Saturday, July 25, 2009

What I Know For Sure: About Las Vegas

With several trips to Las Vegas under my belt, I have learned a thing or two. It is less expensive to travel during the week, say Sunday thru Thursday. Weekend stays are usually more expensive and kinda hard to come by.

When going through airport security, remember to pack carry-on toiletries in a clear, quart-sized Ziploc bag. Do not try to bring that bottle of Dasani water on board that you bought outside the airport. No matter how much you paid for it, do not attempt to bring full size bottles of anything including toothpaste, mouthwash or expensive lotion. 3 ounces or less. Don't get angry. You're going to have to toss it. Sorry. Pack early. Check the TSA website for any changes to the guidelines for carry-on items.

If you are borderline OCD like me, be sure to wear some socks or footies when you have to take your shoes off. I don't know where those other feet have been and I don't want my tootsies mingling with what lies beneath us.

In terms of getting there, package deals are the best. Airfare, hotel and a car if you need it, can be priced better than booking airfare alone. and has been the best online booking sites for us. The only drawback has been at times having to take a red eye flight home. Our hotel stay is usually cut short by having to check out about 8-10 hours early in order to catch the midnight flight home. But this is tolerable.

Skipping taxi cab fares by opting for the Monorail service has been a money saver while in Las Vegas. The 1 to 3 day unlimited ride ticket is very economical. The ride from the MGM to the Sahara is totally air conditioned and as a writer like me, you can meet some interesting people who are happy to be on vacation and willing to chat!

Wear comfortable clothes and shoes! I have also found that carrying a backpack is so easy to carry everything I need such as beverages, lotion, sanitizer, umbrellas and jackets. It may be 100 plus degrees in the summer, some buildings can be downright chilly.
Although Las Vegas is billed as being a Grown & Sexy kinda place, traipsing around in hooker shoes with your fanny hanging out, isn't always appropriate. Those sexy shoes may prove no match for the concrete jungle of Las Vegas and you may just hang them up, literally, like the person did in the above photo! Vegas now has lots of family attractions. So it is no longer "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas. It all may be viewed by a toddler looking up your skirt!

Be prepared to dodge moms and dads pushing double decker strollers. Be tolerant of tourists taking pictures. Be courteous and ask if they want you to take a picture for them so they can all be in the shot with the waterfall or the Vegas skyline behind them.
Tell them not to worry, you don't need their camera! The one around your own neck costs as much as their whole trip to Las Vegas! Make sure that you bring your camera bag and charger, an empty memory card and an extra new battery or two. It will not go to waste. It's amazing how much zooming in and out on a camera really drains the battery.

Budget for Las Vegas. You can never have enough money or enough time in Vegas. While there is plenty to choose from eatery-wise, it can get expensive. Places off the strip still have some cheap eats. For example, the Tropicana's Garden Cafe has a daily, all day, $9.95 Blue Plate special. Their Legends restaurant also has a $19.95 lobster meal after 5 PM! Present a player's club card at the Sahara Casino and an $8.99 dinner buffet is all yours. Of course it's Las Vegas, if you are a drinker and a gambler, drinks are complimentary. But please remember to tip the cocktail waiters and waitresses!

Take advantage of the free stuff in Las Vegas. The water show at the Bellagio or the Fremont Street Light Show Experience are always fun. . .and free.

If you don't mind giving up some of your time, a time share pitch can net you a couple of free show tickets while in Las Vegas. Personally, we do not like the time share pitches because we don't want a time share and don't want to be pressured to buy one on our vacation.

Perhaps my best tip to give you is to bring your own toiletries. Include routine medicines like Advil or Tylenol, Alka Seltzers and Pepto Bismol! I know from experience. After a late night of riding the Monorail, walking and sightseeing until I was delirious, I was hungry by the time we got back to the hotel. I ordered room service. I wanted a lobster but decided on breakfast. Seemed harmless enough. Sausage, ham, scrambled eggs and cheddar biscuits. Who can't make breakfast? Apparently this particular hotel we were staying in! Within 20 minutes, I was sick. With no medicine of our own, my husband was off to the downstairs pantry to find me some relief. He came back with 2 items,
priced at $5.39 & $5.69. Both could have been purchased at home for far less but at that moment, I would have paid $500!

My last tip, remember to log your frequent flyer miles with your airline. You just may be closer than you think to your next vacation getaway! With a free trip, you may be able to afford to upgrade to first class!

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