frequently asked questions

Travel Icon Getting Here & Getting Around
What airport will I fly into?

Most people fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, the main facility serving the Scottsdale area. Located 10 miles west of Old Town Scottsdale, Sky Harbor offers nonstop service to and from more than 140 cities worldwide. If you’re traveling by private or corporate jet, Scottdale Airport is your go-to destination, offering two stellar FBOs and a convenient central-city location. Rounding out your options, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, is a regional facility located 30 miles east of Scottsdale that provides limited service on Allegiant, Swoop and WestJet.

I’m not renting a car. Where should I stay and what can I do?

Old Town Scottsdale is your best bet for a car-free stay. In addition to 10 hotels and hundreds of restaurants, bars, attractions and shopping opportunities, Old Town offers electric scooter and bike rentals, and golf cart services to help you get around. Rideshare via Lyft and Uber is available throughout the city, including to and from Sky Harbor. Check out our Car-Free Guide to Visiting Scottsdale for more details.

What are some basic driving tips for international travelers?
  • Drive on the right-hand side of the road.
  • Use your turn signal (this is how we know who’s visiting)
  • Stop at red lights. Right turn on red is permitted after a full stop and provided that traffic is clear.
  • Put your cell phone away (it’s the law – no texting or talking while driving except in hands-free mode).

And if you’re visiting from Canada, congratulations! Your driver’s license is valid here.

Explore IconThings to See
What can I expect from the Sonoran Desert?

Technicolor sunsets, abundant plant and animal life, and honest-to-goodness purple-mountain majesty when the sunlight hits our McDowell Mountains just right. Plus, the desert is an amazing natural playground that’s perfect for hiking, mountain biking, river rafting (yes, you read that right) and a host other outdoor activities. Check out our weather page to find out what each of Scottsdale’s seasons has to offer.  

Where can I experience Native American culture?

The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch offers free performances of Native American music, dance and storytelling at 5 p.m. every Friday from October through May. These intimate performances are open to the public and are a great way to meet the performers and see championship-level hoop dancing. Other must-sees are the Heard Museum, which is dedicated to Native cultures of the Southwest, and the S'edav Va'aki Museum, which focuses on Hohokam culture, archaeology and art.

How far away are Sedona and the Grand Canyon?

Get your camera ready! Both natural wonders are located north of Scottsdale and are easily accessible by car. Sedona’s red rocks are about two hours away, while the Grand Canyon’s popular South Rim is roughly four hours away. Air and ground tours from Scottsdale to both locations are available year-round.

Timezone IconTIME ZONE
What time zone is Scottsdale in?

Scottsdale observes Mountain Standard Time year-round, as does most of Arizona. While the rest of the country does the spring-forward/fall-back dance for Daylight Savings, we kick back with a glass of Arizona wine, secure in the knowledge that all our household appliances show the correct time without any interference from us. The exception is the Navajo Nation in the northeastern corner of Arizona, which observes daylight savings to remain consistent across all of its territory (which spans portions of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico).

Money iconMoney Matters
What are the sales tax and hotel/resort check-out tax rates in Scottsdale?

Scottsdale sales tax is 8.05% and the hotel/resort check-out tax is 14.02%.

Is it important to carry a credit card in the United States?

Yes – it will make your life much easier. Major credit cards are almost universally accepted. In fact, you’ll have difficulty renting a car or making telephone reservations without one.

What type of currency is accepted in Scottsdale and where can it be exchanged?

The dollar is the official U.S. currency (similar to Canadian money, though not as colorful). Currency exchange services are offered by Travelex at two locations within Sky Harbor International Airport’s Terminal 4 (level 3 pre-security near the B checkpoint and on level 3 past security by gate B-15). Most major U.S. banks also offer currency exchange services.

When do I tip for services rendered and how much?

Tipping is customary for most services and should only be withheld in cases of extraordinarily bad service.

  • Airport and hotel porters: $1-2 per bag, $5 minimum per cart
  • Bartenders: 15-20% per round, $1 minimum per drink
  • Hotel maids: $2-5 per night, left under the card provided
  • Restaurant servers: 15-20%, unless a gratuity is already charged on the bill as may be the case for  large parties (typically parties of 6 or more)
  • Taxi drivers: 15-20%
  • Valet parking attendants: $3-5
  • Tour guides: 15-20% of the tour cost

For more tips on tipping, click here.

Passport IconDuties & Customs
What travel documents are required for admission into the U.S.?

For the most up-to-date entry information and requirements, please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

Are travelers required to carry a passport at all times?

We recommend that you carry your passport at all times while visiting Arizona, as this is the only form of photo identification that will be accepted. Photo identification is typically required for renting a car, using a credit card, purchasing alcohol and other similar transactions.

What is the procedure for customs inspections?

Everyone arriving at a U.S. point of entry is subject to inspection by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers for compliance with immigration, customs and agricultural regulations. CBP officers may search your belongings even if you don’t declare anything. Reviewing customs rules before traveling will facilitate your entry to the U.S.

What are the rules regarding large amounts of money?

Anyone traveling with $10,000 or more in cash – whether in U.S. dollars or any other currency – must declare it when clearing Customs.

What may I bring in duty-free?

Gifts or purchases valued at a maximum of $200 total per individual traveler. You may include with the $200 exemption your choice of the following: 50 cigarettes and 10 cigars and 150 milliliters (5 fl. oz.) of alcoholic beverages or 150 milliliters (5 fl. oz.) of perfume containing alcohol.

Is tax-free shopping available?

Duty-free shopping is available pre-security in Terminal 4 at Sky Harbor International Airport. Otherwise, all purchases are subject to local, county and state taxes that vary by city. Visit Duty Free Americas for more information.

Phone IconMore Good Things to Know
What are the units of measurement used in the United States?

Being largely allergic to the metric system, we follow the United States Customary System (also called the American or English system). Common U.S. measurements include:

  •  Weight: ounces (oz), pounds (lb), tons
  •  Liquid: ounces (oz), pints, quarts, gallons (gal)
  •  Distance: feet (ft), yards (yd), miles (mi)

That said, we measure soda and wine in liters, medicine in milligrams, foot races in meters and kilometers, and our food nutrition labels are metric. Don’t worry – you’ll catch on.

What types of electrical outlets are used in the United States?
  • Standard electrical outlet: Type A and Type B
  • Standard voltage: 120 V
  • Frequency: 60 Hz
Are mobile phone services available on a weekly/monthly basis?

Yes – most major carriers offer short-term plans for international travelers visiting the U.S. Here are four to consider:

Is recreational marijuana allowed in Scottsdale?  

Though recreational marijuana is legal in Arizona, the city of Scottsdale has limitations on where marijuana can be purchased, possessed and used. For more details on the city's ordinance, click here.