Moving to the Scottsdale Area?

  Here Are Some Tips to Help Make the Transition Easier


If you are new to Arizona in general or just new  to the Scottsdale area (aka The Valley) specifically, you may find desert living both rewarding and perplexing.  Here are some important tips that Scottsdale residents have compiled that will help your transition to The Valley easier.



The Heat

  • Drink lots of water, even if you’re not thirsty.  If you have a headache, it is a good sign you are dehydrated.
  • Never leave your child or dog in the car, not even with windows cracked.  When it is warm out the inside of the car can become sweltering in minutes.
  • In the summer months, the blacktop is like a stove top, it will burn human’s and pet’s feet, save the walks for early morning or late evening.


The Wildlife

  • Scorpions fit through the smallest crack in your house, you will want to contact a pest control service if they are prevalent in your area. Note:  the little one’s stings are the worst.
  • Scorpions illuminate at night like a glow stick.  Buy a black light flashlight to hunt and catch scorpions at night.
  • Javelinas are really interesting and the babies are cute, but keep your distance, mothers are fierce and very protective of their babies.  If you come across a pack while walking, turn around.
  • They will also tear up your yard if you have food they like, succulents are a big draw.
  • There is not a wall high enough to keep coyotes, bobcats or mountain lions out; always check your yard before you let your dogs out.  If you have little dogs, be sure to stay outside with them while they are out, it only takes a few seconds for them to get snatched up.
  • If you see a pair of Quail, slow down, there’s bound to be several babies following close behind.

Driving Tips

  • Use your turn signal.  We have drivers from all over the country, many drivers are aggressive and drive too fast leading to some extremely bad accidents (think rolled over cars on streets with 30mph posted).  Be safe and cautious.
  • Don’t engage with those who are exhibiting road rage.  In Arizona, citizens can carry guns, unfortunately we have seen more than one incident of road rage gone wrong.


  • Monsoon season starts in June.  Secure everything in your yard that you don’t want blown around.
  • If you get caught in a Monsoon while driving, pull over to the side of the road and turn off your lights.  I know this seems counterintuitive but lights make people think they are following another car and it will lead them straight into your car.
  • Springtime starts in February along with allergies, be prepared they can be brutal; but hey it is beautiful.


Outdoor activities


  • Sunscreen-Wear it all year round.  Even if it is cool outside the sun is HOT and you can get a sunburn even in December.
  • If you go hiking alone be sure to tell someone.  Be sure to pack a snack, lots of water and a trail map; cell phones don’t always have the best reception once you get deeper into the mountains.  Paper maps are at all the trail heads.
  • You should be prepared to meet snakes while hiking (even in your backyard), if you can get out of the way and retreat, do so, if you or your dog get bit, call 911 or get medical help immediately.  There are pet schools that do anti-snake training to help dogs avoid snakes (one such school is called Rattlesnake Ready).


Your Home


  • Home Owners Associations/HOA’s (most subdivisions have them) take  some time to read what you signed up for, avoid fines or annoying your neighbors.
  • Check your sprinkler system.  A leak can really increase your water bill.
  • You are living in the desert and it can get quite breezy, the dust will blow into your house, be prepared for the extra work of dusting your furniture and cleaning your floors.
  • You can still plant your spring flowers (often in January) and will last through Mayish, but will want to switch to drought resistant plants/flowers for the hotter months.
  • Bait-exterminators: DO NOT ever let your exterminators use any kind of bait in your yard! Owls, birds and other animals will also eat it and for them it is a slow, painful death.


Your Pets


  • A move can be stressful on your pet, a lot of dogs take off (even if it is uncharacteristic for them) make sure your animals have name tags and microchips, your area neighbors are amazing at taking in stray pets and trying to reconnect them with owners. This will help speed up your recovery. Nextdoor Neighbor is a great app that has helped reunite many lost pets.
  • HART is an amazing not-for-profit that has found and reunited many pets with their owners:
  • If you have an outside cat, it is now an inside cat. There is no such thing as a lost cat in Arizona.
  • As a sign of respect, PLEASE pick up after your dogs in your neighborhood and on the trails.
  • Your dog can make a great hiking companion, but if you take your dog hiking with you, be sure to take plenty of water for the dog too and know that they can get heat stroke faster than you.   Please note that it is 10 degrees hotter closer to the ground and therefore hotter for your dog and if your dog has darker fur it is soaking in all the heat from the sun and the ground; try to do your dog hikes earlier in the morning or closer to sundown to help alleviate some of the heat.
  • Also good to know, cactus needles have a habit of making their way into your dog’s paws, it is helpful to pack tweezers, a metal comb and leather gloves to help them get the needles out.  Cholla cactus (AKA jumping cactus) have balls that fall off the main cactus and roll into the trail, they will embed into paws and legs and will hurt you trying to pull them out, leather gloves are a great protection for you as you try to help your dog.


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Arizona is a beautiful and rewarding place to live, but it is not without its dangers. If you follow this advice provided by Scottsdale residents, it will go a long way towards making your transition to desert living so much better.

By Carrie Ernst

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