I always like to have a vacation to look forward to while I am working like crazy during busy season. Vegas is known as a place to have fun and let loose. Since I found a good flight on Southwest and my friend, Michelle, had a flight credit that she needed to use, we decided to plan a trip to Vegas.
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I generally enjoy planning trips –choosing activities, perusing menus, and picking bars – and advance research is definitely important to maximize your fun while in Vegas, especially when it is a quick trip. Otherwise, you are gambling – and I’m not talking about playing the slots! Here are some planning tips that I think are critical for any Vegas trip:
Choose your Vegas hotel carefully.
We were looking to do an affordable quick two night trip to Vegas. Neither Michelle nor I are gamblers, so we were interested in getting some sun, having a few (too many) drinks, eating some delicious food, and getting to see some of the sights in Vegas. Location of your hotel is key in Vegas. It may look like one hotel is right next door, but that “next door” is probably still a twenty minute walk. In order to make the most of our trip (and not waste money on cabs), we wanted to stay at a prime location on the Strip.
We were able to get a good deal on a room at Paris. We were going to be in Paris quite a bit anyway. Napoleon’s Dueling Piano Bar is one of my favorite places to spend an evening in Vegas. Plus, we were going to see Jersey Boys which is also in Paris. This isn’t to say that Mandalay Bay or others hotels on either end of the Strip wouldn’t be a good idea. You just need to consider what you will be doing while you are in Vegas and realize that it does take time to walk from one hotel to the next.
You may also be able to find deals on hotels by booking a hotel and air package through Southwest Vacations, and they actually have a sale now through October 30, 2017, where you can save up to $100 off their Vegas vacation packages at MGM properties and get 2 free buffets. (Click here to check out the prices and availability for Las Vegas vacation packages).
We knew that Paris was not as luxurious as other hotels on the Strip, but it worked for us. Although the room was dated, it was clean and we had plenty of room. The bathroom was also a bit awkward because it had a plain bathtub and a small shower. The shower was so small that it was even difficult to shave my legs. In summary, there are many reasons for picking a hotel – luxury, price, in-hotel attractions, and location. Make sure you know which of these items is a priority to you.
Bring comfortable shoes.
I love walking on vacation because you can see and absorb so much more than when you are in a cab and it can be good exercise. One day, between the morning jog I went on and the afternoon of walking to the Welcome to Vegas sign, I logged 13 miles. Of course, in the morning I was wearing running shoes, but in the afternoon, I made sure to wear some very comfortable Sperrys.
Also, one night we went out to Hyde at the Bellagio and I carried my large Longchamp bag so that we could wear walking shoes and then we could switch into our heels. Even though you may want to look cute the entire time, remember that there is nothing cute about someone who is limping along as they walk or someone who is grimacing in pain. You can always sit down at one of the slot machines and change shoes.
Purchase your Vegas show tickets at a discount
We decided that we wanted to see Jersey Boys, but hadn’t purchased the tickets before arriving in Vegas. Since we were going to see the show on Sunday night, it was likely we could get discounted tickets the day of the show. Although the show could have sold out, we decided to risk it. Worst case, we could pick an alternative show.
The purchasing experience at Tix4Tonight was actually really easy. We were walking along the Strip to go from Paris to the Venetian and saw the booth. So we stopped to get tickets. At Tix4Tonight, you purchase a coupon for the show that you want which can be redeemed at the box office for tickets. You are able to choose if you want orchestra, mezzanine, or balcony seats (if available), but your seats are not assigned until you redeem the coupon.
They recommended that we get to the box office early to get the best seats, but we waited until after we had lunch at Bouchon. Then on our way back to our hotel, we stopped by the box office. We still got great seats on the fifth row! Although we were not in the middle section, we could still see everything. Getting the coupon and then having to go redeem it at the box office could have been a bit of a hassle if we had not been staying in a central location. So again this goes back to the first tip.
Pre-gaming can be fun
One of my favorite budget savers is to have some food and/or drinks in the room. (Check out our more general budget recommendations). Michelle and I decided that we would want to do a bit of drinking in the hotel room – who doesn’t need a cocktail when getting ready to go out? I packed a bottle of Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs in my suitcase using a wineskin, and since we were flying Southwest, we could check the bag for free.
While I was waiting to retrieve my bag, Michelle stopped at the airport liquor store and bought a bottle of vodka. As we were walking back from lunch our first day, we stopped in at the Walgreens and picked up some snacks and a few more mixers. I had packed a few already. I really enjoyed our set up and it was great to be able to pour a drink or have a snack whenever we were in the room.
Room location is critical.
Since most of the Vegas hotels are huge, you can waste precious time going to and from your hotel room. We were in room 553 at Paris. At first, you might think this wasn’t a good location since it was a low floor. It turned out really well though. Because we were on a low floor, the elevator ride was short since we didn’t have to stop at many other floors.
Also, we were just a few rooms down the hall from the elevator. Each night I was so tired when we got back to the room, that I just went right to sleep. I honestly do not remember if we could hear people walking down the halls, but I slept well. After we saw Jersey Boys, we needed to use the restroom before going out. There was a line at the theater, so instead, we just went back up to our room. While we were up there, we made another vodka soda. I really couldn’t have asked for a better location.
Vegas can be a super fun vacation, but planning for it is different than planning for a vacation to another city, so you have to adjust your mindset. I hope that my tips help you plan a trip to Vegas. What other tips do you have for Vegas?
Expert Tips to Help Plan a Trip to Vegas:
- Have a plan of what you want to do and see before you choose a hotel. Alternatively, choose a hotel and then pick things that are convenient.
- Don’t pay full price for a show, head to Tix4Tonight.
- Pack some drinks or pick up some at a store, so that you can relax and pre-game in your room.
- For more ideas of things to do and see in Vegas, check out Katherine’s post about her stay at the Bellagio.
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