Commercial flights land at Sky Harbor Airport (www.phxskyharbor.com), just three miles east of downtown Phoenix. International flights serve Mexico, Canada, and Europe. The busy airport is well organized but you'll have to do some walking. The west entrance off 24th Street and I-10/Papago Freeway is closer to downtown. The east entrance off 44th Street and Hohokam Expressway/143 serves Scottsdale, Tempe, and other east Valley areas. Sky Harbor has three separate terminals, each with an information desk, connected by a free 24-hour shuttle bus. Free telephones near the baggage claims link to many Valley hotels and motels. You'll see art and aviation exhibits in the terminals; ask at an information booth for current shows and locations.
"Where's Terminal 1?" you may ask. Well, just as major-league sports teams retire jersey numbers of famous players, so did the airport with its original terminal, used from 1952 to 1990!
Taxis waiting outside charge widely varying fares—shop around. SuperShuttle (602/244-9000 or 800/331-3565) provides door-to-door service from homes and hotels to or from the airport; on arrival at Sky Harbor, step outside any of the terminals to locate a representative; for a ride to the airport, call 24-48 hours in advance; fares start at $6-12 for downtown and increase with distance. Valley Metro buses (602/253-5000) are the cheapest way into town; they leave the airport about every 30 minutes (every hour on Sun.) from early morning to late evening.
The Greyhound bus terminal (2115 E. Buckeye Rd. near 24th St., 602/389-4200 or 800/231-2222, www.greyhound.com) is east of downtown near the airport. You'll find other Greyhound stations in northwest Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, and Tolleson.
Arizona Shuttle (tel 520/795-6771 or 800/888-2749 Tucson services; 928/226-8060 or 877/226-8060 other services, www.arizonashuttle.com) connects the Grand Canyon, Williams, Flagstaff, Sedona, Camp Verde, Phoenix, and Tucson.
Mountain Valley Shuttle (928/537-4539, http://mountainvalleyshuttle.blogspot.com) heads from Phoenix to the cool pines of the Mogollon Rim with stops at Mesa, Payson, Heber, and Show Low. Services run in each direction once daily Mon.-Sat.; the main office is in Show Low.
Amtrak (401 W. Harrison St. and 4th Ave. in downtown Phoenix, 800/872-7245, www.amtrak.com) trains no longer stop in the Valley, but connecting buses will take you to the Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle, which runs three eastbound and three westbound departures each week across southern Arizona, or to the Southwest Chief, which runs both east and west daily across the northern part of the state.
The Valley moves on wheels; if you need some, check the Yellow Pages or the Visitors Bureau's Official Visitors Guide. Rental companies offer many different plans; most maintain offices at the airport or make free pickups. You can rent RVs too.
Valley Metro (602/253-5000, www.valleymetro.org) will take you around the Valley, visiting parks, shopping areas, most of the sights, and the airport—all for just $1.25 ($1.75 express); transfers are free when requested upon boarding. All-day passes cost $3.60; you can purchase them at the downtown terminal at Van Buren St. and Central Avenue. The Bus Book available free at the terminal, many tourist offices, and online has maps and timetables. In the downtown area you can ride Valley Metro's Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH) on weekdays for free.
The Valley of the Sun features many tour operators. Drop by one of the Visitors Bureau offices for the latest brochures and Official Visitors Guide listings. The Sunday Arizona Republic travel section advertises deals within the state and beyond.
On to Wickenburg and Vicinity