My husband and I had a nice vacation in Las Vegas recently. We got a great deal through Southwest. It was $1,200 including airfare and hotel. This special also included two tickets to any Cirque du Soleil show, discount coupons for food at Planet Hollywood, and a free trip, by bus, to Laughlin, Nevada. If you get the Southwest deal, make sure you order your show tickets before you leave. You'll get a great seat.
TRAVELING TO LAS VEGAS
Our plane left at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday with a stopover in Jacksonville. If you have never traveled to the western side of the country, it is a long trip. I have done it many times and it still gets to me. A five hour long trip on an airplane can be very uncomfortable. However, if you bring plenty of things to distract you, it can become bearable. I recently bought iPod Touch units for me and my husband. They were awesome. I watched National Treasure II on mine and played games. It really helped to be distracted by the iPod. A good book could do the same.
We stayed at the Luxor. This is our favorite hotel. The rooms in the step pyramids are spacious and have separate showers and bathtubs. The bathtubs are quite large, and when you've had a long day, it is nice to take a hot bath.
We also like the Luxor because it is near the southern end of the strip. The traffic on that end is not as bad as in the middle of the strip.
We rented an SUV primarily because my husband wanted to go skiing on Mt. Charleston which is approximately 50 miles away. Don't rent a car at the airport! They charge an extra fee. We could have rented a car at the Luxor. They have them right out front of the hotel. However, they did not have an SUV at the time. So, we walked to the Paris Hotel and rented one there. Many of the hotels have rental cars available and most will let you return the vehicle to the airport.
THINGS TO DO
Our first night was kind of short. We got in our hotel room around 6:30 p.m. We ate at the Luxor's buffet which they call More. They really should call it Less. This is not a very good buffet and is a lot smaller than I remember from years past. The buffet at Sam's Town is much better.
We gambled a bit that night and then off to bed. Because of the time change, you'll be going to bed early by Las Vegas standards and getting up pretty early too. However, as the week progresses you will start a more "normal" routine for the three hour time change. However, this is bad. When you return to the east there is a price to be paid. Jet lag. And to top it off, we returned the weekend of Daylight Savings Time. Very very bad. It is best to try to keep your regular schedule while in Las Vegas, if you can.
We opted to not take the very long bus ride to Laughlin. We did see Mystere, which is one of the Cirque du Soleil shows. It was fantastic. We had really good seats; middle of the fifth row. It was amazing to see what these people could do. I think the strength act was the most amazing.
I usually stick to the slot machines. It was interesting this time around to see so many penny and nickle machines. In times past, you could only find a few of these. I think they've figured out that people will actually pay more to play a nickle or penny machine than a quarter or dollar. You see, if you are playing 20 lines at 5 cents a piece, you are actually paying a dollar. Most of the machines will not payout the jackpot unless you are playing the max bet. I did pretty good and won about $300 over the course of the week. My husband sticks with his nickle poker. You can break about even with those games.
There are a lot of new shopping malls around Las Vegas. We visited one which had an Apple store in it. We were disappointed that Luxor did not have free Wi-Fi. It's actually $15 per day to connect to the internet. So, we just took our iPods to the Apple store which has free Wi-Fi and checked our e-mail. My husband also bought a really nice outfit at the Old Navy. We also visited the Fry's Electronics store. My husband was like a kid in a candy store.
Sam's Town is a nice locals place. It is about 6 miles off the strip. It has a western theme to it. The gambling there was much better than on the strip and their buffet is cheap and very good. It was only $7.00 for lunch.
Every hour there is a free water show in the center of the hotel. There's a big open atrium area where there is a high rock formation and a water pool area made to look like a Yosemite waterfall. The shows start off with a wolf coming out of a cave and...well, I won't spoil it for you. It's pretty neat.
Our last night in Vegas was spent at Fremont Street. Fremont Street is the original strip and where it all started. It is actually a few miles away from the Las Vegas Boulevard where all the modern hotels are now. We went during the day but Fremont Street is best enjoyed at night. The lights are amazing. There is a huge canopy over the entire strip that has a light show every hour. It is really spectacular, and the glitter and glamor of the night covers up its fading glory. Like a used car, Fremont Street is best viewed at night.
Next day it was time to go back home. Our flight did not leave until 5 p.m., so we got a late checkout (1 p.m.) and did some shopping at the nearby shopping malls. Overall, this trip was a good one. I love Las Vegas!