This blog is dripping with sexism… but if you have ever been to Las Vegas, Nevada you will understand why, and as a girl… it works out GREAT for you.
Going to Vegas for the first time is a pretty stimulating and exciting experience. There is so much to do for so many people and the possibilities are endless. That said, these experiences are worlds apart depending on if you are a girl or a boy, and whose budges vary greatly. So, this blog is specific to girls who are interested in the pool parties and the nightlife, and who want to get the most… for virtually free. The tips expressed in this blog are from my own experiences through trial and error over 6 different trips, and whose methods I have perfected.
This, my friends, is how I experienced Vegas with a $500 budget including hotel and flight without missing a thing.
How to do Vegas: Tricks from the thrifty traveler:
- #Vegas. Take a picture of your suitcase and post it on Instagram. #lasvegas, #vegas, #vegasbaby are all attention grabbers for club promoters. They will like your photo. I recommend the ones with specifics as they likely work for that club and are immensely less sketchy (I like XS and Light for nightclubs and Daylight, Encore Beach Club, and Wet Republic for pool parties – see what DJ’s are playing. I just saw Avicii and David Guetta. Sweet). These club promoters will have contact info in their description. Text them and ask them for a guest list for you and # of friends – this will get you no line or cover and many come with drink tickets (hello free day/night!).
- Exchange your money at a bank. This may seem obvious but the day before my trip I was told that going to one of the money exchange kiosks at the airport was the same price as going to a bank… it was not! I handed in $208 and got $150 back with an exchange rate (Canadian) of .78 cents… with a $9 transaction fee.
- When you get off the plane, look at the people waiting in departures. This will be you in 3 days. This isn’t as much a tip as a little fun thing to do. Most people have burned noses, half are asleep in the chairs, and the holes in some people’s pockets are as deep as the Hoover Dam. I just always find it entertaining to compare the people getting off the plane (glammed up, make-up, curled hair, suits) with those waiting to get back on (no sparkles to be found, no make-up, pony tail, sweat shorts). Be prepared.
- Keep your cabbie awake. Most people get into Vegas Thursday evening after leaving work. I am not entirely sure when shift change is for cab drivers but with my experience it must be shortly after I usually get in. This trip in particular I noticed my cab driver head-bobbing on the highway and straddling the doted line like it was a navigation piece. I took this opportunity to ask where he was from and tell me, in detail, about his family and his favourite trip he had been on. This got me to the hotel in one piece and I can only hope it got him home safely as well.
- Vegas is classier than you think. Hahaha. Ok. Well sort of? My faith was restored this trip when a girl quietly tapped my shoulder and told me that my underwear was showing. How embarrassing! Except… then I looked around and… me being in full jeans, cowboy boots (we were at a country bar, I swear) and a long vest certainly didn’t seem to compare to the short-shorts and bras-for-shirts that surrounded me. Maybe she told them too?
- Nightclubs are ripe with entertainment – both exciting and gag-worthy. I know I just finished saying that Vegas was classy… but… it ended at the underwear. Funny intro actually… At least I was wearing underwear… Last night at XS there was a girl standing on an elevated platform dancing; when she bent over to grab a drink from her friend I saw, not far from my face, her full, nude who-ha. Yup. A short dress and no underwear on an elevated platform. All guys leaned in and all girls covered their mouths in horror. I, following girl code, ran up and told her to watch herself, even as the men told me not to. Pervs. So my tip here is simple… WEAR UNDERWEAR. You could be on an elevated platform – sometimes it’s the only place to stand.
- Walgreens is a saviour. For my Canadian counterparts, this is similar to… a Shoppers Drug Mart? But with food and alcohol. A one stop shop. It is the best idea ever to stop in before you go to a club (because your feet will be bleeding after and any extra steps seem like the end of the world) and get breakfast food for the next morning. Buffets are amazing and it is fun to splurge on one, especially for the deserts (I love the one at the Belagio… but it’s expensive ($30-$40 I think?) but you will save lots of money getting breakfast from Walgreens. I got a strawberry yogurt parfait, 2 hard boiled eggs, a banana, and an orange juice – $11.52!
- Check to see if you have a mini fridge. This goes with the previous point… and maybe I could have put it first but then you’d miss the story. I just switched hotels (for reasons explained in the bonus section of this blog) and got a parfait for the morning. I was pretty pleased with myself being so on top of everything until I got to the room and saw there was no mini fridge. Frustrating. So… turns out Walgreens parfaits are good for late night snacks too.
- Get up and go. When you get a guest list to a pool party with a popular DJ playing and they tell you to get there “between 1030 and 1130″… go at 10:30. Because you know what sucks more than waking up early in Vegas? Waking up semi-early and having to stand for hours because the limited number of un-paid seating areas are long taken.
- Bring bandaids. I don’t care how comfortable your heels are… if the back end of them is more than an inch higher than the front then you are going to be hobbling by the end of the night. Vegas is all about dressing up to the nines and showing off all of your most flashy and fancy clothes and shoes… unfortunately your sparkly shoes were probably no more than $100 and therefore not great quality (if they were more you may want to reconsider wearing them to a nightclub… where beer and other liquids will be spilled on them). You will no doubt be hobbling home swearing at every crack in the sidewalk and obstacle in front of you. Bandaids help only menially… but even that will make you feel better… if not just to give you an excuse to sit down.
- A resting bitch face can be a good thing. Not only does this undervalued expression help ward off creepos trying to hit on you, invite you to their strip club, or hand you nudey pictures on the street… it also gets you some wanted attention at the bar. There is a fine line between a bitch face and a resting bitch face… one is an actionable expression meaning “F*** off”, the other means “I am not thinking about my facial expressions but also not having a wonderful time”. The latter is better. This face means that men will try to cheer you up with a dance or buying you a drink. It also means being brought into the DJ booth to overlook the whole crowd by the clubs music manager who felt bad that you were not having a good time, so he bought you champagne and showed you the view from up top! (ok… that’s rare… but it happened to me and it could happen to you too! Alternately… just have a friggen great time, dance your heart out, and smile like you are having the party of your life in Vegas!!!!
- Treat yourself to a sandwich. Earl of Sandwiches. I try to go once whenever I’m in Vegas. I get the Caresse sandwich, as a vegetarian, and couldn’t be more fulfilled. It is located in Planet Hollywood.
- Lay in a pizza box. You can get this huge pizza from Napoli Pizzeria in Las Vegas. It is just… gigantic. It barely fits in the elevator. I took the opportunity to stuff my face (shared with friends) and then lay in the pizza box to show just how big it is.
- Get a photo in front of the Bellagio Fountain. This is the ‘go-to’ of vegas photos. I mean… they did cost upwards of $40 million. And did you know for the low cost of $250k you can run the Bellagio fountain yourself? If you could afford that, though, you wouldn’t be reading this blog. Anyway. Take a picture in front of them… dressed up… otherwise… you were not in Vegas.
- Get a Yardstick slurpee drink. It is the best deal and you know you’re going to be drinking more later anyway… so you might as well save a few bucks and get it all in one foul swoop. Plus, its a neat souvenir.
- Put aside $25. Remember to keep $25 set aside for the cab ride to avoid using your credit card at all costs (big fees).
- Look destroyed. To tie back around to my third point… when you see people getting off of the plane try to look as tired and worn-out as possible so they know exactly what they are getting into. I like the look of horror when women with falsies and high heels come in and see you red-faced in sweat shorts and no make-up for days. ha!
This isn’t an all encompassing “what to see in Vegas” blog. If it were I would have touched on some shows and helicopter rides and other things that I can only imagine to be amazing… but I am not rich and I had a $500 budget… so if you do as well, these tips will get you through and hopefully gave you a giggle 🙂
Sometimes, despite your best intentions… you go over budget.
When I got to the airport yesterday I spent my last $7 on a slot. I thought it was a good closing ritual. 2 pulls later and I was done… my millions will have to come from elsewhere.
I was waiting for my flight when a delay popped up onto the board. A computer in the cockpit was having a mechanical failure and they were flying in a mechanic to fix it… delayed 2 hours. At first I was not overly concerned but then it occurred to me that I would certainly miss my connection. Just then the front desk came on the intercom and told us to find a courtesy phone and call the booking agent to find alternate arrangements if Salt Lake City was not our final destination… wonderful.
I waited an hour in that line and when I finally got on the phone I was told that I had 2 options:
- Leave at 9:30pm (4.5 hours after original flight) and stop in Winnipeg. It would land at 2:30 Winnipeg time and take off again at 6:30, getting in to Calgary at 9:30am. 12 hours total.
- Catch an 8am flight from Vegas direct the next day, getting in at 11:30am. 2.5 hours total
The choice may seem obvious… and it was, until I asked who would pay for the hotel in Vegas. They told me that because it was simply a delay (a delay resulting in me not getting home) they would not cover it. Only cancellations are covered. I started to cry. I was not banking on spending money on an extra night in Vegas (hotel, cab, dinner, breakfast) but decided it was still better than sleeping in the airports and getting in only 2 hours later.
I knew I had to call my mom so I turned on my phone and 30 texts came in. I immediately opened the Telus app to purchase a USA plan for $25 (I hope those texts don’t cost me too much being pre-plan). I called my mom and we worked together to find the best price on Trivalgo we could. I booked 1 night at the Flamingo. (please note… the price you see is not the price you pay. The $36 turned into $68 after the hotel fees and taxes. But at least it was a bed.
It then occurred to me that my baggage was still on the airplane. I got in line to speak with the counter about this and express my disappointment that they were not covering hotel. I waited an hour before speaking with them. At this time they were boarding the original flight so the wait was longer. Once I got to the counter and explained my story he told me that the lady on the phone was wrong and that they would indeed be covering hotels. He gave me a voucher for Double Tree as well as a cab chit to get to the hotel and back. He made a note in my file about a reimbursement for the hotel I had purchased as well. So that was all good. However, my baggage was still on the flight and not coming off. It was now on it’s way to Salt Lake City. Wonderful. He directed me to the Delta baggage counter to get an overnight kit which would have a toothbrush and things. Too bad it was in another terminal… another half hour trek on trams, shuttle buses, and by my achy breaky feet.
I eventually got everything together and decided to stay at the hotel that I had originally booked. It was on the strip and I wanted to get a sandwich (Earl of Sandwiches to be exact). I took a cab to the hotel and handed him the cab chit… he didn’t take it. Said they would not honour it. So he gave me a receipt and wished me luck… had to use my credit card. More fees.
I got inside and paid an additional hotel fee before heading up to my room to lay down… I then realized how hungry I was and headed downstairs. While I had intended to get a sandwich I was just too tired, so I opted for a cheese pizza and a yogurt parfait for morning. I went back upstairs to eat my dinner and watch find the flames game (which was not on their limited channels…). This is when I realized there was no mini-fridge and ate my yogurt parfait instead of my pizza. Cold pizza would be fine for the plane.
I had an uncomfortable sleep in my bathing suit but was happy to be able to brush my teeth at the very least. I got a wake up call for 5am, showered, and headed down to get a cab. This cab took the chit, thank goodness. I was able to check in from here seamlessly. The only other notable event of this story was the poor groom-to-be throwing up 3 airplane barf bags full on the flight…
When I landed I filled out paperwork to have my bag delivered to me (alternately I could pick it up for a $100 travel voucher… but I couldn’t make myself drive back later) and headed home.
Just got off the phone with Delta Customer service. They are refunding me the money for the cab and hotel but had no sympathy or reimbursement for the day of work I had to miss…
That’s it! Always bring a credit card, get a phone plan even if you don’t think you’ll use it (you’ll need to be able to text for guest lists anyway. So someone in your party should have one), and put pajamas, underwear, and a toothbrush in your purse.
Now I’m home and going to have a nap and dream of the place that I will visit in replace of Vegas for all future getaways.