I wasn’t planning on ever going to Las Vegas for fun.
For work, I often fly in and out of McCarran Airport. On Fridays, I drop off loads of tipsy ladies in tube tops, ready for bachelorette parties and glitter and a weekend on The Strip. On Monday mornings, I pick up the post-weekend crowd, hungover and begging for black coffee, ginger ale and dim lighting.
It seems like a big crazy mess. So why would I spend money to go to Las Vegas? But then, my good friend Scooter decided to throw a Vegas birthday bash for his husband, Tim. And since I had two days off, I thought, why not go and see what all the fuss is about?
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So on Thursday morning, I found myself on my way to Sin City.
Flights to Vegas can be really cheap, especially if you’re on the lookout for deals and off-season pricing. (Alaska Airlines has some pretty sweet deals for early December!) Non-revving to #LAS is easy if you know when to fly. Go against the grain: Fly to Vegas mid-week; leave Vegas on Friday evening.
Vegas is the sort of place to go with a group of friends. Cheap hotel rooms are everywhere (watch out for those resort fees that everyone tried to tack on!), and if you want luxury, you can squeeze a bunch of friends into a nicer place with a view.
My boyfriend and I booked a room at Harrah’s for $30 a night (on Priceline.com!), while the birthday boy and his husband splurged on a panoramic view at The Wynn. We all took an hour to refresh and nap, and then we were ready for a night out on The Strip.
Las Vegas Boulevard, or The Strip as it is called, is like some sort of futuristic, loud, neon-lighted world of complete consumerism. It’s fascinating and a little overwhelming, but something you’ve got to experience at least once in your life.
Check out the Water Show at the Bellagio, the Moving Statues at Caesar’s Palace and the Eiffel Tower at Paris. Gondola rides at the Venetian are available if you’re feeling rich, or take in the city in the world’s highest Ferris Wheel aptly named the High Roller.
If you’re on a budget like me, you’ll probably stick to the free, or almost free stuff. Our little group wandered down the strip seeing the sights before getting down to the business of gambling.
A note about gambling: Don’t ever come to Vegas with the idea that you’ll walk away with any more than you spent. Set a limit for yourself each day, take cash out of the ATM in the morning, leave your debit card in your hotel room and just have fun!
My boyfriend and I decided on a budget of $40 a day, and we made that money last. Whether you’re sitting at a slot machine or betting at the tables, cocktail servers will make the rounds offering anything from cheap beer to bizarre cocktails. Be polite, tip well and they’ll keep those drinks a-comin’.
After an evening of free drinks, bright lights and penny slots, we were ready to do some relaxing. Our friends snuck my boyfriend and I into the luxurious Wynn pool area, where pool boys handed us plush towels and cocktail waitresses in pink jumpsuits came around to offer us $16 mojitos. We felt pretty darn fancy.
By the time evening rolled around we were tired from 48 hours of straight martinis, pulling slot machine handles and laying in the sun. We headed to the airport at 5:00pm on a Friday night, breezed through an empty security area and nabbed first class upgrades for our flight home.
Maybe Vegas isn’t so bad after all.