I already wrote about how to save $360+ on lodging in Tucson but I wanted to offer a quick update on how to do the whole trip to Tucson for free, assuming you are flying there from within the United States.
1. Earn the Southwest Companion pass (ideally at the beginning of a year). Here’s a good how-to post from Million Mile Secrets.
2. Book your flight using miles you earned in step 1 and then add your companion on for free.
3. Rent a car using your Barclay Arrival+ card, which lets you wipe out travel purchases using the points earned from the sign up bonus and purchases.
4. Set up a home exchange for your lodging for the week.
5. Stop at the grocery store on your way to the home exchange to stock the fridge with food for the week. Eat breakfast in, pack a lunch, and eat some of your dinner meals in. Or better yet eat out at lunch when prices are cheaper and cook dinner in. Eating out in Tucson is much cheaper than many other places in the U.S. so even eating out for some meals you probably won’t average spending much more than you would at home.
I can’t tell you what to do for entertainment because I was there for a wedding and all activities revolved around that. But I can say that it looks like a great place for hiking and other outdoors sports, but you shouldn’t go in the summer if that’s your thing, it’s waayyy tooo hot.