For months I had been looking forward to my trip To Las Vegas, Nevada. I arrived back home Sunday exhausted but slightly depressed coming down from that Vacation high. I was looking forward to getting a tan, experiencing the array of characters one can only find in Vegas and checking out the nightlife. Happy to say I was able to do all three things and then some.
It seemed like I was the last person on Earth to visit Vegas. Tell someone you’re planning a trip and you are sure to get lots of good advice, and I soaked in every word. This vacation I took with eight other people was one that I had to do on a budget. I was able to stay in my uncle’s timeshare so we all split the transaction fees and that was it for board. The plane ticket was the most expensive part but I was able to keep that under $300. While there I had a pretty tight budget. I bought cheap food (eggs, granola bars, Uncrustables, breakfast sandwiches) and only ate out at a nice restaurant once. I didn’t rent a car but there was shuttle from our resort to the strip which was off the strip. The shuttle was $8 round trip. Lots of Vegas tip lists say “don’t think you can last more than a weekend here.” I stayed for a week and had a blast. Though I am still on “Vegas time” or rather “Vacation time” I’d say I not only survived, but I thrived. Below are my top 5 tips for Vegas!
- The Heat
Dang. I knew it would be hot bit nothing can really prepare you for 118 degree weather. Dealing with it is made especially tricky because the water down there is terrible. Even at restaurants the water tastes worse than any tap water I have had in Washington. Plan on bringing a water bottle that filters or buying bottled water there. I did the latter. Most stores will over price bottled water but if you are walking on the strip almost every pedestrian overpass will have at least one person selling water for a buck out of a cooler. I bought my water from these guys all week and would recommend you do the same.
- Working Out
Because I am getting ready for Miss Washington and my half Ironman, I didn’t want to take a ton of time off the gym. I ended up working out five out of the eight days I was there. Related to the topic above it is WAY too hot to do cardio outside though I did see one crazy person running on the hottest day we were there.
If exercising on vacation is important to you try and make sure you have a good gym to go to. While the resort had enough treadmills and bikes the weight room was a joke. A couple of the people in my group went to an off-site gym but I didn’t want to pay for the travel or gym fees so I did no-weight strength training while there. I had to text my trainer Josh for help and I wish I would’ve come prepared with workouts prior. Josh had my back but coming up with the things to do via text is annoying. On the other hand, it was fun to mix it up and do some different strength exercises that the norm.
- Eating Out
One could probably plan a vacation to Vegas solely to eat food. There are amazing restaurants everywhere ranging from the exotic to America styles. Nearly every to chef has a restaurant there. We went to Bobby Flay’s but many others including Gordon Ramsey have restaurants in Vegas too. The thing is, these places are all super expensive and it adds up quick. I encourage you to find spot that does some sort of late night special. We’re talking some kind of shady-ish diner or dive that does a midnight – 5 a.m. $5 steak and egg special. We were lucky to have one right across the street but those kinds of late night deals aren’t hard to find. We saved a lot of money eating at the cheap place across the street, and really, how can you mess up breakfast?
My boss gave me this great idea. There is TONS of stuff on Groupon in Vegas. We were able to go to a hypnotist show for $10 each. Two people in my group were hypnotized. One was sent back into the crowd early but one “made it” to the final seven. He claims he can’t remember 90% of what happened but I will forever remember him doing his best impression of a pole dancer. Groupon has food discounts, spa deals and lots of great stuff to do on the strip.
My group was seven chicks and two dudes and this was almost too many dudes. If you have a group of girls dressed up walking down the strip you will get invited to parties at nightclubs. Almost every club has a cover charge but if you walk around the strip I guarantee someone will invite you to a club free of charge and probably open bar too. But only for girls. The guys in our group had to pay $35 for just the cover and maybe one drink. You’d be better off going to Vegas with a group of girlfriends or at east more girls than guys, then you can barter with people and say you won’t go unless your guy friends get let in too. If the men in your group are rich then no worries.
Vegas was almost exactly what I thought it would be. Crazy street performers, an unfathomable amount of lights and parties every night. There were some days spent by the pool and a handful on the strip. I even won $50 on a slot machine so I came out ahead. I went to two clubs, XS at the Encore Beach Club and Koi at Planet Hollywood. XS was definitely more cinematic but my group had more fun at Koi where I experienced bottle service for the first time in my life! The only part of my Vegas experience that really surprised me was how many languages I heard. This shouldn’t’ve surprised me because over 40 million people from all over the world visit each year. I loved the experience and would definitely go back.
Next time I go I will try to stay on the strip or at a place with a free shuttle. I did almost everything I wanted to this time, I went to a club, gambled at a slot machine (it was my first time ever doing that), saw Old Vegas and went to a show. The only thing I didn’t get to do was crash a wedding. We couldn’t figure out where the chapels were and by the time we did they were closed. But that’s ok, because now I have an excuse to go back 😉