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Questions? Our friendly staff is available 7 days a week. Call or text us at 480.626.4072 or e-mail info@AZVacationHomeRentals.com

Today’s traveler expects vacation rental properties to have all the conveniences of home. Many travelers are looking for the ultimate escape and seek homes with resort amenities or features above and beyond their own living accommodations.

Homes stocked with quality items make guests feel pampered and contribute to a better overall experience. No surprise that great experiences lead to better reviews and yield more bookings. Amenities and the guest experience can turn the one time visitor into a repeat guest.

The goal is to create spaces that make guests feel like they never want to leave. Arizona Vacation Home Rentals (AVHR) provides owners with this spreadsheet New Home Inventory List to help you estimate your start up costs. What follows in this blog is essential information along with the rationale for our recommendations.



Important Policies


Doing Our Share



Less Pricey Shopping with Quality in Mind


Home Smart Technology

It goes without saying that travelers expect the best home smart technology in their vacation homes whether they are traveling for pleasure or their destination is work-related:



Kitchens for Cooking and Eating

Well stocked kitchens are a perk to staying at a vacation home instead of a hotel. Guests may want to prepare home cooked meals and expect the usual staples to be supplied:



Good Night, Sleep Tight Bedrooms

Everyone deserves to sleep comfortably while on vacation or working away from home. Owners should consider furnishing each bedroom to function as a mini-hotel room:



Fresh and Clean: Bathrooms and Laundry Rooms

Bathrooms and bedrooms tend to be the rooms that leave lasting impressions on guests. Guests respond well to bathrooms that are updated so this may be money well spent:



The Outdoor Oasis

Many guests comment in home reviews how much they enjoy the outdoor spaces at their vacation home. Lay a foundation for memory making with an amenity rich outdoor setting that includes comfortable furnishings and activities for guests of all ages:



The Final Touch


Save money and support local business by booking directly through

Arizona Vacation Home Rentals

Phone/Text: 480.626.4072



Our guests’ safety and security is our number one priority. We also want our owners to feel comfortable with how we safeguard their investments and protect guests. While most short term renters treat our homes as they do their own, there is the occasional guest who violates our NO party, event or large group policy. A party can be devastating: neighbors are annoyed, the police are called and HOAs impose owner fines or pass covenants that restrict short term rentals within the community. Damage from a party can be extensive: insurance and other claims rarely cover all expenses.

Arizona Vacation Home Rentals is taking steps to improve the overall guest, neighbor and owner experience by increasing the smart technology at our homes. The installed devices add another layer of protection and ultimately reduce incidents which result in rental violations, unwarranted damage to property and annoyed neighbors.


Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are familiar technology that protect guests and homes. In some houses the alarms are wired to the home’s electrical circuit and connected to the other detectors in the home. When any unit detects smoke or carbon monoxide, the alarm activates a sound simultaneously throughout the home. Should the home lose electricity they default to battery power.

Some homes utilize battery powered smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. The units function individually, detecting dangerous smoke or carbon monoxide levels and emitting an alarm to notify the people in the home. Many of our vacation homes have both electrically wired and battery powered smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.


Security Cameras

Guest privacy is critical and installing camera and surveillance devices inside of vacation homes is illegal. Exterior cameras are legal; however, disclosure of any cameras on a property is required by many online travel agencies such as Airbnb and VRBO.

Arizona Vacation Home Rentals has added cameras to the exteriors of many of our homes. The cameras face the street and provide a clear view of the entire driveway both day and night. The audio capability of the cameras is off: we do not record conversations or sounds. The cameras are monitored to ensure guests are not having parties or groups larger than authorized in the rental agreement. They enhance guest safety by catching break-ins and and identifying suspicious activities. In case of incidents, the cameras have playback capabilities which protect guests against unwarranted claims by an HOA and other conflicts of interest.


Remote Locks

Remote locks have been added to improve security and facilitate both keyless and contactless entry into our vacation homes. The locks are integrated with our reservation system: guests will receive a unique code that allows entry for the duration of their reservation. Problems with lost keys, duplication of keys or guests being locked out are avoided. The codes are modified remotely between guests to give future guests peace of mind in knowing the home is secure.



To keep neighbors happy and prevent incidents we have added NoiseAware to our homes. Two or three of these small units have been placed both inside and out at all of our homes. NoiseAware does not detect or record any sounds or conversations. Instead, the units measure noise levels in decibels and, based on preset noise levels, alert guests when there is excessive noise at a home. If guests do not respond and reduce the noise Arizona Vacation Home Rentals is notified. NoiseAware is another use of technology to guard against unfair accusations by HOAs or neighbors.


The Bottom Line

Arizona Vacation Home Rentals wants to deliver an optimal experience for our guests and owners. We know travelers rely on technology to plan and book time away with the expectation that travel agencies stay current on best practices. With our new smart home tech solutions travelers can be reassured the vacation property they choose for relaxing or working is safe and secure. Owners’ confidence and peace of mind will grow knowing we have upped our tech game to protect their investments and guests.



Save money and support local business by booking directly through

Arizona Vacation Home Rentals

Phone/Text: 480.626.4072


The smallest bird you’ll observe zipping around or hovering within gardens and parks in the Sonoran Desert is the hummingbird. Southeastern Arizona hosts more than a dozen species of hummers as year round residents, seasonal visitors or accidental tourists during migration. Their wing speed of 80 beats or more per second is remarkable which, along with their flapping tail feathers, accounts for the buzzing noise you may hear as they flit between nectar supplies. Nests are crafted of lichens intertwined with spider webs and well camouflaged. Broods are usually 2 eggs, occasionally 3.

Don’t be fooled by the size of these tiny, fairy like birds sporting iridescent colors and pointed bills. At feeders and darting among tube shaped flowers they are territorial and warrior-like, defending food sources, nests and potential mates with their dagger like beaks. Scrappy and relentless, they are capable of flying up, down, backward and sideways. Many species are also proficient at flying thousands of miles along migration routes between Alaska and Mexico or Central America.


Hummingbirds You’ll See in the Greater Phoenix Area

There are 7 hummingbird species commonly viewed in the greater Phoenix area:

I will tempt you with interesting and fun trivia about each of these plus suggest local habitats where you are likely to find the species. For more detailed descriptions, photos of both male and females and additional fascinating facts, consult a bird guide or websites that feature hummingbirds and their characteristics.


Allen’s Hummingbird

Allen’s Hummingbird breeds along the Pacific coast and is typically viewed in our area only when migrating between western California and Mexico in the spring and fall. They are small, chunky birds measuring about 3.5 inches or 9 cm long and sport shades of copper, orange and green. Males have a distinct red-orange throat and emit a bee-like buzz with their wings. In addition to drinking flower nectar, these hummers flycatch or pluck insects from plants with their straight bills.



*Anna’s Hummingbird

Once common to the Phoenix area in winter only, Anna’s Hummingbird has increased both visiting and breeding numbers in Arizona in early spring and late fall, making it one of the hummingbird species you are most likely to see in the Phoenix area. Partial to desert scrub and riparian woodlands, this hummer is also a frequent guest in residential gardens and especially those with exotic plants. Whereas many hummingbirds are vocally silent, these males are unique in their ability to make sounds that are musical in nature. Highly territorial, the males also do elaborate aerial dives ending in tail-produced popping sounds to deter intruders such as other birds and people. Anna’s Hummingbird is one of the larger hummers in the Phoenix area yet is considered a medium-sized, slightly stocky hummer. Grey-green in color, males are distinguished by an iridescent red-pink head and throat.



*Female Black-chinned Hummingbird

*Male Black-chinned Hummingbird

The Black-chinned Hummingbird is a summer native to Arizona, arriving in March or April and departing in October to spend winter in Mexico. They are highly adaptable and common in middle and lower elevations choosing habitats of deciduous woodlands, canyons, meadows, orchards or cities with flowering trees and shrubs. Similar to the Allen’s Hummingbird in length, they are more slender with an almost straight black bill. Males have a dark throat edged in purple; female throats are pale. Both males and females have muted green back feathers and dull grey chests. They are often spotted on high tree snags when they aren’t zipping erratically between nectar sources. They are frequent visitors to feeding stations throughout the greater Phoenix area. Males use aerial display flights which include 70-100 feet pendular dives to attract females or defend their territories.



Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Another native to Arizona is the Broad-tailed Hummingbird which typically arrives in late spring and returns to Mexico at the end of September. Breeding habitats include higher elevations on the fringe of pinyon-juniper, oak, pine and evergreen  forests. Males make audible metallic chirps with their wings as they dart between blossoms and perform rapid aerial dives. Adorned with noticeable iridescent green on dorsal parts and white chests, their tails flash white tips when in flight. Females and young hummers have green spots on their throats; males sport a magenta-red throat patch. Considered to be a medium size hummer, they have slender bodies and big heads (relative to other hummingbird species).



Calliope Hummingbird

The smallest of the hummingbirds in our area and in the United States is the Calliope Hummingbird with its relatively short tails, wings and bills. Displaying metallic green on their heads and upper parts, both males and females have white or buff breasts. Males are easy to distinguish because they have long streaks of purple-magenta feathers down their necks and perform impressive 100 foot, U shaped aerial dives during courtship. These birds may be tiny but are fierce during the breeding season and have been observed pursuing much larger birds in defense of their nests and mates. They spend winters in Mexico but travel through Arizona in the spring enroute to their breeding grounds along the Pacific coast. Similar to the Allen Hummingbird, the Calliope sips nectar from plants and is a flycatcher of insects.



*Male Costa’s Hummingbird

*Female Costa’s Hummingbird

The Costa’s Hummingbird chooses desert and sage scrub or chaparral as a preferred habitat and drinks nectar from different desert plants such as ocotillo and chuparosa. Their breeding season falls mainly between late winter and spring and to avoid Arizona’s hot summers they then migrate to the coast of California. The female is the nest builder and chooses shrubs, small trees and occasionally a cactus or yucca for the nest site. These are small, compact hummers with a short tail and stooped presentation when perched. Males feature a remarkable purple-amethyst gorget atop their heads and along their necks that conveys a mustached appearance. Both males and females have green backs and white underparts. Known to be more reticent than other hummers, they are likely to visit your feeding stations if you have more than one nectar source available.



Rufous Hummingbird

Last but never least is the bold and territorial Rufous Hummingbird, a common visitor to Arizona hummingbird feeders during their long migrations between Alaska and Mexico. In areas where there are nectar rich flowers and feeders they may stay for a week or two to rest and bulk up for their arduous travels. Unfortunately, Rufous Hummingbirds may discourage other hummers from visiting your feeders as they are naturally greedy and will chase competitors away. Males are orange-brown in color; females are green-orange. They choose desert scrubs, mountain meadows and other locations with flowers and feeders for their migratory habitats.


Feeding Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds require a significant amount of nectar to maintain their high metabolic rates. You can attract resident and transient hummers to sip in your presence by hanging specialized feeders filled with nectar and planting native tubular flowers in yards and parks. Red seems to be a favorite flower color although my hummers also frequent pink, yellow and purple blossoms. Native Arizona plants such as trumpet creeper, lupine, salvias, penstemon, Columbine and bee balms are a source of rich and natural food for hummers. Hummers also consume and feed insects to their young so avoid using insecticides in your yard. Nearby branches or perches for resting between drinks add an inviting touch.

Safe and appealing nectar is easily made by stirring 1 cup of white (not raw) sugar into 4 cups of water and boiling for a minute or two. Please do not add food coloring or dyes which are harmful to hummingbirds and not necessary. Leftover nectar should be stored in your refrigerator. Change the nectar before it gets cloudy and toxic to hummers. Feeders will get moldy relative to the humidity and ambient temps and should be cleaned with mild soapy water, rinsed thoroughly and refilled as needed.

*Uncommon to the Phoenix area is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Places to See Hummingbirds in the Phoenix Area



See Hummingbirds at Arizona Vacation Home Rentals’ Properties

Diamond Spirit Ranch


Gold Canyon Retreat


Gold Canyon Trails


Red Bird Nest


The Castle Resort



Save money and support local business by booking directly through

Arizona Vacation Home Rentals

Phone/Text: 480.626.4072


*Photo credits: © Gilbert S Grant

By providing links to other sites, AVHR does not guarantee, approve, or endorse information or products available on these sites.


Mesa is the place to be if you’re looking for adventures and activities for the whole family. Check out the Mesa Parks Spring 2023 Activity Guide, Jump In, for classes, activities and special events:  https://www.mesaparks.com/sports-programs/activity-guide.


Registration is required for some activities and classes. Most are open to both residents and visitors.


Need a comfortable place to stay? Arizona Vacation Home Rentals has a variety of family friendly homes in the greater Phoenix area which includes Mesa.



Save money and support local business by booking directly through 

Arizona Vacation Home Rentals

Phone/Text:  480.626.4072


Black-tailed Jackrabbit


Jackrabbits are Not Rabbits

That flash of tall, black or white tipped ears you see racing and leaping in the desert may be called a jackrabbit but it’s not a rabbit, it’s a hare. Hares and rabbits are different: hares are usually bigger than rabbits; they have longer hind legs and ears; they prefer living in open areas; and their young are born covered in fur with eyes wide open. Also, mother hares do not build nests and the babies can run as soon as they are born.


Sonoran Desert Jackrabbits

The antelope and black-tailed jackrabbits are desert dwelling hares that live in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. The antelope jackrabbit is the larger hare, weighing as much as 10 pounds. Its distinctly tall ears are edged in white and it has a patch of white fur on both flanks. When the antelope hare darts from a predator, the white on the flanks flash, resembling the flash of the pronghorn antelope.

The smaller black-tailed jack weighs about 5-8 pounds. It is more commonly spotted in the Sonoran Desert than the antelope jack, however, its range does not extend into the southern parts of this desert. This brownish jackrabbit features black-tipped ears and tail. Usually found in open flat areas, the male and female are similar in markings although the females are often slightly larger than the males.

To conserve energy, both hares are mostly nocturnal, resting in the shade during the day and moving about to feed at night. They often rest and forage in small groups. Jacks are herbivores and consume grasses, mesquite leaves, beans, clover and cacti. Technically, they do not consume surface water; instead, they obtain water in the plants they eat. They rely on their eyes and ears for protection and often stand on their back legs and stretch upward to view predators. Antelope jacks will sometimes freeze when they spot a predator but if necessary can run 30 plus mph and leap 15 feet in the air to escape. Black-tailed jacks rarely freeze; they prefer zigzagging to escape predation.


Finding Jackrabbits

If you want to see a jackrabbit, where could you go? Why the desert, of course. You may need binoculars because jackrabbits are elusive and difficult to spot despite their large populations. Below are parks with hiking and biking trails where you are likely to spot either or both of our charming hares.



Black-tailed Jackrabbits at Veteran’s Oasis



Save money and support local business by booking directly through

Arizona Vacation Home Rentals

Phone/Text:  480.626.4072



Video and photo credits: © Gilbert S Grant

By providing links to other sites, AVHR does not guarantee, approve, or endorse information or products available on these sites.



Shopping as a Favorite Pastime

An Arizona vacation is on your minds. She loves the golf course; he adores shopping. She packs her clubs and golf skirts. He packs walking shoes and not much else because he plans to fill his suitcase with Arizona treasures.

Everyone will be happy because the greater Phoenix area is famous for its private and public golf courses (see Calling ALL Golfers!). It’s also a paradise for the avid shopper!


Unique Shopping Venues

For starters, try these distinctly different markets:








For Those Who Prefer Malls

Room for more in your suitcase? These more traditional malls might get the job done:



Save money and support local business by booking directly through

Arizona Vacation Home Rentals

Phone/Text: 480.626.4072