep on hand. Day tours to the Grand Canyon, Apache Trail, and Sedona, or catching some rays by the pool, will take the energy out of you faster than you can imagine. Keep yourself satiated and hydrated to keep powering through your Arizona trip!

Chapstick + Lip Balm

While your lips are busy talking about the gorgeous sights you’re taking in, they are also getting plenty of attention from the Arizona sunshine. In addition to keeping your skin protected with sunscreen, make sure to pack some quality chapstick or lip balm with SPF protection. This will save you from sunburnt lips or windburned lips depending on which tours and adventures you decide to embark upon.

Camera + Cellphone

While most of us rarely leave home without cellphones (at least intentionally), pack your cell phone and charger before heading out on your trip to the Southwest. Make sure to also pack your favorite camera to capture all the sights and wonders of Arizona. Especially if you visit some of the Arizona gems such as Antelope Canyon, Sedona, The Grand Canyon, Tombstone, or The Apache Trail.

Bathing Suit

Arizona residents consider bathing suits an essential staple to survive the heat and layer up/layer down as needed. Pack that favorite suit and plan to wear it to the pool or as an additional layer under your hiking clothes.

Backpack/Travel Purse

For hiking, we recommend packing a lightweight backpack that will be comfortable when you’re carrying medium to heavy loads. Whether it’s a backpack or travel purse, make sure it has enough room for all the essentials for your trip, especially water and sunscreen.

Water Mister or Bandana

Keep cool with a portable mister that can make climbing the red rocks of Sedona or The Apache Trail much more manageable. A bandana you can soak with water is also a great option to pack.


In addition to all of the physical items you need to pack for your Arizona adventure, don’t forget to bring your energy and excitement to the trails and streets of the Southwest!

Take Your Arizona Vacation with DETOURS American West

Now that you know the essentials to pack for your Arizona vacation, it’s time to actually book your vacation! Not sure where to start? DETOURS American West is here to help.

Sedona Arizona Breathtaking Views Red Rocks
Breathtaking Sedona Views

Day Tours from Phoenix & Scottsdale

DETOURS offers a range of day tours departing from Phoenix and Scottsdale, taking you to iconic destinations like the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and more. With expert guides and comfortable transportation, you can make the most of your day without worrying about the logistics.

Overnight Tours from Phoenix & Scottsdale

For a more immersive experience, consider DETOURS’ multi-day overnight tours. Spend extra time in places like Sedona, where you can witness the stunning red rocks change colors during sunset and sunrise. These tours allow you to delve deeper into Arizona’s landscapes, providing a richer and more relaxed exploration.

Private Tours from Phoenix & Scottsdale

If you prefer a personalized experience, DETOURS offers private tours tailored to your interests and schedule. Whether you want to focus on specific attractions like Antelope Canyon or customize the duration of your tour, a private tour ensures a unique Arizona adventure designed just for you.

DETOURS Destination Highlights

  • Grand Canyon: Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
  • Sedona: Immerse yourself in the magical red rock formations and vibrant art scene.
  • Antelope Canyon: Explore the mesmerizing slot canyons with stunning light and shadow play.
  • Tombstone: Step back in time to the days of the Wild West in this historic town.
  • And More: Discover hidden gems along the way, guided by DETOURS’ knowledgeable team.

Whether you’re interested in day trips, overnight adventures, or a private getaway, DETOURS has your Arizona vacation covered. Enjoy the convenience of guided tours, comfortable transportation, and the flexibility to tailor your experience to match your preferences. Make your Arizona journey memorable with DETOURS!

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