Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to visit a pricey Sedona without having to sell your kidney

By: Ron Valderrama/Tragically Hip Living

Sedona, Arizona
Photo: Tragically Hip Living
Without a doubt, Sedona, Arizona is one of the most beautiful and spiritual places on earth. The Sedona landscape has been used in many movies that range from Westerns to Comedies, John Wayne, Sam Elliott, Robert De Niro and tons more actors have filmed here.Sedona is a short two-hour drive from my home in Phoenix when the destination is reached, it's simply pure magic! Since my childhood, I have visited Sedona and have watched it grow. Visitors from around the world flock here to capture it's grandeur and marvel at it's beautiful views.

Statues at Tlaqapaque Shops
Photo: Tragically Hip Living
Sedona is a prime location to visit a Vortex, a Vortex is described as a place in nature that energy swirls and draws energy to the center. Sounds crazy right? Well, if you are spiritual you get it, there are four of them in Sedona. Many people visit a Sedona Vortex for a host of reasons, but don't think this is crazy, some well-known people come to Sedona for that very reason. Sedona has some great hiking trails too with much to explore in the area. A drive up Hwy 89A heading North takes you through Oak Creek Canyon and some stunning views. Continue North on 89A brings you to Flagstaff, just a short 30 miles out of Sedona.

Tlaqapaque Shops
Photo: Tragically Hip Living
Sedona used to be a quick and inexpensive destination to escape the summer heat of the Valley, but times have changed and the beauty of Sedona has become a costly getaway. Just a few years ago, a simple motel room could be found for $50 a night, give or take a few Washington's if you wanted to save a few bones and avoid the more expensive resorts that make Sedona their home. But those days are gone unless a room is booked way in advance, and even at that nearly impossible in the summer unless you are willing to pony up some major cash, maybe throw in severed limb or sell a kidney as well for payment. If my plan was to stay at one of the many resorts, I wouldn't mind paying if all I were going to do was stay at the resort most of the time, they do have some nice one's here, but the whole Sedona experience isn't in a hotel room or expensive meal, it's about exploring the area and taking in the magical beauty. To really experience Sedona, plan on more than just a weekend, the area really does offer a lot. From shopping, dining, hiking or even camping, Sedona offers something for everybody. It is possible to enjoy this wonderland, even if on a budget.

Sunset outside of Cottonwood
Photo: Tragically Hip Living
West out of Sedona on Hwy 89A, 17 miles and you've arrived in Cottonwood, they have a cool downtown Art's District with some cool shops and places to stuff your mug with some tasty chow. The area is also home to some pretty not to bad wineries too in the area. Maynard Keenan from the band "Tool" has a winery. A short drive out of Cottonwood brings you to Jerome, an old mining town. Jerome was a mining town back in the 1800s and closed down in 1953, pretty much becoming a ghost town after that. Jerome claims to be the oldest ghost town in America. Today, Jerome is home to artist and shop owners. Some cool restaurants and bars line the skinny streets.

Hwy. 89A (Downtown Sedona)
Photo: Tragically Hip Living
The places I used to stay have at the very least doubled in price in just the past few years. Some of the restaurants that served good and cheap comfort food have since closed. On a recent trip, I stopped at a pizza joint on Hwy 89A, the main drag in Sedona for a bite to eat. The pizza looked okay, but nothing special so I walked up to the counter to order. When I asked the price for a pizza with sausage and pepperoni, I nearly soiled my panties, as a matter of fact, pretty sure there may have been some seepage! $26 for a fake pizza? For reals? I asked the guy if they offered pizza rentals, or could he make me a deal on some pizza droppings, because unless a table dance came with the pizza, it ain't gonna happen!

If you travel cheap like me, then West Sedona is where you stay and eat, it's a little cheaper, to tell the truth, I don't even stay in Sedona anymore. I drive 17 miles or so down the road to the sleepy little town of Cottonwood and stay at a place called The Little Daisy Motel, named after the "Little Daisy Mine," a few miles away in the town of Jerome. I have been staying at The Little Daisy for about 5 years when visiting Sedona. I'm pretty sure they have not raised their prices, at least not by much anyway since I've been staying there. Even my last visit to this place was only $56 a night, cheaper Sun-Thur. The Little Daisy is nothing fancy, but the rooms are very clean and have a fridge and microwave, they'll even lend you coffee maker at the office if needed.

Oak Creek
Photo: Tragically Hip Living
If going to Sedona is your thing and money doesn't matter, then go for it, you'll have a great time. If traveling on a budget like me, then go to Cottonwood or a surrounding town and find a deal. After talking to a few of the locals in Cottonwood, they all said Sedona has become way too pricey, but as long as visitors are willing to pay, it's not going to change. Many who work in Sedona don't live there because it's just too expensive, they live in places like Cottonwood.

Sedona, Arizona
Photo: Tragically Hip Living
I also talked to a German tourist on my last trip to Sedona, the gentleman loved Sedona, but he thought it was expensive too. He was visiting America, Los Angeles to be exact and purchased a package for him and his wife.  The package was a 3-day tour of the Grand Canyon, a visit to Sedona and to the surrounding Indian Ruins in the area, it also included a train ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad. He didn't say how much he paid, but after further investigating, he said that he would have been better off renting a car in Los Angeles and making his own hotel reservations and sightseeing tours.

Oak Creek Canyon
Photo: Tragically Hip Living
The point is this, with a little research and a few phone calls, cheap travel is there to be had.

I use a lot, as a matter of fact, I write many reviews for and often find great deals on the site.

Until next time, have a tragically hip day!

Ron Valderrama can be contacted by email:


  1. Ron I have avoided going to Sedona for just this reason. I'm jazzed now to know we can stay in Cottonwood for such a great price. Lol at pizza rental

    1. It is possible to go for cheap, just have to be creative. Going to Flagstaff this weekend and going to track my spending. Thanks for reading and sharing Kool Aid Mom!